On this page is, or will be, all the gizmos and gadgets Leo Laporte and I talked about starting Monday, March 31st, through the week of April 28th.
The newest week is at the top of the page!
New products are added as the Daily Giz Wiz posts to the 'Net. Occassionally a link to hear the Netcast may not work because the product info goes up before the Netcast is available at TWIT.
Monday --- April 28th, 2008, Netcast 556 You Gave Me What????As a Gift? Gotcha Gift Boxes look exactly like a product you’d find at Macys, or your gift store. But the products aren't real. However, the empty boxes are real! The plan is to wrap your otherwise forgettable gift in one of these “gift” boxes. They watch as they struggle to feign enthusiasm for a smoke alarm that would probably kill them if it were real. Or take joy as their faces fall upon realizing there is no such thing as a hat-affixed pocket accessory—just a crappy bric-a-brac inside you waited until the last moment to buy. Sold through the Onion website, the best value is the four pack. Your GotchaBox 4-pack includes one each of the following: (1) Visorganizer, (1) 28-Piece Professional Whisk Set, (1) Peaceful Progression Smoke Alarm, (1) Auto Power Strip. Box dimensions: 12"x9"x4"All four for $19.99or $7.99 each www.gotchabox.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw556
TTTT, Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, Netcast 557
Leo Talks About His New Find – The Ziszor. Yes, it’s not a bad spelling of scissors, but the Ziszor! Bills itself as “the first premium, hand-held paper shredder to balance security with ease of use and portability”. It measures 10″ long, is about 4” wide and weighs less than 1.5 pounds. It runs on 4 AA batteries and can make short work of all that junk mail and credit card offers that come your way. All the shredded waste is collected in adisposable plastic catch-bag assuming you remember to attach it! Leo didn’t do it at first in the usual rush to try it out! It takes folded paper, but no more than 5 sheets at time. Put the papers into the Ziszor’s slot, press the trigger button and shred away.I don’t have one, but Leo said it will shred credit card bills, but not credit cards themselves! The Ziszor will retail for $49.50, but right now it (Late April) it’s $39.95. Replacement catch-bags are $3.29 for a box of 30. http://www.ziszor.com/product/ Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw557 Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, Netcast 558 Here’s Something Very Inexpensive That Will Be Worth It’s Weight in Gold if You Need It! The TT Pack. (Toiletry Travel Package).This little plastic pack is great for those unknown restrooms when you travel. Throw one in your pocket, even for a day trip. Perfect for luggage, the glove compartment, backpack, etc. Then when you open that door and find the restroom from hell, you're set. Inside each packet you’ll find• Toilet seat cover • Toilet seat wipe • Germicidal Hand wipe • Tissue • Paper towel • and Disposable glove! And they’re just about a buck a pack, plus shipping. I think this is a great idea! The best price is at the company’s website. They sell them for about $1 per pack, plusshipping.A few high end travel sites are selling them for as much as $3 each. www.ttpacks.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw558
Thursday, May 1st, 2008 ---Netcast #559 Here’s a Great Way to Cover Strange Sounds When You Travel. Marsona Sound Machine helps muffle unfamiliar hotel noises with regular, soothing sounds that help you get a good night's sleep. Even at home I use mine to cover traffic noise, comings-and-goings in the hallway, and noisy neighbors. . That's why so many experienced travelers use “white noise” gizmos. I’ve never seen one as compact and light as this one. Just plug it in, select the natural sound you'd like to lull you to sleep (from "rainfall" to "waterfall" to "surf"), adjust the volume, and slide off into sleep. Although the company calls these sounds the “sounds of nature” you can use the slider control to make the device produce plain old white noise. (At least to my ears). Includes dual-voltage power pack and a nylon travel pouch. $89.00 www.magellans.