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May 30,2008 (WeekendEdition)

May is the time of year when gardens in New England go through a lot of changes.  While the tulips and some irises start blooming at the beginning of May, the leaves on the trees don't come in until nearer to the end.  By the end of May, things are in full growth mode.

The RainyDayGarden is no different.  While many of the plants have started growing at the beginning of the month, Buffy and Eliot were not able to find many shady spots to rest during their daily patrols.

However, the interns were able to observe all of the goings-on today while remaining cool in the shade.  Hmmm, we can see Buffy resting, but just what IS that Eliot up to[Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 30,2008 (FlashFriday)

Last week Improv Everywhere pulled off an impressive early "Happy Birthday" well-wishing event for the Brooklyn Bridge.  700 folks gathered, inspite of the rainy weather, and participated in a camera flash wave across the bridge. 

There are a lot more photos on the Improv site of this and other "scenes of chaos and joy in public places."  Enjoy and have a great weekend! [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 29,2008 (TechThursday)

i-rocks makes some great peripherals for both the Mac and PC.  They are well engineered, cleanly styled, and reasonably priced.  We have many of their accessories (keyboard, enclosure, card reader) in-house and use them daily. 

Recently, we decided to reduce some of the "wire clutter" around the office, so we started looking at wireless keyboards and mice.  As expected, i-rocks had a combo which was exactly what we were looking for (cross-platform, USB, Bluetooth). 

The X-Slim keyboard has a very low profile.  The keys are well sculpted and the response is noiseless. The mouse is nicely sized and all of the... [More] - i-rocks X Slim accessories


May 28,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

A week ago we got ourselves an old 12" aluminum Powerbook.  The case is scratched and dented.  It needs a larger drive, more memory, and not all of the keys on keyboard work.  It is exactly what we had been looking for... a Mac laptop in need of a full restoration.

The first thing we are going to fix is the case.  We could try to get the dents out, but we thought... [More] - 12" G4 Powerbook


May 27,2008 (ThrillerTuesday)

We have read The Di Vinci Code, listened to the audio book, and seen the movie.  Before Dan Brown hit it big with The DiVinci Code, he had written Angels & Demons

A few weeks ago, we got the unabridged 15 discs version of Angels & Demons for the commute to and from work.  Two of us in the office have now finished the series and we have to say, Dan Brown knows how to weave a good story.  If you are looking for some good vacation reading or commute listening, pick up this first work from Dan Brown.  We guarantee you will wish you had more vacation or a longer commute! [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 26,2008 (MemorialMonday)

There is an old cemetery, on Route 125 in Kingston, New Hampshire. When the last of its bodies was interred, it was still on a country road. There wouldn’t have been electricity or automobiles or penicillin when the last of its bodies was interred. Kingston, New Hampshire would have been a hard place to get to back then, and you can still miss it if you aren’t paying attention when you get to that set of lights where Route 125 bears right and some other road continues straight.

The cemetery is bounded on all four sides by a low stone wall, which is slowly becoming a low stone pile. You enter through a little white wooden gate in the middle of... [More] - Memorial Day 2008


May 24-25,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We stopped by our favorite shop, Birch Street House & Garden, on Friday night for “Ghana comes to Birch Street.”  Lovely jewelry, textiles, pottery, and papergoods were for sale by Cross Cultural Collaborative, “an educational non-profit that invites people to Ghana to promote cultural exchange and understanding through the arts” as its website says.  The proceeds from the sales of the Ghanan pieces went to the Collaborative.

Erin, the owner of Birch Street, organized this evening for her long-time chum Ellie Schimelman, who is the president of Cross Cultural Collaborative

Ellie was on-hand Friday to talk about the Collaborative and the pieces she brought with her.  Carolyn, our copy editor, delightedly bought two recycled-glass bead bracelets and a bronze cheetah key holder.

The products of the Cultural Collaborative are gaining an appreciative audience; Ellie told us that she just sold to Smithsonian Institute a number of their hand-woven ties!

We were very happy that we had the opportunity to see first-hand the terrific items that the Ghanan Cross Cultural Collaborative is creating.  [Permalink] - Carolyn Donovan


May 23,2008 (FiskarsFriday)

It is the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  Even with gas prices as high as it is, many folks will be heading out on the road.  We, however, will be staying around Boston and doing some work on the RainyDayGarden.

One reason is that a variety of Fiskars garden shears came into the office.  Since we just got back from being on the road most of the week, the thought of... [More] - Fiskars


May 22,2008 (TravelTipThursday)

Traveling can be a lot of things: fun, relaxing, and a lot of work.  It can also mean greasy fingerprints on our laptop screen, cheesy drips on our cellphones, and BBQ sauce on our hands.  OK, the BBQ sauce was because we were down in Texas these past few days :-)

Fortunately for us, on this trip we added a new travel item to our travel kit.  The item, the La Fresh Tech Pack, made a difference on its first outing!  This pre-packaged kit has... [More] - La Fresh


May 21,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

Just when we had finally gotten rid of all of our Canon cameras we came upon this site...on how to hack tons (advance histograms, access raw formats, unlimited video, etc...) of Canon cameras!!!

