Because technology is constantly changing, one of the greatest tools to the do-it-yourselfer is the extension cord. Now you can put anything in any room you want - even outside. Every once in a while, though, a long cord across the floor can be more dangerous than helpful. Sure you could just put a carpet or tape over the cord, but why bother? Let technology solve its own problems. Grab some Wireless Extension Cords, and leave the wires where they belong - somewhere else! Just plug the Wireless Extension Cord (WEC) base unit into a standard wall outlet, and plug whatever you need into the satellite unit. The WEC uses microwaves in the 7.2GHz range, so it won't interfere with wireless networks, Bluetooth components, etc. Now, all you need to do is adjust the antennae on the two units so they are aimed at each other. Turn everything on and you have the power! The distance the WEC units can broadcast differs from situation to situation (due to interference of such things as walls, power lines, and microwave ovens), but we've beamed power over 300 feet! The future is wireless - and the WEC's are your ticket to the future.
Warning: Even though these microwaves are about as harmful as the leakage from an ordinary microwave oven (not much), do not put computers, televisions, other sensitive electrical equipment, food, liquids, paper, glass, flammable substances, magnets, or living things in between the base and satellite units. Just in case. Yes, it’s a joke! But a great one. And it’s from
A new iPod speaker system that might “bowl” you over!
mStation has introduced a new iPod dock/speaker station. Because of its spherical design (it kind of looks like a high tech bowling ball) it has been dubbed "the orb". About 8" in diameter, the docked iPod sits on top, making it quite different looking from all the other dock/speaker systems. Built in is a 2.1 speaker system, with two mid/high speakers facing forward and a subwoofer facing the back of the orb. For its size and its price, under $150, the sound is excellent. Bass and treble can each be adjusted separately via the Orb's remote control which is part of the package. Also included are six iPod inserts and an audio cable to use for the iPod shuffle or non-iPod music sources. You can leave the cover plate in place on top if you're not using a direct connect iPod. Buttons on the Orb pretty much mirror the controls on the iPod itself. The remote has those same buttons plus bass and treble up and down. The Orb is available in colors to match almost any iPod, plus of course black and white. I did a web search and found the Orb at J&R Music for under $130. Check back because we might be able to offer a discount code soon!
Friday November 3rd – Dick’s Gadget Warehouse. Netcast 185 It’s the Star Tac ClipOn Organizer
Yes, on previous Netcasts we talked about the wildly popular Star Tac phone from Motorola. Then on another show we talked about the not-too-popular Rex PDA. And on this Netcast I talked about the totally not-popular-at-all Star Tac ClipOn Organizer. For it’s time it was pretty unique. This tiny PDA piggy-backed on Star Tac cell phone and would let the phone dial a number you brought up on the PDA! Don’t forget this was back when a cell phone had almost no functions other than making and receiving calls! But soon built in address books doomed the Clip-On Organizer which I never really saw on sale anyplace. But I do have one!
The Daily GizWiz#186, Monday November 6, 2006 Now your computer can be a battery charger!
USB batteries. These look like any ordinary double AA batteries. But when they run out of power you flip the green cap which exposes a USB plug. Simple plug into your laptop or desk andrecharge the batteries.The manufacturer says they’ll available in the US by the end of the year. Cost is not set yet but the founder of the company said a good guess would be about $20 for a package of two. They fully recharge in about 5 hours. A green light indicates they’re charging and when it goes out, the battery is charged. The company is working on using the same technology for AAA, 9 volt and phone batteries too.
LATE BREAKING NEWS from Simon Daniel, CEO Moixa Energy Ltd. He emailed me to say: "Dick, good to hear your netcast, prompted us to turn on early our US dispatch online via USBCELL.com today. So please let your website and audience know they can now buy in US".
