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Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz
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Home Office Gadgets:
Have sensitive documents you want to get rid of? The Staples Micro-Cut Shredder is an ultra-quiet, jam resistant micro-cut shredder. With its titanium cutter blades, it turns checks, statements, and documents into confetti. There’s no worry someone is going to reassemble personal documents and steal sensitive information. Staples says the shred size is: 2/32" X 12/32”. I still call it confetti. A really good feature is that this device can also shred staples, credit cards, paper clips, CD's and DVD's. And it works great. I got rid of every old DVD I didn’t need because it’s fun watching this shredder work. This is one of the higher end models from Staples. It features a blade guard and a lockout key. I have is the 10-sheet micro cut model. It has a large 4.3 gallon bin. The viewing window glows blue when shredding and shuts off when the bin is about ľ full. It may have been designed that way so it’s easier to empty. The bin must be back in place for the shredder to operate. A 60 decibel noise level is quiet for a shredder, especially one that shreds DVD’s. I like the auto shut off too. When the last paper has gone through the blades, it stops the motor. The unit is still on, with all the controls illuminated, but the motor stops. AntiJam with SmartSense technology is clever too. It prevents jams before they start. If you put in too many papers at once, it stops and flashes an icon to let you know you should put in fewer sheets. Price is $199.99, but right now there is a rebate offer of $50. I notice the rebate offer stops & then starts again, so keep your eyes on the Staples ads if you’re interested in one. Staples has a wide range of shredders all the way down to a tabletop model for about $50 or so.
Plantronics has produced a multi-tasking phone system with their Calisto Pro Series. This one device is a DECT 6.0 Cordless Landline Phone with a cordless headset. The headset has the ability to be used with the cordless phone, or since it’s also Bluetooth enabled, it can be a headset for your cell phone. (You can even take the headset with you on the road and use the Bluetooth function.) And finally, it can serve as a wireless headset for your VoIP phone, even Skype! This headset lets you remotely answer your landline, VoIP and mobile phone calls! Add in a built-in speakerphone, noise-canceling microphone, and extended mouthpiece and you have a great system for the home office! The Calisto Pro phone operates on the DECT 6.0 frequency, so call clarity is not affected by WiFi networks or home appliances, such as the microwave. You can roam up to 300 feet from the base via the cordless DECT 6.0 and about 35 feet if you’re using Bluetooth. The PC software is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista and the Mac software is compatible with Mac OS 10.4 and later. My only complaint? The keys are long and thin and I have large fingers, so I have to push the keys with my finger tips. But the keys are back-lit which helps a lot. List is $279.95, but if you do a web search you can find it for about $210.
We’ve all done it, unplugged some equipment on the desk and then tried to grab the cables you just unplugged from sliding off the back of the desk and onto the floor. Well Keep-a-Cable is a simple solution to help you manage your wayward charging cords and peripheral connectors. This simple device is made from high-density polyethylene and its fitted with notched holes at the top. Using a very high strength 3M adhesive it mounts to the edge of any flat surface like the back edge of your desk. The five holes at the top of the Keep-a-Cable are designed to keep cables from sliding off the desk. It’s an inexpensive and effective solution to chasing cables behind desks, equipment cabinets and under tables. It even has holes for screws if you want to make a more permanent installation. Keep-a-Cable are available in single wire, five wire and long strips to accommodate everything from a single cell phone charger to an entire rack of servers or other electronic equipment.A 5 wire/4 pack is just$5 + S&H. A 10 pack is $10.00 + S&H. Complete pricing is at the company’s website:
What’s with the majority of those ear buds that are shipped with iPods, and many of other major MP3 players. The audio isn’t that bad, but they seem to be designed to fit about 1% of the ears people have. I haven’t met one person yet who said: “Wow, the ear buds I got with my MP3 player are SO comfortable!“ There’s a new product that can go a long way to make those ear buds you already have, a lot more comfortable. They’re called Acoustibuds and they fit better, stay in the ears and improve the sound quality. John Burton, who owns the company said: “With all of the unique shapes and sizes of ears, achieving this goal without discomfort or the bulk of over-the-ear hooks gives our team a great sense of accomplishment. The surprise came when the twin cone core idea was added for high-fidelity acoustics and in combination with the exceptional sound isolation created by the multi-barrier fins.” Come on, he’s the president of the company. My personal opinion? I like these a lot. Acoustibuds only come in two sizes and that’s enough. The thin, flexible silicone rubber fins are angled to assure optimum position and contact within many different types and size ears. They will not fit on every kind of earphone, however. Acoustibuds are designed to fit "flat faced" ear-buds like those that come with your iPods, iPhones, mp3 players and some cell phones. They are not developed to work with in-ear headphones. The price is good too. A retail package includes one of each of the two sizes of noise-isolating earphone adapters and two storage pouches. Price is under $15.00 They’re available in white or black, and can be purchased on Amazon.com.
