"We Entertain When It Rains"  
   RainyDayDeals PDA  


Spring - Flower - 7




April 29 , 2005

Is anybody else as excited as me about Apple's Tiger OS release today? Tiger has some really cool features that are not only years ahead of anything else out there, but will allow new software to be built on top of them to give capabilities that I had only dreamt about, but felt too complicated to engineer myself as part of a standalone product.

What would that be? Well, one thing I always wanted to be able to track was the complete "family tree" of an image...through all of its different saves, crops, edits and versions. It would be great if I could ask: "Was this image cropped from another image?" or "Show me all the images that were derived from this image". The new "Spotlight" capabilities built into the Tiger OS will allow me and other developers to start thinking about building on top of it to give that capability in a software application!

We had our copy of Tiger on order since mid-April. Once it arrives we'll do a complete review of the features for the Gear & Gadgets readers of RainyDayMagazine. Look for it in May!


April 28 , 2005

We have been busy the past couple of weeks searching out various sites for the new gardening section of RainyDayMagazine. We are happy to announce the first "release" of RainyDayGarden is now ready!

We will be adding new sites, projects, tool reviews, and "how-to" as often as we can. We hope you will enjoy them when the weather is keeping you inside, try some of them yourselves when the sun is back out, and give us feedback on things you would like to see covered!

Carolyn's review of Woodman's (fried clams to die for...) is now up on Carolyn's World. She has also activated some of menu links like "Spas"! Go check 'em out ...especially after a hard day out in the garden :-)


April 26 , 2005

Yesterday, we showed you how to see the world via GoogleMaps. However, if you do decide to venture out and see the world for real, you will need a good bag to help you keep all your travel gear handy and organized (passport, cash, credit cards, cell phone, digital camera, etc...). Norazza's Tri-Fold Traveler will do just that!

Click on the image above or go here to read the full RainyDayReview!


April 25 , 2005

Why bother seeing the world for real? Just use the web and instantly transport yourself anywhere you want to be...well, almost. How? It's called "Google Sightseeing".

Of course, one of the limitation is the view is only from the top (satellite's view only). However, it is quite amazing the level of detail that is available from GoogleMaps!

Give it a try... click on the map and go type in your address, then click on the word "satellite" on the upper right of the page to see the image of the location. Play with the zoom level on the left of the page. The entire map is click-draggable.

I did a quick trip to the White House... the detail is amazing. I can't wait 'til somebody hooks this up with a GPS!

If you want to see the world first hand but can't leave you beloved CD/DVD collection behind, Slappa has a case that will let you bring along your 600 most favorite discs in high style.

The Slappa 600 has a telescoping handle, roller wheels, and a Dura-Shock HardBody shell. Yes...it will fit in the overhead compartment on the plane :-)


April 23 , 2005

All of this head snapping temperature changes had us looking around for something to give us a heads-up on the weather. There are a lot of weather forecasting options out there... ranging from handheld models to roof mounted sensor that will withstand hurricane conditions. Some will even interface directly with your computer via WiFi and others will allow you to check on status from anywhere via a web connection.

In the end, we decided to go for a little more form and a bit less function. We got a copper "weather station" from Restoration Hardware that had all the basic sensors (temperature, air pressure, humidity). We'll report back on its utility after a few weeks.


April 21 , 2005

One day of 90 degree weather and everything in the garden went into high gear! Nevermind that tonight may be 34 degrees :-)

Look for the launch of RainyDayGarden at the beginning of May in the Workshop section. The primary focus will be urban gardening, but there will be plenty of projects that will be of interest to everyone... composting, container gardening, and water projects just to name a few!

We did take advantage of the summer-like temperature yesterday and took a drive with the top down.

One of our favorite "summer outings" is to cruise up to Woodman's in Essex for some of their amazing fried clams!

The clams were delicious as always. We also tried the "popcorn shrimp" platter, but left unimpressed. The shrimps were too small to have any flavor and did not have enough substance to stand out from the batter. In the end, it felt like we were just eating a plate of light batter. Stick with the fried clams.

If you go and the weather permits, eat out back... the view is amazing, especially around sunset!


April 20 , 2005

Today is going to be one of those freaky Spring days in Boston... where the temperature can be 80 degrees during the day and 45 degrees at night. It might also snow by the end of the week :-) The crocuses and Johnny Jump-ups don't seem to mind the blast of summer heat.

