On Monday, February 20th, The Giz Wiz, Dick DeBartolo, and Leo Laporte, the Chief TWiT (Host of This Week in Technology) started a daily gadget podcast! Look for us on AOL Radio and iTunes! Or should that be "listen" for us. Monday through Thursday we'll talk about one brand new gadget each day, and on Friday's we go to the Giz Wiz Warehouse and talk about a strange gadget of the past! Here are the gadgets from the first two weeks of shows. Join us, it's fun!
More connections, less cables!
At last wireless comes to USB via Belkin's CableFree USB hub. It lets you connect peripherals to a PC without running wires to the computer. (You still have to run wires to the hub, but they can be easier to hide and up to about 30’ from the computer!) This is ideal for that USB device with a cable that doesn’t reach the computer by 3 or 4 inches! (Don’t you hate that??) So now you can connect a printer, a scanner, or any other USB 2.0 gadget to the hub which is powered by Freescale's short-range Ultra-Wideband technology. The transfer rate is said to be up to 100 times faster than a Bluetooth connection. The hub and USB receiver dongle will be available by Spring. Price: Under $130.00
Powerup Fitness keeps exercisers from slacking off with the EnterTrainer. This is a pulse monitor with a built-in universal remote control. Ease up your exercise and it turns down the volume on whatever you're watching or listening to. If you slack off even more, it will shut it off!!! Then it turns it on again when you pick up your pace again. And as you approach your target range, the volume goes back to its preset level so you can enjoy it once again. What’s different about the EnterTrainer is that it works with any device that uses a remote control, not a single device as in some units in the past. Under $100.
Hmm....should I be taking this medication with that medication?
The Excalibur Rx Master can warn you of side effects and drug interactions becauseit's loaded with info on the most-prescribed pharmaceuticals. For emergencies it has numbers for more than 50 medical hot lines. Under $30. That device is new. But the Excalibur Electronic Egg Timer may not still be made. It shows the time and has an electronic hour glass. Turn it over and the time turns itself right side up and the electronic "sand" starts falling! It retailed for $20, but I got mine at a close out for $10.
The Celestron SkyScout makes great use of GPS. Look at the night sky through this handheld gizmo and it can tell you what you are looking at. The screen gives you the name of the star, the planet, etc. and it will also talk to you and give you the same info. Since it’s knows the date, the SkyScout can also tell you what’s available where you are and tell you which way to turn to see particular objects. (You follow the arrows in the viewfinder) If you like, you can download new tours and data to an SD card via computer. Now when you look up in the sky you won’t have to guess at what you’re seeing. Coming in March for under $400.
Magellan RoadMate 800, under $900. Not only does this portable battery powered unit do turn by turn navigation, but it’s also an MP3 player and photo viewer. Preloaded maps (on a 20 GB hard drive) for out-of-the-box text- and voice-prompted directions for all 50 United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Virgin Islands. 3.5-inch, high-resolution color touch screen. SmartVolume feature automatically increases speaker volume when speed exceeds 45 MPH, and the map color changes automatically for better visibility at night.
Planon has introduced the DocuPen RC800 color handheld scanner. It embodies all the breakthrough technologies of the previous DocuPen models and adds some neat new ones. The most impressive new feature is full color 24 bit scanning while keeping the device remarkably compact and light. It looks like a small windshield wiper but packs a ton of features. The RC800 can store 100's of pages into memory and it takes just seconds to scan a page. You have a choice of scanning modes: black and white, standard color or high 24bit color and the resolution from 100 to 400 dpi. Now you can scan your letters, color documents, pictures and bring them into Paperport software (which is included with the Docupen). The DocuPen is different from other pen sized scanners in that it scans a FULL PAGE width. (Remember those first scanners that scanned just a column of newsprint?) This scans the entire page including text and graphics in as little as 4 seconds. Now you can scan anywhere. On an airplane, at the library, the bookstore and so on. Rechargeable batteries power the DocuPen RC800, and for the first time ever this new model takes TransFlash memory cards for unlimited memory! Under $300. Other models down to about $100. www.planon.com
Acclimator – The Jet Lag watch. (Not shown here.)
