This page contains, or will contain, all the gadgets & gizmos talked about on The Daily Giz Wiz during November, 2008. Newest week is at the top. The Netcast usually goes online about 11 PM, the night before the date indicated. The latest week is at the top.
Daily Giz Wiz, Week of November 24th, 2008 Monday, November 24th, Netcast 706 Keep Track of How Much Electric Your Gizmos Use with the Kill-a-Watt Power Strip This is another neat gizmo from the folks at Cable Organizer.Com. This power strip is designed to warn of over current and under voltage. Both of these can reduce the life of your electronics. And, in addition to knowing how much electricity your individual devices are using, you can check the quality of your power by monitoring voltage, line frequency, amperage, even KWH/leakage. The on/off switch has soft power up so no surges occur. It will even let you know the specifics of current leakage, which is the amount of electricity a device consumes while "off". (Most new gizmos never really go totally off.) The high-tech blue backlit LCD display is easy to see, even in dim light conditions. Even the power switch is illuminated so you can see it without using more electricity to switch it on and off. The Power Strip has six standard sized outlets and two extra wide outlets for those large transformer plugs. You can calculate your overall electrical costs and estimate by the day, week, month, even an entire year. And I’m not sure why you need this, but it also has an adjustable circuit breaker which can be set for 2,5,10 or 15 amps. Price: $99.95. Even if you’re not interested in this gizmo, check out Cable Organizer’s website because they offer tons of useful gadgets to help you keep your electronics and your office organized! www.cableorganizer.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw706 Tuesday, November 25th, 2008, Netcast 707TTTT It’s another Turn The Table Tuesday and Leo Tells Us About A New, Lower Price Photo Printer. It’s the Epson Artisan 800 and it has a lot of useful features like 5 in 1 with Wi-Fi. It can Print, Copy, Scan and Fax. Leo said it was fast, up to 38 pages per minute. And photos in as fast as 10 sec. There’s a built-in fax and automatic document feeder. There’s a large 7.8-inch touch panel with a 3.5-inch LCD. And this is kind of unique, it can also do CD/DVD printing, provided you load the proper blank CD/DVD’s. It does two-sided printing to save paper. There’s a longer than usual two-year limited warranty with registration. Epson claims that their Ultra Hi-Definition photos last 4x longer than photo lab prints. Two paper trays and automatic document handler make it easier to quickly print photos and documents. I don’t own one of these printers, but from Leo said and the photos I’ve seen, this is a very sleek unit. And with wireless networking, you can print from anywhere in your home or office. With the instant $70 rebate, the cost is about $229. There’s a slightly less feature-laden model 700 than brings the price to under $200. http://tinyurl.com/6fs37x Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw707 Wednesday, November 26th, 2008, Netcast # 708
A Very Handy and Inexpensive Travel Scale
Airlines are changing the carry-on rules quite often these days. And they are no longer inclined to let a few extra pounds slip by without an extra charge. So you should know exactly how much your luggage weights before you leave for the airport. Also some airlines are also restricting the linear measurements of your bags. So you should also have a tape measure to make sure you comply. The redesigned Travelon Luggage Scale is the perfect accessory for makingsure you’re not going to be charged for overweight luggage. It lets you weigh and measure your baggage. It’s especially important if you feel your suitcase case might be close to the fifty pound limit most airlines have set. What’s the linear measurements of your luggage? (L+W+D). Check that with Travelon Luggage Scale’s built in tape measure. This new version lets you lift your luggage and weigh it bag quickly without having to hold the bag while you look at the scale. Now a “memory hand” stays at the top weight of the bag even after you set it back down. The best news is that this useful travel gadget is only $7.50.
There’s also a fancier, digital version from Travelon for under $25. This one has a backlit digital read-out that’s easy to read and it also locks into top weight display until cleared by the user. Use the top handle for lighter-weight items and the side grips for heavier bags. It includes a tape measure and a Lithium battery. Both scales are small enough to take with you so you can weigh your luggage before the return trip.
Fill in this blank.Leo couldn’t believe it when Dick said his gadget of the day was another _________________.
