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This is story that sounds like an urban legend...a guy purchases a piece of property, and while wandering around on it one day comes upon a locked building that, when finally opened, contains a huge collection of vintage autos of all makes and years, clearly neglected, but in reasonable conditons. Apparently, this actually happened in Portugal!
We spotted a Porsche 356 in the collection. It is not as famous as the Jame Dean's 550 Speedster, but it is right up there in the "wow" factor. Clearly some restoration work will be needed. We would be happy to take it on as a RainyDayProject :-)
Th first photo was sent to us by one of our RainyDayGarage readers. There weren't many details in the email, but we love the first shot with the huge trove of cars. One of our readers, Andrew P., poked around a bit on the net and came across what appeared to be a larger collection of images about this find. Enjoy! - Wan Chi Lau
A few of us had the pleasure of wearing the Timex TX these past few weeks. We all differ on what we liked most about the TX. Some of us love the tech, others are drawn to the looks, but we all agreed that the TX is in a category all its own. Timex calls the category "TechnoLuxury"... click on the images below to see why.
We have received quite a bit of email with questions regarding the TX. So we went back asked Herb Doscher, Brand Director for Timex, to answer four of the most popular ones:
Will there be other bands available separately for the TX? We do have replacement straps available for sale through our customer service department and are working with our retailers and web manager to make them more readily available.
How long will the batteries last? The battery life is dependent on how often the various watch functions are used. On average the batteries will last four years. Quartz regulated watches should be inspected every several years for normal upkeep, so when the battery is replaced, the watch will receive a new gasket to ensure proper water resistance and will be tested to ensure that it is functioning to TX standards.
What is LumiNova? LumiNova is the registered trademark for the high quality luminous paint that is applied to watch dials and hands for better visibility in the dark. It is a photoluminescence which means that it receives its charge from UV light (the sun and some artificial lighting). The charge will normally last a couple hours depending on the amount of UV light the watch is exposed to prior to being used in the dark.
When will it be nationally available? TX is currently available at select Saks 5th Ave and Bloomingdales locations with plans on expanding distribution this spring. Visit TXWatches.com for a complete listing of where TX can be found. In our next segment, we'll take a look at the six different functions of the TX.- Wan Chi Lau
Now that we have the infrared LEDs, we spent time this weekend looking for a videocam we can hack to make it IR sensitive. There were a few old Kensington USB videocams on our shelves, but we weren't sure whether there would be drivers for OS X available. Luckily, we found an application called macam.
This application supports a ton of webcams and it is FREE! We got it up an running in just a few minutes. The video quality of the Kensington was surprisingly good for a six year old webcam.
While we were surfing around on the web looking at the webcam possibilities, we also came across a clip on YouTube about another MultiTouch-like user interface.
The only differece is this "no touch" approach is even closer to the now famous "Minority Report" interface... and it was implemented mostly via software and a $30 webcam. Check it out here. - Wan Chi Lau
Some things are obvious once you see them. These QuickSeals are such a simple idea that we wonder why it took so long for someone to come up with it :-)
The idea is exactly like the zip lock bags we are all used to with the added feature of being able to attach the "zip" portion to any open bag which we would normally use a bag clip.
The green zip is easy to grip and the seal's hold is very good. At the other end are two adhesive strips. The attachment process looks pretty easy, just pull and press. It'll be interesting to see how well they attach to different types of bags.
We'll compare these QuickSeals to the bag sealers we normally use over the next few weeks and report back on how well they perform in practice. - Wan Chi Lau
These LEDs emits at 870nm with an output of 90mW at 50mA. We were able to purchase 100 of them for less than $20 shipped. A deal that is pretty hard to beat! The next item on the list is a video camera which we can hack so we can see if these super-bright infrared LEDs are any good for the project:-)
Everybody is looking forward to PMA 2007 in March. We expect a bumper crop of new digital imaging gear and accessories from the major camera makers (Canon, Kodak, Olympus...etc). Plenty of product announcements have hit the wire already.
