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"We Entertain When It Rains"  



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Dec 13,2007(FirstSnow)

Today Boston got its first snow storm of the season.  We took the Boxster to work today thinking we would leave at the first sign of snow.  However, by the time we were going to take off, the roads were already gridlocked.  So we decide to wait it out until the plows had time to do their thing.  The weatherman called it perfectly. The storm started around 2PM, dumped about 10" in a few hours, and was done around 9PM.

The one thing we wasn't sure about was how the Blizzak snow tires on the Boxster would perform in such deep snow.  I don't recall what we paid for them, but they were worth EVERY penny.

The 7 mile commute home took 2 hours... mostly because we had to navigate around stuck SUVs, front wheel drive sedans spinning their tires, and other less well equipped vehicles abandoned on the side of the street.  Clearly, not everyone had Blizzaks on their car.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Update: After a few days break, we got another 8" of the white stuff.  At least this time it was on a Sunday.  There should be a nice blanket of snow on the Boxster after it is all done. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Nov 11,2007(WeekendEdition)

We mentioned a while back in RainyDayGarage that we got some TireTotes and thought we would give them a try when it came time to swap out the Summer tires for the Winter ones.  With the temperature dropping to the 30s at night, this was the weekend to make the switch.

The usual ritual with getting the Boxster ready for Winter is: change the tires, put on the hardtop, do some routine maintenance.  Moving the tires around can be a bit messy, especially if they are covered in brake dust.  This is where the TireTotes really come in handy.

Each package contains two totes.  The TireTote is made from heavy-duty materials (600 Denier Polyester, 70 Denier Nylon) and will fit tires from 22" to 31".  When they need cleaning, just toss them into the washing machine.

Using the TireTote is simple.  The cover unrolls as a strip, which makes it a breeze to wrap around the tire.  The elastic is self-adjusting and the velcro secures everything for a perfect fit.

The velcro attaches at two points: center, side.  This allows the TireTote to fit snugly around the entire tire.  Built into each TireTote is a heavy duty handle.  With the velcro strips secured, the tire is easily carried using the strap.

We didn't have any expectations of the TireTotes when they first showed up, but after seeing how well constructed they are and how easy they are to use, we are sold on this product.  We also like that the covers protect the wheels from each other when stacked for storage.  If you change tires every Summer/Winter or carry a spare inside the SUV, consider getting some TireTotes to make moving and storing tires a hassle free task. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 29-30,2007

We had a quick trip planned to NYC this weekend.  The trip is one we have done many times in the past, but we thought it would be a good FirstUse test of the basics of the Navigon GPS.

Programming the trip was straight forward.  The user interface was simple to figure out.  We have yet the need to crack the manual, but we will when we dive deeper into some of the non standard features (traffice news, Bluetooth dialing, etc...)

The display was bright and easily visible in the Boxster in daylight.  The voice prompts were clearly heard (with the top up).   We tested the "recalculation" function on the way out of Boston and it was very quick.  We plan on testing this function a lot more over the next few weeks.

The "Reality View" display is a pretty cool feature.  The Lane Advisor is also useful, especially on some of those "exit on the left" spots on the highway.

We have mentioned that this Navigon 7100 is a preproduction unit.  As such, it did not come with a mount for the windshield.  The device fitted nicely in front of the shifter, but had a tendency to slide around during turns.  Clearly a solution was needed for the ride back.

We came up with a quick and simple hack for holding the GPS unit in place for the return trip to Boston.  It involved a stop at Home Depot for some vinyl bumpers.  The hack worked great!  The unit did not slip once the entire trip back.

The Navigon 7100 GPS worked great on its first trip out.  We were especially impressed with its ability to lock onto satellites even when placed away from the windshield.  There are a lot more features (Traffic news, Voice Commands) to this GPS.  We'll walk you through all of the features and screens in the next segment.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 24,2007

A day before we left for Madrid a really cool gadget showed up at the office.  We have reviewed quite a few GPS units over the years.  While the devices have definitely improved in usability, they still were not able to inform the user of the "best" route to take to avoid real time traffic tie-ups.  The Navigon 7100 may just change all that.  It comes with subscription-free realtime traffic info!