The Daily GizWiz, #187 Tuesday, November 7 --- Turn The Table Tuesday It’s another turn the table Tuesday and since I’m a coffee lover it was hard to come down hard on Leo’s choice. He loves this espresso maker. I have a Capresso Jura Capresso Maker so I don’t know much about the one Leo likes, but I found some info on their website. The copywriter went a little nuts writing the copy, but you can judge for yourself. Francis Francis! allows the espresso enthusiast to step away from the traditional and less imaginative espresso machine designs and look towards machines that are on the cutting edge of innovation and modern technology. With beauty also comes a well designed and high quality espresso machine. Take a step back and imagine one of the X models quietly sitting on your kitchen counter smiling back at you every time you look at it. Francis Francis! is renowned for its fashion forward designs and wheel of bright jellybean colors.Be it the intense and pleasant aroma of a cup of coffee or the aesthetic pleasure of an espresso coffee machine the illy Francis Francis! credo is based on aesthetics, positive emotions, good mood, well-being and longevity.
Kingston, known for producing all kinds of memory devices, has come out with their first portable media device. It called the K-PEX for Kingston Personal Entertainment eXperience. It’s small, just a little bigger than the new nano. And it offers a lot of features. In addition to a 1 or 2 gigabyte model, you can add more memory via the miniSD expansion slot. The K-Pex plays MP3s, WMA, WAV and OGG files; but there’s no provision for subscription music services. It can show photos (JPEG only), but you can have a photo slide show with music if you like. And by using the included transcode software, it can play video files. There's also a built in recorder, and an FM radio, but you can’t record from the FM. Built in is a mono speaker and even a couple of games. Actually holding the K-Pex reminds one of a small gaming console because it operates horizontally instead of the more common vertical position. It has a bright 2” display. According to Kingston battery playback is up to 17 hours. That’s pretty good. (The rechargeable battery is not user replaceable.) The K-PEX has come into the market place with a very low price point, 1GB ($130) and 2GB ($180). But the street price for the 2 GB unit is under $150.You get a lot of features for that price.
Yes, it’s a hard drive. And at 80 GB it can carry 36,000 photos, 18,000 songs, or 52 hours of video. USB powered so it needs no external power source. Just plug it in for instant storage expansion without adding a hard drive to your PC. But here’s something different. On certain HP desk models, there is a door right on the front of the tower that is precisely designed to accept the Pocket Media Drive. Once docked you have two internal hard drives. Then when you want to take all those files to another computer, just slip it out and use on any other computer has a desktop hard drive. If you like you can add password protect to your files with the included Sonic Back Up
$150, but at the HP website there’s a $20 Instant Rebate to bring under $130. A 120 GB will also be available.
The Daily GizWiz # 190, Friday, Novermber 10thBack to Warehouse Friday
The Atari Portfolio.Back in 1989 this was pretty hot. The Atari Portfolio was about the size of a small paperback book. It was one of the first mini or pocket PC’s.It ran DIP-DOS which was designed by Distributed Information Processing (DIP) from Guildford, UK.Information was stored as part of the 128K internal RAM memory which used battery back-up to ensure your data was not lost when you shut the Portfolio off. The screen had eight lines of text, 40 characters wide. There was a slot on the left side for an optional memory card. But memory was not cheap but in 1989. A 128K battery-backed external memory cardwas --- ready?-- $199.95! These applications included with the Portfolio were: text editor, diary, calculator, a spreadsheet program andaddress book. Because the Portfolio had a built in speaker you could use it to dial phone numbers by playing the touch-tones that corresponded to the number dialed. A parallel port Interface (about $50) and a serial interface (about $80) was also available. You could transfer files to/from other PCs using the parallel interface, but it wasn’t exactly like using a flash drive!Every though I loved it, the Portfolio didn’t set the computer world on fire and it lasted just a few years. It sold for $399.95. I showed this on Regis Live!, but Regis had no idea what I was talking about when I told him you could upload files and take them on the road!
There’s more info at at a wonderful website with lots of info on old computers. No surprise, it's called:
From the OldComputer.com website. Thank you for keeping old tech alive!
The Daily GizWiz #191, Monday, November 13th
There are several few features that separate the Cardo Scala 700 Bluetooth headset from the average Bluetooth headset.First is its multi-pairing capability, which allows the user to pair to two different phones and switch between them at the touch of a button. And I love the location buzzer. It’s activated from your cell phone to make the headset beep, saving you the trouble of taking apart your entire room just to find out you left it in your pocket. Also new is the battery status LED’s that tell you whether it's full on charge, half charge, or fully discharged. And the price point is low! I found it on the web for under $40 at www.JRmusic.com .