Actually this should have been named the anti-jet lag watch, because that’s what the inventor said it was good for. When flying overseas you would set the watch for the direction you were flying in, and how many hours the flight would last. If you were flying east, the watch would keep speeding up, so that when you got off the plane, it was pretty much on local time. Flying west, the watch would keep slowing down. The inventor felt by a passenger not having to set his/her watch back or forward many hours, their body would be adjust more quickly during the flight. It sold for $99 when it first came out, but the only mention I find on the web today, is a mention about the watch in USA Today, dated 1992! IMPORTANT UPDATE! Thanks to e-mails from a couple of very sharp Tech TV viewers, I'm happy to pass on the info that the Jet-Lag Watch is available at www.jetlag.com. And for only $49.00, less than half of the original price. It's no longer referred to as the Acclimator, but merely as the Jet Lag Watch.
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Join Leo Laporte and myself for The Daily GizWiz Podcasts, Monday to Friday. They're under 10 minutes and you won't have time to fall asleep! Click on the Giz Wiz image above to learn all the places you can find us.
The world?s first digital music eyewear?
Oakley, world famous for their precision sunglasses, started with the impressive Thump line, a combination of their high tech sunglasses and a miniature built in MP3 Player. Now they've introduced a lot of new bells and whistles with their Thump2! I tried a pair and not only do they make me look ultra trendy, they offer impressive music playback considering their size. The new design lets you listen to even more of your favorite tunes because THUMP 2 offers memory storage up to 1 gigabyte. That?s 240 songs in a fully integrated design that frees you from dangling cords and wires. Everything is built in! Listen to music virtually anywhere with the easy to adjust speaker buds and just swing them out of the way when you want to hear the outside world. There are also 512 MB & 256 MB versions. You get up to 6 hours of playback time on a single charge and a three-color indicator light shows battery level. Prices range from about $300 to $450.
Make calls, take pictures, shoot video, email friends, watch the latest news ----
LG the V, is one heck of gizmo.You can experience the ultimate in mobile multimedia with The V because it does a lot!. Stream, download and play video clips with V CAST, crank up the tunes with the MP3 player and built in stereo speakers. Shoot pix and flix and store them on an optional MiniSD card. Get and send email anywhere, anytime, with the QWERTY keyboard. LG The V has two screens, one on the outside for making calls, and a bigger one on the inside for viewing emails, writing emails, watching videos, or with V CAST watching music videos, or the latest news. It also has a business card reader and Bluetooth wireless technology built in! It's a lot for $299.00 and with a two year Verizon Wireless contract there's a $100 rebate which brings to under $200.
Didn't you know I was turning right? Didn't you see my ear blink??
Of all the submissions so far of weird inventions, this is my favorite. Directional Signals for your ears!! They hang over your ears, with a wire that leads down to the battery pack, and buttons. Push the right button to 'signal' a right turn, left for left, and both for 'full stop'! It was sent in by Neel Patel of New Jersey, and I already sent Neel an autographed copy of MAD. Several others who submitted ideas that didn't make these web pages, also got autographed issue of MAD, so keep checking your mail. Thanks to Neel, I now know about the weird website that sells Head Blinkers, and lots of other 'stupid' stuff. Matter of fact, it's an easy name to remember.. www.stupid.com
Week 3 March 6-10-2006- “THE DAILY GIZ WIZ” with Leo Laporte….
Monday, March 6th --- Slingbox. - Here’s an amazing gizmo like no other I’ve ever seen! Picture this. You’re on a trip flipping through all the dreary channels on the hotel TV. There’s nothing you want to see. If only you had all those “favorite” channels you have programmed on the TV at home. Well with Slingbox you can!! It’s hard to believe but Slingbox enables you to watch your home programming from wherever you. It turns virtually any broadband internet-connected PC into your personal TV. You can be in another room or the backyard like I was, or even in another country, and you’ll have access to your television, cable box, DVD, etc.. Not only that, there’s a virtual remote control that pops up on the remote computer that lets you use the mouse to control the home devices. When you travel, be sure to warn the people at home so they don’t freak out when you change the channel from 3,000 miles away! Hook up took me about 20 minutes and I’m quite amazed at how well it works. The price is right too. $249.00
Tuesday, March 7th -- Charge 2 Go $25 The Charge 2 Go uses a single AA battery to provide 3 hours of talk time on your cellular phone. A chip inside the charger amps the battery’s 1.5 volts to voltage powerful enough to charge and run the phone. It’s about 1/3 the size of other multiuse portable cellphone chargers. Adapters are available for all phones except Sanyo and Audiovox. Great for leaving in your car’s glove box, since AAs take years to lose their charge. Each Charge 2 Go comes with 3 cell phone adapters, so order by cell phone manufacturer.
