Header image  
"We Entertain When It Rains"  



Web www.rainydaymagazine.com

RainyDayGarage's content can now be licensed for your print magazine or web site. Please contact us directly here.  If you want to see something reviewed, then drop us a note with a link and we'll be happy to take a look.


December 16, 2005

Here at the RainyDayGarage, we believe that everyone has the ability to work on their cars.  All that is needed are good, clear, step-by-step instructions and the willingness to get their hands dirty. The Bentley Boxster Service Manual will go a long way in giving Boxster owners the confidence to tackle a wide range of projects.

In our FirstLook, we found the manual to be a well-produced and comprehensive collection of Boxster technical information.  We think any Boxster owner who is interested in what makes his or her car tick will find it a worthwhile reference source.  Go take a closer look for yourself here.


November 12, 2005

Our cars are getting ever more sophisticated, especially in their ability to detect, record, and notify when something may be amiss.

However, most car manufacturers won't give the consumers any means to access the information on the status of their vehicles other than the "idiot lights" on the dash.  When a "check engine" light comes on, it usually means a trip to the dealer and a $50-$80 fee to plug in a cable and have them tell you what the problem is.  This is not only kind of annoying, it's a rip-off. 

Apparently, the good folks at DriveRight thought the same thing.  They are the makers of a product called the CarChip.  This device is like a "flight recorder" for your car. 

It will record up to 300 hours of driving information (car speed, engine performance, trouble codes, etc...) so you can finally get a better idea of WHAT is going on under the hood!  Check out RainyDayGarage's FirstLook report and their FirstUse results.   Coincidentally, the "check engine" light of our Contributing Editor's Toyota Camry recently came on. 

We gave her the CarChip and told her to report back in a few days... we suggest you do the same and see how she did with the CarChip.

Another product that caught our eye was one called SmartGlow Fuse.  This fuse has a built in LED which will light up when the fuse has blown. 

Normally, when a fuse has blown, the only way to tell is to pull out the suspected fuse and check to see if the connection has indeed broken.  The SmartGlow Fuse makes this task a breeze by lighting up instead.  Next time we blow a fuse, we are going to replace it with a SmartGlow Fuse. Once we figure out which one it is...


November 6, 2005

We went to the NE Auto Show on Sunday...but due to an unfortunate event with the 2GB CompactFlash card, all the images somehow got corrupted.  The show was great, but you will just have to go see it for yourselves.

We completed the Harman Kardon Drive+Play installation of both the controller and the display over the weekend. 

With everything mounted and installed, we were ready to power up the Drive+Play for the FirstUse test!.  If we did everything right, the unit should turn on when we turn on the ignition.  Go here to see how we did.


October 22, 2005

Today we had a chance to BenchTest the Drive+Play.  We also tested a few screen and controller placements in the Boxster to see how we would go about this installation.

We have not made a final decision on where to put all the pieces, but the first test gave us a few potential locations and raised some issues.  Go check out the RainyDayGarage BenchTest here.


October 21, 2005

We reported on the the Drive+Play back in June when Harman Kardon announced it at MacWorld Boston.

Harman Kardon recognized that many people want to hook up their iPod to their car's stereo system, but realized that controlling it was next to impossible.

The Drive+Play was designed to allow a driver to safely control the iPod's functions with minimal distraction.  Of course, the user must still exercise COMMON SENSE while using the Drive+Play... but don't get us started on that :-)

The Drive+Play is now shipping and we got one of the first units available.  Go check out RainyDayGarage's FirstLook review here!


September 17, 2005

If Spiderman needed to mount a camera to take some action shots of him swinging from building to building, he would get a StickyPod!

The StickyPod Dash Cam kit came with everything (knuckle joint, extensions, mount, nylon web tether) we needed to securely mount a camera to it and it to a car.  We also got the heavy duty "Pro" mount which has a larger surface and 4 suction cups. 

The StickyPod is not just great for shooting videos from a vehicle.  Folks at the office started seeing ALL kinds of places to mount the StickyPod.  Go check out the RainyDayMagazine FirstLook Review and see for yourself.


September 15, 2005

The first generation iPod we purchased 4 years ago was a 5GB model that held 1000 songs.  It was the size of a deck of playing cards.

We just got the iPod nano today.  It is Apple's 3rd generation iPod.  The one we got was the 4GB model.  It is the size of... well, it is smaller than anything we have to compare it to.

In the FirstLook review, we'll show you all the various pieces which came with the iPod nano.  We'll also give you some size comparison to more familiar objects.

