Talking Fabrics

Here's a bright new idea FOR textiles: fabric that displays glowing, moving color images and text. Dutch tech firm Philips Research has developed Lumalive fabric, which is embedded with light-emitting diodes powered by a battery pack the size of a deck of cards and weighing 110 grams.

Money: They're A Safe Bet

Bank certificates of deposit may never be cool or exciting, but they have a new appeal now that the Federal Reserve is holding the line on interest rates.

Talking Fabrics

Here's a bright new idea for textiles: fabric that displays glowing, moving color images and text. Dutch tech firm Philips Research has developed Lumalive fabric, which is embedded with light-emitting diodes powered by a battery pack the size of a deck of cards and weighing 3.5 ounces.

But No Free Toaster

What's big-ger than an ATM kiosk but smaller than a bank branch? A bank "neighborhood store." Umpqua Bank, a regional bank based in Portland, Ore., is peppering the Sacramento-to-Seattle landscape with dozens of tiny banking boutiques that look more like coffee shops.They offer free coffee and Wi-Fi, as well as sell T shirts, hats, customized indie-music CDs--and, oh yeah, have a "teller bar" where customers can conduct financial business.

Talking Fabrics

Here's a bright new idea for textiles: fabric that displays glowing, moving color images and text. Dutch tech firm Philips Research has developed Lumalive fabric, which is embedded with light-emitting diodes powered by a battery pack the size of a deck of cards and weighing 3.5 ounces.

But No Free Toaster

What's big-ger than an ATM kiosk but smaller than a bank branch? A bank "neighborhood store." Umpqua Bank, a regional bank based in Portland, Ore., is peppering the Sacramento-to-Seattle landscape with dozens of tiny banking boutiques that look more like coffee shops.They offer free coffee and Wi-Fi, as well as sell T shirts, hats, customized indie-music CDs--and, oh yeah, have a "teller bar" where customers can conduct financial business.

The Face Business

Pedicures have been popularized, so why not facials? A new franchise dedicated to that idea is spreading faster than untreated crow's feet.Facelogic International, of Carlsbad, Calif., is following the affordable-luxury concept that put nail salons into almost every strip mall and city block.

Get the Man To a Monet!

Who's majorly affected by your mental state? The boss. Depressed workers can cost employers big bucks due to lost productivity. In 2002, for example, workers suffering from depression cost Lockheed Martin $786,000 in lost work hours, according to calculations by Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston.Now researchers have new ideas about managing employee moods, and they begin with touches like fresh air, full-spectrum lighting, quiet offices, guided meditations, yoga breaks and cognitive...

Sit, Stay Awhile

Cross a hotel room with an apartment and you get a popular concept in business travel: the extended-stay hotel. Aimed at workers who spend more than four days in one location, extended-stay hotels offer more room, kitchens--and lower bills to bring back to travel managers. "We save anywhere from 15 to 20 percent on hotel travel," says Kevin Maguire, travel director for Applied Materials in Austin, Texas.As a result, demand for extended-stay lodging is growing faster than demand for the...

Money: Getting Your Slice

Project manager Wren Withers wanted a raise at a time when her Silicon Valley software company was freezing salaries. What to do? She held an informal talk with her boss, where she learned that colleagues one rung up on the ladder were earning 7 percent to 15 percent more than she was.

Copiers: Keys to Company Info

Copier security isn't just about making sure you take your résumé off the machine before your boss gets there. As copiers, printers and other office tools become more sophisticated, they become more hackable.Attendees at August's Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas heard from a hacker-security expert who said he'd been able to install his own software on a printer, compromise its network and access confidential documents stored in it. "There's an inherent trust in these types of...

Pointing to Tomorrow

At the University of North Carolina, English majors can minor in entrepreneurship, non-business-school freshmen take seminars in starting companies and faculty members can get money to create new business classes.

Ask the Pro

Susan C. Keating, CEO of the National Foundation For Credit Counseling, spoke to Linda Stern about the current credit crunch.Seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, are carrying an average of over $4,000 in credit-card debt.