Apparently, folks at CHDK (we are guessing it means Canon Hacker Developer's Kit) has pretty much figured out... [More] - CHCD


May 20,2008 (TireToteTuesday)

RainyDayGarage reviewed the Kurgo TireTote (FirstLook, FirstUse) last year when we packed up the Summer tires for storage.  It is now mid-May and New England's night time temperature has consistently been above 40º.  Confidence is high that we will not be getting any more snow, so the Summer tire went back on this past weekend :-)

Our usual set of tools for the Winter/Summer tire swap are: torque wrench, soft socket, jack, tire mount rod, air pump, and Dremel tool with a wire brush attachement.

The Summer tires had been in storage in a cool basement since the Fall.  Their pressure had dropped a few... [More] - TireTote InTheWild


May 19,2008 (MiracleGroMonday)

This past weekend started out sunny so we spent the morning cleaning and weeding the RainyDayGarden.  Showers were forecasted for the latter part of the day, but one can never tell in these parts. 

A few weeks ago, we got a few packages of the new MiracleGro LiquaFeed Advance.  We decided this weekend was a good time as any for the Spring feeding.

The LiquaFeed Advance system came with an integrated sprinkler-feeder unit.  The MiracleGro bottle attaches to one end.  There are few spray options to the... [More] - MiracleGro LiquaFeed FirstUse


May 17-18,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Folks here at RainyDayMagazine buy and sell stuff on EBay and Craigslist (Celestron, Meade) all the time.  We love it because we get to buy things at a great price.  Based on our past seven years of buying and selling on both forums, we have noticed three distinct differences between EBayers and Craigslister.

1. EBayers don't like to meet face-to-face, Craigslisters do.

Even if the EBay listing is in the same town, most EBayers will not want successful bidders to come by to pick up the item.  This is understandable as you never know who may show up at the door (porno movie plots notwithstanding).  Craigslisters love it.  Some Craigslisters will actually get so "pissed-off" if you don't want to interact "live" that... [More] - EBay vs Craigslist


May 16,2008 (FirstLookFriday)

The largest Apple Store in the US opened in Boston yesterday.  Apple fans from all over turned out in record numbers to show their support. 

Apple employees were eager to return the favor.  Five minutes before the 6PM opening, they ran out of the store, parted the crowds, and gave everyone waiting in line "hi-5s." 

It had the desired effect and got everyone REALLY whipped up for the grand opening.   At precisely 6PM, the doors opened, the crowd cheered, and... [More] - Apple Store FirstLook


May 15,2008 (TeslaThursday)

Two years ago Tesla Motors announced they were going to build an all electric vehicle with the soul of a sports car.  Well, the first production run of car were completely sold out even before the first one rolled off the drawing board.


They have opened their first showroom in LA and are taking orders today for their 2009 production run.  We are ordering ours in sterling silver.  If you want one of these bad boys, cash in your 401K and head on down to the Tesla dealer today. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 14,2008 (WellItsAboutTimeWednesday)

The veil has finally been lifted on the largest Apple Store in the US.  We tried to make it downtown for the 11AM media event, but did not manage to get to Boylston Street until late in the day.

Needless to say, we not only blew off our interview slot with Mayor Menino, we couldn't even get into the store to look around. However, the beefy security guards in front did allow us to take some photos through the window :-)

From what we could see, similar to the flagship Apple Store in NYC, this one also has an enormous glass spiral staircase in the middle of the store.  The layout is similar to other Apple Stores: spacious, airy, and lots of products for touching.

After waiting for so long, all we can say is "Its About Time!"  The parking won't be any better, but after looking at a covered storefront for over two years, we are happy to see... [More] - Apple Store


May 13,2008 (FlashTechTuesday)

The pop-up flash on the Nikon D40 camera is suitable for a lot of low light situations, but sometimes a few more photons than what the built-in unit can supply are needed.

For those situations, the Nikon SB-400 Speedlight unit is the perfect solution.  This flash module is compact, fast charging, and built specifically for... [More] - Nikon SB-400


May 12,2008 (GPSMirrorMonday)

The Cheetah GPSMirror is an interesting device.  It will not tell you how to get from point A to point B, it will not help you steer around slow traffic, and it will not be much help if you are lost.  So what good is it?  It will alert you to every red-light camera in your area.  More importantly, it will alert you to red-light cameras when you are travelling in unfamiliar territory.

Getting the GPSMirror up and running is a simple task.  The unit is loaded with the necessary data and ready to go right out of the box.  Today, we are going to show how to install one in about 30 minutes with no tools... [More] - GPSMirror 30-minute install


May 11,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We reviewed the Trek-Tech VersaMount almost exactly a year ago.  During that time the VersaMount has lived up to its name.  Folks here use it in combination with the TrekPod for quite a bit of our studio and outdoor shoots.

The best part about the VersaMount is its ability to be placed anywhere along the... [More] - VersaMount InTheWild


May 10,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Mornings are the best time to be out photographing flowers.  The air is stiller, the light is not too contrasty, and most biting insects are not yet feeding :-) 

One thing to be careful of when shooting early in the morning is that dew and moisture are still everywhere. While droplets on the leaves and petals make the shots more interesting, all that wetness is not so great for the gear.