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw559 Back to the Warehouse Friday ---May 2nd, 2008, Netcast Before Tivo, it was the VCR Plus+! Late in 2001 VCR Plus made programming a VCR manually history! VCR Plus+ made it easy for anyone to record television shows by simply entering thePlusCode number into a VCR Plus remote control. The PlusCode numbers were listed in TV Guide and in thousands of newspapers and magazines. To program PlusCode numbers, just press the VCR Plus+ button on the remote control. You also needs to indicate if you'd like to record the program: once, daily, or monthly. The VCR Plus can with an inclined plastic stand so you can aim the unit at your VCR and cable box. At the pre-set time VCR Plus+ beams out the proper pulses to turn on the VCR, switch to the right channel, start recording, then shut the VCR off when the show is over. VCR’s with VCR Plus+ built in could even record shows on two different cable channels when you were not home! Sounds primitive, but it was amazing for the time! Later, Gemstar's VCR Plus+ introduced the "CallSet" feature. You could call a special 800 number provided byGemstar and have special codes sent over the phone line to set the correct date and time for the VCR, Cable Box, and the entire cable channel. At the proper time a voice would tell you to hold your VCR+ up to the phone!!! Prices ranged from about $50 to several hundred for VCR’s with VCR Plus+ built in. Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw560
The Seiko Global Atomic Travel Alarm Clock w/Flashlight keeps perfect time via the Atomic Clock, but there’s more! It’ has a built-in, automatic LED flashlight. This new, easy-to-set alarm clock picks up radio signals from atomic time transmitters in the United States, Europe, Japan and the Far East, adjusting automatically to each region where there is a transmitter (it functions as an accurate quartz clock in other countries.) A handy flashlight built into the base shines a bright blue LED light whenever you pick up the clock and turns itself off when you set it down. There’s a constant “on” switch if you need it. At the push of a button there’s soft backlighting. Add in five-minute snooze, date, calendar and temperature display and it’s a nice travel item. Includes four AAA batteries. Clock is 4¼ x 2") Under $45.
Rather than carry one of the camcorders Leo already owns that record on Flash Memory, Leo wanted a High Def tape camcorder. He said he loves his new Canon VIXIA HV30.It’s the latest in Canon's offering of HD camcorders. Since I don’t own the camera, or even played with one, I picked up some info from the Canon website. It’s a little heavy handed, but at least you can see some of the reasons likes this camera. The VIXIA HV30 offers a full HD CMOS sensor and advanced DIGIC DV II image processor to deliver breathtaking detail and the best in color reproduction. SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization and Instant Auto Focus gives you the shot control High Definition demands. With a Canon 10x HD video zoom lens and a host of other advanced features the VIXIA camcorder offers HD and Standard Definition recording modes. The VIXIA HV30 is easy to use and delivers the high level of performance you've come to expect from Canon. It's the next step in premium quality High Definition camcorders for which sophisticated and discerning videographers have been waiting.
Now you can welcome 'animals' into your workspace.
No, we’re not talking about not the noisy guy in the cubicle next to yours! We’re talking about Animal Clips - playful, soft little animal heads that will hold all sorts of desktop wires in place for you! They’re from the folks at Cable Organizers and they're all-purpose clips to hold lots of stuff. Best of all, they are very inexpensive!! They help because they'll be less wires to get tangled in things! They use hook and loop attachment for versatility. And there are 30 designs to choose from. Kids love them! I love them. You’ll love them! A great way to get kids to organize their gadgets. Can be used for USB flash drives, cables, ear bud headphones, etc. Cost?55 cents each!!!! (Plus shipping). The best deal is to get all 30 for $14.50 (Plus shipping.)
