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Feb 28,2009(WeekendEdition)

Alden makes a tool for extracting stripped screw heads called the Grabit.  We had to pick up a set this weekend because one of the interns got, um, over-eager with the portable screwdriver.

The Grabit system consists of two parts: a grabber, an extractor.  The grabber's job is to prep the stripped screw so the extractor can remove it.  The grabber is really more of a... [More]- Alden ProGrabit


Feb 27,2009(FlowersFriday)

A few weeks ago we did an article on the neglected orchid which started blooming.  Two of the three buds had opened, but the last one stayed closed.  Well, that third bud finally bloomed

We took the opportunity to test how close we can get with the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens.  Click here to see a cropped version of the orchid at full resolution.  The image was a bit noisy because we shot it using just the available light.  We'll show how a brighter surrounding will influence the image quality tomorrow.  [Permalink]- Orchids


Feb 26,2009(AstroTechThursday)

The movement of the stars is well understood.  Their location in the sky relative to Earth can be predicted with a very simple device called a planisphere.

DK Publishing has put together a kit for star gazers called StarFinder. The StarFinder set includes an integrated planisphere on the front cover, a well-illustrated... [More]- StarFinder


Feb 25,2009(WhatIfWednesday)

President Obama's speech to Congress last night touched on the topic of affordable health care.  It got us thinking... what if a bag of potato chips costs $5.00 instead of a $1.00?  What if a Big Mac costs $10.00 instead of $3.50?  What if a bottle of soda is $6.00 instead of $1.50?  What if, pound for pound, fruits and vegetables were cheaper than Fritos and Cheetos? What if there was a tax on junk food and that tax was used to subsidize health care?

What if a treadmill was used to power the TV? What if the price of train rides or airplane tickets were based on... [More]- First Speech to Congress


Feb 24,2009(TravelGearTuesday)

We are on a plane a couple of times a month.  All that traveling has taught us two things: take only what you will use and use only what works.  All of our Tom Bihn gear get used because they work amazingly well. 

Our newest addition is the Checkpoint Flyer.  This bag is designed so travelers do not have to take their laptop out of the bag when going through the TSA x-ray security line.  The advantages of not having to remove the laptop are many, but the main one is... [More]- Checkpoint Flyer


Feb 23,2009(MoodChangingMonday)

Last week we showed how we freed some stubbon retaining pins so we could change out the old TX watch band and replace it with a new one.  This week we will show readers some nice rubber strap options should you want to upgrade your sport watch for Spring.

We found some awesome-looking rubber straps from Strapped For Time.  Our favorites are the Navy Seal Diver and the Rubber Oyster band.  Both are thick but surprisingly light-weight and... [More]- Diver Bands from SFT


Feb 21-22,2009(WeekendEdition)

Shobu Aikido of Boston has sword classes on Sunday as part of their regular Aikido program.  This weekend, Gleason sensei gave a sword seminar which was open to all.   Most of the time Gleason sensei demonstrates, discusses, and dissects the different kata.  This weekend Gleason sensei extended the class to Sunday. 

He started at the very beginning (how to hold the sword, how to cut, etc...) and one day was just not enough.  This was a rare seminar as Gleason sensei does not start from... [More]- Aikido Sword


Feb 20,2009(FairPlayFriday)

We just got word about this developing story regarding a fun little DIY project called the Bristlebot.  These Evil Mad Scientists have always been favorites of ours as they publish some of the most creative, accessible, and fun DIY projects around.  The Bristlebots were developed by Windell and Lenore back in 2007.   The YouTube video of this crazy vibrating critter has been viewed the world over.

We are not sure what is going on, but it appears their Bristlebot concept has been "borrowed without permission" by Klutz/Scholastic.  Not all the facts are in so we will not jump to any further conclusions.  Now, we like the Scholastic folks as they also publish some really fun stuff.  However, fair play is pretty important so we will be following this story closely.   [Permalink]- Bristlebot bru-haha

Update: Klutz/Scholastic and the Evil Mad Scientists have worked it out.  Read the message from Pat Murphy here.  It is nice when everyone involved are grownups.