That’s what it says on the Johnny-Light website: “Lighting the way to family harmony”. When “dad” lifts the seat, the light comes on…it goes out when he puts the seat back down…So it’s a good reminder for dad. It’s easy to install, with no tools needed. There’s a hidden switch that lights toilet bowl when the toilet seat is raised and then shuts it off when the toilet seat goes down. It’s designed to end the bathroom battle of the sexes by reminding us guys to put the toilet seat down. And this part from the company’s website is pretty funny: Eliminates annoying "fall-ins"! This must happen when you go to sit down not realizing the seat is up. If I remember correctly, according to the little video on the company’s website, 45,000 people have toilet injuries every year! The Johnny-Light is a soft green, so it won’t jar your eyes in the middle of the night. DURACELL batteries included. $13.95, plus $1.75 S & H. It’s also available at Lowe’s. To buy, it’s not on the toilets there, is my guess.
Called the StudSensor Edge, it's a new pinch grip design molded specifically to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The EDGE also features a user-friendly interface and improved SpotLite Pointing System which shines a bright arrow-shaped beam on the wall to clearly identify the edge of the target. it locates the edge of wood or metal studs behind standard walls up to 3/4 inch thick. A new "Ready" light indicates when calibration has completed successfully. Then the "Edge" light indicates when the tool is over a stud edge. If you happen to begin scanning over a stud, Zircon's "over-the-stud" indicator alerts the user to start the scan in a new location. What's really neat is the new, low price for the Edge. It will retail for under $10! You might want the money you save to buy more walls to scan!
It’s useful, it’s inexpensive, and it’s has blue LED’s!
www.budgetgadgets.com is a neat website you should know about. They sell a very high tech looking three fan USB notebook cooler that I recently tried. You’ll probably notice in computer ads that laptops are called “notebooks”. I was told by one manufacturer that the reason why is that companies really prefer you don’t put them directly in your lap. That started after customers starting reporting how uncomfortably hot notebooks can get in that very sensitive area. Also heat shortens the life of a notebook, so a notebook cooler can really help dissipate that heat which should be good for the life of your notebook. Coolers are easy to use because the 3 I have are all powered via USB, so there’s no power adapter necessary. The most recent one, from budget gadgets, is not only powered via USB, but it’s the first pass-through USB I’ve seen. So you don’t even lose the use of a USB port. Using a cooler couldn’t be simpler. Place your laptop on it, plug it in a USB port and it’s off and running. This particular notebook cooler places the laptop at a more convenient angle for typing. My other two notebook coolers are totally flat. And this one has 3 cooling fans. My 1st one had a single fan, the second one 2 fans, and this one has 3 fans. And it’s still very quiet. It’s made of Acrylic so the glowing blue LEDS make your laptop look like it’s floating on a sea of blue lights. It’s a really nice effect. And Budget Gadgets lives up to it name. The notebook cooler is just $15.79. It can be cheaper if you need 3 or more. Fan Size: 60x60x15mm or 2.36x2.36x0.59in, each fan. Fan Speed: 2800rpm. For 5% off use coupon code: DM5OFF9 $15.79
You know about the iPod, but do you know about The Pod?
THE pods are very simple, high quality, flexible beanbags with a built in 1/4" universal mounting bolt. (And it also comes with a capital THE) THE pod acts like a tripod when set down on a bench or a rock or a fence, etc. Or it can be used as a stabilizer when braced against any handy surface. The company says THE pod can even stay on your camera when you are on the go. That makes it perfect for group photos, travel, low light/night time and places where tripods are not allowed like museums, malls, churches, galleries, etc. Now there are 6 different models, identified by color. The colors represent the sizes and types of camera you’re going to use THE pod for. Cameras with long lenses need THE pod that has an mounting bolt off to one side. All of the models should be able to offer greatly improves picture sharpness and color clarity by reducing or totally removing the hand shake that most everyone has. THE pod can be set up in an instant on tables, rocks, cars, or any other handy surface. The smaller models can easily slip into a pocket. Now the company was having a 25% off sale that was to end on March 22nd. When I pointed out that I would be talking about this product on the air after March 22nd, Thom Pahmer the president of THE pod was kind enough to extend the sale to April 18th. That means you can buy the smallest THE pod for under $10, plus shipping. The company is based in Canada.
Sensor Plug – A simple device that can help save electricity easily.
