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June 30, 2005 (TravelThursday)

Starting this month, the last Thursday of each month at RainyDayMagazine is TravelThursday.  We'll let you know about the best travel deal we can find from Boston to "somewhere".

July is the month our friend Leslie from Bermuda usually comes to the States for her summer holiday.  Coincidentally, it is also the time when Norwegian Cruise Line iconis having a great 7 night cruise sale from Boston to Bermuda! icon So go to Bermuda and do your part in balancing international trade... Leslie does a LOT of shopping when she is here in the US!!!  To get the amazing $499 price, click here. icon

One of our frequent readers, Lana from Long Island, sent us this tip: "When booking cabins on a cruise, it doesn't matter as much whether there is a window... just make sure it is above deck or as high up as possible (4th level or higher)." 


June 29, 2005 (WowUsWednesday)

We got a great number of emails and links this week for WowUsWednesdays.  It was difficult sorting through all the submissions, but we found the two that were most worthy :-)

A big RainyDayThanks go out to Steve for showing us this homemade flight simulator by Hans Krohn!  Now THIS is a RainyDayProject!  Go check out the site.  There are plenty of other images on this amazing project.

The other selection came from our gamer Gareth.  It is a kung fu fighting game that... well, you just have to see it to believe it!

The videos are amazing. Go stretch and then go check it out here!


June 28, 2005 (TechTuesday)

Vessel's idea was to create a little device that can give the wearer discreet glimpses of time whenever they want.  The Tempo Time Tag from Vessel is small...a little bigger than an inch.  There are NO extra features in this little clock.  It does exactly what it was designed to do... tell the time.  Go read all about it here.

Summer is for outdoor activities.  For outdoor activities, one need the right shoes, boots, or sandals.  Sometimes you need more than one type of footwear on the same outting, especially if water activities were involved.

Keen has supposedly designed a shoe called the Taos to meet just that need.  The Taos is suppose to work like a trail shoe, feel like a sandal, and be comfortable on dry land and in the water.  Can this be true?  Go read all about it here.

We told you about Brunton's SolarRolls in last week's edition of TechTuesday.  This week we will point you to a slightly bigger solar related energy source... the new ITER fusion research project.  The research committee has decide today to award the contract for building the experimental fusion reactor to France.  The site will be in Cadarache in southern France.

If you don't remember you high school physic on fusion reactions... you can brush up on it here and here.

The "MTV" version is it is the same energy creation process as the sun and it is suppose to be quite clean.  Well, relatively clean compared to fission (think atomic bomb).  With fusion (think nuclear bomb), you get the helium for the balloons and heat to run the turbines.  Everything would be perfect if not for the those annoying extra neutrons from the reaction.  Oh, yes... one also need heavy hydrogen isotopes to power the reactor.

Anyway, it will be awhile before they get this thing online and making power.  In the meantime, the sun is free and pumps enough energy to us in one hour to run everything for a year... all we need are enough SolarRolls to pick it up!


June 26, 2005

We RainyDayGardeners buy a lot of our plants at the local nurseries and Home Depot.  However, some of the more exotic plants are just not available at these neighborhood outlets.

Our friend Bill has been amassing an interesting collection of tropical container plants (banana, coffee, guava, and citrus).  He told us the source of all of his tropical foliage came from a nursery in CT called Logee's.

Here are some of Logee's less exotic varieties we brought back with us to the RainyDayGarden.  Go read all about it here.


June 25, 2005

Weekends are for doing things around the house or garden.  In our case here at RainyDayMagazine, it is more like reviewing tools that let us do things around the house or garden :-)

One such tool being passed around the office is the Bionic Wrench.  We have all used pliers and wrenches to tighten nuts and bolts.  Many of us have a collection of different sizes for different needs.

The Bionic Wrench was engineered by Dan Brown of LoggerHead Tools to not just combine the best features of pliers and wrenches, but to improve upon them using a different design.  Go read all about it here!


June 24, 2005

If you have not yet checked out the "Speed, Style, and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection" exhibit at the MFA, you had better get a move on!  The exhibit will end on July 3rd and tickets are going FAST!!!.

Where else are you going to be able to come within inches of a beauty like that red Alfa Romeo or the black 1938 Bugatti???

