"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.


July 13,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Salem was, of course, one of the most prosperous towns in New England back when things all started.  Over the years, it has remade itself into a huge tourist destination.  The town is flooded every Holloween, but it is also a huge draw for all those looking to mix in a bit of American history with their travels during the other times of the year.

The rest of Salem MA was just as fascinating as the House of Seven Gables.  Right across the street is the OLDEST candy store in America!  It was probably not a good idea that we went in before we had lunch, but it WAS just right across the street.

The store had a huge variety of candies.  Many of them are still made the traditional way, using traditional molds and machines.  Most of us managed to limit ourselves to a reasonable amount of candy.  Somebody (who shall remain nameless) did purchase two of every flavor of candy fruit slices.

In the center of town is a pedestrian square with all kinds of shops, outdoor marts, street musicians, and other local color (folks dressed in early traditional garb chatting up the tourists).

We ran out of gas by the time we came upon the Peabody Essex Museum.  It is a beautiful museum and we have been in there many times.  Next time we are back in Salem, we'll be sure to make the PEM our first stop to see what's new since we last visited.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 12,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The crew took Carolyn up to Salem for her "Birthday Weekend."  Carolyn's friend Patty had once mentioned that a birthday should be a month-long event. 

Carolyn couldn't convince the higher ups at the magazine that her birthday should be celebrated for the entire month of July, but did managed to get in writing that it should span the entire weekend.  We don't know who negotiated her contract but that's one sweet deal!

The place Carolyn really wanted to visit was The House of Seven Gables.  If you went to school in the US, you've probably read it in 10th or 11th grade, along with The Scarlet Letter.  Well, apparently the house is real :-)  There was also something about a well which was significant in the story.  Some of us may have let our minds wandered a bit during Carolyn's re-telling of the tale.

We all went on the tour of the house, which was actually very interesting.  The house had quite a history (especially the gables).  We won't spoil it for you here.  If you find youself in Salem MA, we would recommend checking out this historical site.  You will find it fascinating even if your 10th grade English class was, not so much.

Even though the house tour was only around 30 minutes long, we had worked up a bit of an appetite.  We all agreed that we had enough strength left for a quick walk around the grounds, but then we would need to find a place to grab some "birthday lunch."  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 11,2008 (PassifloraFriday)

Last August we went to a Mass Horticulture Society flower show at the Elm Bank Horticulture Center.  At the show we purchased a few new day lillies to add to our RainyDayGarden collection.  Today, we noticed that some of them have started blooming.  It was a nice surprise as we had totally forgotten about them!

One flower which we don't forget we have is the Passiflora.  This is because we have to bring this vine inside in the Fall and replant it outside every year in the Spring.  In some part of the country, the passiflora vine may actually be considered a weed as it can be invasive and crowd out other species.  This is not a problem in the New England climate as it is not yet warm enough for the vine to make it through the winter outside.

The Passiflora's complex flower is one of the big reason why we love growing this plant.  While the bloom itself only lasts for about a day or two, it is spectacular when it is open.  The layered arrangements of petals, crown, and fringy bits are just mesmerizing to look at.  The bloom also has a sweet fruity scent and does attract butterflies. 

The vine we have is about three years old.  It has bloomed every year (year1, year2, year3) since we brought it home from Logee's in Conn.  This year there are already about a dozen buds on the vine.  We have successfully rooted the plant a few times and have used those cuttings in trades with other local gardeners.  If you want one, let us know what you got to trade.  We'll be happy to arrange an exchange for something exotic :-)  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 10,2008 (TechProjectThursday)

Our Pismo G3 laptop is a great little Powerbook.  We have upgraded its RAM, optical drive, CPU, and added more disk space.  However, it appears to have finally reached a technological dead end.  The main problem with the G3 is Leopard could not be install on it, even with the upgraded G4 processor.  Folks here acquired an old 12" aluminum Powerbook in May to replace the Pismo.  The first things we did to the new laptop were to upgrade the OS to Leopard and max out the internal RAM.  The next task on the list was to take care of some annoying problems with the keyboard. 

The seller of this laptop had indicated both the right "Enter" and "Shift" keys did not work.  We had taken the keyboard off and cleaned it with compressed air, but was not able to get it to work.  Our next plan was to buy a new one off EBay and replace the entire unit.  Since we had worked out the steps of removing the keyboard, we thought we would share some tips to make this step easier for those who need to do the same.

