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September 30,2009

A few years back we did a project where we converted a digital camera to be sensitive to infrared.  This was not as difficult as one would imagine.

The camera was small and the images were pretty low resolution.  It was a good first attempt, but we wanted to try converting a camera with a bit more capabilities.  Looking around, we realized we had a collection of Canon S-100s laying around.  We could take one apart to see what would...[More]- S100 IR Conversion


September 29,2009

We have a "thing" for flashlights (LumaRay FL-6, FL-12, Surefire, U2 Ultra) at RainyDayMagazine. Having a good flashlight when we are in the woods can help prevent us from walking into a tree or tripping over a rock. Carrying one in the city is equally useul for when we are out and about. 

The TigerLight T100 showed up at the office a few weeks ago. We thought it was one of those super-bright flashlights that...[More]- TigerLight T100


September 28,2009

While there are a number of laptop stands out in the marketplace, there are really only two types. One type keeps a hot laptop from burning your thighs and the other type angles the laptop for comfortable use at a desk. We have reviewed both types and actively use both kinds here at RainyDayMagazine.

We are always keeping our eyes out for good ones as we are still in search of the perfect one. Last week we got a laptop stand made by iRocks which has some features we...[More]-iRocks Laptop Stand


September 25,2009

The Peterson Mounting Assistant (PMA) installation was a lot easier than we had anticipated. The hardest part with the whole project was getting the scope off the tripod :-)  It was a LOT heavier than we remembered.

The base of the tripod has six predrilled and pre-threaded holes. The main anchoring bolt is the one in the center. The PMA has three holes and they match precisely those on the base of the tripod. The installation kit has...[More]-Peterson Mount Assistant Installation


September 24,2009

A 10" SCT telescope tube is a very light-weight and compact design when compared to its refractor equivalent. However, the tube and fork together can still weight around 60 lbs! Trying to put the assembly on top of the tripod is a difficult one-person operation. We know. We tried it when we first brought the Meade LX200 into the office. Some of the folks thought there had to be an easier way. That was when we came upon this thing called the Mounting Assistant designed by Pete Peterson.

The Mounting Assistant is an aluminum plate which enables one person to precisely align the scope assembly on the tripod for the insertion of the mounting screw. The instructions seem simple enough. We love the...[More]-Meade LX200 Peterson Mount Assistant


September 23,2009

There are many ways to capture photographs of the heavens. One way is to image through the telescope. This is great for planets and other celestrial objects.   To get a wide-field photo of the night sky, though, the better way is to attach a camera to the top of the telescope. The main reason for this is that in order to get a sharp image, compensation of the Earth's rotation is required, and piggybacking on the scope's mount is the easiest way to do that.

The front and rear rims of the LX200 tube are already pre-drilled and fitted with stainless steel machine screws. They are spaced appropriately for various size mounts. On the LX200, the camera mount we got spanned...[More]-Meade LX200 Camera Mount


September 22,2009

Upgrading a scope's finder is an easy way to improve the usability of any telescope. When we started looking into what was available, we discovered quite a few potential options, the three main ones being: a better finder scope, a red-dot finder, and a laser finder.

It is still unclear which option we will go with in the end, but a useful change to make is the finder mount. We found a good dovetail base for the finder scope from Orion. It is made of metal, designed specifically for...[More]- Finders for the Meade 2045


September 21,2009

A while back we disassembled the Meade 2045 so we could use it on the Celestron CG-5 GoTo mount. Recently, we acquired a Nexstar 6" OTA (more about it later) for the CG-5 mount, so we thought it was time to put the Meade back together.

The great thing about the Meade 2045 is that it was designed as a spotting scope, so taking it apart and putting it back together was a simple process. Just four screws and...[More]- Remounting the Meade 2045


September 20,2009

Stainless steel is a fantastic material. Stainless steel is a low-carbon steel containing at least 10% chromium. It is the chromium that gives the steel its unique stainless- and corrosion-resisting properties. Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. In fact, over 50% of new stainless steel items come from remelted stainless steel scrap. Most items made using stainless steel have been meant for industrial applications, but many products for home use are now made with this versatile material.

We have slowly been updating the appliances in the RainyDayKitchen. Most of them have a stainless steel finish. They look great and stand up to well to heavy use. The steel may be stain resistant, but...[More]- Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner


September 19,2009

We have been away for the past few weekends, so a few of the smaller projects have been piling up. This included the installation of the SimpleHuman soap dispenser.

