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Nov 21,2014- Folded Steel Katana 2...

We had taken a FirstLook at one of the three folded-steel katana in July. That katana was from HanBon Sword. As we had stated at the time, for the Tameshigiri Series, we will be reviewing swords from different Chinese smiths in these ranges: $150-$350, $350-$600, $600-$1000. And to keep things interesting, we will not reveal the price of the katanas until we are done with the reviews.

Today, we are going to take a FirstLook at the second of the three katana. This one was forged by the smiths at Lyuesword, also located in Longquan China. In fact, their workshop is just "down the road" from the HanBon.

The folks at Lyuesword were a pleasure to deal with. They were friendly, responsive, and very knowledgeable. In ordering our katana, we could have specified EXACTLY what we wanted, but we opted for a combination which they recommended for the price range we had indicated. Unlike the experience with our first sword, this one from Lyuesword arrived REALLY quickly. The shipping process automatically notified us when the item was picked up by EMS. We were able to track the progress from the time it left the forge, made it way out of China, arrived in the US, and delivered to the office by USPS. In fact, the entire trip only tookl... [more] - Tameshigiri Series :Folded Steel Katana 2

 

November 18,2014- NutriBullet Repair...

No, that is not the DOD's latest "smart ordinance" disassembled on the RainyDayProject workbench. What it is is the guts of the NutriBullet blender. Those who "blend" will know that the NutriBullet is an awesome pulverizer for making all manner of drinks, spreads, and such. It is so good that, after getting it, we got rid of all the other blenders in the RainyDayKitchen. It is also something which gets used daily. So when the NutriBullet stopped working, folks started getting that "we need to get another one" look almost immediately.

The RainyDayProjects folks, on the other hand, were more level-headed and fairly certain that if they could find the problem, they could probably fix it. A blender is basically just a motor and a switch, and since heavy-duty motors (like that in the NutriBullet) rarely ever fail, the problem most likely was with the switch. Sure enough, once they had the NutriBullet guts exposed, the problem was obvious almost immediately. The fix was a little more involved, but still... [more] - NutriBullet Repair

 

November 14,2014- RhinoRamps...

The weather was nice earlier in the week, but the temperature dropped to freezing today. Knowing the cold weather was coming, the RainyDayInterns got off their butts and fixed the broken splash guard which had been dragging on the ground since the Summer. Because we know better than to get under the car with just a jack supporting it (that's just stupid), we got a pair of RhinoRamps from RhinoGear for the project. We are impressed: they're simple, but strong, durable, and useful as all get out.

RhinoRamps are molded from a durable polymer. The design of the frame allows the ramps to nest together to save space. It also gives the ramps sufficient structural strength to support a vehicle with a max gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 12,000 lbs. While this is a lot, the GVW number is, in general, not what most people think it is (hence the link to the explanation). What you need to know is that the... [more] - RhinoRamps FirstUse

 

November 5,2014- Boxster Winter Prep...

The RainyDayInterns have been putting off "winterizing" the Boxster until the very last possible moment...and who can blame them? According to the interns, with the top down and the Covercraft cover on, the convertible passes for quite the hammock! Still, Winter is coming and nobody wants to be outside in the freezing cold washing brake dust off the Summer tires. So when a 50º day appeared, they took the opportunity to swap out the Hankook Ventus Summer tires for the Firestone Winterforce snow tires, check the front and rear rotors/pads, and put on the recently repaired hardtop.

By having the RainyDayInterns do all our Winterizing/Summerizing work every year, we save a good bit on labor charges. We put those savings toward getting some new/cool tools for the RainyDayGarage, such as a good jack and a portable air pump.

A good sturdy jack makes it easy to lift the car. We have an all aluminum racing jack with a 3-ton lifting capacity. The lower profile of a "racing" jack makes it easy to get the jack under the car. A "racing" jack is designed such that... [more] - Boxster Winter Prep

 

October 27,2014- Winter Prep...

When the leaves start falling, it is a signal for the RainyDayGarden crew to go into prep mode for Winter. We have to make sure we have plenty of bird seed, put away all the grills (four by the last count), and tend to all of the plants so that the garden is ready when the first New England storm rolls in.

