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September 30,2006 (SuperSpySaturday)

Just exactly WHAT is inside James Bond's Laptop Armor case?  Apparently quite a few readers had the same question...which of course gave us the idea for a fun little RainyDayPuzzler!  If you can name all of the items inside the case, then you will be eligible for the random drawing for something just as random:-)  How do you open the case?  Well...if you can't figure it out, then you may need to go back to "spy school" for a quick refresher course on lock picking.

When you have accomplished the assignment, encrypt the info in the usual fashion...use the code "Open Sesame" in the subject line.  We'll be monitoring the drop point until next Wednesday night.  The winner will be chosen by next Saturday.



September 29,2006 (FreeStuffFriday)

Free admission to museums? Cool! When? This Saturday. Where? All over the country.  How?  Just click on the image below for the FREE ADMISSION PASS for two.  If you want more info...go here.

This is a ONE DAY ONLY event...so make the time, get out there, and enjoy yourselves!!! 


September 28,2006 (HangToughThurs)

We have been passing around the Laptop Armor case these past few days.  The shoulder belt which came with the case was fine, but one of the folks here remembered we had a high tech shoulder belt which would be perfect for it.  The belt is the TerraGrip.  It's secret is this really flexible rubber shoulder pad which just will not slip off the shoulder.

The only problem was the posts on the side of the case will not work with the clip on the TerraGrip shoulder belt.  By now, readers should know this would only slowed us down just a tad.

Out came the scissors, a few snips, some quick adjustments, and we are all good.  The modified TerraGrip is a fantastic upgrade for the LaptopArmor case.  We'll have a full write-up of the belt hack when we post the FirstLook of the case.

September 27,2006 (WowUsWednesday)

One of the best mind of any century most certainly belonged to Leonardo Di Vinci.  The RainyDayMagazine library have a pretty good collection of books on our buddy Leo. 

However, we were floored when we came upon these AWESOME book/CD-ROM sets from Leonardo3.  We will have more on these two packages soon...if we can get the interns to stop playing with them and write something up!  After we are done playing, we'll of course have to go to Italy to visit the museum:-)

Being creative just got a whole lot easier with the arrival of this machine.  A lot of you have been waiting for us to review this piece fo gear.  Some of you have been pestering us about why we have not done it yet ever since we mentioned it a few months back.  However, we also bet that quite a few of you have no idea what this is.  To remedy that, we want you to figure out what it is and who makes it. 

To encourage that, we are going to do another one of our fun little RainyDayPuzzlers!!!  When you have found the maker, send us the answer in an email with the subject line "I wish upon a star."  Include the URL to the product in the body of the email.  Past RainyDayPuzzler winners should know what they need to do to get pass our email screening-bots.  We'll randomly reward one lucky this Saturday with little something for the effort :-) 

September 26,2006 (TechTuesday)

We have mounted our Mac minis in a lot of different places, but  the only mount we would use is the one from Hubbell.  The main reason is this mount was the most versatile AND best looking mount we have seen.

Hubbell Automation has now spun off a new company called H-Squared to specifically make and sell Mac mini mounts.  Today, they announced a newly redesigned mount which will allow user to secure their Mac mini in just about any orientation.

We'll have a closer look at this new mount as soon as we get our hands on one!  Keep your eyes peeled...you know we'll have something for you when the time come :-)

Less than 5 years ago we purchased a 22" Apple Cinema display for around $2500.  We just got notice from our TigerDirect partner that an Acer 22" LCD monitor is now available for an INCREDIBLE price of only $300!!! 

We may just get 22" LCDs for everybody here.  Maybe we can even afford to give one away at this price...dream on :-)  Read more about it on today's Deal Of The Day and go get your own.  However, you better hurry because at this price, availability is not guaranteed.


September 25,2006 (MattressMonday)

Monday mornings are easier if you have had a good night sleep.  We have been curious about the TempurPedic mattress for a long time, but the exorbitant price had always preventing us from taking the step.  One of the interns here suggested we look at a less expensive option : memory foam mattress toppers.

We started this project over a year ago.  The first pad we purchased was a 2" version.  With the 2" pad, we noticed we didn't need to get bigger sheets to cover both the foam and the mattress. The queen size pad cost about $200 at that time.  The prices have dropped quite a bit since.  We recently purchased a 4" version for less than $200!

A 2" pad is probably sufficient for anyone less than 150 lbs.  The 4" pad would be a better choice for weight heavier than 150.  There is a noticeable difference in comfort between the 2" and 4" mattress toppers. 

