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Jan 5,2008(WeekendEdition)

Indoor renovation projects in the Winter are great because not much can be done outside :-)  It is also feels good to have accomplished SOMETHING right at the beginning of a New Year!!!

We decided our first RainyDayRenovation project of 2008 is going to be retiling the floor in the kitchen.  The floor which is there now is a single sheet of patterned linoleum.  The light color gave the 10x15 sq ft room a nice spacious feel.  However, it easily showed dirt from the traffic and it was difficult to keep clean.  We wanted something which will both warm up the room and make it a little easier (ie: show less dirt) to maintain.

The original floor in the RainyDayKitchen was still in pretty good shape so there was no need to pull it up or put down a new plywood subfloor.  This saved us about a day's worth of work.  

The interns spent a few days moving all of the stuff into another room, vacuumed and washed everything.  For good adhesion, it is VERY important for the floor to be grease and particle free. 

To complete the entire project will take most of the weekend.  Our recommendation is to lay down all of the whole tiles first, next do the ones which requires only a single cut, and finish with the more complex ones. 

Laying down the tiles is pretty easy, just peel and press.  The key to a good looking job is to realize that little errors will accumulate over the course of several tiles...so LINE THINGS UP before proceeding on to the next tile.  The tools required are simple (rolling pin, angle square, box cutter).

For a 150 square foot room, a reasonable estimate is between 10 to 12 hours of work.  This is excluding all of the "prep" work: moving, cleaning, buying tiles.  The job can be done in much less time by the pros, but it will cost you about 10x more :-) 

Tomorrow, we'll show you the completed project.  If you have started your own RainyDayRenovation projects, drop us a line or send us some pics when you are done.  We'll be happy to share it with everyone!   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Jan 4,2008(FantasyFriday)

Quite a few readers noted that the DIY-Cintiq project mentioned yesterday was all well and good, but what they REALLY wanted is a Mac laptop which can function as a tablet. 

These same readers also pointed us to the Axiotron Modbook, announced at MacWorld, which potentially could fill this niche.  The concept is really cool... a MacBook + a Wacom tablet = MacTablet.  We are HUGE fans of both the Mac and Wacom, so we REALLY hoping this concept moves from "Fantasy Mac" to "Fabulous MacTablet"!!!  According to the Axiotron site, that day is now :-) 

BTW, the first reader to send us an InTheWild SHIPPING product shot will get something nice from our giant pile of swag. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

In listening to Barack Obama's victory speech last night, we felt something we have not felt in a long time... inspiration.

He's got our attention now.  We look forward to the New Hampshire primary and in learning more about Obama!  Change IS coming... we are hopeful that it is for the better. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Jan 3,2008(TabletThursday)

We have been testing a few graphics tablets these past few months.  Many of them are from Wacom (Bamboo, Intuos).  One is from Genius

They are all very useful for drawing and image retouching.  Some have extra features which make them useful for everyday computing tasks.  The differences among them are size, response time, and cost.  There will be a complete writeup near the end of this month.

Today, we want to point our readers to a DIY project we came upon while doing some research on the Wacom Cintiq.  We have been considering purchasing one of these "on screen" tablets for a few years now. 

Given what we'll be using it for, the price ($1000 to $2500) was always too high to justify.  Apparently, this was shared by many others as well.  We discovered there is a vibrant community of DIYers making their own "cintiq-like" tablets by grafting drawing tablets to 15" LCD monitors! 

We now know what we are going to do with some of the tablets once we are done with our reviews!  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Jan 2,2008(WowUsWednesday)

In early December, we unpacked and gave readers a quick FirstLook at the Hugo telescope.  The Hugo is unlike any Newtonian reflector telescope currently on the market. 

Some assembly (tube, tripod) is required before the Hugo is ready to be used.  The process is part of the fun of the Hugo.  It teaches the owner about the parts, the scope's construction, and all of the mechanics involved in making the telescope work.

The assembly process, amazingly enough, is very straightforward.  In putting it all together, we learned quite a bit about how Newtonian telescopes work. 

The Hugo does not use a cylinder to hold the eye piece, diagonal and primary mirrors in place.  Instead, a tube is constructed using six aluminum rods and four rings.  When everything is put together and tightened, the entire structure is very rigid.

To form the tube, two inner rings must first be aligned and the rods inserted.  The two inner rings will eventually need to be properly spaced so they can be fitted to the tripod.  At this point, there is no need to lock their positions. 

The next piece to go on the rods is the eye piece mount.  Once threaded onto the rods, the mount may be tighted in place.  Final placement can be adjusted once it is time to align all of the optics.  

The diagonal mirror is mounted on one of the end rings, the primary mirror on the other.  Since the diagonal mirror will rotate into position, there is no need to worry about the mirror's orientation during assembly.

These two end rings are fastened to the rods by stainless steel bolts. Care should be taken not to overtighten the bolts.  The diagonal mirror should be attached first. Once in place, put the entire structure on the floor and carefully lower the primary mirror into position and attach it to the rods.

When all the bolts have been properly fastened, the tube should be very rigid.  Turn the entire assembly so that the primary mirror is closest to the floor.  This is a more stable way to stand the tube out of the way while proceeding on to the tripod assembly step.  We'll have more of the Hugo construction next week. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Jan 1,2008(Happy New Year)

We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday week.   It was a very relaxing week off.  We are fully rested and ready for a brand new year !!! - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Some readers have commented they sometimes have difficulties locating older articles on RainyDayMagazine.  We thought this would be a good time to remind everyone that there is a Google search box at the top of the main page which will allow you to locate most of the articles by key words.

Just be sure to click the appropriate radio button before starting the search of the entire Internet or just the RainyDayMagazine site.

On the bottom of the left panel on the front page, there is an Index which will allow readers to locate articles in a few different ways.  In 2007, we have created mini-calendars for each month with links to each days of the month.

Clicking on the year at the top will bring you to the index page for that year.  Clicking on the picture of the mini-calendar will bring you to a larger calender where you can click on and go to that day of the month.  Clicking on the title will bring you to the main page of that month.  We hope these new navigation tools will enable you to find older articles easier.  It is also an easy way to just poke around and see what you might have missed in 2007:-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


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