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Jan 31, 2011- Museum Of Science Planetarium...

The stars have fascinated all who has looked up at them on a clear night. Those who love them are constantly trying to find ways to enjoy them whenever they can. We looked at one of those ways with the iOptron LiveStar earlier in the month.

For the past fifty years, the Charles Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science has been the place to go learn about the stars, the planets, and all things celestrial. Here is a quick timeline of... [more]- Museum Of Science Planetarium


Jan 28, 2011- Snow Day at the Arboretum...

Yesterday was too nice to spend inside so we packed some camera gear in our Kata sling and trekked on over to the Arnold Arboretum. We love the Arnold Arboretum. It is an amazing resource and a treasure for the city of Boston.

The last time we were at the Arboretum in the winter was during the December storm in 2008. It was practically white-out conditions, but people were nevertheless walking about with their dogs. This time around the storm had already passed, the sky was blue, and a foot of... [more]- Snow Day at the Arboretum


Jan 27, 2011- Snow Day at the Office...

Bostonians woke up to another twelve inches of snow this morning. If this keeps up, we are going to run out of space to put it. The depth of the snow was deep enough that moving around was a problem for more than just the two-legged. Still, Eliot was out at the crack of dawn to perform his morning perimeter checks.

Milo, on the other hand, was less enthusiastic about his morning outing. Maybe his winter coat is not as thick as Eliot's, maybe he is just not as hardy, but whatever the reason...he seemed to have no trouble sayingt... [more]- Snow Day at the office


Jan 26, 2011- Such a Shame...

"Oh no they didn't"...but apparently Toshiba did. We heard that Toshiba had some interesting specs for their upcoming tablet. So we bounced over to the site to check it out. When we saw this page on our iPad, we had to laugh :-)

It is one thing to trash-talk the competition when you can back it up with substance, but to throw out a challenge with nothing more than a CAD mock-up of the tablet and a non-specific release date...well, you are just... [more]- Such a Shame


Jan 25, 2011- Leather and Crystal ...

We have reviewed at a LOT of iPad cases since we got the tablet last April. It is amazing how big and how quickly the aftermarket for iPad cases came to life. After nine months, new cases are still coming onto the market. The two new ones we will be taking a closer look at today are different than what we have looked at to date.

The Dayton leather pouch from Fossil for the iPad is just that...a pouch. It is nicely lined and protects the tablet with the least amount of fuss. Just slip it in, zip it up, and go. If one just needs a pouch, you may ask, why not go with a neoprene or silicone one? Because they have no character, our answer would be. Unlike a leather pouch, they won't get better looking with use, age gracefully, or... [more]- Leather and Crystal


Jan 24, 2011- Pummelo...

You say pomelo, we say Pummelo. Regardless, this is one giant fruit. While shopping at Trader Joe's last week, we came across this enormous citrus...easily twice the size of a typical grapefruit. While the pomelo is new to us, it is actually an ancestor to both grapefruits and oranges.

The pomelo may look like a grapefruit on the outside, it is clearly not when sliced open. The center of the fruit has a stem in the center which is about the size of a quarter. We had expected the pomelo to have more flesh. Instead, the amount of flesh is about the same as that of a... [more]- Pomelo or Pummelo?

Jan 21, 2011- Snow Day Puzzler...

We used to have contests, puzzlers, and in general gave away a lot of stuff. We stopped doing them mostly because they took up quite a bit of time, of which we already had too little. However, since we are getting smacked with another snow storm and will be working out of our home office, we decided to do something fun...not that playing with and reviewing gear and gadgets for a living is NOT "fun" :-)

Some of us at RainyDayMagazine are aikidokia and have been studying at Shobu Aikido of Boston for a while. The dojo has moved a few times, but the spirit and energy have remained consistently high. Shobu Aikido moved to its current location in Somerville in 2008 and the space is just awesome. In order to help spread the word and to assist in promoting this amazing "martial art of peace," we would like to give away a few... [more]- Snow Day Puzzler


Jan 20, 2011- Meade RCX400 Tripod comparison...

Yesterday we took a FirstLook at our newly acquired Meade RCX400 Ultra-Stable tripod. Weighing in at close to 60 lbs, this tripod is a beast. However, since it can be taken apart it is actually easier to transport than many other smaller telescope tripods. When we were doing our research on the RCX400 tripod, we were especially interested in seeing the difference in the thickness of the legs and mount as compared to other tripods. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any good comparison articles with other units. Now that we have the RCX400 Ultra-Stable tripod in house, we aim to rectify that issue.

Today, we are going to compare the RCX400 tripod with some of the other tripods we have, especially against the OEM tripod which was supplied with our 10" LX200 GPS telescope. We hope this comparison will be helpful to... [more]- Meade RCX400 Tripod Comparison


Jan 19, 2011- Meade RCX400 Tripod...

