We interupt this week's Daily GizWiz website for a quickie bulletin. iTunes has just released "People's Choice - The Best New Podcasts". As one would expect Leo Laporte and the twit network are all over the winner's list! And the Daily GizWiz, which was on for only 10 months of 2006 was the 81st most downloaded Podcast/Netcast on iTunes. Thanks to all of your devoted fans for making that happen!
Monday, Butter Wizard December 18th --- Netcast 216
High Tech Comes to the Butter Dish!
The Butter Wizard is the world’s first fully portable Temperature Controlled Butter Dish. It can heat or cool depending on ambient temperature. That means your butter stays at the perfect temperature for spreading. And since it’s cordless, you can use your perfect temperature butter anywhere; living room, backyard, etc. The butter dish sits on a small recharging station which is plugged into AC. That keeps the onboard battery fully charged. Then it also has its own internal power supply which means that, once taken off the recharging station, it will keep butter at your preferred temperature for up to 2 hours. It warms the butter if the room is cold, chills the butter if the room is too warm. It’s pretty sophisticated technology. So say goodbye to that rock hard butter that tears up the bread, or the stuff that too runny to stick to a knife. Under $60.
Tuesday – Turn The Table Tuesday Netcast #217 December 19th, 2006
I couldn’t put Leo down for his choice for today because it’s something I wish I had! We’ve all heard about the Optimus keyboard that is coming where each key is a OLED screen. Well this is from that company, but in a mini version of only three keys. From the Think Geek website:
The Optimus Mini connects to your PC via USB and features three keys, each with their own backlit OLED screen. Each key can display a static image or full animation. Press the key and a different action occurs depending on what is assigned to it. Think it as some kind of futuristic dynamic hotkey device. The bundled Optimus Mini Configurator software allows you to assign various actions to each of the three keys. Furthermore you can instantly switch between six different key layouts by holding down the Ctrl, Shift, Alt-Shift, or Ctrl+Shift keys on your larger keyboard. Hotkey options for Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word, Outlook Express and Windows media player are included. But forget about the practical stuff... what we liked best was being able to assign a different webcam image to each key and have them dynamically update. Or have a clock face with animated second hand displaying the time in Tokyo on one key while a CPU Usage graph scrolled across another key. You can of course mix and match the key functions to your desire and there is even support for portrait or landscape orientation. $159.99.
Watch video on the go and stay connected at a Wi-Fi hot spot. The new Archos 604-Wifi has 30GB hard drive and a beautiful 4.3-inch color touch screen. 30 GB is enough to store 25 DVD resolution movies, 130 hours of TV shows1, 300,000 photos1 or 15,000 songs. The 604-WiFi features a host of accessories. The optional DVR Station lets you schedule and record favorite movies and programming directly from the TV, cable box or VHS. And this is pretty trick. You can connect the Archos WiFi to a home network. The 604-WiFi becomes a conduit for playing content from the PC or Mac directly to the TV via the optional docking station which has audio/video out. And it’s robust with S video, component and composite in and out. Since the 604-WiFi is recognized as a drive on the home network any media files can be transferred onto the device. The new Helmet Camcorder turns the 604-WiFi into a camcorder. The 604-WiFi retails for $449.99, with the DVR Station priced at $99.99 and discounted when sold together. The Helmet Camcorder retails for $149.99 and is available with all other accessories on the ARCHOS Web site.
I don’t know if my Holiday Greeting is up on the web yet – 1 and 1.com has been having trouble with the server it’s on. I wonder if the length of the domain name I was able to secure had something to do with that?? But here’s the web address, and yes, it’s for real!
Thursday, December 21st LGenVNetcast #219 I've been waiting a long time for this, and it's finally here. The new LG enV (VX9900) which is now available at Verizon Wireless takes over for popular LG the V (VX9800). The new phone still has a full QWERTY keyboard (once the case is opened) and most of the features of the original, with several improvements.It's thinner and narrower than the earlier model, but when you hold them side by side you can see the new one is just a bit taller. The weight's been knocked down a bit from 5.19 to 4.6 ounces. The phone still looks like a digital camera from the back, but now the camera is 2.0 Mega Pixel and has a lens cover. It still has a memory card slot but now it takes a Micro SD instead of Mini SD. (Damn, I already have two Mini SD cards!) The enV's inner screen (2.25-inch) looks to be same size at the first V, butif you like you can change font, size, and color.Stereo speakers sit on both sides of the display and like the original they sound amazing for their tiny size. The phone has Bluetooth 1.2 and supports stereo sound.