The entire group from RainyDayGarage went to a lecture last night at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and had an amazing time listening to Karl Ludvigsen talk about Ferdinand Porsche and the early history of the company. 

Mr. Ludvigsen's lecture drew from his upcoming book.  The book will be all about the beginning of Porsche.  He showed a ton of fabulous photos.  Some were of the early electric cars designed by the 23 year old Ferdinand, some during the first and second world wars, and others while working with the post war Volkswagen.  We heard some great stories about Ferdinand's temperment and personality.  How he got his start at his father's tin factory, early experiments with electricty, and love for building state-of-the art racing automobiles!

We met some great folks from Bentley Publishers.  We are going to check them out in the near future and tell you all about the cool Porsche book projects they have in the works!

A lot of the folks who attended the lecture also brought along their favorite rides... it was great to see an impromptu Porsche exhibit assembling in front of Museum as folks arrived for the lecture!

The Museum has lectures ALL THE TIME.  So check their upcoming events calendar for topics of interest.  Look for the folks from RainyDayGarage ... they will be there!


June 23, 2005 (TunerThursday)

If you love Porsche, live close to Boston, and have a free evening tonight... make you way to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline to hear Karl Ludvigsen's presentation on "The Porsche Saga". 

Ludvigsen is the author of the three volume set "Porsche: Excellence Was Expected".  The set is a comprehensive history of Porsche, its cars and its racing heritage. The lecture begins at 7:30pm with the doors opening at 7:00pm.  Tell them you heard about it on RainyDayMagazine!

In Mid May we did a write-up on the Porsche Carrera GT

Recently, we found some folks who decided to transform a Boxster into something similar... on the outside, anyway :-)

It is amazing what some folks are able to do with fiberglass!  The Boxster is fast replacing the Fiero as the frame of choice for kit cars. 

So if the $400K for a Carrera GT was too much for your sports car budget but you REALLY wanted the look then give The Car Factory guys a call.  Don't forget to bring the Boxster!


June 22, 2005 (WowUsWednesday)

We have been getting some wonderful tips from our RainyDayTipsters lately...so now every Wednesday, we'll feature the best of the ones sent to us.  We will automatically enter all our RainyDayTipsters in the first FREE GEAR drawing in September!

This item was sent to us by RainyDayTipster Doug!  Most of us carry our laptop and other gear in the usual black laptop case when we travel.  Some of us have upgraded to the wheel equiped "overnighter" suitcase/laptop carrier combo.  For those with an extra $10K in their travel budget, Henk.com now has a case just for you. 

This Edmiston Traveling Case is a custom made to order, carbon fiber, hidden everything, travel butler!  OK...so it looks a bit like a giant toaster.  We were thinking that for $10,000 you could probably hire someone to carry your bags for you, but we bet they don't come with retractable wheels!

Our RainyDayTipster, Melani, sent us this little wonderful gem.  You don't need a broadband connection to see it, but it helps.

Join the adventures of Cuke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Cannoli, Chewbroccoli and the rest of the Organic Rebels fighting against Darth Tader and the Dark Side of the Farm. And if you like the movie, pass it on!


June 21, 2005 (TechTuesday)

We bring a lot of digital gadgets with us when we go on vacation.  All of them need power.  Some of them need a LOT of power.

Most of the time recharging batteries is as simple as plugging in the charger.  However, when you are out in the middle of nowhere, an electric outlet may not be "convenient". This is when the Brunton SolarRoll 14 really shines. Go read all about it here.


June 20, 2005

Need to find some vintage computer gear?  Need to locate that memory upgrade kit for the 128K Mac? Need to find a copy of CP/M for your S-100 system?

You need to get your self out to the MIT SwapFest!  This Cambridge gathering has been happening since the early 80's.  It happens on the third Sunday of every month from Spring to Fall.  Just drive around the MIT Campus until you see people speaking in Hex.


June 17, 2005

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 :-)


June 16, 2005 (TunerThursday)

The whole point of including a touchscreen LCD in the Carputer Project was to eliminate the need to have a keyboard in the car.  However, try as we may, some information was just easier to enter using a keyboard.

After looking around a bit, we found EXACTLY what we needed from AssistiveWare. The product is called TouchStrokes.  Go read all about it here.


June 15, 2005 (WackyWednesday)

In April we told you about Google Maps.  Today we point you to Noah Vawter's site to show you how to stitch together a huge map for your wall or desktop.

