"We Entertain When It Rains"  
RDM for iPhone




Web www.rainydaymagazine.com

RainyDayMagazine's content can now be licensed for your print magazine or web site. Please contact us directly here.  If you want to see something reviewed, then drop us a note with a link and we'll be happy to take a look.

August 30-31,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Labor Day weekend is upon us once again!  There is a slight hint of Fall in the air, but it was still warm enough for T-shirts and shorts.  While Gustav is bearing down on New Orleans, the weather here in New England was more pleasant.  Nice enough to get us out of the office and to take a drive out to World's End in Hingham. 

On the way to World's End, we realized none of us had lunch yet.  Luckily, we were just passing by the Hingham Lobster Pound when hunger struck.  As the locals know, the Lobster Pound is THE place to go if you are looking for fried clams or lobster rolls (or onion rings).

We were not disappointed.  The sandwich was packed with large chunks of lobster meat, a light dressing, all held together by a buttery bun.  Very TASTY!

We finished lunch around 3PM and arrived at the World's End Preserve fully fueled for a walk around the various drumlins.  This beautiful piece of land was originally purchased in the 1880s to be developed for homes. 

Olmsted (the Central Park guy) designed the subdivision.  The work progressed as far as the laying of the carriage roads, but none of the houses were actually constructed.

The land was acquired by The Trustees in the 1967. They have done a great job caring for this treasure.  We spent a few hours hiking the 4 miles of trails

The paths took us through some lovely areasWild flowers were still in bloom everywhere.  Believe it or not, we were even able to see The Pru from one of the trails.

At some point on the trail, we came upon an unexpected site... a windmill.  When we got back to the office, a quick Google search determined that the one we saw was the municipal one in Hull.  It good to see that some towns don't just endlessly talk about using "green" / alternative power and have actually done something about it.  We are going to have to go check it out next.  [Permalink] - World's End Hingham


August 29,2008 (FloralFriday)

When our editors Lisa and Jay got back from the Festivals in Edinburgh, one of their neighbors asked them if they had seen the Journal because a photo of their sidewalk garden was in it! 

The first question Lisa had was "We are in the Wall Street Journal?"  No, but to us it was just as cool :-)  Read all about it here! [Permalink] - Highland Gardens


August 28,2008 (TechThursday)

Not sure what all is going on with the sudden increase in needed repairs around the RainyDayOffice this month (water heater, washer, telescope mount), but it has certainly kept us busy.  Someone just noticed the iMac we purchased about a year and a half ago had developed these odd vertical white lines across the screen.

The lines have increased to a solid white band on the left side, obscuring the Apple drop-down menu.  However, if we change the screen resolution to 1024x768, the full menu bar will once again be available.  It appears to us this problem points to a problem with the video display hardware or the LCD screen itself.  One observation which hints that the LCD itself may be fine is when the screen JUST comes out of "sleep mode," the entire desktop is visible, including the Apple menu.  However, the white lines are quickly "painted" onto the screen, forming the solid band.

A quick search on the Web revealed that this issue has already generated quite a bit of discussions on various forums (Apple, ZDNet, others).  It appears that Apple has acknowledged this issue for a certain range of iMacs (W8435xxxxxx - W8522xxxxxx) in certain countries.  However, our serial number (W8702xxxxxx) did not fall into that ranged, but it seems to be the same issue.

We are not sure how Apple is going to respond to this yet, but if you have the same problem, drop us a line.  Depending on whether the affected part is easily user-replaceable or not, this hardware problem may not require a complete screen replacement.  [Permalink] - iMac screen problem


August 27,2008 (WasherWednesday)

One of the perks of having our office in a building with a basement is we can have a Kenmore washer and dryer down there to use whenever we want.  This also means that we have to deal with any problems when they arise.  Recently, one of the editors noted the machine was making a gawd-awful racket, shaking like it was possessed, and leaking water.  Since the washer is about 20 years old, we thought maybe it was on its way out.

This was, of course, was the perfect opportunity to get out the tools, see what the insides of a washing machine were like, and to see if we could fix the problem.  Our first move was to disconnect the power to the washer...water and electricity always make for a shocking combo.  So off we went in pursuit of figuring out how to get the control panel off the washer.  After careful examination, we realized it was just two screws (hidden by years of lint) which held the panel in place.

After removing the two screws, we were able to lift the control panel free.  The panel was designed to rest in an open position due to the support pins on the side.  Nice!

The outside cover of the washer was held in place by two spring clamps.  A flat head screwdriver made short work of freeing the clamps.  There was also a connector which seemed like it should be unplugged before we started working on the cover to the tub.

Once we got the cover off, it was pretty obvious what the problem was.  One of the braces anchoring the tub to the frame had become detached.  The brace was part of the spring suspension system.  This explained the violent shaking when the unit was in its spin cycle.  It also meant the water would slosh around (probably up and over the top of the tub), accounting for the leak.

Re-attaching the brace was straightforward.  We first thought the holder was for a bolt, but finally realized it was for a machine screw.  The original was no where to be found so we used another machine screw which seemed to fit.  We tightened the screw down as much as we could.  It should hold, but if it does shake loose, we'll know what to look for in the future.