The installation steps are very simple: pick a spot, apply the silicone glue to the mount, level on the wall, press and let dry for 24 hours, attach...[More]- Simple Human Soap Dispenser Installation


September 18,2009

The "Manga Guide To" series of books published by No Starch Press are wonderful. We have read many of them and have always enjoyed them immensely. Topics such as Electricity, Physics, and Statistics were presented in a manner which is fun and digestible by anyone. The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology is another great addition to the series. It is one of the best introductions to the subject we have seen to date. This book is suitable for a lot of different readers: high school student, investors, DIY biologists, etc...

Molecular Biology came into the everyday vernacular in 2000 with the pending completion of the Human Genome project. There was a lot of press and wild expectations associated with this awesome scientific achievement. Companies involved in genomic research saw a huge influx in investments. We know. We were at a company which grew from...[More]- Manga Guide To Molecular Biology


September 17,2009

The guys at the RainyDayGarage are happy to announce that after eight fantastic years of top-down driving, the Boxster has joined the 100K club!

The day started like any other day. It was 55º out. We put the top down, fired up the Boxster, and cranked up the heat for our daily 7-mile commute to Kendall Square. The traffic is usually pretty light after 8:50 AM as most folks leave earlier so they can get to work by 9AM. There are parts of the commute where we can let the car "run" a bit. At one stretch there are even some...[More]- 100K Bxxster


September 16,2009

The Lost Symbol is Dan Brown's much anticipated follow up to the wildly successful DaVinci Code. The audio book version came in the mail today. It is unabridged and is 17 hours and 30 minutes long. It was read by Paul Michael, the same narrator of the DaVinci Code. We are VERY excited!!!

We know it is great to curl up with a hardcopy of a book in one's favorite chair and immerse oneself in a story, but who has the time?  Most of our "reading" is done during our commute to/from the office. A seven mile commute in Boston takes about 40 minutes during rush hour. Most of that time can be productively used, when not yelling at other drivers, listening to the...[More]- Dan Brown: The Lost Symbol


September 15,2009

MASS MoCA is a big place. That's a good thing because some of their art installations need all the space they can get. One such work is the Simon Starling: The Nanjing Particles installation.

The work challenges the viewer on many dimensions: time, size, and space. The photos transport us back to an earlier time, but they literally let us...[More]- More MASS MoCA


September 14,2009

When we were out at North Adams this past weekend, we checked out MASS MoCA. There is always something interesting happening at this museum.

Readers who have been out to MASS MoCA will be familiar with the inverted tree installation. The plantings have been suspended in that fashion long enough for...[More]- MASS MoCA


September 13,2009

Today we got up early, had a leisurely breakfast, and got on the road by 11 AM :-)  We didn't have a lot on our schedule...just heading to North Adams to climb Mount Greylock and check out MASSMoCA.

We did bring our hiking boots and backpacks for the camera gear, but decided that we would probably not have enough time to make it up to the top if...[More]- Mount Greylock


September 12,2009

Four of us took a trip out to Williams College for the Predergast in Italy exhibition this weekend. This exhibition is the first devoted exclusively to the Italian watercolors, monotypes and oil paintings of Maurice Prendergast. One of our editors (Jay) is a big fan of Prendergast. The others in the office went because we heard there would be free gelato at the lectures.

The drive started out REALLY rainy in Boston, but as we made out way West, the rain began turning into fog. By the time we got to Williamstown, it was actually...[More]- Prendergast in Italy


September 11,2009

We all remember where we were when the events of the day unfolded eight years ago. Eight years is a long time. Lives have gone on. Things we would not have imagined then have come to pass. 

Today, we stop to remember, reflect, and to remind ourselves that there is still unfinished business from that day.  To those who hide, hoping we would...[More]- Eight Years Later


September 10,2009

SimpleHuman makes a lot of really well thought out products for the home. We have a few of them around the office (soap dispenser, shower caddy, etc...) and have found them to be well made, functional, and visually appealing. SimpleHuman's latest product is a new line of wall-mounted shampoo and soap dispensers created to bring simplicity and order to the shower.