While deer are not a problem for city gardens, they can be a significant headache for many of suburban gardeners. To discourage deer from devouring their plantings, we have been recommending environmentally friendly repellents from Bobbex. Made from a combination of ingredients that blends the scents of putrescent eggs, garlic, fish, clove oil, and vinegar (among other things), Bobbex products work by mimicking predator scents, and are classed as a fear repellent. They also tastes awful, so deer have at least two reasons to avoid it. Bobbex can be applied in almost any... [more] - RDG Winter Prep

 

October 24,2014- Summery Summary...

Summer ended about a month ago. The weather was so pleasant this year in New England that we didn't notice it the season changing until the autumnal colors started to appear. This was one of the most comfortable Boston Summers we have had in recent memory. It was also a great year for the RainyDayGarden. Almost all of the plants made it through the harsh Winter, a few additions were introduced to the gang, and there was hardly any weeding or maintenance work to do...much to the delight of the RainyDayInterns :-)

However, as Fall is definitely upon us, we thought it was time to post a summary of how things went in the RainyDayGarden this Summer. Here is a recap of some of the more notable events in the... [more] - RDG Summer Summary

 

October 21,2014- Fall Garden Cleanup...

Can the battery-powered WORX AIR blower handle the Fall cleanup duties around the RainyDayGarden? That was the big question we have been waiting all Summer to find out. The short answer to our WORX AIR question is "Yes!"

The WORX Air is lightweight (less than 4lbs), cordless (rechageable Li-Ion battery), and powerful (air speed:120mph, air flow: 80cfm). The WORX Air comes with the... [more] - Fall Cleanup

 

October 13,2014- Maya:Hidden World Revealed...

The Museum Of Science opened their new exhibit, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, this week, and we stopped by to take a peak. Life-size replicas of sculpted monuments, never-before-seen real artifacts from digs, interactive kiosks, and immersive environments help bring this ancient civilization to life.

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed investigates numerous questions surrounding the Maya and offers a glimpse of daily life through the eyes of the powerful rulers and their subjects. The exhibit explores the rise of the Maya people, the evolution of their complex culture, and the eventual decline of their remarkable civilization. The exhibit features more than 250 artifacts, dozens of interactive components, and... [more] - Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

 

October 10,2014- MFA: Goya

We got a very nice preview of MFA's upcoming Goya exhibition on Monday. The last of the Old Masters and the first of the Moderns, Goya is an astute observer of the human condition. The full arc of Goya's creativity is on display in this exhibition, from the elegant full-length portraits of Spanish aristocrats, to caustic drawings of beggars and grotesque witches, to satirical etchings targeting ignorance and superstition.

"This exhibition offers a once-in-a-generation look at one of the greatest, most imaginative artists of all time," said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director at the MFA. "Goya: Order and Disorder reflects the Museum's close collaboration with the Prado, and builds on our proud tradition of Goya scholarship."

This retrospective features 170 paintings, prints, and drawings from collections around the world, twenty one of them from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Others came from Musee du Louvre, the Galleria degli Uffizi, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Nation a Gallery of Art and private collections. 66 of the works came from the MFA's collection of Goya's works of paper. Many of these prints and drawings have not been on view in Boston for over a quarter of a century. Rather than the typical chronological arrangement, the works were... [more] - MFA: Goya

 

October 6,2014- Dyson Cool...

James Dyson shook the carpet and floor cleaning world when he brought out his no-bag/non-clogging/washable-filter cyclone vacuum cleaners in the 1990s. A decade later, he introduced another iconic product, a blade-less fan. We had looked at the fan when it first came out, but decided that while the technology was intriguing the noise level made it unsuitable for recommending to our readers. This past Spring, Dyson released the second generation of the bladeless fan. It has the same intriguing design, but is now 75% quieter. It was time to take another look at the Dyson Cool.

Is a blade-less fan anything like a wireless extension cord? Well, those wondering whether it is a gimmick or not can rest assure that it is not. The principle behind bladeless fan technology is the following: Air is pushed through a ring-shaped opening inside a loop. This creates a flow which passes over a shaped ramp that channels the air's direction, pushing it forward from the loop. Air outside and around the loop is "dragged" along with the flow (entrainment). At the same time, the air that gets pushed away from the ring creates an area of low pressure. The low pressure sucks in more air from behind the loop, meaning it is basically dragged into the stream (inducement). This all combines to... [more] - Dyson Cool FirstLook

 

Septermber 29,2014- Weather Tools...