If your answer was “flashlight”, you are correct! It’s a new, very high end light. The Energizer e2 Lithium LED 4 AAA LED flashlight has an advanced Azoteq IQ tailcap switch which gives you full brightness control. You choose the light output and runtime that best suits your needs. This Energizer flashlight turns on in high mode. Then if you want to conserve battery power and don’t need the brightest light --- which is bright! -- just hold the switch until you reach the desired brightness. The light output dims as you hold the switch, then flashes to let you know you are at the lowest output level. If you continue to hold the tail switch, the output level increases back to the maximum output of 90 lumens. Energizer says run time in high is 5 hours lithium, 2.5 hours alkaline. It’s waterproof, IEC 60529 IPX7 rated, which means it can be submerged in 1 meter/3.2 feet of water for 30 minutes. And this I like a lot: auto shut off after 30 minutes. There’s a heavy duty metal clip, which is removable and it has a shatterproof lens. Includes 4 AAA Energizer e2 lithium batteries which have a 15-year shelf life. Performs well in extreme temperatures: -40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. Okay, now for the price: About $45. Yes, high tech does cost a premium price, but this is a beauty.
In 1997, Tiger Electronics introduced Game.Com, a programmable portable gaming system. It had some new features for its time like dual cartridge slots. If there was a game in each slot, the user got to choose select which cartridge they wanted to play at start-up. On the front of the unit was the stylus for the touch-screen.Yes, the Game.Com was one of the first with a touch screen. Also unique, was some built-in rudimentary PDA functions. They included a calendar, calculator, address book, and solitaire. The system could also keep and manage the user's high scores. Inside the box was a bonus - the Lights Out cartridge. High Tech? Not by today’s standards. 8-Bit CPU 3.5” screen / Resolution: 200x160 / 4 shades of gray. This was one of the reasons this device never took off, the screen graphics were pretty terrible. Has a built in mono speaker and ran on 4 AA Batteries.
Pricey too: Game.com with Lights Out Game $108.95. game.com Internet Hook-up: $69.95 – It let you get & send emails via the Tiger website, not play games over the Internet. I have the whole system, new in boxes if you’re a collector of old video games. Make an offer; I’m trying to get rid of stuff. email@example.com
Daily Giz Wiz, November 17th, 2008, Netcast 701 Monday, November 17th, 2008 This was a gadget suggested by Charles in Berkely, Ca. Every start unpacking your shopping cart in a parking lot, only to find it running away? Here�s Dyanne�s story: CARTSTOPPER was born out of necessity. Upon arriving at the local grocery store parking lot one day, I routinely began to transport my two children from my vehicle into a shopping cart. After successfully unloading my youngest child, I went to retrieve my eldest child from our vehicle when I heard a man scream, �Hey lady!Your baby!�I immediately turned around to witness my child, strapped in the shopping cart, quickly rolling away from my vehicle into the middle of the busy parking lot!Thank goodness the shopping cart came to a stop up against a standing vehicle awaiting a parking spot (as opposed to a moving vehicle).It was the most frightening (and embarrassing) experience of my life. I immediately began looking for a product that would help keep my shopping cart from rolling away from my vehicle. I was surprised to discover that no one had yet to offer an effective solution to this dangerous problem. That was when I knew there was a definite need for a product that �stops the run-away cart�! CARTSTOPPER is a simple and effective device that reduces the risk of child injury and vehicle damage related to �run-away� shopping carts.It holds securely to any clean, flat vehicle surface and immobilizes your shopping cart.Its compact design stores easily in a purse, diaper bag, or a vehicle's storage area.Finally, an effective and sensible product designed to keep your child safe and your shopping cart secure! And it�s just $9.99. (I�m not sure why, but it comes in 3 colors.) www.cartstopper.com Hear this netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw701 TTTTTuesday, November 18th, 2008, Netcast 702 It�s another Turn The Table Tuesday and Leo comes up with a very low priced GPS that he likes a lot! (I don�t a TomTom, so I lifted info on it from the web.) The TomTom One GPS Satellite Navigation System comes with the latest and most complete maps of the US and Canada. You can get accurate door-to-door navigation anywhere across the continent, and update your system with new maps and free software upgrades through TomTom Home. Plus, TomTom Map Share technology helps you add to, update and personalize your maps instantly � and also download others users' changes daily. 3.5" full color TFT LCD touch-screen at 320 x 240 pixels. Leo likes the fact that you can download different voices to offer you driving directions. You can even use your own voice, or your wife�s voice if you miss having her in the car! There�s a built in speaker and a �help me� menu. There�s no card slot, but there�s 1 GB of internal memory. The internal Lithium-Ion battery will run the unit for about 2 hours. And it�s small and light: Weight: 6.1 ounces, 3.8"x 3.2" x 1.0". Includes: Lightweight windshield holder (compact and easy to mount), USB car charger and USB cable for in-car charging. The list price is $199.99, but do a web search for the lowest price. Leo paid about $135.00 and WalMart was offering it for less than $130! http://tinyurl.com/5aqe3h Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw702 Wednesday, November 19th, Netcast 703 Here�s a strange gizmo that kid�s will probably love! From Npower, it�s The SpongeBob SquarePants Speakers & Sponge Dock. This is a product developed by Nickelodeon and Imation.It�s a pair of fairly decent soundsing eyeball speakers for under $40. Huh? Eyeball speakers? Yep, in the dock they just play music, but pop them out, and put them on a table, or on either side of a computer and they wobble and rock 'n roll with the music! The speakers work with most computers, video game consoles, MP3/CD/DVD players, and other audio devices. The soft spongy dock cradles the player and can hold the speakers in place. 4 watts of total output speaker power. I don�t know why they call this a �dock� because there�s only a place to lay your MP3 player. The speakers connect via the headphone jack of your device, there is no charging of the device involved. The wobble motion can be turned on and off. BUT, if the music playing is soft, it can hear the motors inside the eyeballs. But my guess is most kids won�t be playing music that has quiet, low passages! There�s a standard auxiliary input. http://tinyurl.com/5oq8mm Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw703
Thursday, November 20th, 2008 Netcast 704
Another LED Light.But this one�s is adjustable color!