In the FirstUse review, we'll check out the software install, song download, and exclusive features of the iPod nano.  We'll also attach the iPod nano to any and all accessories we can find around RainyDayMagazine :-)

Of course, when the guys in the RainyDayGarage heard the iPod nano was ready, they had to hook it up to the Boxster. 

I still didn't understand why they had to take it for a test drive...it was not like the performance of the car would change because they changed the iPod.  Anyway...they came back an hour later and confirmed that "Yes...the iPod nano had great sound and was fully compatible with the Boxster."  Whew...glad that was settled :-)


September 13, 2005

We went to a lecture a while back given by Porsche historian Karl Ludvigsen.  Mr Ludvigsen is the author of the three volume set "Porsche: Excellence Was Expected".  The set is a comprehensive history of Porsche, its cars and its racing heritage.

At that same lecture, we met some really nice folks from Bentley Publishers.   They had told us a bit about their Porsche Boxster Service Manual project.  They purchased a Boxster, took it apart, and put it back together...photographing the process along the way! 

Well...we got word today that they are taking pre-orders for the book!  We expect this first printing to sell briskly!  If you want to be notify when the first printing is available, go here and sign up now!  Tell 'em you heard about it on RainyDayMagazine!  We will do a full review of the book on RainyDayGarage when it is available in Novemeber.


August 27, 2005

Five years ago, this product would have been in the realm of science fiction.  Now we believe it will become one of the hottest MP3 player to make it to market yet!

This is the MobiBLU DAH-1500i digital audio player.  The entire player is less than 1 cubic inch in size, weigh less than a couple of CDs, and will be the first serious challenger to the Apple iPod for those folks where music players often does double duty as fashion accessories.  Go check out the full RainyDayMagazine FirstLook review here.

Last year we had done a RainyDayGarage project showing how to hook the iPod up to the stereo of the Porsche Boxster.  We thought it would be interesting to show the MobiBLU in the same set up.  Look 'ma, no holders needed!

Want to take your Boxster for a spin?  Looking for a group of like-minded folks thinking about doing the same?  Sign up for Boxstoberfest!

This year they are dedicating Boxstoberfest 2005 to the memory of Gottfried Hogh.  Over 70 Boxsters will be there... there is still time to register for the event :-)


August 17, 2005

After much testing on the bench, we finally installed all we need on the Mac mini.  We felt we had done all the testing we needed using the actual DWW 700 LCD monitor.  It was time to put the screen in the Boxster.

As we did with other projects (ipod install, radar detector install, speakers install) that muck with the Boxster's central console, the first thing was to remove all the side panels so we can access the internal wiring. 

We hooked it up, hid all the messy wiring, replace the side panels, and made things nice and tidy again...all in about an hour. The installation looked pretty clean once all the panels were replaced :-) See the gory wiring details here.

We also finally got our shipment of Mac mini shelves!  We tried a few ways of mounting the Mac mini and finally decided to mount it under the steering wheel.   Check out the shelf installation here.

Once the DWW 700 LCD monitor was installed and verified to be functional. It was time to hook up the Mac mini and check out some of the basics (WiFi connection, USB, GPS, and iTunes). 

Since we had bench tested all of these functions (voice, gps, touchscreen, camera), this check was basically to see how things worked once installed in the car.  Follow the progress of RainyDayGarage's carputer project here.


August 4, 2005

The folks at RainyDayGarage would like to say "Congrats!!!" to the University of Michigan Solar Car Team for their victory in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.

The Michigan team made the 2,500 mile trip in 53h:59m:43s (avg 46.2mph), setting a record in the world's longest solar car race.  Good luck in Australia at the World Solar Challenge !!!


July 28, 2005

If you are looking for something exotic in car designs...check out Businessweek's Car Buff section.  The folks in the RainyDayGarage were pleasantly surprised at the comprehensive collection of car news and automotive info available on the page!  Nice :-)

If you want something a little more down to earth, Porsche announced yesterday that their stable of sport cars will increase by one in 2009.

The new addition, Panamera, will be a 4 door coupe (remember the 928?) designed for those who want a 911, but also want to carry more than just groceries in the back seat.  Price around $125K to $175K, it won't be cheap, but by the looks of it... it won't be mistaken for a Honda neither.

The Panamera will have a front/midengine design (Volkswagen Phaeton platform?) with either a rear or all-wheel drive option.  The engines will probably be those available currently on the Cayenne (4500 cc (4.5 litre), 340 bhp and a 450 bhp turbo).

Note:  These "images" of the Panamera are mockups only...no actual photos of the car have been officially been released by Porsche.

In order to get our new Panamera around without having to ask for directions, we would love to check out the new FineDrive F400. 