Knowing what the weather will be is useful for gardeners. We don't like to water our plants unnecessarily, so we especially like knowing whether we should water the plants today or can they hang on for the rain that will be here tomorrow. Weather apps have been a great help. With the amount of information available at our fingertips one would think that the standard Weather app for the iPhone would be just as good as any of the others available in the App Store. After looking at a bunch, we can tell you that it is just not so.

The Weather app which comes pre-loaded on the iPhone will give a general forecast for the upcoming week, but if you want to know what will happen at your specific location in the next hour or so, then you are better off just looking up at the sky. Fortunately, there are other apps which are more predictive than the just-look-around-and-guess method. The best app, based on our experience, is ... [more] - Weather Tools

 

September 26,2014- Sensu Brush...

When digital tablets came onto the scene many saw their potential as a portable canvas for budding Rembrandts, Picassos, and Monets. Apps for sketching and painting showed up in the App Store almost immediately. In using the apps, people figured out pretty quickly that painting using fingers was not as artsy as they remembered their Kindergarden efforts being. Many styli (aka "styluses") came on the market in response to the need for a more precise, grown-up way to digitally create. While those devices were fine for sketching, people who preferred painting wanted something less pencil-ly, more paintbrusher-ly.

What they wished for was a brush that would work on a capacitive touchscreen. The folks at Sensu, Inc saw the need, but were unclear as to how to solve the technical problem of creating the conductive hair needed for such a brush. The breakthrough came when a brush-making friend of theirs in Japan introduced them to a hair technology being developed for the cosmetic industry: traditional synthetic brush hair infused with ... [more] - Sensu Brush FirstUse

 

September 21,2014- Creative Gear...

Creativity is elusive and hard to quantify, but something many want to encourage, stimulate, and foster in themselves. Sketching is one way to get those creative juices flowing. The tools needed are simple: some paper, and a pencil. Add some colors, a brush or two, and suddenly you find yourself kitted out for an afternoon of painting along the river bank. Toward that end, we have assembled a collection of tools we think will of interest to the artist with a digital bent (or the digerati with an artistic bent).

The tools listed below were chosen based on one overriding criteria: mobility. A lot of digital work is done in studios on large monitors, with big graphics tablets, and powerful computers. The laptop freed the artist from the studio, but were not conducive to spur-of-the-moment inspirations and impromtu sketching. Tablets changed all that. Today's digital artist is finally unchained and... [more] - Creative Gear

 

September 15,2014- BackToSchool Gear...

Summer is coming to a close. Most students are already back at school. Those who start later will be joining them by the end of the month. Many will be bringing with them new laptops, tablets, and other tools to make learning easier. We have put together a collection of accessories which may help them be more efficient, more effective, or just more enjoyable.

Curating this BackToSchool list is always a difficult task. The easier approach would be to offer up a huge list and be done with it. While our marketing folks would love that, you readers have told us the reason you stop by so often is because we DO make the effort to narrow down the choices to those which we think are worthy, novel, and more importantly, useful. Toward that end, we have looked at a mind-numbing number of possibilities and have selected about dozen items which we feel warrant mentioning. Here is the list:

Laptops are pretty much standard equipment for today's students. However, tablets are making a strong showing in many BackToSchool lists. Some see them as companions to laptops, other think of them as... [more] - BackToSchool Gear

 

September 11, 2014- The Memorial...

When we were in NYC this Summer, we stopped by the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial and paid our respects to two friends lost on that day: Anna Allison (N-2) and Aram Iskenderian (N-47).

Some of us worked with Anna when they were at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and others knew Aram from... [more] - September 11: The Memorial

 

September 8,2014- Design Home 2014...

The crew at RainyDayMagazine recently stopped by this year's Boston Magazine Design Home for a tour. Said home is the just-built domicile of our friends Tom and Natalie Treat. When Tom and Natalie decided to leave the city for more rural surroundings, they saw it as an opportunity to put some of their environmentally conscious desires into practice.

"There are many ways to live more energy efficiently," says Natalie. "We want to be living proof that it can be done successfully, and show how it can affect community initiatives and overall policy." She adds, "We want our home to be a lab where people can learn from what we've implemented."