It�s from our friend at THINK GEEK. Yes, light-emitting diodes are darn cool, but this one is cool and really unique.This Multi-color LED Light Bulb is a super bright LED bulb that can transition through dozens of color and brightness combinations. And it�s compatible with a standard light bulb socket. And how many light bulbs come with a IR remote control. Via the remote you can select an individual color or brightness level or choose one of four different transition effects. It�s great for mood lighting, decorating, parties or special lighting environments. Heck, I use it along with my Lite Panels when Leo and I record the Daily Giz Wiz. It has multiple brightness level settings and four transition effects (long pause on each color, short pause, slow fade between colors, faster fade). The light is generated from a 5 Watt LED. You have access to 16 specific colors including White, Green, Blue, Light Blue, Red, Orange, Yellow, Turquoise, and Purple.
Back to Dick�s Gadget Warehouse Friday, November 21st, Netcast 705
It�s from Acoustic Research, AR. It was first Dolby Surround to 900MHz Wireless Headphones.
It�s January, 2002 and AR introduces their Wireless Surround Sound Headphones. AR said that they employ the same Dolby Digital processor that is found in a receiver, amplifier or DVD-V player. When used in conjunction with a virtual surround sound algorithm, imaging is virtually identical to that which is heard in a home theater with 5.1 channels. Acoustic Research developed a new 900MHz technology that offered a full signal-to-noise ratio of 70dB, with 30dB stereo separation, far exceeding the previous industry standard of 55dB for a 900MHz wireless product. The transmitter's Input Select Switch allowed users to choose among three separate audio inputs, making the headphones compatible with both digital and analog audio/video equipment. The 900MHz signal transmits up to 300 feet, through walls, floors and ceilings. The Channel Select Switch makes it easy to alter transmission frequencies to maximize reception when other 900MHz products are present. In the box also was an optical cable with Toslink connectors, a 7V AC power supply, and three AAA Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeable batteries. The retail price was: $299.99. And guess what? If you do a web search you can still find it for sale. Find the lowest price and I just might sell you mine for less! (I have too much stuff! firstname.lastname@example.org)
Guitar Hero Air Rocker. Depending on your age, this belt buckle is either scary or way cool. But it's far more than a mere belt buckle. With the included amplifier and magnetic pick, this belt buckle can make you sound like a rock star. Granted you'll be a rock star with a very limited repertoire of just ten tracks, but it will let you make music even if you have zero musical talent. And you don't even need to have a guitar. The amp/speaker is worn on your belt. When you swipe one of the special magnetic guitar picks in front of the sensor built into the buckle, you’re playing music. It’s a licensed product, and the included Air Cartridge features 10 guitar riffs, ranging in skill level from 1-5. Tracks include Black Sabbath's "Iron Man," Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," Motorhead's "Ace of Spades," Van Halen's "You Really Got Me", and Boston's "More Than a Feeling". There are also five original Air Guitar Rocker freestyle riffs. The idea is to listen to the demo tracks, and then see if you can duplicate the riffs on your own. There’s an output jack if you really want to go nuts and connect your Air Rocker to an external speaker! And there’s a headphone jack in case you’re really awful or your folks can’t stand it anymore! Under $30. Additional song cartridges with and without buckles are available.
