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October 31, 2011- First Snow...
The Nor'easter made quite a mess over the weekend. Many are still feeling its effects today. Fortunately for Boston, the storm only dropped a few inches of the heavy white stuff. Even so, limbs and branches were down everywhere. We went for a hike around the Arnorld Arboretum to see how the trees there fared.
The Arnold Arboretum is 250 acres of managed greenery in the city of Boston. The responsibility of maintaining the grounds is shared by Harvard University and the City of Boston. We got there around 10AM and most of the snow were already off the leaves. For the most part, the trees... [more] - First Snow
October 28, 2011- First Frost...
Bostonians woke up to frost on their windows and black ice on the ground today. The sheen will not last long, but it is a clear sign that it is time to get out the fleece. Last week, we took advantage of the one warm day and swapped out the Summer tires on the Boxster for its Winter shoes. We didn't install the hard top because we still have hope that we will get a chance to put the convertible top down a few more times before things get too cold. New England weather...you never know :-)
Most of the slippery stuff should be gone in a few hours. However, a Nor'easter is making its way toward Boston. The word on the street is that... [more] - First Frost
October 27, 2011- Bloomberg Apps...
Many people like the iPad because it is light and mobile. The iPad is perfect for web-surfing on the couch, quick email checks, and other such activities. However, if you are like us, when you are sitting at the desk grinding away at some task, the iPad often sits idle. There is no reason for that. There are lots of great streaming content apps available for the iPad. Get a good iPad stand like the InnoPocket HexaPose and use it as a TV. It is a great way to stay on top of breaking news while you work. One of the latest in streaming news apps is BloombergTV.
BloombergTV is a 24-hour global business & financial news channel which pulls stories from its various domestic and international news sources (146 bureaus in 72 countries) and packages them for its subscribers. Financial folks pay big money for the feed so that they can get breaking stories and... [more] - Bloomberg Financial Apps
October 26, 2011- SodaStream Fizz...
We stopped buying pre-made sodas and started using the Soda Stream machines to make our fizzy drinks way back when. It was not long before we each developed our own personal favorite level of carbonation for our sodas. The amount of carbonation would not only be different for each individual, it would also be different for diffent flavors. Being able to reliably replicate a carbonation level meant counting the number and duration of our presses. When SodaStream introduced the Fizz with the carbonation-level indicator, we were eager to check it out. It would put an end to the "was it four or five presses I did before you interrupted me" dialog in the RainyDayKitchen. Well mostly.
After some side-by-side comparison of the Fizz with our other soda makers, we all agreed that we like the new unit. It is compact, light weight, and great looking. Getting the bottle on and off the unit is quick and simple. Moving the gas-release mechanism to the front is a nice change and... [more] - SodaStream Fizz FirstUse
October 25, 2011- Installing ofxKinect...
Playing with the Kinect hacks are a lot of fun. Getting the hacks to work on the Mac, not so much. OK, not AS much. However, we REALLY REALLY wanted to see the Kinect running on OS X. So we banged our heads until we figured it out. Once we got things to work, we realized the instructions were actually quite accurate. They just needed a few clarifying steps. Hopefully, by pointing out where we went astray, we can help keep those of you interested in venturing down the same path from wandering around.
Before downloading any of the hacks and demos, the first item of business is to install some software development tools. Fortunately for Mac users, the tools are supplied by Apple and they are completely FREE. The latest version of these free tools is Xcode 4. Xcode 4 is a fully integrated (editor, compiler, debugger) software development environment and is specifically for creating software for Apple devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad). It is the version that we used for... [more] - Installing ofxKinect for OSX
October 24, 2011- Kinect Hacks for OSX...
We got a Microsoft Kinect 360 camera through Craigslist back in April. The main reason we got it was because the cool Kinect-based hacks, which had been Linux and Windows only, have (finally!) been ported to OS X. Kinect is at the forefront of one of the more exciting user-interface directions which has come along in a while.
What can be done with the Kinect? How about manipulating things in three dimensions? A great example is demonstrated by Memo Akten by his 3D drawing and manipulation hack. It is not a stretch to see that "drawing" in 3D is no different than... [more] - Kinect Hacks for OSX
October 21, 2011- Unpacking an LCD TV...
One would think getting a TV out of the box would be no big thing, but a large screen LCD TV is kind of unwieldy. While not very heavy, thethe LCD TV panel is wide and thin. How do you get it out without either throwing out your back or risk dropping the TV? The last thing you want to do is to crack the screen getting it out of the box!
We could cut open the box, but what if there is something wrong with the TV and we had to ship it back? We could wait until there were more people around to help, but that would require patience. After waiting all day for... [more] - Unpacking an LCD TV
October 20, 2011- The Cult of LEGO...