Noah has a couple of them already stitched together on his site (Cambridge, Boston, etc...).  They are pretty big... 2048x2048.  He also has a really huge one of Cambridge/Boston/Somerville (3072x3072).

The instructions and scripts to do it are available on the site.  Go check it out. It's a fun little RainyDayProject.

BTW...Google Maps doesn't really like folks messing with their maps, so don't be surprise if these instructions disappears in a couple of days.  I guess that's what happens when a company goes public and start start hiring lawyers... someday we aspire to do the same :-)

We read about this in the Boston Globe back in April and have forgotten about it until today when Jeremy, one of our RainDayTipsters, sent us a link to "Fight The Bull".  We thought it was a perfect tip for WackyWednesday.

If you think you have come across some... copy the text, click on the image above, and find out its "Bull Score".  Just remember it may be NSFW... especially if it is your boss' memo :-)


June 14, 2005 (TechTuesday)

I have always considered gyroscopes to be one of those "perfect" toys.  They are fun to play with, incredibly educational, and totally mesmerizing.

Glen Turner at Gyroscope.com sent us this beauty.  This gyroscope is an heirloom quality precision instrument.  In this "first look" review, we tried to give you a feel for the quality of this gyroscope, the various gimbal pieces, and the different possible configurations for gyroscopic explorations. Read all about it here.

We have not fired up the gyroscope as of this writing.  We wanted to read all of the instructions carefully before hitting the switch :-)

After all, we remember what happened in the movie "Contact"... we didn't want to accidentally open up a worm hole in the middle of the RainyDayMagazine office!

If we did get sucked into a worm hole to another dimension, we would hope we had the CVS One-Time-Use digital videocamcorder with us!

This is going to be the killer product of the summer!  Go read the RainyDayMagazine "First Look" review here.


June 13, 2005

We took a very pleasant drive out to Sturbridge MA this weekend to visit Old Sturbridge Village.  Old Sturbridge Village is a kind of living museum of what a MA town was like in the early 1800s.

We went mostly because it was Garden Weekend at OSV, but we also had a great time walking through all of the other exhibits.

Their well tended herb garden had an amazing assortments of local herbs, grown for cooking, canning, and medicinal purposes. There were lots of events through out the day (musket firing, old time baseball game, crafts demonstrations, etc...).  We ended up staying for about 4 hours!  You will be able to read all about it when Carolyn is done soaking her feet and write it up in Carolyn's World :-)


June 10, 2005 (BargainFriday)

Normally on "BargainFridays" our intern Buffy points you toward some amazing deals that has crossed our path.  This BargainFriday, we wanted to remind our readers that SOME deals may just be too amazing to be real... especially when it comes to used cars.

We all know that the VIN number on our dash is the car's "social security" number... the code that gives access to the car's history.  It is also suppose to be unique.  If the VIN number of the car matches the title, we are suppose to feel safe that the car was not stolen and a purchase can be confidently made.  NOT SO FAST!!!

There is a new scam called VIN CLONING that will throw a huge cloud over the used car market.  Apparently it is not too difficult to steal a car, get a new VIN number from some other car just like it (...the VIN number is on the dash of your car), create some fake paperwork, register it with the DMV in some state, drive the car to another state, and sell it as a good car. 

Now ... you can't go and cover up the VIN number on the dash to prevent the VIN cloners from getting the number.  Why, because it is the law in most states to have it visible so the police can tell if the car is stolen :-) 

We are sure a new system can be devised to solve the problem, but we are not sure how they can stop it in the short term.  So if you are in the market for a used car... Buyer Beware.


June 9, 2005 (TunerThursday)

No carputer project is complete if GPS was not a part of its functionality.  Our project was no different.  The problem was the Mac community had been pretty much ignored by the GPS hardware and software manufacturers.  However, we were fortunate to find a company, USGlobalSat, that has decided to reverse that trend.

We worked with USGlobalSat to pick out the appropriate unit for our project.  Go check it out here.


June 8, 2005 (WackyWednesday)

CVS announced today they will start selling the $30 disposable digital videocamcorder.  We were very excited... especially after reading today's WSJ article by Mossberg.  We drove out to our local CVS and asked for one, only to get a TOTALLY blank stare from the clerk behind the counter.   I knew what she was thinking... " Do you KNOW you are in a CVS?"  and  "if we did sell a digital whatchamacallit...did you think it would only be $30 ????". 