This is pretty easy to use! No wiring, no batteries, no tools. SensorPlug is like having an extra pair of hands when you need them! It’s a motion-sensing outlet that uses a passive infrared motion sensor. Plug in a light, or whatever you like, and it’s triggered “on” when you walk past. I want my Sensor Plug outside a closet full of gadgets with a small spotlight plugged into it. As I approach the closet door with an arm full of boxes the light goes on. It stays on as long as it senses movement and then shuts off automatically.You can adjust the auto shut off time from 2 to 6 minutes, but it will keep the light or device on for as long as it senses movement. Mine’s been a big help already, and I thinking on uses another one as a burglar alarm. It sure will get someone’s attention when they enter a room and a big light comes on! It’s rated up to 600 watts. Installation is as easy as plugging SensorPlug into a wall outlet. It’s a three prong plug so it can be grounded. It comes with a spare fuse and a screw for securing to the wall plate, if desired. Sensor Plug costs $19.95/2 for $35.00. This is a neat device.
This is the new MAC version that picks up analog TV (for a bit longer) and HDTV. This real tiny mini Stick is an ultra-compact, USB-powered TV tuner that’s the perfect match for super-slim laptops. The integrated signal booster improves reception sensitivity even if the signal isn’t strong. The easy-to-use TVCenter Pro software lets you watch, TimeShift and record TV. You can enjoy TV in full-screen mode or in a scalable window while using other applications. The PCTV HD mini Stick comes with a mini remote control and high-gain telescopic antenna. The antenna base is magnetic so you can easily place it on the car or RV roof. On the road you can use it to record the game, grab your favorite sitcom episodes or catch the late-night thriller. And it has full PVR capabilities to timeShift, record and program all your favorite shows. There's even one-click recording to hard disk or DVD.
Ever hear the expression: Everything that’s old is new again?
It’s true! I just bought a brand new rabbit ears indoor antenna! I haven’t bought one in 30 years, but I figured I didn’t want to pay for cable on my 22’ boat, but wanted to be able to watch some TV. So I bought the RCA 121. It pretty much looks the same as a rabbit ears antenna looked decades ago. Well, maybe this one is a bit more streamed, but not by much. The RCA 121 Universal Indoor Antenna features a 12-position UHF & VHF fine-tuning control for improved signal reception. The adjustable, retractable VHF dipoles extend up to 39-inches to improve reception of channels 2 to 13 and UHF loop for improved reception of channels 14-69. Trust me, it’s not a easy as using a remote on a cable box, but then again the cost was about $15 paid just once, not $60 to $80 a month for cable. I get about 12 channels, most of them okay, and one PBS channel really good. And I live in mid-Manhattan. Not many features to talk about, no LEDs, nothing to plug in. Just a small base that fits in a small space, no-scuff pad to protect whatever surface you put it on, and off-air reception of local analog or digital channels. Yes, digital too. There’s an attached 6-ft coaxial hook-up cable with F-connector for easy hook-up. I found it on Ebay at the link below for under $14.00 with shipping included.
Here's a new way to enjoy your video media player in flight.
With so many media players in circulation, now you can pick your own movie to watch during a flight. But where to put your media player with its tiny screen so you can see it clearly without holding it, is a problem. You try to prop it up on the snack tray, but it usually slips down rather quickly. That's where iFlyz can help. It part goose-neck lamp and part clip. The clip end hooks on to the snack tray whether it's in the open or closed position. The suction cup end grab your media player. I tried it on the Sansa View and it worked fine. The Sansa View has a sort of rubbery back, and holding it wasn't a problem. It can hold your media player on the edge of desk, restaurant table or counter, and places like that. I don't have an iPhone or iTouch but iFlyz says it's iPhone compatible. $29.95.
This unique alarm clock uses advanced speech recognition technology that lets you easily set the time and alarm via voice commands and responds to queries such as "What time is it?" with vocalized answers. The unit recognizes 10 spoken commands, including "Set alarm," "Set time," "Check alarm," "What is the date?," "Alarm sound" (buzzer, chime, or bell), "Stop" (snooze for 5 minutes), and "Temperature" (current room temperature). All functions are controlled either by your voice or with a touch of the activation panel, allowing you to quickly set up and operate the clock without tedious and confusing button pressing. The backlit LCD shows the time and date in 2"-high numerals for optimal visibility day or night. The clock also has a voice-activated function that lulls you to sleep with the soothing sounds of the ocean, chirping birds, or a babbling brook. Powered by AC adapter or three AAA batteries (not included). 3 1/2" H x 4 1/2" W x 7 1/2" D. (11 oz.) $49.95
Some new and different from Schlage! The Schlage Link
You probably know the name Schlage, a company big into locks and security. Now they’ve gone very high tech with a new lock the Schlage Link that uses the Internet! The lock can be opened the normal way, with a key, or by using a four-digit code. But the high tech part is that this lock can also be controlled via Schlage’s online website or even by a mobile device that are connected to the Internet. If you want, the lock can even alert you via SMS message any time the door is opened, or if someone keeps trying to enter incorrect entry codes. Constant putting in the wrong codes could mean someone is trying to hack the lock. (Or maybe they’re just very forgetful!) There’s an on-line control panel you can use to program the system to turn certain lights on when a door is opened. You can do other neat things too, like allow the use of specific codes for entry only at specified times. Or my favorite, it can send a photo from a Web cam to the owners phone whenever the door is opened. (Provided you have a webcam and set it up properly and you have a phone that can receive photos!) Leo loved the idea of this lock and knowing him, he’s probably already ordered one. Although he said he would wait a couple of month to see if he hears of anyone hacking into the system! The starter lock system is about $300. That includes the lock (which requires batteries), the unit that communicates with your router and a lamp module. There is also a monthly access charge of $12.99.