Before you start, know that there are three screws holding the keyboard in place.  One is in the back of the laptop (see RAM upgrade directions) and two underneath some of the Function Keys in the front. 

There are four keys which should be removed to get at the two screws holding the keyboard to the frame.  The trick is to lift the keys from the left side and slowly pop them off to the right.  If you try it from the right, you WILL break the scissor mount.

Once the screws have been removed, the keyboard may be flipped back toward the trackpad.  It is still connected to the motherboard by a ribbon cable and connector.  The connector can be easily freed using a flat head screwdriver.  Once the keyboard is off, replacing it with the new one was a breeze.  Just make sure the new keyboard is properly seated in the case before screwing things down.  The new keyboard now works great. 

All is not finish with this Powerbook restoration.  The case has some external scratches.  We have some ideas on how to cover that up.  There is a problem with the sound.  We are not sure if the sound problem is from the OS upgrade or because there is a problem with the headphone jack.  We'll tackle that problem next.  The battery life is not all that great.  So we definitely want to find is a better battery for this unit.  A battery which can last 5 hours between charges would be ideal.  Let us know if you have suggestions of vendors we should check out on the battery front.  We will be happy to share our findings here.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 9,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

All of us Apple fanboys know the 3G iPhone is scheduled to be released this Friday.  Every gadget site is buzzing with news of "unboxing" and other iPhone related tips and tidbits.  We wanted to take RainyDayMagazine readers in a cell phone related, but slightly different direction. 

It is pretty obvious that cell phones are now more powerful than many computers from a few years ago.  It is likely they will continue to be more so with each iteration.  While we can do more with the phones, some are now incorporating them as part of a system to potentially improve health care in the poorer and more isolated regions of the world.

Professor Rubinsky and his team at UC Berkeley has developed an imaging application using the cell phone as the primary visualization platform. You can check out the published paper here and his interview here.

  The basic idea is to construct a system which can enable the cell phone to perform ultrasounds, X-rays, magnetic resonance images, and other medical imaging diagnotisc.  The possible applications range from detecting tumors to confirming tuberculosis infections to monitoring developing fetuses.

We hope they start doing some work using the iPhone SDK.  It would be cool to see the Tricorder as one of the bundled app in a future iPhone release :-) [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 8,2008 (TechTuesday)

Since we got so many emails asking for more examples, we decided to post few more from our RainyDayGarden series.  These were all shot this past weekend using the Casio EX-F1 on a tripod.

We also got a lot of email suggesting additional video ideas.  Many of them we have thought of already, some were too odd to attempt even for our intrepid interns, still others were down right illegal in most states.  However, we thought seeing more ideas would not be such a bad thing.  So if you have an idea for a video, drop us a note with the subject line "Shoot me, baby!"  We will select three of the best ideas.  One for each frame rate (300, 600, 1200).  The winners will get something fun from out pile of stuff.  The contest ends at the end of the month.  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


July 7,2008 (1200fpsMoviesMonday)

The RainyDayPhotography folks had access to the Casio EX-F1 digital camera this weekend.  We had heard about this camera's unique high speed shutter and wanted to see if it is as cool as it sounds.  We spent a few days with the camera.  It was not enough time to sample all of the cameras functions, but we did get a feel for the high speed movie modes. 

The image of the bumblebee hovering next to the purple cone flower is a frame pulled out of the 300 fps capture.  Click on the images below to see the actual movies of insect (bumblebee, dragonflies) movements at this capture speed.  The wing beats are still a little blurry, but definitely WAY better than one can do with any conventional camera or video recorder.

Posted here are series of bumblebees and dragonflies in flight at different frame rates (300fps, 600fps, 1200fps).  The image size decreases with the increase in frame rate.  This is one of the tradeoffs.  The other is light sensitivity.  A lot more light is needed to get a good 1200fps movie.  None of our indoor ones shot using 1200fps were any good using conventional lighting.

A few obvious lessons learned from our brief encounter with the EX-F1.  A tripod is a MUST if you want to get a usable movie.  Bright lighting conditions is necessary, but movies captured in direct sunlight is too harsh and contrasty.  Match the frame rate to the action.  1200fps is great for getting dragonflies in flight, but not necessary for a "bouncing ball" movie :-)

The Casio EX-F1 is an intriguing camera which opens up a lot of photographic opportunities for those interested in "sampling" the world at a higher frame rate.  We have a lot more ideas than time, but unfortunately we had to return the camera today.  Maybe we'll get access to another one soon and give those ideas a try!  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau



[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*




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