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October 30, 2005(Weekend Edition)

We did forget to set our clocks back an hour last night... so we woke up early and instead of going back to bed, decided to enjoy our extra hour of sunshine :-)  There is an old Chinese Proverb that is fitting for today:

The translation is roughly:  "An inch of daylight is worth an inch of gold, but sometimes it's difficult to buy an inch of daylight with an inch of gold"

Enjoy today's extra inch of daylight!


October 29, 2005(Weekend Edition)

Hard boiled eggs are not that difficult to make... put some eggs in a pot of water, boil the eggs for about 10 minutes, rinse, and peel. Apparently, though, this recipe is beyond the abilities of a number of "cooks" (and we use that word loosely) interning at the RainyDayKitchen.

With the Egg&Muffin toaster's "hard boiled egg" feature, not only don't you have to hang around waiting for the water boil, you don't even have to know HOW to boil water to make great hard boiled eggs.  Go here to find out how!


October 28, 2005

What is the point of making something out of "aircraft aluminum" if it won't protect your iPod from a little abuse by an SUV?

Anyway, we wanted to see how the iKeychain iPod nano case would hold up to a little run in with our truck.  So we set up our StickyPod camera rig, did some preliminary tests, and ran over the iKeychain with the iPod nano inside.  Go here to see what happened.

BTW... we could not have shot the videos without the StickyPod rig.  This rig is just AMAZING.  It enabled us to setup, shoot, and be back in the editing room in less than 20 minutes.  We had both videos completed and on the web in less than an hour!


October 27, 2005(TechThursday)

We here at RainyDayMagazine are HUGE fans of the CBS TV show CSI.  In the show, they always have some really cool centrifuge, DNA sequencer, or HPLC chromatography machine that they use to help with their sample analysis.

At RainyDayMagazine's new Forensics Lab (...no we don't really have one), we came into the possession of the latest version of the QX series of Digital Microscopes, the QX5.  Go check it out here!

We finally got around to posting the images we took with the Motorola E815 camera phone (640x480 resolution and resized for this review). 

We found the quality of the images was outstanding for a camera phone... certainly sharp enough for use on the web.

We also posted some videos taken with the E815 camera phone. This feature was useful for fun clips of friends and situations where resolution and clarity were not of primary importance.  Go here to check out the multimedia features of this phone.


October 26, 2005

We cook our food to enhance its flavor, make it easier to digest, and to kill things that could make us sick.

One of the best way to gauge how well something has been cooked is to take its internal temperature.  However, most of the temperature probe available at the typical kitchen supply stores were not designed for quick accurate readings.

The folks at RainyDayKitchen did a little research and found an interesting tool called the ThermaPen.  We took a look at its basic features in the FirstLook review and how it performed in the FirstUse report.


October 25, 2005(ToughTuesday)

When we first got the iPod nano, we noticed scratches showing up almost right away.  We got the InvisibleShield on the iPod nano and it's been scratch-free ever since.

However, some of the folks at RainyDayMagazine were still a little timid about carrying the iPod around in their pockets and passing it to all who wanted to try it out.  To solve that problem, we started looking at "hard" cases to give the iPod nano a little more protection.

We had looked at a lot of different cases on the market.  Most of them will probably do a fine job of protecting the iPod, but none was designed as elegantly as the iKeychain.  Go here to see how it encases the nano in aircraft grade aluminum


October 24, 2005(MusicMonday)

The Logitech mm50 Portable Speaker system was designed for mobility, but it has all the features of a good set of desktop speakers.

The speakers are driven by what Logitech called "Max-X" high-excursion drivers with neodymium magnets and 3" pressure drivers. Find out what we thought of the performance of the speakers... go check out the FirstUse review.

Most computers today come with an internal CD or DVD burner.  Many of them are useful for making CDs and backing up data.  In checking around, we found the Plextor PX-716UF to have all of the features and format-handling abilities we needed. 

The most exciting aspect of the Plextor PX-716UF is it will handle the new double layer DVD discs.  This means we'll be able to put over 8GB of data on a single disc.  That is more than 12 CD-R's worth of storage space! Go check out the FirstLook review and see if this unit will satisfy your DVD burning needs. 


October 23, 2005(Weekend Edition)

Halloween is almost here and it being a very rainy day indeed on Sunday, RainyDayMagazine sent one of our crack reporting teams (Jay and Lisa) out for some Halloween advance work. Go check out Jay and Lisa's report here!


October 22, 2005(Weekend Edition)

Today we had a chance to BenchTest the Drive+Play.  We also tested a few screen and controller placements in the Boxster to see how we would go about this installation.

