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March 30, 2005

We did a review of the SleepTracker on the 25th of this month. Well, this little device was too addictive (at least for me...) to put aside. I have been wearing it and tracking my sleep pattern every night and plotting the results the next morning...yes, it is possible to be a geek even while I'm asleep :-)

Some patterns are beginning to emerge... but I think we'll have to get more data to see if the pattern really holds. One interesting observation was there were nights where I thought I slept very soundly only to have the data say otherwise.

I'm really interested to know if I sleep better on nights after my Aikido classes or if eating a big dinner really does disturb my pattern... now I have a way of getting some answers to those types of questions! Anyway, you can read more about it here.


March 29, 2005

We are straying a bit off topics with this entry but it was sooooo cool that I felt I needed to post it. The link came from our reader Jeremy. The site "CSS Zen Garden" shows what a good designer can add to a Web page.

All four (Subway Dream, Table Layout Assasination, A Simple Sunrise, bugs) of these pages have the EXACT same content. The only thing different is the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) applied to the words. I think of different CSS as "molds" that can cast the stuff (words in this case) poured in it into totally different "shapes". The "function" of all these "shapes" remains the same, but they just look different.

This is a really cool thing... imagine a site that will automatically change the look of a page depending on what they know about you? Of course, that may also mean they know way too much about you!


March 28, 2005

With the current Dollars/Euros conversion rate, it is a lot cheaper traveling around the US than in Europe. However, there are inexpensive lodgings if you do decide to head across the pond.

We had mentioned EasyHotel a while back... for less than the price of a meal at McDonald's ($10-60), you can get a clean, small (and we mean it ...60 sq. ft) room with a bathroom. It is one of the cheapest way to say in London.

If you want something a little more upscale, the YO! Sushi folks will have the YOtel chain up and running in London by 2006. For about $150/night, you'll get something much bigger (100 sq. ft) and a bit better appointed.

We don't know if either one of these chains have plans to bring the concept to the US, but we would love a cheap place to stay in cities like New York, San Francisco, and L.A.

One cool idea did make its way across the Atlantic. When we were in Paris a few years ago, we saw a lot of the Smart cars zipping around town. It turns out that DaimlerChrysler actually owns the brand.

DaimlerChrysler had no plans for bringing the car into the US...so Zap did it for them. Zap's timing couldn't have been better! With gas prices heading straight north, they have already exceeded their projections for the year. Just how small are these things? Maybe the photo below will give you an idea :-)


March 27, 2005

DiscHub is product that solved a problem I didn't even know I had... to have 11 discs neatly organized on my desk and readily accessible.

I have used it for a week and it is now a permanent fixture on my desk. If you burn a lot of CDs you will like this product.

The grip is quite secure...Carolyn knocked a loaded tray off her desk and all the discs stayed in place! If you want one for FREE... go check out the rest of the review here.

Another fun little device is the PodWave from Macally. This little gadget is a set of external stereo speakers for your iPod.

The speakers are powered by a single AA battery so it does not drain the iPod's power. This little unit does have some flaws. If you find one on sale... it's worth a try. Read the full review here.


March 26, 2005

Shobu Aikido of Boston had their annual fundraiser last night. Word got around town about the event and the turnout was tremendous.

For a $5 donation at the door, those who came out for the event were treated to great food, fine beer, live music, and a wonderful and spirited demonstration of Aikido by members of the dojo and by Gleason Sensei (6th Dan) himself!

If you missed this event, you can still go check out the dojo and some of their upcoming beginner's programs!


March 25, 2005

We have been busy reviewing a lot fun little gadgets the past week. What will be interesting for you, the reader, is now that Carolyn's World is up and running... Carolyn will be posting her impressions of these gadgets. All I can say is... sometimes they "differ" from mine :-)

SleepTracker is a device we received about a week ago. I have been using it a few different ways (weekday, naps, weekend). It has been good for some things, not so good for others. Read the details here.

Carolyn will be testing it this week and we already have some pretty divergent results! We'll post her findings next week in Carolyn's World.


March 22, 2005

Spaceships, rockets, jetpacks...weren't we all suppose to be flying around in them by now? That was always how the future was presented to me as I was growing up in the 70's! All the magazines (Popular Science, Scientific American, OMNI,...etc) all had grand predictions about how we would zip from place to place in speed and comfort.

Companies like XCOR are bringing that version of the future a step closer to reality. OK, the EZRocket looks like a rocket engine and fuel tank strapped to a plane. No, there is no room for anything but the pilot. No, there are no cupholders.

However...it is a personal ROCKET! The engine uses isopropyl alcohol and liquid oxygen as the fuel. It generates 400 lb of thrust/engine...enough to get the plane to Mach 0.4 and an altitute of 10,000 ft. At 128dB from about 30 feet away...it's a bit loud. Your next door neighbor will definitely protest, but the good thing is you won't hear it!



March 19, 2005

We love finding local companies that do innovative things...being in Boston and a stone's throw from MIT, there are always cool innovative things popping up!