Warehouse Friday ---Motorola QuickWord was a compact desktop keyboard for sending text messages to pagers and in my case, to my Beepwear Watch. Instead of just sending a phone number you could send whole sentences. QuickWord connected to a landline phone, and stored up to 10 names and phone numbers. That way it was a breeze to contact peopleyou frequently sent pages too. The hidden keyboard (it was behind a flip open cover) was easy to type on (with two fingers) and in the closed position made the unit small enough to sit right to the phone. It retailed for about $80. There is very little info about this device on the internet so I guess it was not wildly successful. Photo on the right is from: http://www.aftonpaging.com/html/pagers.html#Word%20Message Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw220
DON’T FORGET! We’re off for the next two weeks, but our good buddy George Wood is preparing a “Best of the Daily GizWiz” Compilation and hopefully Leo will be able to upload them from Mexico where he’s resting! Happy Holidays!And remember:
1 and 1.com has been having trouble with the server that my original Holiday Greeting was on. And they sure are taking their good old time trying to fix the problem! I’m very disappointed in them. I wonder if the length of the domain name I was able to secure had something to do with that? It was www.bestholidaywishesfromdickdebartolomadsmaddestwriterandthegizwiz.com
But here’s another web address that is working , and yes, it’s for real!
Happy Holidays from The Giz Wiz to all. May 2007 be exceptional and gadget-filled.
DGW Netcast #206---Monday, December 4th 2006
The VR3 RoadMaster Wireless Back-Up Camera…
This color wireless backup camera kit has everything you need to see what’s behind your car. You can set it up to be on all the time, or by wiring it to your brake lights, you can have it go on when you shift into reverse. Okay, so you might need help installing it, but the fact that it’s wireless between the camera and the monitor means wiring is going to be easy. The camera offers a wide viewing angle and the monitor mounts on the dash or on the visor. The color monitor is small, 2.5, but it’s big enough to do the job. It’s for use with 12 volt DC electrical systems but that includes most cars, SUVs, and RV’s around today. The price is low, just $139.99. Not owning a car I did not install this kit. I flagged down a cab, but the driver thought I was nuts when I asked if I can use his cab to install a camera.
ViewSonic VX2245 --- A 22" viewable widescreen with a 1680x1050 resolution. And amultimedia base with iPod dock.
Here’s something different in a computer monitor from ViewSonic. The Multimedia base features an iPod dock, an 8-in-1 card reader, microphone, headphone jack, and 4 USB ports. This a nicely thought out product to get as much as possible in one place. The monitor features a high tech piano-black gloss finish. This is a good looking monitor whether you're looking at the picture, or looking the monitor design itself.Super-fast 5ms video response time lets you fly through video games with no blurs. Inputs support both digital (DVI) and analog (VGA) signals. There is built in audio: twin speakers 2 x 2.5-watts, and a sub-woofer:1x3-watt. That same fast 5ms video response enables digital HD broadcast-quality video too, so you can use it for computer or mini-home theatre, but more likely, both! That's my plan. Under $449.00, an excellent value.
Bose Companion 5 multimedia speaker system. The folks at Bose have really mastered the art of “faux sound”. Oh okay, it’s really not called “faux sound”, it’s more properly called “TrueSpace surround digital processing circuitry.” And it works remarkably well! At a launch demonstration of the product a Bose spokesperson asked me to try to guess the exact second at which she would switch the sound from the speaker far off to my right (about 7 feet away) to the one on the desk in front of me. I concentrated like crazy, convinced I would be able to tell when the switch took place. But surprise! While listening to that speaker far off to the right, the lady from Bose came over lifted up the speaker that was ‘playing’ turned it around – and it was just an empty box!! I was actually listening to that surround sound from the two really small speakers to the right and left of the computer monitor in front of me. What a great demo! The Companion 5 speaker system delivers performance you'd expect from a five-speaker system—from just two desktop speakers and a compact hideaway Acoustimass module for the a solid bass. Proprietary Bose technology actually lets you hear sound from places where there are no speakers. It's been developed especially for computer listening, so you and your computer are right in the middle of the music, games and movies. And typical of Bose, it’s a breeze to setup. There’s only a single USB connection— no special software, hardware or sound card upgrade is needed. Their all-in-one control pod (kind of like a hockey puck) lets you control volume, mute, and offers a headphone jack and an auxiliary input. Under $400, as in $399. http://www.bose.com/controller?event=VIEW_PRODUCT_PAGE_EVENT&product=nfb_companion5
Friday, December 8th, Netcast 210. The Guy’s Keyboard. Here’s the idea behind “The Guy’s Keyboard” as explained the gentlemen giving away product samples to the Press at the 2002 edition of CES. His theory was that more guys hunt and peck at the keyboard than actually type. So he designed a keyboard that was much easier for people who typed with two fingers to use. He showed us how fast he could type using the keyboard, but I was unconvinced. However I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own one of these "Guy's Keyboard". Here’s what the letters and numbers look like as laid out on the Guy’s Keyboard. 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 Z F W L S I N G P X Q B A T H E A M V J K C Y O U R
It was not a big hit as I found by searching the web. Their website (www.guyskeyboard.com) is no longer on line, and I recently saw one of these keyboards on EBay. The staring bid was $8, but the auction had ended and there were no bids
AND did you enter the 200th “guess just one word” game? Listen to this Netcast to see if you were a winner! 27 people won! The word: "NETCAST". (Sorry entries closed two days ago.) www.twit.tv/dgw210 Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw209
The number pad was normal, so not shown here.