The 7100 we are reviewing is a pre-production unit.  It has production release software and most of the accessories that will be in the retail version.  It is missing the documentation and the mount.

Like most touchscreen devices, there are not a lot of physical buttons.  There is power button and an integrated pointer on the side.  All other functions are controlled using the LCD screen.

The circular mount and the speaker are in the back of the unit.  The ports and slots (headset, USB, SD) are on the top and bottom.  There is an external GPS-antenna port on the back.  The 7100 is also Bluetooth enabled so you can use it to dial a cellphone.  Why would you want that? We'll show you in the FirstUse review.

We'll have a lot more screen shots in our FirstUse review, but we wanted to include one in this FirstLook to give you a look at the cool the 3D map view

We will be taking the Navigon with us when heading to NYC this weekend.  It will be interesting to see the real time traffic info and some of the other features (Reality View, Lane Assistance) in action!  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Sept 24,2007

A day before we left for Madrid a really cool gadget showed up at the office.  We have reviewed quite a few GPS units over the years.  While the devices have definitely improved in usability, they still were not able to inform the user of the "best" route to take to avoid real time traffic tie-ups.  The Navigon 7100 may just change all that.  It comes with subscription-free realtime traffic info!

The 7100 we are reviewing is a pre-production unit.  It has production release software and most of the accessories that will be in the retail version.  It is missing the documentation and the mount.

Like most touchscreen devices, there are not a lot of physical buttons.  There is power button and an integrated pointer on the side.  All other functions are controlled using the LCD screen.

The circular mount and the speaker are in the back of the unit.  The ports and slots (headset, USB, SD) are on the top and bottom.  There is an external GPS-antenna port on the back.  The 7100 is also Bluetooth enabled so you can use it to dial a cellphone.  Why would you want that? We'll show you in the FirstUse review.

We'll have a lot more screen shots in our FirstUse review, but we wanted to include one in this FirstLook to give you a look at the cool the 3D map view

We will be taking the Navigon with us when heading to NYC this weekend.  It will be interesting to see the real time traffic info and some of the other features (Reality View, Lane Assistance) in action!  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 21,2007

Yesterday we showed how simple it was to replace the rear brake light.  Today, we'll show the steps for replacing the bulbs in the center brake light array on the Boxster.  In order to get at the cover for the center lights, the lid for the convertible cover must be partially raised.

Once the lid is up, the cover for the center light array may be removed (2 philips screws).  The screws should not be entirely removed as there are rubber anchors at the tips.  Removing the screws entirely may cause them to fall inside the compartment.

Once the cover has been removed, the array may be detached by unclipping it from the electrical connector.  Getting at the bulbs turned out to be the most difficult part of this job. 

We thought the cover would slide off but we managed to break off most of the clips before getting the cover off.  The fit was REALLY tight. We don't think it will be a problem with water or dirt getting into the compartment.  We were so happy to get the cover off and replace the bulbs that we forgot to take photos!

Replacing the bulbs of center brake lights was just a little bit more difficult than the rear bulb.  For this task, you can be your own Porsche mechanic.  So save some money and do the replacement yourselves.  Sure we did break a few of the clips, but we don't think it will interfer with the operation of the lights.  Next time we do this will be faster as we won't have to worry about the clips :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 20,2007

The last time we had the Boxster inspected, it was noted that a few of the center brake lights were out.  We had planned on replacing the bulbs, but in order to access them we had to raise the lid of the convertible top, and it was Winter, and we had the hardtop on, and removing it would have been a hassle.

A few days ago, a guy on a motocycle pulled up next to us and told us that our left brake light was out.  That was just the reminder we needed to get going on the bulb replacement project.

As with all Boxster-related projects, our first step was to consult the "bible."   The Bentley Publishing manual's instructions looked simple, and we discovered that access to the light assembly was through the trunk.  No tools were needed for this portion of the job.

The light well was covered by some carpeting which was secured by a couple of plastic anchors.  The anchors were easily removed by a twist.  All of the bulbs in the rear were in a single assembly and were freed by pressing the white tab.