In this Turn The Table Tuesday Leo Tries To Tops My Monday Pick!
Leo’s pick is the Gene Simmons Axe Guitar. I have to admit – and you most likely will too – that this is an awesome looking gizmo! I don’t have one, and actually Leo doesn’t have one yet either. They’ll be available mid-November and can be pre-ordered. According to Amazon’s website the Axe Guitar features 'ultra-responsive frets' and an 'analog whammy bar'. Yes, this guitar is shaped like a battleaxe, just like the one used by Gene Simmons from Kiss. You can even see his the tongue and on the logo. Price is under $80. And keep all this quiet! Leo is buying one of these beauties to give his son Henry for Christmas.
If you love model cars, I bet you’ll love Road Mice. You can “Cruise the Web in Style” with Four Door Media's Wireless Optical Mouse and USB receiver utilizing the latest RF and optical technology. These unique mice are high performance accessories with 800-dpi resolution for enhanced accuracy and precision movement. Both PC and Mac compatible, 4Door’s car mouse designs have the look of a replica automobiles and the functionality of the high end pointing device, also known as the computer mouse! The functioning headlights click on as you click either the right or left mouse key. The center scroll wheel is also illuminated. The mouse is powered by two AA’s batteries and shuts off after it detects no movement for about 30 minutes. You can conserve battery power by shutting on the LED headlights, but that’s not much fun. The smooth lines of the various models give the cars a realistic look and feel. A great idea for car enthusiasts and collectors. Instead of sitting on a shelf gathering dust, you can “drive” your model every day. Many different model cars are available. About $45.
Like Watches? Leo & I Love Watches! Here’s a Brand New One!
The new Casio G-Shock GLX-5600 can do an awful lot. It’s very rugged and waterproof down to 200 meters. In addition to time keeping in 29 zones, it lets you see info on tides and moon phases. You can view them for the current time or for upcoming hours or days. At the West 79th Street Marina where I dock, there’s not enough water to get in or out of my slip two hours either side of low tide. So knowing when low tide will be is critical. This watch is certainly not as accurate as a station by station tide chart, and Casio says not to use it for navigation. But it’s good enough to help me avoid getting stuck in the mud by telling me approximately when low tide will be. It also has a multifunction stop watch and can track elapsed time, split time, plus 1st and 2nd place times for races. Another neat little feature is that you can set it so the Electro-luminescent backlight comes on automatically when you tilt the watch toward your face. It has two separate alarms, plus a snooze feature. There’s even daylight savings times on/off. I figured battery life would have to be on the short side with all those features, but Casio says the CR2025 cell will last approximately 7 years. Suggested retail is $99, but if do a web search you can find it for under $70.
Back to Dick’s Gadget Warehouse, Friday, November 14th, 2008
It’s the High Tech Maritimer! It Does Some of Things the Casio G-Shock GLX-5600 Does for 10 Times the Price!
It’s interesting to note, that not everything has gone up in price over the years. See that Casio Watch above. The subject of Thursday’s Daily Giz Wiz? About 20 years ago I bought a device for my boat that could perform most, not all, of those functions. Recently I found the receipt for the device, the high tech Maritimer. This was a state of the art marine digital clock with multiple windows. It showed time of day, time to low tide, and time to high tide. It also had a built-in stop-watch and a race timer. There was no such thing back then as a single clock face with a menu or mode button. I was able to buy the Maritimer at a discount: $740.00! At retail, it was anywhere from $875 to $945. So all those functions. Plus many more, are available in that new Casio G-Shock GLX-5600 for less than 1/10 the cost. Also, if you’re a boater, nearly every marine GPS has all those time/tide features built in at no extra cost.
Sorry for the crappy picture. I gave the Maritimer to a fellow boater, so I only had the original ad.
Daily Giz Wiz, week of November 3rd, 2008
Monday, November 3rd, 2008, Netcast #691
A very clever new gizmo.The Nirvana Organizer
If you travel, this is a great new way to have everything you need at your fingertips. On planes and trains, the Nirvana Organizer mounts on the seat back tray table creating an entirely new space for work (and play). It keeps all necessary items within arm’s reach during your trip. There are special pockets designed to fit cell phones/PDA's, plan tickets, passport, credit cards and cash.