Unlike typical wine storage systems that only regulate the ideal storage temperature (which is much cooler than the ideal drinking temperature), this is the dual wine bottle chiller that maintains the optimal wine drinking temperature, ensuring stored wines are ready for immediate consumption. Two wireless temperature probes insert into uncorked wine bottles, sealing the spout while sending accurate temperature readings of the wine itself (not the storage chamber) to LCDs on the outside of the chiller. Each chamber's thermostat can be programmed to different temperatures, allowing you to chill a bottle of red and a bottle of champagne simultaneously (or chill one bottle at a time). The device is programmed with suggested serving temperature s for champagne, red, white, or ros wines (ideal temperatures can also be adjusted manually), and the chiller has LEDs that warn when wines are too cool or too warm, and when the wines have reached the optimal temperature for consumption. The unit supports 3 1/2"-diameter bottles, it displays temperature readings in Fahrenheit or Celsius, and the chiller requires less than 1' sq. of counter space. Plugs into AC and the temperature probes include two replaceable CR2032 batteries. $199.99. One person who tried this device said that it doesn't work properly when the wine level falls below the end of the temperature probe, so keep that in mind if you're interested in buying one.
I did a web search & found this gizmo for $179.99 at the link below. I never shopped here, but it does seem to offer the lowest price at the time I did the search:
No a Seasucker is not an octopus, at least not the one I saw at the show. And the company says it’s not a suction cup, either, but a vacuum cups. SeaSucker vacuum cups come from their integrated pumps. Once mounted, they really hold. The company says a 4.5" SeaSucker can support more than 100 pounds and a 6" SeaSucker can support more than 200 pounds. For even more holding power, multiple SeaSuckers can be attached to an aluminum track mount. You can use a SeaSucker to mount just about anything to your boat, RV, or your home. The only limit to a SeaSucker's uses is your imagination! The SeaSucker custom housing lets you choose between screwing into the standard 1/4-20 stainless steel center insert or back-plating through the slotted holes. You don't have to drill any new holes, they're non-marking, and their vacuum-cup operation gives you amazing holding power! At the show, a guy at Seasucker booth jumped up & down a table mounted to a door with 3 Seasuckers. A nice idea is the built in safety feature - a check valve. If the red line shows, you know you need to just give your SeaSucker another couple of pumps to get back to full vacuum power strength. On the water, they’re designed to withstand the harshness of the saltwater environment. All parts are made from stainless steel or high-strength plastic to resist corrosion. The 4.5” Seasucker is $47.99 and the 6” version is $67.99 They make a complete line of accessories including back to back SeaSuckers for holding various electronics to dashboards, etc.
Another GPS, but this one is a Marine version with a unique twist.
It’s the Garmin GPSMAP640. An ultra portable touch screen navigator that comes ready to help on land and at sea. It’s waterproof (IPX7) with a super-bright 5.2” WVGA touch screen display (800 x 480 pixels). It ships preloaded with comprehensive street maps of North America and worldwide shaded relief mapping in addition to detailed U.S. coastal BlueChart g2 charts. A real tweak for this device comes when it’s placed in the marine mount, which is included with the unit. It recognizes the mount and automatically starts up in marine mode. So instead of street maps you’ll see marine charts with shaded depth contours, port plans, wrecks, restricted areas and more. And yes, when you leave the boat and place the 640 in your car or van mount it does switch to automotive navigator. On the road this device gives voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions. With the GPSMAP 640, users can also create their own custom Points of Interest list and set up proximity alerts for the ultimate in driver awareness. And with optional BlueChart g2 Vision cards, you'll get 3D 'mariner's eye view' above the waterline and 'fish eye view' below the waterline. You'll also benefit from Auto Guidance technology that searches chart data to suggest the best passage. The GPSMAP 640 is also NMEA 0183 compliant, so it can be easily added to an existing marine network aboard your boat. MSRP is $1199.99.
