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We have organized some of the Tsunami Search/Relief information here to make it easier for those interested in its progress.  Please feel free to distribute this link.



January 31, 2005

We got some gear (ExoLite ear warmer, convertible running gloves) from a company called 180S at the start of winter. Boston weather being what it is, we didn't really have a need for them when the temperature was 60 degrees out. So they sat around for a few weeks. When the temperature dropped down to a more seasonal level, we took them out and gave 'em a try.

First thing we noticed about the ExoLite earwarmer was it looked GREAT! After a few outings, we concluded it worked as well as it looked. The gloves were also quite amazing, not only did they convert into mittens in a flash, but they were obviously designed by folks who used this stuff! [More...]


January 28, 2005

A few months back we saw the advertisement for a cordless soldering iron from a company called ColdHeat on TV. Their claim is the cordless soldering iron is hot enough to melt solder, but will not burn your fingers!Like many of you, we thought... great idea, bet it doesn't work. Still, I was intrigued. A little more research on ColdHeat's site gave me enough info to think they may be for real. We got our hands on one and we have to admit... we are now believers :-) Go here to read the full RainyDayReview.

The 10 year old inside me immediately wanted a pair of these Explorer's Gloves from Wild Planet as soon as I saw them. Built-in lights, a compass, a digital watch... all attached to what appears to be neoprene tipless gloves.

No wonder! These gloves were invented BY a 10 year old...Nathan Tung, as part of Wild Planet’s annual Kid Inventor Challenge competition! All the better :-)


January 25, 2005

After a few days of digging, we finally extricated ourselves out of the drift. We took the Pathfinder out for a quick spin to see how things were around town. It was a good thing we had a 4x4.

Most of the major roads in Boston have been cleared, but a lot of the side streets are still pretty congested...there just aren't any place to put the snow! We drove around for a while and ended up at Trader Joe's. We decided it was probably a good idea to stock up on some staples.

Trader Joe's is a not just a great place for bulk items, but also fantastic for things like jumbo shrimp, soy products, beer, and champagnes. Go check 'em out even if you weren't going to be snowbound for a week:-)


January 23, 2005

The storm blew in to New England last night and it was still blowing this morning. We went out to get a first hand look.

It was too cold out for the snow to be anything but light and fluffy. The problem was not the snow, but the snow drifts. To get out the door this morning meant we had to push our way through a foot and a half of white stuff.



January 20, 2005

The new Porsche Boxster (987) will arrive in Porsche showrooms in the next few days. You can get a video tour of the car now if you can't wait :-) In typical Porsche style, the changes are evolutionary. Those familiar with the 986 will immediately notice changes in the cockpit, lights, the front grill, and the fenders. There are more horsepower (240-280) squeezed from the flat six. To rein in all that power, the Ceramic Composite Brakes are an option for the new 2005 Boxster.

I have always thought that I attracted mosquitoes, but recent work by Dr. Logan of Rothamsted Research suggests it may be I don't repel them enough. The research team has identified a list of natural compounds produced by subjects that were ignored by biting mosquitoes. Not only are these compounds more effectivee than DEET, but they are odorless and will be relatively cheap to synthesize! The bad news is it'll probably be another 5 years before we'll see a product.

A common tip for air travelers is to drink plenty of water because the air in the cabin is very dry. Based on results just released by the EPA, our advice is to bring your own bottled water. The EPA found that 29 out of the 169 aircrafts tested positive for contamination in the galley water taps.


January 19, 2005

The new Apple iPod shuffle will be in stores by the beginning of February. Its minimalist design is very appealing. The 1GB of flash memory is perfect for carrying around a bunch of songs and some often used files. I'm sure there will be tons of accessories, cases, and personalization options from the growing population of iPod merchants to make your Shuffle unique. If you want to really turn some heads... check out the offerings at iPodJewelry!

If you are more interested in what's inside, shuffle over to AppleMatters and check out the "dissection" of one.

The folks at AppleMatters took one completely apart... documenting each step along the way. Definitely not for the squeamish:-)

PVC pipes have lots of uses... some of them involves plumbing and some not. We have some examples of the latter.

If your taste in acoustic designs leans toward the exotic, these speakers from Acoustical Art may be just the thing for you. They come in a variety of colors, are magnetically shielded, and are handcrafted with high quality components.

If you are handy with a table saw and live near a Home Depot, you might want to try your hand at making a pair from scratch.

Rob Sampson has done a few Audio Lego projects and was kind enough to detail them here. Both Acoustical Art's and Rob's units are for home applications, but the same approach is applicable to car audio projects. At RainyDayGarage, there is a write-up of a PVC based rear speaker project for the Porsche Boxster. The basic design should work for most car audio installations.



January 18, 2005

Andrew, one of our readers, sent us this link... it seemed like a good follow-up to yesterday's SEM images.  The animation takes a little bit of time to load, but the resulting Escher-esque journey will be worth the wait!

Go slowly... there are a lot of detail in the images. You will eventually end up back at the same starting point:-)   A very fun little trip down the rabbit hole.