After an unsuccessful search for an existing house which met their requirements, they decided to start from scratch and build something which satisfied their sustainable, net-zero-footprint goals, at a relatively affordable price. As things would have it, Tom and Natalie's plans meshed with Boston Magazine's goal for their tenth Design Home project, a net zero-energy house.

Each year's Boston Magazine Design Home is built in a different location in New England, and this year it can be found north of Boston in beautiful Salisbury, MA. This project reflects the current trend of... [more] -Design Home 2014

 

September 5,2014- Fujifilm X100S ITW...

We have had our hands on the Fujifilm X100S for almost a year and a half, and during that time this remarkable point-and-shoot camera has completely charmed its way into our hearts. Although SLRs and DSLRs are the workhorses, we have always had a soft spot for point-and-shoot cameras for street and travel photography. We are drawn to the simplicity of point-and-shoots (PnS). You point, compose, and press a button. How much more basic can taking a photo get? In the film days, our first PnS was the Olympus Pen, followed by the Olympus Stylus, and when things went digital, the Canon Digital Elph and the Nikon P7000. All of those cameras were fun, but none of them could be our ONLY camera when we traveled. Why? None of them had all of the capabilities to allay our fear of "missing THE shot"...until now.

In order to actually GET a good travel photo, a lot has to happen. Composition is critical and should be the photographer's main task. However, when analyzing the scene, one must also determine the optimal aperture/shutter speed/ASA combination, adjust the focus, all before pressing the shutter button. Ideally, a good PnS camera is able to off-load all of that (or as much the photographer is willing to let the camera handle) between the time its shutter button is touched and fully pressed. Oh yeah, it then needs to reset quickly and be ready for the next shot. After using the Fujifilm X100S for over 10,000 shots, we can say the camera does all of that perfectly AND... [more] -Fujifilm X100S InTheWild

 

Septermber 1,2014- WORX Garden Tools...

We introduced RainyDayGarden readers to WORX when we looked at the JawSaw (FirstLook, FirstUse, Maintenance) a few years back. Every so often, someone asks us about WORX's other items. This month, we are goint to take a closer look at two WORX garden tools which we think are especially suited to urban garderners: the WORX Air Multi-purpose Blower/Sweeper/Cleaner and the WORX GT 2.0 Grass Trimmer/Edger and Mini-mower. We will also be giving them a FirstUse workout as part of our annual RainyDayGarden Fall Cleanup.

Unlike our suburban counterparts, we urban gardeners have less need of heavy-duty versions blowers, trimmers, and mowers. Tools that are portable, have multiple duties, and do not require a lot of storage room are more suitable for our smaller gardens and yards. The WORX Air is a multi-purpose blower created to make small garden and workshop cleanups a... [more] -WORX Garden Tools FirstLook

 

[Previous half of the year...]

 
RainyDayBuzz
 


EXO Labs...

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Grab&Go Gear...

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BlackVue 2-Ch...

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DropCam...

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Good Math...

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BirdCam Pro FirstUse...

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BirdCam Pro...

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iPhone Cases...

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Questar Tristand...

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iPhone Photography...

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BirdCam Mount...

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BirdCam Accessories...

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Camera Triggers...

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Billingham Hadley Pro...

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Adlens Glasses...

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Ceiva Update...

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BirdCam Setup...

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Audubon BirdCam...

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Kitchen Gear...

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Flavored Ice Cubes...

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BlackVue FirstUse...

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Hoya Macro Filters...

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LED Lenser M7RX...

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Kuru Kinetic...

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BlackVue Install...

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BlackVue FirstLook...

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Fujifilm X100S Macro...

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Oyster Mushroom Update...

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Feeder Update...

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Desktop Terrarium...

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Dan Brown Inferno...

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Porsche: Ludvigsen...

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Song of Ice & Fire...

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IKEA Bird Feeder...

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Mason Bee House...

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Timex IQ...

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S3 cases...

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Nat Geo Bags...

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X100S half case...

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X100S Batteries...

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X100S Accessories...

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Windscreen clips...

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Clore ProLogix...

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Gardener's Birdhouses...

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JnK Handwork Case...

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X100S Lens Hood...

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Fujifilm X100S ...

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Casio Edifice 720...

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Birdfeeding...

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NUI...

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WiFi at McDonald's...

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Elgato EyeTV Mobile...

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BackToTheRoots...

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Yogurt Maker...

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LifeWay Kefir...

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