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Aug 31,2007(FotoFriday)

Our Labor Day weekend started yesterday.  However, something showed up at the office which was so cool that we had to post a teaser photo

RainyDayMagazine will be posting an in-depth series on digital photo frames in the Fall.  The series should finish just in time for the Holiday season...how timely :-) 

As with many of our series, there will be periodic RainyDayPuzzlers embedded in the articles.  Lucky readers with correct answers will be rewarded with prizes.  To start things off, those who can tell us in one word how photos are transferred to this digital frame may win this cool little tool.  Send your answer and a link from the product company's website in an email to us with the subject line "I can say it until I'm blue in the face..."  We'll announce the winner on Tuesday after Labor Day.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 30,2007(LaborDayWeekend...already)

Want one of these?...For FREE?  How?  Just look around. The clues to a free Bit Dr. are everywhere.

In the meantime, have a relaxing Labor Day Weekend.   We'll be back next Tuesday! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 29,2007(WowUsWednesday)

The image below was not taken from the Space Shuttle.  It was taken by a Nikon CoolPix digital camera mounted on a weather balloon 22 miles above the earth.  The whole setup was conceived by a group from Canada with a sense of adventure and a lot of spirit.

The camera was rigged to snap an image every 60 seconds and then parachute back to earth after the balloon burst.

You can see all of their images here.  Don't forget to check out the group's other balloon trials prior to the "edge of space" attempt.

RainyDayMagazine salutes the Southern Alberta group for having the "right stuff" and we look forward to SABLE-4! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 28,2007(TechToysTuesday)

We discovered these Explorer Ops gloves back in 2005 and finally, after two years, we got our hands on a pair.  All we can says is we wish they came in adult sizes.  Lucky is the intrepid tyke who has these!

These kid-sized gloves come with seven essential tools for exploring the great outdoors.  Built into the index finger is an LED flashlight.  The On/Off button is at the edge of the compass.  On the other glove is a clock, a pair of tweezers, and a length of paracord.

The cover of the compass flips out to serve as a magnifying lens.  Our ten year old here suggested it would be great to have another lens so they could pair up as a telescope.  Seemed like a logical extension to us.

These amazing gloves came from the imagination of 10 year old Nathan Tung.  Nathan wanted to have all his gear handy when he was out exploring, so he "invented" these.  We wonder what Nathan is up to these days.   Our guess is that he probably has an internship at Eureka.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 27,2007(MargaritaMonday)

Margaritas maybe more appropriate for the weekend than for the beginning of the workweek, but after our 90º+ weekend, frozen drinks are still on our minds.  Everyone here is already looking forward to the Labor Day holiday.  Toward that end, we thought it would be fitting to take a look at some gear for portable parties!

Frozen drinks are best when made fresh.  In order to properly crush the ice, a blender is a must.   To do it away from an electrical outlet, this Coleman portable blender may be exactly what's needed.

The polycarbonate pitcher is both light and strong.  It can hold up to 48 oz. The various pouring options are integrated into the lid (closed, open, strain).   The stainless steel blades will stand up to a lot of use.  The controls are simple and big.  The 12v battery will blend upto 30 pitchers per charge.

The Coleman unit looks to be a great choice for tailgate parties and car camping. It contains all of the features we look for in a portable blender.  

However, before we can fire this unit up and try out a few frozen drink recipes, we had to do a little maintenance.  When we unpacked the unit, we heard a few bits rattling about in the base.   After we removed the contents, we discovered the car charger's front end had came loose. The parts must have fallen inside an opening, but they would not fall back out. 

The only thing we could do was to take the base apart and see what is going on :-)  The screws securing the base plate are recessed deep into the base.  We needed a fairly long flathead screwdriver to reach it. 

As we had thought, the pieces rattling about were parts from the car charger.  The fuse was broken, but should be easy to replace.   We will use the AC wall charger to charge up the blender.

We'll be blending up frozen margaritas next weekend using both of these blenders.  After we have recovered from all that "testing," we'll write up our impressions. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 26,2007(WeekendEdition)

We purchased a Canon S2 on EBay a few weeks ago for the continuing series on digital camera repair.  Our intention was to take it apart and combine it with the leftover parts from our other repairs to see if we could get another working camera out of it.