The right-most bulb (red arrow) was the brake light...press, twist, and pull to remove.  After replacing the burnt-out bulb, we had our Contributing Editor step on the brake to confirm that the bulb was working before putting everything back.

This repair took about 15 minutes and required no tools once we knew what we were doing.  Anyone can do this.  The instructions in the Bentley manual made the repair a lot easier and much quicker than trying to figure it out ourselves.  We highly recommend getting a copy and consulting it before getting your hands dirty.  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 17,2007

While surfing the Porsche Pete Boxster Board yesterday, we learned from SGinAZ that the story we posted back in Feb about a forgotten garage full of cars was indeed an urban legend.

Apparently, the garage is real, but the story of some guy accidentally finding it on his newly purchased property was entirely bogus.  Oh well, it was a nice cocktail party story while it lasted :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 13,2007

We went to Sears yesterday afternoon and checked out over a dozen different toolchests.  Most were on sale because of the tax-free weekend here in Massachusetts. The least expensive one was $89 on sale (orig. $129).  We didn't buy any because earlier on Sunday we found a toolchest on Craigslist, took a drive out to North Reading, and purchased it from Alastair for $50. 

We have never heard of the Popular Mechanics line, but it appeared to be constructed well enough that we didn't see much risk in spending the $50.  A quick Google search later showed Walmart had purchased the rights to use the PM name for a line of tools back in 1992.  Walmart has since discontinued that line.

The unit we purchased is in great condition.   It has a few dings here and there, but nothing that would interfere with its operation.  The drawers slide smoothly, the wheels roll well, and the baked red enamel finish cleaned up nicely with a quick wipe.

The top chest has a lid and four drawers. The bottom cabinet has two large drawers and a bulk storage area.  The glides extend out when fully pulled to better support the drawers.  Two of the wheels swivel and lock.

Both the top and bottom drawers can be secured using the locking bars.  The top bar slips through an opening and is secured when the lid is locked.  The bottom cabinet is locked by a longer bar which spans the front.

The unit is not professional grade: the thin sheet metal used for the drawers and sides will dent if you fling your tools at or into the tool chest.  However, it has sufficient storage space for the tools needed by the average home mechanic.  We definitely think this Popular Mechanics unit was a great purchase for the price :-) 

Even though Walmart does not sell this model anymore, a similar one may be had at Sears.   You may not be as lucky as us, but check your local Craigslist... you never know!   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Aug 12,2007

Many readers have asked us if we wouldn't mind doing a review or two on tool cabinets.  Since we like to sort and store our tools in portable cases, we had been putting it off.  Not because we weren't interested, but because we were too busy.  We were, however, intrigued by some of the links sent to us, especially by the really nice-looking stainless steel cabinets. 

Judging by the links we've received, there is a HUGE selection of tool cabinets out there.  The price range from $150 for basic sheet metal chest to over $2000 for a heavy gauge, brushed stainless steel unit with ball bearing glides. 

After some discussion, we decided it would be interesting to do a review series on tool cabinets.  We are going to look at four different price points ($50- $199, $200-499, $500-$999, $1000+), examine their features, and pick one which we think is the best value in its price range.  We will also pick THE one which we think the best value overall (price, feature, looks).  - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Aug 8,2007

Karla Comfort's 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. John M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division were all killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) last December in Fallujah Iraq.

This rolling memorial idea came about when she recalled that John loved Hummers.  All of the work (250 man hours, $25,000) was donated by Robert Powell and Airbrush Guy & Co. in Benton , Ark.

Go here to check out more photos of the vehicle and to read the entire story.- Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Aug 7,2007

Ever since the RainyDayGarage guys read about Tesla Motors, they have been busy working on an electric car conversion for the Porsche Boxster.  Of course, all of this has been on paper... the editors here may be a little slow, but they are not crazy. 

The guys don't get to touch the car until they can show that the conversion is going to work. In the meantime, RainyDayGarage gear is piling up while waiting to be reviewed. 

