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November 20,2006

Is the image below that of a spiral galaxy or the gravity cloud representation of forces from an Aikido technique?  Not sure?  Well, Sensei Gleason always said Aikido is "Nature's movements".

Ikeda Sensei brought with him a few dvds on his visit to Shobu Aikido of Boston this past weekend.  Among them was this dvd called "Digital Experiments in Aikido". 

It is composed of a collection of digitized Aikido movements captured using 3D motion imaging technology.  It enabled researchers to reconstruct relatively accurate models of aikidoists in the practice of the art.  There are some deficiencies to the technology, but it is pretty amazing what they were able to capture.

The researchers employed many interesting methods (perspective rotation, ghosting, gravity clouds, etc...) in an attempt to visualize and analyze the various movements. 

Althought the purpose of the DVD is not intended to be an Aikido instruction video... we think many would find it both interesting and informative.  If you want your own copy... you can find it here.

Of course, as Ikeda Sensei and Gleason Sensei often reminds us, this is still just showing the "outside" or the form of a technique.  There is still so much more to the art from both the martial and internal perspectives not captured in this type of analysis.  Also, there is a big gap between understanding and doing :-) 

NOTE: Claire S. was the first one to comment that we have been off by a day in our "date label" since 11/6.  They have all now been "readjusted".  We were wondering how long before someone would say something :-)  It took exactly two weeks!  Claire's prize for noticing, telling us, and help end this strange little experiment is the HighGear Enduro... which will not only keep great time, but have a built-in digital compass will help get you home.  Congrats! 

BTW...there are other "non obvious" contests going on all the time on RainyDayMagazine.  You just have to be a little "off" like us to find them :-)


November 19,2006

This weekend Shobu Aikido of Boston had the pleasure of hosting Ikeda Sensei for the Fall Gasshuku.  The seminar was very well attended and there were a lot of positive enery on the mat all weekend long.

In addition to the pleasure of receiving instructions from Ikeda Sensei, gasshuku time is also when students who have achieved ranks of brown or black belts test for the next rank.  There were quite a few higher level black belt tests this weekend, so it was especially thrilling for all who were able to attend.  Congratulations to all of the students who tested and advanced.


October 11,2006 (WowUsWednesday)

After three days of using the Kata Ergo-Tech, we all agreed that this is a well thought out and versatile day pack for today's gadget- loving traveler. 

While the outside of the pack is made of a stiffer shape-holding material, the inside is fully lined with a felt-like layer.  This allows velcro to stick to it easily and is gentle to the shiny surface of some of today's digital gear. Note the special pockets for flash chip storage and strap for securing the camera.

The pockets on the shoulder straps are made of an elastic material.  It will conform to the shape of the intended device (phone, ipod).  Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to get the phone out of the pocket quickly...obviously not an issue if you have a Bluetooth headset :-)



October 10,2006

Yesterday we gave you a look at the outside of Ergo-Tech.  Today we are going to examine the sectional design of the Ergo-Tech.  The main compartment of the Ergo-Tech pack are composed of two spacious sections. The top portion has enough room for a lot of different gear (notebook, water bottle, snacks etc..)  There are also pockets for pens and other loose bits. 

The bottom portion has a removable zippered bag, perfect for cables and things of that nature.  It also has a few other special purpose pockets.  Click on the images to get a closer look.

The largest pocket in the Kata Ergo-Tech runs the entire length of the back.  This pocket is for carrying a laptop.  The zipper runs the entire length of the compartment, making insertion and removal of the laptop easy.

Carolyn took the Ergo-Tech out for a hike (no laptop on this trip) when we were up in Maine.  We'll have more comments on the this pack when we let a few more of our staff have a go at it.


October 9,2006

It would not be a RainyDayMagazine weekend if we did not bring some gear with us to check out!  The main piece of gear we brought was a brand new ErgoTech pack from Kata.  Some readers may remember that we had introduced this pack in mid-September.

The ErgoTech is the first general-purpose pack from Kata.  This pack is very different from others we have used.  First, the shape of the pack conforms extremely well the the body. 

Next, it is well padded, retains its form even when empty, and has tons of special pockets for all kinds of gear.  These dedicated pockets are "stretchy" and will hold the device securely during the most vigorous of activities.  Tomorrow we'll give you a look at the insides of this innovative pack.



September 16,2006

No messing around today...we are going right to the RainyDay Puzzler to start off the weekend.  This great-looking backpack is a new product from a company well known to professional photographers and videographers.  The same company has been achieving strong brand recognition in the consumer space these past few years.  They have just introduced a new line targeted directly at the average everyday backpack user.

So WHAT is the name of is this company?  If you know or think you know...send us email with the subject line "The Shape of Things to Come." In the email include a URL to the company's new line.  We'll use our usual random and haphazard process to select a winner next Saturday.  Yes, you have a whole week to figure this one out :-)

Here is a big hint...we have reviewed gear from this company before. No guarantees, but we'll see what we can do about wrapping one of their new packs or bags around your gear if you are the lucky, lucky winner.