When we received the camera and checked it over, we were extremely disappointed because we could find NOTHING WRONG with it!!!  The original seller indicated this S2 would not focus.  We used it this past week for all of the shots and every image (daylight, flash, close-up) was perfectly focused.

We think the original owners didn't properly set the dioptic adjuster on the viewfiner correctly. Everything viewed through the viewfinder WAS fuzzy, but the viewfinder is user-adjustable to correct for near-sightedness and other occular issues. The original owner may also have had the close-up option selected.  In that mode, the camera will not focus on object outside of its close-up range (duh).

Since we didn't think it made sense to take apart a perfectly good camera, we are putting it back up for sale (EBay: 190145394605) and hope to get one that is REALLY broken for our continuing S2 repair series :-) We have also added an original box, software, docs and manuals, and some cables from one of our other S2 cameras. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 25,2007(WeekendEdition)

Jet Li was awesome in Hero and Fearless.  Jason Statham was great in the Transporter and Snatch.  One would think that a movie with both action heros would at least be...watchable.  We just saw "War"  and all we can say is, that movie could be the dumbest screenplay this year. 

The premise is a Yojimbo/A Fist Full of Dollars meets "somebody killed my partner and I'm going to get them." Totally inane dialog, stilted acting, and ...well, just plain dumb.  If you must see it, wait for the DVD and rent it at RedBox for a buck. 

OK it had one totally cool car ...but still, how does a movie like this get the funding?  Why can't they afford a decent screenwriter?  What does a producer really do anyway?  Good thing my girlfriend choose this movie, else I'd never hear the end of it. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 24,2007(FunWithDeadFlowerFriday)

The Brando USB microscope came with a CD containing drivers for the Windows platform.  We installed the XP driver and tried the application which came with the microscope. 

We looked at a few different things under the microscope: the bulb with the burnt out filament was from our brake light replacement project a few days ago; a passiflora flower we snipped off our plant on the porch.  Click on any of the images for a closer look.

The included software is a VERY basic viewer with almost no other capabilities.  We knew we had to look elsewhere for something more useful, hopefully something that would allow this microscope to work on a Mac.

We thought it would be hard to find an application which could drive the Brando USB microscope on a Mac.  The application a lot of folks use is miXscope from EdH Software.  Unfortunately, the Brando microscope is not yet supported.

The next application we tried was the open source macam.  macam is a driver for USB webcams for OS X. 

Amazingly enough the device was supported!  It was much easier to get great shots using the macam than what came with the microscope for the PC.

While macam does not have all of the funtionalities of miXscope, it does the basics and it runs on the Mac :-)  We'll continue to play with this surprisingly high quality microscope.  Hopefully we'll have some interesting videos soon. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 23,2007(TechToysThursday)

For all you readers who sent in guesses this month about the mystery item posted last July, the wait is over :-)  This is cool-looking device is actually a USB Microscope from Brando.

This portable microscope is much smaller than the QX5 we looked at back in 2005.  Check out the scope's specs here.  Click on any of the images for a closer look.

There are three built-in lenses mounted on a circular platform. The desired magnification is selected by rotating the objective (the lens, for the uninitiated) into place. USB ports and switches for the various LEDs are at the rear of the unit.  It also has two USB 2.0 ports, allowing the unit to act as a hub...very convenient when using with a laptop.

In a nice simplificaton of the design of the microscope, the imaging electronics is connected to the base via an external USB cable.  The port is at the top underneath the dome cover.

There are two sets of LEDs for illuminating the objects on the viewing platform. One set lights from underneath.  The other set is mounted on and illuminates from the side. A removable diffuser may be placed on the stage to even out the lighting. 

Next up is our FirstUse review of this fascinating Brando USB microscope.  There is another built-in function not yet mentioned in this review.   Anyone care to tell us what it is?  If you know, send the answer in an email with the subject line "I can SEE it!"  We'll pick the winner on Labor Day and send you this equally cool tool...which will definitely save you some labor. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 22,2007(WowUsWednesday)

John S of LA sent these pics to us last week with a link to the EBay auction which ended on Aug 15th.  The auction was for this handcrafted monocycle by a craftsman in Spain.  The starting bid was $13K, but the auction ended with no bids.  Keep your eye out for it if you are interested, it will probably be listed again.

