Daily GizWiz Podcasts. Week of October 2 --- Podcast # 161 Monday, October 2, 2006
Watch out! It’s the Self Destruction USB Hub!
Have you ever been so angry sitting at the computer you wish you had a self destruction button? Well now you can. It sure will look neat on your desk too! The Self-destruct Button USB Hub is an honest to goodness fully functional four-port USB hub, but it’s the red light, toggle switches, key switch (it comes with two keys), and a self-destruct button protected by a flip-up plastic cover. If you are brave enough to push it, you'll get hear SFX from a speaker built right into the bottom of the unit. For an unpowered USB hub, it is expensive, $65. But then again, there’s nothing else like it.
Leo pick this week is the Sanyo Xacti HD-1. It can shoot 720p HD Video and
5.1 Megapixel Digital Still Photos. It can capture Still and Video Images simultaneously. It has a bright 2.2 Inch OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) Display, 10x Optical Zoom Lens and can record about 41 Minutes of High-Definition video on a 2 gigabyte SD card (Sold Separately). Other features include: Built-in Digital Image Stabilization, Super Fast Start-Up, High Capacity Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery, Built-in 4-mode Flash and Talking Navigation Guide for First-Time Users. Leo liked that a lot. It has USB 2.0 & S-Video Output. PC/MAC Compatible And it’s small 3.1" x 4.7" x 1.4" MSRP is $699, but Leo a web search will bring up a lower price. More info:
Senseo Supreme. The Senseo Pod Coffee Maker was launched in the U.S. in 2004. But now there’s a new model – the Senseo Supreme Coffee Maker. New features include an interactive LCD display to select coffee volumes, water level indicator lights and a chrome silver body. The Senseo Supreme Coffee Maker lets you select desired coffee size by using an high tech blue screen interactive LCD display. The original Senseo brewed a maximum of 8 oz., Senseo Supreme can brew up to 10oz., The Supreme model also comes with an adjustable spout, which can raise and lower to accommodate different size mugs. And my favorite improvement is a 33% larger water reservoir now generates four 8 oz cups from a full tank. I also like the high tech look of the new chrome silver body and blue backlighting. There are two new coffees also. Senseo Cappuccino’s specially designed pod contains premium coffee with a separate layer of creamer housed in an innovative “honeycomb” to ensure it blends evenly with the extracted coffee. The result is a really decent cappuccino at the touch of a button. The new Senseo Sumatra Blend is one of favorites because it uses Arabica beans. I did find that I had to rinse the pot several times out of the box to get ride of “new coffee pot” taste. MSRP $139.95. The link below sells it for $129.95 and includes more than 5 dozen free coffee pods and coupons for more free pods.
Thursday, October 5th. Podcast #164 Damn those gizmos and gadget in heavy plastic shrink wrapping!
OpenX is a new hand held tool specifically designed to safely and easily open plastic packages. Plastic packaging has revolutionized the retail industry. It makes easy for retailers to hang them on hooks and it lets us see clearly what’s inside. These packages are everywhere and they one small drawback. They’re just about impossible to open! Well OpenX comes to the rescue to help make opening those plastic packages safe and easy. They are two blades. Open is recessed to cut lighter plastic bags. The other blade, designed for heavier plastic slides out with the push of a button. It’s sharp, so this is not an item for kids to use. They’re $4.95 each and if you order 3 it includes shipping.
The MH-1 (Must Have One) Non-contact Temperature Device
The MH-1 never mentions the actual technology it uses. They call it a “non-contact temperature device” that uses “advanced technology to quickly and conveniently measure surface temperatures. It provides fast and accurate temperature readings without physically touching the object.” Actually it’s great fun and very informative. Just aim, press the button and read the temperature. You can check the temperatures in fridge or freezer, hot spots in computers, engines, etc. Unfortunately not everyone was excited about it as I was. Made by Tadem4 Ltd, I found it a trade show about 5 years ago. But it’s nowhere to be found today.
By the way, this gizmo was the subject of the September "What The Heck Is It?" game.
