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February 26,2010

At the beginning of the week we took a FirstLook at the Time Trak. A few readers had noted that while the watch was interesting, it was a bit "fancy" for everyday wear. We thought...why not "beef it up" a bit by replacing the strap with a sportier looking one?

Frequent readers of RainyDayMagazine know that our "go to" source for watch bands is as site called StrappedForTime. They have a great collection of the most interesting aftermarket straps, the service is quick, and...[more] -Strapped For Time


February 25,2010

Batteries are one of those things we use all the time, but they can fail us when we need them most. The best defense is to use the highest quality battery whenever you can. For AA and AAA batteries, our favorite rechargeables are the Eneloops from Sanyo.

When looking for a replacement battery, we often check to see if there are others with more kick or newer technologies. A case in point is when we needed a new...[more] -Replacement Batteries


February 24,2010

The first version of the iPhone SDK (v3.2 beta1) that supported the upcoming iPad was pretty barebones. It had a simulator for the iPad, but that was basically it. It had none of the other apps which Apple intends to ship with the first release of the physical device.

Apple's iPhone SDK v3.2 beta2 release has support for the Safari application. Like the version which runs on the iPhone, the iPad simulation is quite complete. By now, everyone has heard/read about Apple's decision to continue their policy of not supporting Flash on their devices. So it's no surprise that...[more] -Pod SDK Beta2: Safari support


February 23,2010

One of the daily functions of our interns is to scan Craigslist for "deals" which match items on our "want list." About six weeks ago, a seller had listed this steel cart for sale. We haggled on the price, but were unable to finalize the deal. Last weekend, the seller contacted us and offered it to us at half-price if we would come pick it up ASAP. Not one to walk away from a great deal, we agreed to the terms and arranged to pick it up the next day.

When we got there we realized the cart was not only long, but way more cart than we needed. It was built like a tank. The welds on it are so beefy that the cart could probably hold 1000 lbs! Comparable units can cost up to $3000. If the deal wasn't so awesome, we probably would...[more] -Cart To Table


February 22,2010

A while back a reader told us about an interesting timepiece which had a minimalist design and used a steel ball as a the time indicator. The reader had only seen it briefly, did not know what it was called, and asked if we could help track it down. We did some digging and found the Time Trak Series III. The watch is part of the offerings from a company called TimeQuest. They offer interesting watches in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.

The Time Trak Series III is part of the Abacus line. It was designed by Roy Schafer, made in Germany by Lacher, and built using Swiss quartz movements. The watch has a...[more] -Time Trak FirstLook


February 19,2010

We have been dreaming up new Spring projects for our RainyDayScience section. The team spent a good part of 2009 putting together an awesome collection of astro-imaging gear for some kick-ass Astronomy projects, and we will be doing quite a few of them in 2010. But is now time to think about the next science topic...biology. We've got quite a few suggestions on the table, but the most promising one is what the interns are calling "Backyard Biotech."

BackyardBiotech will approach biology with a DIY eye. Most of us had biology in high school and college, but the advances in genomics and molecular genetics have made that branch of science much more than just looking at amoebas and paramecia or cross-pollinating peas. We will, of course, do some of that, but we will also learn how to extract DNA, clone some plants, and maybe even...[more] -Backyard Biotech


February 18,2010

Most house plants die because they are over-watered or forgotten. For our interns, the task is made easier because we made it into a routine: once a week for plants in small pots, once a month for plants in large pots. However, if you don't have cheap labor available, then you might want to consider the Eva Solo self-watering containers. We posted a FirstLook on these containers a few years ago.

We have been using the Eva Solo planter mainly as a way to arrange cut flowers or to root cuttings. This high-quality planter is comprised of three parts: a thick glass container, a stainless steel cone, and a saucer with nylon wicks. The system is both attractive and functional. They are perfect for water-loving plants that you don't want to go thirsty. A great thing about using the Eva Solo container to root cuttings is the...[more] -Eva Solo Planters InTheWild


February 17,2010

Spring is still a few months away, but that does not mean we can't do some gardening indoors while the ground is frozen solid outdoors. One of the things we like to do for the RainyDayGarden during the Winter months is propagate plants.

In the Spring and Summer, we propagate plants mostly by using rooting hormones and then plant the cutting directly in the ground. We find the method to be both highly successful and requires relatively little maintenance. In the Winter, we...[more] -Plant propagaton by rooting


February 16,2010

Our MacBook Pro drive upgrade project hit a snag when we tried to boot the system. The first thing we did was to confirm whether there was a problem with our laptop. Without changing anything, we were able to successfully boot from the original drive housed in the USB case. This told us the problem must be with the SSD.

We had previously confirmed that the SSD had a system which could boot the laptop, we reconfirmed it by putting back into the USB case and using it as a boot drive. Next we reformatted the SSD drive, cloned the system, and tried our tests again. Same results: not recognized when...[more] -MacBook Pro Post-Installation Test


February 15,2010

Last Friday we left off after we had both the internal and the ComboDrive removed from the MacBook Pro laptop. Today we'll show the installation of the imation SSD and the SuperDrive.

Both drives were attached to the frame of the laptop via mounting brackets. There were three brackets for the SuperDrive. There is only one for the hard drive. In order to protect the original drive from hard knocks, four rubber "shock absorbing" screws were used to isolate the drive from...[more] -MacBook Pro SSD and Superdrive Installation


February 12,2010

Yesterday we showed how to remove the MacBook Pro's internal hard drive. Today we'll show how to take out the front-loading Combo drive, remove the various mounting brackets, and get the SuperDrive ready for installation.