Bigger is definitely better when it comes to telescope tripods. The main reason is telescopes are very sensitive to vibrations. The sturdier the tripod, the better the stability. The better the stability, the better for viewing and imaging. To that end, we are always on the lookout for beefier tripods. A few months ago, we found a used tripod from a Meade RCX-400 up for sale. We made an offer, but the seller was hoping to get more for it. A higher offer did not materialize, we went a few more rounds with the seller, and finally came to an agreement.

The tripod arrived this week in two very large boxes, the sum of which were over sixty pounds. This thing is MASSIVE. All of the pieces are made from aluminum. Really thick pieces of aluminum. Unlike our other tripods, the head and the legs are... [more]- Meade RCX400 Tripod

Jan 18, 2011- Superfocus 3D hack...

Stereoscopic photos have been around since the 1800s. Widespread interest in them never really materialized outside of the various blips in popularity (ViewMaster, computer graphics, etc...). However, 3D is seeing another surge in popularity because digital photography has made it easier to create stereopscopic images. The benefit of digital photography is once you have the equipment, it costs almost nothing to experiment.

The problem with stereoscopic images is that special viewers (stereoscopes, glasses) are needed to see the 3D effect. Having to wear the special glasses is annoying if you have normal vision, but it is actually a problem if... [more]- Superfocus 3D hack


Jan 17, 2011- Kata Owl 272-DL backpack...

Six years ago we did a FirstLook/FirstUse write-up of the Kata R102 backpack. The bag was one of the best camera backpacks we have used, as it can hold quite a bit of gear without making us feel like a pack mule. The one feature we wish it had was the ability to access the camera from the side like a sling pack.

Clearly, we were not the only ones with that desire because when Kata designed the Owl 272-DL, they made a host of improvements to the basic camera backpack,including the addition of a side access port. However, we are jumping the review gun here. The Kata Owl is part of a revamped line of... [more]- Kata Owl 272-DL


Jan 14, 2011- iOptron LiveStar Planetarium...

Last January we got a gift of a wonderful globe made by Stellanova. It glowed from the inside, illuminating all of the constellations on its surface. The globe is beautiful, and makes for a terrific lamp when we need just a little bit of light. Yesterday, we got something that looks similar to the Stellanova globe but does quite a bit more. It is a personal planetarium called LiveStar by iOptron.

The LiveStar Planetarium is a desk-top sized rotating globe covered by a star map. In the middle of the globe is a small light. The globe and the light are mounted on a rotatable stem. The globe, shelf, and base of the LiveStar are made of plastic. The lettering on the dials and knobs are decals. While the LiveStar is... [more]- iOptron LiveStar Planetarium


Jan 13, 2011- Sears Craftsman Socket set...

A week ago we wrote about our surprisingly pleasant DieHard battery experience at our local Sears automotive store. We now follow up with a story of an even better experience at the main Sears store.

Our tale starts with a Holiday present (of a brand exclusive to Sears, exactly which is not relevant) given to us from an out-of-state relative, for which we were not supplied the receipt. Unfortunately for us, the item, cool as it was, was not something for which we would have use. We were hoping we could exchange it for something more useful to us at Sears. However, after a few email exchanges with Sears online support, we were told that, in the absence of a receipt:

"...We do not have an exchange process. Please arrange with the person who gave you the (item) to have them return for credit. The suggestion would be for you to go to the Sears store with that person and pick out another item. I know this is not an ideal solution, but appears to be the only option that you have..."

Undaunted, we took the item to the Sears store in Dedham, Mass. A pepper-haired gentleman in his late 50s greeted us at the tools department and asked if he could be of assistance. We explained our situation and asked if an exchange was possible. Without hesitation, he said... [more]- Sears Craftsman Socket Set


Jan 12, 2011- January Nor'easter...

Boston residents woke up to a foot of white stuff this morning, with more predicted for the remainder of the day. The snow was not light and fluffy like it was for the Christmas Weekend Blizzard. Today's snow was wet, clumpy, and heavy. It plopped on everything, caused power outages, and toppled trees all over the city.

The trees and bushes in the RainyDayGarden were all drooping from the weight of the snow. We knocked off the snow and opened a few paths, but the snow was coming down as fast as we could clear it. After 30 minutes of... [more]- January Nor'easter


Jan 11, 2011- Azio Bluetooth keyboard...

The iPad tablet is great for a lot of things. But if you want to create long emails, write articles, or do lots of typing, it might disappoint. We wrote in the past that our StowAway keyboard works fine with the iPad. The StowAway is great for traveling, but not for prolonged typing. We've been looking around for possible alternatives. Apple has two options (wireless keyboard, keyboard w/dock) for the iPad, but at over $70, they were a bit pricey.

Fortunately, third-party options are starting to appear. One of them is the Azio Wireless Bluetooth keyboard. With its aluminum face, rubberized keys, and low profile, the less expensive Azio keyboard is... [more]-Azio Bluetooth Keyboard


Jan 10, 2011- LunaTik Installation...

The KickStarter success story LunaTik is making the rounds in all the business magazines. If you don't know the backstory, you can catch up on it here. The LunaTik is a case which allows the 6th-gen iPod nano to be worn as a wristwatch. We took a FirstLook at the conversion kit on Friday. Today, we will show how to install the nano in the LunaTik and what it looks like when assembled.

The LunaTik case is machined out of aircraft-grade aluminum and assembled using high quality steel screws. Two hex keys is required (one on each side, rotating in opposite directions) to loosen the screws and disassemble the case. Once loosened, the frame splits into two pieces. The pieces are sand-blasted at the factory to remove any tool marks and to... [more]-LunaTik Installation


Jan 7, 2011- LunaTik FirstLook...

When Apple released their 1st generation nano, we were excited about the form factor. We hacked it into our Boxster's stereo system and were one of the first to report the easily-scratched screen issue along with a solution. Five years later, when Apple released their 6th generation nano, we didn't even give it a second look...until now. The reason for our interest now is not because of the nano itself. Yes, it is the size of a postage stamp, has 4x the memory of the original nano, and sports a multi-touch, high-rez color screen. All of the tech Apple crammed into their latest nano is really amazing, but in the end...it is just another iPod.

What got us interested in the latest nano was the LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch kit by Scott Wilson at MINIMAL. The LunaTik converts the iPod nano into a multi-touch wristwatch. There are other wristwatches with a touch-sensitive face (Tissot, sWaP), but none of them... [more]-LunaTik FirstLook


Jan 6, 2011- Porsche Battery Replacement...

Most of our shopping is done online (Amazon, EBay, TireRack, etc...) these days. However, every once in awhile, we still venture into a brick and mortar store for things which we can't easily get online. One of those things is a car battery. The primary reason is when a car battery dies, you need another one immediately. Waiting a few days for it to arrive via UPS is just not going to cut it.

We first noticed the battery problem on Sunday when the car wouldn't start. A quick jump with the JNC Air brought it back to life and we had no more problems until yesterday. The battery just would not hold a charge even after we had driven it for a while. Good thing we had brought the JNC Air with us... [more]-Porsche Battery Replacement


Jan 5, 2011- Quiver & Moleskine...

In the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide we did a FirstLook of the Quiver pen holders. As we stated in the review, those beautifully crafted pen holders are perfect for anyone using a Livescribe Pulse Smartpen. A few readers noticed we also had the smaller Quiver and asked us what would work well with that holder. The answer is, any of the standard 3.5"x5.5" bounded notebooks. However, as the inspiration for the Quiver was the Moleskine notebooks, it should be no surprise that it fits perfectly on one of those as well.

Moleskine notebooks have long been a favorite of writers, artists, and adventurers looking to jot down their thoughts, inspirations, and observations. The Moleskine line has expanded since the days of Matisse and Hemingway. The ones we really like are the City Books because they are ideal... [more]-Quiver & Moleskine


Jan 4, 2011- Bear WiFi Extender...

We have an older, Intel-based Mac Mini that has had WiFi problems for years. It was unclear when it started having issues, but we have determined to our satisfaction that the cause was temperature-based. It appears that Apple has since solved the problem in later models (by adding a second WiFi antenna into the design), but that is of no help to us. We first "fixed" it using a fan, then later with some temperature-controlling software. Neither solutions worked when the Mini's temperature got too high for the internal fan to handle. Now that we are using the Mini as a media server, we wanted to solve the WiFi issue once and for all.

We found an elegant and 100% effective solution from BearExtender. The BearExtender n3 is a simple plug-and-play USB device that... [more]-Bear WiFi Extender


Jan 3, 2011- Bird Houses...

Ever wonder what to do with those leftover samples from painting projects? We were reluctant to toss them as many of them were at least half full. While strolling thought a craft store, we saw some unfinished bird houses and had an idea. Why not decorate them using the left-over paints?

The key to painting these unfinished bird houses is to first prime everything. The primer we was what we used on the front porch. It was oil-based. We didn't want to have to worry about... [more]-Bird Houses


Jan 1, 2011- Happy New Year

We hope all of you had a fun New Year's Eve. Ours was a low-key celebration at the office, but we did it in style with the help of a bottle of champagne by Piper-Heidsieck.

Their curvée Brut is an elegant, lively, and exceptionally well-balanced champagne. It had a fresh start, with a light aromas of citrus and flowers. The champagne was a great way to celebrate the start of a new year. Here is to a great 2011!!! [Permalink] - Happy New Year


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