The Kata E-690 Element Cover was designed with such assignments in mind.  With the cover on, the camera is... [More] - E-690 FirstUse


May 9,2008 (FotoFriday)

We have been reviewing a lot gear for the RainyDayPhotography folks lately.  Many of you have been asking for more of the same.  Well, get ready for a weekend full of photo gear and gadgets! 

Since our weekend begins on Friday, we'll start with a look at an item (Element Cover E690) from Kata designed for... [More] - Kata E-690


May 8,2008 (TravelGearThursday)

The Tom Bihn Ego bag has seen daily use since our FirstLook post last June.  We thought we would do a quick "almost one year" follow up on it today.

We use the Ego mostly for carrying the 15" MacBookPro and related gear (mouse, power supply, etc...).  When in a hurry, some have managed to stuff the new Nikon DSLR in with everything else. Even with the daily use, this bag looks almost new.  With Bihn's use of top notch material and the bag's excellent build quality it was not suprising that the Ego held up incredibly well. 

We recently discovered a new use for ... [More] - Ego InTheWild


May 7,2008 (WayCloseWednesday)

It has been sunny these past few days.  The irises and tulips are loving the rays.  We thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the light and see what the Nikon D40's kit lens can do on getting up close and personal, at least with the flowers blooming out in the RainyDayGarden :-)

We took most of these shots early in the morning using the 18-55mm lens with the camera on a tripod.  Our first close-up test was not too structured.  We just wanted to... [More] - Nikon Closeup


May 6,2008 (GarageTechTuesday)

This weekend the "check engine" light came on in the Boxster while we were driving back from the SOS event.  We thought... bummer, we just had the car fixed in April! 

Then we thought... oh good, it would be the perfect opportunity to give the CarMD a FirstUse test.  We had introduced the CarMD to RainyDayGarage readers a few months back.  The kit comes complete (USB cable, AAA batteries, software) with everything needed.

The CarMD OBD reader is ready to use once the batteries are installed.  Just plug it in the car, turn it on... [More] - CarMD FirstUse


May 5,2008 (MoreNikonsMonday)

Carolyn recently obtained access to a brand new Nikon D60 as part a consulting gig.  The RainyDayPhotography folks here managed to convince her to let them take a look by promising that they would not take it apart :-)  They did a quick look and found some obvious upgrades.  Whether these changes are worth the extra money is not yet clear.

On the surface, the two cameras looked almost identical.  Internally, the D60 has a larger sensor density (10MP vs 6MP).  The camera software came with a few refinements: rotating LCD grapics, sensor cleaning on power-off. 

There are probably other software upgrades, but they will have to look at the D60 more closely before they can comment on them.  The D60 kit now comes with... [More] - Nikon D60


May 4,2008 (WeekendEdition)

This weekend turned out to be both cold AND rainy.  However, it did not dampen our efforts yesterday to check out both the annual Somerville Open Studios and the Shobu Aikido "painting party".

There were over 300 artists participating in the event.  We did not have time to see them all, but we did spend a bit of time at the Vernon Street Studios

There were a lot of photographers, painters, and mix-media artists at that location.  We found some interesting works... [More] - Somverville Open Studios

Shobu Aikido of Boston is moving to Somerville.  We stopped by the new space to check it out.  Apparently we had just missed the painting party.  There were still a few of the crew doing some touch-up work and cleaning up.

The new space is beautiful!  There are two large garage doors in the front which will be replaced with glass doors.  The entire space is free of obstructions (unlike their current space) and will... [More] - Shobu Aikido in Somverville


May 3,2008 (WeekendEdition)

High school seniors know May 1st was the day they must make their choice of which college they will be attending in the Fall.  Sarah, our RainyDayIntern of many years, has finally made her decision.

After spending much of the last six months madly dashing about the country checking out colleges, Sarah will be matriculating at RISD this Fall.

Some of you may not know this, but Sarah was the one who came up with our tagline "We Entertain When It Rains."   We want to thank Sarah for all of her brilliant contributions over the years and wish her well in her future endeavors.  BTW...Sarah said she will be taking this Summer off.  I guess we'll have to get someone else to weed the RainyDayGarden. [Permalink] - RISD


May 2,2008 (FotoFriday)

Sometimes we get carried away with the "getting" of the photo gear and not enough of the "using" of the photo gear.  So we thought we would start a series on digital photography topics which we find interesting.  The first of the series is shooting "high dynamic range" images.

The image above was shot using the Nikon D40 in "Auto" mode.  The exposure is basically good.  The sky is not too overexposed. The buildings are all visible.  However, the shot is pretty bland.  One way to give it more "umph" is to... [More] - HDR Photography


May 1,2008 (TechThursday)

We sent one of our interns downtown recently for an errand and she came back all excited because the cover was off the front of the Apple Store on Boylston Street.  This is a significant change from our report a month ago.

The front of the store is currently styled like the "green monster" at Fenway park.  The "scoreboard" message reads "Opening Day Coming Soon"... [More] - Apple Store


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