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August 30, 2005

Want to try your hands on a doing your own carputer project or If you had always wanted to set up a cluster of Macs to solve some really tough computational problems... here is your chance to get a Apple Mac mini 1.42GHz/SuperDrive or a cluster of them and play for a month.  If you don't like it, send it back!  This offer is available here.

Everyone at RainyDayMagazine had a chance to play with the MobiBLU and have some interesting FirstUse comments they would like to share with our RainyDayMagazine readers. 

The MobiBLU is small...so if you have big finger, clumsy, or have had too much coffee, this player may not be for you!  Lucky for us, we have interns here at the RainyDayMagazine office who have small hands, are dexterious, and well medicated :-)

No software or driver was needed to connect the MobiBLU to the Mac running OS X.  There was a surprising amount of user controllable settings for this unit. The interface on the MobiBLU side is a simple representation of a basic file system. All of the icons did what we expected.

In general, we found the MobiBLU to be easy to use and navigate, but may be confusing for those folks that are less "tech savvy".  Go here to read the complete RainyDayMagazine FirstUse review.


August 27, 2005

Five years ago, this product would have been in the realm of science fiction.  Now we believe it will become one of the hottest MP3 player to make it to market yet!

This is the MobiBLU DAH-1500i digital audio player.  The entire player is less than 1 cubic inch in size, weigh less than a couple of CDs, and will be the first serious challenger to the Apple iPod for those folks where music players often does double duty as fashion accessories.  Go check out the full RainyDayMagazine FirstLook review here.

Last year we had done a RainyDayGarage project showing how to hook the iPod up to the stereo of the Porsche Boxster.  We thought it would be interesting to show the MobiBLU in the same set up.  Look 'ma, no holders needed!

Want to take your Boxster for a spin?  Looking for a group of like-minded folks thinking about doing the same?  Sign up for Boxstoberfest!

This year they are dedicating Boxstoberfest 2005 to the memory of Gottfried Hogh.  Over 70 Boxsters will be there... there is still time to register for the event :-)


August 26, 2005

Up until now, controlling all the devices in a well stocked media room meant the user had to have mental model of how things (signal flow) were connected up.  Was the VCR's output connected to the TV's Video1 or Video2 input?  To watch a DVD, do we need to be on Channel 3 or Channel 4?  Which remote controlled the volume... to the TV or to the Digital Cable Box?

Sure the RainyDayMagazine AV guy knew that in order to watch a DVD, the projection TV's input must be on Video2, the aspect ratio should be on "Cinema", the VCR and Cable should be off, and the DVD player on. 

Now that we have the Logitech Harmony 880 programmed, all folks had to do was hit the "Watch DVD" button and all the appropriate devices will be turned on/off, video sources selected, and aspect ratio selected!  Go check out the full FirstUse Review here.


August 25, 2005

One remote to control them all!  No.  It was not a line from "Lord Of The Rings".  It was something someone at RainyDayMagazine uttered when they saw the Logitech Harmony880 Advanced Universal Remote.

In the RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook review, we took a look at the Logitech Harmony880 Advanced Universal Remote from box to setup.  Go check out the review here.


August 23, 2005

Most of the gadgets we have around the RainyDayMagazine office is portable.  Most of them will run for a few hours without the need to recharge.  All of them come with their own AC adapter/recharger "brick".

Anyone who has traveled with more than one of these portable gadgets (CD/DVD players, LCD TV, laptops, MP3 players) knows what a pain it is to have to bring along all those AC adapters.

The folks at Tekkeon did and decided to DO something about it.  Go here to read all about RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook at the Tekkeon myPowerAll Universal Rechargeable Battery!  You may decide it is just what you need to help elminate some of the AC adapter clutter that may be plaguing your travel case :-)


August 22, 2005

With all the cooking that goes on at RainyDayKitchen, it is not easy keeping it clean.

A few months ago, we discovered a great method for getting clean ...or rather, a great collection of products from a company called method to help us get everything clean :-)

We have now used a few of their products around RainyDayKitchen.  Method offers an entire series of cleaners for fighting grease and grime!  In this RainyDayKitchen FirstLook Review, we reported on three of method's products (dish soap, all purpose spray, and hand wash).  Go check it out and clean up!


August 21, 2005

Sunglasses that maintain a pleasing grip despite head swivels and sweat are hard to find.  When we got a pair of 180s Mortise which claimed to do just that, RainyDayMagazine's resident runner (Jay) took off with them and we didn't see him for a month.   We thought he had gone Forest Gump on us.  However, Jay came back this Saturday with a full report... go check out Jay's FirstUse review here!


August 20, 2005

Not everybody sees their world in Black and White.  Some like to see it in color.  If you like to give the cones in your eyes more of a workout, then head over to ColourLovers and share some your favorite palettes with like minded folks there.

Some folks sees the world in even more bizarre ways.  Shigeo Fukuda is one of those that can do some pretty cool things with lamp and a large bunch of salad forks. 

Go here to check out an amazing book on him and other artists of optical illustion.