September 13,2006

WOW!  We didn't think so many of our readers were divers!  Some of us were skeptical on how many answers we would get to yesterday's puzzler, but once again...you have proved us wrong :-)  YES...the mystery mask is the revolutionary Mega 4.5DD from HydroOptix.

The Mega 4.5DD double dome mask came with some very interesting accessories (hard-shell case, monocle, CoverLens, stowing plate).  We'll have a complete rundown on the various pieces when we do our FirstLook review.  The pieces are shown here just because the emails we got were are so excited about seeing more of this piece of gear :-)

Our diver/underwater reviewer (Andy Martinez) is currently on a dive in Indonesia.  Andy will be back in 3 weeks and will be taking this puppy out for its FirstUse.  In the meantime, we are going to take it to the local pool and see what we can see!  Feel free to click on the images to get a closer view.


September 12,2006

For those of you who wanted to take your nano underwater, the waterproof case from H20 Audio is what you'll need.   If you want to see 5X more underwater, than you'll need a revolutionary mask :-)

Some of you may know what that is, if you do then you should send us a link to the product from the manufacturer's site.  Put "I can see 5X more underwater" in the email's subject line.  We'll pick a winner next week and send the winner something that won't mind getting wet :-)


August 10,2006

When we first saw the Firefly, we thought it was a cool idea.  Now that we have had a few days to play with it, we think it is a brilliant idea.  The Firefly will fit over any wide-mouth container and turn it into a lantern.  The brightness level is adjustable by holding down the On/Off button. The amount of light given off is surprising considering the size of the LEDs in the cap. 

The cap is a self contained unit (batteries, LEDs, switch, tether) and is very portable.  It's powered by 3 AAA batteries sealed in the cap.  The tether loops around the opening of the container and is secured by clamp. 

The one drawback is a hex key is needed to make any adjustments.  Since a key is needed, it also would have been more convenient if the screws (Philips) on the lid used the same key for fastening.

Click on the videos below to see the Firefly in action.  Note the change in brightness as we cycle through the different settings.


The only other improvement we would ask for is if they could figure out a way for us to access the water without having to unscrew the cap...so we would finally stop knocking over our glass of water at night :-)  Go check out the details of the Firefly here.


August 9,2006

Now that RainyDayMagazine is almost two years old, we have finally put in enough time with the gear to file some extended use updates to our reviews.  Starting this month, every Wednesday we'll update a past review with an "InTheWild" report. 

Last June we reviewed a pair of Keen Taos on RainyDayMagazine.  We have received a ton of emails asking when we would do an update on how they held up.  It has been 14 months since we first put on those Keens.  We must have put at least 500 miles on them by now.

The Taos held up extremely well to all kinds of abuses (city hiking, trails, snow, etc...).  We also put them through the wash (image below) to see how clean we can get them after a year. 

Considering the amount of use these shoes have seen, we think they held up extremely well!  We have no reservations in recommending these Keen Taos to those interested in a pair of durable and versatile footwear. Go here to check out the full InTheWild update.

BTW, Trevor, the mystery item from yesterday was not just a Nalgene bottle (that would have been way too easy), but a FireFly by Guyot Designs...as hinted at by the clue

Seth M from Utah did pick up on it and was the first out of over 700 emails with the correct answer...thus, is the winner.  Seth, we are working on getting a FireFly for you! If we can't, I'm sure Eliot can find you something fun.


July 7,2006

The FIRST reader to tell us what this is will get a little something in the mail.  Send your best guess to us with the subject line "I know, I know."   We will have more once a reader has correctly identified the item.

OK...Chrisjl33 correctly identified it as a LED flashlight.  Chrisjl33 will get this for the effort.  Can anyone be more specific?  We'll give out something iPod related if you can.  Send it with the subject line "I know more."

John C., of Brookline MA, did know more and correctly identified ONE of the item as a FL6.  John will be getting this for his iPod. However, that's old news.  Tell us something new about it :-)  If you do, we'll send you something for your Motorola RAZRSend it with the subject line "I know something NEW ."

The last prize goes to Chad M for the info on the FL6-2006: "New grip design.  It is shorter and cross drilled.  Submersible to 50ft, and there are new colors!"

The LumaRay LED Flashlight (FL6-2006) has been upgraded both externally and internally.  Some of the changes are obvious, others are not.  The LEDs are brighter (700 mcd vs 350k mcd), more waterproof (50' vs 10'), and smaller.

The LumaRay LED flashlight now comes in four great colors (Black, White, Yellow, Gunmetal).  We'll have our FirstLook soon.  The FL6-2006 should be available in a few weeks.  If you want one, put in your orders early...they tend to sell out very quickly!!!

Here is something from MAKE that just got us all excited...an underwater DVCam housing made from PVC pipes. 

Most readers know about our affinity for PVC pipe projects.  This project from Bobby_M is perfect one for the Summer.  The interns will be Home Depot bound shortly.