RainyDayMagazine will be introducing a new section in the Workshop called RainyDayGarden at the beginning of May. It will feature a variety of garden projects such as how to build a cold frame, a gardener's bench, a trellis, and lots of other things to help you and your plants be vigorous!

So get out there today and enjoy the warmth for tomorrow it may snow :-)


April 19 , 2005

We don't play a lot of video games here at RainyDayMagazine. So when our friend Jeremy sent us this little news item about a new game called Spore, we didn't pay much attention to it for a few days.

The creator of Spore is a company called Maxis. They make games like The Sims and SimCity. In those games, all of the animation have been pre-rendered. Since there are a HUGE number of possible outcomes depending on which paths are chosen along the way, it meant the game makers have to pre-rendering as many possible outcomes as they can envision. This can be quite expensive and time consuming as games reach for greater and greater realism. In the end, since each outcome had to have been "predicted" by the programmers in order for it to be rendered, it limiting the possible responses to a fixed set...which limits the realism of the simulation.

Spore, if I understood what I was reading, is different. The basic "approach" for a lot of the animations, interactions, and behaviors are based on parameterized computational models...in other words, equations. This means the rendering, interactions, and possible set of behaviors, are convert to a set of inputs for the equations and the results computed "on the fly". Another way to think about it is ... OK, Carolyn is telling me that the readers (you) have since fallen asleep.

Anyway...why did I think what those guys that made Spore did was so cool? They created a game were the behaviors had not been specifically "programmed" by the creators. Instead, the programmers created an "environment" where you, the player, can "evolve" an outcome by controlling various details of the components of the game (designing the life forms, letting them interact, etc...) and seeing what happens based on a set of equations. So if you designed a 3 legged creature, the creature will compete, survive, reproduce, build cities, etc... based on the physics of a 3 legged creature. Even if the game designers had not envisioned that someone would even have wanted a 3 legged creature when they were designing the game!

You start from the VERY beginning... at the primordial ooze level, compete and grow, evolve into creatures, build cities, take over land, conquer the world, and finally expand out into the universe :-)

Talk about being a control freak :-) To get a really detail review of the game, go read Dave Kosak's review in GameSpy.


April 18 , 2005

The 109th Boston Marathon will start in Hopkinton, wind it way through Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton,nBrighton, Brookline, and finally end in Boston's BackBay 26.2 miles later.

There are many categories of participants and many "official" times. The fastest official time of all the categories is 2:10:37 by Timothy Cherigat of Kenya. That works out to be a 5 minutes/mile for 26 miles! I'm not sure if I can run a mile in under 6 minutes, let alone keeping a pace like that up for 26 miles!

We'll be doing our part to cheer the runner's on and to celebrate the event by going to our friends Andrew and Sara's in Lexington for a Marathon Day BBQ ... I just hope we can find a way around the Marathon's route :-)


April 17 , 2005

RainyDayMagazine would like to congradulate Elwood “Woody” Norris for being named the 2005 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT award!

As an inventor, Woody Norris has been at it for over forty years and has earned closed to 50 U.S. patents. At age 63, most folks are thinking about retirement, Woody is thinking about what problems he should tackle next!

You can learn more about Woody's inventions (HyperSonic Sounds, AirScooter, etc...) here.


April 15 , 2005

It's Friday. It's Tax Day. It's a good day to go to Madrid, Boston, or New York City... anywhere but in front of the computer doing your taxes.

Everybody knows we love travel related gadgets (GPS, digital cameras, digital compasses, etc...). However, sometimes you just can't beat having a well designed travel guide in your hands!

There is an entire section on one of the walls in the RainyDayOffice devoted to travel related guides, maps, and books. However, we have nothing like these Rough Guides. We got one yesterday... and more are on their way. We will be doing a detailed look at these Rough Guides and have write-up for you by the end of this month, but if you want to check them out now... go here. If you want to get some... go here.

If you end up getting a tax refund... go here :-)


April 14 , 2005

I made something I called the AdventureCam about 3 years ago because I wanted to shoot videos without having to hold the videocam in my hands while doing my "extreme sports". Some might not consider trying to seeing everything at Comdex or E3 and extreme sport, but unless you have tried it...