One company RainyDayMagazine is always eager to check out is Kata. We have reviewed many of their products in the past (R-102, S-312, ErgoTech) and have found them to be extremely well designed and constructed.
This year, Kata has a whole new crop of gear designed for photographers serious about protecting their gear. We hope to be able to take a closer look at some of these new bags in the near future. Some of the new luggage will help get our stuff to and from location. Others will protect the gear when we are out on the day's shoot. In either case, it looks like Kata will have us covered. - Wan Chi Lau
In our previous installment, we left off after we got the keyboard loosen from the main unit. We'll now look at the steps to properly remove the keyboard and get the the internal drive.
We found that three connectors must be disconnected before the disk can be removed. Two of them connected the keyboard to the main unit. The last connected the drive to the motherboard. While we could have removed the drive out disconnecting the keyboard, we thought it was too risky as the cables are quite delicate.
The keyboard connectors are the clamp type... a small screwdriver was needed to lift the clamps. Once lifted, the ribbon cables slipped easily out, and the keyboard was freed.
There were three screws anchoring the drive mount. Once they were removed, the drive was easily lifted using the tab at the upper right corner. The entire frame holding the drive must be lifted out of the chassis.
Now that we have gotten this far, the rest of this upgrade project was actually pretty simple. In our last installment of this series, we'll show how we swapped the drive, put everything back together, and reinstall Windows XP on the new drive. If everything goes as planned, we will have updated our 2.5lb Windows XP laptop with 80GB of disk space...lot more room than the 12GB of the OEM drive. - Wan Chi Lau
Patrick, a friend and reader of RainyDayMagazine, sent the link to these great hand paintings to us a few days ago. We thought it was perfect for "WowUsWednesday". Click on any of the thumbnails below to get a closer look.
The artist is Guido Daniele of Italy. Definitely go check out the rest of his other works. He paints more than just hands.
Everyone had the day off yesterday for President's Day, which meant the office was empty... perfect for a project which required some peace and quiet.
We had purchased the 2.5" 80GB drive almost a month ago, but just have not had the time to sit down and figure out how to take the Sony Vaio Picturebook apart. Before doing anything to the machine, we thought we had better back everything up first.
EdgeTech's diskGo portable USB drive is perfect for this kind of task. It took about 15 minutes to back up the data on the Vaio's 12 GB drive. We were going to "ghost" things back onto the new 80GB disk, but decided it was probably better to reinstall XP and just the apps that we really needed.
Once the data was backed up, we slowly began to take off what pieces we could... screws in the back, end caps, and other bits. From our past laptop upgrade projects, we knew the most likely way to get at the internal drive is by removing the keyboard. After some work, we managed to figure out how to do just that.
We also found that most of the things we removed were unnecessary. The removal of only one screw was all that was really needed to get the keyboard off. We learned quite a bit taking this Sony Picturebook apart... some of it not immediately obvious. We'll share more of what we learned on Thursday. - Wan Chi Lau
Boston has been thawing out the past few days. The wind is still whipping pretty good, so going outside is quite a "refreshing" experience. The sun was shining and the snow was sparkly yesterday, which made a few of us want to go for a drive, but where to? How about someplace warm? How about tropical forest warm?
We had heard about Magic Wings, is a butterfly conservatory that is open all year around. Since it is only a little more than a hundred miles from Boston (in South Deerfield MA ), it was the perfect destination for a day excursion, and so off we went.
At Magic Wings, the butterflies flitter about freely. The huge glass conservatory houses about 3000 butterflies (20 to 30 different spiecies) at any given time. There are also large varieties of nectar producing plants, providing both food and shelter for the insects.
