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Spring - Flower - 7

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May 31, 2005 (TechTuesday)

Think your TV's picture is good? Think the color is life like and vibrant?  We thought ours was until I went to the SID '05 conference last week.  There is a company called Genoa that is about to change the picture we'll see on TV... yes, we'll have to get a new TV to see the pictures, but you will when you actually see what you were missing!

Our computer and TV monitors basically use the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) primary colors in various intensity and combinations to create all the colors we seen on the screen.  The left diagram above show what the eye can potentially see.  The triangle on the right shows what a TV typically can display.  The smaller band of color outside the triangle is the color that are recorded in film which is missing from playback! 

Genoa has developed that technology called ColorPeak to enable TV and computer displays manufacturers to show us those colors.  If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would have not believe the difference!  The Genoa technology utilize a modified version of RGB with 1 to 3 supplementary primaries such as Yellow and Cyan to deliver higher brightness than in today’s RGB displays.  The difference is stunning!

Another advance in display technology that was quite impressive were the 3D displays.  One such company developing google-free 3D displays capabilities is SeeReal Technology.

These were not the Red/Green images and goggle displays of yesteryears.  Nor were they the LCD shutter and google displays of yesterdays.  They are goggle-FREE displays that gives a true 3D image to a viewer at a specific distance.  The SeeReal monitor can also track a moving viewer to show the appropriate image as the user moves in front of the monitor!  I wonder how long before we'll have 3D TV ???


May 30, 2005 (Memorial Day)

While we may not always agree with our leaders' policies and actions, we at RainyDayMagazine will be taking time today to reflect on the sacrifices of America's fallen ( 3 PM Local time ).  We urge all our readers to reflect on the meaning of a participatory democracy and to be engaged when possible.


May 29, 2005

The Nor'easter has finally passed.  It looks like we'll have a few days of sunny 70 degree weather to clean up and get things into the ground before the rain hits again.  We took the opportunity yesterday and got out in the RainyDayGarden to do some weeding.  Carolyn also got her tomatos and basils into the ground. Carolyn ordered some from a mail order place. 

I went and got some from our local Home Depot.  Home Depot has revamped their packaging for their vegetables and flowers. 

The planting and care instructions are now right on the container.  All the information are clear and concise.  I really like it and I think they did a great job!

We also had a lot of damage to our front lawn from the snow plows this past winter.  I took that opportunity to try something I always wanted to use... Scott's PatchMaster Lawn Repair.

The seeds are already mixed with fertilizer and what appears to be green paper.  The stuff was super easy to use... just loosen the spot, grab a handful of the stuff, mix it with the loose dirt, and water.  The water is absorbed by the paper/seed mixture and everything stays where you put it.  We'll let you know how well this stuff actually works.


May 27, 2005

We knew something was different about this product when the UPS guy dropped it off in our office.  The package from LumaRay was triangular.  We don't get many triangular packages.

It opened to reveal what we at first thought was a Jedi Light Saber.  You know, Ray... Luma, a logical assumption. Go here to read all about the LumaRay FL6.

Casio just announced a line of phones that would pair well with the LumaRay FL6.  The Casio G'zOne is a phone built for those who would rather be outdoors.  These phones are right at home inside as well.

The phone has built in digital compass, a digital camera, is waterproof and shock resistant.  They also come in different colors!

If you love the outdoors and love your iPod Mini, but worries about dropping it when you take it outside, worry no more!

Slappa is shipping a line of iPod Mini cases call ShockShell.  Slappa's CORE3 technology will wrap your iPod Mini in 3 layers of protective material while giving it a look that will fit your personality.  Go read all about it here!


May 26, 2005

At RainyDayMagazine, we like to honor our geeky past every once in a while.  We do that by attending the technical trade shows when they come to town. 

BioIT World was in town in mid May.  We were there, but I just couldn't figure out how to make "high throughput microarray technology" entertaining so I passed on writing about it.