July 26,2006

We are sure this high-fashion body armor works as advertised, but the incentives would have to be REALLY good to convince us to test one out :-)

Caballero's line of "fashionable" body armor is pretty impressive.  Gone is the bulky look of the kevlar protective gear.  The special materials used weigh in at just 2.6 pounds compared to the 11 pounds of kevlar needed to offer the same protection!  Just be sure you grab the right jacket when going out the door...you don't want to find out the hard way that you've grabbed the wrong one.

There have been many different records set for crossing the English Channel.  Rinspeed just did it today with a bit more flair...in an experimental amphibious vehicle appropriately called the "Splash".  Check out the complete story here on the Rinspeed site!

Quite a few of you have been asking when you will get a closer look at the Lumaray FL6 2006.  Well, your wait is over!  We have been playing with this cool flashlight for a week and we love it.

The FL6 2006 is a refinement on the original. The basics are the same, but now the FL6 2006 puts out more light, it is easier to grip, and is even more water resistant than before.  Go check out the update here.

Also, based on reader requests, we have linked full size images with most of the pics in the review so you can get a much closer look!  BTW, there is a rumor that Eliot had hidden a secret messages somewhere in one of the large pics...we are not sure, but he is tricky that way.

UPDATE: Steve E. from Syracuse found the secret message.  Steve will be getting a little something from Eliot's pile of contest goodies.


July 25,2006

Boston has a professional tennis team? YES!!!  They are called the Boston Lobsters. Oh, one of the players for the Boston Lobsters is Martina Navratilova.  RainyDayMagazine was at the Bright Arena last night making noise and watching the Lobsters win their final home match of the season.

TeamTennis is fast pace, entertaining, and exciting right up to the end.  To get a sense of the action, click on the any of the clips (Ace, Action, Winner) from last night's match.


WTT events are very family oriented.  There are pre-match activities and post match autograph signing...and yes, that is Bud Collins getting some lobster at last night's event.

The venue is intimate and every seat in the house is in the middle of the action.  During the match, kids can run around the arena chasing after out of bound tennis balls...can't do THAT at Wimbledon.

We had a wonderful time at our first WTT event.  If you love tennis and want to see players such as Navratilova, Agassi, and Kournikova up close and personal, then get your 2007 seasons tickets now.  We will definitely be adding Boston Lobster coverage to RainyDaySports for next season!

Haven't played tennis in a while?  Thinking of getting back into the sport? CardioTennis may be just the thing to get the swing and the body into shape.

Kathleen, one of our RainyDaySports reviewer, will be giving this workout a try soon.  If you can't wait that long or are tired of just running in place at the gym, go check out this new aerobic workout.  CardioTennis locations are springing up all over the US. 


June 21,2006

Like the Mion website states... these are "performance footwear for a water planet".  As such, these shoes are designed (open-slot shell, threaded lacing, and super gripping sole) to work well in the water. 

These Mion Current sandals are like nothing else on the market.  The look is both high tech and highly organic... a cross between a robotic hand and something spongy.  Totally wild.

With the word "Rain" in the name of our magazine, you know we would be interested with products such as these from OtterBox!

We usually pack our gear in clear plastic baggies.  To insure good protection, we usually double-bag it.  This has worked pretty well, but it does make it somewhat cumbersome.  When we came upon this clear series of crush resistant water-tight boxes, we were eager to give them the once over.

BTW... the first reader to correctly identify all of the items in the big case will get something chosen by our guess editor Eliot.  We'll post the list when the prize has been won or at the end of the Summer... whichever comes first.   If you don't see the list, there are still more stuff to be found.  The usual haphazard lists of rules applies.  Send your ONE entry with the subject line "I'm OTTER here Puzzler " when you think you've got them all.  "Huge" clues may appear and disappear at various times over the Summer.

Today is the official start of Summer.  We expect a sunny 80º day here in Boston.  When the heat is on, it is very important to stay hydrated.  Nalgene is the first name which come to our minds when we think "containers".

The Nalgene OTG bottle is slim and will fit in most openings (car cup holders, bike water bottle cage, etc...) and carriers (hip packs, backpacks, etc...)  Opening of the cap is a one handed operation.  The cap can easily flipped back with a press by the thumb. 

Sometimes we like our hands free but the water still close at hand.  The Nalgene Swift Hydration Pak is perfect for those times.

It's mainly geared toward cyclists, much liked the CamelBak Lobo.  There are some difference (magnetic valve clip, insulated container compartment, etc...) when compared to the Lobo.

The magnetic catch is a nice usability addition as it make stowing the drinking tube a simple one-handed operation.  The most notable is the clear water level window for checking how much liquid remains.

The storage compartment of the Nalgene Swift is large enough for some small items (notepad, map, IDs, keys, etc...).   Larger items such as a jacket may be tied to the cord on the outside of the pack.