The major reason for the difference is the ability of the thicker foam to block motion transfer.  This is especially important if you or your partner likes to move around a lot.

Click on the video clips to see what we are talking about.  The center video shows the water shaking when the movement is close by.  The shaking movement quickly dissipated.  When the distance was increased to a foot, there was hardly a ripple in the bottle of water!  Go here to check out the full review.

We found the memory foam topper to be much more comfortable than just the bare futon.  We have not yet tried a full memory foam mattress, so we could not compare the topper alternative to the "real thing."  We would love to hear from readers who have experienced the "expensive" versions!  Is it everything they say it is?


September 22,2006 (FantasyFriday)

James Bond came by RainyDayMagazine today for a visit.  He was intrigued with the infrared upgrade to the tiny Zippo camera we did and wanted to see if we would be willing to trade it for something.

Apparently Q-Branch wasn't able to get a modified spy camera to him until the weekend.  James Bond had this awesome-looking briefcase with him called the LaptopArmor.  Since we had the upper hand, we decide to take advantage of the situation and successfully negotiated a pretty one-sided swap :-)

007's case is not some wimpy soft-sided piece of luggage.  He said it could take a 10' drop onto concrete.  The Contributing Editor immediately yelled from her office and said we should run it over with the Pathfinder...like we did with the iPod case.  Uhhh...maybe someday, but not today.

The LaptopArmor is very slim, but is actually quite roomy.  The case had enough space for all three of our interns' Vaios.  It is also a perfect fit for the Apple G3 or the IBM ThinkPad. 

In fact, this case may be custom-fitted for laptops from 12" to 15" with the use of additional internal pads.  Click on any of the images to get a closer look.  There is quite a size difference between our everyday case and the LaptopArmor. 

We also don't think our soft case could protect the laptop in a 10' drop onto concrete.  Someday, we may decide to find out, but not today. Today, we are just going pretend we are smuggling secret documents out from underneath the enemy's nose and whisking them back to MI-5, saving the world from the brink of extermination, and rescuing the beautiful double-agent in distress...all the while sporting this handsome LaptopArmor. 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to send us your best James Bond/LaptopArmor fantasy (100 words or less)...we'll pick our favorite, publish it here, and send you a little something for your efforts.  Mark the submission with the subject line "Shaken, not stirred".

Puzzler Updates:  Congrats to Simba's owners, Sonia and Joey, for being the winner of the "Hey Eliot I don't smell anything" contest.  Eliot will be sending you a bottle of the Zero Odor to keep your home fresh smelling until you get your own Litter-Robot.

Tim. S is the winner of of yesterday's "A Clutch in Time Saves Nine" puzzler.  The name of the company is Pacific Designs.  They make all kinds of innovative cases for protecting your digital gear.  We may check out some of their other offerings in the future.  Their Nucleus case is interesting since we are always looking for a light protection for our laptops.  Let us know if there is something of interest to you from their line!

Tim's entry was submitted at 3:24AM, but still in time for this morning's drawing :-)  The clue was in the clickwheel of this image.  A surprising number of readers found it.  The interns are going to have to make it tougher next time!

September 21,2006 (TechThursday)

Yes...this looks like one of the stylish wallets favored by the more fashion conscious members of our RainyDayMagazine staff.  However, this wallet has more going for it than meets the eye.

The designer has incorporated an iPod nano case into its design.  The nano may be inserted facing either in or out...quite clever!

The inside of the case have lots of nicely thought out additions.  If you want to get a closer look at the quality of the workmanship, just click on any of the images. 

If you want one for yourself or your "friend", then send us an email with the following: 1. The name of the company that created this little gem.  2. A link to the product.  Use the subject line "A clutch in time saves nine" if you want to make it past the email filter-bots.

September 20,2006 (WowUsWednesday)

There have been so much email asking for a closer look at Litter-Robot that we decided to post some of the pics now before we had finished the FirstLook write-up.

On the inside, half of the main rotation drum is covered with a heavy duty rubber liner.  There are two ports on the side for the waste to exit into the tray on the bottom when the drum is rotated...note the level on the back in the photo on the right.

The waste tray is accessed via the front.  Disposable plastic liners are mounted by just pushing a corner into the black "grips" on the side of the tray.