This week, Boston is hosting SID'05... the Society for Information Display.  Hmmm... big LCDs, 3D monitors, micro panels, immersive head gear... now that sounded more promising.  Read all about it here.


May 25, 2005 (WackyWednesday)

The folks are Radica sent us something that managed to bring the entire RainyDayMagazine office to a grinding halt.

It is the classic 20 Questions game in electronic form.  This little gadget is really tough to beat... and REALLY REALLY fun to play with!!! Read all about the 20Q here.

Our recommendation?  Go order one RIGHT NOW.   When it arrives... play with it until you realize you are going to get fired if you don't get some work done.


May 24, 2005 (TechTuesday)

We read the Wall Street Journal here at RainyDayMagazine.  We love the WSJ.  We love it because all the news are filtered through a financial lens.  We also love it in spite of the fact that over the years, it has proven itself to be one of the most unreliable source of Apple rumors out there.  The WSJ has been reporting on the imminent demise of Apple since the company's creation.  I'm not sure why, but that's just their view.

Yesterday the WSJ had an article...a pretty big one... about the rumor of Apple switching from IBM to Intel for their main CPU.  AppTel??? Could be... but we at RDM are skeptical.

What would Apple gain? 

1. If Apple wanted OS X to run on a Intel box, they could do that NOW without putting Intel in Apple boxes.  The basics of OS X, with it's NextStep roots, could probably run on an Intel box with a simple recompile and some tweeks.

2. Apple and all of the folks in the Mac universe would have to support two hardware platforms under one OS.  When was the last time that strategy worked?

3. Could OS X on an Intel based platform make Apple's move on the corporate IT world easier?  Corporate IT is NOT interested in making things easier for themselves.  It's call Job Security :-)  If they wanted systems that were easier to support, they would be buying Macs now... and cut their budget and staff size in half.  Where is the advantage in that?

However, point #3 did have us a bit intriqued.  Could Apple create an Intel based server platform running OS X just for corporate customers?  It would not eat into their consumer market.  OS X running on a company's existing backend hardware would not require any re-training in the front office. 

Hmmm... maybe the WSJ (and Apple) is not crazy after all.

"A picture is worth a 1000 words"...we have all heard this.  Now see an interactive collection of the 100 most important pictures of the hour around the world.

10x10 is completely automated... no editors, no human filters, no spin.  You will find it a most interesting way of scanning to see what is going on.  Slide along the side to see the labels for the top 100 words that correspond to the 100 images.  Click around...you'll get it.


May 23 , 2005

Porsche just posted "official" photos of the Caymen S on their site. Go check out the lastest addition to the Porsche family here.

RainyDayGarage will have the usual up close review for you when we get our hands on one.

MagLite has dominated the flashlight market for the past 20 years. We have the large 4 D cell units in our vehicles and we pack the smaller AA units when we travel. However, I think our MagLites will be serving as backups if SureFire has any say about it.

SureFire has a series of tactical flashlight systems that will give MagLite some serious competition. We tested two of these SureFire "illumination tools" and were throughly impressed! Go here to read all about it.


May 22 , 2005

A new Porsche was announced a few months back, but photos were very hard to come by. RennTeam.com got some of the first ones without any of the usual camouflage.

Porsche Cayman S
Power: 295 HP
Top Speed: 275 kph
Performance: 0-100 kph in 5.4 sec
Max. Torque: 340 Nm between 4400 and 6000 rpm
Price tag in Germany incl. 16% VAT: 58529 Euro

The Cayman S has 18'' wheels and PSM as standard. PASM and Tiptronic S are available as options. Variocam Plus comes with the engine, this seems to indicate the probability that the Cayman S engine is based on the 996 M96 engine.


May 20 , 2005 (BargainFriday)

This Friday, Buffy found some Sony Ear Buds iconfor her iPod. Not that there was anything wrong with the nice white ones that came with the unit, but she wanted a better fit for her ears...also she thought the white clashed with her blonde hair.