It worked great. However, as with many of my homemade contraptions, it was not as elegant as it could have been. Using it required wearing a backpack with wires hanging out everywhere. It made one looked like a total geek... an image I assumed proudly :-)

Samsung felt bad for folks like me and decided they can do much better! By the middle of this month, you will be able to get a much more compact version which will let you document your own extreme sports activities.

You can pre-order the Samsung SC-X105L MP4 Sports Camcorder at Amazon now and get a $100 discount.

However, it is clear to me now that no matter how small they make this gadget or how pretty a model they get to show it off...it is just goofy looking to have a camera lens on your head, unless you are "7 of 9" :-)


April 13 , 2005

It'll finally be HERE at the end of the month!!! What is it? It's Tiger, Apple's next release of OS X !

I have been waiting for this release for many months now. Why? Well... I had an idea for a piece of software I wanted to write last summer. I spent some time spec-ing it out, doing the user interface prototyping, and writing some test code. During that time, I realized the job was WAY bigger than I first thought...mostly because of a few features that would require some pretty drastic OS level hacks.

Then I read about Tiger. The more I read, the more I realized that Apple has put in all of the capabilities needed in this release of OS X to support what I wanted to do! How great is that???? I can't wait. If you are as excited about this release... you would be even more stoked if you go here to order your copy and save yourself $35!


April 12 , 2005

You don't always need a lot of tools to do fun projects on a rainy day... or any day. In fact, we all carry around with us the most amazing toolbox of all, our 3 pound brain :-) In it are vision processors, tactile interpretors, motion detectors, and lots of other cool gear that does all kinds of astonishing things... many without our direct oversight. How does it all work?

Well, if you didn't get your copy of the user's manual when you were born, here is your chance to pick one up. Rita Carter's Mapping The Mind is a comprehensive visual guide, based on the latest in brain imaging techniques, on how the brain works. The "maps" are by no means complete. They are more like the maps of early cartographers... with dragons and sea monsters at the edges of the known oceans, but useful enough to enable those early explorers to venture out on their own to discover new worlds!

Tom Stafford and Matt Webb's Mind Hacks is a collection of "tricks of the mind" that anyone can do to explore the inner workings of their own "personal computer". There are "hacks" to demonstrate why we see what we see, how we remember, and why we forget. It is a great companion book for when you just want to do some "thought projects" on the couch!

On the other hand, if you are dying to get your hands dirty and build something physical, go order the magazine called Make I mentioned here last week. I got my first issue of Make in the mail today and it did not disappoint!

The issue is PACKED with info on tools, projects, and tech tips. It is a magazine for both armchair tinkerers and MIT tech geeks. I mean... who WOULDN"T want to make their own Magnetic Stripe Card Reader???

The projects are well planned, instructions clear, and perfect for a rainy weekend. We'll tackling one of them this month and will report back on whether our first impressions were correct.


April 11 , 2005

I purchased a Canon Digital Elph when they first come out 5 or 6 years ago for around $600. It was the 2 MegaPixel version that used a CF card. I still use it everyday. All the images in this magazine were shot using that camera. The fact that I still find the Digital Elph purchased six years ago useful is quite a testament to Canon's design! It may also be the reason why the top eight best selling digital cameras on Amazon's are Canon's!

If you act FAST...you might be able to snag one of these Canon Powershot SD110 (3 MegaPixel, 2X optical zoom) on Amazon for $170 (58% off!!!) before they sell out! This is the best deal I've seen on these cameras EVER. I can say from personal experience...they are fantastic!


April 10 , 2005

It's getting closer and closer to Tax Time and if you are like me...you are looking for every excuses to do something else!

The weather is getting warm enough to be outside working on your car. If you are looking for project suggestions, click on "Workshops" on the left and check out the various project in RainyDayGarage!

There are projects ranging from dressing up your gas pedals to installing a full "carputer"! We'll be adding a MacMini with a retractible touchscreen display to the Porsche Boxster as the feature April/May RainyDayGarage project!


April 8 , 2005

I like the idea of playing chess, but I don't play it too often. Actually, I don't play it often enough to be all that good at it. One of the reason why I don't play a lot of chess is it just take me so LONG to play a game :-)

I think playing more would help me recognize more of the "patterns" so I don't have to analyze every move to death.

I came across a really interesting site that will not only play a game of chess with me, but will show me how it analyzes each move and what the relative "influence" or strength of each piece has at it current position on the board. Oh...how COOL is THAT???