Ambient Devices (the glowing orb guys) are now shipping their "Dashboard". I've always found something warm about "analog" things...they are not as frenetic as their digital counterparts. If you have a digital speedometer in your car you know how distracting it can be....29 mph,30 mph,28 mph,29 mph. If an analog needle is jumping around it usually mean you should pay attention :-)

The Dashboard can be configured to monitor whatever you want (stocks, weather, temperature, seismic events, sunspot activities...etc). It is just a great way to get a quick update on whatever is important to YOU.

If needles aren't your thing, they also have other devices that glow, change colors, or pulsate.


March 16, 2005

A few days ago we were at the New England Flower Show celebrating the coming of Spring. It appears that visitors to California's Death Valley National Park are getting an even more spectacular, once in a lifetime, flower show!

Because of all the heavy rain in California, conditions are perfect for all kinds of the wild flowers to take advantage of the unusual amount of water. The blooms started in December and are now at their peak. In another two weeks, the temperature will be above a hundred and this show will be over.

So, if you are in the area, pack up your vehicle, bring plenty of water, and take a trip out to see something that you may not see again in your lifetime!

You can find more about the hours, fees, and other useful information about the Death Valley National Park here.


March 15, 2005

On Friday March 25th 7:00PM the nonprofit Shobu Aikido of Boston will be having a gala fundraiser. It looks like it is going to be a great event! There will be Aikido demonstrations by members of the dojo AND by the internationally acclaimed teacher and author Sensei William Gleason (6th Dan). Sensei Gleason is the founder and head teacher at Shobu Aikido of Boston.

Many local businesses have generously donated door prizes and other support for the event. There will also be food, beer, and live music. The suggested donation at the door is $5. It will be a great opportunity both to see what Aikido is all about and support a fantastic local organization. They have a great 8 week introductory program taught by Gleason Sensei himself! On that Friday only, there is a free gi ($50 value) for all who sign up for the program. You can bet RainyDayMagazine will be there!

Go here to find out more!!!!


March 14, 2005

The New England Flower Show has been the first sign of Spring for Boston since as long as I've been here...which is more years than I care to mention :-) We spent a wonderful afternoon wandering around the show getting ideas for when the snow is gone and ground thaws.

The show also featured many artisans that create items to make your garden special! These items may be metal planters, stone carvings, or specially created water features.

The New England Spring Flower Show will be at the Bayside Expo Center until March 20th... get over there before the blooms fade!


March 13, 2005

RainyDayMagazine would like to announce that Carolyn's World is now active! Carolyn realized that her insistence on winning the lottery before starting to contribute to RainyDayMagazine was keeping her from becoming the Contributing Editor she said she wanted to be. Thus, she has decided to share her unique views on the world starting this week! Check out her South Beach adventures here. Fans and other well-wishers may contact her directly here.

Why yes, I AM a movie star, thank you

The link to Carolyn's World is now at the top of the left column on the front page so it will be easier to find. Carolyn's World is still a work in progress, and many of the links there will become active over the next few weeks. So bookmark it now and check it often for things that will make your world softer, smell better, and generally more pleasant... pretty much the direct opposite of RainyDayGarage :-)


March 12, 2005

When Apple created the Mac mini, most of the car tuner crowd immediately saw its potential as the core of a "carputer" project. We at RainyDayGarage will have the Porsche Boxster Mac mini installation completed by mid-April. However, some folks have been busy at work since February and their installations are starting to see the light of day!

Matt Turner at TurnerTricks had one of the nicest installation we've seen so far. This installation is in a GTi. The screen is a 7" Xenarc. The bezel is custom made out of aluminum. Matt has also added some other nice touches to the project (power button, USB controls, etc...). Go check out this and his other projects!


March 10, 2005

Here is gadget that I first saw back in 1997 on the TV show called Earth:The Final Conflict. It was a video communicator/PDA/GPS with a retractable flexible display that pulled out from the side. Their version also allowed the user to travel great distances by folding space-time.

Now Phillips announced they will have this 5" 320x240 flex screen cell phone available in 2 years. It uses the electronic ink and flexible thin film transistor (TFT) arrays technology from E Ink Corp.

Other cool gadgets such as GPS/Maps and more readable electronic books are sure to follow. However, they need to get away from the idea that folks want to wear large solid objects on their wrists...unless it can fold space-time.


March 9, 2005

If you love beer...and there are many reasons why you should, then you need to check out this site. These guys LOVE beer! Be sure to look for events in your neck of the woods.


March 8, 2005

The MFA in Boston is currently running an exhibit of Mr. Ralph Lauren's collection of roadsters. In the collection are Bentleys, Bugattis, Jags, Ferraris, and Porsches. They span the period from the '30s to the '60s.

If you have a love for Art Deco, fine automobiles, or things owned by Ralph Lauren... get yourselves over to the MFA before July 3rd. If you are interested in seeing the cars with the hood up... get your tickets for April 28, May 26, and June 30, from 5 to 9:45 pm (timed exhibition tickets required). To purchase exhibition tickets for these time slots, click here.