My Tags from Tags For Bags are very useful. With the travel season upon us, this is a good travel item. My Tags travel bag tags are made of heavy duty polyester webbing with heavy duty steel split key ring (to prevent them from getting caught in the baggage handling systems). The key ring is stronger and less likely to catch on edges of baggage machines than those flimsy leather straps with buckles. Inside every My Tag travel bag tag are two clear pockets, the first for name and address, and the second for your current trip itinerary. If your bag gets separated from you, the carrier knows how and where to get a hold of you or to forward your bag to you. You can order them with catchy slogans already on them, such as: GRAB THE NEXT ONE, DIRTHY CLOTHES, NOT YOURS, etc.Or you can have them custom embroidered like one that says The Giz Wiz. I think this is another great idea for travel. 3 Tags for $29.95, plus S&H. www.tagsforbags.com Back to the Warehouse Friday, April 25th, 2008Netcast 555
Texas Instruments PS-9500 TimeRunner
The Time Runner Organizer from TI was introduced in 1993.It was so slim -- only 0.2 inch thick – it fit perfectly in a Day Runner loose leaf book. A special rubberized collar held it in place along with your “ Day Runner” paper pages.It had an LCD dot matrix screen that showed 6 lines by 24 characters. It was lightweight (4.2 ounces) and was powered by two CR2016 button batteries.Built in memory was 64kMB RAM.It had alarms for reminders, and a clock with 4 daily alarms. It could hold addresses for approximately 3000 entries. The calendar runs up to December, 2059, so if you still have one working, it can go on for a long time. There’s also a calculator and it can show time in 24 time zones.But somehow I guess the idea of mixing paper entries with electronic entries didn’t work out, because the Time Runner was not widely accepted. But there’s always Ebay! www.twit.tv/dgw555
Daily Giz Wiz, Week of April 14th, 2008 Monday, April 14th---- Netcast 546
Now You Can Take It With You!
With the Neuros OSD. Start by connect the Neuros OSD to your DVD player, VCR, cable box or video camera. Then plug your storage device into Neuros OSD. Storage device includes USB flash drive, external hard drive, and memory cards. Then hit “play” on the DVD/video player/etc and hit “record” on the Neuros OSD. The output from the DVD/video will record to your storage in real time. Once your video content is archived, it appears in a menu on your OSD via your computer screen. Play back your video anytime on your TV, PC or laptop, or your portable video playerBecause the OSD saves the recordings in the popular compressed video format MPEG-4, the programs can be watched on a host of devices, including iPods and smartphones. So if tired of stacks of DVDs and VHS tapes piled everywhere, and falling everywhere, the Neuros can become your electronic housekeeper. You can record an entire library on a U.S.B. hard drive. And here’s something different. Neuros Technology provides full documentation of the hardware platform for its recorder, the Neuros OSD. OSD stand for “open source device” so anyone can feel free to customize it, and hopefully improve it for others. List $229. Do a web search. I saw it for as low as $175.00 www.neurostechnology.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw546 TTTT Tuesday, April 15th Netcast 547 Another Turn The Table Tuesday and Leo Comes Up With A Sling Shot! TheLowePro Sling Shot Since this is a Leo pick, and I haven’t seen it, here’s the info Leo send me from their website:Perfect for photojournalists, the SlingShot 200 AW uses a unique sling design to go from "carry mode" to "ready mode" in just seconds. Carried comfortably on the back, it easily rotates to the front so you can get to your camera quickly. The SlingShot 200 AW holds an SLR with mid-range zoom lens attached 3-4 extra lenses, cables and accessories and has a full access lid to make loading it a snap. This feature-rich bag also includes a built-in memory card pouch, micro fiber LCD cloth and two generous organizer pockets. It is certain to surprise even the most demanding photojournalists. To help you make the most of this Lowepro bag take a look at our new product video on our website. $82 & up. www.lowepro.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.dgw547 Wednesday, April 16th, Netcast 548 Here’s a Flashlight with a Built-in Tripod! And it’s called the Stanley Tripod Flashlight! This new Stanley Tripod Flashlight more powerful that it’s predecessor. If you want the latest one look for model 95-146. It offers twice the light output at the same or just slightly higher price as the previous model. Features include: High power LED with 40 Lumens of light output. Hands-free tripod design. Push a button, the legs spring open and you have a tripod to hold the flashlight for you. Aim it where you need light with the 4 position rotating head. 369 technology lets the flashlight run on 3, 6, or 9 AA batteries. More batteries equals longer burn times, not a brighter light. A nice feature is the low-battery indicator. This rugged flashlight is easy to hold with the water-resistant and slip-resistant rubber grip. Also has a shatter-resistant lens. The 3-position switch - low, high, off.Price around $25 to $30.It is just starting to ship in April. http://shmyl.com/mqrpson Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw548
Thursday,Clip HangerNetcast 549, April 17th
Here’s An Easy Way to “Hang Up” your Cell Phone!