Monday, October 9th, Daily GizWiz Netcast # 166
LeakFrog --- No, not Leap Frog, but LeakFrog! Did you know that 70% of Toxic Mold is caused by water leaks? Do you care? Well you should! And 40% of property damage comes from water. So as long as we’ve got water, you should know about LeakFrog. It’s a small water alarm that costs under $13, but it can save you a lot more! Behind the cute smile is a brain that knows when you have a water problem. LeakFrog sits patiently day and night - ready to sound its alarm at the first sign of a leak from the sink, washing machine, pipes, etc. It’s powered by 3 AAA batteries which amazingly, are included! When a bit of water gathers, it shorts across the two terminals and the alarm goes off and you know you’ve got a water leak. Under $13.00
Tuesday, Turn the Table Tuesday, DGW 167 October 10thLeo’s gizmo was the Buddha Machine.
(Here’s some info from their website), FM3 is an electronic act based in China, an act known primarily for its minimalist bent and their tendency to subdue live crowds into absolute silence. (The Daily GizWiz has been known to subdue large crowds into absolute silence too!) As such, it only makes sense that they be the act to introduce Staalplaat's Buddha Machine series. The Buddha Machine, then, is a little plastic box that plays music. Specifically, FM3 constructed nine drones, varying from two seconds to 42 seconds, which repeat endlessly in the listener's ear until the "track" is switched to the next drone (or the two AA batteries run out). The machine has its own built-in speaker, in case one would like to fill a room with the drones, but there is also a headphone jack for more personal meditative experiences. There's a switch on the side that allows for traversal of the tracks, and a DC jack (though an adapter is not included) for those who would like the Buddha Machine experience be truly endless. In a way, it's like the cheapest pre-loaded IPod you'll ever be able to buy. It even comes in a number of different colors, for the fashion-conscious experimental music aficionado. Mine's a very stylish magenta. Under $23.00.
An inexpensive way to jump into XM satellite radio is the Sportscaster. It’s compact, covers the basics and easy to use. The Sportscaster sounds like it’s XM only for sports freaks, but it’s not. It does ship with 3 of its 30 presets already set to XM sports offerings. But the name is a little deceiving because you get more than 170 channels that XM subscribers get when pay the normal monthly rate of $12.95. It’s small -- 4.5 by 1.75 by 0.75 inches – very compact for a satellite receiver. It has a two-line amber backlit display. There’s a third line with icons and graphics. Geared toward car owners the Sportscaster ships with a car mount, a magnetic antenna for the roof of your car, a car lighter power adapter, and a remote control. But it’s limited to use in the car. The Sportscaster can be used around the house with the optional Home Kit, and if you want to take to beach or park, there’s also an optional boombox accessory kit. It’s under $60. At CompUSA they have special rebate good until 10/28/06. And it’s only $40 after the rebate!
Thursday October 12th #169Garmin's newest personal trainer — the Forerunner 305.
The Forerunner 305 combines all of the popular features found in the 301 along with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, new courses feature, and wireless heart rate monitor for optimal performance. You can receive a detailed post-workout analysis on the PC with included Garmin Training Center software. The new lightweight design "wraps" the GPS antenna around part of the wrist for a better view of the sky, improving reception during training. It’s certainly bigger than any watch, but it looks so high tech. Even if you’re not running! You can customizable screens to let you view up to 12 data fields on 3 data screens. Pick the immediate feedback you want most when training A feature Garmin calls Multi-sport lets you transition between sports without resetting the unit, so you can use it for running, biking, and more. There’s no calibration required. Just turn it on and go. A new “courses feature” lets you download recorded courses and compete against previous workouts. And this is pretty trick! With Auto Pause you don’t have to push any buttons when you stop for a traffic light. The 305 pauses and resumes training timer because it’s based on a specified speed and it knows you have stopped and then started again. If you want to push yourself a bit and there’s no friend to run with, Virtual Partner lets you train against a digital person at specified time, distance or pace goals. I set his goals very low and I bet him every time!! I call him my virtual wimp! $376.91 – How do they arrive at those weird prices?? Price shop, though and you can find it at the $300 mark.