The ComboDrive, like the internal hard drive, is attached to the frame by several removable mounting brackets, one on the side (right, left) and one in the back. There is also a...[more] -MacBook Pro ComboDrive Removal


February 11,2010

We prepped for a huge storm yesterday, and while New York and other states got hit pretty hard, things kind of fizzled out up here in Boston. It rained a bit in the morning and snowed lightly for the rest of the day, but there probably wasn't more than a few inches of the white stuff on the ground when it was over...hardly even worth breaking out the shovel.

To make sure we had something to do while riding out the storm, we scheduled a few MacBook Pro upgrade projects for yesterday. The first project was to swap out the internal hard drive for the imation SSD. Since we were going to have the MBP open, we thought we would also upgrade the combo drive (which had been making some pretty bad grinding sounds) to a SuperDrive. As with many of our past projects, when we needed a part, we headed to the PowerBookMedic. The site is well organized, which helps us...[more] -MacBook Pro Internal Drive Removal


February 10,2010

The Washington DC area shutdown on Monday. We, in the NorthEast, are braced for a snow storm scheduled to arrive tonight. Depending on the particular area, we can expect between 4" to 18" of the white stuff. What perfect timing!!! We will take our ColdAvenger Pro out for its FirstUse trial :-)

The ColdAvenger is a product from Talus Outdoor Technologies. These nice folks are located in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana so they know about cold. Their motto is...[more] -ColdAvenger FirstLook


February 9,2010

Apple has pretty much sucked the air out of the room when it comes to anything "tablet" related. However, until the iPad actually ships, all the buzz is good for is generating comments and opinions on blogs. Fortunately, there are many companies out there besides Apple making all kinds of cool digital gear worthy of mention. One of our favorites is Livescribe, makers of the Pulse SmartPen.

We mentioned the Pulse a few times last year (Intro, FirstLook, FirstUse, journal, Online, SDK) because we felt it was an extraordinary piece of tech. Of course, there were additional features we hoped we would soon see in the product. It has been a year, so we thought it was time for us to...[more] -Livescribe Pulse 4GB


February 8,2010

Timex is one of our favorite watch companies for a lot of reasons. We love Timex watches for their durability, but they keep us coming back because of the new styles. When we visited the Timexpo museum in December, the museum store was having a 40% off sale, so we picked up this Expedition E-Compass model on impulse.

We have had it for a few months now and are still completely satisfied with our purchase. The E-Compass is just one of the models in the Timex Expedition line. This one is slightly more expensive because of the titanium case. We prefer it to the stainless steel version as it was significantly more light-weight and has a more subtle non-reflective grey finish. The watch back is made of stainless steel and is deeply etched with the E-Compass logo.

The watch is easy to set up, simple to use, and easy to read day or night. There are several sets of markings on the face of the watch: 12/24 hours, compass, and declination adjustments. There are three different crowns on the...[more] -Timex E-Compass Expedition


February 5,2010

A few months ago we attended a talk and book signing event at the Booksmith in Wellesley. Gareth Hinds, a Boston-based graphic novelist, was giving a presentation on his process and workflow for creating his wonderfully illustrated works.

The talk and subsequent Q&A session was a fascinating look at the steps required to adapt the classics into fully-painted graphic novels. Gareth showed how he used...[more] -Graphic Novels


February 4,2010

For our very last day in L.A. we wanted to do something that only L.A. could offer, a tour of a major movie studio. The one which looked the most promising was Universal Studio in University City just north of downtown.

The park has a variety of rides, shows, and a real working movie studio complete with its own tour. There were also lots of shops, restaurants and an all-new cinemas at CityWalk. Universal Studios Hollywood is very...[more] -Universal Studio Tour


February 3,2010

Our week in L.A. is fast coming to an end. We came here to check in with the RainyDayLA folks. It didn't take long for us to be totally sucked in by the fun and the sun. If the Boston office moved out West, we would become total beach bums...at least until our money ran out. When the weather is always perfect, there are just so many other things one could do besides work.

L.A. is a place where one can find any kind of shopping, whether it be high-end art galleries, funky stores, or the bargain basement hole-in-the-walls...depending on one's particular whim and fancy of the moment.

However, it is a definitely a place where things are spreaded out pretty far and wide. Walking from one part of the city to another is not really an...[more]-Shopping Day


February 2,2010

The warm sand and cool surf are quite the contrast for us New Englanders for this time of the year. So it should not be a surprise to anyone that, while in L.A., we spent much of our time near the beach. Another reason may be because it was an easy walk from the office. We would have been happy to have spent our entire time hanging out at the pier, but thought we should avail ourselves to other L.A. experiences while we were here.

One strong recommendation was to go check out the Getty Center. The Getty Center is situated atop a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains adjacent to the San Diego Freeway. This enormous complex was designed by architect Richard Meier, its construction took 12 years to complete, and the final cost came in at...[more]-Getty Center


February 1,2010

Apple supplied a sample for the iPhone 3.2 SDK called "Keyboard accessory." Its goal is to demonstrate to developers how to use a keyboard accessory view.

We noticed in Job's demo that he had a little difficulty using the virtual keyboard. If his hands were smaller, he probably would have had an easier time. The problem with a small keyboard is the...[more]-iPad Virtual Keyboard



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