ClipHanger – It’s low tech, but it’s an easy way to carry a phone and then store when it take it off at home. Just stick ClipHanger on the back of your cell phone. It comes with adhesive tabs. One for the phone and one for the hook you place near your door so you have a place to hang your phone when you get home. Just a flip of the thumb lets you hang on the phone on a belt loop, purse, backpack, etc. Good for cell phones, PDAs, iPods, etc. And the ClipHanger is universal so it fits just about any device.Under $13.00
www.cliphanger.com. Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw549 Friday, April 18th, Netcast 550 Back to the Warehouse Friday! I wanted one, Leo wanted one, and if you’re old enough, you probably wanted one! Years before the Pocket PC, there was the Poqet PC. This little marvel was about the size of a videotape. It was also wildly expensive which helped keep it from being popular. The Poqet was about $2000, but it ran off-the-shelf applications and could go for weeks on two AA batteries. Yes, two AA batteries. How easy is that? Highly praised during its brief life, the Poqet vanished from the market after its manufacturer was acquired by Fujitsu. As with seemingly every interesting computer of yore, it still has its devotees, including Bryan Mason, proprietor of the informative Poqet PC Web Site. Photo courtesy of the Obsolete Computer Museum. www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw550
Tom Carlson Photo
Daily Giz Wiz, Week of April 7th, 2008
Monday, April 7thNetcast 541
The Safety Bright 4 in 1 Emergency Tool and Flashlight
The 4in1 Car Emergency Tool and Flashlight is a safety product that is a must for every driver. In the worst of all emergencies this one item could save your life.
There’s a strong magnet on the bottom that attaches to any metal surface. So if you’re alone in the car changing a tire at night, you have an “extra hand” to hold the light. It has 9 flashing LED's on the sides, 1 white bulb on the top which is used as flashlight. And although seatbelts can save lives, if you can’t open one after an accident, you can use the built in seat belt cutter. If you need to exit via a window breaking safety glass is just about impossible. That’s where the glass break hammer comes in. And the unit is water proof. Runs on two AA batteries which are included. If you’re a business, the 4in1 Emergency Tool and Flashlight is a great premium product that can be imprinted with your logo. Regular Price:$ 19.95 Introductory Price: $14.95
It’s Time for Another TTTT – Turn the Table Tuesday for April 8th, 2008, Netcast 542
Leo’s come up with something interesting, yet again! What is wrong with him???The MBR1000 Cellular Router!
Since I don’t have one of these gizmos, here’s the info Leo sent me the company’s website:The MBR1000 incorporates built-in Cellular Failover capability to provide a best-in-class Enterprise solution that fits the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses. Take your business ‘non-stop’ by adding a cellular modem/router combination to your network backup strategy. This device provides 802.11 ‘N’ technology for superior WLAN distance and bandwidth, and includes Express Card and USB modem ports with a wide list of compatible cellular modems. The MBR1000 supports both EVDO and HSDPA networks.
The MBR1000 includes advanced router features such as WPA Protected Setup (WPS) to ensure easy and reliable encryption setup. ‘SGNL’ mode converts the front panel LEDs to signal strength indication – simplifying the placement of cellular modem and WAN antenna, if available. Three external 802.11 antenna for optimum WLAN coverage Added firewall prevents unauthorized use of instant or remotely configured networks. $249.00.
SanDisk Introduces Another Great Audio/Video Player – The Sansa Fuze.