Did the executives at CVS not think that folks would be interested in this thing on the DAY they say it would be available?  A call to CVS customer service set us straight. Apparently they will not actually be shipping them out to their stores until the end of June.  Wow...what a really good way to generate a lot of annoyed potential customers. We'll try again at the end of June.

Some of us were around when Rubik's Cube made its first appearance. 

Some of us stayed home from school for a few days until we finally solved the puzzle.  Some of us even put vaseline in between the cubes so it would rotate faster to cut down on our overall time.

Twenty five years later...some of us still have our original cube.  The current best time for a 3x3x3 cube is around 12 seconds...by some 15 year old kid.  There are plenty of sites on the web with solutions, if you have not already solved the thing by now.

There are also lots of different versions of the cube you can try solving online if the original one wasn't challenging enough.

However, if you want a really good time sink...try solving the 4 dimensional version of the puzzle. 

Since a 4D cube can't physically be made, here is a computer generated one for those of you with gobs of time on your hands.  We would suggest firing up the virtual glove interface and the 3D goggles... to make manipulating the 4D cube faster :-)


June 7, 2005 (TechTuesday)

To breath like a fish...and explore underwater unencumbered by oxygen tanks and gear?  If the prototype created by Alan Bodner turns out to be what he claims, in a few years that is exactly what we could be doing.

Mr. Bodner's idea was to develop a device to mimic the same mechanism used by fish: to take the dissolved air in the water and separated it, in this case by spinning the sea water to force separate the air.  It's a pretty cool idea and it is not some crackpot scheme.  It is based on Henry's Law... formulated by William Henry in 1801.  If you don't remember you college chemistry or physics... go check out Henry's Law here.  The problem is not that it can't be done ...but getting it all to fit into something that would work underwater :-)

Being able to swim with the fishes would be cool, but being always plugged into the grid and having live information constantly pumped into your brain would be even "MORE COOLER" :-)  OK...maybe not.

Olympus has been working on a prototype display that is intended to be worn all the time.  Why?...To "augment" your reality, of course.  "Is this train going uptown?"  Look at the train and see!  "What's her phone number?"  Look at...hmmm...there may be some uses for this technology :-)


June 4, 2005

We got a very cool camera from Logitech (QuickCam Orbit) yesterday and spent most of the day playing around with it.

We'll be using this camera to implement some of the "video security" ideas of the Porsche Boxster Carputer project.  Go here to check out the setup of the Logitech QuickCam Orbit.


June 3, 2005

The placement of the Mac mini unit in the Boxster was (and some would say still is...) opened to much debate at the RainyDayGarage. 

Some wanted the Apple logo to be prominently displayed, others wanted the unit to be completely hidden from view, and a few wanted to take a functional approach and put it where it is easiest to service / upgrade. 

We decided to take the Mac out to the Boxster and just put it in different spots to see how it would be.  Go read all about it here.


June 2, 2005 (TunerThursday)

When we got the LCD screen for the Boxster project, we tested it with a G3 laptop for several weeks. Today, we got the Mac mini and we thought it would be useful to document the setup process and share it with our RainyDayGarage readers!


June 1, 2005

Here is a bit of information that we thought all RainyDayTravelers would like to know:

Last month, the US Department of State announced a plan called the "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative," designed to enhance border security, which will require people traveling between the United States and the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada to have a passport to enter or re-enter the United States. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda will be affected.

Currently, passports are recommended, but not required, for travel to and from the destinations above. The new requirements are expected to be rolled out in phases according to the following schedule:

Beginning December 31, 2005, a passport will be required for all air and sea travel between the United States and the Caribbean, Bermuda, Central and South America. All foreign nationals from these areas, and US citizens returning from these areas, will be required to show a passport to enter the United States.

Beginning December 31, 2006, a passport will be required for all air and sea travel to or from Mexico and Canada. Canadian and Mexican citizens, and US citizens returning from Canada or Mexico, will be required to present a passport to enter or re-enter the United States.

Beginning December 31, 2007, a passport will be required for all air, sea or land travel to and from the above-mentioned destinations.



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