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I'm Dick DeBartolo, MAD's Maddest Writer, host of The Giz Wiz on TWiT, The Giz Wiz on ABC's World News Now and on Computer America. But wait, there's More »

 

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    As "Special Correspondent" - once a month, for a full hour, I join Craig Crossman and Co-Host Ben Crossman on Computer America - America's longest running nationally syndicated radio talk show about computers. But when I'm on the show we talk about every kind of gadget! To hear the show, or to go to the archives (which now covers the past two years) click below www.computeramerica.com

    Wednesday
    Dec172014

    UNU 10,000 mAh Superpak - A lot of power for a little bit of money.

    I like stuff from UNU and it seems a lot of other do too. UNU is Amazon’s #1 High Tech Mobile Power Provider. One of their newest devices is the Superpak. UNU says it has the smallest foot print for its powerful 10,000mAh battery core. How powerful is that? It can charge the iPhone 6 up to 350%+, iPhone 6 Plus up to 250%+, the Galaxy S5 up to 250%+ -- you get it, it’s powerful. The Superpak features uSmart charging technology. That means the Superpak can automatically IDENTIFY and MATCH your devices max charging speeds for optimized charging. (1 Port up to 2.1A, 1 Port up to 1.0A). But wait, there’s more!Equipped with SuperX 2.4A input charging technology, it doubles the battery pack self-charging speed and reduces Superpak self-charging time by up to 50% (Only 5-6 hours). And finally UNU says this is the world’s ONLY made for iPhone Certified Battery Pack. It ships with a 2-in-1 Micro USB + 8 Pin MFI certified Apple lightning cable, which enables the user to charge any compatible device without carrying an additional cord. MSRP is $99.99, but as of 12/17/14 it was $39.99 on Amazon, and Amazon Prime so free shipping for members.

    UNU Superpak 10000mAh 3.1A Battery Pack with 2-in-1 MFI Lightning Cable 8Pin and MicroUSB Cable [Black] Backup External Rechargeable Power Charger for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S / 5 / 4S / 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / 3 /2, Galaxy S6 / S5 / S4/ S3 / Tab 4 3 2 7.0 8.0 10.1/ S 8.4 10.5, LG Optimus G3 / G2 / G Flex / G Pro, HTC One M8 / M7 / M4, Nexus 5/4/6/7/8/9, iPad Air 4/3/2, iPad Mini 3 2 Retina, iPod Touch, Sony Xperia Z3, Nokia [ a.k.a Extended Juice Bank Charging Case Car Charger]

    Friday
    Dec122014

    Low tech, but it works great!

    The Bag Butler. I bought one of these and tried it. Before I tell you about my experience, here’s some of what Amazon says about the Bag Butler: Fill leaf bags fast. Just rake leaves and debris right into the bag. No bending over. No touching leaves or debris. Bag Butlers make using any plastic trash bag much easier. Textured finish is easy to clean. You'll use it year round...in the yard, camping, recycling, picnics, field events (it's like a folding portable trash can), in the shop....anywhere, anytime you use trash bags. Made from solid, heavy duty 100% Recycled plastics  Simple to use...just fold The Bag Butler creating tension, slip into bag, and release. The Bag Butler's spring like action instantly pops the bag wide open so you have both hands free to do the job.

    And the Giz Wiz’s take: This does work, but it takes a bit of practice to hold the Bag Butler handles tight together with one hand while you lower it into a trash bag you're holding open with your other hand. (Don’t try to do it on a windy day, or it will be really hard.) Also the Bag Butler handles have a rough texture and there's quite a bit tension, so I’d wear garden gloves or wrap the handles with tape. Outside of that it works as advertised. At $22, it does seem a bit expensive, but it should save you a lot of time disposing of stuff into large plastic bags. It's Amazon Prime, so free shipping if you're a Prime member. I bought mine on Amazon and had it in two days.  

    Amazon Link:  Bag Butler     (Giz Wiz Link. You pay exactly the same price, Giz Wiz Biz gets a small credit to buy more stuff for the show.) 

