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July 30, 2005

For our RainyDayTraverlers looking for a new destination... astromnomer Michael Brown of Cal Tech announced on Friday the discovery of a possible 10th planet (2003UB313, proposed name "Lila") in our solar system.

Of course, this discover is controversial because the definition of what is a "planet" has never actually been nailed down!  I guess it was pretty obvious with planets right up to Pluto.  We know how you hate to ask for directions.  So, if you are interested in heading out there to check it out, here is a quick map done using Starry Night's software.

Just remember to bring warm clothing... you know, beyound Pluto, probably kinda cold.


July 29, 2005

Here is another bit of Eastern tech that will probably never make it to our shores.  They look like regular camera phone, but they have a little bit of cool image processing software built in that converts barcode to text... in this case into Chinese characters. 

So instead of giving out your phone number to that hottie you just met in the bar, just let her take a pic of your "barcode tattoo" :-)  That scenario will never happen, will it?  Well, I guess these phone are are right up there with the "augmented reality glasses".


July 28, 2005 (TunerThursday)

If you are looking for something exotic in car designs...check out Businessweek's Car Buff section.  The folks in the RainyDayGarage were pleasantly surprised at the comprehensive collection of car news and automotive info available on the page!  Nice :-)

If you want something a little more down to earth, Porsche announced yesterday that their stable of sport cars will increase by one in 2009.

The new addition, Panamera, will be a 4 door coupe (remember the 928?) designed for those who want a 911, but also want to carry more than just groceries in the back seat.  Price around $125K to $175K, it won't be cheap, but by the looks of it... it won't be mistaken for a Honda neither.

The Panamera will have a front/midengine design (Volkswagen Phaeton platform?) with either a rear or all-wheel drive option.  The engines will probably be those available currently on the Cayenne (4500 cc (4.5 litre), 340 bhp and a 450 bhp turbo).

Note:  These "images" of the Panamera are mockups only...no actual photos of the car have been officially been released by Porsche.

In order to get our new Panamera around without having to ask for directions, we would love to check out the new FineDrive F400. 

This new car GPS system has an SD slot, 320Mb of storage, a 4" color screen, MP3 player capabilities and a video in connector... which means it can receive video from video iPod, DVD players, etc.  It would be even more exciting if we can find it available in the US :-)


July 27, 2005 (WhaleWatchWednesday)

Today was the second RainyDayMagazine Whale Watch outing.  On this trip we joined the New England Aquarium's crew and headed out at 9:30 AM.  The temperature was already in the high 80's!

It was not a feeding frenzy out there today, but we did see a few Right Whales.  We had to stay pretty far away due to various restrictions.  We didn't mind so much since it was a great way to beat the 95 degree heat in the city!  Next time we are going to try the ones that leave out of Provincetown.  Maybe we'll finally see some up close!


July 26, 2005 (TechTuesday)

Apple announced an update to their iBook series of laptops today.  These 12" and 14" iBooks have faster processors, more memory, and larger internal drives.  They also come with all the great Apple iLife software (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand).  Go check 'em out here!


July 25, 2005

Most people know JBL as a maker of high end stereo speakers.  A lot of folks in the computer world have discovered that JBL makes amazing computer speakers

Now folks with iPods and MP3 players are discovering that JBL makes great companions (OnTour, OnStage) for their devices as well!  We got our hands on a JBL OnTour... go check out RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook review here.


July 22, 2005 (FrowardFriday)

A RainyDay haiku:

No reviews today
Editor has gone on hols
Where do I find stuff?

The editor (and photographer) here at RainyDayMagazine are off on a short holiday, leaving just us, uh, wordsmiths to guard the office. Oh, and sign for all the products the USPS guy keeps dropping off.

If you NEED to read some RDM reviews, and don't mind that they won't be so, what's the word, geeky, click on over to Carolyn's World for reviews of a different fish entirely.

The writing staff leave you with the following poetical thought:

Did you ever stop to wonder
that if the world was made with peanut butter
We'd all stick to the roof of our feet?

They'll be back in the office Monday (and yes, froward is a word).


July 19, 2005 (TechTuesday)

Some of us at RainyDayMagazine were a little skeptical when this GeekClean product was brought into the office.  Shower gel?  How does one use gel in the shower?  Is it going to make us smell all flowery or god forbid...like "fresh linen"?  Not that there is anything wrong with that...