FirstLook reviews of the TireTote from Kurgo and the OBDKey from KBM Systems will be coming in August.  The TireTote FirstUse review will be done when we do our annual Summer/Winter tire swap.  The OBDKey FirstUse will be a bit sooner. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

Other RainyDayGarage tools waiting in the wing are a digital caliper and a 60 piece Tap and Die set.  Both are useful in task in and out of the garage.  We'll show you how later in the month. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

May 26,2007

Everyone is heading out on the road this Memorial Day Weekend.  Not everyone knows how to get to where they want to go.  The Harman Kardon Guide+Play GPS is one device which will help both get you there and entertain you once you are there (just in case you need a break from your girlfriend's family gathering of 100 aunts and cousins).

Videos and music may be loaded in the Guide+Play via the SD slot on the top of the unit.  The current limit is 4GB.  While it is not as much as the iPod, with 2GB card around $10, the limit is not a big deal.

The unit has a built-in speaker, but it is really for use with the GPS' voice guidance feature.  For the best sound quality when listening to musics or watching video, there is a headphone jack on the side.

A feature we have yet to try is the "night mode".  It is pretty cool looking in the day time and we are eager to see how well it actually works at night.  We expect there would be less glare thus less interference with night vision with the display inverted.  We'll see ...

The mount for the Guide+Play will let you easily position the unit in the most readable angle.  The suction mount will attach to most flat surfaces, but it works best on glass.

Folks here at the office have been using the Guide+Play for a month now. We have one more trip planned using the G+P before the FirstUse writeup scheduled for June. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

May 9,2007
Spring does not last long in the North East.  When the weather "wows us," we get out there and enjoy it.  80º temperature in May is perfect for convertibles ... warm enough to have the top down, but not too warm if you are moving.

This was a perfect opportunity to fire up the Harman Kardon Guide+Play GPS, punch in some coordinates, and follow it to a sandy destination.  

Some of you may recognize it as Crane Beach.  If you are sitting inside today reading this, consider dropping whatever you are doing, going outside and enjoying the day.  There will be plenty of time to work when the weather is crappy :-) - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)

May 3,2007

The convergence of functionality of all our electronic gadgets and devices are inevitable.  Apple added calendars, contacts, and games to the iPod music player several generations ago.  The upcoming iPhone will add communication capabilities to the wildly successful iPod line.

Harman Kardon is taking a similar direction new Guide+Play device.  They have combined three functions -- music, video, GPS -- of the most popular consumer devices into one unit.

Most of the GPS units on the market use a touchscreen interface.  The Guide+Play is no different.  The screen itself has an anti-glare coating.  The touch response is very crisp and quick. Contrast and brightness is excellent indoors.  We'll see how this unit performs when we use it in the Boxster with the top down :-)

Guide+Play's interface is simple and straightforward. Most of the preference settings are logically grouped, only a level or two deep, and can be quickly accessed without much hunting around.  We managed to program a route without cracking the manual.

We have not played extensively with music and video capabilities of the Guide+Play, but they seem quite well designed on our first pass look.  There is a built in speaker, but the audio quality is obviously much better with headphones.

We will continue the FirstLook review of the Harman Kardon Guide+Play over the course of the month.  In the next installment, we'll take a closer look at the various pieces included as part of the package, the device itself, and relay some of our thoughts on the unit after using it for awhile.   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


Apr 20,2007

A week ago we got a quick demo of the new portable GPS from Harman Kardon called the Guide+Play.  We received a unit in the mail yesterday. 

All the maps are preloaded in this portable GPS unit, and it is pretty much ready-to-go right out of the box.   The Guide+Play is different from other GPS devices we have looked at in the past.  Besides being a handheld GPS, it is also a portable media player.  It is capable of supporting most of the standard audio and video formats.

The Guide+Play is being charged now and the plan this weekend is to put the device through its paces.  It'll be interesting to see how this portable unit stacks up against some of the other ones we have tried in the past.  BTW...anyone know how many we've looked at over the years?   - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)


April 13,2007

RainyDayMagazine got a live look at Harman Kardon's second generation Drive+Play unit recently.  We came away impressed!   This second generation of the well-designed Gen 1 Drive+Play is setting the bar even higher for in-car iPod controllers in terms of features, ease of use, and ergonomics.

