Daily Giz Wiz ---- Week of May 26th – Monday, May 26th/Happy Memorial Day!Netcast 576 Hate it when the shower water is cold? Yes cold water is uncomfortable, but water that's too hot is dangerous. The folks at HotStop say that hot tap water scalds are the second most common cause of severe burn injuries among people of all ages. With the HotStop shower head, hand shower, and tub spout you can help prevent these accidents. When hot water reaches an unsafe temperature HotStop reduces the water flow to a trickle to avoid scalding. Once the water in the line cools, the flow re-starts automatically. I tried one and it does cut the hot water off when the water is keep quite hot. Then it takes about a minute or so until the cold mixes again with the hot to make it safe. Then the flow starts again. HotStop is very easy to install. Three different models. Shower, Shower with hose, and Tub Version. Make sure you test it out so you can see exactly how how the water is before the unit cuts out the water flow. You can not adjust the cut-out temperature. About $35 to $45 www.h2otstop.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw576 Tuesday, May 27thTurn The Table Tuesday, Netcast 577 Leo Loves his new HD Radio. It’s from Radiosophy. (I can’t pronounce it either.) It’s the model HD100, which Leo says is probably the most affordable HD Radio receiver on the market. It's a high-definition digital radio that provides superior reception of HD digital AM/FM and existing AM/FM signals. This next-generation radio receives the additional digital channels many FM stations now offer on their current frequency. The crystal-clear sound of HD Radio has virtually no static, fade, hiss, or pops--with improved signal quality that makes AM sound like FM and FM sound like a CD. Unlike satellite radio, HD Radio is free; there is no subscription fee. An internal FM and external AM antenna provide optimum reception in any environment. Seek control can search for all stations or digital (HD) stations only. Indicator lights for stereo and digital signal detection. The backlit graphical display highlights scrolling text such as station ID, song title, artist and important weather or traffic updates. Intuitive controls include full clock-radio functions, alarm and snooze control and ten station presets (five AM and five FM). $99.00 www.radiosophy.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw577 Wednesday , May 28th Netcast 578 Here’s another solution for the problem of the huge transformer plug that blocks two outlets. It’s called The Rotator. Just plug it into any ordinary outlet. Then plug the big clunky transformer plug into the Rotator. The Rotator plug rotates its outlet up to 360 degrees. (But that brings you back to where you started, so you will probably stop someplace in between.) Simple to operate, just plug it into your existing wall outlets and they are ready to use! Outlets rotate 360° allowing you to plug in those oversized plugs & adaptors. Now you don’t have to give up two outlet for one bulky plug! Perfect for Laptops, Cell phone chargers, cameras, calculators, hairdryers, and any other odd shaped plugs. At their website you can read more about it. Then there’s a link to buy it at Herrington’s.The price is $35 for 4 Rotator Plugs. www.rotatorelectric.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw578
Daily Giz Wiz, Thursday, May 29th, Netcast 579
Here’s a way to speed up drilling holes and driving screws!
It’s called the Twist-Lok Drill and Drive System. It lets you switch from drill bit to fastening bit and back faster than ever before. With this new Drill and Drive System, you drill a hole, then slide the Twist-Lok driver over the drill bit. A quick twist locks it in place. Then drive the screw into the hole you just drilled. A new magnetic collar even holds the screw in place for you. (Most screws will work with the magnet.) Once the screw is in place switch back to the drill bit. It’s fast and easy. The Twist-Lok Drill and Drive System works with any drill that has a 3/8" or 1/2" chuck capacity. The newest model is the Model 4000. It’s $34.99. There are other models starting under $30 and more expensive models that include a drill set. If the Model 4000 is not on the company’s website, it will be shortly.