This new car GPS system has an SD slot, 320Mb of storage, a 4" color screen, MP3 player capabilities and a video in connector... which means it can receive video from video iPod, DVD players, etc.  It would be even more exciting if we can find it available in the US :-)


July 14, 2005

Techsuperpower had their totally geeked out Lexus "DV Editing Studio on wheels" at the show. 

It was pretty amazing what they managed to cram inside the trunk and the backseat.  I think they may have voided the warranty.

The other really cool "car related" item at the show was from Harman Kardon...the same folks that supply high end OEM car audio components to Porsche, BMW, and other luxury cars.

If you have integrated an iPod into your car, you already know how amazing it is to have all those tunes available at your fingertips.  You will undoubtedly also have discovered that it is near impossible to browse your iPod without driving off the road. 

Well, Harman Kardon has done something about the problem of in-vehicle iPod control with their new Drive+Play offering.  Go read all about it here.


July 7, 2005

One of Lamborghini's signature feature is the vertically opening doors.  We, at RainyDayGarage, always thought they made a lot of sense.  We just didn't have the $500,000 for the cars that had them.

Now companies like AutoAccessories, WickedBodies, and VerticalDoors, are selling door hinge conversion kits so any car, van, or truck can have those "Lambo-style" doors ;-)

The hinge works by first swinging out, then up.  Gas power struts usually assist with the lifting of the door.

If you are thinking about doing one of these conversions, definitely shop around and check out the different types of hinges... they are not all created equal.  We are looking into whether this would be a good Fall project for RainyDayGarage.


July 1, 2005

We finally had a chance to check out the Ralph Lauren car collection exhibiting at the MFA. The tickets were for the last "Hoods Up" night were visitors could see the engines.  There are still some tickets left for the regular exhibit.

If you have not gone yet, stop reading now (unless July 3rd had already passed or you don't live within a 2 hour drive of Boston) and go to the MFA.  If you can't, you can still check it out here!


June 24, 2005

If you have not yet checked out the "Speed, Style, and Beauty: Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection" exhibit at the MFA, you had better get a move on!  The exhibit will end on July 3rd and tickets are going FAST!!!.

Where else are you going to be able to come within inches of a beauty like that red Alfa Romeo or the black 1938 Bugatti???

The entire group from RainyDayGarage went to a lecture last night at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and had an amazing time listening to Karl Ludvigsen talk about Ferdinand Porsche and the early history of the company. 

Mr. Ludvigsen's lecture drew from his upcoming book.  The book will be all about the beginning of Porsche.  He showed a ton of fabulous photos.  Some were of the early electric cars designed by the 23 year old Ferdinand, some during the first and second world wars, and others while working with the post war Volkswagen.  We heard some great stories about Ferdinand's temperment and personality.  How he got his start at his father's tin factory, early experiments with electricty, and love for building state-of-the art racing automobiles!

We met some great folks from Bentley Publishers.  We are going to check them out in the near future and tell you all about the cool Porsche book projects they have in the works!

A lot of the folks who attended the lecture also brought along their favorite rides... it was great to see an impromptu Porsche exhibit assembling in front of Museum as folks arrived for the lecture!

The Museum has lectures ALL THE TIME.  So check their upcoming events calendar for topics of interest.  Look for the folks from RainyDayGarage ... they will be there!


June 23, 2005

If you love Porsche, live close to Boston, and have a free evening tonight... make you way to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline to hear Karl Ludvigsen's presentation on "The Porsche Saga". 

Ludvigsen is the author of the three volume set "Porsche: Excellence Was Expected".  The set is a comprehensive history of Porsche, its cars and its racing heritage. The lecture begins at 7:30pm with the doors opening at 7:00pm.  Tell them you heard about it on RainyDayMagazine!

In Mid May we did a write-up on the Porsche Carrera GT

Recently, we found some folks who decided to transform a Boxster into something similar... on the outside, anyway :-)

It is amazing what some folks are able to do with fiberglass!  The Boxster is fast replacing the Fiero as the frame of choice for kit cars. 

So if the $400K for a Carrera GT was too much for your sports car budget but you REALLY wanted the look then give The Car Factory guys a call.  Don't forget to bring the Boxster!


June 16, 2005

The whole point of including a touchscreen LCD in the Carputer Project was to eliminate the need to have a keyboard in the car.  However, try as we may, some information was just easier to enter using a keyboard.

After looking around a bit, we found EXACTLY what we needed from AssistiveWare. The product is called TouchStrokes.  Go read all about it here.


June 10, 2005

Normally on "BargainFridays" our intern Buffy points you toward some amazing deals that has crossed our path.  This BargainFriday, we wanted to remind our readers that SOME deals may just be too amazing to be real... especially when it comes to used cars.