At Magic Wings, there are more than just butterflies on display... many of which are just as fascinating as the butterflies. Some visitors (the girl visitors) may not agree :-)
It is hard to capture the "magic" of this place, but here are a few clips of the visit to give you a better feel of what it was like to be inside a with thousands of butterflies floating by. The clips a kind of large so they may take a while to download if your connection is slow.
If you are looking for a warm family-friendly place to go (reasonable admission, two types of restaurants, activities for the kids), the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory is definitely worth the visit...oh, and leave the coat in the car :-) - Wan Chi Lau
Tony C of Reston VA, winner of our January "I know what Justin is Making" contest, remembered to sent in a pic of him and his Neuro MPEG-4 Recorder. His email address has thus been removed from the email blockers and will be able to enter future contests :-)
This is a reminder for all the past winners ... if you want to enter future contests, you need to send in a pic of you and the prize for our "Winner's Gallery". Otherwise, the email filters will keep doing their thing and just chuck your entry into the bit shredder.
Photographing smoke takes the right setup, patience, and a lot of experimentation. We came upon a great site with lots of interesting images of smoke.
If you want to give it a try, check out the PhotoCritic.org interview with photographer Graham Jefferey on the process.
We have played around with light bulbs before, but nothing like this. This project is a little tricky and can be dangerous. It involves the careful removal of the glass without damaging the internal works, then switching on the "light" and capturing the image of the filament burning up.
In the FirstLook review of the Logitech DiNovo keyboard, we showed why this new unit is coveted by those who love all things shiny. In this report, we'll give our impressions after using the DiNovo for ten days.
The DiNovo keyboard may be stored vertically when not in use. We liked having more desk space when weren't using the keyboard. The stand doubles as a charging base. The keyboard and base self-align. It only takes about 5 minutes of charge time to juice the keyboard for a full day's usage. There is no need to worry about running out of batteries or having to charge it every day. A full charge will last a month.
The Bluetooth transmitter may be plugged into any available USB port. The Apple Cinema Display has a few ports in the back... perfect for this application.
The DiNovo is really designed to work in a Windows environment. All of the drivers and programmable keys are optimized for Windows. However, we wanted to see how well it would work with OSX out of the box. We are happy to report that the DiNovo keyboard worked without a hitch.
The two coolest features of this keyboard are definitely the sliding volume controller and the cursor/scroller pad. The inside of the circle functions like any other touchpad. The edge of the circle behaves like a scroll wheel. It tooks us a little while to get used to the sensitivity, but we really like it now that we are used to it.
Our only wish is to be able to map the extra programmable keys on the left to something useful under OSX. A few of us have tried the keyboard these past ten days. For some reason, we all have the same problem of hitting the CapsLock key more than usual...we are not sure why. We will have an InTheWild update after using it for a few months. BTW, the first reader to show us a way of successfully programming the unused keys on this unit for OSX, we'll send you something from our pile of give-away goodies! - Wan Chi Lau
Since we travel a lot as part of our job, we are constantly looking for the perfect business carry-on luggage. One case that came to our attention is the Evolution Rolling Deluxe from Pacific Design. Many readers may know Pacific Design from our review of their fun and protective iPod cases, but may also remember them from our review of their Nucleus laptop case .
This Evolution Rolling Deluxe case is definitely in the running for the honors of the perfect road warrior carry-on. Like a lot of cases, it is tough, has soft comfortable handles, and have quiet smooth-rolling wheels. There are also reinforced protection and corner bumpers everywhere.
The front compartment has the zipper front panels for the usual pens, PDA, and other small items. The case also has a separate compartment for files, notebooks, and other paper or flat documents. It can even accommodate a thin laptop.
The main compartment can carry enough gear for a three day business trip. Unlike other carry-on cases, the computer pocket is part of the main compartment. This setup provides a lot of protection for the laptop, but may be a hassle in use at the airport security line... we'll see when it take it on the road for the FirstUse review this week. Look for the update in the next TravelTech report. - Wan Chi Lau
Everyone knows Jay Leno is a car nut. Now you can take a look inside Jay's garage and see all of the "toys" Jay has in his garage!