Back to warehouse Friday to discover the Connectix QuickCam
QuickCam was one of the first under $100 webcams. Of course 12 years ago it could only capture grayscale video and still images up to 320 x 240 pixels, but that was pretty good for under $100 back then. The QuickCam kind of looked like a golf ball. You could use it on a tripod, or aim it by rotating it to the position you wanted on the mini triangular base that came with the camera.. Of course today for $99 you can get a high quality, much more advanced QuickCam. Although the company that made QuickCam, Connectix is not longer around, the line is available from its current owner, Logitech. The photo is courtesy of Rodger Carter, at DigiCamHistory.com.
Monday, May 19th, 2008, Netcast 571 What? Another iPod Gadget? Yes, and this one is pretty neat!It’s called PowerTune.It’s a 4-in-1 iPod device that includes: portable stereo speakers, Li-ion battery &charger, protective case and stand. It supports iPod 5th Generation (video) and iPod classic (video). When you open the protective clear plastic case, the cover swivels and turns into a desk stand. The built-in 1050mAh Li-ion battery approximately doubles iPod play time. You can recharge the built in battery with the included USB cable. On the back is a switch for power off, charge, and speaker mode. Now these are two ‘tiny’ 500mW speakers, so they’re for listening to the iPod in small areas like your cubicle when you don’t want it to be loud. There’s also a built in volume control. And you can sync your iPod to a computer while it in the PowerTune with included USB mini-B cable. Dual color LED indicator for Speaker (blue) and Charge (red) mode $34.99. Do a web search. At the I wrote this it was available at ecost.com for about $22.That’s a real good deal. http://www.macally.com/EN/Product/ArticleShow.asp?ArticleID=186 Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw571 TTTT, May 20th, 2008Netcast 572 Another Turn The Table Tuesday and Another Device We Can’t Make Fun Of! I used to get letters saying Leo’s TTTT picks were crap! Now I get emails saying Leo’s TTTT are too good! Evidently people enjoyed it when I make fun of Leo’s picks or read emails criticizing them. Sorry to report, this week’s TTTT is also a pretty good choice. It’s the Dash Express. I don’t have one, but Leo says this unitis packed with features that help you drive smarter: He liked TruTraffic: it actually gathers traffic info from other Dash users! Dash Express leverages the most comprehensive traffic solution ever—the innovative Dash Driver Network—to provide the most accurate and current traffic information available. Internet Connected: Dash gives you the most current, locally relevant information by using the power of the Internet, including Yahoo! Local search and other websites you know and trust. AutoUpdate: Advanced and always up to date. And Dash automatically downloads the latest software, features, maps, and traffic data to the device. And he thought this feature was outstanding: MyDash: Plan and personalize from your PC. Use Send2Car to send any address from the Web or e-mail directly to your device in seconds. Use the MyDash website to find or create new search lists and categories. Leo would plan trips from his computer in his office and when he went out to his car, the info was in the Dash Express. Pretty neat and just about $400.00 www.dash.net Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw572 Wednesday, May21th, 2008,Netcast 573 USB Plasma Ball from Vat 19. Now that we’re letting people watch us record the Daily Giz Wiz (MOST OFTEN, TUESDAYS AT 4 pm EDT) I try to get more visual gadgets. One of the most visual is the USB Plasma Ball. The website says you can throw bolts of plasma like Zeus throws bolts of lighting.Well not quite but you can still enjoy the coolness of the Plasma Ball in a desk-sized USB-powered configuration. Simply plug it into any convenient USB port, flip the on/off switch, and enjoy! Move your fingers around the ball and watch the ‘lighting’ go right for your digits! It’s quite fun. Great for the office to impress co-workers. It’s only USB powered (no external power source needed). PC and Mac compatible (as long as you have a USB port) 4" diameter x 5.5" tall/ On/off switch /4 foot long USB cable. Best of all, the price.Just $11.99. Oh, by the way, after doing a demo for Leo on twitlive I found the video link was down.Oh, well. http://www.vat19.com/dvds/usb-plasma-ball.cfm www.twittv/dgw573
It's time for The Daily Giz Wiz!
On this page is, or will be, all the gizmos and gadgets Leo Laporte and I talked about starting Monday, April 28th to May 30th, 2008.
The newest week is at the top of the page!