The Daily GizWiz #192 -- Turn The Table Tuesday, November 14th
Leo Love His Snap On Shell!
Leo loves his snap on protective hard shell from Speck Products. It’s compatible with the 15" MacBook Pro Core Duo only. It offers protection while still offering access to all the features of your MacBook. A 74-slot ventilation system minimizes thermal insulation. (I have no idea what that means, I copied it off their website in order to boost Leo’s case for making this a good choice for a Daily GizWiz choice! It also has rubber feet to help prevent slipping on slick surfaces
Available in clear and red! And clear, that’s my favorite color! $39.95
The Daily GizWiz 193, Wednesday, November 15thStanley Bostitch Hurriquake Nail.
The Bostitch Hurriquake Nail.
The name needs a retooling, but what the nail does is great! It won the Grand Award as Innovation of the Year as reported by Popular Science. (Here's info from their website:)Hurricane winds rip apart nailed-together walls, and earthquakes shake houses so violently that a nailhead can pull straight through a piece of plywood. Since we can’t stop natural disasters, Bostitch engineer Ed Sutt has dedicated his career to designing a better nail. The result is the HurriQuake, and it has the perfect combination of features to withstand nature’s darker moods. The bottom section is circled with angled barbs that resist pulling out in wind gusts up to 170 mph. This “ring shank” stops halfway up to leave the middle of the nail, which endures the most punishment during an earthquake, at its maximum thickness and strength. The blade-like facets of the nail’s twisted top—the spiral shank—keep planks from wobbling, which weakens a joint. And the HurriQuake’s head is 25 percent larger than average to better resist counter-sinking and pulling through. The best part: It costs only about $15 more to build a house using HurriQuakes. $45 per 4,000; bostitch.com
All the Best of What's New Gizmos are in the December 06 issue of Popular Science Magazine.
The Daily Gizwiz 194,
Thursday, November 16th,
Logitech Quick Cam Ultra Vision
Logitech says that their new flagship QuickCam Ultra Vision
webcam delivers twice the image clarity as that offered by typical
webcams.I’m not a scientist but what
they’ve done has resulted in a great picture. They’ve combined an extra-large
glass lens with a low f-stop setting in order to increase the amount of light
entering the webcam.That, along with precise focusing of that light, has helped
create sharp, bright images. It also features RightLight 2 which works
very well. Logitech set up a demo so I could see it for myself.In difficult lighting conditions, such as a
dimly lit room, or where there is intense back or side-lighting from something
like a window, RightLight 2 Technology cam quickly adjusts the camera’s video
settings for the best video.It also
features Logitech’s new 1.3 Megapixel sensor which supports the HD video
format. That means you can create video clips in a wide-screen format. And
like other Logitech Quick Cams, this one includes their popular Logitech Video
Effects software. Add glasses, crowns, eye glasses to yourself for fun, or even
turn yourself into an animated character. And as you talk, your animated
character speaks your words and moves their lips in perfect sync! About $125.
Here’s another device I found at a trade show that don’t
believe ever made it into the marketplace. The Taxi Wand was billed as the
“Official NYC Taxi Hailing Device”.The
slogan on the package said: “Hail without fail”. Of course the problem was --
how was a taxi driver supposed to know that the person waving a little red
flashlight was actually using “The Official NYC Taxi Hailing Device. The
directions were easy. 1. Step up to the curb facing traffic. (REALLY?)2. Hold the Taxi Wand firmly in hand. 3.
Point red lens directly into traffic. 4. Press the black button on the back of
the Taxi Wand. 5. When Taxicab arrives, release button; stop off curb and enter
Taxicab. I asked the guy with wand at the show if it was for NYC only and he
said it was good for any city with Taxis that roamed the streets. But as I
said, I don’t think it ever made into stores. This was back in 1998.
The iTurbo is a portable power source for the iPod mini, iPod nano, and fourth and fifth-generation iPods. It comes packed with a standard AA alkaline battery. When you place the battery in the iTurbo a blue light on top of the portable power source lights up to indicate the battery has power.When it’s generating power and putting it into the iPod the light gets brighter. The amount of charge time the battery provides depends on what sort of iPod you’re using. If you’re watching videos that of course uses extra power.The iTurbo is lightweight and compact. It charges most iPods with the standard docking configuration which leaves out the Shuffle. Prices is in the $30 to $35 range.