The RainyDayGarage guys all want to apply for jobs there... who wouldn't?
The folks in the RainyDayKitchen informed the editorial staff that it was "Walentine Wednesday" as they presented us with some amazingly delicious hand-made candied orange peel hand-dipped in chocolate. We knew something was up since we were banned from the kitchen all morning long. It's nice working with girls :-)
And yes, we know that it's Valentine's Day...we have a special trip planned for this weekend! - Wan Chi Lau
Flying a remote-controlled (RC) helicopter indoors either require a lot of room or a tiny helicopter. If you don't live in a loft, then what you may want is the MicroMosquito RC Helicopter we got in house last Wednesday. This RC chopper is very very small... about 6.5" in diameter and 9" total in length.
The entire package comes complete with a MicroMosquito helicopter, a RC controller, and the charging base. To get things going, we needed a 9V battery for the RC controller and six C size battery to power the charging base.
In the right photo, you can see the power switch, the battery, and the front LEDs. In the left photo, the rear rotor and central rotor gears can be seen. Click on any of the images to get a closer look.
The controller is pretty simple to use. Unlike single rotor designs, the difference in rotation speed of the counter-rotating rotors will cause left/right movement. The rotation of the rear propeller will direct the helicopter to move forward or back. The right joystick controls these functions. The left joystick controls the power to the rotors, thus controls the vertical lift of the MicroMosquito.
The MicroMosquito must be charged using the charging platform. The platform can house six C size battery for portable charging. It also has a socket to allow the use of an AC power adapter (not included). The AC adapter need to output 7.5V at around 400mA.
Since we had a Tekkeon myPowerAll battery, we decided to use that to power the base to charge the MicroMosquito. We have found the Tekkeon to be excellent for a lot of different tasks... especially with the ability to select different tips and voltages.
The MicroMosquito is now ready for charging. We are not sure how long that will take, but once it is fueled up we will take it for a spin. In the next installment of this series, we'll show some pics and videos of our attempts to fly the MicroMosquito around in our editor's office. We have assured him that nothing "bad" will happen :-)- Wan Chi Lau
For all of the readers who have been asking about and patiently waiting for our review of the Timex TX, your wait is almost over! We got our hands on the TX yesterday. The "WOW" factor of this watch is undeniable. Everyone we showed it to was amazed at the quality and styling. This is DEFINITELY NOT your father's Timex.
In a brief interview with Mr. Doscher, Brand Director at Timex, we got a peek at this new direction for Timex:
RDM: Why this new direction for Timex?
This is the first time that Timex has ventured into the development of a new watch line in the moderate price category, incorporating elements of luxury watches (sapphire crystals, screw down crowns, textured dials, etc, 100m water resistance, etc).
RDM: How long had this been in the making?
Timex Group developed and refined the technology and design for TX over the course of a five year period.
RDM: What drove the design decisions?
The design decisions are driven by the vision to instill as many aspects of luxury level watches as possible. At the same time we wanted to offer something new in terms of styling and positioning of the hands (ie retrograde displays).
RDM: For our female audience...will there be one designed for them in the future?
Yes, we are planning on introducing a very attractive collection of ladies styles based on our current offering at the Basel Watch Fair.
RainyDayMagazine will have more of this interview over the course of the reviews. We hope to bring you more insights to the internals of the TX...especially on the technology behind the multiple independent motors driving all of the different functions!
We'll also be spending time over the next few weeks getting familiar with the features of the TX. The indepth look at this beauty will start at the latter part of the month. Until then, click on the images and feast your eyes on this gorgeous timepiece from our FirstLook photo shoot yesterday. - Wan Chi Lau
A few of the readers of PPBB pointed us to this video of a scale model of a Ferrari built from scratch. The amazing part is the model had a WORKING flat 12 engine that can actually produce the distinctive "Ferrari music!" This DIY project took about 20,000 hours spread over a span of 15 years... definitely one of the more advanced RainyDayProjects. - Wan Chi Lau
We here at RainyDayMagazine are saddened by the sudden passing of Anna Nicole Smith. We have always loved her great cheekbones and soft, abundant curves. We have also enjoyed following her outrageous exploits over the years.