We all know that the VIN number on our dash is the car's "social security" number... the code that gives access to the car's history.  It is also suppose to be unique.  If the VIN number of the car matches the title, we are suppose to feel safe that the car was not stolen and a purchase can be confidently made.  NOT SO FAST!!!

There is a new scam called VIN CLONING that will throw a huge cloud over the used car market.  Apparently it is not too difficult to steal a car, get a new VIN number from some other car just like it (...the VIN number is on the dash of your car), create some fake paperwork, register it with the DMV in some state, drive the car to another state, and sell it as a good car. 

Now ... you can't go and cover up the VIN number on the dash to prevent the VIN cloners from getting the number.  Why, because it is the law in most states to have it visible so the police can tell if the car is stolen :-) 

We are sure a new system can be devised to solve the problem, but we are not sure how they can stop it in the short term.  So if you are in the market for a used car... Buyer Beware.


June 9, 2005

No carputer project is complete if GPS was not a part of its functionality.  Our project was no different.  The problem was the Mac community had been pretty much ignored by the GPS hardware and software manufacturers.  However, we were fortunate to find a company, USGlobalSat, that has decided to reverse that trend.

We worked with USGlobalSat to pick out the appropriate unit for our project.  Go check it out here.


June 4, 2005

We got a very cool camera from Logitech (QuickCam Orbit) yesterday and spent most of the day playing around with it.

We'll be using this camera to implement some of the "video security" ideas of the Porsche Boxster Carputer project.  Go here to check out the setup of the Logitech QuickCam Orbit.


June 3, 2005

The placement of the Mac mini unit in the Boxster was (and some would say still is...) opened to much debate at the RainyDayGarage. 

Some wanted the Apple logo to be prominently displayed, others wanted the unit to be completely hidden from view, and a few wanted to take a functional approach and put it where it is easiest to service / upgrade. 

We decided to take the Mac out to the Boxster and just put it in different spots to see how it would be.  Go read all about it here.


June 2, 2005

When we got the LCD screen for the Boxster project, we tested it with a G3 laptop for several weeks. Today, we got the Mac mini and we thought it would be useful to document the setup process and share it with our RainyDayGarage readers!


May 23 , 2005

Porsche just posted "official" photos of the Caymen S on their site. Go check out the lastest addition to the Porsche family here.

RainyDayGarage will have the usual up close review for you when we get our hands on one.


May 22 , 2005

A new Porsche was announced a few months back, but photos were very hard to come by. RennTeam.com got some of the first ones without any of the usual camouflage.

Porsche Cayman S
Power: 295 HP
Top Speed: 275 kph
Performance: 0-100 kph in 5.4 sec
Max. Torque: 340 Nm between 4400 and 6000 rpm
Price tag in Germany incl. 16% VAT: 58529 Euro

The Cayman S has 18'' wheels and PSM as standard. PASM and Tiptronic S are available as options. Variocam Plus comes with the engine, this seems to indicate the probability that the Cayman S engine is based on the 996 M96 engine.


May 18 , 2005

The problem with spare tires is that their tire pressure needs to be checked periodically...and who does that? And since you don't, when you need your spare, it's flat. To get around this problem, some folks keep a can of "flat fix" puncture sealant in their trunk. These sealants are goopy liquids that you pump into the tire to re-inflate it. It makes a mess and renders the tire pretty much useless after it gets you to your dealer.

Amerityre has a better solution. They have a new "FlatFree" closed-cell polyurethane spare tire technology that will always be inflated, gets you out of the jam, and looks GREAT doing it :-)


May 14 , 2005

Clair Porsche of West Roxsbury had their annual Porsche Enthusiast "Season Opener" Spring Fling Cookout today.

As one of their loyal customer, RainyDayGarage, of course, was on site to check things out. Besides... the invitation said "Free Barbecue and Refreshments"!

There was a good complement of 2005 911s, Boxsters, and Cayennes in all their glorious colors (Midnight Blue, Forest Green, Arctic Silver,...etc). What we did not expect was to see a Carrera GT and moreover to be able to get up close and check it out!

The Porsche Carrera GT is Porsche's top of the line. Only 1500 will be available. Of course, at an average sale price of $430,000 that is still $645 million dollars!

If you have a chance, drop on by Clair Porsche in West Roxsbury and check it out before someone snaps it up. It is not everyday one gets a chance to be this close to a masterpiece! If you can't get there, go read about it here :-)


May 12 , 2005

We finally received our display for the RainyDayGarage Porsche Boxster Carputer installation project. The reason it took so long was we had some very specific display requirement... touchscreen, VGA input, dual Video input, motorized retractible screen, all in a 1 DIN size unit.