With each new device, SanDisk ups the ante for performance. They say you can now listen, watch and play all day with 24 hours of battery life and room for up to 2000 songs. (Your battery life will vary, depending on what you listen to and watch. Video will reduce that number. The new Sansa Fuze from SanDisk is a portable music machine with 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of storage. Watch your favorite video clips on the Sansa Fuze’s 1.9" color screen. (You’re not going to want to watch wide screen epics on this screen, but to watch a recorded TV show while waiting for the bus, it’s ideal!) There’s a built in FM radio with 40 preset stations, a built-in voice recorder, and you can share your photos wherever you go. The Fuze marks the next wave of music & video players. The pricing is very aggressive!2GB BLACK$79.99/4GB BLUE$99.99 / 8GB Silver model $129.99. A few other colors are available. Check their website:
It’s The Power-Failure Light from the Hammacher Catalog. This device attaches between the socket and bulb of a standard table or floor lamp and automatically provides up to 8 hours of uninterrupted light from six bright LEDs as soon as power is lost, eliminating the need to search for a flashlight during a blackout. Powered by built-in rechargeable batteries that automatically recharge via the lamp socket once power is restored and never require replacement, the device has an integrated photocell that detects ambient light and prevents the LEDs from turning on during the daytime or when power is restored. Compatible with incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs. 5" H x 5" W x 3" D. (3 1/2 lbs.)Hammacher................. $39.95
Friday April 11th, Netcast 545 – Back to the Warehouse Friday!
Goodbye Floppies, Hello DiskOnKey!
For years people had been predicting the death of the floppy, but it took a fairly long time to die. Something that helped it the grave was a gadget the size of your thumb. It was the first thumb drive, although that term wasn’t used yet. With an amazing 8MB to 32MB of flash memory the DiskOnKey was easy to use. It slipped into any USB port. It didn't need drivers for your PC unless you were still running Windows 98. You just plugged it into a USB port and it became another drive. Copy files, and take them anywhere right in your pocket.
In a list compiled by PC World Magazine of 50 of the world's most successful gadgets of the past 50 years, M-System's Disk-On-Key made ninth place.
I did a web search to see if I could find prices for flash drives in the past. I found an HP 32 MB for $90!!!And guess what? They were still selling it for that price. I couldn’t believe it until I saw:We accept government orders! It wouldn’t surprise me if our government was using our tax dollars to pay $90 for 32MB!
The Mystery of The Defrosting Plate/Pan Has Been Solved!
And yes --- already more than 100 of you have identified the gizmo Leo and I were trying to think of. Here's just one of the very first: I think the gizmo you were searching for wasn't a grill. It was the Miracle Thaw Defrosting Tray ™. It was basically an aluminum tray that effectively increased the heat transfer of the room heat into the frozen food causing it to thaw miraculously or at least slightly faster. Andy Heatlie
A couple of dozen listeners actually owned it. Many still do, although no one said they used it recently. Almost everyone had it under the sink or in the closet. Most said it was awful! The FDA said it was good --- for growing bacteria and that you could get the same 'thawing' results using any pan! Also not noted in the ads for this product was that you should run it under hot water for a while before using it. That of course would make the defrosting go much faster. Again, you can do that with any pan.
Leo's away for two weeks, but fear not. They'll still will be new DGW episodes every weekday. We taped a bunch before Leo left. And we'll talk about Miracle Thaw after April 15th after Leo is back.
Jason M sent us this photo.
