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October 31,2008 (FoodFriday)

Now that the electric oven and gas burners of the new Jenn Air range are all operational, it was time to give things a FirstUse test.  Most of us were more curious about the convection oven, so we decided we'll check that out first.  What would be a better test than to make some muffins?  Of course, the folks in the RainyDayKitchen couldn't make just any muffins, they had to make healthy spelt-flour muffins.  If you don't know what spelt is, just drop Carolyn a note.  She will tell you all about it.  Anyway, back to the oven...

Working the oven settings was pretty straightforward (no manual needed): just hit the "Bake" button, punch in the desired temperature, and off it goes.  The Temp Indicator gives the current reading and a "ping" goes off when the... [More]- Jenn Air Oven FirstUse


October 30,2008 (ReModellingThursday)

The Jenn-Air range we installed has a grill on the left side.  To keep the smoke from the grilling from overwhelming the kitchen, there is a downdraft vent in the middle of the range.

For the vent to work, a blower must be installed to suck the air down and out.  This blower may be installed in a variety of ways.  We chose to place it on the right side of the stove and vent the air down to the basement.

In order to vent the exhaust to the basement, a hole must be cut into the floor.  The installation manual gave VERY explicit dimensions for the... [More]- Blower Installation


October 29,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

We almost skipped over this item in our InBox about a really cool display technology demonstrated by Samsung at the 2008 FPD International Show.  In the email was a link and an image of what looked like a print emerging from a really thin printer.  We thought, oh look, they can print on plastic.

Upon closer reading, we realized the image above was of a super-thin (0.05mm) OLED color display.  This Samsung display is so thin that it is flexible!  One of the reasons why it can be so thin is that OLED technology, unlike that of the LCDs used in most flat panel monitors, requires no backlighting.  The OLED pixels themselves can emit light.  Eliminating the backlighting requirement also meant less power requirements (longer battery life, less weight, etc...).  This is going to change things.  [Permalink] - Samsung OLED


October 28,2008 (ReModellingTuesday)

The old stove used gas for the burners and oven.  It had a 120v line to power the timer and the oven light.  The new JennAir is a dual fuel range - the burners use gas, but the oven is electric and needs a 240v line.

The installation of a 240V line should be done by a professional.  However, it is still useful to understand all of the steps involved.  We saved some money by geting all of the parts from Home Depot.  First determine where the outlet should be installed.  Second, make sure the hole for the wire is not blocked by a floor joist.

Third, strip the wires and attach them to the 240V outlet.  Be sure to note the two hot leads, the neutral wire and the ground wire.  One important point is that ... [More] - 240V Outlet Installation


October 27,2008 (ReModellingMonday)

We took advantage of a lull in our schedule this weekend and finished the installation of the Jenn Air range.  We'll have a full write-up of the project this week. 

The project was a little more involved than we had first anticipated (240v outlet, vent installation, etc...), but it was a great learning experience for everybody.

The range has been moved into place.  Both the gas and electricity are connected and working.  We still have to... [More] - Jenn Air Installation


October 26,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We are heartened to know that the Obama team is not taking anything for granted.  Our belief is that most people will realize we need real change and vote for Obama. RainyDayMagazine's Electoral College prediction for November 4th is Obama 415, McCain 123.  What is your call?  Go make it on MSNBC's Prediction Map.

Send us your numbers via email with the subject line "Here is my call."  We'll give a prize to the reader with the most accurate electoral vote prediction (regardless of who wins the presidency).  In case of identical winning predictions, the prize will go to the one with the earliest submission. [Permalink] - Election Prediction


October 25,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The final week of the 2008 presidential campaign will be the nastiest we have seen in a generation.  It will make the 2004 "swift-boat" smear on Kerry appear pale by comparison.  The Christian Right has already stepped up its attacks.  It's classic fear-mongering and one can smell the stench.

There are still a lot of undecided voters, so it will be important for the Democrats to respond quickly and factually without sinking into the same slime pit.  Not an easy path to navigate.

Take the whole "redistributing wealth" distortion of Obama's tax plan being spouted by the McCain camp.  Obama is not Robin Hood;  he is not "taking from the rich and giving to the poor."  He is proposing to take less from the "average."  Giving a tax break only to the middle class may not be a good idea to Joe the Hedge Fund manager or a plumber making $250K a year, but it is a pretty good idea to the "average" person.  Some of us here , according to the Obama Tax Calculator, could be getting a tax saving of as much as $670. 

We think part of the problem for those who buy into McCain's "redistributing wealth" misinformation campaign may be that they don't like to think of themselves as being "average."  They may worry that someday when they ARE in the $250K+ category they will be taxed more.  That is putting the cart so far ahead of the horse for so many that they might as well be pulling the cart themselves with the horse in it. 

If you like how things are today, vote for McCain.  If you agree that we need a change, vote for Obama.  You know where we stand.   We urge you to stand with Obama, for a REAL change.  [Permalink] - Tax Cut


October 24,2008 (FlailingFriday)

With less than two weeks to go in the election, it feels to us that the McCain campaign is flailing about looking to connect in any way it can.  We find it disingenious for McCain to be talking about an irrelevant point (Ayers) at this juncture, especially with so many other critical topics (economy, energy, etc...) which needs to be addressed.

It appears to us that it is McCain who is willing to "say anything" to get elected.  At this point, it appears to us that he has abandoned all principles in his attempts to get votes.  Pressure...it does reveal someone's true character: Some will focus, others will fold, and then there are those who will lash out and flail about.   The country needs to always be guided by a steady and intelligent hand.  This is the reason why we support the Obama-Biden ticket.

We won't even go into what Ms. Palin is going on about.  We are just looking forward to the day when she disappears back to caribou country.  If that sounded dismissive, it was intended to be so. We'll take her seriously when she has something serious to say.  [Permalink] - Say anything


October 23,2008 (TelescopeTechThursday)

We fixed the Celestron ASGT mount almost two months ago, but have not had a chance to attach a scope to it yet.  The problem was neither of our two telescope optical tubes have rails attached.

For the past few months we have been putting the pieces together to mount the Meade 2045 tube, add a GPS unit, and a laser pointer.  We think we have finally... [More]- Telescope Mount Accessories


October 22,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

Want to "see" what's going to happen with the November election?  We are predicting an Obama victory by a landslide.  To see how others in the media are making the call, this Electoral College Prediction Tracker is one of the more interesting interactive viewers we have come across. 

It shows different media polls and their predictions by states.  Fox News (at the bottom) is showing McCain in the lead.  Hey, they are about as far on the right as one can and still be on the scale, but since when have they ever been "right?"  [Permalink] - Prediction Tracker


October 21,2008 (TechToyTuesday)

Yesterday we looked at the Zen mind, today we want to feed the geek mind.  The best way to do that is with a tech toy.  The CyberCube is such a toy.

The CyberCube is made with 216, 6mm, neodymium spherical magnets.  They are surprisingly strong and sometimes they act like they have a... [More] - CyberCube


October 20,2008 (ZenMindMonday)

Zen Mind/Zen Brush is an exhibit which opened at the MFA in earlier this month.  We took a tour of the exhibit recently and came away with a new appreciation of the concept. 

This exhibit is from the collection of Kurt Gitter and Alice Yelen, who were among the first Westerners to collect later Zen paintings.  Gitter, an Air Force flight surgeon, began collecting... [More] - Zen Mind/Zen Brush


October 19,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We took advantage of the nice weather this weekend and went for a drive.  About 40 minutes from the city is Shelborne Farm.  Folks head there on sunny Fall days because it is the place to go for picking apples... ALL kinds of apples.

Apple picking is a great way to spend a day, and afterwards you get to go home and bake a pie.  The trails are well marked, there are plenty of things to see and do, and when you have had enough, you can walk to the... [More]- Apple Picking


October 18,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Last weekend we were up in Maine doing some hiking.  One of the tasty treats that kept us going was pineapple jerky from the Hawaiian Jerky Co.  We would have taken a photo of the jerky out of the package, but by the time we got back from the hike, it was all eaten! 