Wednesday, March 8th. Alive Chimpanzee Under $150. The folks at WowWee who brought us the wonderful Robosapien have a new line of high tech animatronics called WowWee Alive. The first of the Alive brand is a highly detailed, realistic-looking, life size bust of a Chimpanzee. With Facetronics, the Chimpanzee is able to replicate the sounds and movements of his real counterpart in the jungle. He has an infrared vision system to detect movement and track objects, which means he can scare you or a family member when they walk by!
Thursday, March 9th Fly Pen – under $100. This is really amazing. You can draw a calculator on “fly paper” and then it actually works! Touch the pen to the various numbers and a voice announces them. Then touch the pen to the plus, equal, multiply or divide sign that you’ve also drawn and it announces the correct answer! It saves notes, announces the date and time, and does lots of other fun stuff with the built in software.There's optional software that teaches foreign languages. Other software lets you draw a piano keyboard and then playit ! Lots of other fun stuff too. More new software is on the way!
1996 Casio QV-10. The first under $1,000 consumer digital camera. Introduced at $650. For that price you got a camera with a whopping 2 mb of non-removable memory. It had no flash, and it offered a resolution of 320 X 240. Of course at that resolution, it could store up to 96 pictures! But back then it was the "gee wiz" talk of all my friends. There was an endless stream of people into my office so people could peer at their digital image on the 1.8” LCD color screen. Of course the way thing that had to be avoided at all costs was accidentally turning the camera off, or interrupting the AC power while it was processing a digital image. That could cause the camera to display FATAL ERROR. And you could not reboot the camera. Only Casio Tech Support could do, and you had to send the camera back to them!
Move forward ten years! The Digital Blue American Idol camera. Specifications: Dimension: 2.25' x 1.5' x 0.5" Image Resolution: 352 x 288 (CIF)/176 x 144 (QXIF) Memory: 16Mb Picture Capacity: 20 pictures (CIF)/80 pictures (QCIF PC Interface: USB And the cost? $19.99!!!
The camera is still on eBay where I found this image!
Week four - March 13th to 17th...
Eton AM/FM/TV/Weather Band Radio with Wireless Phone Charger!
The Eton FR300 provides you with radio, light and wireless phone battery life when you need it most. Just 90 seconds of cranking provides up to an hour of radio play. The hand-crank power generator charges the internal rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack. Receives all 7 NOAA weather channels plus “alert” and TV VHF channels. 3-LED light system with emergency flash and siren Crank-charge system charges built-in rechargeable battery or recharge battery via AC optional adaptor/charger. Can be powered with all batteries removed, by continuous cranking or use 3 AA batteries (not included.) Under $50 Radio Shack
The mobiBLU DAH-1500i is the world’s smallest MP3 player. It has a built in FM Radio and the whole gizmo weighs less than one ounce! And tiny?? It’s about the size of a candy caramel! It’s so small the easiest way to carry it is to wear it! And mobiBLU makes that easy by providing a lanyard with built in earphones! (They also double as the antenna for the FM radio!) This tiny guy is big in the features department! It plays MP3, WMA and protected WMA files, has a built in clock, graphic equalizer and voice recorder! And get this! As small as it is, it comes with a four-line OLED display! OLED, or organic LED provides a bright, easy to read display under most conditions. The play, FF/REW and volume buttons are on the right side and the menu and hold buttons are on the left. The headphone jack doubles as a USB 2.0 port. A lot of thought went into this tiny gizmo! It’s available in a variety of neat colors Price: $99 for 512 Mb; $130 for 1GB. And just added --- a 2 GB unit for about $160. This is a nice price for that much storage. Right now it’s available at WalMart. More details can be found at
MFuel Universal Power Bank, An Innovation Award Winner at the Consumer Electronics Show. Dramatically increases the operating time of portable electronic devices – notebook computers, cell phones, PDA, MP3 players, etc. With the largest MFuel you can add up to 12 Hours of additional notebook run time and 100 hours of additional cell phone talk time. Never run out of power anywhere. LCD readout clearly shows charge time, battery level, and the run time for your electronics. And when you charge it the LCD read out tells you how many minutes more charge time is needed and how much charge is in the unit. 27 included Hot Tips cover more than 90% of power electronic devices. 3 different size units range from $200 to $400.