John Baichtal is a contributor to MAKE magazine (awesome for their articles on DIYs, hacks, and other such things) and Wired's GeekDad blog. John has written for legendary tabletop gaming magazines Dragon and Dungeon, as well as for Kobold Quarterly and 2600: The Hacker Quarterly. Joe Meno is the founder of BrickJournal, a print and online LEGO fan magazine. He has organized and run LEGO fan events, acted as an advisor on LEGO projects, and helped design LEGO sets. Together, these two have assembled book which gave us a fascinating look at those obsessed with LEGOs.
Known affectionately as Adult Fans of LEGO, or AFOLs, these folks love those colorful plastic bricks so much that their fascination borders on cultish adulation. Tens of thousands of AFOLs attend conventions to meet with like-minded builders, and they spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars creating replicas (pianos, Yankee Stadium, etc...), scenes, and sculptures with the colorful plastic bricks. The creations are... [more] - The Cult of LEGO
October 19, 2011- Jura Z7 Grinder Cleaning...
Yesterday we posted the first part of the teardown of our Jura Z7 coffee machine. Today, we will show how to take apart the grinder, clean it, and put it back together. The steps were pretty simple, but we have a few observations and tips which may make it easier for those interested in putting thier own things back together.
The grinder is calibrated by technicians at the factory. Since we have no idea of how to do that, the first tip is to MARK the alignment of the grinder pieces before taking anything apart. Once you are certain that you can realign the pieces to their former positions, then have at it. The top of the grinder is held in place by three tabs. Lifting the tabs will free the plastic chute from the... [more] - Jura Z7 Grinder Cleaning
October 18, 2011- Jura Z7 Grinder Teardown...
The Jura Z7 coffer maker has been in daily use since last October. While we loved our Z5, the newer Z7 unit is a lot quieter both in its grinding and coffee-making operations. It also has a lot of subtle improvements which make it more of a pleasure to use. Recently, someone (who shall remain nameless) poured water into the coffee grinder instead of the water tank, causing the grinder to stop working (in the nameless person's defense, it was because the nameless person hadn't had any coffee yet). Actually, the grinder still spun, but no coffee was coming out. We suspected that things were all gummed up inside. Blowing air into the grinder did not have any affect. A teardown to see what was going on would seem to be our only option. OK, it probably was NOT the only option, but it was the one that we could not pass up!!!
Some owners may be squeemish about possibly "bricking" their $3000 coffee maker and would have sent it back to Jura for them to deal with the problem. Readers of this magazine know that that is not how we roll. We cleared off a work surface, got out the tools, and ripped (gently) right into the guts of the unit. A word of caution, this teardown is fairly complex. We are not going to post every single step, but only the most relevant ones. You know your own skill level, so... [more] - Jura Z7 Grinder Teardown
October 17, 2011- IKEA Jansjo LED Lamp...
We love IKEA. We love their whole approach to doing business. We love going to their stores. We love their products. We love their prices. We even love eating there. A few years ago, we did a brief article on a solar-powered LED lamp we found at IKEA. The lamp is still in use, but the power doesn't last long enough for our needs. This weekend, while strolling through IKEA, we came upon an LED lamp that may be exactly what we have been searching for: bright, configurable, inexpensive.
The lamp is the Jansjo, and comes in a few different colors. There is even a stainless steel version. Like all IKEA products, the lamp is flat-packed and some assembly is required. The process is simple and required no more than a few minutes to put together. The steps are... [more] - IKEA Jansjo LED Lamp
October 14, 2011- iOS 5's Newsstand...
iOS 5.0 for the iPhone and iPad came out on Wednesday. Like everyone else on the planet, we spent the next few days trying to upgrade our iDevices to this latest version. The simultaneous global demand brought Apple's servers to its knees. Some people were able to upgrade successfully, but most users encountered the dreaded "Error 3200." Lots of solutions and workarounds popped up on the Net, but they were basically worthless as the problem was on Apple's end. Things settled down after a few days, we finally got our devices upgraded, and now we can take a closer look at the new features. Was the all fuss and effort worth it?
Well, the upgrade is free. That makes it pretty hard to beat. Apple's claim is there are over 200 new features to the OS and to many of the apps. As with any upgrade, not all of the features will be important to everyone. Some will love the addition of the iMessage app which will let you text for free to other iPhone users. However, if you are WhatsApp users like us, you will... [more] - iOS5's Newsstand
October 13, 2011- Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011)
Dennis Ritchie passed away yesterday. He was nowhere as famous as Steve Jobs, but his influence in the tech world was perhaps even greater. Few people outside of the programming world has may have heard of Dennis Ritchie, but anyone who has taken a C-programming course probably has the book he co-wrote with Brian Kernighan. The C Programming Language, commonly referred to as "The K&R," is the definitive book on the subject.
