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November 30,2009

We posted a write-up on the MFA's new Albrecht Durer exhibit last week.  The collection showcased Durer's skill as a print maker.  On that day a second print exhibit at the MFA, featuring Toulouse-Lautrec, also went live.  Cafe and Cabaret: Toulouse-Lautrec's Paris will run until August 8, 2010. "Toulouse-Lautrec was one of the most original and creative artists of the late 19th cnetury, a master of the great age of color lithography" said Malcom Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.  "No artist captured the excitement of Parisian nightlife with more verve than Toulouse-Lautrec."

The MFA curators (Helen Burnham, Clifford Ackley) gave us a glimpse of 19th-century Paris' bohemian nighlife as captured in posters, prints and paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec.  Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the more well-known Post-Impressionist artists, painted what he lived.  His Paris was one of...[More]- MFA Toulouse_Lautrec


November 27,2009

Intriqued by the "Roast a turkey in 70 minutes" article in the November Martha Stewart Living, the crew decided to incorporate the some of the recipes from that issue into this year's RainyDayKitchen Thanksgiving event.

The dishes chosen from Martha's Thanksgiving menu included the wild rice with cranberry and pecan, sweet potato and sage-butter casserole, and roast spatchcocked turkey. The menu also had the traditional fixings such as...[More]- Martha Stewart Thanksgiving


November 26,2009

One of our beloved interns, Buffy, was seriously injured in an accident and left us earlier this evening. We will all miss her very much. Her clever comments and unexpected antics always managed to loosen things up when we started to take ourselves too seriously.

If we know our Buffy, she will blog again once she settles into wherever she has gone. We'll miss her little head.  [Permalink] -Buffy's last post


November 25,2009

The MFA has put together an awesome exhibit of Albrecht Durer's work. Featured are about 50 pieces selected from the Museum's large collection. They are representative of this Renaissance master's skills in a variety of printmaking (engravings, woodcuts, drypoint) techniques.

Clifford Ackley (MFA's Curator of Prints and Drawings) and Helen Burnham (assistant curator of Prints and Drawings) gave us a fascinating view into the various pieces selected for the Durer exhibit. There were WAY too many interesting works to discuss in any in detail here, but we'll mention some of the...[More]- Albrecht Durer: Virtuoso Printmaker


November 24,2009

Yesterday we took a FirstLook at the imation SSD upgrade kit. The kit came complete with a 64GB SSD, USB case, cables, and software. Today we are going to take the first step in replacing the internal hard drive of our MacBook Pro with the imation SSD: cloning the drive. 

We could have done a fresh install of OSX on the SSD, but then we would've had to to reload all of the 3rd party applications and transfer all the user data. Cloning the internal drive is a much simplier method. The process is a bit-for-bit copy of everything from one drive to another. The biggest benefit was...[More]- imation SSD: drive cloning


November 23,2009

Last Friday we showed readers how to install discontinued hardware to access some 12-year-old Zip disks. Today, we are going to jump ahead to the future and talk about Solid State Disks (SSD). SSD drives are available now, but are typically found only as options for higher performance machines. However, we believe SSDs will become the new standard as soon as the price/performance of flash memory gets closer to that of spinning drives. 

At RainyDayMagazine, we have always advocated upgrading older hardware rather than buying the latest gear. When we purchased an older MacBook Pro a few months back, the first things we did were: fix the keyboard, max out the RAM, and upgrad the OS to Snow Leopard. The only thing left was upgrade the hard drive. However, instead of getting more space, we decided to...[More]- imation SSD upgrade kit


November 20,2009

Every once in a awhile, we like to clean up the office. When we do, we inevitably find stuff that has been hidden away for years. This last dust-off was no exception. In one corner of a bookcase, we found a pile of old 100MB Zip disks. All of the labels have been removed. Typically, this meant they were to be reused, but may not necessarily have been wiped.