ZEN Vision:M from Creative Labs does a heck of a lot.
Plays music, shows photos and video, has a built in FM tuner and a mic in one compact player.Holds up to 15,000 songs... Watch up to 120 hours of video... Share tens of thousands of photos with your family and friends... 2.5" high resolution 262,144 color screen. Enjoy up to 14 hours of audio or about 4 hours of video on a single charge. The included power adapter charges your player in less the half the time of USB charging. In between your tunes, use the built-in FM radio to listen to sports scores or traffic reports. You can even record your favorite radio shows - so you'll never miss a thing! 30 gigabytes, under $330. Shipping now.
Send important information from your personal computer to the award-winning Timex Data Link® watch ...without wires or cables. In seconds, you can send up 70 entries in the first release and then 150 entries in the second release from the Timex and Microsoft-developed software that's included. The watch sensor reads flashing bars of light on the monitor... that's the data. The Timex Data Link watch is also a full-function timepiece. It's water-resistant to 100 feet, comes equipped with a three-year battery and popular Timex Indiglo night-light. Access information on your wrist. And all for about $180.00. Replaced by the DataLink USB at about $90.
Here's everything Leo Laporte and the Giz Wiz talked about on THE DAILY GIZWIZ the week of March 20th.
Monday, March 20th.
The Megatech Party Blimp. Radio Controlled Do It Yourself Blimp – Blow up this 3 foot blimp and use the included markers and stencils to put a custom message on it. Then attach the triple fan gondola and actually fly it! It comes complete with remote control that not only controls the blimp but adds remote controlled flashing lights and music! Three motors drive it forward, backward, up, down and even spin it in the air. Price includes a four channel radio transmitter remote. Under $100.www.megatech.com for more info. And here’s a place I found on the web that sells it for under $90: http://www.hobby-warehouse.com/mepabl.html
Tuesday, March 21st
SLEEPTRACKER is a watch that ‘watches’ the way you sleep. The object of the Sleeptracker watch is to help you wake up alert and full of energy. Here’s how it works. You set the time you’re going to sleep and the time you have to wake up. During the night Sleeptracker monitors your body and continuously looks for your best possible waking times. If you’re supposed to be up by 8:00 and the watch senses you’re in a wake zone at ten to eight, it will sound the internal alarm. What the watch helps you avoid is sleeping an extra ten minutes and maybe going into a deeper sleep. That deeper sleep means you’ll wake up more exhausted then if you had gotten up at the more ‘awake’ time just ten minutes earlier. It’s cleverly worked out. I’ve only been using a few days, but I think it works for me. Read all the details at their website. Under $150.
Does your battery need a brain? Battery Brain can do the job. It ensures that you will never be stranded through a dead battery in your car, truck, van, SUV, RV – or any vehicle using a conventional lead acid battery. Here’s how it works: Battery Brain monitors the battery and disconnects the electrical system if it detects the battery is losing sufficient charge to start the engine That should give you peace of mind that your vehicle will always start. There are 3 different models. The first requires manual reset after it shuts down the battery power. The second model offers manual or remote control reconnection. I like the top of the line model best because the remote can also be used to disconnect the battery when leaving the vehicle as an anti-theft feature. Prices range from about $40 to $70.
Meet the Power Squid Surge Protector! It solves the problem of plugging in all those bulky transformer plugs by providing flexible arms with female outlets. These arms accommodate transformer plugs without wasting any outlets and provide greater reach and flexibility than traditional power strips. The Flexity PowerSquid Surge Protector models feature next-generation Ultra-MOVs (the component that actually absorbs the surges) with premium joule ratings, ranging from 1020 to 3280 joules. (I never rated my joules, have you?) All models also feature Purestream EMI/RFI noise filtering. Coaxial cable and phone line protection are standard on all PC models. The flagship Calamari model features two neon glowing female outlets, an audible alarm, and a 360º rotating flat-profile male plug. This is a super useful gizmo for gadget freaks! Prices range from $49.99 to $79.99. www.powersquid.net
From the warehouse Friday, March 24th!