August 18, 2005

The Ansel Adams Exhibition opens on August 21 (this Sunday) at the MFA.  This exhibit, sponsored by RBC Dain Rauscher, features a wide range of Adam's photographs from the Lane Collection.

RainyDayMagazine got a first hand look of this amazing exhibit this week.  As Saundra Lane said at the preview..."This is an exhibit I've been waiting 30 years for and it's now finally here!".  Go take a look at what awaits you at the MFA. 

The exhibit will be there until the end of December.  We urge you to go on Sunday and go back often... there is so much in the photographs that one cannot possibly see everything in one visit.

Some of you RainyDayMagazine readers may remember an article we did back last November on the Gigapxl Project.  They have been posting updates on their site as they journey across America with their giant digital camera.

We couldn't help but think that if Ansel Adams was around today, he would be right out there with these guys!  Go check out their stunning images here.


August 17, 2005

After much testing on the bench, we finally installed all we need on the Mac mini.  We felt we had done all the testing we needed using the actual DWW 700 LCD monitor.  It was time to put the screen in the Boxster.

As we did with other projects (ipod install, radar detector install, speakers install) that muck with the Boxster's central console, the first thing was to remove all the side panels so we can access the internal wiring. 

We hooked it up, hid all the messy wiring, replace the side panels, and made things nice and tidy again...all in about an hour. The installation looked pretty clean once all the panels were replaced :-) See the gory wiring details here.

We also finally got our shipment of Mac mini shelves!  We tried a few ways of mounting the Mac mini and finally decided to mount it under the steering wheel.   Check out the shelf installation here.

Once the DWW 700 LCD monitor was installed and verified to be functional. It was time to hook up the Mac mini and check out some of the basics (WiFi connection, USB, GPS, and iTunes). 

Since we had bench tested all of these functions (voice, gps, touchscreen, camera), this check was basically to see how things worked once installed in the car.  Follow the progress of RainyDayGarage's carputer project here.


August 16, 2005

We don't print out too many images because most of everything we shoot here at RainyDayMagazine end up online.  However, every once in a while it is nice to get our hands on a hardcopy.

Since we basically got this Canon i4000 printer "free" with our $100 Mac Mini computer/printer rebate from Apple... we said "sure, let's hook it up and see what we will get out of this thing.

In our FirstLook review, you can follow along as we take the Canon i4000 from the packing box to setup.  In the First Use review, we'll calibrate the printer and maybe print a glossy photo. 

If all goes well, our friend Kathy will get her framed present in time for her birthday.  Go check out the reviews here.


August 15, 2005

We have a few scales in the RainyDayKitchen.  Some of them are easier to use than others.  None of them looked as nice as this one from Eva Solo :-)

When we first unpacked this Eva Solo kitchen scale, everyone just looked at the pieces and thought... that's all ?  Where is the digital readout? Where is the power cord? What... no backup battery compartment? Go here to read RainyDayKitchen's FirstLook review of this cleverly designed Eva Solo Kitchen Scale.


August 12, 2005

RainyDayKitchen has been slowly moving toward stainless steel kitchen ware for a while now.  We are going to start replacing things a bit faster now that we have discovered Eva Solo.

Eva Solo is a Danish company, launched in 1997, that has brought some new thinking to some very old household products.  In the RainyDayKitchen FirstLook Review, we checked out the Eva Solo Garlic Press and Egg Timer.

There is no accident this garlic press and container looks like a glass and stainless steel version of a garlic bulb in bloom.  This is the kind of inspired design Eva Solo brings to the kitchen table :-)  Go here to read the RainyDayKitchen FirstLook/FirstUse review.

You wouldn't think there would be much to improve on an egg timer, but you would be wrong :-)  Most timers these days are digital, precise to the hundredths of a second, and runs on batteries.  All three of these features, while indispensible for Olympic time trials, are not really all that great for the kitchen.  Go here and read why!


August 11, 2005

We stopped by the MFA this morning to check on the progress of the Koch yacht installation.  Both hulls have been positioned into place.  The mast for both vessels have been installed.

We tried to take a panorama of the installation but it did not do it justice.  You MUST go check this out!!!


August 9, 2005

Most of us have heard of Netflix (DVDs by mail, no late fees), Jiggerbug is similar, but for books on CDs.  Netflix will eventually go to some kind of web downloadable mechanism for content delivery, but Jiggerbug is already there.

Jiggerbug has not formally announced it.  However, if you are a subscriber to their service, you may have noticed a section for "Instant Download".  While movies usually fit on one CD, a book like "Harry Potter:Goblet of Fire" will take 18 CDs.  Digital download will make the service so much more compelling!  The downloaded books are "controlled" via WMA's copyright management technology... and will "self destruct" after 14 days :-)  It also means iPod users will have to wait until. 

Right now there are about 25000 titles in their library (not all of them available for download).  Go check 'em out here.


August 9, 2005 (TechTuesday)

A big congradulations to NASA for a successful return from space!  Like everybody else, RainyDayMagazine was following the trip closely and had wished for an uneventful landing. 