The problem with older media is how to actually read the contents when the drives are no longer standard equipment around the office. Ten years ago, 100MB Zip drives were everywhere. Today, the drives are mostly only available on EBay. We could have just purchased an external one with a USB connection, but thought it would be more fun to...[More]- Iomega Zip 100 Installation


November 19,2009

Sarah, our previous intern, is now at her second year at RISD. Last Thanksgiving, we sent her back to school with a Wacom tablet. Since then, Sarah has been sending us samples work she created using the tablet. Here is one she sent us at the end of the Summer.

Wacom has the best tablet technology out there. The are a few other players in this product space, but none of them comes close to what is available from Wacom. One advantage to Wacom...[More]- Wacom Bamboo Craft


November 18,2009

The cold-brewed coffee was ready in 12 hours. The color of the coffee was very dark, but clear. The directions state that for a stronger extract, it can be left to steep for up to 72 hours. We'll try that next. For now, we wanted to see if the we could taste any difference between a minimum brew time cup of coffee and a "normal" one.

A simple flip of the brewer drained the liquid into the other bowl, ready for transfer to the carafe. Everything worked exactly as designed. No leaks, no mess, no...[More]- Cold Brewed Coffee FirstTaste


November 17,2009

We had a lot interest regarding the Hourglass Brewer, but had to put its FirstUse off a few weeks due to the pre-Holiday schedule. It seems every year the Holiday season starts earlier and earlier. However, due to the requests for it, we shifted some things around and did the FirstUse test this weeked. Timing was perfect as folks were testing some new (vegan) muffin and cracker recipes.

The setup for brewing was quick and simple. We followed the "coarse" grind recommendation for cold-brewing. The brewer's filter will hold two and a half cups of...[More]- Hourglass Coffee Maker FirstUse


November 16,2009

We have been experimenting with our macro setup when time permits. Most of our shots have been on inanimate or very slow moving objects. Because of the cooling Fall temperatures, an opportunitiy presented itself the other day which enabled us to try our hand at an insect.

We noticed a common yellow-jacket wasp on our upstairs window. The cool temperature had slowed down its movements to a crawl. Once things warmed up the insect would likely be on its way. We had to work quickly if we wanted to...[More]- Macro Opportunity

November 13,2009

Our "goto" place for all things office and home is IKEA. The store in Stoughton is close enough that we can go there for a $0.99 breakfast, do some shopping, and still get back to the office to put in a full day. OK...a "full" day is a relative term. At any case, we found something so cool at our last IKEA outing that we felt we needed to spread the word. It is the $20 IKEA LED Solar desk lamp.

A desk lamp is an useful item, but as a computer puts out quite a bit of light during use, even at night a lamp is not usually needed. However, there are times when having one is...[More]- IKEA LED Solar Lamp


November 12,2009

We run an active office. Sometimes getting out of our own way is just as tricky as getting out of somebody else's way. As any visitor will tell you, there are certainly more laptops here than there are desks. Thus, we are always looking for ways to help maximize our space and to work more efficiently. So when we saw the LapWorks Z-Lift, we knew we wanted to give it a test run. After a month of use, we are ready to share some of our thoughts about the Z-Lift.

The LapWorks Z-Lift is a heavy-duty notebook stand which can raise a laptop to a comfortable height for a standing user. It has a built-in cooling fan, USB ports, and an easy-to-adjust support mechanism. Note the vents and slight gap designed into the platform. This creates a space for...[More]- LapWorks Z-Lift


November 11,2009

The 4-door Porsche Panamera was unveiled to an appreciative crowd at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum (LAAM) last night. Herb Chambers and the folks at the LAAM went all out. We got there a little early to get some shots of the car before the crowd. 