Check out the incredible gear works.  The low center of gravity makes riding this different than a typical bike.  We are pretty sure you will turn heads no matter where you pedal this cycle! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 21,2007(CarTechTuesday)

Yesterday we showed how simple it was to replace the rear brake light.  Today, we'll show the steps for replacing the bulbs in the center brake light array on the Boxster.  In order to get at the cover for the center lights, the lid for the convertible cover must be partially raised.

Once the lid is up, the cover for the center light array may be removed (2 philips screws).  The screws should not be entirely removed as there are rubber anchors at the tips.  Removing the screws entirely may cause them to fall inside the compartment.

Once the cover has been removed, the array may be detached by unclipping it from the electrical connector.  Getting at the bulbs turned out to be the most difficult part of this job. 

We thought the cover would slide off but we managed to break off most of the clips before getting the cover off.  The fit was REALLY tight. We don't think it will be a problem with water or dirt getting into the compartment.  We were so happy to get the cover off and replace the bulbs that we forgot to take photos!

Replacing the bulbs of center brake lights was just a little bit more difficult than the rear bulb.  For this task, you can be your own Porsche mechanic.  So save some money and do the replacement yourselves.  Sure we did break a few of the clips, but we don't think it will interfer with the operation of the lights.  Next time we do this will be faster as we won't have to worry about the clips :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 20,2007(PorscheMechanicMonday)

The last time we had the Boxster inspected, it was noted that a few of the center brake lights were out.  We had planned on replacing the bulbs, but in order to access them we had to raise the lid of the convertible top, and it was Winter, and we had the hardtop on, and removing it would have been a hassle.

A few days ago, a guy on a motocycle pulled up next to us and told us that our left brake light was out.  That was just the reminder we needed to get going on the bulb replacement project.

As with all Boxster-related projects, our first step was to consult the "bible."   The Bentley Publishing manual's instructions looked simple, and we discovered that access to the light assembly was through the trunk.  No tools were needed for this portion of the job.

The light well was covered by some carpeting which was secured by a couple of plastic anchors.  The anchors were easily removed by a twist.  All of the bulbs in the rear were in a single assembly and were freed by pressing the white tab.

The right-most bulb (red arrow) was the brake light...press, twist, and pull to remove.  After replacing the burnt-out bulb, we had our Contributing Editor step on the brake to confirm that the bulb was working before putting everything back.

This repair took about 15 minutes and required no tools once we knew what we were doing.  Anyone can do this.  The instructions in the Bentley manual made the repair a lot easier and much quicker than trying to figure it out ourselves.  We highly recommend getting a copy and consulting it before getting your hands dirty.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 19,2007(WeekendEdition)

A few of the RainyDayGarden folks found out that the Mass Horticulture Society was holding a Marketplace Festival out in Wellesley.  So we packed up Saturday morning and drove out to see what it was all about.

The event was held at the Elm Bank Horticulture Center. The grounds at Elm Bank were amazing.  There were both formal and informal gardens with all kinds of things in bloom.

The event had over 50 vendors selling all kinds of tasty goodies (organic produce, Acai berry drinks, plants, etc...).  Whole Foods sponsored the event and, more importantly, served some incredible roasted tomato gazpacho.

All kinds of great plants were also for sale.  It was a good thing we didn't have the truck because it would have been easy to go WAY overboard. 

We had to limit ourselves to just one purchase.  After walking around and checking all of the different growers, we decided on a beautiful day lily called "Sammy Russell."

There was a lot more to the event than what we covered here. We'll have a full write-up of the event soon.  Go here to see what else is on the calendar from the folks at Mass Horticulture Society. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 18,2007(WeekendEdition)

The Passiflora we purchased from Logee's is doing quite well this year.  Thank you for the requests for updates. No new time-lapse clips of the flowers this year, but we do have some exciting passiflora news...we got a fruit!  

We had about six blooms last season.  There might have been more this year if someone hadn't accidentally sniped off the main branch while tending to it over the Winter!  At the beginning of Spring this year, we transplanted it to a larger pot and gave it a stronger trellis to climb. 

