and Series Three are now available. The kids here have not had a chance to play with them yet, but we don't expect too much work out of our interns on Fridays... so there is a good chance we'll get some feedback on these new cubes today. - Wan Chi Lau
Tops are amazing toys. They are simple, entertaining, and have remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years...until now.
Grand Illusions, the same folks who sell the Metal Pen, also has this "perpetual top" in their toy collection. The top is powered by batteries. Just a little spin will get it going. The top lights up in different colors when spinning and will keep spinning... until something stops it. - Wan Chi Lau
We heard about the tree lighting event in Roslindale Square just as we were heading out to run some errands. Since it was on the way, we thought we would swing by to snap some pics of the start of the holiday season :-)
It turned out to be a very pleasant little gathering. The village green was alive with music and carolling. The Mayor of Boston was there. There were kids running around, making tree ornaments, or just waiting for Santa to show up.
We were helping ourselves to some cookies and hot chocolate when a fire engine came howling down Cummins Highway. Most of the kids knew right away it was Santa and ran to be the first in line to sit on his lap to tell him what they wanted for Christmas... others were just too tuckered out to care :-)
iPlayMusic promises to teach you guitar and let you sing with your kids. We here at RainyDayMagazine wanted to find someone who had a guitar AND kids to check it out. Jeremy, user interface expert and guitar playing reviewer, fit the bill.
According to Jeremy, this software is a good example of what can be accomplished when you have good video content and use the Mac’s quicktime toolbox. Go check out his full review here and see if it could help you and your family make beautiful music together!
Last weekend we took in the beautiful Fall weather with a walk around Walden Pond. We wanted to get back in time for the giant PumpkinFest in Boston, but we ended up bouncing around Concord instead.
Some of the folks in the office were disappointed that we were not on hand to witness the record pumpkin lighting event in Boston, so were determined to find something similar. What they came up with was a ride on the Great Pumpkin Express at Lookout Farm in South Natick, MA.
The first "train" ride starts at 6PM. We got there around 7PM. The crowd was pretty light and we got on the train without having to wait in line. Good thing too since it was about 40º out.
There are anywhere from 3000 to 5000 pumpkins on display at any given time. Click on any of the images to get a closer look. The crew at Lookout Farm is constantly carving new ones. It takes about 15 people about 90 minutes to light all the pumpkins every night.
Many of the amazingly carved pumpkins are made by artists from around the country. We saw a wide variety of themes and styles...some scary, some funny, all were beautifully done. The Great Pumpkin Express was quite a treat and got everyone here in the right frame of mind for Halloween!
The Great Pumpkin Express will run until Halloween (Tuesday). There are events going on at the Outlook Farm all year around. Check their calendar if you are looking from something fun to do for the whole family.
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!
Sarah, our RainyDayLA intern, has created a little something with her friend Chase. We are not sure exactly what it is...but we are old.
Interns...you just never know what they are up to, but one thing is for certain, they are having more fun than we ever did when we were growing up :-)
Play...we do a LOT of that here at the RainyDayMagazine office. Mostly we play with gadgets, but sometimes we get a chance to play with actual toys :-)
These little creatures have been in the office since the beginning of the Summer. We had been so busy playing with the other stuff that we didn't get around to them until today. If you are the first to tell us how to play with these things...we'll make sure you get a reward for your efforts. Send your answer to us with today's Napster tune as the subject line.
Play time is more fun when you can get the entire family involved. iPlayMusic's PlayMusicTogether software is designed to encourage the family to learn how to play the guitar.
The software takes advantage of the Apple's GarageBand and iTunes software for learning, recording, and sharing your performances with friends and family.
One simple way to share the music is with the B-Bop from Radica's GirlTech line. The B-Bop can record and playback audio from any source.
Just plug the B-Bop into the headphone jack of an iPod, CD, or MP3 player, push the "Play" button, and it'll record up to 30 minutes of audio. Come to think of it, this gadget is a pretty handy device for grabbing audio from a lot of sources :-)
The new crop of Tech Toys just came to the RainyDayMagazine office today. All work grinded to a halt as folks gathered around the UPS guy (btw...his nickname here is Santa Bob) to see what was hot at ToyFair 2006... it is not like we don't already HAVE enough diversions in our office.
The instant hit of the bunch at the office was a package from Radica containing a couple of cubes. For those who were caught up in the Tamagotchi craze, you may want to be a little careful with these cubes.
Each Radica Cube World package contains two different cubes. There are currently four different ones available. Each Cube contains a stick character with a distinct "personality".
The stick figures can move around from one Cube to the other, give each other "High Fives", and even stick fight :-) We have more of these Cube on the way to the RainyDayMagazine office. We are going to build a little Cube World. We'll have videos of the different interactions in a few days. In the meantime, go check out our FirstLook here.
We want to welcome two of our newest product reviewers... Liam and Hayley! Both Liam and Hayley live down in Bermuda. Some kids have it SO tough :-) Hayley is a 13 year old triathlete. Hayley routinely finishes first or second in her category Sponsors, are you listening???