We have not made a final decision on where to put all the pieces, but the first test gave us a few potential locations and raised some issues.  Go check out the RainyDayGarage BenchTest here.


October 21, 2005

We reported on the the Drive+Play back in June when Harman Kardon announced it at MacWorld Boston.

Harman Kardon recognized that many people want to hook up their iPod to their car's stereo system, but realized that controlling it was next to impossible.

The Drive+Play was designed to allow a driver to safely control the iPod's functions with minimal distraction.  Of course, the user must still exercise COMMON SENSE while using the Drive+Play... but don't get us started on that :-)

The Drive+Play is now shipping and we got one of the first units available.  Go check out RainyDayGarage's FirstLook review here!


October 20, 2005(TunesThursday)

Our friend, Junko Goda, is heading out to LA to further pursue her acting career.  We met Junko three years ago at Shobu Aikido of Boston.  We just want to say we have enjoyed training with you and everyone here at RainyDayMagazine will miss you!!!   Best of luck and good journey!

Junko's site just went live.  Go check it out!

For those that caught our review of the OnTour back in July, JBL has just announced a beautiful black version of the same unit at MacWorld Paris.  Can you guess what it will go with???

Along with the sophisticated graphite back OnTour, they also annouced a metallic red version of the Creature II three piece speaker system.  Go check 'em out at JBL.



October 19, 2005(WacomWaringWednesday)

The graphics tablets, once found only in CAD/CAM labs, have been steadily making their way into everyday use. 

Wacom is one of the companies that have been making advances in tablet technologies for over a decade.  They have constantly innovated and have made this tool accessible to everyone.  Go check out the Wacom Graphire4 here.

In our RainyDayKitchen department, folks have been blending up a storm testing out the Waring Pro Blender.  They got a great looking blender a few weeks ago and have been whipping up magarita concoctions for us to try.

Yes... they know blenders can also be used to make things like soup, smoothies, etc...  But apparently the folks in the RainyDayKitchen have not found any good recipes for tequila soup yet.  If you have one, please send it to us!


October 17, 2005(MuffinsMonday)

The egg, sausage, and toast trio has been a breakfast staple for generations. With today's go-go-go lifestyle, sometimes it just takes too long to make a hearty breakfast.

BackToBasics has created a toaster for egg and muffin sandwich lovers to create the sandwich quickly and easily.

We at RainyDayKitchen got our hands on one. We took a look at its basic features in the FirstLook review, made some sandwiches, and checked out its ease of use in the FirstUse report.  Read all about it here.


October 16, 2005(Live@DigitalLife,NYC)

The one REALLY useful feature of a cellphone, besides being able to make a call, is real-time GPS guidance. 

At the DigitalLife Expo, ALK Technologies was showing a version of the CoPilot GPS software which ran on SmartPhones.  In combination with a Bluetooth GPS, the combo gave real-time location information in a variety of display formats.  The best thing about using the coPilot software instead of signing up for the GPS service from your cell carrier is... no extra monthly fees!

ALK has been updating and improving the CoPilot software over the years. We have been using the iPaq/Navman/CoPilot trio since 2000.  We hope to bring you an updated review in the near future.

Be sure to check out the show from Carolyn's perspective here!


October 15, 2005(Live@DigitalLife,NYC)

With the convergence of all the different media (digital video, music, photos, etc...) many vendors (Maxtor, Western Digital, Netgear) were showing systems which will allow users to store, access, and backup all that data on storage connected to their home network. 

We chatted with the Maxtor folks about some of the gear they were showing at DigitalLife.  Go here to find out just how much data this box can hold!!!

Be sure to check out the show from Carolyn's perspective here!


October 14, 2005(Live@DigitalLife,NYC)

We were hoping to report live from the Digital Life 2005 expo at Jacob Javits Center in NYC, but the WiFi at the press office was spotty at best. 

Since all the free food is now gone and we didn't want to hang around for 5 more hours for the free booze... we headed back to our Long Island office to post some of the pics we had captured for you, so you too, can enjoy our morning's excellent adventure.

We'll keep updating as we sift through our images.  Send us some email if there is something specific you would like to know more about!  Also, check out the show from Carolyn's perspective here!


October 13, 2005

Some readers pointed out that while the InvisibleShield provided full body protection for the iPod nano, it also obscured the aesthetics of the matte clickwheel.

The makers of the InvisibleShield responded quickly and released a version of the iPod nano cover with precise cutouts of the clickwheel.