Feb 19,2009(TeleAccessoriesThursday)

The Meade LX200 GPS telescope we purchased in January came with quite a few accessories.  We had not expected so many items to be part of the deal when we were negotiating with the seller, but we were thrilled when he decided to throw them all in as part of the package after we had agreed on the price.

The first set of boxes we opened had items such as an eyepiece, a 2x tele-extender, and an erect image prism.  The other boxes contained two CCD cameras, one for auto-guiding, one for deep sky imaging. Both of them were brand new as they were still sealed in their respective packaging.

The difference between these CCD imagers and a webcam is these does not have a... [More]- Telescope Accessories

Feb 18,2009(WonderingWednesday)

What would we make if we had a high performance laser engraving system?  We have a few ideas.  The better question may be what would YOU make if you had such a system. 

Epilog has created an affordable high-performance 25 Watt laser cutting system which is perfect for many DIY projects.  To promote this new item in their product line and to... [More]- What would you make?


Feb 17,2009(TelescopeTuesday)

Astronomy is a great hobby.  One can start just by going outside and looking up at the night sky.  Once comfortable with what is up there, a telescope is useful to see out a little further, details a little clearer, and objects a little bigger.  

Last month we found a great deal on a 10" Meade LX200 GPS telescope up in New Hampshire.  We took half a day off, drove for 2 hours, and brought back an almost brand new... [More]- Meade LX200GPS


Feb 16,2009(President's Day)

When we first attempted to take the band off the Timex TX, we ran into a problem removing the retaining pin.  We tried tapping it out using the inexpensive tools we had purchased from a few Ebay vendors (Hong Kong, India).  Those tools are fine for simple tasks such as removing links from a watch band.  However, all of them buckled and broke when we tried using them to get the TX's pin out.

We realized we needed some REAL tools for the project.  The one place we know that sells quality watchmaker tools is the Boston Watch Exchange.  The tool we needed was this EcoWatch hammer and pin punch set. We also realized... [More]- Timex TX Band Replacement


Feb 14-15,2009(WeekendEdition)

Last Fall we went to World's End in Hingham for a hike.  The Lobster Pound was open and the weather was warm.  We went back this weekend to see what the place was like during the Winter

The grounds were quiet.  There were a few birds out chirping, but pretty much everything else was in... [More]- World's End


Feb 13,2009(OrchidPhotoFriday)

Amongst all of the tech in the office here, nature still finds a way to assert its presence.  A few weeks ago we noticed buds on the much ignored orchid near one of the windows.  We watched as they grew and opened up this week.

The blooming orchid presented a perfect opportunity for us to take some close up shots with the D90 and 18-200mm VR lens.  We took photos at various... [More]- Orchid Close Up


Feb 12,2009(TVTechThursday)

The new adminstration has officially extended the last day of analog broadcast to June 12.  If you have not applied for your free $40 coupons, you just got a four month extension.  Not everyone will need to get a converter box.  If you have cable or satellite TV, you are all set.  If you watch TV via the internet, you are all set.  If you have purchased a new TV in the last year, you are probably all set.

The only folks who will need a converter box are those with an older TV AND getting the signal with the aid of an antenna.  Apparently they are out there and they are... [More]- Converter Box  Coupons


Feb 11,2009(WhatTodoWednesday)

Looking for a great Boston neighborhood restaurant for Valentine's Day?  Sophia's Grotto would be our first choice.  Two appetizers, two entrees and a bottle of wine for  a fixed price of $59.95.  Go here if you want to check out the fabulous Valentine's Day menu!

The special menu is only for Thursday and Friday nights. Reservations are required.  [Permalink]- Sophia's Grotto


Feb 10,2009(AttachAGripTuesday)

Yesterday we did a FirstLook of the Phottix D90 battery grip.  We really like the fit and finish of the Phottix Premium Series.  It matches the quality of the Nikon much better than the regular line of grips.  Today we'll show how to attach the D90 battery grip to the D90 camera. 

As it was with the D40, in order to attach the grip, the small cover of the D90 camera's battery compartment must be removed.  We've covered the steps with the D40, so we will not repeat them again.  