Sooner or later, we all need to (or know someone that needs to) do some personal house cleaning.  PureBath has made it much easier for those of us with a little too much "technology" to perform our own system maintenance.  The user manual is on the back label and easy to follow.  You don't REALLY need to RTFM, but but you should... because it is very entertaining :-)  Check out the RainyDayMagazine's FirstLook/FirstUse review here.

A few weeks back we did a FirstLook Review of the CVS One Time Use Digitial Camcorder. 

We have completed our FirstUse review and have posted some samples so our readers can get a feel for the quality of the videos from this $30 digital camcorder.


July 18, 2005

We spent the entire weekend in a seminar at Shobu Aikido of Boston.  It was the 25th anniversary of Gleason Sensei as a teacher.  Many of his former students (some with their own dojos now) came back and taught classes thoughout the weekend.

It was a HOT weekend and the mat was full.  The training was energizing and exhausting at the same time.  Even after a full day of training, we all had plenty left for the celebration that night!  Go check out the celebration pics here.

If you live near Boston and are even remotely curious about Aikido, you owe it to yourself to watch a class. It is not often one has the opportunity to study with a wonderful teacher such as Gleason Sensei! Go check out their schedule for up coming events!


July 15, 2005

When I saw this product, I knew it would be perfect for my friend Geoff.  Geoff has a crazy schedule and is always looking for ways to optimize his time.

The Neverlate is a 7 Day alarm clock/AM-FM radio.  It is astounding that no one has thought of this until now :-)  Such a nice idea! Go here to read all about it.

We went to the Forest Hills Cemetery Lantern Festival last night.  This annual community event, inspired by Buddhist traditions, was very well attended (over 3000 folks). 

Simple inscriptions are placed on the paper shades of the wooden lanterns.  At dusk, the lanterns are set afloat to bring the messages to the world of the spirits.  It was a nice way to remember departed family and friends.


July 14, 2005 (TunerThursday)

Techsuperpower had their totally geeked out Lexus "DV Editing Studio on wheels" at the show. 

It was pretty amazing what they managed to cram inside the trunk and the backseat.  I think they may have voided the warranty.

The other really cool "car related" item at the show was from Harman Kardon...the same folks that supply high end OEM car audio components to Porsche, BMW, and other luxury cars.

If you have integrated an iPod into your car, you already know how amazing it is to have all those tunes available at your fingertips.  You will undoubtedly also have discovered that it is near impossible to browse your iPod without driving off the road. 

Well, Harman Kardon has done something about the problem of in-vehicle iPod control with their new Drive+Play offering.  Go read all about it here.

The last item at the show we wanted to mention was a product from ThinkFree.  Some of our readers actually work for a living... so this item is to show that we are thinking of you!

The"ThinkFree Office 3 Show, iPod Edition" will enable anyone with an iPod to create, edit and give full-blown PowerPoint presentations.  Now I'm pretty sure no one would actually create a PowerPoint presentation from scratch using their iPod, but the ability to give a presentation can be pretty compelling.


July 13, 2005 (WowUsWednesday)

For today's edition of WowUsWednesday, we found this little news bit from one of the harddrive news feed we monitor here at RainyDayMagazine (I know... we need to get a life ).

This may look like your typical removeable CF size drive, but check out the storage capacity listed on the lower left!  Yup...that's 10GB!!!

How did they cram all that capacity in to a space that small?  Perpendicular storage.  You will be hearing more and more about this particular storage method in the coming months.  It has been in the research labs for years and it is finally starting to see the light of day.

The easily way to visualize how it works is to think about a room full of people laying on the floor (horizontal storage) vs a room full of people standing up (perpendicular storage).  One can put a LOT more people into a room if they were all standing up :-)

What does this actually mean in terms of usefulness?  Well, it might mean you can REALLY carry all your must-have files with you at all times.  It might also mean you may now have an even harder time finding where you put that file...because not only had you forgotten what folder you had put it, but you also can't seem to find the Microdrive!

Day 2 at Macworld Boston was just as busy... the crowd gathered at 11AM waiting for the doors to open.  The sessions were well attended and the floor had pretty good traffic all day long.

We walked around some more and found some other interesting items.  A lot of the major vendors were not at the show, so it really gave some of the smaller companies a chance to stand out.  We spent some time chatting with them so they could show off their wares.

The CableYoYo folks had a $4.99 item that was kind of clever.  It is a stacking cable management system that will help you untangle that snarl of wires behind the monitor.

We were also quite impressed with Lowel's small portable lighting system.  If you sell small items on EBay, this is something you might want to consider.  It will be a big help in throwing a nice even light on you objects for those digital shots.