Yes, we’re now a Netcast! Leo has a great idea for a new term for Podcasting for those who think you can only hear them on an iPod. Back the Warehouse Friday--- Sonic Jacket. Want to be Walking Juke Box?
This was kind of a forerunner of Technology Enabled Clothing. It was a jacket with six pockets. Four pockets contained speakers. One contained an amplifier and the last pocket was where you hooked up your cassette player via the earphone jack. Cassette player? This is about 15 to 18 years ago, remember! Then you walked down the street and everyone heard what your favorite music was. I never saw this jacket on sale, so perhaps no one wanted that much attention! All the wiring was inside the jacket. If you want Tech Enabled Clothing for today’s device, check out
No, it's not Sonic Jacket! It's one of the latest model TEC Jackets from Scott E Vest.
Monday – October 16, 2006 Daily GizWiz Netcast #171
Verticon lets you experience the fun of mid-air combat. No, the electric fan isn’t big enough to let you fly, but it does a great job with your 3-D warrior. Two to four people launch their warriors into the first aerial battle system. Go head-to-head with 3-D warriors that fight in flight. The combat starts when you release your palm-sized battling sphere into an inverted dome perched atop a foot-high air-blowing base. The Verticon warriors hover over the dome, floating and fighting in its powerful jet stream until one warrior is knocked out. IKnocked out of the dome, not knocked out cold!) There are various weapons available so each player can “arm” their warrior. And there’s a complete back story and scoring system if you really want to get deep into the game! About $25.00 (Verticon isfrom the folks at Wild Planet who give us those fun Spy Gear Gizmos)
Tuesday, October 17th - Turn The Table Tuesday, Netcast #172 Leo’s Pick The Nokia N93 Cell Phone
What can I say? The pressure on me to kick Leo’s butt is growing. Every week there are at least a dozen emails telling me to trash Leo’s Turn the Table Tuesday gizmo even if I like it. But the problem is I really like the stuff he’s come up with so far. I mean this Nokia cell phone shoots high res video. You have to admit that’s pretty amazing! Of course so is $699.95, but it does a lot for the price. Don’t give up hope though. Sooner or later he’ll find something not-so-hot and I’ll let him have it both barrels!
For more info on Leo’s TTT Tuesday, here’s the link.
Plantronics Discovery 655 Bluetooth headset. This is a little more middle of the road gadget for the Giz Wiz, but it has some neat features. It has DSP (Digital Signal Processing) to reduce outside noise levels so you can have enhanced sound for a clearer conversation. It really lightweight at only 9 grams. What makes this Bluetooth headset different is its innovative charging system. You can charge it via AC, via USB or via a AAA battery. Adapters for all three charging methods are included. You can expect up to 3.5 of talk time, and 10 hours if the AAA battery is added. The pocket charger has a vibrate ring indicator. If the headset is in the case when a call is received, it will vibrate, letting you know there's an incoming call. When you take the headset out of the case, it will automatically answer the call without you having to reach for your cell phone. Great if your phone is a backpack or other case. MSRP is $149.95 But if you do a web search you can find it for about half.
Fisher Price Audio Player Kid-Tough FP3 Player – it’s a kid’s version of an MP3 player suitable for kids as young as 3 years old! Built tough, it holds two hours of entertainment. It’s preloaded with six songs and 3 stories. Kids can download more kid appropriate music and songs. You can’t download iTunes material, but the pricing is iTunes-like, ranging from 99 cents to $1.99. You can also load music from a CD and play it via an optional SD card. Our friend James Kim over at CNET said he had an ideal person to test it. His three year old who mastered the big buttons and clear pictures without looking at the instructions. Sounds like another techie in the making! The blue-and-white yo-yo shaped device is also available in pink and white. It’s rugged and easy to grip for the small set. A blue backlit monochrome 1.4-inch LCD lets the child pick between music (a big musical note) and a story (picture of a book). Even I was able to master it without looking at the instructions. Online content is available for ages 3 to 8. Prices is about $70.