Buffy was quite taken with the Sony's super-light In-the-Ear Design, the ultra-compact 9 mm drivers, and the powerful resonant bass response. She is hoping to be able to achieve complete sonic isolation with the newly-designed Soft Silicon Earbuds.... we'll let you know how she made out.

In the meantime, you too can get these $80 Sony MDR-EX71SL Ear Bud Headphones at a super discounted price of $28.99 hereicon.


May 19 , 2005 (TunerThursday)

We have been busy working on the Porsche Boxster Carputer project. Most of this past week have been playing with/testing the voice interface to the Mac.

As much as the touchscreen may be preferred over the keyboard, the most natural user interface for giving commands would still be voice. Go here to see the RainyDayGarage voice interface setup.


May 18 , 2005 (WackyWednesday)

If you can get past PumpABike's incredibly annoying Flash interface, you will see one of the most interesting human-powered watercraft on the market!

This is a hydrofoil that you move by pumping up and down. The craft will float a rider even when it's not moving. It will also dissassemble and fit into a carrying bag! How cool is that???

I can't wait to find a place with one and give it a try...definitely way more fun that a paddle boat :-)

The problem with spare tires is that their tire pressure needs to be checked periodically...and who does that? And since you don't, when you need your spare, it's flat. To get around this problem, some folks keep a can of "flat fix" puncture sealant in their trunk. These sealants are goopy liquids that you pump into the tire to re-inflate it. It makes a mess and renders the tire pretty much useless after it gets you to your dealer.

Amerityre has a better solution. They have a new "FlatFree" closed-cell polyurethane spare tire technology that will always be inflated, gets you out of the jam, and looks GREAT doing it :-)


May 17 , 2005 (TechTuesday)

The phone charger from SideWinder is a device that should be in a lot of folk's luggage. It is different from the Charge2Go device we mentioned a while back. This unit is a portable generator for your cell phone...which means you will ALWAYS be able to recharge your phone, no matter where you are!

We tested the SideWinder with a Motorola v60. A few crank of the handle did give a few minutes of talk time and almost half an hour of standby!

Built into the case is also a white LED... which means you will always have a handy crank powered flashlight! A nice little bonus!!! Read the full RainyDayReview here.


May 16 , 2005

Antiques and Brimfield have a long history together. The Brimfield Antique Show is a HUGE show (over 5000 dealers) with miles of booths. We went on the last day of the Spring show to see if we could find ourselves any bargains.

We didn't end up with any great deals, but we did meet some great people...people like Joe and Claudia who designs amazing bird houses!

We also stopped and talked to master model maker George Anton and Kirby Harris of Vintage Optical. Go read about them here.

The next one is from July 5th to July 10th. Put it on your calendar now and get your walking shoes ready.

May 14 , 2005

Clair Porsche of West Roxsbury had their annual Porsche Enthusiast "Season Opener" Spring Fling Cookout today.

As one of their loyal customer, RainyDayGarage, of course, was on site to check things out. Besides... the invitation said "Free Barbecue and Refreshments"!

There was a good complement of 2005 911s, Boxsters, and Cayennes in all their glorious colors (Midnight Blue, Forest Green, Arctic Silver,...etc). What we did not expect was to see a Carrera GT and moreover to be able to get up close and check it out!

The Porsche Carrera GT is Porsche's top of the line. Only 1500 will be available. Of course, at an average sale price of $430,000 that is still $645 million dollars!

If you have a chance, drop on by Clair Porsche in West Roxsbury and check it out before someone snaps it up. It is not everyday one gets a chance to be this close to a masterpiece! If you can't get there, go read about it here :-)


May 13 , 2005 (BargainFriday)

It's Friday and that means another RainyDayBargain Day! Our intern Buffy has found for you a great deal on portable DVD players. These portable units would go for close to $1000 just two years ago. However, like all gadgets digital...their prices drop fast once all of the "early adopters" have had their fill :-) Portable DVD players are no exception.