If you are rough with you iPod, but don't want the thickness of a protective case, you may want to consider the InvisibleShield protective film.  This REALLY TOUGH plastic film was developed to protect helicopter blades.  As you can see in the photo above, scratch protection differed greatly on the film and no film side.

We were pleasantly surprised to see JBL at the show.  For home audiophiles, JBL had long been a name associated with the high end of the market.  They were showing some of the newer desktop and iPod compatible speakers.  When JBL entered the computer audio market, they brought their considerable expertise and high end quality with them in their offerings.

Most Mac folks are familiar with the iSub/SoundSticks combo.  The new version is now fully analog and has a miniplug that will directly take audio out from the iPod.  They also have other subwoofer / satellite speaker offerings (Encounter, Creature) at different price points. 

JBL also has a series of speakers that dock directly with the iPod, including first generation units!  The base has a pass through connector that will allow it to hook directly to the computer.

There are also more generic units that will take an audio out from any source (iPods, laptops, MP3 players, etc...)  These unit are very compact and will easily fit in a backpack for travel.  They feel solid, well made, and of high quality material.  Sometimes it's hard to tell from the photos just how well constructed they are compared to offering from other companies whose roots are not from the high fidelity audio world.

We would have missed this last item if it wasn't for Samik outside with the LCD panel floating over his head :-)  He pointed us to the Rimage booth showing the Rimage 360i CD/DVD burner and label printer.  This unit will automatically burn the CD/DVD AND print the labels right on the discs...perfect for folks that want a professional look for a small batch of discs.


July 12, 2005

The exhibit floor opened today at 11 AM.  We got there a few minutes after the doors opened and the floor was already mobbed.  Granted the show is now much smaller without Apple's presence, but it still brings out the local Mac devotees!

We found some interesting products.  However, we really didn't have much time to look at them closely.  We'll mention them here so you can go check them out if they interest you.

The first item that caught our eye was the Supacam DV-6.  They are selling it at the show for $288.  It appeared to be a really good price...especially if the camcorder measures up to the listed specs: 6 Megapixel digital camera, MPEG-4 DV camcorder, MP3 player, and voice recorder.  However, as we said in our CVS DV Camcorder review... the proof is in the images/movies.  So until we get to see some samples, we'll remain "optimistically skeptical" :-)

Like all Mac related shows, the iPod accessories vendors were also out in force.  There were a bunch of iPod/iShuffle vendors... after a while, their differences all seem to blur.  The following few made an impression on us: ToughSkin iPod cases for him by Speck and fashionable iPod cases for her designed by Joallyn Cartwright of Delapod.  For the iShuffle crowd, iKeychain and SkinTight have protective hard cases made of aluminum in a variety of colors.

if you want to really customize the cover of your ipod or laptop, the folks at Etchamac will custom laser etch any scene you want onto the skin of your favorite device.  It wasn't clear to us whether you need to send them your laptop or just the cover...or do you just buy a cover and put it on yourself.  I'll ask tomorrow :-)

We only saw about half of the exhibits today because we had some sessions we wanted to attend.  We'll report on the other half of the show tomorrow.


July 11, 2005

It is great to see Macworld back in Boston again this year.  RainyDayMagazine will be providing onsite coverage until it ends on Thursday!

We went early this morning and registered... beating out the CRUSH that is sure to form tomorrow.  If you are planning on going and can get there today to get your badge, we would recommend you doing so!  The exhibit doors at the Hynes open tomorrow at 11AM.  See you there :-)  If you see us on the floor, stop us and say "Hi" !!!


We tried going on the Boston Harbor Cruise Whale Watch last year, but they were sold out when we got there.  We called ahead and arranged for tickets this time!

It is great to get out on the water, even better when you see a whale!  Go check out the review here.


July 8, 2005

We gave the FL6 LumaRay a fairly detailed First Look back in May.  A little while ago, we found out that LumaRay had updated their futuristic flashlight by increasing the number of LEDs in the head module.  We, of course, had to see it for ourselves!

A little while ago, we found out that LumaRay had updated their futuristic flash light by increasing the number of LEDs in the head module.  We, of course, had to see it for ourselves!  The FL12 will be available in August, but you can go check out the update now here.

The folks at 180s make outdoor gear that work as hard as you play.  We took a look at some of their winter gear a few months back and liked what we saw.  We are back this time with a First Look review of their line of eye protection offerings.