New products are added as the Daily Giz Wiz posts to the 'Net. Occassionally a link to hear the Netcast may not work because the product info goes up before the Netcast is available at TWIT.
There's a link to each Netcast at the end of each product description.
Thursday, May 22th, 2008, Netcast 574 –
TODAY IS MY ‘SAILING DAY’ ON THE QM2 (Queen Mary 2)! I’m off to Nova Scotia, Boston, and Brooklyn. I most likely will not be able to return emails until Tuesday, May 27th.
Kingston Technology Unveils DataTraveler Micro Reader Making Mobile Phone Memory Card Use More Flexible
The DataTraveler Micro Reader, is a different kind of USB Flash Drive. Part of it is a regular 1, 2 or 4 GB USB Flash drive but it also includes areader that can store, transfer and read content on mobile memory cards, otherwise known as Micro SD. Unofficially they’re also known as the memory card you can lose in a split second.. And the DataTraveler Micro Reader is enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost. The onboard expansion slot reads microSD, microSDHC, or Memory Stick Micro cards. It is the perfect device for users who want to minimize the number of devices they carry and still have a USB drive handy for storage and a reliable method to transfer songs, videos, photos, and more between a mobile phone and computer. Works on PC or Mac and mobile phone. When you plug into an available USB port it will show up as two drives. One for the onboard memory and one for the Micro card slot. Available in 1GB, 2GB, & 4GB models.1GB$ 20.00/2GB$ 29.00 /4GB$ 42.00
Back To The Warehouse Friday, May 23RD , 2008, Netcast 575
Okay, so the price of gas is outrageous. But us gadget lovers are saving A LOT OF MONEY on another front. Our gadgets!
For example: It’s October 2001 and Compaq announced their first MP3/WMA/AAC player, the Ipaq Personal Audio Player PA-2. Nice and catchy name, huh? The PA-2 ships with 64MB of memory. But that can be extended to 128MBs by adding an additional 64MB Multi-Media Card. That way you’ll have an amazing 128MB’s of memory, enough for a couple of hours of music! The unit was small, about the size of a pager. The included 64 MB memory card held one hour of MP3 and two hours of WMA audio. So how much did this MP3 cost back in June, 2001, just seven years ago. $249.99!Today for about $40 you can buy the iPod Shuffle or the Sansa clip with more than 10 times the memory! So some things have decreased a lot in price!
Monday, May 12th, 2008.Netcast 566 Here’s A Travel Clock with Many Useful Features. Eagle Creek Multi-Function Travel Clock is an alarm clock, calculator and currency converter in one! This versatile alarm clock from Eagle Creek is compact and lightweight, yet offers so many travel-friendly features. It tells the time in 16 cities around the world with just the push of a button, and there's a full-function calculator and currency converter built right in! The alarm has a 5-minute snooze function, and the easy-to-read screen (but there is no back light) even displays the date and temperature. Takes button batteries (included) and comes with a handy travel pouch. (4½ x 2½ x ½"; 3 oz)$14.85 www.magellans.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw566 Turn The Table Tuesday-- Tuesday, May 13th, Netcast 567 Leo Like his New Wireless iPod Freedom He can listen to his iPod on his home audio system with no wires or batteries needed. It’s the Monster iSoniCast.It turns your iPod into a wireless jukebox, so you can enjoy all your iPod music on your home stereo system. With the iSoniCast, you use the iPod itself to control playback with full access to all the familiar iPod controls! You don’t need to turn on your TV to view menus or use a clunky separate remote to control your iPod. Leo said it had low-power consumption. The Monster iSoniCast features 2.4GHz wireless technology. Intelligent frequency hopping minimizes interference while high-bandwidth 4Mbps streaming eliminates compression artifacts. MSRP $99.99 http://www.monstercable.com/productdisplay.asp?pin=4622 Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw567 Wednesday, May14th,Netcast 568 This Could Be The World’s Smallest Wind Generator. “Going Green” has brought many new products. One of the more unusual ones is the HYmini. (Yes, it needs a better name!)Looking at it, you would think it was a small battery operated fan, but it’s not. It has a battery inside, and the fan is there to charge it!Once the internal battery (a 1200 mAh built in lithium ion polymer rechargeable battery) is charged you use it to charge almost all of your 5V digital gadgets (mp3 players, iPod’s, digital cameras etc.) via the included USB cable. You keep the HYmini battery up by harnessing the power of the wind, or solar energy with an optional solar charger. They also offer an optional bike holder and arm band so you can charge the device on the go. The arm band will also be quite a conversation starter. The HYmini is $49.95.You can add a solar panel to charge the Hymini for an additional $24.99. Bike mount and arm band are about $9 each. www.hymini.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw568