This portable unit from Coby iconwill only set you back $134.99! icon The price for this unit elsewhere is $249.95...that's a savings of $114.9!!!

The Coby TF-DVD7100 has a large 7" LCD in widescreen and will play all of the usual formats (DVD /MP3 /CD/ CD-RW). It comes with all the necessary accessories for personal, home, or car use.

Buffy also came across a smaller screen unit for $109, but it was sold out before we could get it listed. There is also a larger 8" unit from GoVideo iconwith built in TV Tuner for $249.99 icon. However we think the Coby iconunit is the best deal going!

So go check it outicon and grab one before they are all gone!


May 12 , 2005 (TunerThursday)

We finally received our display for the RainyDayGarage Porsche Boxster Carputer installation project. The reason it took so long was we had some very specific display requirement... touchscreen, VGA input, dual Video input, motorized retractible screen, all in a 1 DIN size unit.

After searching for a while, we finally located a vendor called Digital WorldWide. They actually had a selection of units. We decided on a Panasonic LCD screen. The unit arrived yesterday and our engineers promptly spent the rest of the day putting the unit through its paces.

The test bench was pretty simple: Apple G3 laptop supplied the VGA signal, DVCam supplied the video, and a Radio Shack 12V/3 amp DC power supply fired up the unit.

Getting things working was a piece of cake using the Mac. Here you can clearly see OS X desktop and webpages displayed on the unit. The amazing thing is the entire display disappears into the base with the push of a button. We'll have a detail write-up soon. Also, you can follow the Porsche Boxster carputer installation updates in the RainyDayGarage section. We'll also have the highlights on TunerThursday until the project is finished.


May 11 , 2005 (WackyWednesday)

Graph paper... we all need a sheet once in a blue moon, but good luck actually getting your hands on one!

Somehow, I knew the folks at Make magazine would have an online source to all the graph paper styles I would every need. If you find yourself in the same "plot"...hop over here and print what you need. All the style are in .pdf format. If you need some wacky format that they don't have, you can always design your own.


May 10 , 2005 (TechTuesday)

Camera lens have typically been made of glass or plastic. To adjust the focus, a system of mechanical gearing is usually employed to move the optics (left device).

Now there is a new approach...a liquid lens (right device). The idea is simple and elegant. The lens is made of two different liquid that do not mix...think "oil and water".

Light is bent at the boundary between the two liquids. The curvature of the lens (and the amount of light bending) is controlled by an applied voltage.

Phillips' technology is called "FluidFocus". A French company called Varioptics also owns several key patents of this approach. Both companies have demonstrated working prototypes of these liquid lens. Varioptics has also demostrated a zoom version suitable for cell phone cameras.

As the first photo shows, size is one obvious benefit. The other is the lack of moving parts which translate to quicker autofocus and lower power requirements...all critical design factors for small devices.


May 7 , 2005

Today there is Nor'easter rolling through Boston...so it's a perfect day to do some writing about what we would be doing out in the garden if the sun was out. One thing we all have to do is control the various pests that show up to dine on all of the beautiful plants we all so lovingly tend to in our free time.

If you grow lillies like we do at the RainyDayGarden, at some point you will come across a bright red beetle on those shiny green leaves. The name of this pest is the Red Lilly Beetle. One or two of these bugs can clean a plant down to the stalk in no time.

If you have just a few plants, the best way to control them is to just pick them off every day. Go to the RainyDayGarden article on Red Lilly Beetles for the gruesome details :-)


May 6 , 2005

RainyDayMagazine has decided that Fridays are going to be RainyDayBargain Days! Our intern Buffy has been scouring the Web looking for deals on stuff that we would buy for ourselves... and thought that you may want to get in on it as well :-)

The first item is a Sharp DVD recorder/player iconfor $169.99! With a DVD recorder, you now can record shows directly to a rewriteable DVD disc. The discs can be erased and re-recorded on up to a 1000 times! You can also record up to 10 hours of video on a disc in the Super Extended Play (SEP) mode!