As with other products inspired by ones already on the market, the Nalgene took what works and made evolutionary improvements to make it even better.  The Swift's additions appeared to be a well conceived and should make the pack a great piece of gear to have on the road. 


June 18,2006

This weekend's outing was a Sunday hike in to the outdoor garden of one of Boston's more famous buildings, the Prudential Tower. 

The outdoor garden was installed a few years ago to replace the long-defunct skating rink.  The rink, which was built at the same time as the Pru, ceased operations almost immediately, because the builders situated the skating rink such that the reflection from the windows of Boston's first true skyscraper constantly melted the ice. Something about a southern exposure...

After a morning of walking around, we are happy to report that the Nalgene Swift and Tom Bihn Buzz packs were just the right size for UrbanHiking. 

The Julbo Dolgan sunglasses looked like they were designed for expeditions to mountain summits.  However, their wrap-around features were also perfect for hiking around the city.   We didn't have time to take the ride to the top of the Prudential Tower.  Next time we'll head to the Top Of The Hub for a look around.  We hear the restaurant is pretty good :-)


June 3,2006

SummerStuffPuzzler Update: As a few hundred readers discovered, clicking on the image of the Summer Gear will bring up a huge version where all of the items can be clearly identified.  Most of the entries had correctly identified between 10 to 13 items.  Nobody got all 16 items correctly. 

Congratulations goes to Howard Stone for naming the most: 15.  Howard... please select the OtterBox which most fits your needs and we'll get it out to you after our FirstLook and FirstUse reviews.


June 2,2006

UrbanHikes are something we have been promoting this Spring.  It lets us forget about the stress of paying high gas prices just so we could get outside of the city and hike around.  The idea is to hike the city as we would out in the woods.  Sometimes we would take along a GPS, other times just a compass.  It is a chances for us to hone our navigation skills without straying too far from an espresso machine.

We were looking for a multi-purpose navigation device which is as comfortable at the office as well as out in the wild.  We think the Enduro has what it takes to survive in both jungles.  Go check out our FirstLook here.

The importance of proper breathing is not new.  Most martial arts stress the importance of proper breathing in order to generate power.  Other arts like Tai Chi, yoga, and meditation use controlled breathing as a means to calm the mind, focus the body, and release stress.

Most people know "how" to breathe, but interestingly many do not know "when" to breathe for optimal mind/body control.  Helicor has created a device called the StressEraser.  Its purpose is to show the user when it is the best time to breathe for optimal relaxation.

A few of our guests had a chance to play with the StressEraser at the FirstGrill event.  Most of them found the device interesting, but realized they couldn't really evaluate it properly during a party.

The ability to relax is a learned skill.  The StressEraser cannot MAKE you relax.  To paraphrase Morpheus, this device can only show you "door" to relaxation, it is you who must go "through" it.  Take a look (FirstLook, FirstUse) at our StressEraser reviews and decide for yourself if this is something which will help you get into that TGIF mode anytime when you really need it.


May 20,2006

Some of us had a previous life in the world of biotech so the name Nalgene was quite familiar to us.  When we started seeing the same name pop up in the outdoors and fitness magazines, we weren't surprised. Their expertise in strong polycarbonate containers was a natural fit.  We are happy to report that Nalgene has decided to extend their product line into other areas of outdoors related hydration.

This new product is called "Swift" and it's geared toward cyclist, much liked the CamelBak Lobo.  There are some difference (magnetic valve clip, insulated container compartment, etc...).  The most notable is the clear water level window (red arrow) for checking how much liquid remains.  We'll have a FirstLook in June and more on it over the Summer.

Michael Chang and Adrian Quan both correctly identified the shoes as the Mion Current.  Michael's email was time stamped first, so we'll be sending Michael something from our Nalgene collection.

There is still a chance to win...the other product is still unidentified.  Here is another clue ....the mystery gadget in action:

We have been waiting for the Mions for about six months! The Mion Current is like nothing we have ever seen before.  However, we do know a little something about its heritage. 

We reviewed another shoe by it's designer (Martin Keen) a while back.  While Keen has moved on to Mion, his style and approach is unmistakeable. We'll have more on these shoes soon!


May 9,2006

Brunton's motto is "Get Out There" and they mean it.  They make a wide variety of high-end adventure gear (optics, GPS, stoves, power packs) specifically designed to enable folks like us to get out, enjoy ourselves, and make it back to tell you, our readers, about it.

When we are "out there," sometimes we like to get a little closer to things of interest...when we can't get there physically, we can now still get there virtually by using a pair of these Brunton Echo binoculars.

If you do a lot of weekend trips, this Aeronaut from Tom Bihn will be perfect for you.  If you want something that will let you pack quickly and go with you onto the plane, this bag will be perfect for you.  If you can't make up your mind as to what kind of bag you need, this bag will be perfect for you.  If you.... get the idea???

What's really great about this bag is not any of those things in particular.  This bag is great because this will be the bag you will use most often.  What's the point of owning a great piece of gear if it just sits in the closet? Go check out our FirstLook to see why you should order an Aeronaut for all your upcoming Summer travels.