Back to warehouse Friday ---CASIO CASSIOPEIA FIVA MPC-102.
This pocket size computer was amazing for its time. With the MEDIA-GX it ran at 200 MHz and memory was (think the year 2000) 32 MB. The screen was 6.7” TFT and it ran the full version of Windows 98. The keyboard was small, better for two fingers that all out typing. The cost was high, almost $2,000. A year later a much more robust model from Casio was released. The CASIO FIVA MPC 206. It has 128MB memory and a healthy 20GB hard drive. It ran at 600 MHZ This sub notebook personal computer was 5 7/8 x 8 ¼ and under an inch thick. It was powered by a Crusoe processor. It featured a lot of connections: PCMCIA slot, IrDA sensor, USB port, and DC-in jack. But the DC jack looks like a Casio exclusive. The built-in modem took a phone line directly, not like the earlier Fiva. There’s a built-in microphone and speaker. 8.4" SVGA (800x600) screen, Ethernet plugs in directly, no dongle is needed. Even a 4-pin unpowered firewire port. One unique feature of the Fiva is the little switch on the back right side. In one position, the machine boots up into Windows Millenium Edition... in the other position, it does a quick-boot into a reduced version of Linux and runs an MP3 player. Again the price was robust too. $1999.95.00
I have still have both of these and both have useable battery. So you happen to have a spare Fiva battery that you can’t wait to get rid, drop me an email. email@example.com.
Monday, October 23, Netcast # 176 Blue Voice, the Worldís First Bluetooth Watch -- HmmmÖnow where did I put my Bluetooth headset? You donít have to keep it in your ear all day so you know where it is. You can wear it on your wrist as your watch and only place it in your ear when you have a call. You can be one of the first in the US with one of these Bluetooth watches because the major publicity launch will occur on Nov. 8, 2006 when itís unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Shows' Press Conference in New York. Then it will at the Innovations Products showcased in the Jan 2007 Consumer Electronic Show. The Blue Voice ergonomic headset can be connected to your mobile phone at any time. When there is an incoming call, you simply detach the hands free unit from the wrist band. Then with its soft rubber ear piece, use it as a normal earphone. When the call ends the hands free unit can be re-attached onto the strap, providing maximum comfort as you do not need to wear the main unit on your ear at all times. Also you need not worry about misplacing your Bluetooth - it's always at your wrist. And of course, it can be used on outgoing calls like any Bluetooth headset. There are 2 models available. Analog and Digital. (I prefer the digital because it has other watch features like stopwatch.) Analog has a traditional watch face and is available in 6 colors. Pricing: Analog: $127.95. Digital: $119.95
Turn The Table Tuesday --- Netcast #177 --- Tuesday, October 24th, What is Pzizz? No, not a terrible way to spell pzizz, but according to Leo, a great find! Once again Leo was so excited about his find; I didnít have the heart to jump down his throat. He swears itís changing his life. I havenít had a chance to try this myself, but hereís some info on it from their website. pzizz hardware and pzizz software form part of a remarkable new system that is designed to help you achieve certain goals in life in the fastest, most effective way possible. pzizz combines Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), enchanting music, sound effects and a binaural beat to achieve a wonderfully relaxed state in the listener, similar to that experienced during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. It is when in this relaxed state that the subconscious is most open to positive suggestion, and this is where the expertise of Michael Breen, one of the Worldís foremost NLP Master Trainers, comes into play. His voice will guide you through the program of your choice, providing you with all of the benefits of a "one-on-one" private session in the comfort of your home or office and without any effort from you.
DGW Netcast for Wednesday, October 25th Ė Car MD. How would you like to get a checkup for under $90?