Some may think Anna to not be the sharpest tool in the shed. However, Anna did manage to leverage all the opportunities that came her way and elevated herself from obscurity to an international celebrity...how many of us have the will to do the same?
Yes, this is the only copy we have and no, we are not giving it away as a prize. - Wan Chi Lau
Charging a battery is a fairly technical process. Not all battery chargers are created equal. When the RainyDayGarage folks went looking for a car battery charger, they headed to Clore Automotive, the same maker of JNC Air.
The first things we noticed about this charger were its size and weight wer both much smaller and lighter than we had expected. One reason is the technology the Pro-Logix charger is based on does not use the traditional transformer design to step down the 120V AC to 12V DC. The RainyDayGarage guys will have more details on the Pro-Logix battery charger when they have had a chance to play with it some. - Wan Chi Lau
A few readers were at CES and saw some Sony monitors which they thought would be a perfect complement to the Logitech DiNovo keyboard from yesterday.
These ultra-thin Sony displays are based on Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology. One of the benefits of OLED over conventional LCD is that OLED, as the acronym implies, emits light. Thus eliminating the need for backlighting. The circuitry for the backlighting is the main contributing factor to the thickness of LCD panels. Oh...the 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio of OLED doesn't hurt the picture quality neither! - Wan Chi Lau
While the Sony OLED may "WOW" us, they won't be ready for another few years. If you want to be "WOWed" and have some fun, the MicroMosquito may be just the thing.
Like the other radio-controlled (RC) helicopters (BladeRunner, DraganFlyer) we have reviewed in the past, the MicroMosquito is perfect for those with little to no RC experience. The counter-rotating blades makes the unit easy to fly and the small size makes it perfect for indoor flying. We know what we'll be doing the rest of the day... videos to follow :-) - Wan Chi Lau
We also have news of something kind of different coming in the Spring. This interesting RC flyer called Dragonfly is from Flytech. Instead of rotating blades, it has actual flapping wings!
We don't know much more about it at the moment, but we are guessing it has to be pretty light. The physics of this flyer must have been pretty interesting to work out. We are looking forward to getting some hands-on time and telling you more about this in a few months! - Wan Chi Lau
One can never be too rich or too thin...apparently, this applies to keyboard design also. The Logitech DiNovo keyboard has a rich glossy black surface and a super-thin profile.
The DiNovo also does not need cables to connect to a computer. It communicates via Bluetooth. If your computer is not yet Bluetooth capable, Logitech includes a USB transmitter with the unit.
The keyboard stand doubles as a charging unit. There is also a cleaning cloth to keep those pesky fingerprints from marring the glossy finish.
There are a lot of interesting innovative features incorporated into this keyboard. We are excited to try them and will tell you more about how well they work in the coming weeks.
BTW, we don't agree with the "never too thin or too rich" philosophy, as we love curves and we really don't care that much about money...and no, we are not talking about keyboards :-) - Wan Chi Lau
There are a lot of computers here at RainyDayMagazine. Getting some of them up and running was not always easy. Not a single one has been as easy as the setup for our recently purchased iMac. Total time between unpacking and getting on the internet: literally less than 10 minutes.
The iMac came in three pieces: keyboard, mouse,screen. The main CPU is incorporated into the flat panel LCD display screen. The OSX operating system and software applications (iLife, email, web browser, etc...) were all preloaded.
The setup consisted of plugging in the main AC power cord, the keyboard, and the mouse, to the rear of the screen. The power button is on the lower left corner in the back. At this point we are about three minutes into the setup.