The plant survived and we even managed to root a few new plants using the accidental cutting.  We traded one for the banana plant, which is growing vigorously in its new home.

The Passiflora can survive in partial light, but loves a bright spot.   It has been in "the direct beam of the sunshine" for most of the Summer.  We have it in a pot because the winters in New England are too cold for the Passiflora to survive outside. 

Having it outside in the RainyDayGarden enabled the insects to do their thing.  This is our second year with the Passiflora and the first year in which it actually bore fruit (the RainyDayKitchen folks are pouring over their cookbooks looking for the perfect passionfruit recipe). We have been very happy with this addition to our garden.  So no matter what your climate is, the Passiflora is a really cool plant to consider adding to your collection. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 17,2007(FakedOutFriday)

While surfing the Porsche Pete Boxster Board yesterday, we learned from SGinAZ that the story we posted back in Feb about a forgotten garage full of cars was indeed an urban legend.

Apparently, the garage is real, but the story of some guy accidentally finding it on his newly purchased property was entirely bogus.  Oh well, it was a nice cocktail party story while it lasted :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

A few years ago we reviewed the Wacom Graphire 4x5 tablet.  We have been using it daily for the past two years.  It is excellent for photo touch-ups and other image correction operations.  Our only wish was that it was larger.

This week our wish was granted.  Mr. UPS Guy dropped off this HUGE 9x12 high resolution PenSketch tablet from Genius.   We didn't even know Genius made tablets!

We have not had a chance to play with the PenSketch, but we will soon!  For now, here is a quick pic to show you the size difference between the Genius 9x12 and the Wacom 4x5.  There is quite a bit more surface area to work on!

As with the Wacom tablet, we'll give this Genius unit a complete FirstLook (later this month).  We are also eager to see if a bigger tablet is indeed a better tablet. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 16,2007(ToyTechThursday)

USB flash drives and portable microdrives are in the pockets of many folks.  They are the tools of business...serious business.  That was true until the recent mimobot invasion!

mimobots are flash drives with an artistic bent.  They come in different storage sizes (512MB - 4GB) and more styles than you can imagine.  The one which landed at our doorstep is PupStar #52 of 2000.

The PupStar came with its own fuzzy zippered coat.  It must know something about the New England winters. 

The mimobot will interface with any standard USB port.  When properly connected, they will emit a happy red glow.  The mimobot's glow flickers when they are soaking up data.  Transfer speeds of both USB 2.0 and 1.0 are supported. 

You can bring a mimobots to a business meeting or the boardroom.  Your PowerPoint presentation will look just as good running from a mimobot as from a regular flash drive.  However, just know that if a mimobot is seen by a 16 year old intern, be prepare to give it up :-)  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 15,2007(WowUsWednesday)

Tired of seeing all of those unread email messages clogging up your inbox?  Sick of having to delete all of the unwanted junk mail?  We can't do anything about that, but we can point you to a project by Carolin Horn which may make it all look a lot more interesting!

Carolin is currently doing some research on the use of "natural metaphors" in data visualization.  Check out the details here.

If you want to give this a try, you can download the prototype (OS-X on Intel only) here.  Send us a pic of your inbox if you decide to give it a try! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 14,2007(ToolLinerTuesday)

The tool chest we purchased last weekend did not come with any liners.  We checked out Sears and their least expensive liners were around $20 a roll.  It would take two rolls to line the six drawers of the chest.

Some of the very clever RainyDayKitchen folks suggested we go to Linen-n-Things to see if their shelf liners were cheaper.  What we found was the exact same material, but packaged as rug padding, and in off white instead of black. It was half the price of the "real" liners, $12 for eight feet.

The pad is a little wider than the standard 18" drawer, but tht is not a problem as the material is easily cut with a pair of scissors.

Using a carpet pad is a quick and inexpensive way of lining tool drawers.   The one down side is that the pad usually comes folded instead of rolled up.  The creases because of the folding should work itself out in time. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 13,2007(PopularMechanicsMonday)

We went to Sears yesterday afternoon and checked out over a dozen different toolchests.  Most were on sale because of the tax-free weekend here in Massachusetts. The least expensive one was $89 on sale (orig. $129).  We didn't buy any because earlier on Sunday we found a toolchest on Craigslist, took a drive out to North Reading, and purchased it from Alastair for $50. 