May 6,2006

A few of the interns will be out trekking the Emerald Necklace and testing some gear as part of the extended SpringOuting.  Here are some recent additions to the gear list...a rugged wrist worn digital compass and chronograph called the Enduro from HighGear.

The other cool piece of gear we'll be testing is The Buzz from Tom Bihn.  If you haven't realized it by now, we LOVE the gear from these guys.  They design all their bags based on function and manage to deliver them as high quality products in innovative forms.


May 2,2006

We took a lot of gear with us on the RainyDayMagazine Spring Outing this weekend..  Some (BeyondFleece, Julbo, Brunton Echo) of the gear are new and some (Kata, Technica, Keen) we have used before.  

Even though the weather was sunny, the morning temperature was still in the low 50s.  The BeyondFleece jacket was perfect for hiking the Freedom Trail.  The light weight material used did not weigh us down. We really appreciated the windproof outer shell on the bridge.  For a closer look at the details of this jacket, check out our FirstLook review here.

We have had experience with both the Technica and Keen shoes on past outings.  Although most of paths were paved, quite a bit of downtown is still a mess due to the Big Dig.  So we chose footwear for this outing which were already broken in.  Both were light yet supportive...just right for hiking with day trips. 

Many travelers only think to bring a pair of binoculars with them when they head out to the country.  However, hiking in the city is a perfect opportunity to use this piece of gear.  There are a lot of historic sites to visit and a lot to see in a city such as Boston.  Many have details (weather vanes on top of steeples, building facade, etc...) which are only accessible with a pair of good binoculars.

The Brunton ECHO binoculars brought them in for us up-close and personal.  If you do decide to hike around your city, this is one piece of gear that is almost as important as the camera.

Both the Technica boots and Keen shoes were right at home in such an environment.  We didn't bring the CamelBaks, but chose to take the Nalgene OTG bottles instead.  For eye protection we decided to go with the Julbo Dolgan sunglasses.  To track our energy usage, we hooked on a couple of BioTrainers.  We found that one of them must be malfunctioning because one of us expended 1400 calories while another had used just 77 :-)

For carrying our GPS, digital camera, cell phone, and misc items we went with the Kata S-312 sling bag.  We have been using this bag more and more because of its size and ease of use.  The bag hangs at just the right level for easy access to the digital camera, yet provide superior protection due to the heavy front padding.

The Julbo Dolgan sunglasses were a last minute addition to the gear list.  It turned out to be an excellent decision.  The wrap-around protection was perfect for walking past the sometimes dusty BigDig construction sites still dotting downtown Boston.


May 1,2006

The weather this weekend in Boston was perfect. We had a great time being tourists in our own city:-)  Our stay at the Onyx Hotel was FABULOUS.  Everyone was knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful.  They knew all about the area, its history, and more importantly...the best local bar for a pint.

We met many of the staff over the weekend... including the hotel's friendly four months old puppy Daisy.  The Onyx is a pet friendly hotel.  The folks at the Onyx will take great care of you as well as your pet.  Go here for a closer RainyDayMagazine look at the Onyx Hotel.

Hiking around the North End and the surrounding area was a lot more scenic now that the highway is gone.  The view looking back toward downtown Boston is completely different...so bright, sunny, and open!

So much have changed in the North End since the highway which cut it it off from downtown had been dismantled. We've posted a few write-ups now that we had time to unpack.

Speaking of unpacking...we took the Tom Bihn's new Aeronaut bag with us to test for the weekend.  This bag has got to be one of the most versatile weekender we have ever used. 

We are not sure exactly how to categorize this bag.  Is it a duffle? A backpack? Or a soft suitcase?  We'll have a full review of this bag soon.  In the meantime, if you want more info, head to the Tom Bihn site here.


April 28,2006

Everybody here is busy getting ready for our SpringOuting.  In our planning meeting we realized that because it was local, we had planned WAY too many activities for this outing and it would be impossible to get it all done in one weekend.  So we have decided to break up the SpringOuting into two weekends... these interns here at RainyDayMagazine have it SO tough :-)

Our home base for the SpringOuting will be the fabulous Onyx Hotel in Boston.  The Onyx is one of Boston's newly renovated luxury boutique hotels.  We chose the Onyx for its "in the middle of everything" location.

This weekend the "urban hikes" will be around the city of Boston (Freedom Trail, North End, etc...).  Next weekend the hikes will be around Boston's Emerald Necklace.

As with the WinterOuting, we have assembled a fantastic collection of gear which we'll put to the test over the next two weekends.

The gear for the 2006 SpringOuting are from the following vendors:

Even though it is the end of April, the weather here in Boston is still pretty chilly.  Normally, we would be wearing a jacket made with PolarTec or some other kind of fleece.  For this trip, we'll be trying a piece of gear from a small company called BeyondFleece.  You can't buy their jackets at your local EMS or CitySports.  They can only be ordered via the BeyondFleece website.