There are more compartments and pouches for a water bottle. cup holder, key chain clip and pen/pencil holders. The open-access travel organizer bag essentially turns "inside-out" to permit direct access to internal contents. It’s also great for cars, strollers, airplanes, trains – anywhere you need to carry essential items on the go. But this is really the neat part – when it’s time to move on, the Nirvana Organizer folds and zips closed! Now you have a shoulder bag with your gear, or it’s small enough to fit inside another bag or backpack. It comes with it’s own adjustable shoulder strap and carry handles. The shell is100% polyester microfiber; the lining is polyester microfiber and nylon mesh. Water resistant, spot clean only. Available in black, or brown. Cost is a very reasonable: $39.99
Turn The Table Tuesday, Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, Netcast #692
My auction at Humanety.com is up and running. Click on the banner ad on this page. It’s a change for a one-on-one chat and to help Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter.
On this show, Leo talked about his new “computer glasses”.Yes, glasses designed expressively for people who speed a lot of time in front of a computer screen. I don’t have a pair, so here’s some information from the Gunnaroptiks website: People who use any kind of computer screen, including those on a Blackberry, cellular telephone (text messaging) or other digital handheld device, are at increased risk of developing Digital Eye Fatigue (DEF) or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).The American Optometric Association recognizes CVS as a condition caused by repeatedly stressing some aspect of the eyes or visual system. It’s this constant stress on the eyes and visual system that causes the symptoms of DEF and CVS, which include blurred vision, headache, eye strain, dry eyes, difficulty focusing the eyes at various distances, double vision, light sensitivity and neck and backaches. To meet this growing and important need as people of all ages experience more time with digital devices, Gunnar Optiks has developed a revolutionary line eyewear based on patent-pending lens technology, specifically formulated to combat the effects of DEF and CVS. --- There’s a lot more info at their website, and Leo says he likes the results when he uses his new glasses when at his computer screen. I hope to check them out too.
The Duracell Powerpack 450 provides 450 watts of power and adds voice technology. You can instantly get information on the expected runtime of your devices as soon as you plug them in. In addition, its on-demand information provides battery status lets you know if your Powerpack is charged before you leave the house. In emergency situations, the step-by-step usage instructions walk you through what to do to jumpstart your car or use the air compressor to inflate a tire. It’s powerful enough to jumpstart both 4 and 6 cylinder engines, so it’s a great companion for a car, truck, boat or small RV. The Powerpack can power a wide range of products from coolers at the beach to chargers for cell phones, GPS systems and handheld game consoles. It also operates small power tools, computers, cordless phones, etc. The built-in150 PSI air compressor is good for inflating tires and small sports equipment. Jumper cables are also built right into the device. And there a built-in light provides illumination in emergency situations at home and on the road. Strangely enough for such a well thought out device, the flashlight is not LED. You can recharge the unit via the AC charger which is stored inside the unit. And it can also be charged via a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug. About $140. But as this gets more widely distributed, you should do a web search for the best price.
Help “Green” Your Home with Belkin's new Conserve.
The full name of this new device is the Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector. You probably know by now that most home electronics continue to use energy even when you've turned them off. This wasted energy is known as Standby Power, which adds up fast. Standby Power impacts not only the environment, but also your electricity bill, as it can account for up to 10% of your household power consumption. Belkin's Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector conveniently minimizes standby power by enabling you to turn off the power to multiple devices with just one click of the remote switch. The remote switch easily cuts off or activates the power that flows to devices plugged into Conserve's Switchable outlets. Other devices such as DVRs or routers can be plugged into the Always-On outlets, since they require a continuous power supply. Most of the outlets on this Surge Protector power strip are widely spaced so you’ll have no trouble plugging in those big “brick” plugs. You can also buy multiple units and shut them all off with just one remote, even if they’re in separate rooms. $49.95 for the 8 outlet version. And there’s a 10 outlet version for $59.95
Here’s a device from mid-1991. I thought this was a super idea and I did use it a few times in my travels back then. Before hotels had voice mail, which is a more recent development, you had to rely on the telephone switchboard to take a message. And you had to hope they got the information correct and that they got the message to you. This was a sure way to get your messages. Your own portable, battery or AC operated answering machine! The Cobra Traveler Portable Answering Machine also served as a dictation system and dual time-zone alarm clock. The Cobra Traveler measures 6 inches by 3 1/3 inches by 1 1/2 inches thick. Simple attach it the modular phone jack into your hotel room and it takes messages like another machine you use at home. Messages can be played back in the room or retrieved by remote from a touch-tone phone. Back then answering machines cost hundreds of dollars, so this wasn’t a bad deal at$169.95.