Life at Home

WHAT HOME-COOKING GADGET COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?

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Gordon Hamersley, Chef/owner, Hamersley's Bistro, Boston

"I could not do without my cast-iron braising pot. It's a 15-quart, very heavy, black cast-iron pot with a lid, and I bought it years ago. It's what I cook all my braises in. It's just this fabulous piece of equipment that conducts heat beautifully. You can lower the heat in your oven to almost nothing and it cooks beef stew, lamb shanks, or veal osso bucco in a wonderful way."


STUDENTS SLEEP IN THE HIGH-RENT DISTRICT

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The listing at 10 Buick Street is pretty impressive: seven-and-a-half furnished rooms, including full kitchen and two baths; totally wired and well-maintained; air-conditioned; 24-hour security; exercise facility; and other generous amenities.

But it's the view, from the Harvard boathouse to the Blue Hills, with the Charles at your feet and the best parts of Cambridge and Boston in between, that sells the place. When they tell you the rent, only about $1,000 a month per person, your elation comes with a queasiness that tells you there has to be a catch.


REDECORATE BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE STORE

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Do-it-yourself home designers used to have only graph paper and a ruler for tools, but you can find better tools these days on the Internet. The bad sites aren't that bad, and the best ones are getting better. jordansfurniture.com

A new software package by Hookumu Inc., a Salem, N.H., developer, could turn out to be one of the very best. It is due to debut by the end of this month on the Jordan's Furniture website. I got to test the package last week at home, and found it to be pretty snazzy: easy, efficient, and eminently customizable.


HOW TO BUILD A DECK And how not to

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Not because I ever expect to make one, but motivated by the same
interest that's led to viewing "This Old House" for 20 years, I asked
the Google search engine "how to build a deck." I found lots of
information among the 651,000 sites that came back, but the most
interesting tale among them was labeled, "How NOT to build a deck."


THE ORGANIC MAN DELIVERS

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A few years ago, several large corporations thought they sniffed
profits through Internet ordering and home delivery of groceries, but
most of them failed fairly quickly. That might have been because
consumers didn't consider the convenience worth the cost, although
Peapod, a corporate affiliate of Stop &Shop, still survives despite
a minimum delivery order of $50 and a minimum delivery charge of $4.95.


EXPLOITING THE NETWORK Entertainment, games, and plenty more are being passed around the most connected households

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You probably know a family that has established a network at home to connect all its computers. Each person in the house probably uses the network to share broadband internet access, the printer maybe, or a few files.

What's far less likely is that you have friends who are
using their networks to share entertainment: music, photographs, shows
recorded from television, games, movies, and more.


TAGGED Colorful Fenway bag tags give fans a sense of security

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To Fenway security personnel, the colored strips of nylon Supertek are proof that a purse or backpack has been inspected for contraband.

But to a subset of the Fenway faithful, the adhesive bracelets lined
with Red Sox logos have come to symbolize something more: links in a
chain of hope for another World Series win.


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