Leo talks about A ‘Smarter’ Smart Cell Phone! The Dash from T-Mobile.
Actually this was one of my gizmos for later in the month, but what the heck I let Leo steal my thunder! The T-Mobile Dash packs a lot of power into one sleek easy to hold gizmo. You can send, receive, and reply to your personal and business e-mails with a full QWERTY keyboard. Yes the keys are tiny, but so is the entire device. You can also view photos, videos, and email attachments. And browse the Web with Wi-Fi connectivity. Yep, this phone also has built in Wi-Fi!Other features? A 1.3 Megapixel camera, Windows Media Player, T-Mobile myFaves (where you get to pick five friends you can call across any carrier network) and even a handy microSD slot for more memory. Price? From the T-Mobile website:
Think Geek took the ever-popular Retro Handset and updated it so you can connect to your cell phone using Bluetooth technology. That's right! Now people will think you're really crazy talking into a old-time handset connected to... nothing. Oh, and speaking of nothing, there's nothing out there quite like this handset because this product is a ThinkGeek original design. There's only one button which you hold for a few second to put the handset into the Bluetooth pairing mode. The internal battery charges via USB connection. If you cell phone supports voice commands you can make and receive calls right from this handset.Approximately 30 ft range. Works with Bluetooth V1.0, 1.1, 1.2. Blue LED indicates function mode.Package includes Handset, USB cable, and Instructions.$40.
Hey Dick... Listened to Tuesday's installment of the Giz Wiz, and heard Leo talking about the Gadget Warehouse in Second Life. I appreciate the mention! It was a lot of fun to build, and all the people stopping by so far have liked it. I'm attaching a few pictures so you can see what it all looks like. As you can see, we've got all the latest gadgets displayed on the wall from the most recent Friday shows (those images all link out to their respective websites as well), and plenty of gadget boxes and "Giz Wiz Gravy", which sounds kind of disgusting, but gets a good laugh. There's also some notable old gadgets, such as a Cray supercomputer, a Tesla Coil, and a UNIVAC. Just inside we've got a great picture of the original Screen Savers cast, which a few people have stopped to pray to. Weirdos. :) Thanks again for all the great shows! Hope you can get into Second Life and stop by sometime. David Knighton a.k.a. "Boss Melnitz"
Thursday, November 23rd Daily GizWiz Netcast #199!
Xcuse Box ---Here’s an easy way to handle those annoying phone calls. The Excuse Box is no ordinary key tag. Its onboard memory holds 10 full minutes of environmental effects designed specifically to befuddle your annoying caller. Click on the links below, and imagine yourself gleefully escaping from an otherwise awkward and potentially trouble-filled phone call. Here are links to some of the sounds you'll get:
Friday, November 24th...NO BACK TO THE WAREHOUSE, BECAUSE IT'S NETCAST # 200!!!!
We're having another giveaway. Here's how to enter. Email me one word we use a lot on the netcast. Just one word. And "It-makes-its-own-gravy" is NOT one word. Nor is "I'll-be-here"!
Remember just one word. We'll accept entries up to midnight (EST) on December 6th and hopefully announce the winners on the Netcast of Friday, December 8th. I'll make a list of all the winners, number them and then have Leo call out numbers which will be the winners! That way if you enter late, you have an equal chance. There's no choice of prizes. We'll just stick shipping labels on packages and off they go! And as usual, we can only send prizes to addresses in the US and Canada.
Thanks to Andy Marken of Marken Communications, here's what we have to give away:
* InterVideo -- www.intervideo.com -- 3 copies of MediaOne Gallery, 3 copies of WinDVD 8, 3 copies of iVideoToGo * NTI -- www.ntius.com -- 3 copies of NTI Shadow, 3 copies of CD & DVD Maker Titanium, 3 copies of Ninja * Ulead -- www.ulead.com -- 3 copies of VideoStudio 10, 3 copies of MovieFactory 5 * ADS Tech -- www.adstech.com -- 2 MiniTV, 2 InstantFM Music * Verbatim -- www.verbatim.com -- 2 Store 'n Go 1GB Pro USB drives, 2 Store 'n Go U3 USB drives.
and we also have a couple of Imation water-resistant 512 MB Clip Flash Drives! www.imation.com
Follow the links to read about the prizes! And Good luck!