The general concensus was that the pineapple jerky was much better than the standard sugary, dried, chunks of pineapple.  The jerky is light weight, does not take up much... [More]- Pineapple Jerky


October 17,2008 (WaterfallFriday)

A few weeks ago, we drove to Manhattan to have brunch with our friend Kathy.  It was kind of a gray day and we were not quite sure what to do before heading back to Boston.  We had heard there was an art installation of "waterfalls" around the city.  One of them was under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Since we were on the East Side, we decided to check it out.

We had always seen the Brooklyn Bridge from far away as we crossed over from Long Island to Manhattan.  This was the first time we've ever seen the Brooklyn Bridge up close.  The best view of the waterfall was from the Manhattan side. 

This time we parked the car and walked along the path next to the bridge.  Next time we'll have to... [More] - Brooklyn Bridge


October 16,2008 (BatteryTechThursday)

It has been a year since we first reviewed the Sanyo eneloop batteries.  During that time, we have been using them in our cameras, electronics, and every other piece of gear that takes AA or AAA batteries.  The eneloops have performed so well that we have stopped using any other kind of AA and AAA batteries.

When we heard Sanyo had introduced some "adapters" for the eneloops, we were eager to check them out.  What we found was that Sanyo has put together an interesting... [More] - eneloop Travel Pack


October 15,2008 (WildWednesday)

We took a FirstLook at the Handpresso Wild back in September.  With the Columbus Day weekend trip coming up, we thought it would be a good opportunity to take it with us to Maine and do the FirstUse report up there. 

The kitchen in the rental unit had a typical drip coffee machine, so we were glad we brought this portable unit along.   Everyone probably had some experience using a drip coffee machine.  Making espresso using the Handpresso Wild is just as simple.  All it takes are four easy steps... [More]- Handpresso Wild


October 14,2008 (ReaderTechTuesday)

"Reading is fun-damental."  That was what we were taught growing up.  Reading IS fun, but it got a bit more fun with the Amazon Kindle.  The Kindle is an e-book reader similar in concept to the one from Sony.  Both are pretty cool, but because the Kindle is backed by the giant bookseller Amazon, it is a quantum leap ahead of the Sony unit where it really counts...access to stuff you want to read.

We brought a Kindle along with us to Maine this past weekend.  It is a little bigger than a typical paperback book, but can carry so much more content.  It's perfect for those who like to read more than one book at a time.

Unlike laptop screens, the surface is frosted to minimize reflections.  The result is text that is easily readable in both shade and direct sunlight.  Like real paper, the Kindle's e-ink display is... [More]- Amazon Kindle


October 13,2008 (ColumbusDay)

Columbus Day is usually the last day where many shops and restaurants stay open in Maine.  We like going up there for this weekend because the rental prices are quite inexpensive.  The bugs, as well as most of the tourists, are gone.  The weather is still warm enough during the day that we can drive with the top down. 

It was certainly a great day for continuing our lobster roll "research."  We noticed lobster prices were around... [More]- Columbus Day


October 12,2008 (WeekendEdition)

We have been waiting for the right opportunity to photograph the Wicked Laser InTheWild.  We brought it with us to Maine, hoping there would be a few clear nights so we could get some photos of it in action.

The first night we set up the telescope and took a few experimental shots to establish the settings needed to capture the laser

At first, we had a little trouble keeping the laser from moving.  It took a bit of trial and error to get the shutter timing right, but once we got it worked out... [More]- Wicked Laser InTheWild


October 11,2008 (WeekendEdition)

The RainyDayMagazine editorial crew went on their annual Maine Columbus Day outing this weekend.  As with previous trips, we left the interns in charge, rented a house on the marsh and settled in for three days of feasting, napping, and other low impact activities.