The Panamera is a big car!  The wheelbase is 115 inches and the overall length is 195 inches. The Boxster compares at a much smaller 95/172 inches. While sized to carry four adults, the Panamera was shaped to move. The stance is low and wide, the wheels are 18", and...[More]- Porsche Panamera Unveiling Event


November 10,2009

Laptops are great because they let us work where we want. However, they do have one weakness...short battery life. Battery technology has advanced quite a bit over the years, but most laptop batteries have a realistic working duration of only a few hours. Sure we can bring along the AC adapter when we go to a cafe, but there are plenty of times when power outlets are not readily available. Many companies have made a business supplying products to help and we have looked at quite a few of them over the years (XPower, Tekkeon, Brunton), but none of them were designed specifically for Mac laptops...until the HyperMac

As most Mac owners know, MacBook connectors are "different" and the power requirements of Mac laptops are unique. MacBook Pros actually operate under 2 different voltages. With normal operations the voltage is 16.5V, but when the workload becomes intensive the system switches to 18.5V. Some of the newer MacBooks don't even have removable batteries. What all this means is...[More]- HyperMac battery


November 9,2009

In 2005 we first told RainyDayGarage readers about Porsche's plans to deliver a four-door sports car by 2009. In the intervening four years, Porsche has been sending us a nice collection of updates and teasers. Earlier this year and true to their schedule, Porsche announced that they have started production of the Panamera with first delivery to customers in 2010. 

We have been receiving a steady stream of press materials from Porsche, now with actual photos instead of designer sketches of the Panamera. The slickest yet is the photo-book which came a little while back. It covered all of the new features of the Porsche with an obvious emphasis on...[More]- Porsche Panamera Unveiling


November 6,2009

There is a LOT of manipulation which can be performed with software after an image has been taken: color correction, sharpening, contrast/brightness adjustments, the list is practically endless. However, getting rid of unwanted glare is not one of them. To do that properly, a polarizing filter must be used when taking the image. 

Light bounces around in all directions. Under certain conditions, some of the rays can muddy up a photo. A polarizing filter can be helpful in those situations by blocking light rays not oriented in a certain way from reaching the sensor. The effect is a clearer and crisper image.

When we took our walk down at the Boston Public Garden the other day, we knew we wanted to get some of the Fall colors reflecting off the pond, so we...[More]- Tiffen Filters

NOTE: The weatherman was wrong about the snow prediction for today!  Get out there because it is going to be a gorgeous sunny day :-)

November 5,2009

When the sun is out in Boston, we try not to stay inside. The sun has has been showing itself these past few days, so we accepted the invitation, got our butts out of the Aeron, and headed outside. As we had been showing the Fall colors, we thought we would see what's going on down at the Boston Public Garden.

On the weekends, the Boston Public Garden is a pretty busy place, but during the week it was quiet and serene. Parking, usually a problem, was easy. We found an on-street spot right next to the park. There were plenty of folks strolling about, but absent were the...[More]- Boston Public Garden


November 4,2009

There are parts of Boston which are bike-friendly, if you know where to look. Close to the RainyDayMagazine office, across the road from the Forest Hills T-Stop, is the Pierre Lallement Bike Path. It is 3.5 miles of paved bike/pedestrian pathway leading from Forest Hills all the way to Downtown Boston.

This route can be a nice alternative to the congested roadways between downtown Boston and its south-western neighborhoods. The park was built by the MBTA and is managed by the DCR. An interesting factoid is that the path passes within a few blocks of the house where the inventor of the...[More]- The Brewery


November 3,2009

Fall is a beautiful time of year in New England. On a sunny day brilliant colors of yellow, red, and orange colors are everywhere. We had plans to head to one of the popular "leaf-peeping" places (Western MA, White Mountains NH, etc...) but realized that the Arnold Arboretum at just three miles from the office would probably be as spectacular. Instead of spending hours driving to the enjoy this year's colors, we went for a walk instead.

We were not disappointed!  The colors of the leaves on the trees at the Arnold Arboretum were at their peak. Their glory was enhanced by the sun shining behind them. Even the...[More]- Fall at the Arnold Arboretum


November 2,2009

Let us be clear...we LOVE the styling of Oakely's Juliet x-metal sunglasses. However, with all of Oakley's high-tech sounding material, one would think their lenses would be tough as nails. Ah... no, sorry, not so.

The coating on Oakley's Juliet X-Metal lenses may be optically true, the colors correct, and blocks out 100% of whatever, but they are wimps when it comes to scratch-resistance toughness.   The lenses will be scratched by the...[More]- Oakley Lens Replacement: ExoVISTA


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