These shampoo and soap dispensers are designed to hold shampoo, conditioner, body wash or lotion neatly and securely on the wall. The dispensers have a transparent soap chamber and elegant chrome body. A design sure to compliment any décor and make the bathroom feel more like a...[More]- SimpleHuman Soap/Shampoo Dispenser FirstLook


September 9,2009

Next weekend is our annual Fall Outing. We'll be heading to Western MA for a few days of hiking, photography, and a visit to MassMOCA. As always, we'll be bringing gear with us to review. One item we are excited to field test is this new digital camera backpack from Kata. Most readers know that we are partial to Kata gear. We have quite a few of their bags. So do we REALLY need another one?  The answer is, of course, YES!

Our everyday "goto" bag is the Kata T-212 sling. We love it because it is easy to use, offers great protection, and is just big enough for the D90 with the 18-200mm VR lens. When we heard that Kata has a new line of camera bags, we...[More]- Kata 3N1 FirstLook


September 8,2009

When we purchased our Meade LX200 GPS scope, it came with a lot of accessories. One of which was the Deep Sky Imager (DSI). The DSI is a special-purpose CCD camera designed for astrophotography. When the original owner purchased the unit, it cost over $300. He never used it. In fact, it looked like it had never been taken out of the box.

We thought that since we wanted to take it with us on the Columbus Day Weekend trip, we should get the the DSI set up and do some trial runs now. We also realized that...[More]- Meade Deep Sky Imager Installation


September 7,2009

Good design makes the things we use everyday more enjoyable. Apple has been pushing at the limits of good software and hardware design since they introduced the Macintosh to the world. Their efforts have also inspired others to follow suit. Twelve South is one such company. While their product offerings are for the Mac, they are very different from other Mac product companies. 

As Twelve South says... they are not just Mac friendly, they are Mac only. This sets them apart from...[More]- BookArc FirstLook


September 6,2009

We packed a lot into this Labor Day weekend. On Saturday, we were on the road early and drove down to NYC for a Chinese banquet that evening (check out this video of how to de-bone a whole fish using nothing but spoons). We left early and came back to Boston and met up with Lisa and Jay for the Lobster Feast at Gargoyles in Davis Square.

Lisa and Jay live within walking distance of the restaurant. So instead of fighting for a parking spot in Davis Square, we ...[More]- LobsterFest at Gargoyles


September 5,2009


Launched !!!


September 4,2009

Could you tell that some of us are very excited about the new macro photography rig?  We have been fiddling, experimenting, and talking about it all week. The only piece of the setup we have not gone on and on about is the Nikkor 50mm f1.8 autofocus lens. So to wrap up the week, we will have a brief discussion of that lens. I promise we'll go on to something new next week :-)

We purchased this lens for macro use, but this 50mm lens is a great lens for a lot of reasons. It is...[More]- 50mm Nikkor Lens


September 3,2009

All the discussion regarding the Nikon PB-4 macro bellows setup brought an onslaught of email. Most were requests for more image examples. Not knowing what would make for good subjects, we just grabbed a few objects and started firing away.

It didn't take us long to get the hang of using the macro setup under available light. All the images were taken with the camera in "manual" mode. We didn't note the aperture/shutter speed setting as it was so easy with digital to just arrive at the right combination by...[More]- Macro Samples


September 2,2009

The Nikon PB-4 macro bellows setup from last week generated quite a bit of reader emails. Most of the requests were for a more detailed look at the Nikon bellows. We had some down time during the Snow Leopard upgrade this past weekend. So we took a few shots of the PB-4 for those who were curious about its details.

The Nikon PB-4 is no longer in production. EBay and Craigslist are now the main sources for one. These units were built like tanks, so as long as the bellows is light-tight, the rest of the unit will likely be in excellent shape. Expect the prices to range from $100 to $300 depending on luck and included accessories (adapters, slide copier, etc...). 

A bellows is actually a very simple contraption. A lens attaches at one end, the camera body at the other. Its main purpose is to allow the photographer to vary the distance of the lens relative to the imaging plane (film or CCD sensor) of the camera. By adjusting this distance, one can control the...[More]-Nikon PB-4 Bellows FirstLook


September 1,2009

Every year the entire crew goes away around Columbus Day weekend. Last year we brought along our Meade 2045 scope. This year we plan on doing the same. Along with the Meade, we also plan to bring with us some new astro gear to review.

Awhile back we picked up a non-functional Celestron CG-5 ASGT mount via Craigslist. We brought it back to life and mounted our Meade 2045 scope on it. The CG-5 is a fairly easy GOTO mount to use. To make setup even simplier, some have...[More]-StarGPS and HoTech AstroAimer


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