The entire Litter-Robot unit is surprisingly light for a device of this size.  We will fill it with new litter and fire it up soon.  Both Eliot and Buffy have been very curious and are ready to give it a try.  Hopefully, we'll have a "dry run" video of the unit posted by this weekend.

With all of the iPod news of late, we thought we would give another music service a look to see if they have made any headway against the Apple steamroller.  Napster was featured for a full month on RainyDayMagazine this Summer.  To all of the readers who won one of these MP3 players...congrats!  Enjoy your free year of music!!!

We just got one of the Napster players so we could check it out for ourselves.  The Napster site looked pretty easy to use.  All of their songs are available for "rent" or purchase.  We are going to try it out to see how we like the "renting music" model.

Also, we still have a one more one-year subscription to give away.  So keep your eyes peeled for the clues and the entry rules.  A reminder to past winners...you know what you need to do to play again :-)  If you don't, you better find out or your entries will be unceremoniously deleted by our overly aggressive email FilterBots.

September 19,2006 (OdorTechTuesday)

As always, we are intrigued by the claims of some of the products we see on TV.  Since we had such a good experience with our Little Giant Ladder, we decided to try some other things.  This Zero Odor product caught our eye.  We have no understanding of its mechanism of action, but the claims are lofty enough to pull us in...so we got some to see if it lives up to its advertising.

We have not yet had the opportunity to test this out, but hopes are high for this product!  The first thing we are going to test is some gym related gear.  One of guys here...well, let's just say it will be a good test.

September 18,2006 (MechanicsMonday)

We mentioned the JNC Air a few weeks back, but "the weather outside was frightful" and so the best we could do was mention it. But, the weather this weekend was perfect for the RainyDayGarage guys to take this unit out for a FirstLook.  

Power from the unit can be tapped via the cigarette lighter-style port, which makes it handy for using the unit as a power source for various portable electronics gadgets...assuming you have the appropriate 12VDC adapter for your device.

The other side of the unit is a powerful air compressor.  It will fill a completely flat average passenger tire in about 4-7 minutes.

The compact design allows the JNC Air to fit perfectly into the front trunk of Porsche Boxster, right next to the spare wheel.  It replaced both the jumper cable and the foot pump.  Go check out the details of the JNC Air here.  We'll have a FirstUse when we do the Winter prep routine later in the Fall.


September 17,2006 (ShapeUpSunday)

In response to reader requests for better way to find stuff on RainyDayMagazine, we have added a "WeekInReview" bar at the top of the current day.  This bar will have links to items from the week and will be updated at the end of each day.  Hopefully this will help you quickly locate the article you knew you read somewhere on RainyDayMagazine :-)  Don't forget: all of the older articles can be located using the Google site search feature located at the top of this page.

WE made an exciting discovery at this year's Fancy Food Show: grapeseed oil.  The RainyDayKitchen folks use both olive and peanut oils in their cooking for health and taste reasons.  What they didn't know was grapeseed oil has the other oils beat on all counts.  If you want to know more about how it is made, go check out the video, it's pretty amazing.

Food & Vine's Salute Sante! is one of the premier brands of grapeseed oil.  Apparently more and more top chefs are beginning to agree with the folks at Food & Vine.

We got a shipment of a variety (regular, lemon, roasted garlic) of Salute Sante! grapeseed oil this week for the RainyDayKitchen.  Click on the images to get a closer look at the labels.

The RainyDayKitchen folks are quite eager to try some recipes using grapeseed oil.  Some of us are just going to hook up the new Harmony 890 and control the world from the couch in the media room.


September 16,2006 (ShapeShiftingSat)

No messing around today...we are going right to the RainyDay Puzzler to start off the weekend.  This great-looking backpack is a new product from a company well known to professional photographers and videographers.  The same company has been achieving strong brand recognition in the consumer space these past few years.  They have just introduced a new line targeted directly at the average everyday backpack user.

So WHAT is the name of is this company?  If you know or think you know...send us email with the subject line "The Shape of Things to Come." In the email include a URL to the company's new line.  We'll use our usual random and haphazard process to select a winner next Saturday.  Yes, you have a whole week to figure this one out :-)

Here is a big hint...we have reviewed gear from this company before. No guarantees, but we'll see what we can do about wrapping one of their new packs or bags around your gear if you are the lucky, lucky winner.

Weekends are made for kicking back on the couch.  In order to achieve and sustain a perfect state of lounging...a good remote control is a must. 