January 17, 2005

Seeing things from another perspective often gives new insight.  One way to change perspective is to change the scale.  Scanning Electron Microscopy lets us see everyday things and lets us appreciate their beauty in form and function on another level of detail.

The everyday mosquito takes on a much more menacing appearance at 50X normal size!  How velcro works also becomes self evident at the same magnification.

To see these and more, go to The Eye Of Science site and explore another world that is around you everyday.


January 16, 2005

Looks like the NorthEast is finally done with the 60 degree weather... it's now back to the seasonal 25 degrees F. 

It makes no difference to Barbara and Eliot on Four Season Farm. They harvest all year long and they are up in Maine!

it might have something to do with the greenhouse, the type of produce, or something else. If you want to find out, order their "Winter Harvest" manual.  The farm looks pretty amazing the other times of the year as well.  We might have to do a roadtrip up to visit them come Spring!


January 15, 2005

We realized that there were a lot of great "RainyDay" projects that don't fit into any of our current sections.

So we took the last few days and reworked the "Workshops" area of RainyDayMagazine.  We hope you will find it a great place to hang out when you have some free time.


January 14, 2005

The weather has been CRAZY in Boston the past several days...at one point it was snowing, hailing, AND raining at the same time.

Yesterday the fog was thick as pea soup most of the day...which made for some great photo-ops around the Jamaica Pond.

Today the temperature in the morning is sitting around 62...but they say it is going to snow this afternoon. Does it remind ANYBODY of the movie "Day After Tomorrow" ?

I'm not sure my 16 year old Nissan Pathfinder is up to the task of these neck snapping weather changes! Maybe I'll have to upgrade to one of these new Jeep Hurricane if they ever come off the line from Chrysler.

Look carefully at the left picture. This thing CAN actually turn on a dime! The Jeep Hurricane will also have 2 Hemi V-8 (front and rear) giving it a total of 670 horsepower (0-60 in less than 5 sec!).

I think we might have to make it the "Official Vehicle of Rainy Day Magazine"... hey, doesn't that mean now they'll have to give one to us for free? No? How about just a really long "test drive"?


January 13, 2005

One nice thing about sitting around all day thinking (not napping...like my cat) is sometimes things click into place. I'm the first to admit, just because all the pieces fit together, it doesn't mean that's how it's going to happen. What am I blattering on about?

I've been trying to understand how the Flash Memory folks like LEXAR are going to make money selling digital memory cards... unlike photographic film, these cards are reusable. Why would anyone keep buying cards?

Then it clicked...what if these cards get SO cheap that we don't bother reusing them? Crazy idea? What if you can buy 128MB or 256MB cards for about $5 to $10? You can keep 25-50 high-res (5 MB) images on them... most people would want to back up the images somewhere. It's much easier to just leave them on the cards! An unlike film, one can always erase and reuse them at a later date. Sure there are cheaper $/MB ways of backing up the data, but there are other factors coming into play...accessibility and ease of use.

Consider the new printer and TV offerings in CES 2005. Most of them are trying to take the computer out of the "shoot, view, print" loop. The user may want to do some edits on the computer once in a while, but most of the time, they just want to shoot it, view it, and print it. Many photo printers have card readers built in. Some even have small LCD viewers and let you crop photos before printing.

So all of the thoughts above bring me back to this...if the digital memory cards are cheap enough, it will make sense to leave the images on them and get new ones when they fill up. If that's the case, one of those Flash Memory companies may just be end up being this millennium's Kodak!


January 12, 2005

Want to check out the latest in vacation gear, destinations, and cruise offerings? Live in or close enough to Boston and looking for something to do on the weekend of January 21-23? The Seaport World Trade Center in Boston is hosting the 10th Annual Vacation Expo!

Normally it would cost you $8 to get in, but you can printout a coupon here to get you and a guest in for FREE! Here are the directions. Look for us and say "hi"!


January 11, 2005

Some of you were observant and noticed the "RainyDayDeals" that appeared on the top of the page next to the date. Some of you checked it out and found some great bargains. Some of you asked me how long I was going to keep it a secret... well, the secret is out.

The page is finally complete and it's offically going live! On it are the most current collection of deals on all things related to travel. Our goal is to keep finding the best deals on gear, gadgets, and trips, so you can spend less time surfing the web for bargains and more time travelling and exploring the world for adventures!!!

Go check out the deals and shop 'til you drop :-)


January 10, 2005

We took advantage of the clear skies yesterday and took a walk around the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We, of course, brought along some gadgets that we've been meaning to test. While it's pretty hard to get lost in the arboretum, it was still fun to put the HighGear stuff (AdventurePlus, TerraTech, AltiTech2) through their paces :-)


January 9, 2005

Just how many ways can one watch TV? Well judging by the new gear introduced at this year's CES, quite a few! You can now watch your favorite show on the world's largest flat screen (a HUGE 102") from Samsung, or project it from a palm size DLP projector, or view it on your Verizon VCAST capable 3G cell phone!


January 8, 2005

A few weeks ago we showed you how to record TV shows on your Mac and watch it on your PocketPC. While the computer and the ConvertXPVR were part of the puzzle, the component that made it all possible is a 1"x1" part called a CompactFlash card from Lexar. It allows the data converted by the ConvertXPVR and captured by the Mac to be stored and transfer to the PocketPC for playback.