We have never heard of the Popular Mechanics line, but it appeared to be constructed well enough that we didn't see much risk in spending the $50.  A quick Google search later showed Walmart had purchased the rights to use the PM name for a line of tools back in 1992.  Walmart has since discontinued that line.

The unit we purchased is in great condition.   It has a few dings here and there, but nothing that would interfere with its operation.  The drawers slide smoothly, the wheels roll well, and the baked red enamel finish cleaned up nicely with a quick wipe.

The top chest has a lid and four drawers. The bottom cabinet has two large drawers and a bulk storage area.  The glides extend out when fully pulled to better support the drawers.  Two of the wheels swivel and lock.

Both the top and bottom drawers can be secured using the locking bars.  The top bar slips through an opening and is secured when the lid is locked.  The bottom cabinet is locked by a longer bar which spans the front.

The unit is not professional grade: the thin sheet metal used for the drawers and sides will dent if you fling your tools at or into the tool chest.  However, it has sufficient storage space for the tools needed by the average home mechanic.  We definitely think this Popular Mechanics unit was a great purchase for the price :-) 

Even though Walmart does not sell this model anymore, a similar one may be had at Sears.   You may not be as lucky as us, but check your local Craigslist... you never know!   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 12,2007(StorageSunday)

Many readers have asked us if we wouldn't mind doing a review or two on tool cabinets.  Since we like to sort and store our tools in portable cases, we had been putting it off.  Not because we weren't interested, but because we were too busy.  We were, however, intrigued by some of the links sent to us, especially by the really nice-looking stainless steel cabinets. 

Judging by the links we've received, there is a HUGE selection of tool cabinets out there.  The price range from $150 for basic sheet metal chest to over $2000 for a heavy gauge, brushed stainless steel unit with ball bearing glides. 

After some discussion, we decided it would be interesting to do a review series on tool cabinets.  We are going to look at four different price points ($50- $199, $200-499, $500-$999, $1000+), examine their features, and pick one which we think is the best value in its price range.  We will also pick THE one which we think the best value overall (price, feature, looks).  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 11,2007(SarahSendOffSaturday)

Today is the last day in Boston for our West Coast Summer Intern.  Sarah was in Boston for six weeks attending a high school honors program at BU (we had her weeding the RainyDayGarden last summer).

We were her guardians again this Summer, but this time we didn't have to entertain her with gardening chores.  All that was needed was to get her situated in her dorm, find her some footwear more suitable for walking around Boston (or rather, being seen walking around Boston), and get her laptop hooked up to the BU network.

After meeting our assigned custodial duties, we left her to her own devices for the next six weeks.  We did check in on her periodically to make sure she could stil be returned in relatively good condition.

Sarah did quite well at her summer college courses at BU.  She had signed up for a 300-level graphic design class but dropped it after a day because it was too easy.  Instead, she decided to give "Intro to Black and White Photography" a try.

At first, Sarah found the analog nature of 35mm film, working in a darkroom, and developing photos rather confusing.  I believe her first question was "What?  No Photoshop?" followed by "What is film?"

However, at the end of six week, Sarah is hoping to find a darkroom to rent when she is back in LA.  Apparently, "dodging," "burning," and working the analog way is kind of fun :-)

We'll miss having Sarah around for the rest of the Summer.  Hopefully she'll be back soon.  Hey, maybe she can be our new in house photographer?  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 10,2007(FunFriday)

At the beginning of the Summer, RainyDayMagazine got in a batch of Explorer Ops gear.  They all looked really cool and even though we wanted to play with them ourselves, we knew we had to send them off to our junior reviewers for a proper field test.  The gear was shipped off with instructions to report back in a few months. Well, the reports have begun to come in. 

Today's FirstUse report is on the Explorer Ops Trek Pak from Laura and Lila: "I'm emailing you so that I can report back to Lila that I did.  She was SO excited about the toys. I don't think she's ever been so thrilled about a present in her entire life. As she opened each piece, she'd say to her father (who was trying to nap) "Dad! Look, a compass! Dad! I have a magnifying glass! And tweezers! And a bug-catching jar! And a stopwatch! And..." etc.