March 7, 2005

We noticed a lot of new hotels along Collins Avenue. One new one that caught our eyes was the Catalina Hotel & Beach Club located directly across from where we were staying.

They just opened in December. We took a quick look inside. We liked what they have done to the place! We may stay there next year and report back with our impressions.

So after a few days of lounging around the pool, drinking mojitos, and eating our way to the credit limit... another Spring Break vacation bites the dust. For sure, we'll be back next year! Go here for the trip report :-)


March 6, 2005

We took a little drive up to Fort Lauderdale for the annual Las Olas Riverfront Arts and Crafts Show. I particularly liked Captain Jim Roberts' Gyotaku Fish Prints.

There were a lot of artisans showing their work. We had heard they have all new artists each year... worth a stroll if you are already in the area. There are plenty of restaurants and cafe along the way to rest, eat, or just sit and watch.

Carolyn found an inexpensive Cuban place close to the hotel. We decide to give it a try for dinner. Great food value for the money. I think all five of us ate for what we paid for drinks during lunch yesterday.

We did manage to met up with May, my cousin who is a doctor working down here in Miami. I had forgotten to email her until the night before we left to let her know we'll be in town. May said nobody from the family visited her the entire time she was doing her residency in Houston. Now that she is in Miami, all of a sudden... people are showing up. I wonder why :-) It can't be the location...

Go here for the trip report :-)


March 5, 2005

The weather was beautiful today. We started early... early enough to have our pick of tables.

The main pedestrian mall is on Lincoln Road. We found a nice outdoor cafe with cuban coffee and empanadas. Just enough food to get us started.

Some of the crew had hair appointments, others were looking for messages and nail/pedicure treatments. I just spent the rest of the day lounging around the pool until it was time for dinner.

Go here for the trip report :-)


March 4, 2005

In trying to maximize our time in South Beach, I booked us on a 6AM flight out of Boston. I soon realized that it was not that great an idea :-) It meant getting up at 3:30AM to make sure we had enough time to get to airport, check in, and get through security. It also meant we had to take the car instead of a taxi...Central Parking at Logan Airport is not bad, but it's not cheap neither. New rule...no flights before 10AM :-)

We arrived just at the tail end of a few days of rain... the clouds cleared by noon and the temperature started to climb above 70.

We knew we had some time before the rest of the crew got in, so we took the opportunity and got in some hot tub time at the hotel before lunch.

By the time Jay and Lisa arrived and we got going again, we were hungry AND thirsty! Lucky for us great dining is everywhere in South Beach!

Go here for the trip report :-)


March 3, 2005

The GlobalFlyer is scheduled to complete the flight around the world today around 2:40PM EST. Follow Steve Fossett and his team as they complete this historic non-stop solo flight around the world!

We, on the other hand, will be flying down to South Beach to give you a first hand report on the start of the Spring Break season!


March 2, 2005

The best part about a quick trip to NYC is we only have time to do just one or two things. Walking up Fifth Avenue is one of the best ways to see some of the hidden gems in the city. We came upon this little aviary store on 33rd.

There were probably over 20 different types of birds flying around in the large front window. For a brief moment, we thought it would be great to have an aviary...but then we realize it would just make our cat's head explode.

Along the way, we also managed to see a few interesting buildings and some statues :-)

We did do one tourist thing... we took the NBC studio tour. it was actually quite illuminating! They took us through a few of the studios, showed us some of the tricks of the trade, and gave us a chance to try our hand at being a weather person :-) That's our friend Finora giving a quick update on the weather out in L.A.


March 1, 2005

Some friends were in NYC from Ireland. So we drove down from Boston to join them for dinner at The River Cafe. The great thing about having parents living close to NYC is there is always a place to leave the car if you don't want to drive into the city.

The storm on Monday made it too messy to drive in so we took the LIRR to meet our friends. It was actually quite enjoyable not having to driving around looking for parking. The restaurant is on the Brooklyn side of the bridge on 1 Water Street. It is right on the water and almost right under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The view from the table is nothing short of spectacular. So were the martinis, the service, and the food. If you want a great dining experience with a view to match, we would highly recommend The River Cafe.

Definitely call ahead for a reservation. I can't wait to go back when it is warm out!

There are almost as many places to stay in NYC as there are places to eat. We love to stay at boutique hotels when we travel. They tend to offer much more value for the money. We booked a night at the Hotel Chandler because we like the look of the front of the hotel on their website.

We found the lobby inviting and the room cozy and well appointed. While waiting for our friends we sampled the free wine and cheese at the bar.

We didn't have time to check out the fitness and Finnish sauna, but we would definitely stay at the Hotel Chandler again when next we are back in NYC.


[February 2005...]

[January 2005...]

[December 2004...]

[November 2004...]

[October 2004...]

[September 2004...]


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