CompactFlash (CF) memory is a solid state storage medium. One of the benefits of "solid state" is there are no moving parts. CF memory is also "non-volatile", meaning it does not need power to retain the stored data. These qualities make CF perfect for portable devices. There are some limitations to CF... the most serious being cost and storage density. Currently, a 4 GB CF card will set you back a few hundred bucks, while an 80 GB hard drive can be had for less than $50!

Three years ago, a format called iVDR (Information Versatile Disk for Removable usage) started to make the rounds. The consortium's main goal was to set up a standard to allow hard disks to be "pluggable" in and out of various devices at will. The cost and size of hard disks have dropped tremendously over the years. Capacities such as 200-500 GB drives are now within reach of the average consumer.

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), iVDR devices are starting to appear on the show floor. The drive cartridges comes in 1.8" and a 2.5" sizes. They are designed to fit into devices such as TVs, Video players, Video camcorders, etc...

It is pretty easy to imagine how the pieces will fit together...pop in a iDVR cartridge in the camcorder, record, pop out the cartridge and put it into the TV, play. The benefits of this approach are also pretty straighforward...lot's of storage space, low cost/megabyte. The only thing I'm not too clear about yet is the power requirements for this format... which leads to the question, where is the battery in the camera shown above? Is it integrated into the removeable cartridge? If so, THAT would be cool, but it would also be expensive!


January 7, 2005

HighGear is a company that makes a really cool line of tools for folks who like to spend their time outdoors. The AdventurePlus is one of their "Smart Accessories" offerings


It is inexpensive (under $20 at most places), yet it has a high quality feel. We'll let you know how well it survives "in the wild" in a few months :-) Go here to read about the features and our initial impressions of the AdventurePlus.


January 5, 2005

We got a tip from one of our readers to check out the products from a company called Slappa. We LIKED what we saw! Slappa makes CD and DVD carrying cases. They just announced a new case called the 90/90 Hardbody.

We got a hold of some of the CD and DVD storage units and gave them to our 13 year old intern in LA to use for a month. Preliminary reports are quite positive! She loved the textured feel of the units, the general design, and how well they stand up to the"abuses" of travel! She also found the non-scratching CD cloth to be much better at getting fingerprints off than just wiping the CDs on her pants...

She promised to do a full write up for the Unaccompanied Minor section by February after another month of "kicking it around". Slappa also make some pretty cool looking iPod cases...which we hope to review for you in the near future.

Speaking of cool gear...we just got some very cool stuff from a company called HighGear. They make "Smart Outdoor Products" like digital compass, digital combo devices (altimeter + barometer + flashlight), and other related gear.


We'll have a feature review for you on the gear (AltiTech2, TerraTech, AdventurePlus) by the end of this month in Gear&Gadgets. We'll also have a full "In The Wild" review for you after a few months of using these gadgets!


January 4, 2005

Money is not the only thing you can donate...many airlines are setting up sites where you can donate "frequent flyer" miles to enable aid workers to get to various disaster areas. Go here for more information.

The company Space Imaging has some truely amazing before/after images of the destruction caused by the tsunami.

We summarized a few of them here. Go to the Space Image site to see the high resolution version of these and other images.


January 3, 2005

We, like a lot of you did in the past week, made a donation to a charity to help with the disaster relief. What I found was how much easier it was to do it via PayPal! I have used PayPal extensively for EBay and other payments to folks I don't know, so it wasn't a stretch to use it to send donations. A lot of the charities don't have explicit buttons on their site for donating via Paypal...but PayPal does!

If you have a PayPal account...all you do is type in the amount, click send, and you are done. One other benefit and a most important one for me...no giving out of personal information.

With all the need for emergency aid in South Asia, I thought there must be some folks using Buckminster Fuller's ideas on geodesics to make emergency shelters. Sure enough, there are a bunch of them out there.

The $200 Dymax Emergency Shelter is pretty amazing. It weighs only 75lbs, needs no tools for assembly, takes 30 minutes to erect, and is weatherproof.

Jonathan Smith has put together a site on how to construct your own geodesic dome out of cardboard.

Its principles are the same as the Dymax, but definitely of a lighter spirit. Once again, proving there is not much you can't do with duct tape, velcro, and a sharp box cutter!


January 1, 2005

Happy New Year to all our Rainy Day Magazine readers!!!!

If you didn't get to Time Square in NYC, you can still get a feel of the festivities and be in the middle of the action. Jook Leung took this 360 panorama from Time Square, complete with sound!

Once you are done with NYC, surf over to another view of New Years's Eve...by Matthias Taugwalder in Zermatt Switzerland. It's a 360 view of the open-air New Year Party at a ski resort at the heart of the Alps.

There are lots of other fullscreen 360 views from other parts of the world at the Panoramas.dk site...definitely go check it out! The images are pretty large, so downloads may be a bit slow for those not using broadband connections.


[December 2004...]

[November 2004...]

[October 2004...]

[September 2004...]


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