What you get is a custom-fitted jacket with exactly the options you want.  We have had this jacket for a few weeks and most of us have worn it around for various hops out of the office.  We have been EXTREMELY impressed with both the fit and the tailoring of this piece of gear! 

We'll be using the BioTrainer to track our energy expenditure during this outing.  Our goal is to start collecting data using this device to see if what we are calling "urban hiking" is as much of a workout as "real" hiking we do out in the country.

To transport all of our gear, we got some AMAZING bags from Tom Bihn.  The folks at Tom Bihn make some of the highest quality soft bags we have ever had the pleasure to use.  The designs are all unique to them.  They are functional, well engineered, AND great looking.

The weather this weekend in Boston is supposed to be in the high 50's but sunny.  To cut down on all the glare and reflection from Boston's skyscrapers, we'll be sporting mountaineering sunglasses from Julbo.  For those in the know, Julbos are the ones to have when venturing out...whether it is to the top of a mountain or Top Of the Hub.

When we went on the WinterOuting, we brought along the Magellan GPS to help us in the backcountry.  For navigating the streets of Boston, we will be loading the Magellan DirectRoute Street Maps on to our eXplorist 500.

To get everyone back to the hotel bar at the same time, we'll be taking along the Motorola RAZR.  It would also be a good opportunity to test out the cellular coverage of both Verizon and T-Mobile.

For the sights that are too distant from the hotel, we'll be bringing them closer with the Brunton ECHO field binoculars.  We'll probably get more use out of them next weekend on the Emerald Necklace hike for bird sightings, but we are going to bring them with us just in case...for celebrity sightings.


April 18, 2006

Yesterday we told you we got the H2OAudio waterproof iPod nano case.  Some staff members here were eagerly awaiting its arrival, and spent the rest of the day playing with it once Santa Bob dropped it off.

We gave the H2OAudio housing a complete once over.  We also took a video of the case taking its first dip.  The H2OAudio iPod case is a rock solid piece of gear.  We are looking forward to taking it out and testing it under(water) more rigorous conditions.

A few weeks ago we got a really cool prototype backpack from Soldius.  We took the pack with us to NYC, and used it to haul stuff around at the NY International Auto Show.

Even though we've already used it, we will post a FirstLook report before we post our FirstUse impressions of this pack later on in the week :-)

If you can tell us where this shot was taken, we'll send you something fun from the New York International Auto Show! 

OK...stop sending us emails asking for more clues :-)  Here is another pic taken at the same spot.  If you can't figure it out, we can't help ya...because that's all the images we have.   All right, a final clue...it's somewhere in NYC!

Apparently, the "Treasured Maps" clue was all John Kim needed to figure out the image above was indeed taken at Bryant Park/NY Public Library!

Mr. Kim will get our copy of the 2006 NY International Auto Show Porsche Press Kit.  This kit has a color booklet and over 150 high rez press images of all 2006 Porsche cars...including the $450,000 Carrera GT.  If John ends up buying one because of us, we'll want a ride!  We'll keep asking questions until we run out of media kits :-)


April 17, 2006

Today is Patriot's Day here in New England.  It is also the day of the annual Boston Marathon. 

The weather is a cool 53 and cloudy... perfect for running the 26 miles from Hopkinton to the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston.  You can track the results here.

When we got back to the office yesterday, there were a few interesting items on our desk.  Some we had been looking forward to for months!  One such item was the waterproof housing for the iPod nano from h2OAudio.

The H2OAudio nano case came just in time for us to test it out for windsurfing use!  All we have to do now is finish waterproofing our NeurosCAM and we'll be all set for the summer!


April 11, 2006

The first item on the list is a prototype solar cell equiped backpack from Soldius.  Soldius is best known for their Soldius 1 solar cell charger for the iPod. 

The SolarBackpack is one of their new series of solar cell integrated products scheduled to be released later in the year.  The folks here love the idea of being able to top off the batteries of their digital gear while walking around town.  They'll see how well it works while strolling around NYC.  We've also asked them to go check out the new Apple Store that is being constucted in midtown.


April 7, 2006

Getting on a weight scale is intimidating enough for a lot of people.  Some don't WANT to know their "% body fat".  Others would rather step on a rattlesnake then on a "talking scale". 

We did manage to find a few brave souls who were willing to step up and on these fine machines (WeightWatchers WW71, Phoenix TBF440, Soehnle Rio) to show that "it is just a number" and knowing your "% body fat" is the first step to a better and healthier body. 

We'll have more to say about the "% body fat", BMI, and other calculations from these scales soon. 

Most of us don't get enough water in a typical day.  However, it is even more important to stay properly hydrated when exercising.  One way to make sure we drink enough water is to carry it around with us.  A good way to do that is to get a quality water bottle.

Nalgene, long known for it high quality laboratory containers, has been expanding its product lines to serve the outdoor and fitness market.  In our upcoming SpringOuting, we'll be taking some of these with us on our Boston City Hike.  We'll report back on them at the end of April.