When I said you'd sent them to us, she said, "Tell him I said thank you! Tell him I really really really really really really really like them!" She heroically allowed pictures to be taken and I told her I had to write a "report card" of the gear, so now she keeps asking me, "Did you thank Wan? Did you send the report card?"

We took them outside and caught various bugs for a good long time. (We found out that ants are fast!) She's been wearing the watch nonstop -- to the beach and to preschool today -- and keeps checking the compass to make sure we're going "the right way."  I just wanted to tell you, from Lila, THANK YOU!  

Well, Lila, you are welcome!!! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

"Hey mom...what's that?" 


Aug 9,2007(BatteryTechThursday)

Rechargeable batteries are in most of the gear and gadgets we use everyday.  Given a choice, we try to buy gear which do not use a proprietary battery format.  Our Canon S2 digital camera uses AA.  We can always find regular AA in a pinch, but for everyday use, NiMH rechargeables are the best option.

However, the problem with rechargeable batteries is that they don't hold their charge over time.  If you are constantly using your gear, this is not a big problem.  If you don't, the batteries may not have enough juice when you need it.

The solution to the shelf-life problem may be these new eneloop batteries from Sanyo.  The eneloop is spec'ed to retain 85% of their charge after 1 year!  They even come pre-charged and ready to go right out of the package.

A few years ago we purchased some Energizer NiMH batteries and a charger.  We're showng it to give some perspective on how far things have come. The eneloop charger and battery is a compact unit designed with portability in mind.

The cover and plug are integrated into the unit. The charger's clever design will charge both AA and AAA size batteries without the need for the usual spring-loaded adjustible contact.

We'll be comparing the eneloop and our normal NiMH batteries in identical Canon S2 cameras.  It'll be interesting to see how they stack up against each other.  We will have the results in a few months.  If you can't wait, then go get some and do your own test :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 8,2007(WowUsWednesday)

Karla Comfort's 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. John M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division were all killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) last December in Fallujah Iraq.

This rolling memorial idea came about when she recalled that John loved Hummers.  All of the work (250 man hours, $25,000) was donated by Robert Powell and Airbrush Guy & Co. in Benton , Ark.

Go here to check out more photos of the vehicle and to read the entire story.- Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 7,2007(GarageToolsTuesday)

Ever since the RainyDayGarage guys read about Tesla Motors, they have been busy working on an electric car conversion for the Porsche Boxster.  Of course, all of this has been on paper... the editors here may be a little slow, but they are not crazy. 

The guys don't get to touch the car until they can show that the conversion is going to work. In the meantime, RainyDayGarage gear is piling up while waiting to be reviewed. 

FirstLook reviews of the TireTote from Kurgo and the OBDKey from KBM Systems will be coming in August.  The TireTote FirstUse review will be done when we do our annual Summer/Winter tire swap.  The OBDKey FirstUse will be a bit sooner. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Other RainyDayGarage tools waiting in the wing are a digital caliper and a 60 piece Tap and Die set.  Both are useful in task in and out of the garage.  We'll show you how later in the month. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 6,2007(ModernMonday)

Readers will remember that we reviewed a product called the Candela back in 2005.  The Candela is a very innovative product which uses magnetic inductance to recharge its lamps. When we turned the corner on Kingston Street in Chinatown yesterday, we saw an orange flag for a store called Vessel.  Vessel is the company which created the Candela.

Unfortunately for us, the store's hours are from Mon-Sat.  We all peeked inside to see what the store was like.  If you are a fan of Eva Solo, SimpleHuman, and designers of that sensibility, then Vessel is a store for you.

We'll definitely have to go back during the week and check out all the new stuff they have in the store.  If you are not lucky enough to have a Vessel store in your neighborhood, you can always visit their virtual store.  You won't get to stroll around and touch things, but you can still buy and enjoy them. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 5,2007(DimSumSunday)

We all headed to Chinatown for DimSum because Sarah, our Summer Intern, will be heading back to LA next weekend.  Everyone in Chinatown was nice enough to throw a little party for Sarah.  They called it the August Moon Festival.  We told Sarah that was their nickname for her.  We think she bought it. 