    Giz Wiz Video: http://youtu.be/Qbvoy0QciG4 

    Company website: www.bagbutler.com 

    Friday
    Dec122014

    Two Gadgets From The PDN PhotoPlus Show in the Javits Center.

     

    At the show I learned about the Joby Action series. There’s the Joby Suction Cup & Locking Arm designed for action video cameras such as GoPro, Contour, and Sony Action Cam. There’s also the Joby Suction Cup & GorillaPod Arm version. I got to play with the suction cup mount at the show, locking it on the display table. I was unable to break the suction pulling up on it. It’s that powerful suction cup that let you set up your camera to shoot videos in seconds! The quick-twist design can easily grip and secure to any clean, non-porous surface. Once secured, you’re ready to position your video camera! Use the two locking arm pivot points to position it at any angle you need. The two pivot points rotate 360° and pivot 180° side to side. When your Joby Action Series Lock Arm is locked into place, you’ve set the perfect vibration-resistant angle for your video camera. Both versions are available now at MSRP $39.95 each which includes free ground shipping on the Joby website. (As of 11/3/14) As of 11/6/14 I did not see these two products on Amazon, but they’re new and may be on Amazon in the future at a discount. 

    Video Company Demo: http://vimeo.com/110138884 

    Company website: http://joby.com/action-series/suction-cup-locking-arm/ 

    Friday
    Dec122014

    Quad copter not powerful enough? The Scout X4 lets you add four more propellers!

    At the PDN PhotoPlus Show Rotoconcepts was showing the Scout X4. Since the entire show is indoors, they weren’t flying it. But the gentlemen explained many of the features and said more info and video was on their website. I went to their website and there was no info and no videos showing the Scout X4. I emailed them, but never got a reply. But I did find a lot more info on the web, including a video. The full name of the device is the Walkera Scout X4. Features I had never heard of before (but maybe you did) are the “follow me” mode, where you put a remote in your pocket or on your car dashboard and your Scout X4 follows you at the height you set. And if four propellers aren’t enough you can click four more on to the bottom of the four motors driving the top propellers to make it an eight prop device. You can also draw a flight plan on your iOS device and the Scout X4 can follow it for up to 125 waypoints. Flying time on a full charge is 25 minutes. In case I got anything wrong, all the details are at the Banggood website below where the Scout X4 sells for $1339.00. They’re over-seas but it includes free shipping to the US. If you're in the US, it’s on ebay for about the same price. I’d do a Walkera Scout X4 web search for the best price and best location for yourself. It was not on Amazon as of 11/6/14. 

    Video of the Scout X4:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPG1aqQBAAo 

    www.banggood.com  (Best bang for your buck, I believe is their slogan.)  

    Company showing X4 at the Javits, but with nothing about it on their website as of 11/6/14  www.rotorconcept.com

    ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/251702357354?lpid=82

    Friday
    Dec122014

    The local weather forecast, so local, it's from your own backyard.

    People are forever checking the local weather forecast. Problem is, that forecast could be hours old and for a neighborhood from far yours. That’s why BloomSky developed a new style of weather station. It uses digital cloud computing to provide you with a more accurate local weather forecast directly on your smartphone and directly from your backyard! The complete BloomSky weather station consists of both indoor and outdoor modules with six sensors making it capable of measuring temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, UV exposure, wind speed and direction, and precipitation. The external module also features an ultra-wide angle HD camera to record the weather from your own backyard. It routinely turns on at dawn and off at dusk to create a stop action video of the day’s weather events. The BloomSky weather station also automatically sends updates to your smartphone whenever the weather in your neighborhood changes. You can even use it to post weather photos to your Facebook page and Twitter feed. Once the system is up and running you’ll be able to see weather from other BloomSky weather stations, even if you don’t own one yourself. $179.99. It can pre-ordered now for $149.99. (As of 11/12/14) Optional accessories include a solar panel so you never need charge the internal battery. 

    More info: www.bloomsky.com 

    Giz Wiz Video: http://youtu.be/Jb7CHjfjmuc