Two weeks have passed since we flipped the switch and started the AeroGarden.  The progress has exceeded our expectations! 

The RainyDayKitchen folks have started naming the individual pods.  I hope it won't be an issue come harvest time!  I think there is even a pool going as to which pod will grow the fastest.


April 6, 2006 (MusicTechThursday)

Carbon fiber is amazing stuff.  It is stiffer than steel, really light weight, and has a look all its own.  It was just a matter of time before someone made a cool iPod case out of the stuff.

C6 Manufacturing came up with a design that is both attractive, protective, and functional.  We got one for our nano.  They also make one for the Video iPod.  Read the full RainyDayMagazine review here.

Another cool iPod nano case is the iSkin Duo.  The Duo comes in a variety of colors.  The case is made of five pieces: outer sleeve, inner skin, wheel shield, screen shield, and clip. 

There is a lot to this wetsuit-like case.  With two rubber layers and shields, it offers quite a bit of protection for its size.  Go check out the full RainyDayMagazine review here.

Here is an update on the Neuros2 Giveaway:  To make it easier to move the recorded content around, we have added the IR-8200 Flash card reader from i-Rocks to the prize package!  i-Rocks are the folks that make the really cool illuminated keyboard we reviewed in January.

The IR-8200 is brand new...it is not even up on the i-Rocks site yet.  We'll have more info about the card reader soon.  Keep an eye out for the link in the next few days.  There may be something for the first one to spot it :-)

UPDATE:  Please note the following change...the first reader to send us the URL from i-Rocks with info on the IR-8200 will get a little something in the mail.  This is so WE don't have to keep checking the i-Rocks site because it really cuts into our nap time:-)


April 3, 2006

We set out clocks forward this past Saturday... so Spring is definitely around the corner.  It also meant that it is time to shed that Winter layer of insulation we have all been gracefully carrying around for the past three months.  The folks in our RainyDaySports group have round up a few devices to help everybody in the RainyDayMagazine office get into "Beach Blanket Bingo" shape!

The only way to track progress is to measure it.  The only way to measure is with precision instruments.  These are not your father's bathroom scales.  The three scales (WeightWatchers WW71, Soehnle Rio, Phoenix TBF440) we will be testing in April does much more than just measure weight.  They will compute % body fat, calculate the BMI, and a host of other body fitness related information.

Another interesting device we'll be taking a look at is the BioTrainer from BioTrainer Weight Loss System. 

This piece of gear is NOT a pedometer.  It is designed to measure physical activity and compute the calories burned from all your body movements.

Getting fit is more than just increase the metabolism and losing body fat.  It is also about getting more flexible, both to reduce possible injury and to strengthen the "core".  There is nothing better for increasing both strength and flexibility than yoga.

To do yoga safely, it is important to have the proper gear.  Yogitoes is a company which is at the forefront of innovative yoga gear.  Go check out the Melissa's RainyDaySports review of Yogitoes here.

To keep us warm during our outdoor activities in the Spring, we looked to a small but incredibly innovative sportswear company called Beyond Fleece.

Buyers can custom design a jacket on BeyondFleece's site with the exact fit and features they want.  The process is simple and the results are amazing.  We'll tell you all about it later this month.


March 19, 2006

The Vernal or Spring Equinox is just a few days away.  We took a quick hike in the Blue Hills today to see if we could detect any signs of Spring.

We did a quick five mile hike around Fowl Meadow and are happy to report that even though the air temperature was 36º, things are starting to feel more Spring than Winter and the birds are definitely chirpin'.  Of course, we are hoping for one more large snow storm before it is all over.


February 18, 2006

RainyDaySports' own Jay Rogers was the victor in a recent Squash tournament at the Cambridge Racquet and Fitness Club.  Jay attributes part of his success his new fitness gear by UnderArmour!

Clearly the "moisture wicking" properties of the UnderArmour Performance Polo were put to good use that day.  We reviewed the UnderArmour Metal line a while back and were extremely impressed with their performance.

UnderArmour has been expanding their offerings beyond the underlayer category.  They now have an athletic gear for all types of activities.


February 3, 2006

We've decided to do things differently on RainyDaySports in 2006: instead of doing individual FirstUse reviews for each piece of gear, we'll be taking a bunch of gear with us on planned outings and reviewing them as a group.

RainyDayMagazine got a reservation at the Wentworth Inn in Jackson, New Hampshire for a couple of nights.  We didn't get as early a start as we would have liked, but we managed to get all the gear into the Boxster and got on the road around 11am.  It took about 2 hours to get there from Boston.

We got to the Wentworth Inn in mid-afternoon.  There was plenty of daylight left for us to take a look around.

The next day we headed out to The Great Glen Trail for our snowshoe trek.  The folks at the Inn assured us this was the best place to go since Great Glen had really good snow making equipment.

It was not a very busy day so we were able to check in and were on the trail in less than 15 minutes.  We thought we would hike around on the groomed trails (green) in the morning and head out to the backcountry trails (orange) after lunch.