The DP2 has a large crisp color display.  The "brain" of the unit is much smaller.  The controller communicates with the system via Bluetooth.  These three features are reasons enough to upgrade.  We'll give you more reasons once we get our hands on a production unit and give it a thorough RainyDayMagazine once over.

Along with the Drive+Play 2, Harman Kardon is also now shipping their first portable GPS device called the Guide+Play.  We had a brief chance to play with the unit and found it light in weight, responsive, and with a bright crisp display.  Besides some cool GPS functions, the Guide+Play is also equiped with a variety of multimedia capabilities (music, movies, etc...)

We are looking forward to spending some time playing with these units when they are available.  Harman Kardon is one of the few companies, like Apple, that is paying attention to user experience in addition to esthetics and build-quality of its hardware.  We now have some great reasons to hit the road this Spring and Summer.  Someone has to test these new travel gadgets!!!  Ah...work, work, work :-) - Wan Chi Lau


March 29,2007

Folks here have been using the BlueAnt SuperTooth II since last Summer.  We thought it was time to do an InTheWild update. 

Even though none of the Bluetooth speakers we tested last year worked all that well with the Boxster's convertible top down, we liked the SuperTooth II the best out of all the options we tested for in-car use.

The Supertooth II is what we have in the Boxster today...especially since we have the hardtop on for the Winter. 

The unit turns on when mic is flipped out from the base.  It never had a problem establishing a connection to our cell phones.  The sound from the speaker is loud and clear.  Volume control is easy to grab and easy to adjust.

One of the "LOVE IT" feature of the SuperTooth II is its quick on/off magnetic attachment design. Two powerful magnets on the back of the unit securely mounts to the clip.  However, the unit may be removed for storage or transport with just a quick twist.  We didn't really appreciate this until we used it for a while.  Excellent!

The standby time is an incredible 800 hours.  We recharged this unit maybe twice all Winter...and only because we brought it into the office by accident and the charger was conveniently available.  Not because we had to!  If you are looking for a Bluetooth speakerphone that is easy to use and easy to hide, the BlueAnt SuperTooth II is easily the best choice.  - Wan Chi Lau

March 27,2007

We have been driving the Boxster Project car a lot for the past several months.  In getting things ready for Spring we decide to do a little working on the 1988 Nissan Pathfinder.  The great thing about working on a 20 year old truck is that there is always something to do on it.

This past weekend, we tried firing up the truck and found that the battery was dead...probably because no one had driven it since November.  We immediately thought it would be the perfect FirstUse test of the Solar Pro-Logix battery charger.  There is ALWAYS a silver lining to the clouds here at RainyDayMagazine :-)

The Pro-Logix charger was incredibly easy to set up.  Just plug it into an AC power socket, clamp the +/- terminals on the battery, and hit the power button.  The unit will perform an automated battery-voltage diagnostic sequence to determine the state of the battery.

If the truck's battery pass the test, the QuadPhase charging sequence will initiate.  Our battery was determined to be fine to charge and Phase 1 (energizing step) commenced.

A few seconds later, it switched from Phase 1 to Phase 2 (charging step) and the "charging" LED started to flash.  We left it charging for a few hours, but we had to disconnect it because it started to rain.  When we stopped the sequence was still on Phase 2.   However, we WERE able to start the truck.  Now...if you know what the other two phases of the QuadPhase Charging are, drop us an email with the subject line " Charge It Up".  The RainyDayGarage guys will find something fun to send to those who know.  Hurry...because this I'm sure we don't have a lot of whatever they decide to giveaway:-)

I'm sure we'll have plenty of chances to play with this Pro-Logix charger more soon.  As for our FirstUse impressions...they were highly favorable.  The charger was easy to setup, it self-configured, and it brought our completely dead battery back to life.  It did all that without us having to do much of anything ... that's pretty good! - Wan Chi Lau

March 15,2007

It was 70º in Boston yesterday.  The weather was so nice that we had no trouble convincing a few folks to help clean up the garden.  The RainyDayGarage guys, however, opted out.  Instead, they offered to install the Dual XDVD 8182 player in the Boxster.  The installation was going to be a Spring project, but since the weather was cooperating, who were we to say no?