Thursday, May 15thNetcast 569 Here’s a Tape Dispenser with A Useful Multi-tasking Feature! Think Geek bills themselves as “official fans of multi-function gadgets, especially those of the USB variety”. So, this USB hub and tape dispenser combo hits right their sweet spot. Yes, we suppose it could be improved if it held a roll of duct tape instead of regular invisible tape, but it’s still real useful!Yes get a USB 2.0 hub and tape dispenser with 4 ports in one small footprint. Three ports on the side can be rotated 180 degrees I’m not sure I like the one in the front because that’s why you go to tear off the tape. Data transfer rate is up to full high speed (480Mbps) and its plug-and-play capable with no power required. Link up to a maximum of 127 USB devices. (If you have that many USB devices, I think you need help!)Very attractive price: $11.99. http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/95e8/ Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw569 Back to the Warehouse Friday, May 16h, 2008, Netcast 570 Look at far we’ve come in 9 years! The Microdrive came from IBM 1999. The original capacity was 170 MB, which back then was quite a lot. As time went on the capacity expanded all the up to 8 GB . But that didn’t happen till about 2006. These were the smallest hard drives in the world at the time and they found their way into digital cameras and camcorders. I tested a JVD hi-def camcorder that used a 4GB Microdrive. Somewhere around 2003 Hitachi bought IBM's Microdrive hard drive division and for a time both companies used the name. After the first 170 MB and 340 MB model, a 512 MB and 1 GB model became available about a year later. I found a review from 2001 with prices.Sitting down? At the time – 2001 - the retail price for the 1GB drive was about $360, the 512MB Microdrive was $260, and the 340MB a little over $200. See how lucky we are now! Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw570
Daily Giz Wiz, Week of May 5th, 2008
Monday,May 5thNetcast 561
Do you have cables running everywhere like spaghetti gone amuck?
Monster Cable-It To The Rescue!
Cables have a tendency to tangle. And us geeky types with our home theaters, home offices, project studios, and more – have tons of cables. Is there an easy way to organize them. Well, yes. Monster Cable-It provides an really simple way to tidy up any cable mess. They’re available in three sizes for both small jobs and big projects, with can hold as many as 12 cables and cords. Cable-It can make all your spaces cleaner and more organized. Here’s how it works – although you should watch the video to really get the idea. But basically you gather up your cables. Choose the correct size Cable-it. Snap open the Monster Cable Holder and insert your cables. Close the Zipper around the cables and pull it down the length of the cable. Suddenly all your cables are uniformly organized. But like I said, watch the video. Prices start under $13 for the small 8’ Cable-It up to about $100 for a 50’ spool of Cable-It.
It’s Another Turn the Table Tuesday and Leo Tells Us What He’s Using For Lighting in His Brand Studio!
The company is Lite Panels and the product is their Micro LitePanel. It’s a professional LED light that runs off standard AA batteries. From their website: The perfect lighting tool for today's small DV camcorders, the Micro daylight harnesses the company's proprietary LED technology in an ultra-lightweight, extremely compact package. Users will enjoy luminous, soft, directional lighting, with the same warmth and great color characteristics that made Litepanels an integral part of television, broadcast news & motion picture productions worldwide.Advantages: Heat-free LED technology/Produces bright, HD friendly soft light/ Integrated dimmer 100% to 0 / All-in-one with no external cables
Absolutely flicker-free light output / Runs 1.5hrs. on 4 AA batteries (HD Alkaline)
7-8 hours on E2 Lithium batteries /Uses standard or rechargeable batteries
Extremely lightweight and compact / All-in-one camera light w/no external cables. As Leo says:“They aren’t cheap, but they are amazingly efficient! About $350 for the Micro LitePanel.
SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus 4GB flash drive is very different from any USB flash drive you own or even know about. (I think!) This 4 GB USB drive will automatically transfer all copied files to online storage. Talk about safe keeping.Even if you lose the drive your files are there online. The online service itself is powered by BelnSync, a private Israeli company specializing in data synchronization, and storage space is provided by Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. The drive waits for an Internet connection and then transfers all data to your password-secured account. The first six months of the service are free, after you have to pay $30 a year, which is $2.50 a month. When you stop paying, your files disappear from the web in about a week. Also included is two years of free service from BoomerangIt, a service where you affix labels to your equipment that offers cash rewards for lost goods in hopes that people will mail the items back to you. The drive backs up only when it is connected to PCs running Windows. You can get access to the backed-up files from any Web browser. If you prefer not to pay for the service, the Cruzer can still be used as a regular thumb drive. However, BeInSync erases the backup data when you don’t pay the bill. The drive also comes with two years of the lost-and-found service BoomerangIt. If you register the drive and place a sticker on the case, anyone who finds it will receive a small reward for returning the drive intact. MSRP is $60, but I bet you’ll find that falling as soon as this drive is in wide retail outlets.
Daily Giz Wiz, Thursday, May 8th,Netcast 564 Here’s a clever idea – and an inexpensive one too! Socket Pocketcreates the perfect place to store your electrical items while charging, keeping them safe and secure.Just remove that little screw that holds the cover plate over a two plug outlet and replace it with a Socket Pocket. Put it anywhere – it’s great to use in the kitchen, bedroom, office, dorm or garage. Besides cell phones, PDA’s and ipods, the Socket Pocket is great for holding almost anything. Use it while charging digital cameras, MP3 Players or Bluetooth devices. It can also hold non-recharging items, like pens, scissors, keys, paper, remote controls, you name it.Two for $10.In white, tan and soon, many new colors. www.socketpocket.com. Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw Friday, May 9nd, Netcast 565 – Back to Warehouse Friday From Play, Inc.The Snappy Video Snapshot (1996) Hard to believe that about 12 years ago it is nearly impossible to capture still pictures on your computer.So when the Snappy Video Snapshot came along it was quickly “snapped” up.You attached Snappy to your PC's parallel port where it stuck out several inches. But on the side of the Snappy was a standard RCA video input, (and output) allowing you to capture still digital images from an analog video source. Even at $199 it became one of the best-selling video devices. You could capture shots from your camcorder,VCR, or TV.You would watch your PC screen, and when you saw a picture you wanted, you clicked and SNAPPY did its job .I think it even made a SNAP sound when it took the picture! And the pictures it took were quite high resolution, up to 1500 x 1125. You can still find Snappy from time to time on Ebay for about 10% of the original $199 price. Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw565
Monday --- April 28th, 2008, Netcast 556 You Gave Me What????As a Gift? Gotcha Gift Boxes look exactly like a product you’d find at Macys, or your gift store. But the products aren't real. However, the empty boxes are real! The plan is to wrap your otherwise forgettable gift in one of these “gift” boxes. They watch as they struggle to feign enthusiasm for a smoke alarm that would probably kill them if it were real. Or take joy as their faces fall upon realizing there is no such thing as a hat-affixed pocket accessory—just a crappy bric-a-brac inside you waited until the last moment to buy. Sold through the Onion website, the best value is the four pack. Your GotchaBox 4-pack includes one each of the following: (1) Visorganizer, (1) 28-Piece Professional Whisk Set, (1) Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm, (1) Auto Power Strip. Box dimensions: 12"x9"x4"All four for $19.99or $7.99 each www.gotchabox.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw556
TTTT, Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, Netcast 557