After lunch we decided to hike the Aqueduct Loop.  This loop had some mild elevation changes and should take us through some woods and some open fields. 

Finally we all emerged out of the woods intacted.  There was still some daylight left, but I think most of the afternoon will be spent soaking in the jacuzzi back at the Inn :-)

Go read the entire Winter Outing report here.  For the next outing, we'll be heading to South Beach for Spring Break and to check out some Summer gear.  This is exhausting work!!!


January 24, 2006

We took a some time out yesterday to play in the little storm that hit Boston during the morning rush hour.  Instead of fighting the traffic, we strapped on the Tubbs and headed to the Arboretum. 

It was pretty quiet there and the snow was fresh...but quite heavy.  By the time we left, the snow had stopped falling and had already started to melt.  Got to get out when there is a chance.  Besides, what's the point of having interns if you don't let them DO anything:-)


January 22, 2006

Getting enough exercise in the winter time can be a challenge.  Motivating ourselves to do "something" when the weather outside is a mess is not that easy.

We found some wonderful scenic diversions created by the folks at Bike-O-Vision which should help us stay on the training cycles a few extra miles this winter :-)

When  we do need to brave the winter weather and venture outside, we go prepared with the proper gear.  The first priority is appropriate footwear because if our feet were not well protected, we are not getting very far.

Know that hiking shoes are like a favorite pair of Levi's, when properly broken in, they are too comfortable to trade-in.  One of the staffers have had a pair of old hiking boots that are literally almost 30 years old! 

We wanted to get him to try a new pair.  So we found a pair of Dunham Waffle Stomper Paramount boots that were similar to the 30 year old boots... but with some improvements! Go take a FirstLook here :-)


January 14, 2006

Gleason Sensei of Shobu Aikido of Boston held the first of three planned Yudansha (Black Belt) Seminars today.  This was an amazing opportunity for higher level aikidoka to study and train with peers.  Gleason Sensei had not conducted this type of seminar for over three years.  The next two seminars are on Feb 18 and April 8.  All yudansha pratictioners are welcome...more details here.


January 9, 2006

About a year ago we told you about a company called 180s that made some pretty cool running gear (Exolite ear warmers and Convertible Running gloves). 

Since we had such good experiences with their running gear, when we started outfitting this winter's snowshoeing trip, the first place we went looking for gear was to 180s.  We decided on the heavier ExoLite TI and the Convertible Training gloves. 

We also just got in some 180s Exhale last week.  We'll bring the Exhale along to the Winter Outing just in case the weather turns nasty, but we are not sure if we'll have time to fully test them on this trip.

What we will tests along with the 180s are the TAVO gloves from 4Sight Products and the BackCountry gloves from Kombi.

The TAVO gloves were designed specifically for use with the iPods, but they also make great liners...just in case we needed an additional layer inside the 180s!

Folks around the office knows Kombi because of their cold weather gear for skiers and snowboarders.  So it was not surprising that we are packing Kombi's Backcountry gloves with us on our first Winter Outing. 

These Backcountry gloves are part of Kombi's technical outdoor line.  The top surface of the gloves are made with Polartec's WindPro and PowerShield fabric.  The stuff is suppose to be wind resistant, water-repellent, and tough.  We'll see how they hold up to a couple of days of snowshoeing in the backcountry.


January 6, 2006

Speaking of work, we have added a new section to the magazine for 2006 called RainyDaySports.  We are going to have quarterly outings where we will be taking a specific set of gear with us for their FirstLook and FirstUse reviews.

Our first RainyDaySports Winter Outing will be at The Wentworth in New Hampshire.  We'll be testing quite a bit of gear during this outing (Adidas, Magellan, Tubbs, 180s, UnderArmour, etc...)!  

  • Adidas XCR Kumasi Trail running shoes
  • Columbia Sportswear Skier Cross Jackets
  • Magellan GPS and HighGear Digital Compass
  • Tubbs snowshoes
  • 180s winter gloves, ear covers, Mortise sunglasses
  • Gloves from Kombi and Tavo
  • CamelBak hydration system
  • Boots from Dunham and Technica
  • Nike ACG and UnderArmour Metal thermal underlayer
  • Miox water purification system and Nalgene OTG bottles

It's tough going...but somebody has to test all this stuff :-)  In March, we are forced to go to South Beach for four days to test out a bunch of swim/snorkeling gear...can you imagine the nerve of the management folks around here!


January 4, 2006

We got these 180s Mortise sunglasses in July 2005 .  After a few months, most of the folks here at RainyDayMagazine have had a chance to try them out.  We decided it was time to post our InTheWild report. 

We always like to highlight companies that provide good customer service.  While we had some initial problems with the Mortise, 180s definitely stood behind their product and made good on their guarantee.  We'll be taking this new pair on our Winter Snowshoe Outing in mid January in NH...we'll see how this pair holds up :-)


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