Oregon Scientific ATC5K! The latest in their action camcorder line.
You can play hard, jog, run, bike, and now you can even swim while recording everything with the Oregon Scientific ATC5K! This self-contained, hands-free digital video cam has many new features when compared with the earlier models. There’s a built-in 1.5” LCD screen and a photo capture function. So you don’t have to wait until you get to a computer to see what you shot. And the ATC5K is waterproof to 10 feet! It’s PC and MAC compatible; and Oregon Scientific says it works seamlessly with most video editing software. Video can be recorded at either 640 x 320 or 320 x 240 at 30 frames per second (with sound). That’s a good resolution for video upload services like YouTube. Obviously you’re not going to shoot your best friend’s wedding with this device, but for sport’s action, this camcorder feels very rugged. New also is remote control that lets you start and stop the camera when you have it mounted in a hard-to-reach location, like on you helmet. It comes with USB and RCA cables for playback on your PC or TV. It can even be used as a web cam. The onboard memory is small, just 32MG. Fortunately there’s an SD card expansion slot that can take SD cards up to 4GB. A SD card is not included unless you buy one of the ATC5K bundles. Compatible with operation system WIN2000/XP/Vista and Apple Mac X 10.3/10.4 Uses two AA batteries which are included. MSRP is around $249.99, but do a web search for the best price. I’ve seen for under $200.
Here’s a way give a child a cuddily animal while you help the environment. Meet the Fuzz that Wuzz! Snifflzzzdog, is one of 11 new Fuzz that Wuzz toys from environmentally conscious toymaker Mary Meyer. These cuddly critters – the collection includes puppies, bears, a bunny and a moose—are made from recycled products. The stuffing and fabric, for example, are 100% recycled plastic bottles. Depending on the size of the toy, they contain 10 to 15 recycled bottles. And they really are cute! I didn’t plan on using these critters on my Toy Fair spot for World News Now on ABC TV, but as I walked by the booth, I had to stop to ask about them. That’s when I heard the whole recycle story. Depending on the critter, they retail for about $20 to $25.
You’ve heard of Hush Puppies, but I bet you haven’t heard of Flush Puppies! Not yet, anyway.
Flush Puppies are completely water-soluble doggie waste clean-up bags. The company says they’ve been developed so dog droppings can be flushed down the toilet. While leaving dog poop on the ground, or even throwing it in the trash, can allow its harmful bacteria and parasites to seep into the groundwater, Flush Puppies gives dog-owners a cleaner option. Dog poop can now be processed the same way as human waste – by utilizing the toilet and sewage system, not the landfill. “Plus it’s great for accidents.” Flush Puppies is also helpful for training a younger dog, or dealing with an old forgetful one. “Clean-up is easy, you just scoop the accident away and take it to the bathroom.” Flush Puppies will be available for purchase online in select dog boutiques. A complete list of participating retailers can be found on the company’s website. Designed for responsible dog owners and environmentally conscious consumers, Flush Puppies means a cleaner neighborhood and a leaner landfill is just one flush away. I watched as the company dropped a Flush Puppies bag into a tank of water, and it does start to break down in about a minute. For more information, or to purchase the bags, head to
Here’s another way to save the environment from more plastic bottles.
It’s the Pur Flavor Options Water Filtration Pitcher. Instead of buying individual bottles this pitcher lets you make your crystal clear water. I actually prefer flavored water, which is way I like this new Pitcher. The 7-cup pitcher has the option to add flavor to the water. The same pitcher can serve unflavored or flavored filtered water. And there’s a built-in Electronic Filter Change Light. The company says the Pur filter removes 99.9% microbial cysts, reduces 98% lead, reduces mercury, chlorine (taste and odor) and more. But it leaves beneficial fluoride in the water. Check out their website to read about how it can remove over 99% of pharmaceuticals. (Scary what might be in our water!) The Starter System (CR-5000) includes: 1 Pitcher, 1 filter, and 1 raspberry flavor cartridge One filter provides up to 40 gallons (1 to 2 months) of crystal clean water. One flavor cartridge provides up to 75 servings. They also offer an optional lemon flavor cartridge. About $25.00
A device that let you charge your cell phone or PDA four different ways!
It’s called Hottips and this single device lets you charge your cell phone or PDA via AC with the fold out electric plug. Or your car’s lighter plug with the fold-out lighter plug. Or you can attach a 9V battery. Since the unit comes with a USB cable, you can also use that with your computer when it’s available. Can be ordered soon. You’ll also need to order the special tip for your phone or PDA.But when you change equipment, you merely have to but a new tip, not a new charging device. Hottips will be about $25, and a charge specific tip will be about $5.