Our favorite remote control is the Logitech's Harmony 880.  We have been using it since last August.  We were just about to post a one year InTheWild update when the Harmony 890 showed up in the mailroom.

The Harmony 890 has the same exact dimensions and features as the 880, plus it now has RF capabilities.  This mean you can now have a remote which may be used to control devices in other rooms!  How cool is THAT?  If we plan things right, we may not have to get off the couch the ENTIRE weekend.  More on this tomorrow...maybe :-)


September 15,2006 (FreeStuffFriday)

Quite a few of readers managed to find the clue in the SureFire U2 Ultra article.  Some even had plausible reasons of why we should send them one.  However, Professor McAlister had, hands down, the BEST reason why a SureFire flashlight will be essential for her...

Professor McAlister will be heading to Sudan in December to do some research for her next book...she will literally be out in the middle of nowhere.  She has promised to send us photos of the flashlight in action in Sudan!!!  Dr. McAlister, your flashlight will be sent directly to you by SureFire.  Congrats!!!

Eliot made all of the interns quite jealous yesterday as he got more email than all of them combined :-) He is quite happy to learn that the big round thing was not a "cat tumbler," but a new robotic cat box cleaner called the Litter-Robot.  Eliot had no problem heading straight in and checking it out. 

The Litter-Robot may look like a small fusion reactor, but once you get a closer look at it, it's easy to appreciate its amazingly clever design.  When we get the Litter-Robot hooked up, we'll toss in all of the correct entries and let the Litter-Robot pick a winner.  Look for the full FirstLook write-up next week.


September 14,2006 (PetTechThursday)

Hey! What is in this box????  I think it is for me!!! Come On!!!  Where is everybody???  I have no opposable thumbs!!! 

Hmmm....Eliot has no idea what this is, but we bet somebody out there does!  If you do, then send Eliot some email with the subject line "Hey Eliot, I don't smell anything." and the link to the product's website.   We'll have an appropriate prize for one lucky winner :-)


September 13,2006 (WowUsWednesday)

WOW!  We didn't think so many of our readers were divers!  Some of us were skeptical on how many answers we would get to yesterday's puzzler, but once again...you have proved us wrong :-)  YES...the mystery mask is the revolutionary Mega 4.5DD from HydroOptix.

The Mega 4.5DD double dome mask came with some very interesting accessories (hard-shell case, monocle, CoverLens, stowing plate).  We'll have a complete rundown on the various pieces when we do our FirstLook review.  The pieces are shown here just because the emails we got were are so excited about seeing more of this piece of gear :-)

Our diver/underwater reviewer (Andy Martinez) is currently on a dive in Indonesia.  Andy will be back in 3 weeks and will be taking this puppy out for its FirstUse.  In the meantime, we are going to take it to the local pool and see what we can see!  Feel free to click on the images to get a closer view.


September 12,2006 (TechTuesday)

RainyDayMagazine was one of the first last September with a detailed report on a solution to the iPod nano scratching problem.  We have had the InvisibleShield on the nano for almost a year now...so we thought it was time to do one of our famous InTheWild reports!!!

The images of the nano and the InvisibleShield were taken this past weekend.  If you want to get a closer look at the details, go here, click on the images, and check out the full size version.

We have tested a LOT of gear using this nano.  We have been EXTREMELY impressed with how well the InvisibleShield has held up to a year's worth of use!!! 

It is a funny coincidence that Apple will be making a bunch of new annoucements to their product line today.  Let's hope they spent a bit more time thinking about the durability of their products they will be announcing today :-)  If they don't, at least you'll know the folks at the ShieldZone will have you covered.

For those of you who wanted to take your nano underwater, the waterproof case from H20 Audio is what you'll need.   If you want to see 5X more underwater, than you'll need a revolutionary mask :-)

Some of you may know what that is, if you do then you should send us a link to the product from the manufacturer's site.  Put "I can see 5X more underwater" in the email's subject line.  We'll pick a winner next week and send the winner something that won't mind getting wet :-)


September 11,2006 (Five Years Later)

Senseless acts by evil and misguided individuals have effects and ripples with all kinds of unintended consequences.  It has been five years since the attack on the World Trade Center in NYC. 

A lot have happened since but not much have changed.  The world may feel safer to some, more controlled to others.  Most still find good leadership wanting.  As those we have elected play politics, one thing is certain, there is a lot of work left to do... both at Ground Zero, in Washington, and elsewhere.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally remember Anna Williams Allison (Boston, Flight 11) and Aram Iskendarian (WTC, Cantor Fitzgerald).