There were Lion Dances, Chinese opera, readings, and lots of other activities.  The vendors were also out in force, selling everything from potteries to live turtles.  The one display we found inviting was the bonsai vendor.  The bonsai were selling for $12 a pot, which we though was a ridiculously cheap price.

Another thing we thought was interesting was the new Chinatown Park.  The park is part of the overall Big Dig project and is very close to completion (the park, not the Big Dig).  The rendering below is what the park will look like when complete.

All of the stone paving is done.  Some of the landscaping has started.  The bamboo plantings have been installed.  Currently, they are over twenty feet tall.  When filled out, it will be a beautiful counterpoint against the urban hustle. We have put in a request to China on behalf of the city for a panda or two...

The park will be a great focal point for Chinatown.  The open space will be perfect for morning Tai Chi and other community activities.  We look forward to coming back in 2008 for the next August Moon Festival.- Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 4,2007(SecurityBreachSaturday)

Perhaps it was because we saw the Bourne Ultimatum yesterday that these little news stories about Michelle Madigan caught our attention.  Like Bourne, her options are to run or to go back to where it all started.  Unlike Bourne, Ms. Madigan probably has not been trained for it.  Deleting the LinkedIn and MySpace accounts is are good starts, but unfortunately everything on the web is archived somewhere.  Either way, her life is about to change...at least until the next news cycle. 

One thing we have to say is, we are bemused at Ms. Madigan's naiveté and baffled by her complete lack of technological sophistication in trying to secretly videotape things at DEFCON 15.  Could that hidden camera have been any more conspicuous?

Ms Madigan may have done as well wearing our BackpackCam instead of her PocketbookCam.  Just in case you couldn't tell where the hidden camera was, we have enhanced it for you.  Hey, NBC ... give us a call, we'll hook you up! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 3,2007(FilmFriday)

Today is opening day of the third film in the Bourne series.  Matt is back and this time he is taking the fight to those responsible.

We watched both DVDs (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremcy) yesterday just to be totally up on the details of the story line.  All of us will be at the Somerville theater tonight for the premier of the Bourne Ultimatum.  Why Somerville? They serve beer at the theater in Somerville :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Update: We just got back... the movie totally rocks!


Aug 2,2007(LastTimeThursday)

This is the last in the watch band replacement series.  As promised, we are going to show how the final project looks on the wrist.  The butterfly deployment clasp is both functional and great looking. 

Putting it on is easy.  The watch slips on like any bracelet-type band.  The ends are secured to the clasp with a push.  When secured, the only visible part of the clasp is the band of metal on the strap. 

We chose the polished version for the YES Cozmo because of the mirror finish on the watch.  The pic below shows both the brushed and the polished versions on the strap.  We'll use the brushed version of the clasp with the Timex TX.

Attaching the clasp onto the band of the TX is pretty much the same as it was with the carbon fiber band.  Some will remember we had looked at a version of the TX with the factory metal band.  It also had a butterfly deployment clasp.  We think this upgrade is every bit as good as the version which came with the OEM version.

We didn't think we could improve upon the Timex TX or the YES Cozmo, but the Strapped For Time clasps are elegant additions to both of these amazing watches.  We chose the polished and brushed stainless versions of the clasp, but there are a few other options available...one for every type of band.

Our next series on wrist watches will be in October.  We have some very interesting projects planned, but it will take some time to get the pieces together.  In the meantime, keep those project suggestions coming :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 1,2007(WowUsWednesday)

We wanted to start the month off with another great bag from Tom Bihn!  This bag is the Zephyr.  It went with us to NYC this past weekend...yes, another trip down to the Big Apple.

The Zephyr came with us on this trip because we needed a bag big enough to carry the laptops to the left of the chair.  The Zephyr bagged them up and more.  Get this bag, rule the world.  More on it this month.

As for the trip down to NYC, we left around 10AM, but ran into horrendous traffic on Rt.128 about 12 miutes later.  Even the feeder road onto the highway was severly backed up.

It was only later that we discovered that a storm grate incident had caused the massive gridlock.  Good thing we we were only on 128 for one exit before picking up Rt. 95 for for the drive south. Otherwise, the four-hour drive would have turned into an eight-hour drive.  Our one saving grace was that we had Book One of the Harry Potter Audio series with us on this trip.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


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