There is a wireless network here at RainyDayMagazine. The iMac has wireless networking built-in and had no problem connecting to it. Once connected, the OS determined there were some Apple updates available and asked if we would like to install them...which took about another five minutes.
The system had to be rebooted because of there was also a firmware upgrade as part of the update. We followed the on screen instructions and rebooted the system. When everything came back up, we were greeted with this final dialog telling us that everything was "ready to go"...total elapsed time: 10 minutes; problems: none! - Wan Chi Lau
We don't remember the game, but we do remember watching this Apple commercial. No matter how many times we watch this ad, we never seem to get tire of it :-) - Wan Chi Lau
Before the guys from the RainyDayGarage can sit down to watch the game, they had to get the Boxster up to spec for the annual inspection. Fortunately, the only thing the Boxster needed were some new wiper blades and a new bulb for the license plate well.
A quick check of the Bentley Boxster manual showed this was going to be a quick and simple job. Loosening the two screws (red arrows) gave access to the light assembly.
There is a rubber housing around the socket. Peeling the rubber housing revealed the bulb. A gentle pull and the burnt-out bulb was out of the clamp.
The replacement bulbs cost $3 from the local Lappen store. Getting a new inspection sticker without any hassles...priceless. The entire job took about 15 minutes...leaving plenty of time for everyone to get settled in for the pre-game show! - Wan Chi Lau
The temperature outside today is a bit on the chilly side and the cars had a light coat of ice from the rain storm last night. However, it does not compare to the photos sent in by Greg N. The place is Versoix, a town close to Geneva City in Switzerland.
Our first thought was...should have had a car cover. However, in this case, it would have been frozen under two inches of ice:-) - Wan Chi Lau
We got some new Macs a few weeks ago. One of the reasons we got the Macs is so we can use iChatAV for video conferencing. Another reason was Apple had a deal where if we purchased a machine, they would give us a free printer...so on impulse we bought two :-) The only catch was we would have to file a rebate for each printer purchased.
Normally, we would pass on such things because they are mostly not worth the effort. However, the math whizzes at the office convinced us that the deal was too good to pass up.
To qualify for the rebates, we had to read and follow the instructions precisely. The rebate directions clearly states the labels must include the cardboard. I guess this makes it harder to fake a purchase. It probably makes it a lot harder to return these computers or printers :-)
All in all, it was not a lot of work (about 30 minutes) to save a few hundred bucks. When you do the math, it averaged out to be around $400/hr...which is good money no matter how you look at it! The only tip we have for filing rebates is to follow the directions EXACTLY and to do it PROMPTLY. Remember, the manufacturers are count on you to not bother once you get everything home. - Wan Chi Lau
Speaking of "Free Stuff", we received more than 1200 entries from readers hoping to win the Neuros MPEG-4 recorder by telling us they know "What Justin is Making." Many of you figured it out from the collection of parts. Tony C (Indigo68) knew Justin was making a "Home Theater PC" because of the Silverstone case. Tony was also lucky enough to be picked by Eliot as the winner of this little contest!
If you didn't win in January...don't fret. There is always February! We weren't quite sure what the puzzler was going to be until our UPS guy dropped off this REALLY cool item today. Folks here were amazed when it was "unboxed." Yes...it is a keyboard, but it is the best looking keyboard we have ever seen. We'll have a full review once we have it set up.
In the meantime, if you know who makes this beauty, send us the link to the product page in an email with the subject line "This beauty is made by...<name of the company> " We are not sure what the prize is yet, but we have all of February to find something fun :-) - Wan Chi Lau
For those of you looking for low price drives for your own RAID project, Micro Center is have a sale until 2/4 on 120GB and 400GB drives. This is a NO REBATE deal!
You can order them online or go to a local MicroCenter and purchase them there. Note that you will need to print out the coupons if you are planning on getting them at the store...they won't have any of these coupons there. - Wan Chi Lau