Shower Star is a great idea! I showed it on the air 18 years ago, and discovered it's still available! Water is used to generate electricity, right. Think Hoover Dam or Niagara Falls. So why not use the water coming out of your shower to generate power for a light in the shower? Someone did exactly that and it works great. You can buy different color bulbs, so you can shower in the color light to match your mood! $25 to $35.
Week 6 March 27 to March 31st / Monday, March 27th.
Progression Wake Up Clock. I love waking to light. It beats the jarring noise of traditional alarms. This clock uses a gradual increase in ambient light, stimulating aromas, and peaceful sounds from nature to awaken sleepers. Set the desired wake up time, place some aromatherapy beads (included) into the aroma bowl, and choose a natural sound setting. Thirty minutes before wake-up, the clock’s light begins to glow softly, subtly brightening over the next half hour. As the light increases, the warmth from the lamp releases faint aromatherapy scents into the air to stimulate the olfactory senses. Fifteen minutes before wake up time, the clock’s speaker generates the sleeper’s choice of nature sounds, and at the set wake up time a buzzer sounds to finish the cycle. The alarm can also be used to awaken using only sound, or just the buzzer. The clock can also be set to operate in reverse, gradually diminishing light, scent, and sound at night to usher sleepers into a relaxed slumber. The clock also has a headphone jack, and volume control. Plugs into a standard household outlet, and uses two AA batteries for backup power. $49.95 www.hammacher.com
Tuesday, March 28th CellStik lets you backup your phonebook so you'll never lose it! Those numbers are safe and easily accessible to be transferred into your new cell phone. Edit your cell phonebook with CellStik Central, with a simple to use PC application. Add, delete and edit your cell phone contacts using the comfort of your full sized PC keyboard. And with CellStik you can easily transfer your entire phone book in minutes. Under $40 Order by cell phone model. http://www.sparktech.com/support/index.phpUse Code: gizwiz5 for a $5 discount.
Wednesday, March 29th iRocks X Slim Keyboard features a glowing aura and stylish, ergonomic design! No more squinting in a dimly lit room. Instead, enjoy typing, gaming or surfing the net in the cool comfort of a dark environment. Say goodbye to pain and strain while savoring the innovative X-Structure configuration, with its softer, more responsive keystrokes. Sleek, slim futuristic lines create a perfect match for your snazzy PC! Light it up with The I-Rocks X Slim Electron Luminescence Keyboard! 104 Keys, White with silver trim. Under $40.00 (NOT SHOWN HERE.)
This keyboard doesn't light up --- but it heats!!! Here's a keyboard that gives a whole new meaning to "hot keys"! Called The Warm KeyBoard, it's just the thing for warehouses, shipping/receiving areas and other places where workers are exposed to the elements. Get rid of the gloves and cut down on typing errors. Or if the boss is cheap and the office is cold because he won't put on the heat, then you'll want this finger-friendly heated keyboard. Built with heating elements underneath the keys, the keyboard gently radiates heat into your hands, loosening those stiff joints and making typing more enjoyable. The heater is AC powered and allows two levels of heating: 93 degrees F or 100 degrees F. I tried it and it really works. The heat is evenly distributed across the keyboard. Standard 104-key layout, 11 multimedia hotkeys (no pun intended) and height adjustable. Under $50.
Thursday, March 30th- READY KIT PLUS About $60 This bright orange backpack includes all the items Homeland Security suggests plus 40 more. There’s food and water for one person for three days plus first aid supplies, radio, flashlight, etc. www.homeguardinc.com
Friday, March 31st. 30 years ago, 1976 The first Sony Betamax SL-7200 - About $1,000. No timer – recorded for one hour. Later a clock/timer became an option for $45! And it was a one-event, 24-hour timer. Then a two hour model came out. But perhaps the weirdest invention in a century came along so people could record on additional blank video tapes. It was the optional "Betastacker" tape changer. With moving fingers and assorted sounds it automatically ejected a cassette and inserted a new one, dropping the used one into a bag you hung on the front the VCR. Up to four tapes could be recorded or played in a row, the one in the machine and three more. It was Sony’s desperate attempt to compete with VHS which had a longer playing time. It was very expensive, something like $230! But it was a huge commercial failure as evidenced by fact they were closed out for about $35. But it was worth the money to see mechanical fingers working to push the buttons on the Betamax machine. More info and a picture of the Sony Betamax TV/VCR is at