New England had a wet Summer and is experiencing a warm Fall.  With the warmer temparature, the leaves should stay on longer and the colors be more vibrant.  The weather forecast for the weekend was clear, sunny, and cool... perfect for hiking and foliage activities. 

A few of us took a walk in the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve in Wells.  The foliage was past peak, but the colors were still quite impressive.  The walk was not too... [More]- Weekend In Maine


October 10,2008 (FurryFriendsFriday)

This odd little story showed up in our InBox this morning.  It was sufficiently off-beat that we thought most of our readers would appreciate it.

This "pet store" is actually a New York art exhibit created by Banksy, the here-to-for unidentified street artist from the UK.  The point of the exhibit is to contrast the often contradictory relationship many of us have with pets and people.

Many of us "love" having pets, but we also love eating meat.  Others ignore the homeless on the streets, but may have health insurance for their pets.  This exhibit was sufficiently thought provoking that we decided to share it.

Since the exhibit is in NYC, we'll try to check it out before it leaves town.  If any of you readers do manage to get there before we do, send us your thoughts on the installation.   [Permalink] - Banksy


October 9,2008 (HeadlightTechThursday)

Installing the new litronic headlights in the Boxster was even faster and simpler than replacing the oxygen sensor.  We have been wanting to upgrade the headlights on the Boxster for years, but we could never justify the cost to the bean counters satisfaction.  However, when we noticed some melting of the lens cover in the existing halogen units, it was exactly the excuse we needed to convince Purchasing that we needed replacements.

The reasons for the melting are not clear, but it did appear to be getting worse. The bulbs had been replaced, but only with OEM units.  No modifications of any kind were... [More] - Boxster Litronic Install


October 8,2008 (WowUsWednesday)

A few weeks ago we ordered a set of litronic headlights for the Boxster from a company called Forest Fine.  None of us had heard of them before, but they checked out fine, so we placed an order.  About a week later UPS delivered a giant box to the office. 

The guys in the RainyDayGarage were a little surprised at the size of the package, but since it was shipped from the UK, they assumed it was just really well padded.  When they opened up the package, they found two large boxes and lots of smaller boxes.  So what were all these other items???

The larger boxes were the litronic headlights themselves.  They came well packaged, were brand new, and exactly as expected.  The smaller boxes turned out to be... [More] - Boxster Litronic Upgrade


October 7,2008 (TrainYourMindTuesday)

Many people start studying Aikido to train their body.  Those who stick with it soon come to realize that training in Aikido is really about training the mind.  Students who train at Shobu Aikido of Boston have the priviledge of studying under Gleason Sensei.  Gleason Sensei's style of teaching is both physically and intellectually stimulating.  The training is physical, but at the end of class, one often feels full of energy and mentally refreshed.

The dojo had been in Newton for four years, but has recently moved to the edge of Cambridge and Somerville.  One of the reasons was to make the dojo accessible to more people.  After six months of work, Shobu Aikido of Boston's new dojo has officially opened and is now accepting new students (beginners and advanced).  Later in October, they will be adding a children's program, taught by Gleason Sensei himself. 

If you are looking to sharpen your mind this Fall, check out a class.  The best days to observe a class are Tuesdays or Thursdays (Gleason Sensei teaches on those nights).  We hope to see you on the mat!  [Permalink] - Aikido mind


October 6,2008 (MoneyMonday)

We almost bought some MCD (McDonald's) last week, but since the $700 billion dollar "buy-in" didn't pass, we held off making a purchase.  It turned out that it was better (as in, not as bad) to just be holding cash.  Today's worldwide free-fall was definitely not for those with weak constitutions.  I guess we'll just have to sit on the sidelines and wait for this "lack-of-confidence" tsunami to pass.

Last Monday we had left interested readers hanging as to where WE would put our money in the health care area.  Some of us here did well investing in small biopharmaceutical companies, but in the long run Big Pharma is probably a safer place to stash our money.  In the Big Pharma sector, no one is bigger than Pfizer.  The problem with Pfizer and all of the others is that: their pipelines are drying up; drugs are coming off patent; and generics are going to eat Big Pharma's lunch.

