"We Entertain When It Rains"  
RainyDayShopping HERE !




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.


Feb 23-24,2008(WeekendEdition)

When we are looking for a part for an electronics project, the first place we go to is the Mouser catalog.  Why?  If we can't find it there, we know we are in for a difficult search. 

Another reason why we head to Mouser is they are willing to sell a single unit of a part.  This is very helpful when you rather pay $0.50/unit instead of $0.02/unit @10,000 unit minimum.

The catalog is as thick as a phone book (for those you you who can remember what that is) and has entries for every conceivable part, tools, and electronics-related gear.   There are tons of details in the description of every part so you can be sure that you are ordering the exact thing that you need.

While the Mouser catalog's tagline is "engineered for engineers," most hobbyists will find it very easy to use.  The best part about this wonderful catalog is that it is FREE!  Just go surf over to the Mouser site and ask for one. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

BTW, speaking of FREE, some of you may be interested in this catalog for more than just parts.  This may be the last clue many of you will need to complete this month's RainyDayPuzzler.  Good luck!


Feb 22,2008(FreeFlowFriday)

Today's laptops run hot, sometimes uncomfortably so.   Keeping them running cool is probably one of the most important ways to extend the life of the machine.  LapWorks has recently introduced a cooling stand which is designed to do just that. 

Long-time readers know we have looked at laptop coolers and stands (CushTop, Futura) in the past.  What is unique about the LapWorks Attache is it has finally combined the two most desirable features, laptop cooling and good ergonomics, in one attactive and compact unit!

The entire surface of the LapWorks Attache is covered by a 2mm thick aluminum plate.  There are two hinges at the base to keep the laptop from sliding off.  There are also rubber feet at the bottom to keep the stand from sliding around on the desk.

The unit has two cooling fans and a slightly curved design to allow for adequate air flow between the stand and the back of the laptop.  This dual approach, fan (air flow) and aluminum plate (heat sink), is designed to give efficient cooling of the laptop with a minimum of bulk.

Integrated into the body of the stand is a 4-port USB (3 rear, 1 side) 2.0 hub.  This is a convenient feature for attaching an external keyboard and mouse to the laptop for "at desk" use.

We will try out the LapWorks Attache with a few of the laptops in the office to see how well it does in keeping them running cool.  We will also see whether it is practical to take it along with us when we take our laptops on the road.  Based on this FirstLook, we are quite impressed with the overall build quality and thoughtful design of the LapWorks Attache.  We are hopeful that we will be just as pleased with it performance in our FirstUse of the unit.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 21,2008(TunerTechThursday)

As promised on Tuesday, here is more detailed FirstLook at the Harman Kardon Drive+Play2.  The DP2 is one of the best looking aftermarket iPod controller for the car we have seen to date.

The three main pieces (display, transmitter, controller) are sleek, nicely sized, and will blend well into any modern car's interior.  Unlike the version 1.0, the DP2 designed so it can be moved from one vehicle to another if desired.  The transmitter may be hardwired into the car or simply plugged into the cigarette lighter.

The controller is wireless and powered by an internal user replaceable battery.  We like the concept of a moveable wireless controller, but we'll have to see how good an idea it really is with some real world use.   We can imagine it would be quite annoying if the controller ran out of juice during a road trip.

The display connector is wired, but positioned in the rear so the wires will be easy to hide.  Note that there are two separate anchor points for attaching the pedestal to the screen.  This give the installer a lot of flexibility in mounting the display.

In our next segment, we'll hook up the DP2 on our test bench and check out the display.  It will also give us a chance to test the wireless transmitter / controller to see how they compare to the original DP setup.

Already, we can see that one of the decisions we'll have to make with this installation is what to do about all of the different displays!  All three of them (iPod Touch, D+P2, G+P) are functional in their own way.  We will have to give it some thought before deciding on an approach. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 20,2008(WowUsWednesday)

Last August we mentioned that a group from Canada launched a balloon into near space and took some awesome images with a digital camera.  Here is another such a project, this time by Alexei Karpenko.  Alexei launched a payload with a GPS, a camera, and various sensors to an altitude of 30km using a high altitude helium balloon.

It seemed appropriate that this WowUsWednesday features another image from another stunning launch by amateur space explorers.  Maybe Alexei will "accidentally" get an image of the satellite shoot-down :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 19,2008(TunerTechTuesday)

Many of you have been asking us when we will post a review of the Harman Kardon Drive+Play2.  Well, we finally got a unit in house.  After check out the package, we see that it was worth the wait.

The build quality of the Drive+Play 2 is even better than the original Drive+Play.  At first glance, it appears that the main components (screen, controll knob) are about the same size as the original.  However, we then realized the main "brain" of the system is now about a fifth of the original and is portable!

This update of the drive+play by Harman Kardon comes with all of the installation options conceivable.  We are not sure which installation path we will pick, but unlike the DP1, it appears the DP2 has the possibility that we can easily take the unit with us from vehicle to vehicle.  We'll have a more detailed FirstLook in a few days. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Feb 18,2008(MassiveMemoryMonday)

Memory is a fascinating emergent property.  We all have it, use it everyday, but don't really know exactly how it works.  Most of us have no trouble remembering faces, various sounds, and a certain amount of numbers.  However, there are some who can remember a LOT more than that.  How do they do it?  Can anyone do it?

We recently finished two books covering different but related topics on memory.  One we had mentioned last March.  The other we discovered recently at a used book store in Maine. 

The first book, Born On A Blue Day, is by Daniel Tammet.  Daniel is a high functioning autistic savant with the ability to perform incredible mental calculations.  While this is not unheard of, what is unique is Daniel's ability to describe how he does it. 

Whatever the reason, Daniel's senses appears to be overlapped.  He "sees" numbers as shapes and colors.  They also evoke feelings and can have textures.  Check out Daniel's visualization of Pi!  The book is a fascinating and inspiring read of Dan's journey from childhood to present day. 

The second book is "How To Remember Everything You Read" by Stanley Frank.  The book is a 11 chapter version of the 7-day Evelyn Wood speed reading and learning program.

This book is a step by step program on how to drastically improve reading speed and comprehension.  We did not work through all of the techniques in the book on our first read, but we will go back and try it in earnest this week.

We came away with renewed appreciation and wonder of the miracle of our brain and its capabilities.  We also learn quite a bit about the struggle of those whose mind may work differently than the "average."  In the end, if there is one thing we need to remember, is that it is not our capabilities, but how we treat each other that is really what is important.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


....... 2008 .......

[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]







Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment© 2008