Monday, November 27th… The Daily GizWiz Netcast #201
Not just another iPod docking system.
The iSymphony offers something different in the crowded iPod dock/speaker category. This micro system features a standard type Universal Dock for iPod, but then it adds a front-loading CD player with MP3 support, an AM/FM clock radio. But there’s more! A USB port allows playback from nondocking iPod models and other USB-equipped devices; Secure Digital and MultiMediaCard slots. It also plays CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3 and WMA formats. The clock radio allows you to wake and sleep to your iPod, a CD or your favorite radio station. There’s a full remote control included. My only compliant is that the clock doesn’t light up when the unit is in the “off” position. In the on position, the high tech blue lighting is neat!About $150 to $180.
There was no reason to make fun of Leo’s pick for this TTTT because he picked the brand new Microsoft Zune! The only thing I had heard about the Zune is that it couldn’t be used to record Podcasts. I wonder if it was that the word “Pod” might somehow make people think of iPod. Maybe if Netcast were more widely used, the Zune might have found a way to record and play them.Anyway Leo’s TTTT is certainly worth a listen!
If you ever were a fan of The Match Game, I had a lot to do with making it stay on the air for some 18 years.
I'm in the new documentary The Real Match Game Story, Behind The Blank. It aired already, but it reruns Tuesday, November 28th at 9 PM on GSN, the Game Show Network. I'm told it will repeat several more times, but those times have not been posted yet.
You don't have to watch, just FYI.
Art by Jack Davis of MAD Magazine Fame!
Wednesday, November 29th, Daily GizWiz Netcast #203
Does it look like rain? It’s easy to tell with the 5-Day Wireless Weather Forecaster
The Brookstone Home Weather Station beams AccuWeather forecasts directly to you! Now you can get the exact time and a five-day forecast at a glance. Brookstone wireless weather stations keep you up to date with real-time reports received via radio signals from AccuWeather. No wiring, computer, or television required! This is pretty neat. I took it out of the box, sat it on the desk and in an hour – nothing happened!So I hit the reset switch, sat it on the desk again, and in an hour it came up with the exact time and the weather for my area. It knows where I live! Yep it automatically recognizes your geographical location. It displays temperatures (with daily high and low readings). Mini icons show forecasted conditions at a glance. And it provides data for five cities in your area. Self-setting clock for accurate time. Use the built-in stand or secure it to any metal surface with its internal magnet.$85.
Thursday, November 30th, Daily GizWiz Netcast #204
The Picoo Z Micro Helicopter is made of tough expanded Polypropylene foam, features a blue LED strobe light, and incorporates an auto stability system to make this chopper easy to operate both indoors and outside in calm conditions. It comes assembled and ready to fly with an innovative pre-installed two channel proportional wide beam infra red control system. The lightweight Lithium Polymer onboard rechargeable battery pack drives two powerful micro motors and will provide flights of 12 to 15 minutes, yet can be recharged in less than half an hour with the portable charger provided. This mini helicopter is AMAZING, and it doesn't take experience to fly it! You can take off, hover in one spot then direct it left or right while remaining in complete control, and landings are fully controlled and gentle. The Picoo Z comes with everything needed to be flying within minutes, including an r/c transmitter, flight battery, charger and instructions.
Back to the warehouse, Friday, December 1st.Netcast #205
The Logitech KeyCase Keyboard was a unique wraparound keyboard complete with protective case to protect your Palm m125, m130, m500, m505, m515 or i705 Series. It connected to a Palm via the cradle so there were no cumbersome wires and no extra power source needed. The Logitech KeyCase was made of and it had an elastic band to help protect the Palm Pilot. Unfolded the case became a pressure-sensitive QWERTY keyboard. It wasn’t a replacement for a standard keyboard, but it beats using a stylus or Graffiti. A slight drawback of the KeyCase is that it had to be used on a flat surface. So you could use it on an airplane tray table, but not on your lap. The list price was $99, but for a while it was for sale in1995 for under $4! If you do a web search Leo said he found it under $10 right now.