July 7, 2005 (TunerThursday)

One of Lamborghini's signature feature is the vertically opening doors.  We, at RainyDayGarage, always thought they made a lot of sense.  We just didn't have the $500,000 for the cars that had them.

Now companies like AutoAccessories, WickedBodies, and VerticalDoors, are selling door hinge conversion kits so any car, van, or truck can have those "Lambo-style" doors ;-)

The hinge works by first swinging out, then up.  Gas power struts usually assist with the lifting of the door.

If you are thinking about doing one of these conversions, definitely shop around and check out the different types of hinges... they are not all created equal.  We are looking into whether this would be a good Fall project for RainyDayGarage.


July 6, 2005 (WowUsWednesday)

Not getting enough buzz from your morning cup of coffee?  Caffeine is the major stimulant in coffee that gets us going.  Too much of it can leave some of us jittery and unable to focus.  Drinking too much can have other undesirable side effects.

We discovered a local MA company called Catapult Coffee making a line with "something extra" that may give us an extra boost without the other unpleasant issues.  If you want to know what the "something extra" is... go check out the RainyDayKitchen review here.

We have been drinking the Dragon Roast blend for the past few days here at RainyDayMagazine.  We'll drink the Dragon Roast for a week and then switch back to regular coffee.  We'll let you know if we notice any difference.


July 5, 2005 (TechTuesday)

RainyDayMagazine have field contributors from all different time zones.  If I can track the different time zones better, maybe I would stop interrupting them when they are deep in their REM cycle!

With the Solunar from SkyTime, we are hoping we'll finally be able to keep it all straight.  The Solunar is suppose to be able to track 4 different time zones AND when our parking meter will expire!  Go here and read RainyDayMagazine's First Look review of the Solunar.

Have you always wanted to start your own product company but didn't know where to go to source your design or manufacturing? 

Let say your great idea was to make a handheld VideoOnTheGo TV+VideoPlayer+GPS product, but you have no expertise in any of those areas...how do you get started?  RainyDayMagazine will show you how.

First, find a company that have what are called "reference designs" that will get you 90% of the way there.

Reference designs are almost ready-for-market prototypes a company will have "on their shelf" to show prospective clients their various capabilities and engineering expertises.

How does one find such a company?  Do a Google search for something like "Portable Video Player with Integrated TV-Tuner".  You might get a link that will lead you to this company.   They might have a reference design for a handheld analog TV, MPEG-4 media player, MP3 player, voice recorder and photo viewer device!  Now you just need to find somebody to integrate the GPS into it. 

See how this works :-)  We'll leave the rest as an exercise for the reader.  Oh... and we get 10% of any revenue from your products developed using this strategy.


July 4, 2005 (Independence Day)

Everybody loves fireworks!  We at RainyDayMagazine were no exception.  We stayed up late and made our way over to Kendall Square to see the annual display on the Charles River.

They did not disappoint!  We were treated to 22 minutes of nonstop explosions of streamers, screamers, and colors!  It was a wonderful way to end the day.  We now need to go get some sleep :-)  


Every July 4th, folks gather at Castle Island to watch the turning of the USS Constitution.

There was the ceremonial salute toward Castle Island and the answer back.  There was also the flyby, both by those with planes and by those with kites.  It was a beautiful 4th of July out on Castle Island.


It took six months and a trip of 268 million miles to set up this interstellar fireworks display.  The space probe Deep Impact made energetic contact with the surface of Tempel 1 at 2 AM (EST) this morning.

Deep Impact sent out the "Impactor" probe ... an 820 pound self guided camera toward Tempel 1 on July 2.  The self guided camera was sending photos right up (right photo) until the last 3 seconds before impact. Below left is the impact image from the FlyBy probe's vantage point.

Go here to read more about the entire Deep Impact mission.  If you have a fast connection, check out the animation of the impact probe launch and flyby here.


July 2, 2005

If you use a lot of candles, these Candela rechargeable lamps can save you a lot of money.  If you worry about candles getting knocked over and setting the house on fire, these lamps from Vessel are priceless.  Go read all about them here!


July 1, 2005

We finally had a chance to check out the Ralph Lauren car collection exhibiting at the MFA. The tickets were for the last "Hoods Up" night were visitors could see the engines.  There are still some tickets left for the regular exhibit.

If you have not gone yet, stop reading now (unless July 3rd had already passed or you don't live within a 2 hour drive of Boston) and go to the MFA.  If you can't, you can still check it out here!



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