I know it is Friday. And if you don't want to tax your neurons that much and just want a quick distraction, check out this deceptively simple puzzle called Quizzle by Jim Lewis.

The goal is to move the big pink block (A) from the top left to the top right in 84 moves...that is the mathematical minimum. After 94 moves, I managed to get the big pink square into the middle. I'm sure you will get further than I did :-)


April 7 , 2005

I remember almost 30 years ago sitting in an Astronomy 101 class taught by Carl Sagan thinking..."This is amazing! Here is a world class professor teaching Introduction to Astronomy to a group of freshman! How lucky ARE we???"

I had that SAME feeling when I started Aikido 3 years ago at Shobu Aikido of Boston! If you are interested in learning Aikido and you are in Boston... starting on April 19th, you can sign up for a Beginner's Program taught by Gleason Sensei at the Shobu Aikido of Boston.

Gleason Sensei teaches these programs every once in a while. He starts from the absolute beginning... how to stand, how to sit, and how to roll. This is a very different program than if you just join the dojo and start training. If you miss this opportunity, who knows how long it will be until the next one?


April 6 , 2005

Long term thinking. Many can see the intrinsic value of such an attitude, but I would argue that very few actually use it in making everyday choices. It is hard to practice "slower/better" thinking when surrounded by "faster/cheaper" behaviors.

In general, most of us think, maybe at most, a hundred years out. We think about saving for retirement. We may think about recycling. Some may even think about purchasing a fuel efficient vehicle because it would be better for the environment.

The folks at the LongNow Foundation goes a little further... a thousand, ten thousand, years out. To help focus thinking in that kind of time scale, they decided to create a clock that would run for 10,000 years.

What kind of delineation should be on the face? How should it be powered? What kind of material should it be made of? All of these questions take on a different quality when asked in the time frame of 10,000 years. Go here for the full architectural plans should you decide you want to tackle a project of this scale!

Want to work on something with a slightly more immediate time scale? If you live in a city, how about learning to care for your local "urban forest"?

If you live in Boston, you should check out the upcoming workshop hosted by the Community Forest Partnership. The workshop will be on April 23rd in Roslindale. Topics will include: tree indentification, urban ecology, public health benefits of the urban forest, and tree inventory methods.

Contact Jessica Noon (617-552-1563) to find out more!


April 4, 2005

We have been very excited about a recent restaurant find in Roslindale! It's name is Sophia's Grotto on Birch Street. You cannot see the restaurant from the street. All you see is the sign and an alley way.

However, if you make your way down the short alley, you will find yourself in a beautiful courtyard and the entrance to Sophia's. The space is intimate and the food delicious.

Most likely you will be greeted by Sonia at the door and Joe behind the bar. There is a wonderful energy in the place and it seems everyone knows everyone...which very well may be since this IS a neighborhood restaurant.

They have been doing a "soft" opening (no big announcements), but I think the word has gotten out! We can't wait until the weather is warm enough for the outside seating!

When you go, try the steak...just trust me on this. The detailed writeup on Sophia's Grotto will be on Carolyn's World sometime this week.

After a night out at the Grotto, you might want to just stay in bed the next morning. However, if for some reason you are in the mood for some Finnish baked goods to go with your coffee, check out Sweet Finnish in Jamaica Plain.

Carolyn has a full write up of our visit on Carolyn's World.


April 3 , 2005

Love to play around with technology? Want to take some of the older gear that is laying around the house and put it to some creative uses? Well, the folks at O'Reilly has a new publication out that will help you do JUST THAT. It is the first magazine devoted to digital projects, hardware hacks, and D.I.Y. inspiration.

It is called Make. The magazine will be published four times a year, stuffed with really cool projects for all levels. You can download a .pdf preview of the Premiere issue here. A PERFECT "RainyDayGift" for your favorite RainyDayMagazine reader :-)


April 1 , 2005

Here is something for our readers vacationing in the UK. Do we really need to comment on a product called iPoo (GPS locator with all the toilet in the UK preprogrammed)?

All I'm saying is we are SO getting one for our friend Lisa...but for her, I think it should be called iPee. Uh...what's today's date again?



[March 2005...]

[February 2005...]

[January 2005...]

[December 2004...]

[November 2004...]

[October 2004...]

[September 2004...]


Google search
WWW www.rainydaymagazine.com


Deal of the Day


Advertise with us            
Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment© 2004