Okay, so itís not for yourself. But it can work just fine for the vehicle you drive. The device is called CarMD and itís a diagnostic tool that gives drivers an easy way to monitor their vehicleís health. And it can be used on multiple vehicles. Like the CarChip we talked about some time back, CarMD works on cars, light trucks, SUVs and minivans manufactured for use in the U.S. since 1996. They all have an onboard 16 pin Data Link Connector. So you plug CarMD into DLC to download the same information that mechanics access. After itís connected it beeps once to tell you that itís linked to the vehicleís computer. Four beeps means it has successfully downloaded the data. Then you use the included software and USB cable which enables you log on to CarMD website. There you not only see a complete diagnostic report, but it does something else I think is very clever. It can not only offer info on whatís wrong and possible fixes, but it scans its knowledgebase to give you an idea of what a mechanic will charge to fix whatís wrong. CarMD costs about $90. I specifically asked the folks at CarMD if there was a monthly charge to access the data base which they say is constantly updated. The person at the show I attended assured me the only charge was for the CarMD kit itself.
This lightweight MP3 Player has a lot features for its size, including a touch screen, FM radio receiver, and built-in stereo speakers. The Samsung K5 enables you to share your music experience with others. What turns it into a mini boom box are the mini slide-out speakers. And it still offers a slim, compact form. For personal listening the K5 ships with above average earphones with two-part buds that offer bass-enhanced sound. You download music files via USB 2.0. The K5 can also be your alarm clock and you can wake to your choice of music. The alarm automatically switches on to ring the alarm, even if your K5 is switched off. Thereís a snooze alarm too! And you can go to sleep with your favorite music because the K5 has timer function and auto turn off. Plays MP3 or WMA formats. Available in 2 and 4 GB models. $249.99 at J & R Music for the 4 GB unit.
I thought this device from the warehouse was long gone, but it turns out itís still available. Itís from a different company than the one I have, but itís exactly the same product. And itís a lot cheaper than when it first appeared. The Special F/X unit lets you create movie-magic right in your living room. Just plug your lights or lamps into the outlet on The Special FX Unit! Then crank up the volume on the included Sound F/X CD. As sounds of storms and thundering lightening fills the room you can watch as your home lights respond to different special effects like an electric short circuit, a creaking haunted house or even a beating heart! And this is neat, the Special F/X Unit also works with your own music CD's! $29.99
Monday, October 30. Daily GizWiz Netcast #181 h2O Audio
If you have an iPod h20 Audio makes a series of cases that enable you to take it to mountains, the beach, the ocean, the tub, etc. The H2O Audio Outdoor Housing is an iImpact and element resistant housing for Apple iPod nano Players. With their Commander Scroll Wheel you still have full control of the Apple Click Wheel, even while wearing a glove! The locking slider system is designed to keep the player safe and closed on impact. And at the Showstoppers event I watched the gentleman at the booth drop it several times and it played perfectly after. You can use any standard headphones or buy optional waterproof ones for listening in, or even under the water. The kit includes an outdoor sport armband for secure and accessible activity wear. MSRP for the H2O Audio Outdoor for iPod nano housing is USD $39.98 H2O Audio products and accessories for Apple iPods and mp3 players are available at selected Apple stores, Apple online as well as from the H2O Audio eStore at
Turn the Table Tuesday And Leo came up with The Titanium Spork. The spork is a combination Spoon/Fork. And Leoís claim to fame was that it was made of Titanium! I rode him about it being a piece of crap, spurred on by all the email to ďlet Leo have itĒ on some Turn The Table Tuesday. So guess what? Some people were happy I zinged Leo and some thought the Spork was pretty neat! Here are some comments on that episode from www.twit.tv/dgw182
Submitted by Hellmark on Thu, 2006-11-02 00:02
Actually, I've been looking at getting some metal sporks (mostly stainless steel though), so I didn't think this was total crap.
Congrats, Dick! Submitted by bellonjm on Tue, 2006-10-31 13:44 - You finally got Leo - and I laughed with you, all the way to work this morning!
I actually bought one a week. Submitted by Gamabunta on Tue, 2006-10-31 09:32 - I actually bought one a week or so before this podcast and actually think it's pretty cool. I carry it around w/ me when I go through the drive-thru and the person working the window forgets to give me a plastic spork. Did I mention it's titanium?