Ritchie was not only the creator of the C-programming language, but was also a principle architect behind the development of the Unix operating system. The creation of C and his role in the engineering of UNIX has earned him a place as one of the most important pioneers of modern computing. Both UNIX and C is used everywhere today. A variant of both are in use in every Apple product. So even though you may not have heard of Dennis Ritchie, your life is richer because of his contributions. Rest in peace. [Permalink] - Dennis Ritchie
October 12, 2011- Boxster Top Repair...
Plastic rear windows were standard equipment on Porsche Boxsters until 2003. The window was made of plastic because it needed to fold in half to fit into the storage space. It was eventually replaced with a glass version because the plastic would cloud up over time or dry out and crack.
We have always treated the convertible top of our 2000 Boxster as a consumable item and assumed that we would have to replace it every few years. Porsche replaced it once under warranty in 2002. Fortunately for us, that replacement has lasted over 9 years! Last Fall the plastic started to show clear signs of stress cracks. We began looking at replacement options last Winter knowing that we would probably have to deal with it this Spring. The prices we got from various installers were kind of insane, so we decided to... [more] - Boxster Top Repair
October 11, 2011- Paradise City Northampton
The weather this weekend could not have been more perfect for a road trip. We took full advantage of it and drove 100 miles out to Northamptom for the Paradise City Art Festival. We have been to the Marlboro PCAF a number of times and so thought we knew what to expect. We were happily mistaken.
What we found was a show that was about three times as large. As expected, the show was extremely well organized (free parking, fast moving ticket lines, etc...) and the vendors were all very... [more] - Paradise City Northampton
October 7, 2011- Paradise City Fall 2011
Normally, we head up to Maine for Columbus Day, but this year we'll be in town for the holiday weekend. Instead, we are going to take a drive out the Northampton and check out the Paradise City Arts Festival.
We have been to a few PCAFs (2004. 2006, Spring 2010, Winter 2010) over the years, but they have all been the Marlboro show. The buzz is that the Northampton one is bigger. Our friend Mark Del Guidice will be exhibiting at the show. We have not seen Mark recently and are eager to check out his new work. If you have time this weekend and are looking for something interesting to do, go check out the Paradise Arts Festival. It should be a great show! [Permalink] - Paradise City Fall 2011
October 6, 2011- Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Thank you Steve, for showing us how it is done. [Permalink] - Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
October 5, 2011- Mithril Kevlar Jacket.
When we hear "Kevlar" we immediately think "bullet-proof vest." So when we heard that a kevlar jacket had arrived at the RainyDayMagazine office, we thought "Cool! Which intern should we shoot?" Fortunately for the interns the jacket is not for that kind of protection.
Klättermusen is a Swedish company that designs and manufactures outdoor clothing and equipment for outdoor enthusiasts. Their products are often unique, definitely not the "same old same old." The company is not just unique in its approach to product design, it also put its money where its mouth is when it comes to environmental ethics. One percent of their sales is allocated for... [more] - Klättermusen Mithril KevlaJacket FirstLook
October 4, 2011- What we don't know...
Some of us have been studying Aikido for a long time. Our Aikido teacher, Gleason Sensei, is fond of telling us "...the more you learn, the more you will know how little you really understand..." To anyone who has devoted serious study to any subject, Gleason Sensei's statement will sound familiar. Interestingly enough, Sensei's statement is probably truer today than at any other time in history.Take, for example, this year's Nobel Prize for Physics.
It has been known for about a hundred years that the universe is expanding, and has been doing so for about 15 billion years (give or take a few). This knowledge has given rise to the two-part question: Will the expansion end, and if so, when? Thirteen years ago, astronomers Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess shook the foundation of the physics world with their observation that the expansion of the universe is... [more] - What we don't know
October 3, 2011- Otterbox iPhone lens case...
We are always looking for accessories which will enable us to extend what we can do with the iPhone 4. Lens attachments for the phone's 5-megapixel camera are such an accessory. Brando's inexpensive macro lens converts the iPhone into a fairly capable microscope. The Pixeet fisheye lens enables anyone to take 180º images and make immersive panoramas. These two lenses are tiny enough to bring everywhere. However, as with any optical gear, we thought they deserved a proper case and not just tossed into a backpack or jacket pocket unprotected.
Whenever we think of protecting gear, Otterbox is the first name that pops to mind. They make cases that are tough, water-proof, and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The Otterbox 1000 is the smallest one in their collection and it is the perfect size for our project. We like the clear case because it makes it easy to see what is inside. Some Otterbox cases come with... [more] - Otterbox iPhone lens case