I have had the pleasure of working with Anna when I was at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.  Her wit and sense of humor always lifted the team when things were progressing slower then we would have liked :-)

Many of us knew Aram from high school...way back in 1977.  Aram and Sheri (whom he eventually married) had been a couple for as far back as any one of us could remember.  Few of us are as fortunate to find our life partner so early. We wish Sheri and the boys well.


September 10,2006 (WeekendEdition)

We attended two festivals yesterday.  They were both REALLY FUN and couldn't have been further apart on the spectrum.  The first was the PorscheFest at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.  Folks arrived early to setup and do some final detailing.  Things were already buzzing by the time we arrived.

It was great to see Porsches from a wide span of years represented.  The turn out was tremendous.  A lot had to do with the beautiful grounds of the Auto Museum, but a good part of it may be the incredible weather...high 70's and clear :-)

The sunshine really made all of the Porsches in the competition sparkle. Click on any of the images to get a closer look.  There were a lot of different categories...we didn't paid too much attention to since we were there to stroll around and see if we could get some interesting shots.  Go here if you want to see more images of the PorscheFest.

Someone working with Sony had sent us email informing us that they will be showing the mylo at Boston's CollegeFest.  Immediately, the guys were thinking...awesome, wonder if "Girls Gone Wild" or Maxim will be there???

Well, we didn't find Maxim, but another well known magazine was there.  The crowd was five deep to get in.  Kids were signing up for drawings, checking out what Boston had to offer, and getting tons of free stuff from the vendors.

We did manage to locate the Sony booth and got a good look at the mylo.  The device was small with a surprisingly good color screen.

The Sony mylo is a new class of device designed for those who lives "online".  The mylo communicator was designed for a constantly connected broadband world. A laptop is useful, but it is overkill for activities such as instant messaging, Skype calls, and email.  So if you find yourself wishing for something that will connect you without weighing you down, then check out the Sony mylo.  We'll give you a full review as soon as we get our hands on one!


September 9,2006 (WeekendEdition)

MAKE magazine had a post of this awesome looking macro lens created by one of their readers.  The interns, of course, commented on the post and a little friendly challenge followed:-)

"I propose a macro-off, whoever can blow up a the floating eye triangle on a dollar bill without cropping to the biggest possible (and without using microphotography (though i do have a microscope adapter for my camera, muahahah)) wins :)"

The interns immediately responded to the challenge (click on the image to see the full size version) with a posting of the requested image :-)  They then realized the loupe they used only had a magnification of 8X...so they are out scouring the flea markets for a higher mag slide loupe :-)

Last weekend we gave you a quick look at the three ladders we were testing for the RainyDayRenovation section.  Some readers may recognize the Little Giant ladder from the TV Infomercials.  Normally we stay away from those products like the plague, but we were taken in by the apparent versatility of the ladder and decided to take a closer look.

If you have seen the infomercials, then you probably familiar with some of the Little Giant ladder configurations.  The one we thought was really useful was the scaffolding setup.  The ladder can actually be slid apart and reconfigured into two free standing ladders.  A plank (not shown in this post) can then be inserted between the two units to form a scaffold.

We purchased the optional stand so that when we split the ladder we could make two scaffolding ends with the pieces.  Eliot was not much help in splitting the ladder into two pieces, but the task can easily be done by one person. 

We'll show how it is done in detail in a future review, but know that the entire transformation took about 2 minutes.  We were quite impressed with the overall stability and portability of the 19' Little Giant that we purchased. 

Why the need for a scaffold?  Because instead of having to constantly move the ladder, it is much easier to just move along the plank in the middle.  This setup makes it much easier to for painting ceilings and the upper part of walls. 

For anyone who has attempt it, one of the more difficult task is to create a "textured" ceiling.  We found a tool from Wagner called the PowerTex which may make this job a LOT easier.

The Wagner PowerTex consists of three components (sprayer, motor, hopper).  The sprayer and motor separates for easier cleanup.  The entire setup is designed with good ergonomics for less fatigue and better handling.

The PowerTex just came in so we have not had much of an opportunity to play with it yet.  However, we thought we would post a few shots here for folks to get a quick look...and to get you started in thinking about some possible Fall projects around the house!!!

September 8,2006 (FunFriday)

The Northeast Region of the Porsche Club of America will be having their annual Concours d'Elegance at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum this Saturday. Porsches of all years are welcome to participate as show cars.  RainyDayGarage will be there with our 2000 Boxster!