However, we did take some pics of the installation steps for readers who may want a... [More]- Nikon D-90 Grip Install


Feb 9,2009(GetAGripMonday)

Last month we gave readers a FirstLook at the Phottix D40 battery grip.  Today we will do the same with the Phottix Premium Grip for the Nikon D90.  Phottix is not a brand you yet see in stores, but they are very active on EBay

We like dealing with the Phottix folks because of their great products, low prices, and excellent customer service.  The Phottix products have all the same features as the OEM version.  The "Premium Series" units even have a... [More]- Nikon D-90 Battery Grip


Feb 7-8,2009(Weekend Edition)

The Timex Tx 770 chronograph is one of our favorite watches.  We reviewed it back in Feb 2007 when they were first available in the US.  We take this watch out in the field with us often and it has held up remarkably well. 

However, after two years of use, the orange silicon band has picked up some dirt which no longer comes clean with soap and water.  The photos show a little clearer the difference between an old and a new orange band.  While there is nothing physically wrong with the band, we thought it would be a good excuse for us to show how to replace it should the need arise.

Replacement bands for the Timex TX line are not generally available in stores, but may be ordered directly from... [More]- Timex TX Band Replacement

Feb 6,2009(FlipVideoFriday)

A few years ago, RainyDayMagazine was amongst the first to review the low cost disposable digital video camera from CVS.  The CVS videocam was designed and built by PureDigital. 

Since that time, PureDigital has continued to refine and improved both their low cost digital photo and digital video devices.  Their latest product is a simple, iPod-esque, HD digital video camcorder that just about anyone can... [More]- Pure Digital Flip Video


Feb 5,2009(GreenTechThursday)

Sometimes interesting things can happen when SaveTheEarth collides with DoItYourself.  For example, who knew you can make an algae bioreactor out of recycled water bottles?

It is unclear whether biofuel is a scalable solution for the world's energy needs, but it is definitely renewable, possibly carbon-neutral, and clearly "green" :-) [Permalink]- Algae Bioreactor


Feb 4,2009(WowUsWednesday)

The new 2009 Porsche Boxster will be hitting the showroom soon.  To get the word out, this video has been making the rounds on the web.  As we are somewhat partial to Boxsters, we thought we would do our part to get the word out.

The video has some nice historical footage of other Porsches.  It is easy to see the heritage and the inspiration for the Boxster from these clips.  No matter how much trouble the current economy is in, it is nice to know that Porche is optimistic about the future :-)  [Permalink]- Porsche 2009


Feb 3,2009(SunglassesTechTuesday)

It is the dead of Winter, but glare from the snow is just as good a reason to have a good pair of sunglasses as sunlight from the beach.  However, not all sunglasses are created equal.  A pair of $300 Oakleys are a bit different than a pair of $10 sunglasses from a push cart. 

We have taken a look at other well made sunglasses in the past.  Both the 180s and the Julbos are really good, but they are not Oakleys.  Today, we are going to take a closer look at a pair of Oakley X-metal Juliet sunglasses to... [More]- Oakley Sunglasses


Feb 2,2009(MoreNikonMonday)

We have had our new Nikon D90 camera and 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens for close to a month and have been extremely pleased with all aspects of this combo.  The D90 is a solidly built camera with well thought out control placements.  The 18-200mm lens is a great complement to the D90. 

We had considered going with just the 18-105mm kit lens, but decided to to go with the bigger zoom lens because we didn't want to keep changing lenses.  The main reason is taking a lens off and on the body can potentially introduce dust into the body and on to the sensor.  The D90 has a built in dust-removal feature for the sensor, but the less often we open up the system

When we first announced that we'll be reviewing the Nikon D90, one of the most received request was a side-by-side look of the D40 and the D90.  We thought we would... [More]- Nikons Side by side


Feb 1,2009(Superbowl Weekend)

Not everybody here will be spending the weekend getting all worked up about the Super Bowl.  Ok, everyone would be if the New England Patriots were in the game.  However, they are not... are they? 

To fill up the weekend, some had thought about curling up with a book.  Instead, they decided it would be more interesting to start a new audio book series.  Fortunately for them... [More]- Meyer Audio Series



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