Looking at Pfizer's 10 year chart, one would be hard-pressed to say this company has done much for their investors. We would agree if it wasn't for one fundamental shift in thinking.  Ten years ago, Big Pharma companies all wanted to find the next blockbuster "billion-dollar" drug themselves.  Today, all of them are actively seeking struggling biotechs with good pipelines to snap up on the cheap.  In this climate, many struggling small biotechs are going for a song.  If we were looking for some place to park a chunk of money for ten years, we would put it in the "Bank of Pfizer." [Permalink] - Bank Of Pfizer


October 5,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Our Boxster's check engine light came on back in May. The code indicated that the problem was with the oxygen sensor. The local Porsche dealer quoted $317 for the part and $200 for labor to swap out the old sensor. At those kind of prices, we knew we were going to see if we could replace it ourselves.

We had been procrastinating because the light would only go on intermittently. We finally got tired of seeing it come on and decided to just get off our butts and replace the sensor. Prices for a replacement sensor were all over the place.  We found prices ranging from $45 to $250 on Ebay. Autohausaz.com sells a Bosch unit for $110 with free shipping. We think Bosch is the source of the Porsche OEM part.  Most of the less expensive ones did not have the connector already attached.

We didn't want the hassle of attaching the connector, so we ordered the complete unit. We are going to keep the old connector and see how difficult... [More]- Oxygen Sensor Replacement

October 4,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Anything related to photography is always of interestes to everyone here at RainyDayMagazine.  We are always eager to help promote the art and craft of this topic, especially in the area of digital photography. 

For those of you just starting out in digital photography or those interested in making the switch from film, Digital Photography from the Ground Up by Juergen Gulbins does an excellent job of covering the basics, ranging from storage cards to image output options.

Gulbins also touches on some general photography topics such as composition, lighting, and equipment handling.  He pays special attention to those areas where digital equipment differs from film.  For folks interested in selling on sites such as EBay, the section on close-up and still setups will be especially helpful.

A reasonable portion of the book is devoted to the topic of image editing.  Image editing is, of course, one of the major advantages of working in the digital domain.  The book covers the "how-tos" of using such features as... [More]- Digital Photography From the Ground Up


October 3,2008 (FotoFriday)

Digitial photography exploded into the mainstream about ten years ago.  The crossover point was when a $300 digital cameras was able to produce images of acceptable quality.  Today, an excellent digital SLR camera kit can be had for around $500.  That price point means many folks interested in digital photography can now afford the gear.

Shopping for photography gear is fun, and learning how to use it is even MORE fun!  Rocky Nook is a publishing house which puts out some excellent titles, covering... [More]- Rocky Nook Collection


October 2,2008 (TechThursday)

While the folks in the RainyDayKitchen got to play with high voltages and large currents, some of us were only allowed to work on projects which were battery powered.

One of the intern's iPod had stopped charging.  The iPod was three years old, so it was probably a dead battery.  The batteries for the various versions of iPods are different.   The one we needed was for a 30GB Video iPod.   It is thinner than the one for a 60GB iPod.  The one we ordered for $7 on EBay even came with... [More]- Ipod Battery Replacement


October 1,2008 (WireItUpWednesday)

We have been reading up on what was needed to accommodate our new Jenn Air range.  Once things (venting, electrical work, etc...) got mapped out, the interns made a field trip to Home Depot and gathered the necessary parts (breakers, recepticle, cable, etc...) for the project.

They were gone a long time (no doubt touching everything in the store).  One item they did pick up was a book published by Home Depot on wiring.  We were amazed at how well written, informative, and useful this book was.  It was packed full of project ideas and "how to" articles.  It contained everything we needed to know about our project.

Working with 240V was not something which worried us, it was how to properly handle the 50 Amps.  To carry the current, the wires have to be both thick and well insulated.  That much current willl... [More]- Wire It Up


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