They have also addressed the issue of "what wetting agent" to use when applying the InvisibleShield by including a vial of liquid that makes the entire process quick and painless.

We completed the entire installation process in one attempt in less than 10 minutes :-) Check it out here.


October 12, 2005 (WowUsWednesday )

Apple just announced an iPod with video capabilities... now you can store photos, listen to music, AND watch movies on it.

Our suggestion would be to not even bother reading the specs... just go and buy it... now!  You KNOW you want it :-)

Many of our readers had asked whether the InvisibleShield was removable.  We didn't know... and that made us curious.

We decided to remove our PERFECTLY APPLIED InvisibleShield just to see if the company's claim of removability and "no residue" were true.   Why?  Because it was raining in Boston today and this seemed like the perfect RainyDayMagazine project!  Go see the results here.


October 11, 2005 (TechTuesday )

We have been taking the Mac mini back and forth from the car for the past few months for the carputer project.  There were a few close calls during transport where we almost turned the Mac mini into an expensive door stop.  We decided to check around to see if there were any custom cases just for the Mac mini.  We came upon Tom Bihn's company.

They have the perfect bag for the Mac mini (eM2) AND a great bag for some of our other gear (BrainCell)!  Go check 'em out here.

No matter how careful you may be in transporting your gear, sometimes they will still break, not because of carelessness, but perhaps because of a flaw in the product. 

For example, Sony had switched their CCD manufacturing process a few years ago from ceramic to epoxy coating.  Some of the CCDs manufactured under this new cost-saving process has malfunctioned due to repeated exposure to heat and moisture.

All of the major manufacturers which used Sony CCDs in their product have just announced a repair program for customers with gear experiencing this problem.  Check with the company (Canon, Fuji, Sony, Konica Minolta) for more information regarding your specific product.


October 10, 2005 (Columbus Day weekend)

We all took turns trying to fly the Draganflyer, but Andrew had the best touch.  It took a few days, but Andrew got the hang of making the Draganflyer hover and was able to consistently maneuver it around the room and return it back onto the glass "landing pad".

We did manage to break 6 rotor blades and burn out 2 fuses on the Draganflyer over the course of the weekend.  I think we would have had better luck outside.  The glass walls were a bit hard on the helicopter :-)

Jay, on the other hand, braved the waves to sit in the rock pools. The effort gave Lisa a few anxious moments...especially when some of the larger waves broke over his head!


October 9, 2005 (Columbus Day weekend)

Since it was raining most of the day, we lit a fire and hung around the Rock House...eating and drinking.  We also cleared all of the furniture from the glassed-in porch and turned it into an indoor Draganflyer "heliport".

When there was a break in the weather, Andrew and Evan took a break from make the Draganflyer hover and checked out the rocks.


October 8, 2005 (Columbus Day weekend)

RainyDayMagazine and a group of friends had been trying to rent the "Rock House" in Ogunquit, Maine for Columbus Day Weekend for the past three years.  This year we finally got it and we were not disappointed. 

Even though it may rain all weekend, we'll have a great time!  The Rock House sits right on the rocky coast and overlooks the ocean.  The view is amazing whether we are inside or outside.

We would recommend this place to all our RainyDayMagazine readers if it wasn't for the fact the owners have decided to take the house off the rental market after this season.  No...we have nothing to do with it!


October 7, 2005 (Flyin'Friday)

We spent most of the day yesterday learning how to fly ( or crash ) the Draganflyer.  I think we may need to find a bigger field.  I'm sure there will be a lot more room up in Maine.

Hopefully, we'll bring back some cool foliage footage with the Xtreme Cam this weekend.  We wish you all a great Columbus Day weekend.  We'll be back online Tuesday.


October 6, 2005

Dragonflies are probably one of the coolest flying insects on the planet.  They can hover, fly forward, backwards, and maneuver in ways unimaginable for fixed wing aircrafts.

The Draganflyer is probably one of the coolest helicopter on the planet.  Based on the company's video, a good pilot should be able to land it on someone's head!  Besides, how could we resist a product with a feature called "Thermal Intelligence" ???

We were not sure what "Thermal Intelligence" was at first.  We thought it had something to do with the heat seeking missiles option that we had decided not to purchase.  However, it turned out "TI" was a very cool feature of the Draganflyer.  With TI enabled, the Draganflyer was capable of "self leveling " when flown outside.  It worked by detecting the heat difference between the sky and the ground... very intelligent, thermally speaking!!! 