It is as easy to use as your old VHS recorder...so there is nothing new to learn, except how to stop the clock from blinking 12:00 :-) Get one here icon!

The second item is a 5.1 Megapixel digital camera from HP. The HP PhotoSmart icon R707xi is available for $169.99 as well!

This camera has a stainless steel body, 5.1 megapixel sensor, uses SD cards, and a ton of other features. However, the key thing here is this is a digital camera from a big name imaging company that has the resolution high enough to be useful for years to come. Get one here!

So, now you can take photos using the HP camera, show them on the TV and record them directly to DVD, all with out turning on the computer!

The last thing you need now is some place to go so you can use that camera! How about a cruise? There are some amazing bargains this time of the year. A 7 night eastern Caribbean cruise iconfrom Royal Caribbean is only $799! Go check it out here!


May 4 , 2005

Yesterday was spent upgrading all the Mac systems here at RainyDayMagazine to the new OS X 10.4 Tiger.

It was about as painless as one can imagine. All of the systems were upgraded without any problems... even the 5 year old G3 laptop (Wallstreet)!

We did read that some folks had issues with external Maxtor drives so we made sure we disconnected all of our external Firewire drives before the upgrade. All of the setting and applications we normally use ran fine after the Tiger upgrade. We do not have any problems to report. If you want to learn more about how Tiger doing "in the wild", you can read some of the reviews here.

We were NOT so fortunate with one of our Windows XP system :-( Carolyn's wireless connection on her XP machine got so flaky that she finally decided to see if she could fix it on Sunday. Each thing we tried just made it a little bit worst. Nothing worked... wireless driver reinstall, rolling back via backups, non-destructive reinstall of XP, etc... nothing. After two days of fiddling, the entire machine finally just seized up. As a note to our readers... suggestions of a Mac as an alternative at those moment does NOT help :-)

Finally, we had to wipe the drive and install a clean XP system. Carolyn is still at it today reinstalling applications. I'm sure once she is done, she will have a thing or two to say about the experience on Carolyn's World! Look for her article titled "Do I live on Elm Street? Because this is a NIGHTMARE!"


May 3 , 2005

We weren't sure if we had missed the blooms at the Arnold Arboretum due to the rain. So we took advantage of yesterday's clearing skies and walked around the Arboretum checking out the various Spring blossoms.

We are happy to report that things are in full swing at the Arnold Arboretum. On May 15th, the Arboretum will be having their annual Lilac Sunday festivities. If you have not been to one... just for the heady lilac fragrances alone, it will be worth the trip.


May 1 , 2005

The April showers really did bring May Flowers :-) After three days of rain, the flowers of RainyDayGarden have started to show themselves. We, as well as the cat, were going stircrazy from being inside. Buffy made good her escape at first light. I found her tracking something behind a cluster of Irises that had bloomed sometime in the past three days.

Buffy goes outside as often as Carolyn will let her. When she does decide to come back in, she may bring some of her outside "friends" with her... "friends" like ticks and fleas. I'm usually the first thing they'll bite, so I'm much more attuned to their presence. Normally, I just get the $3 flea collar for the cat and change them when I remember. This year we went high tech and tried the Frontline Flea & Tick Protection from Merial. At $40 for three applications... it better not only kill the ticks and fleas that get on her, but their friends and relatives as well! Unlike the flea collar, Frontline is a liquid that you apply to a spot on the cat's skin (back of the neck) and works for a month. It's suppose to be waterproof and will kill fleas before they can infest the animal. We'll report back at the end of the season on how Frontline performed.

We did note one side effect upon giving her the liquid...for some reason, she became completely wigged out for about 3 hours. She would run away (and we mean bolt at full speed) if you tried to get anywhere near her. This, of course, caused great distress to Carolyn. I think Frontline should put THAT "side effect" as a warning on their package somewhere!



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