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Feb 16-17,2008(WeekendEdition)

Judging from the emails, many of you are just as interested in the OXO Luau as with the DemiGlow.  We were going to post the Luau's FirstLook on Monday, but thought we would post it this weekend since there were so many questions.

The Luau rechargeable LED lantern package has three pieces: a lamp, a circular charger, and an AC wall adapter.  A dimmer is cleverly integrated into the bottom of the lamp.  The brightness of the lamp may be controlled by rotating the entire base.

The shape of the Luau's charger is circular.  This design ensures the proper placement of the lamp on the charger and eliminates the need to orient the contacts.  The bottom of the charger has a channel to allow the wire to fit into the base so everything lays flat on the floor or table. 

The charging base glows green when the lamp is removed and orange when charging.  Like all Candela lamps, if charged, the unit automatically turns on when removed from the charging base. 

We really like the execution of this Luau rechargeable LED lantern.  It is great looking, surprisingly light, comfortable to hold, and is rated to last for about 6 to 10 hours on a charge.  This Luau will be a nice lighting companion whether for sitting out on the patio or on walks along the beach at dusk.  Folks here will have more comments once they have taken it out for a stroll.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 15,2008(FlameFreeFriday)

A week or so ago we mentioned that Candela has been sold by Vessel to OXO.  OXO has extended the line with the introduction of a few new lamps based on the Candela technology. 

Today we will be taking a FirstLook at the DemiGlow.  The DemiGlow is based on the same recharging mechanism as the original Candela, but updated with an energy efficient LED instead of an incandescent bulb.

These smaller DemiGlow lamps are sized to be used in place of the normal votive candles.  The obvious advantage with the Candela lamp is the safety aspects of a contactless charger and the flameless light.  The use of an LED now makes the DemiGlow more reliable.  A separate battery pack will allow the unit to be easily serviced when it needs to be replaced.

The battery packs were shipped separate from the lamps, but ssembly was very simple.  The lamp module is released from the shade with a twist of the base.  The +/- orientation is clearly marked on the battery and the holder.

The batteries all have a small charge in them.  This was useful for testing whether the lamp and battery were properly assembled.  The recommendation is to let the battery fully discharge then recharge it overnight. 

In the photo, one of the unit already appears dimmer than the others.  We'll let them all discharge fully overnight before the first charge. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 14,2008(TravelTechThursday)

RainyDayMagazine readers are well aware of our penchant for Tom Bihn gear.  Someone in an elevator once noticed we had a Tom Bihn case and said they had a few Bihn bags.  His toughest problem was coming up with new reasons for continually purchasing the latest TB creations.  We know EXACTLY how he feels :-)

The newest in the Tom Bihn line is the Western Flyer.  It is designed to be a blend of a business case and an overnight bag.  Empty, it is a little thicker than the Zephyr briefcase, but much thinner than the Aeronaut.

If you take a lot of overnight trips but only want to travel with one bag, this Western Flyer was designed for you.  The bag has plenty of room for the typical stuff (a laptop, some files, dress shirt, gadgets, etc...) you will likely pack for a short trip.

The Western Flyer has two compartments, both of which can open flat for easy packing of shirts and pants.  There are also internal zippered compartments for separating out smaller travel items.

To make sure this bag is as easy to use as it is to pack, there are the usual easy access front pockets, rain resistant heavy duty zippers, convenient pulls, and multiple carrying options.  We'll let you know how well these features perform when we get this Western Flyer out on it first trip! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 13,2008(WowUsWednesday)

The following was an email sent to us by a reader.  The works were supposedly entries for an art contest at the Hirshhorn Modern Art Gallery. The rule was that the artist could use only one sheet of paper. 

We could not find any mention of it on the Hirshhorn site, but we thought readers would enjoy them anyway.  A bit later, our intrepid contributing editor/researcher discovered they were all the work of one Peter Callesnen ...still cool nonetheless :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 12,2008(ThinkerToysTuesday)

Last Friday we mentioned we got the ThinkBlocks in house.  Over the weekend, we started getting emails asking what we thought of them.  ThinkBlocks are something different.  You can feel it as soon as you pick one up.  Here is our FirstLook at the blocks themselves.

The set came assembled as you see above.  The packaging is very compact and elegantly designed.  At the bottom of the package are extra blank tiles and a dry-erase pen.  When one is done playing with them, all of the pieces may be easily replaced back in the box or just tossed into it... depending on your personality :-)

The blocks come in three sizes: large, medium, small.   The large and medium sized blocks have an opening on one side.  They also have a reflective surface on one of their faces.  The smaller sizes blocks can be nested within the larger ones.  All the blocks have some magnectic surfaces, enabling them to adhere to each other. 

These features are purposeful at many levels.  They may be used to demonstrate concepts, to give different views and perspectives, or to stimulate discussions.  We'll explore all of them as we play with the blocks in the coming months. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 11,2008(MoreHugoMonday)

The final phases of building the Hugo Newtonian telescope are putting together the tripod and attaching the tube to the base.  Both procedures were very straight forward and can be done without tools.

The legs of the tripod came preassembled.  There are a lot of screws to this step and we found it best to lay everything out on the floor before starting the assembly process.

The legs of the tripod are made of aluminium.  They are braced by a triangular plate which attaches to an anchor, via wing nuts, at each of the legs.  The tripod head is then secured to the legs to form a stable assembly.

At this point, the tripod assembly is almost complete.  There are two adjustment knobs which must be attached.  They allow for fine control of the orientation of the telescope when tracking and observing.  To make the scope easy to orient, a counter weight is attached to balance the tube during use. 

Once the tripod had been assembled, the telecope tube may be mounted on the base.  The mounting plate mates the tripod and the telescope tube.  When securely attached, the Hugo telescope assembly is complete. 

Next article will be on calibrating the Hugo and getting it ready for use.  We are all eager to see how this scope will perform once it is all set up. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


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