In our other car installations (iPod, Drive + Play) we were connecting things to the OEM radio.  In this project, though, we are actually replacing the Boxster headunit.  The easiest way to do this is to use a harness to connect the new wiring to the Boxster's wiring.  This makes the entire project "plug and play"

Since the Dual unit is iPod compatible, we will remove the Drive + Play setup once everything is up and running.  We'll miss the cool controller, but the dash is getting too cluttered.

We ran into a little wiring issue, but a quick check with a multimeter cleared up the confusion. The documentation that came with harness had some of the wires reversed.  Once we had it straightened out, everything worked just fine.

A quick systems check confirmed that all the functions were operational.  At this point, we decided that a new DVD player deserves a brand new DVD for its FirstUse test. What better DVD than the just release "Casino Royale?"

Some readers will already know this from our "bench test", but most DVD units have built-in protection against movie-watching while driving.  The Dual XDVD 8182 is no different.  We surmise the logic behind this "technology" is that perhaps the driver should probably be watching the ROAD?  We agree, so we didn't by-pass the protection in our installation ;-) - Wan Chi Lau

March 9,2007

One of the main goal of installing a Mac Mini in our Boxster project car is to be able to use FrontRow to control all of our in-car entertainment functions.  The other is to be able to run a full featured GPS.  Try as we may, none of the GPS software available for the Mac measured up to the PC based CoPilot Live from ALK.  So we did the only thing we could, we decided to "switch" OS and install CoPilot on the Mac.

However, before we could do that, we had to upgrade our PowerPC based Mac mini to an Intel based one.  We also had to install Parallels Desktop so we could run Windows XP on top of OS X.

The installation of the Parallels software was incredibly simple.  The WindowsXP installation went without any problems as well.  The entire process was pretty much hands-off and took about 50 minutes for both installation.  We had a little problem getting the screen resolution set properly for the Virtual XP window, but once we got it figured out, it worked great. 

The next step is to see if we can get the CoPilot GPS module and software up and running on the virtualized WindowsXP environment.  We are hopeful :-) - Wan Chi Lau


February 28,2007

This story is one of those that sound like an urban legend... a guy purchased a piece of property, while wandering around on it one day came upon a building which had been locked.  When opened, discovers a huge collection of vintage autos of all makes, clearly neglected, but in reasonable conditons.  Apparently, this actually happened in Portugal!

We spotted a Porsche 356 in the collection.  It is not as famous as the Jame Dean's 550 Speedster, but it is right up there in the "wow" factor.  Clearly some restoration work will be needed.  We would be happy to take it on as a RainyDayProject :-)

Th first photo was sent to us by one of our RainyDayGarage readers.  There weren't much details in the email, but we love the first shot with the huge trove of cars.  One of our readers Andrew P poked around a bit on the net and came across what appeared to be a larger collection of images about this find.  Enjoy!


February 14,2007

Everyone knows Jay Leno is a car nut.  Now you can take a look inside Jay's garage and see all of the "toys" Jay has in his garage!

The RainyDayGarage guys all want to apply for jobs there... who wouldn't?


February 8,2007

Charging a battery is a fairly technical process.  Not all battery chargers are created equal.  When the RainyDayGarage folks went looking for a car battery charger, they headed to Clore Automotive, the same maker of JNC Air

A good battery charger should work for a range of batteries.  The Pro-Logix 12V Battery Chager is designed to work with:

  • Conventional lead-acid
  • Sealed lead-acid / AGM
  • Maintenance-free
  • Gel-cell
  • Deep-cycle

The first things we noticed about this charger were its size and weight were both much smaller and lighter than we had expected.  One reason is the technology the Pro-Logix charger is based on does not use the traditional transformer design to step down the 120V AC to 12V DC.  The RainyDayGarage guys will have more details on the Pro-Logix battery charger when they have had a chance to play with it some.