Fuji EnviroMax Batteries. The company says that the materials that make up a Fuji EnviroMAX battery are derived from the basic elements of the Earth. There is nothing inside that will harm the environment if it is disposed of through normal waste systems. A few reasons why are that Fuji EnviroMAX batteries contain no harmful mercury, cadmium - nor are they packaged with non-recyclable PVC plastic. And the company says they offer the same service life as the major brands and will cost about the same. Available Spring. You can see a performance chart of the EnviroMax batteries and how they compare to other major brands on the companies website. They’ll be available in AA, AAA, C and D sizes.
The Medis Fuel Cell Medis 24-7 Power Pack was a long time in coming. They showed it at CES one year, but it took the entire year before it was really to hit the marketplace. Unlike a battery which stores electricity, The Medium Fuel Cell an electrochemical device that actually creates or produces energy through a chemical reaction. And unlike other devices when this power is depleted it cannot be replenished. When you activate this gizmo it generates about 20 watts of power. A spokesperson said that the activated Medis Fuel Cell can charge a cell phone about 10 times, and a Smart Phone about 6 times. If you don't use it at all, the Medis has a shelf-life of about 18 months. (The month and year of mfr. are printed on the label on bottom of the unit.) Once you've "activated" it, (you cannot UN-activate it), it has a usable lifespan of about three months, or when its energy is depleted, whichever comes first. When you want to activate the unit, you remove a plastic strip around the base of the device and push down on the top until you hear it lock in place. Then you shake it bit and it's set to charge other devices. There's a 30? inch long cable where you attach the device specific charging dongle to match the device you?re going to charge ? cell phone, PDA, etc. When exhausted you can toss the Medis in the box it came in and mail it back to be recycled. The first you buy the Fuel Cell, you'll need the complete kit which is about $50. Then you buy replacement fuel cells for about $25 or less. www.poweritanywhere.com
Fear of germs? Then here’s a keyboard for you – or anyone else who shares a keyboard.
Seal Shield Keyboard. Have you heard that your computer keyboard has 400 times more germs then your toilet seat? Gross yes, but that’s what Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona claims. So what can you do about it? Well, whenever you want, you can put the Silver Seal Anti- microbial keyboard IN THE DISHWASHER! I asked the company if they’d be willing to let me do my own test: type with the keyboard --- wash it in my dishwasher --- and then use it to type again. They were more than willing to prove to me how dishwasher-safe their keyboard was. They sent me one and I put it to the test. The only difference you’ll notice when you hook up this basic keyboard is that the USB dongle has a waterproof rubber boot which has to be used before you put the keyboard in the dishwasher. They also ask that you don’t let the dishwasher go through a heated dry cycle if your dishwasher offers that option when washing the keyboard. (Mine dishwasher doesn’t have that option.) The keyboard went through the test perfectly. When I took the keyboard out of the dishwasher soaking wet, I was sure I did something wrong. But I drained it over the sink, dried it for a minute with a towel and plugged it in. They also ask you to dry off the USB connector if it gets wet in the dishwasher. Under $40. Other versions are coming including an illuminated version.
From Verilux (the folks who made lights that simulate sunshine) comes the Cleanwave Pocket Sanitizing Wand. This gizmos features a convenient, travel-friendly compact design. Push the large button on the side and the light panel swings open and the UV-C light becomes active and ready to use. Since UV light can be harmful when used incorrectly, the safety shut off feature will turn the UV light off if turned upwards. You don’t want UV exposure to the eyes. When you are finished sanitizing, fold the light panel in to shut it off. The Cleanwave UV-C light technology works in just seconds to naturally eliminate 99% germs that are common causes of colds, infections and allergic reactions. The pocket wand is silent to operate because it using UV light waves. So it can provide chemical free disinfection of bedding, toys, telephones, toilets, eating utensils and more. It is ideal for use in hotel rooms or public spaces, and is a necessity to keep in a diaper bag to sterilize your child's bottles and toys. The Pocket wand is rechargeable and does not require batteries. And LED fans, it also features a bonus built-in flashlight. Effective exposure times to UVC light varies depending on surface to be sanitized. Visit the company’s website for recommended duration times to sanitize various objects. $69.99
It’s the Seal Shield TV Remote. Brand new from the company above that makes the washable computer keyboard is their TV remote control that can be put in the dishwasher too. And coming soon they’ll be adding a dishwasher safe Home Theatre Remote Control. The company said they have not set the prices yet, but the TV only remote should be about $20. And the home theatre remote in the $40 to $50 range. They should be along in the spring. So you won’t find them on their website yet (when this was written in early February) but check back from time to time.