October 5, 2005(WowUsWednesday)

We told you about the ColdHeat cordless soldering tool back in January.  They have now updated the tool with a more rugged version designed for more industrial applications.  The new ColdHeat Pro is beefier, gets hotter, and lasts longer than its smaller version. 

The ColdHeat Pro is not just for electronic circuit board work.  It easily handled our larger repair jobs.  We had no problems using it to fix this broken toaster oven in the RainyDayKitchen.  Sure, it took us 40 minutes to get the toaster oven apart to get at the broken connection, but it only took us 2 seconds to solder the broken wire back onto the switch!  This is an amazing tool for $29.95.  Check out the FirstLook review of the ColdHeat Pro here.

We didn't need the ColdHeat Pro for this next repair project, but we did need some parts from China (via EBay, of course).

We have gone through a lot of cell phones here at RainyDayMagazine.  A few weeks ago, for no apparent reason, the hinge on one of our Motorola cell phones totally disintegrated. 

We thought it was excessive to toss a completely good phone just because of a bit of broken plastic.  If you feel the same, then check out this RainyDayMagazine project for the juicy step-by-step.

If you have a different phone and want to find instructions on how to fix it... check out the amazing collection of instructions at Repair4MobilePhone!

In light of today's Nobel physics announcement, we thought we would share the following: At around 5:30-ish EST, we had this rather strange "light show" appear in the middle of the office.  

OK... we are a big fan of multi-dimensional travel and the whole bending of spacetime and all that, but HEY!!!  NO matter many times we remind the interns NOT to randomly open dimensional portals in the RainyDayMagazine office... somebody would get into their head that it would be fun to try and fold spacetime.   I think I may need to put up a sign.

Anyway, fortunately we had the digital camera set up for a product review shoot and was able to capture a few shots of the show before it all disappeared.  Sure would be nice if some reader could explain the mysterious "light" to us.


October 4, 2005(TechTuesday)

Since everybody is going ga-ga over Flash Memory at the moment, we thought we would bring you a few more Flash related goodies.  DigitalFoci sent over a few items we thought was kind of useful... and frankly, we can't have enough of these things around the RainyDayMagazine office.

First is a multi-format card reader.  If you don't have more than one format you need to support, then you clearly don't have enough gadgets...

Next is a multi-format Flash memory case.  Now before you start snickering (like our intern did until we showed her how cool it was), take a closer look at it.  The special form fitting wells will hold multiple cards in place... on top of each other!  OK.  It not as great as sliced bread, but it is pretty close.

We had a little commentary yesterday about Flash memory...today we thought we would share our thoughts on one of the newer formats call TransFlash.  This new tiny format was developed for small devices such as cell phones

Normally, we wouldn't have cared that another format has hit the streets.  However, the new iTunes phone (ROKR) uses this new format.  Althought the new ROKR has the artificial 100 songs capacity limitation, it doesn't take a genius to see where this is going. SanDisk has announced they will have 2GB cards by 2006.  Read all about it here.

NOTE: TransFlash was recently adopted by the SD Card Association (SDA) and renamed "microSD".  Why? Because it wasn't confusing enough before :-)


October 3, 2005(MoneyMonday)

OK...what Flash memory company got a mention by your favorite magazine last January?  Lexar Media's award for being royally screwed by Toshiba was just upheld by the California courts on Friday.  Today J.P. Morgan upgraded the company because of it recent licensing deal with Sony.  Of course, the stock went on a tear today and jumped almost 20%.  This is one company to watch.  Oh... and their Flash Memory cards are damn fast :-)

We have always loved Sony products here at RainyDayMagazine.  However, we just couldn't get ourselves to buy any of their digital camera (yes...we coveted them!!!) because of their MemoryStick Flash format.

However, we may finally breakdown and get this new Cyber-Shot N1 when it becomes available in November.  8 Megapixels, touchscreen interface, Zeiss optics... resistance is futile!!!


October 2, 2005(weekend edition)

There is a Farmer's Market in the Roslindale commuter rail's parking lot every Saturday.  One of the more interesting vendor's at the Market is PrestigeThai.  They have a great collection of authentic Thai spices and sauce.  They also have a great website...go check 'em out!

Last weekend we told you about Massages-By-Erik in Arlington.  RainyDayMagazine had a chance to check out his new office at 77 Everett Street last week.   We'll have a full write-up in a few days!


October 1, 2005(weekend edition)

We gave you a FirstLook last month (well really last week...but it was a different month) about the Moonsus executive laptop bags designed especially for women. 

We had it officially tested by a woman executive!  The FirstUse review has now been posted on Carolyn's World.  Go check it out here.


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