We did it. We made to DGW 200, but we go on!
Monday, December 11thNetcast 211
The “Feeling” of Warmth Without The Fear of Fire.
These Flameless Candles from Candle Impressions glow and flicker like a real candle. But since there’s no flame, there’s no danger to children or pets, no smoke or soot emission, and probably most important of all, no chance of a fire! And they’re made of real wax and give off a pleasant vanilla scent. Depending on the model, they may have an on/off switch on the bottom, or an on/off/auto timer switch. The ones with the auto switch can activate the candle for 5 hours and then shut it off automatically. There can be up to 350 hours of run time on a pair of batteries. They use “AA”, “C” or “D” batteries depending on the size and model.
Turn The Table Tuesday ---The Shure Push To Hear Gizmo
This is Leo’s “find”. A way to have a conversation with someone without removing your earphones. The music plays on, but at a reduced level. I thought it was “okay”, but after saying I didn’t like the “Spork” I was roundly booed!
The Shure Push-To-Hear (PTH) Control.(Lifted from the Shure website.)
An industry first for sound isolating earphones, PTH allows you to activate the Voiceport microphone and adjust levels of external sound for clarity—enabling conversation without removing your earphones. Included with the E500PTH earphones, it is also an optional accessory for all Shure Sound Isolating Earphones. PTH is also compatible with other brands of earphones. Product Number: PTH.Right now on the Shure website it’s $59.99.
http://www.shure.com/PersonalAudio/Products/Accessories/ Hear this Netcast:www.twit.tv/dgw212 Wednesday, December 13thNetcast 213 Your iPod Video Files Can Now Be Viewed on a Bigger Screen. Sonic Impact V55.Now you can watch & listen to your video iPod on a bigger screen. The V55 turns your iPod into a portable audio/video system.There's also great audio for your music. It uses four aluminum cone neodymium drivers and offers impressive sound for its size. The rugged hard case not only protects the screen but also your iPod because itself perfectly. And the rugged engineering makes the VIDEO-55 a perfect companion for any outdoor activity. You can use the unit while it's powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, (about 3+ hours of video battery life, far more if just playing music.) A battery charge display light lets you easily keep track of how much power remains. Also included is an AC adapter and a 12 volot car power adapter, so it's perfect to keep the kids busy in the backseat on a long trip.For some reason the press release gives the price as $299.99, but it's one hundred dollars cheaper at the Apple store. http://store.apple.com/
Sanyo Camcorder – xacti C40. This new little gizmo record MPEG 4 video and 4.0 MP snapshots directly onto an SD memory carry. It has a lot of features for a very low price. In addition to the 4.0 MP still camera, it has flash, built in stereo mics. image stabilization, flip out LCD screen, in camera editing and more. All at an amazingly low price, $199.99 at Radio Shack. (Records on SD memory cards, which are optional, but they do have dropped in price recently.) This is an excellent value. If you do a web search you can find it for a hundred to hundred and fifty dollars more than the deal at Radio Shack! Sanyo Xacti C40.
Back to Warehouse Friday, December 15th.Netcast 215
Because it seems everyone knows a guy named “Bob” who knows how to fix things, Microsoft released a software program called "Bob" designed to replace the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with an interface designed mainly for novice users.This was 1995. (A million years ago in computer years.) Bob didn’t make into many people’s homes. I think the biggest problem is that is was too complicated, aimed at total novices and way too cute. And the price of $100 didn’t help much either. I saw a demo of Bob at CES and it was one of the few times when a Microsoft spokesperson asked if I would like to copy, I declined. Nothing was straight forward with Bob. There were guides, rooms, objects to click on to do the smallest task.As much as I love dogs, I didn’t need Rover to show me how to do things. By the way, Rover still shows up from time to time in a Microsoft search application, but rest of the BOB family has retired to software heaven.