Minoru, which means Reality in Japanese, is said to be the Worlds first 3D webcam. Connect Minoru to your PC via a USB cable, the same as you hook up any webcam.With this webcam your friends and family can see you in 3D via Skype, AOL instant messenger, OoVoo, etc. – PROVIDED you send them the special 3-D glasses. You get 5 pair with your Minoru purchase. The Minoru software has stereoscopic anaglyphic processing that lets you be seen in three dimensions. The red and cyan anaglyph image produced by Minoru can be viewed by anybody who is wearing commonly available red and cyan 3D glasses (five pairs included with Minoru). Minoru can also be used as a standard 2D webcam for anyone who doesn’t have the 3D glasses at hand. There is also a Picture in Picture function allowing you to show the images shown to Minorus 2 eyes separately.$89.95.
The Clickfree Transformer USB Cable. It lets you convert any external hard drive into a Clickfree backup drive.
Leo & I both liked the Clickfree Backup Drive. There’s no need for any backup software. Just plug the backup drive into any available USB port and it works totally automatically - unless you wish to customize the backup. The DGW Netcast on that Clickfree Drive is here: http://www.twit.tv/dgw629
At CES they introduced the Clickfree Transformer USB Cable. It lets you use any external hard drive you already own. Just plug this gizmo into a USB port on your PC and then plug any size external hard drive from any manufacturer into the other end of the Transformer. The Clickfree backup application will automatically start, search the computer, organize and backup all of your important data onto the external hard drive. There’s no software to install, no set up. You can use one Clickfree Transformer with many different 2.5” or 3.5” external hard drives. Retail price is $59.99.
Another new Clickfree products unveiled at CES 2009 include is there Clickfree 1 Terabyte Backup Drive: The 1 TB Clickfree Backup Drive is an innovative computer backup device that’s perfect for small and medium enterprises or home offices where users need to backup multiple computers. Just connect the device to a USB port and it does the rest. The backup application starts automatically, searching and backing up data without requiring any user interaction. The drive stores 220,000 songs, 440,000 photos, and over 2 million documents. Retail price is $229.99.
So you made a backup copy of your files. But if there’s a fire, is your backup copy safe?
That’s where IO Safe can come to the rescue. ioSafe has something they call FloSafe technology that has the ability to detect destructive heat levels and automatically close the vents to protect data from extreme heat. Now there’s a ton of info on how these drives are constructed on the company’s website, but the demo I saw when I was in Las Vegas was an eye opener. First they took digital photos of the reporters at the event and downloaded them on to the ioSafe. Then they dropped the ioSafe into the swimming pool. They fished it out and put it in a gas-fired furnace. The temperature gauge reached 1270 degrees and the ioSafe started to melt. After the unit was removed from the heat it was hosed down to cool it off. Then it was opened – and our unharmed digital photos were uploaded to a computer! Very neat demo indeed! The Solo is available now at www.iosafe.com. Soon it will available through retail channels. The ioSafe Solo capacities and pricing are as follows: 500GB for $149, 1TB for $199 and 1.5TB for $299. This is a very reasonable price to protect your precious photos, videos and data files!
Here’s a whole new use for a USB Device. It’s called EasyBloom
Place Sensor in a spot where you would like to grow a plant, or adjacent to the plant that needs monitoring. Let the EasyBloom Plant Sensor gather a ‘plant's eye’ view of that location. After 24 hours, plug the sensor into your USB port. Sensor data is uploaded to the EasyBloom website where algorithms are run that will either recommend a plant or diagnose what is wrong with an ailing plant. In the Recommend Mode, the EasyBloom website will present a set of plants that will thrive in that location. In Monitor mode, you will be told what is going wrong with a plant you already have, along with visual cues on how to fix it. NOTE: EasyBloom Plant Sensor is Windows XP and Windows Vista compatible. In January 2009 support will be added for Mac OS X Tiger (v10.4) and Leopard (v10.5) users. $59.95.
The 3M Micro Professional Projector (MPro110) connects to most digital video devices to project movies, photos, and files virtually anywhere!
This powerful, portable, pocket-able projector turns any wall in a darkened room into your personal theater. The MPro110 has an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a native resolution of 640 x 480 VGA. With this device you can project video and photos from your video phone, share videos and movies from your video camera or create a spontaneous slide show from your digital camera. On the road you can even project your portable gaming console as long as it has video out. Uses LED technology for up to 10,000 hours of operation. Now battery lift suffers a bit because of the tiny size of this unit; it fits in the palm of your hand. On battery power you can project images for about an hour. But it comes with an AC adapter so that’s most likely what you’ll be using most of time. Fits in the palm of your hand. $369.00.
HP has been producing high tech touch screen desktops, but now they’ve introduced the world’s first touch screen laptop.