Well, that repair did not turn out to be a big deal.  It took more time to take apart the washer than it did to fix it :-)   We ran a wash cycle after putting everything back together.  The spin cycle is now working as it should.  No more leaks.  We REALLY got our money's worth from these machines.  Perhaps we'll get another 20 years out of these Kenmores! [Permalink] - Kenmore washer repair


August 26,2008 (TelescopeTuesday)

There was a Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount for sale on Craigslist a few weeks ago.  The seller had too much equipment and was looking to pare down his collection.  We had been looking for a GoTo mount, so we worked out a reasonable price and drove for about an hour from Boston to pick it up. 

The mount, parts, and tripod were exactly as described.  We were set to do the deal when the seller thought it would be useful to power it up and demo some of the basics.  Well, long story short, as with all demos...what worked perfectly 10 minutes ago will break once you try to show it to someone else. 

After fiddling with it for about 20 minutes, we decided something must have fried after his last potential-buyer demo.  Since we had come all that way, it seemed a shame to go home empty-handed.  The mount was in great shape and we thought it would make for an interesting repair article.  I mean, how complicated could these things be anyway?  So we worked out a new price and droe the CG-5 to its new home to see if we could bring it back to life. 

Once we got back to the office, we took a closer look at the mount.  The unit is heavy and well constructed.  It appears all of the electronics were contained in the plastic housing wrapped around the core.  We identified three screws holding the casing together.

Removing the three screws required three different tips.  Once removed, the case came apart easily, exposing gears, a motor, and some circuit boards.

Since we had no idea what to expect, we went slowly and documented every step.  Fortunately, the construction was fairly straightforward and quite roomy.

All of the circuitry were on one side.  The board with all of the sockets were screwed down to the cover.  Removing the screws freed the board.  The other circuit board was held in place by some internal slots and was easily freed by gently sliding it out.  Three connectors connected the two boards together.  The connectors are all the same so we made sure we noted their original positions.

With the power board freed, we were able to confirm there was power coming out of the AC adapter and going into the board.  The switch definitely did not appear to be working.  The odd thing was when we bypassed the switch, the LED still didn't power up.  This was a surprise but unfortunately, we will not have time to follow up on that until the weekend.  To get things rolling, we placed a call to Celestron for a quote on how much it would cost to replace the electronics.  Word on the Web is they are REALLY slow in responding.  We'll see how this works out.  Anyone with a broken CG-5 with some good electronics parts out there?  [Permalink] - Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount


August 25,2008 (MacTVMonday)

In Q1 of 2009, the United States will be converting all of the TV broadcast signals to digital.  For the portion of the public with analog TVs, it will mean either upgrading to a digital TV or adding a converter box to their current configuraton.  We were in that camp until our 60" projection TV decided it was time to retire. Folks here have been discussing what we should get as a replacement.  Some suggested we go with the biggest flat panel we can find (we would in a second if we could use the savings from their voluntary salary reduction for the purchase).  A few even suggested we forego TV all together (we let them go last week). 

The interns suggested we check out Elgato's digital tuner and use the computers as the display...hmmm, we really should be paying these interns.  Elgato is not new to us.  We have just never had a chance to take a look at their hardware...until now.  The two items we'll be reviewing are EyeTV Hybrid and Turbo.264

We have had great experience using Elgato's EyeTV software with our Plextor ConvertXPVR recorder.  In fact, it was how we used to watch our TV shows before this whole Video iPod and iPod Touch craze :-)

EyeTV Hybrid is a TV receiver capable of processing both analog and digital signals.  This tiny device is designed to connect to the USB port of any computer without the need for an external power supply.  It comes with the EyeTV software so users can pause live TV, record, edit the content, and export out to the iPod.  It also comes with a full featured IR remote control!

The other piece of gear we'll be checking out is the Elgato Turbo.264.  This is a specialty device for those who want to take their content on-the-go by transferring it to their iPods.  Everyone knows the Mac can do this, but the price you pay is that encoding video is a processor-intensive task.  The Turbo.264 off-loads this burden from the Mac's processor so you can actually do other things while your latest episode of Eureka is being encoded for your iPhone!  If this is making your head spin, no worries...we'll have a full write-up of how to do all this before the end of the Summer.  Hmmm, it's pretty close to Labor Day already.  OK, maybe before TV goes completely digital :-)  [Permalink] - EyeTV


[Dec] [Nov] [Oct] [Sep] [Aug] [Jul]

[Jun] [May] [Apr] [Mar] [Feb] [Jan]

....... 2007 ......

[Dec] [Nov] [Oct] [Sep] [Aug] [Jul]

[Jun] [May] [Apr] [Mar] [Feb] [Jan]

....... 2006 .......

[Dec] [Nov] [Oct] [Sep] [Aug] [Jul]

[Jun] [May] [Apr] [Mar] [Feb] [Jan]

....... 2005 .......

[Dec] [Nov] [Oct] [Sep] [Aug] [Jul]

[Jun] [May] [Apr] [Mar] [Feb] [Jan]

....... 2004 .......

[Dec] [Nov] [Oct] [Sep]



Featured Review*

iPod Repair



Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment© 2008
case label case and battery battery in case battery bottom power check inverter side