Credit: Playing Your Cards Right

Bad news for anyone who likes a freebie. Credit-card companies are cutting back on their rewards. In the last month, Citibank and American Express have ended the 5 percent and double-cash-back rebates offered for cardholders who frequent grocery stores and gas stations.

Brokers: Dealing With New Deals

Still using the same online broker you had when Cisco was the hot new stock? It's time to take another look. Firms are chopping fees to grab new clients; they've even made it easier to get out.

Foreclosures For Sale

Bargain-hunting bloggers are calling it the perfect storm: the combination of rising interest rates, variable-rate mortgages and a soft housing market is resulting in a wave of foreclosures that could turn tidal.

Money: Pounce On This Card (For Fido)

Oh, sure, your dog may seem like a member of the family, but does she have her own credit card? Bank of America has released a new card that comes close. It's aimed at pet lovers, not their animals, but it includes benefits that Fido will enjoy.

Investing: IRA's for the kids

If your kids have summer jobs, there are better places for them to drop their money than the local arcade or department store. One of the best bets is a Roth IRA.

Money: Hiding The Lettuce

In an emergency, you can't charge your way to safety--at least not with a credit card. Experts recommend you stash some cash in case a disaster knocks out the ATMs in your area.

Blowing in the Wind

File this under "what's old is new again." A German company is introducing sails it says may help propel ships across the sea cheaper and faster than modern engines.SkySails' system consists of an enormous towing kite and navigation software that can map the best route between two points for maximum wind efficiency.

Money: Invest The Time Yourself

Ours is a nation of financial idiots, according to plenty of surveys. But hey, who isn't intimidated by the jargon of mortgage bankers, insurance salesmen and stockbrokers?Educating yourself can be tough--and not because you're stupid.

Money: Winning with Zero

Interest on home-equity lines of credit is now pushing 8 percent. But several credit cards are offering "zero percent interest for a year." So why not take that debt and stick it on a credit card?

Money: Back to Bonds?

The Fed seems to be near the end of its rate-raising binge, and long-term rates have finally started heading up. Does that mean it's time to invest in long bonds again?

'Swim In, Swim Out'

Think "ski in and ski out"--just wetter. At El Dorado Royale in Punta Brava, Mexico, thirsty guests can step out of their rooms into a "lazy river," float past a few other rooms to the Caribbean beachside pool and then swim over to the bar for their next piña coladas.

Beware of e-Sundays

E-mail marketers should decide if they care more about clicks or looks, according to a new study by ExactTarget of Indianapolis.The study measured response rates for 2.7 billion messages sent by 4,000 organizations.

Goodbye, Bug Juice

Forget about lanyards. Summer camps, a $17 billion industry, have gone upscale and gotten competitive. Land is more expensive than ever: older camps are regularly sold to resort developers when owners exit the business.

Stocks: Summer Slump?

Sell in May and go away? That bit of Wall Street doggerel reinforces the notion that summer is a bad season for stocks, and this year the Street might be taking it seriously.

Money: Investing in Roth

Hmmm. that new tax bill allows anyone earning more than $100,000 to convert her traditional IRA into a tax-free Roth IRA ... in 2010! What to do? If you're a $100,000-plus earner, contribute as much as possible to a regular IRA now, with the intention of moving it to a Roth in 2010.

Mortgages: Rates on the Rise

Ah, the good old days--like last year, when mortgage rates were so low you couldn't get a broker to take your calls--they were all too busy processing piles of refis.

Ask The Pro

Melissa GannonVice President, Weiss Ratings, Inc., a Florida insurance and financial-research firm.May 15 is the last day to enroll in Medicare's Plan B. Tip Sheet's Linda Stern asked Gannon for advice.Should all Medicare recipients choose a drug-coverage plan?All recipients that are not already in a plan at least as good as the new program should choose one by May 15.What if they don't?When they finally sign up for a plan they will forever be charged a 1 percent penalty for each month they go...

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