The HP tx2z laptop has a 12.1" diagonal screen, and a unique, dual-mode display that accepts input from either a finger or a pen. A digital pen turns the tx2z into a tablet so you can draw or take notes and then automatically convert to text (the pen stores in the PC's base). A twisting hinge lets you choose from three modes: PC, display, or slate. There are three on-display launch buttons: one for the MediaSmart software, another for Windows Vista Mobility Center which gives you battery, volume, wireless or display data. The third button is for "rotating" the screen into slate mode. You can expect very decent performance with AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual Core Mobile processors for multimedia2 and ATI Radeon HD graphics for speedy processing on the go. Options include an integrated low-light VGA web cam with digital microphone for videoconferencing and VoIP3. Be aware that the touch screen is designed to work only with HP MediaSmart. That gives you the ability to touch your way through your PC to enjoy photos, music, movies, and more. You can resize photos with your finger and even turn them the correct way right on the screen. Starts at $1149.00
COMPUTERS & COMPUTER GADGETSMonday, November 3rd ---
Here’s a real powerhouse desktop replacement computer from HP!
It’s the Pavilion HDX18t with a 18.4� 1080P HD screen, BluRay player and Altec Lansing Home Theatre Sound! There’s HDMI output so you can connect this powerhouse to an even bigger HD screen. But just the way it is, this is perfect for video in the den, bedroom, or home office. (There’s an option TV tuner too.) This computer comes in a high tech Titanium case with a backlight touch control media center. Other features include a fingerprint reader for password control, Bluetooth, WiFi, Intel Duo Core processor and built in web cam. If you watched us record the Daily Giz Wiz, you heard Leo say it was the best video we ever had. So we’re going to record this week’s Daily Giz Wiz episodes with the HDX 18t! There’s also 16” version which offers a 1080p screen & BluRay as an option. Both models come with windows Vista and you can have the option of 32 or 64 bit versions. The 16” model starts at $1050.00, and the 18.4” model at about $1399.00. And there are dozens and dozens of options.
Taking a laptop through security is about to get a bit easier.
The newest edition are the Brenthaven’s Edge X-Ray Friendly Sleeves. X-Ray Friendly bags eliminate the process of removing your laptop from the case at airport security checkpoints. Here are the new rules from the TSA. Laptops must be able to be viewed in a single x-ray image, that the case must not degrade any visualizations of the laptop, that the laptop is clear and distinguishable from the bag. That means there are no cords, straps, zippers, etc., and that the laptop is not shielded by any contents of the case. Got all that? Brenthaven’s Edge sleeves are designed so the laptop stays in his protective case. You can unzipped the top place it on the conveyer belt. This allows for an un-obscured view of the laptop. So that the laptop is secured when dropped, Brenthaven makes the laptop for specific models. Right now there are X-Ray Friendly Sleeves for the MacBook Air and MacBook. Other models are coming. $60.00.
Brenthaven alsohas a complete line of computer bags for those who don’t need X-Ray Friendly gear.
Peek -- A Way To Get & Send Emails & Nothing Else!
If you have a PDA, a Smart Phone or other device to get your emails, you won't be interested in the Peek. The Peek is new device that receives and sends email. It can open attachments and it can let you see photos that someone emails you, but it can do nothing else. But the pictures have to be JPEGS. This is not for the geek, but more for the geeks parents who might want to get & send emails, period! You can emails via popular services like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and AOL. Each device can have up to three accounts, although the three email accounts are combined into the same inbox. It's easy to set up and pretty easy to use. A scroll wheel on the side highlights your menu choices, and then you push in on the wheel to select it. For some odd reason when you highlight an email, you then have also go to read email. I don’t why you need that extra step. The keyboard letters are backlit which is very nice and the device is the size of a very, very thin pack of cards. The Peek notifies you that have emails by vibrating, make a chime sound and setting off a blinking blue light. The display is a 2.5” (240 pixels by 320 pixels), color and it looks pretty decent. I’d like to see a bigger type face but the PR folks told that is coming in November. The Peek has 8 megabytes of memory. That’s equal to about 5,000 emails. So Leo could use it for two days before he has to clear the memory to make room for more emails. Peek says if you start with a fully charged battery it should last about five days assuming you get and send 10 to 15 emails a day. Power users who send and receive 200 to 300 emails a day will get about two days of use from a full charge. I have the red Peek, but it also come in charcoal gray, aqua blue, and black cherry. Hmm, I guess I don’t have red. I have black cherry! Its $100 at Target or at the company’s website. Service is $20 a month and there’s no contract! Soon they’ll offer an annual deal. If you pay for 12 months, you’ll get one month free. But I would go with the month to month until you’re sure the PEEK serves your needs.