Week of March 31st, 2008 Monday, March 31st, 2008, Netcast 536 Watch out!Lock the Doors!It’s the Battery Eater! This is a fun, fairly inexpensive gadget from our friends over at www.spoonsisters.com.Even when you think the last little drop of power is gone from your AA batteries, you know there’s still some energy in there. Now you can use that remaining bit of power to have some fun. Just feed your double A's to the power-hungry Battery Eater and watch his LED eyes flash on and off until your battery is truly dead. When he’s finished, you can recycle them. Made from an exposed circuit board with bent-wire hair and a capacitor for a nose, he’s just doing his part to keep the world Green, and you will be too. But there’s more! Battery Eater is also a magnet, so you can stick him on the fridge to bring attention to important notes. $7.50 www.SpoonSisters.com Direct link to the product page: http://shmyl.com/lftpson Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw536 TTTT Tuesday, April 1st, 2008, Netcast 537 It’s Turn The Table Tuesday and I think Leo has lost his mind! Judge for yourself… Hang on to your hat.But watch you don’t cut yourself. Spear Hat is one of the most bizarre gadgets Leo ever talked about. He found it at Toy Fair. Spear Hats are soldas a pair. Each kid, parent, daredevil, etc. wears one. Make sure the spear is pointing straight up! Then the object is to take turns throwing rings at each other. The more rings you catch, the more points you earn. To catch more rings you might be tempted to run toward the ring as it flies in the air. This is where you have to be careful not to spear your playmate!The instructions get even more bizarre when it suggests you throw fresh fruit at each and try to spear them! They’ve even printed a list of points you get for catching various kinds of fruit tossed in the air on your spear! Fruit salad, anyone? I wish this company a lot of luck! $49.95 a pair. I think Leo said $29.95 on the Netcast, but their $49.95 at the company's website. www.spearhat.com Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw537 Wednesday, April 2ndNetcast 538
You don’t have to wait for the rain to see a rainbow.
Now when you have your own Rainbow Projector. This is great for kid’s room, or for any room you’d like to see a rainbow. Project an colorful rainbow in your room with just a wave of your hand! This motion activated projector shines a brilliant rainbow across your wall and ceiling. Place it on your nightstand or desk for the ultimate under the rainbow moment!I played with this quite a bit.Of course the lighter the color on your walls, the brighter the rainbow image. I found it worked best tilted on its side to project a large rainbow on the ceiling. You can turn the multicolor LEDs on with a wave of your hand. It run on 4 AAA Batterieswhich are not included. And there’s a jack for an AC adapter which is also not included. But the price is pretty good. $29.95. Measures approximately 9” tallx4.5"wide. http://shmyl.com/hyspson Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw538
ThursdayApril 3rd, Netcast 539
A Whole New Kind of Lighting System --- Energizer Light On Demand
Energizer is introducing seven different Light On Demand products that only are great for everyday lighting, but double as emergency lighting too. I’ve seen 3 of the 7 products and they are very easy to install. A couple of the devices just need to be plugged into an AC outlet. Since they use LED’s, they’re energy efficient and affordable. The basis of each device is the unique LED light stick which contains a backup, rechargeable battery pack. That means your light can come on automatically during power outages or other emergencies All the Light on Demand products automatically default to rechargeable batteries in the instance standard electricity is cut off. But the light sticks do double duty. They function in their specific product, but they can also be detached and serve as an area light and/or a flashlight when the power goes out, providing continual, emergency lighting. The pricing is reasonable. All the Light on Demand devices will be under $50. Target will carry them first, and then they’ll be rolled out more widely.
This device is from the 1980’s. Even though most everyone had a push button phone by then, there were times you were find a store or a place that still had dial up. Answering Machines can’t understand dial-up, only the tones from a push button phone. So how do you get your messages if there was no push button phone available. I faced this problem when I took boat trips up the Hudson River. Quaint restaurants still had dial payphones. There’s when the Phone-Mate “Just in Case Beeper” was handy. You held it up the mouthpiece and push the buttons to generate the tones you needed. That when you could run your answering machine as if you were using a real touch-tone phone. It was about $18 at the time.
We stopped collecting names for the 3 One Touch Back Up Drives the folks at Maxtor are giving away. The deadline was midnight March 15th PDT.
The winners of the drives and the extra giveaways, thanks to Marken Communications, will be announced on the Daily Giz Wiz 534, Thursday, March 27th. The additional giveaways include 5 copies of Crazy Talk5 - a zany easy-to-use program to make any still picture talk -- and 10 copies of YouCam, one of my favorite programs. You'll hear all about Crazy Talk5 on DGW 533, Wednesday, March 26th. And YouCam from CyberLink was the subject of The Daily Giz Wiz, episode 443. http://www.twit.tv/dgw443