February 4,2007

Before the guys from the RainyDayGarage can sit down to watch the game, they had to get the Boxster up to spec for the annual inspection.  Fortunately, the only thing the Boxster needed were some new wiper blades and a new bulb for the license plate well.

A quick check of the Bentley Boxster manual showed this was going to be a quick and simple job.  Loosening a couple of screws (red arrows) gave access to the light assembly.

There is a rubber housing around the socket.  Peeling the rubber housing reveals the bulb.  A gentle pull and the burnt out bulb was out of the clamp. 

The replacement bulbs costed $3 from the local Lappen store.  Getting a new inspection sticker without any hassles...priceless.  The entire job took about 15 minutes... plenty of time for the pre-game show!


January 12,2007(FreeFallFriday)

Going over a guard rail would ruin anyone's day.  Some might see this and think...boy, what a crappy way to start the day.

Click on the image to get a better perspective of how much uglier this could have been.  Stepping back always helps in seeing the whole picture.  Drive safely and have a great weekend!


January 9,2007

A few months back, we had a brief preview of the Immix from Loggerhead Tools.  The Immix is a great little multi-function gadget and a nice complement to our standard pocket multi-tool.

The Immix is a smaller version of the LoggerHeadTool BionicGrip.  It has the same patented mechanism which allows the head to tighten around different size nuts and bolts.  The Immix now has the added ability to fasten screws (phillips, slotted, hex).  The various bits are cleverly attached to the inner part of the handle. 

The Gerber Multi-tool also has similar capbilities...just not as many size options as the Immix.  Each units came with a sturdy pouch made of cordura nylon with velcro closure and integrated belt loop. 

The Gerber multi-tool and the LoggerHead Immix both fit well in the hand.  They are bigger than typical pocket knifes, but are small and light enough to be looped on to the belt.  Still, we usually just toss them into the backpack.

In the next installment of this series, we'll take a look how the two tools compare on different everyday tasks.  Who knows, maybe you will also end up deciding that you need both :-)


December 23,2006

Still have some last minute shopping for that DIY guy on your list?  Need some suggestions on useful tools?  You should just get yourself over to the nearest Sears store and just wander around.

One of the newer product you may come across is the Craftsman 7-pc or 14-pc Hex Key Set.  This set with it T-handle is perfect for those tough job which requires just a little more torque.  Click on the images to get a closer look at the other features.

This new set will complement another set which we had picked a few years back.  The Husky set is compact and quite portable.  The keys may be inserted into the handle for when extra leverage is required.

Both sets are fine and will last a long time.  One thing about Craftsman tools is they carry a lifetime warranty against defects... something many other manufacturers do not offer.


November 26,2006

For those of you who have been asking how well the homemade Porsche wheel center crests held up after six months...  We didn't take any particular care of them over the Summer and Fall.  They were cleaned everytime we washed the car.  Other than that, we did nothing special to keep them in good shape. 

After six months of daily driving, brake dust, and Boston weather, we were quite impressed with how well these crests held up!  We purchased extra crests expecting that we would need to replace the current ones after a season, but we don't need 'em.  Even after six months of constant use, all the current crests needed was a quick rinse and they were as good as new. Not a bad Do-It-Yourself alternative to the OEM center crests :-)

Even though it was unseasonably warm this weekend, we thought better of going into December with Summer tires on the Boxster.  Summer tires do not perform well at all when temperature drops below 45º (they get "stiff"), and New England storms have a habit of dropping in unexpectedly this time of year.

After being in storage, we should have checked the tire pressure before mounting the Winter tires.  The first one we put on looked quite low on air once we dropped the jack.  A quick check with the JNC Air showed it had only about 15 psi of pressure.  The JNC had it pumped back up to 30 psi in only a few minutes. 

This was the first time we had a chance to use the air pump feature of the JNC Air.  The pump was easy to use and ran very quietly.  We continue to be impressed with the quality of this device.

If you want to read more about what else we did to get this Boxster ready for Winter, just click here or on any of the images.  The ironic thing was our mailman came by just as we were finishing up.  He commented on how nice the car looked and how great it must be to get in some more top-down days... since the forecast for Monday is suppose to be over 60º!


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