We just got back from a trip to Long Island.  We almost got side swiped by some idiot 30 minutes into the trip.  If the Boxster did not have such superb handling characteristics... the trip would have been a lot shorter.  On the way back, another idiot did not tie his boat cover on tight enough and it flew off somewhere on Route 95 in CT.  We again had to steer around it as it came at us like a giant green jellyfish. 

Unlike the shuttle crew, we didn't have to worry about suddenly turning into a giant fireball... we kept our rate well under the speed of sound!


August 8, 2005

If your dad was a steel magnate and your wife was rich... what kind of house would you build?

John and Margarita Phipps built Westbury House, which was plenty big enough for them and their four children.  The estate was about 160 total acres; about half of which were formal gardens, tree-lined walks, grand allées, ponds, statuary, and other architectural expressions of English gardens.

RainyDayMagazine was on Long Island this weekend and had a bit of time, so we took a drive out to the Old Westbury Gardens.  Go here to read all about our visit.


August 5, 2005 (FishingFriday)

Watercolors seemed like the perfect medium for capturing the delicate colors of fish... and that is exactly what Jay Falstad does.  A fisherman and a self-taught artist, Jay will turn your trophy catch into a work of art.

His work is starting to catch on with the "catch and release" angler crowd.  It is a lot better than having a dead shellacked trophy in the den :-)  Go check out his work here.


August 4, 2005 (TunerThursday)

The folks at RainyDayGarage would like to say "Congrats!!!" to the University of Michigan Solar Car Team for their victory in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.

The Michigan team made the 2,500 mile trip in 53h:59m:43s (avg 46.2mph), setting a record in the world's longest solar car race.

Good luck in Australia at the World Solar Challenge !!!


August 3, 2005

Harman Kardon came out with the first version of the iSub back in 1999.  In 2000, they came out with a set of matching satellite speakers called Sound Sticks. After listening to feedback from their customers, Harmon Kardon released an updated version called Sound Sticks II.

RainyDayMagazine took a FirstLook at the Sound Sticks II... the analog version of a set of speakers that look like they belongs in a museum.  Oh...they have them at MOMA? Nice!

Speaking of museums... here is the daily update of the yacht installation at the MFA.

By the time we returned, the crew had already lifted the hull on to the stand.  From what we heard, it was quite an amazing sight.  Not as challenging as a space walk to pull the gap filler from the underbelly of the space shuttle perhaps, but right up there in terms of excitment.  Go see more pics here.


August 2, 2005 (TechTuesday)

If you happened by Boston's MFA today, you may have caught sight of a couple of yachts sitting on the Museum's front lawn.  If you were REALLY lucky, you may have been there when they were lifting the hulls onto the supports.  Over the next few days, the yachts will be assembled.  They will remain on display through out the duration of the "Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch" exhibit.

The MFA is hoping the yachts will draw some attention to the Koch exhibition.  RainyDayMagazine will do our part to help get the buzz going!  So, we will be there over the next few days to capture the assembly of the yachts and other bits that we think you may enjoy seeing.  Go here to check on the installation's daily progress.

Scanners are probably one of the more useful tools around the office.  Up until now, bringing a scanner with you on the road was just not practical.

The Plustek OpticSlim M12 package comes complete with carrying bag, cables, stand, software, and a wall mount.  Go check out RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook Review here.

Another useful tool that is starting to get some traction is video conferencing.  VC used to be only available in "special conference rooms" at a business.  Apple has made it available to everyone with OSX and an iSight video camera!  RainyDayMagazine wants to take that ability and literally take it on the road.

Our plan is to use this iSight camera in the Boxster Carputer project.  We'll be installing the camera into the Boxster in a few week.  You can read the FirstLook review of the iSight here


August 1, 2005

RainyDayMagazine packed up and went off to Connecticut this weekend.  We checked into a beautiful B&B in New London on Saturday. 

The Queen Anne Inn is wonderfully appointed with lots of period details.  We would recommend this Inn except it has been sold and will no longer be open to the public after August...

The main event was an 80th birthday party for Leslie and Kathy's Dad.  The man just had heart surgery a month ago and he was on the dance floor until the DJ stopped playing!  We left when the drinking games started :-)

On Sunday, we drove around the New London, Lyme, and Mystic area to check out various sites (Fort Trumbull, Gillette Castle, Florence Griswold Museum).

Built from 1839 - 1852, Fort Trumbull was one of a group of 42 forts constructed for the defense of the US coast and harbors.

Gilette Castle, on the other hand was constructed by a flamboyant actor for his own amusement.

Next we made a stop at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.  The main house is currently under rennovations, but the museum, grounds, and flower gardens were open.

We also took advantage of their "Impromptu Encounters with Art" program and spent a few hours trying our hand at painting some of the lovely scenes around the grounds.

On our way back to Boston, we took Route 1 along the coast until Mystic CT.  There was a big traffic jam right in the center of town, so we figured we might as well stop and stretch our legs.

It turned out that it was just the normal weekend traffic going across their really old drawbridge.  We walked around a bit, looked for some ice cream, and had a very pleasant break.  We'll have to come back to Mystic and look around some more.

We'll have a more detailed write-up of the trip once we've had a chance to unpack :-)


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