She will be helping us field test triathalon related (running, biking, swimming, training) gear for the RainyDaySports and Unaccompanied Minor sections.
Liam is an eight year old gadget wiz and will be helping us out with his thoughts on gear for kids. He will be taking his own digital pics of the products he will be reviewing.
Laser Chess was created by Mike Duppong back in the late 80s, and you can find lots of software versions (regular, 3D, Advanced) of the it on the web. However, what actually wowed us was that a brazilian student named Alexandre Van de Sande actually made a actual working laser version of the game! The dry ice effect definitely made it really cool looking. Thanks goes to our reader Mark T. for the tip...we'll be sending you something fun in the mail :-)
We didn't make anything as cool as Laser Chess, but we did set up the Lazer Tripwire we told you about a few days ago.
The Wild Planet Lazer Tripwire works quite well and it's a lot of fun. It will make a perfect gift for the junior spy-in-training or the grown-up spy-wanna-be on your list this holiday season. Go check out the FirstUse videos here.
Some of us used to string fishing lines around our room with little bells attached so no one can sneak up and surprise us from behind. Technology have advanced some since when we were 8 years old... but the principles are still the same: put up a detector around a perimeter, sound an alarm if anyone enters, and launch the rubber band defensive measure when necessary.
Wild Planet's Lazer Tripwire is the perfect device for junior spies (and some older cubical warriors) who need to protect an area from the curious.
Eventhough most electronics are fairly inexpensive, good gear are still not cheap. It is in the intersection of these two segments that KidzGear saw potential for a niche...adult gadget made especially for kids.
They envisioned a line of gear that are functional, durable, but engineered with the features, dimensions, and price points that make sense for younger users and the parents that must actually pay for them. Go check out these KidzGear headphones here.
We here at RainyDayMagazine are HUGE fans of the CBS TV show CSI. In the show, they always have some really cool centrifuge, DNA sequencer, or HPLC chromatography machine that they use to help with their sample analysis.
At RainyDayMagazine's new Forensics Lab (...no we don't really have one), we came into the possession of the latest version of the QX series of Digital Microscopes, the QX5. Go check it out here!
Dragonflies are probably one of the coolest flying insects on the planet. They can hover, fly forward, backwards, and maneuver in ways unimaginable for fixed wing aircrafts.
The Draganflyer is probably one of the coolest helicopter on the planet. Based on the company's video, a good pilot should be able to land it on someone's head! Besides, how could we resist a product with a feature called "Thermal Intelligence" ???
We were not sure what "Thermal Intelligence" was at first. We thought it had something to do with the heat seeking missiles option that we had decided not to purchase. However, it turned out "TI" was a very cool feature of the Draganflyer. With TI enabled, the Draganflyer was capable of "self leveling " when flown outside. It worked by detecting the heat difference between the sky and the ground... very intelligent, thermally speaking!!!
We got an amazing toy delivered to the RainyDayMagazine office yesterday... which pretty much guaranteed that our weekend will be sucked up playing with it.
We'll have more to tell you all about in a few days...after we have stop flying it into the ceiling and other obstacles that we have around the office.
Go check out the "First Look" review of the BladeRunner here. One thing is for sure, the cat is nervous :-)
NASA's Hubble Telescope site has some cool Rainy Day Projects... like making your own Hubble Telescope model :-)
They have step by step instructions WITH the .pdf of decals you can print on your printer. How fun is that!
After you're done... send them a picture and they'll post it on the NASA site! [More...]
Hydrogen may be the fuel fo the future for our cars, but Estes has produced a model rocket that actually generates hydrogen fuel from water, meaning all you do is put tap water in the rocket's generator and hydrogen fuel is produced.
The reaction chamber electrolyze the water in fuel for a launch that sends your rocket up to 250 feet in the air. Sounds a lot more dangerous than the solid propellants of the past...doesn't it? But hey...if it wasn't safe, would they be able to sell it :-) [More...]
Some of us grew up making stuff with Tinker Toys, some with Legos... now there is Zome. With Zome, you can make cool structures, have fun with bubbles, or learn quite a bit about 3 D geometry!
You don't have to care about spheroid carbon molecules, double helix, or any of the structural principles of geodesic to have tons of fun with Zome... but your geeky uncle might :-) So get yourself (or him) a couple of kits for those Rainy Days and make something! [More...]
Want to bring a keyboard with you on vacation but just can't seem to find the room? Next time, consider a Yamano Hand Roll 61 key piano.
It has a built in speaker and connectors for headphones. The only down side is you can't put it on your lap...it needs a flat surface :-)
Just because you are under age doesn't mean you should have lame things to do. In this section, we'll try to list some of the more obscure things for you to do to spend your time. If you have any suggestions... send us a link.
Thanks goes to PopGadgets for this little bit...
There are some good stuff on the site for girls interested in tech. [More...]
So what if you are not old enough to drive?
If you live around Boston/Braintree, you still get to rev it up at F1 Boston. [More...]
The Powers of Ten, change your perspective and see the world in a different level...