There will be classes for Full Concours participants, Top Only judged cars, Track/Racecars, and Park & Wipe only competitors. Entrants should plan to arrive between 9 and 10AM. Judging will begin around 10:30 AM. Show Car entry fee the day of the event is $30/car or $20/car with preregistration. Send an email or use the online form to register with the Museum!

Can someone make an alternative MP3 player which can compete with the Apple iPod?  Sandisk is betting they can.  They have been pushing hard in the the MP3 player space with their Sansa line.  One way Sandisk is going to compete against Apple is going to give the buyer a LOT more flash memory for the money. 

They can since they are one of the largest seller of flash memory in the world.  Apple will still have the advantage on the software side, but Sandisk is going to give Apple a strong shove with their feature rich players and super aggressive pricing.  We have found a vendor that is selling this 2 GB MP3 player for ONLY $99.99!!!


September 7,2006 (KitchenTechThursday)

We are no strangers to pod based coffee brewers, so when the Flavia Fusion Drink Station showed up in the RainyDayKitchen, we were all over it.

The machine was a breeze to set up and even easier to use.  The sample pack came with quite a collection of different coffees, teas, and toppings.  The hardest part was for folks here to decided what they want to try first :-)

The central column adjusts with the push of a button to fit different size cups.  The brewing is done by pumping water through the filter pack and the content goes directly into the cup. 

This has the advantage in that no cleaning is needed and there is no "carry-over" of flavors from one brew to the next.  We are almost done sampling the various flavors...write-up of the Flavia Fusion Drinks Station will happen as soon as we are done with the last cup.  In the meantime, just click on any of the images to get a closer look and this stylish machine for the kitchen.  If you want a Flavia Fusion for the office, check out the S350 and SB100.


September 6,2006 (WowUsWednesday)

Some of you wrote to say that 300GB is not big enough...well, how about 500GB for under $200???


Get two of these, some enclosures and set yourselves up with a terabyte for less than $500.  What more do you want???  OK...how about a 2GB CF card for under $40?


September 5,2006 (PhotoTechTuesday)

A little reminder to past winners--we found a few of you in the trash bin, tossed there by our email bot--that if you've won in the past and want to keep entering, then you need to do like Andrew P here and send in a pic of you and your prize :-) 

Otherwise, your name will stay on the "Do Not Accept" list and our email bot (nicknamed "NoMercy") will keep chucking your email entries.  BTW, Andrew, you are now good-to-go!

We knew that CCDs were sensitive to infrared (remember the Sony camcorders that could shoot through clothing?) and that most have an IR filter to block the light.

Recently we read an article on MAKE magazine about how to convert a cheap digital camera into an infrared digital camera by Zach Stern.  Zach's beautiful photos inspired us to give the project a try.

However, unlike Zack's project, the JB-1 did not have a separate IR filter.  The IR filtering was done by a coating which was on the lens itself.  This meant we had to scrape the coating off.

Since it was Labor Day, most of the photography stores were closed.  This is when being a pack-rat has its advantages.  We found some filter samples which we picked up 15 years ago but never used in a drawer.

Once the gels were properly stacked and the lens mount re-attached (hot glue gun is really useful for this), then it was time to screw on the re-assembled lens. 

The unit snapped back together quite easily.  We re-inserted the single screw which held the unit closed and the re-assembly was basically complete.  This does not mean we are done.  The focus of the lens still needs to be adjusted.

After playing with the focus a bit, we were able to get some better results.  Finally, we were able to zero in on the exact spot where we had the sharpest focus for the setup.

Infrared images are really quite interesting since they reveal a whole different perspective of our surroundings.  Here are some examples from just looking out the window.  We'll have more once we play with it some.  We hope this quick project will inspire those of you with older digital cameras to give them a second life.


September 4,2006 (LaborDay)

A day off from work just means more time for doing stuff around the house :-)  It has been raining in Boston for the past few days, but today we should see some sun.  Local readers will probably not need to do any watering outside, but they still might appreciate our write-up of the ReelSmart from Hydro-Industries.

The unit came assembled and ready to be hooked up to the spigot and the water hose.  The reel is large enough to hold about 150' of hose.

Setting up the unit was very easy and took less than 10 minutes.  We didn't have to really refer to the instructions.  We did check them at the end just to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Most of the parts are made of plastic so it should have no problems with being outside all the time.  We have been using the ReelSmart for a few weeks now and it has worked exceptionally well. 