Leo Talks About His New Find – The Ziszor. Yes, it’s not a bad spelling of scissors, but the Ziszor! Bills itself as “the first premium, hand-held paper shredder to balance security with ease of use and portability”. It measures 10″ long, is about 4” wide and weighs less than 1.5 pounds. It runs on 4 AA batteries and can make short work of all that junk mail and credit card offers that come your way. All the shredded waste is collected in adisposable plastic catch-bag assuming you remember to attach it! Leo didn’t do it at first in the usual rush to try it out! It takes folded paper, but no more than 5 sheets at time. Put the papers into the Ziszor’s slot, press the trigger button and shred away.I don’t have one, but Leo said it will shred credit card bills, but not credit cards themselves! The Ziszor will retail for $49.50, but right now it (Late April) it’s $39.95. Replacement catch-bags are $3.29 for a box of 30. http://www.ziszor.com/product/ Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw557 Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, Netcast 558 Here’s Something Very Inexpensive That Will Be Worth It’s Weight in Gold if You Need It! The TT Pack. (Toiletry Travel Package).This little plastic pack is great for those unknown restrooms when you travel. Throw one in your pocket, even for a day trip. Perfect for luggage, the glove compartment, backpack, etc. Then when you open that door and find the restroom from hell, you're set. Inside each packet you’ll find• Toilet seat cover • Toilet seat wipe • Germicidal Hand wipe • Tissue • Paper towel • and Disposable glove! When I first found them the manufacturer was selling them wholesale for a buck a pack, plus shipping. But I'm afraid we drove so much traffic to their website that other websites selling the TT Pack got annoyed. So now they're only available at retail. Best price I found was 10 for $25, or $2.50 each. But trust me, if you go into a filthy restroom and really need to use it, you'll find it was a great investment! www.ttpacks.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw558www.ttpacks.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw558
Thursday, May 1st, 2008 ---Netcast #559 Here’s a Great Way to Cover Strange Sounds When You Travel. Marsona Sound Machine helps muffle unfamiliar hotel noises with regular, soothing sounds that help you get a good night's sleep. Even at home I use mine to cover traffic noise, comings-and-goings in the hallway, and noisy neighbors. . That's why so many experienced travelers use “white noise” gizmos. I’ve never seen one as compact and light as this one. Just plug it in, select the natural sound you'd like to lull you to sleep (from "rainfall" to "waterfall" to "surf"), adjust the volume, and slide off into sleep. Although the company calls these sounds the “sounds of nature” you can use the slider control to make the device produce plain old white noise. (At least to my ears). Includes dual-voltage power pack and a nylon travel pouch. $89.00 www.magellans.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw559 Back to the Warehouse Friday ---May 2nd, 2008, Netcast Before Tivo, it was the VCR Plus+! Late in 2001 VCR Plus made programming a VCR manually history! VCR Plus+ made it easy for anyone to record television shows by simply entering thePlusCode number into a VCR Plus remote control. The PlusCode numbers were listed in TV Guide and in thousands of newspapers and magazines. To program PlusCode numbers, just press the VCR Plus+ button on the remote control. You also needs to indicate if you'd like to record the program: once, daily, or monthly. The VCR Plus can with an inclined plastic stand so you can aim the unit at your VCR and cable box. At the pre-set time VCR Plus+ beams out the proper pulses to turn on the VCR, switch to the right channel, start recording, then shut the VCR off when the show is over. VCR’s with VCR Plus+ built in could even record shows on two different cable channels when you were not home! Sounds primitive, but it was amazing for the time! Later, Gemstar's VCR Plus+ introduced the "CallSet" feature. You could call a special 800 number provided byGemstar and have special codes sent over the phone line to set the correct date and time for the VCR, Cable Box, and the entire cable channel. At the proper time a voice would tell you to hold your VCR+ up to the phone!!! Prices ranged from about $50 to several hundred for VCR’s with VCR Plus+ built in. Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw560