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June 26,2012- Sizing Up The Universe...

Last August we wrote a piece called "Two Hundred Light Years." In it we discussed just how enormous is the known Universe using the "200-light year" metric. 200-light years is the distance traveled in space to date by the very first radio transmissions broadcasted on Earth. Similar to a two-dimensional ripple on a pond, this first broadcast rippled out into space, but as a 3-D bubble in every direction. The photo in that article showed just how far that distance is relative to the overall size of the galaxy of which Earth is a part, and there are hundreds of billions of other galaxies out there...

Most of us can relate to the numbers 100, 1,000, and even 1,000,000. They are numbers we can visualize and say "Yeah, I see what you mean." For most of us, though, it is difficult to get a sense of how large the numbers quadrillion, googol, and googolplex really are (apparently "gazillion" is not a real number). Instead, we have to use scales like... [more] -Sizing Up The Universe


June 13,2012- Origami Design Secrets...

Recently, we watched a great documentary on Netflix called "Between The Folds." The program was an exploration of all the ways where the ancient art of paper folding meet up with the modern world of science and mathematics. Watching the show brought to mind a book we have had on our shelf since 2004, but have not really taken the time to dive into, Origami Design Secrets by Robert Lang. Inspired by the movie, we decided to spend a day with the book and see what we could do.

Origami (ori meaning folding, gami meaning paper) started in Japan around the 17th century. However, it may also have evolved independently in other parts of the world. Regardless of where and when the art originated, systematic study of it did not occur until the 1980s. In 2003, Robert Lang published the definitive work, Origami Design Secrets, on the techniques and the mathematics behind this ancient art. In order to describe how the folds are executed, Lang introduced a set of... [more] -Origami Design Secrets


May 22,2012- Staying Current...

Writing software is simple, but it is not easy. It is simple because the computer will do what you tell it to do. The difficulty comes from needing to make the instructions very precise. There is no tolerance for ambiguity, neither when writing the software nor when the software instructions are executed, be they on a cell phone, tablet, or whatever. To do it well, it takes both creativity and discipline, qualities which are often in conflict with each other. However, that is not the half of it.

One of the challenging aspects of software development is staying current with the changes in the API and libraries provided by vendors like Apple, Microsoft, and others. The software writing tools get over-hauled. Sometimes, even the... [more]- iOS Programming: Staying Current


March 30,2012- The Hunger Games Trilogy...

We are huge fans of audio books. Listening to audio books lets us still work, drive, or do other things. Some audio books will even teach us a thing or two (Genius In All of Us, Buyology). Our favorite is the Harry Potter series as performed by Jim Dale. We have listened to the entire seven book series (117 hours) three times already. A close second is the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. Last weekend, like millions of other folks, we saw The Hunger Games. We liked the movie so much we decided to read the book, or rather, listen to the entire series (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay).

Like the other two (Harry Potter, His Dark Materials) series, The Hunger Games is about ordinary children doing extraordinary things. Unlike the other two, The Hunger Games is a lot more unflinching in its commentary on violence and politics. While we thought the movie was good, the screenplay must have had to pick and choose from the book. We wanted to learn all the... [more] -The Hunger Games Trilogy: Audiobook Series


March 19,2012- What would get us to upgrade?

After two years of phenomenal sales and every skeptic being roundly embarrassed for dismissing the iPad, we think it is safe to say the tablet is here to stay. While we don't think that iPad sales have peaked, we do believe that the basic hardware feature set (multi-touch screen, camera, WiFi, etc.) is starting to stabilize. Not seeing any "must-have" features, we were not surprised to find ourselves holding back and not immediately upgrading to the iPad 3. Instead, we asked the question "What would get us to upgrade?"

Some may remember our attempt at building a directly-on-screen pressure-sensitive tablets back in 2008. We had some success, but the display's lack of brightness finally made us realize that if we really wanted such a tablet, we needed to... [more] -What would get us to upgrade?


March 16,2012- WHAT? Not upgrading?...

Those who read RainyDayMagazine frequently know that we have been huge cheerleaders for the iPad since Day 1. Also, you will not find a more fervent group of Apple fans out there than those here at RainyDayMagazine. Some of us can trace our Apple roots back to the 128K Mac days where we performed 512K RAM upgrades to make our own "Fat Macs." So it was SHOCKING to some when they heard that we have decided not to upgrade to the iPad3. Don't get us wrong, we have nothing against the new iPad. It IS the best tablet on the planet today.

We ordered the original iPad sight-unseen, then upgraded from the original to the iPad 2 when Apple added a camera to the tablet. Physically the iPad 2 was different than the original iPad and we needed it to test the new accessories. Those two reasons justified our last iPad upgrade. While this new iPad 3 may have an... [more] -What? Not upgrading?


March 14,2012- Rocky Nook: Fuji X100...

Digital cameras have improved quite a bit over the years. Their sensors have increased in resolution, shutter lag has all been but eliminated, and low-light sensitivity has improved to a point where it may actually be better than film. With all of these advancements, one would think that a digital camera would be unrecognizable compared to the cameras of yesteryear. However, the truth is oddly the opposite. The fact is, today's camera designers have taken stylistic cues from the past and modeled digital cameras to look and feel much like rangefinders (minus the LCD screen and a few discretely place LEDs) from decades ago.

We are, of course, referring to the Fuji FinePix X100. When this camera was unveiled at Photokina 2010, it took the show and the photographic world by surprise. The Fuji X100 became an instant classic. By all accounts, the camera is a masterful piece of work. It was crafted out of... [more] -Rocky Nook:Mastering the Fuji X100


March 13,2012- Quadrivium...

Quadrivium is a word derived from the Latin roots quad and via, which translates roughly as "a crossing of four roads." The idea of quadrivium can be traced back to the time of Pythagoras (around 500 BC) with the emphasis on the study of four fundamental subjects: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. It eventually formed the basis of the European education structure later known as the seven liberal arts.

The quadrivium subjects are, of course, connected by mathematics: arithmetic is the study of numbers and their relationship to each other; geometry is the examination of how numbers relate to each other spatially; music is study of the relationship of numbers temporally; and astronomy is the study of numbers in both space and time. The mastery of the quadrivium was a... [more] -Quadrivium


February 17,2012- iOS Programming Books...

Keeping current with Apple's iOS updates is a never ending task. Just when we started to get a hang of the changes brought on by iOS4, Apple released iOS5. Of course, not all of the updates and new features are of direct concern to everyone. Still, knowing about them is important and sometimes helpful, especially if the changes make life easier for the developer.

O'Reilly is the go-to publisher for books related to software programming. We have a pretty decent collection in our library. Two recent additions are iOS 5 Programming Cookbook by Vandad Nahavandipoor and... [more] - iOS Programming Books


February 15,2012- The Talent Code...

We were in New York City this past weekend and one could not turn a page without reading something about the new Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Until last week, Lin was a virtual unknown outside of a circle of devoted fans. How quickly things changed for Lin! However, like all "overnight" successes, Lin's rise from obscurity was actually a decade in the making. Anyone who has read either The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk or The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle knows exactly why.

Talent is neither inborn nor out-of-reach for the average person. There are real, repeatable, and proven ways to develop talent. Some coaches (Tom Martinez, Linda Septien, etc...) have a "knack" for nurturing individuals into superstars. Now, thanks to advances in medical imaging and neurobiological research, the scientific foundation for the "how" and "why" of the process is starting to become clear. What it is telling us is that... [more] - The Talent Code


February 3,2012- The Genius in All of Us...

This weekend's NFL Super Bowl is one of the biggest sports event of the year. The hype surrounding the game is inescapable and sometime descends into the absurd. Even with the media madness, the blog buzz, and the attempts at contrived controversies, the teams themselves have been both respectful and sportsmanlike in their references to each other. This is very heartening to see, especially in the age of super salaries, huge egos, and self-aggrandizement.

It is fascinating to try to understand what qualities lead to the formation of athletes such as Tom Brady, Eli Manning, or any of the other top performers we see in professional sports. Is it a natural born talent, great coaching, or something else? Moreover, is it something which can be codified, duplicated, and applied? Well, according to David Shenk in his book, The Genius in All of Us, the answer appears to be... [more] - The Genius in All of Us


January 31,2012- iBooks Author FirstUse...

Adobe built their Digital Magazine Publishing (DMP) tools by leveraging their Creative Suite (CS) platform of applications. As we use CS5 (Dreamweaver, Photoshop) for much of our work, we were eager to give them DMP tools a try. We created a few issues (2010 Holiday Gift Guide, Spring 2011 issue, 1000 Character Reference) for the iPad using the beta version of the tools and would have kept using the released versions had Adobe priced them within our reach. Unfortunately, we had to look for other options.

When Apple announced they would reveal their plans regarding textbook publishing, we were hoping they would release a tool which will enable small publishers to build books for the iPad quickly and inexpensively. On January 19, Apple unveiled iBooks Author (iBA), the "iMovie" of iPad book creation. We have been playing with the application for the past ten days and have been duely impressed. iBooks Author is not as flexible as... [more] - iBooks Author FirstUse


January 20,2012- iBooks Author...

Each generation is entrusted with the responsibility of educating the next. This task is uniquely different for humans in that we have the ability to record our knowledge. While the amount of accumulated knowledge has long surpassed what any one person can know, the development of tools (paper, printing press, computers, Internet) has made it possible for our collective knowledge to be disseminated without the constraints of either distance or time.

On January 5th, we posted our speculations regarding the January 19th Apple announcement. Our biggest wish was that Apple would provide an inexpensive tool that would enable content providers to easily create interactive iPad-specific books. That is exactly what Apple announced yesterday. Not only has... [more] - iBooks Author


January 11,2012- The Elements...

Everyone (we know) is familiar with the Periodic Table from high school science class, and we have little doubt that few have given it a second thought since (unless of course they work for an elemental analysis company, and they never stop talking about cadmium and magnesium and sometimes gold). Over the past few years, however, Theodore Gray has pretty much single-handedly brought it out of (adult) obscurity. He did it by spending more than seven years painstakingly obtaining, photographing, each element and offering the collection in a number of mediums (book, puzzle, iPad app) in an informative and entertaining way. Talk about an itch! (We have no information on whether Marilyn Monroe was familiar with the Table...)

The claim of being "the most beautiful Periodic Table Products in the world" may sound grand(iose), but in this case we think it is justified. Both the book and the iPad app have received widespread praise from scientists and artists alike. Of the various products, though, our favorite is the card deck. The gorgeous photography paired with the wealth of technical-but-succinct data on each card makes looking at the card almost as interesting as if... [more] - The Elements


January 6,2012- The Book of Secrets...

Our review of books on da Vinci brought forth a welcomed slew of suggestions regarding technological achievements from times past. All of them were fascinating and worthy of coverage, but the one which stood out was The Book of Secrets by the Andalusian engineer Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi.

The original dates back to the eleventh century. A copy of it was made in Toledo, Spain in 1266. The only copy of this manuscript is conserved in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. The thousand-year-old manuscript is a collection of drawings and descriptions of more than thirty fascinating devices, from mechanical apparatuses to water clocks to automatic calendars to war machines. The manuscript is important to the field of the history of science because it... [more] - L3: The Book Of Secrets


January 5,2012- Interactive Books...

There is a rumor going around that Apple will be announcing some sort of iBook-related news at a New York event at the end of the month. The speculation on what the announcement will be has started making the rounds. The droning will get louder as the day of the event gets closer.

It should be no surprise that the interns have been having lively and spirited online discussions with many out there regarding what the announcement could be. Our hope is that Apple will announce that they will be providing a free authoring environment to aid in the development of truly... [more] - Interactive Books




1000 Chars App



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da Vinci

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Amazon Fire

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Kinect for OSX

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iOS5 Newstand

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Dennis Ritchie

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Jobs 1955-2011

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Amazon Fire
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iPhone Dev
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Dev Setup
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$100 Tablet
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TouchPad Cancelled
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iOS Programming
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iPad Publishing
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HP TouchPad
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Brando iPad2 case
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iPad2 ZaggMate
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SmartFish Whirl
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1000 Char Text
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Adobe DMP
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Hand Gestures
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App Store
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iPad2 unboxing
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Logitech MouseMX
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DIY iPad Brush
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iPad2 FirstThoughts
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iPad Keyboards
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