One thing which usually needs doing this time of the year is (drumroll please) "The Cleaning of The Gutters."  Getting up to them is safer if you have the right ladder.  We have been checking out offerings to see what's new in the world of ladder tech :-)  Amazingly enough, there are quite a few interesting innovations.

Some of the ladders can fold into various configurations, others can even separate and become two ends of a scaffold.  All of the ones we looked at were made of aluminum and are easily transportable by one person.

One of the most "Why didn't I think of that?" improvements is this EverLevel feature in an offering from Werner Ladder.  The ends of this ladder are adjustible to make it easy to level.  There is even a built-in bubble level on one of the rungs.

We'll have more on all of these ladders in future issues in the RainyDayRenovation section of this magazine.


September 3,2006 (StorageSunday)

Storage is like money, you just can't have too much of it.  We have found a few great storage deals for this Labor Day Weekend.  The capacities are 80GB ($40), 160GB ($60), and 300GB ($95).


We are not big on rebates, so we try to find deals that are priced low without any associated rebate hassles.  Like all RainyDayDeals, the quantities are limited on these units and it is first come first served.  So if you want them, ACT NOW!!! 


September 2,2006 (SureFireSaturday)

The Digital U2 Ultra is one of the new LED additions to the SureFire line of powerful pocket size flashlights.  These flashlights were mainly developed for professionals (police, firemen, military, etc...) who need a light which MUST work in when they need it.

However, like any great tool, word gets around.  SureFire flashlights are being purchased by folks who understand the value of dependable gear.  Go check out our FirstLook of the U2 Ultra.   BTW, if you want a SureFire...use the light of the U2 Ultra to find the hidden clues, follow them, and we'll see what we can do.

UPDATE:  Just got word that we WILL be giving away a SureFire, but they are so swamped that they won't be able to send one until the end of the month...so I guess we'll pick a winner at the end of September! Enter if you know what you need to do :-)


September 1,2006 (FoodFriday)

Just got done with lunch and came back to a brand new Canon S2 sitting on the chair.  We ordered it on Monday when the deal (ended at 9AM this morning) was first announced.

I guess we'll have yet another thing to play with this Labor Day weekend...work, work, work!!!  Click on the images to get a closer look.  We'll have a write-up on the S2 soon!

Below is a pic of Erin Brayton, owner of 18 Birch Home and Garden in Roslidale Village, presenting a check for over a thousand dollars to Julie Brandlen, Sanctuary Director of the Boston Nature Center (BNC) in Mattapan. 

The money, which will help to support the BNC’s environmental education programs, was raised at a benefit held at 18 Birch.  Erin and Julie are pictured with the “Hawks,” attendants of the BNC summer camp.  The camp provides an all-inclusive, safe and educational opportunity for children ages 6 –13.  The BNC and 18 Birch plan on continuing this successful partnership!

When we were down in Chinatown a few weeks ago, we came across a new bar/restaurant called District on Lincoln St.  The entrance might be missed in the day time, but if you show up around 10 PM on a weekend, it will be easy to spot.

The decor is an interesting mix of textures...hard and soft, edgy and funky, and definitely good for starting conversations ;-) 

The bar just opened a few months ago and they are tweaking the menu based on feedback from their customers.  We were there last Thursday and did some first-hand sampling of their offerings... amazing food, great prices!  You can wait for our full write-up or you can head down to 180 Lincoln Street this Labor Day weekend and see for yourselves!  Go soon...word is going to get around fast!!!

American Innovative came up with an easy way for users to program their alarm clocks.  They have now taken that same interface and incorporated it into a kitchen timer...four timers, actually.

The Chef's Quad-Timer uses the same easy to program dial as the NeverLate alarm clock.  The inner knob selects the timer, the outer ring sets the time.  Rotate the ring quickly to move the counter quickly, slow up to set the time precisely...how more natural can it get?  We hope they take this concept to other types of timers (VCR remotes, light on/off timers, etc...).  Folks would never have to struggle with remembering how to program their timers again!

The Chef's Quad-Timer allows the user to see more than one timing event at a glance...perfect when there are several things happening in the kitchen at once (sauce on the stove, roast in the oven, margherita mix in the blender).

The layout of the four timers is similar to that of a typical four-burner stove.  It is an intuitive and clever solution for associating a timer with what is being timed.


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