After searching for a while, we finally located a vendor called Digital WorldWide. They actually had a selection of units. We decided on a Panasonic LCD screen. The unit arrived yesterday and our engineers promptly spent the rest of the day putting the unit through its paces.

The test bench was pretty simple: Apple G3 laptop supplied the VGA signal, DVCam supplied the video, and a Radio Shack 12V/3 amp DC power supply fired up the unit.

Getting things working was a piece of cake using the Mac. Here you can clearly see OS X desktop and webpages displayed on the unit. The amazing thing is the entire display disappears into the base with the push of a button. We'll have a detail write-up soon. Also, you can follow the Porsche Boxster carputer installation updates in the RainyDayGarage section. We'll also have the highlights on TunerThursday until the project is finished.


April 10 , 2005

It's getting closer and closer to Tax Time and if you are like me...you are looking for every excuses to do something else!

The weather is getting warm enough to be outside working on your car. If you are looking for project suggestions, click on "Workshops" on the left and check out the various project in RainyDayGarage!

There are projects ranging from dressing up your gas pedals to installing a full "carputer"! We'll be adding a MacMini with a retractible touchscreen display to the Porsche Boxster as the feature April/May RainyDayGarage project!


March 28, 2005

One cool idea did make its way across the Atlantic. When we were in Paris a few years ago, we saw a lot of the Smart cars zipping around town. It turns out that DaimlerChrysler actually owns the brand.

DaimlerChrysler had no plans for bringing the car into the US...so Zap did it for them. Zap's timing couldn't have been better! With gas prices heading straight north, they have already exceeded their projections for the year. Just how small are these things? Maybe the photo below will give you an idea :-)


March 12, 2005

When Apple created the Mac mini, most of the car tuner crowd immediately saw its potential as the core of a "carputer" project. We at RainyDayGarage will have the Porsche Boxster Mac mini installation completed by mid-April. However, some folks have been busy at work since February and their installations are starting to see the light of day!

Matt Turner at TurnerTricks had one of the nicest installation we've seen so far. This installation is in a GTi. The screen is a 7" Xenarc. The bezel is custom made out of aluminum. Matt has also added some other nice touches to the project (power button, USB controls, etc...). Go check out this and his other projects!


March 8, 2005

The MFA in Boston is currently running an exhibit of Mr. Ralph Lauren's collection of roadsters. In the collection are Bentleys, Bugattis, Jags, Ferraris, and Porsches. They span the period from the '30s to the '60s.

If you have a love for Art Deco, fine automobiles, or things owned by Ralph Lauren... get yourselves over to the MFA before July 3rd. If you are interested in seeing the cars with the hood up... get your tickets for April 28, May 26, and June 30, from 5 to 9:45 pm (timed exhibition tickets required). To purchase exhibition tickets for these time slots, click here.


January 25, 2005

After a few days of digging, we finally extricated ourselves out of the drift. We took the Pathfinder out for a quick spin to see how things were around town. It was a good thing we had a 4x4.

Most of the major roads in Boston have been cleared, but a lot of the side streets are still pretty congested...there just aren't any place to put the snow! We drove around for a while and ended up at Trader Joe's. We decided it was probably a good idea to stock up on some staples.


January 20, 2005

The new Porsche Boxster (987) will arrive in Porsche showrooms in the next few days. You can get a video tour of the car now if you can't wait :-) In typical Porsche style, the changes are evolutionary. Those familiar with the 986 will immediately notice changes in the cockpit, lights, the front grill, and the fenders. There are more horsepower (240-280) squeezed from the flat six. To rein in all that power, the Ceramic Composite Brakes are an option for the new 2005 Boxster.


January 19, 2005

At RainyDayGarage, there is a write-up of a PVC based rear speaker project for the Porsche Boxster. The basic design should work for most car audio installations.


January 14, 2005

I'm not sure my 16 year old Nissan Pathfinder is up to the task of these neck snapping weather changes! Maybe I'll have to upgrade to one of these new Jeep Hurricane if they ever come off the line from Chrysler.

Look carefully at the left picture. This thing CAN actually turn on a dime! The Jeep Hurricane will also have 2 Hemi V-8 (front and rear) giving it a total of 670 horsepower (0-60 in less than 5 sec!).

I think we might have to make it the "Official Vehicle of Rainy Day Magazine"... hey, doesn't that mean now they'll have to give one to us for free? No? How about just a really long "test drive"?


RainyDayGarage 2008

RainyDayGarage 2007

RainyDayGarage 2006

RainyDayGarage 2005





Garage GEAR*
Garage TRIPS*

Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment© 2009