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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

    Sunday
    Aug282016

    Acer's First Aluminum Case Chromebook 

    Chromebooks are not full-fledged computers, but they do a heck of lot, and cost a lot less money. And they're becoming increasingly popular for back to school. The Tech Times says that Google Chromebook now owns over 50% of educational tech market share. Acer is huge in that marketplace and their newest model is their Chromebook 14. It has a 14” IPS HD screen. It's large enough to enjoy videos and use multiple tabs for various projects. And it's still portable enough to fit in a backpack or book bag. It features Acer's first all-aluminum Chromebook case that adds protection, while remaining lightweight. Acer says their new model (CB3-431-C5FM) is the industry’s first Chromebook with up to 14 hours of battery life on an HD display and up to 12 hours of battery life on a full HD display. More tech specs: The ACER CHROMEBOOK 14 (CB3-431-C5FM) has an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core processor / Full 1920X1080 HD Widescreen IPS LED-back lit display /16:9 aspect ratio /4GB ram / 32 GB eMMC memory. Integrated Intel® HD Graphics, Built-IN webcam, 2 built-In speakers; built-In microphone. 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 / 2 USB 3.0 Port / HDMI with HDCP Support / Headphone/Speaker Jack / 3-Cell Li-Polymer Battery (3950 mAh) / Dimensions: 13.43 (W) x 9.31 (D) x 0.67 (H) Inches / Weight: 3.42 lbs. MSRP: $299.99!

    REMEMBER, THIS RUNS CHROME OS, NOT WINDOWS. To use all the features you should be in a WiFi area, but there is a lot you can do offline too. Read the article (link below) to understand the difference between a laptop and a Chromebook.

    Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aR21eH  ($299.99) -- OMG. The Amazon price is changing daily! It was $269.99 last night, now $319 12 hours later, 8/16/2016. The price is probably steady - $299.99 at Best Buy.

    Company website: www.acer.com

    This model is also at Best Buy Stores at the same price, $299.99.

    This is about Chromebooks from Google: https://www.google.com/chromebook/about/

    Here's an article from Laptop Magazine with a good look at the differences between a laptop and a Chromebook. I have nothing to do with Laptop magazine, although I'm a fan. I picked it because it's from May, 2016 and it was the latest date I found.

    http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/chromebooks-vs-windows

    Sunday
    Aug282016

    Just in time for back to school.

    I hadn't heard of Bixbee before, but I was glad I stopped by and found out about them. Not only do they make colorful, fun and practical backpacks, they have a great 'give-back' program. As you learn in the video, their mission is called "One Here. One There." That means that for every backpack purchased, Bixbee donates a school bag filled with school supplies to a child in need. Bixbee is their brand name as well as the name of their mascot, Bixbee the bee. To us older folks backpacks probably don't mean too much, but here's what Bixbee CEO Luis Manuel thinks: “We can all remember the days before school started, when you packed and readied your backpack for that first day. Then on that day you placed your backpack on as if it were a magic cape that was to start you on a new adventure. Have you ever stopped to have an actual conversation with a kid? Their imagination serves as an endless source of inspiration for my work. Wings, sparkle, sharks, zombies in a smart design combined with our buy one, give one mission makes for a feel good, ‘gotta have it’ product.” And some of them feature LED's! That's the Space Racer LED Kid's Backpack in the photo; the pink backpack is the Fairy Flyer, each $43.99. Bixbee has many other creative backpacks starting under $30. Check out their website.

     

    Company website: http://www.bixbee.com/

     

    Here's a Bixbee video I shot at the Blogger Bash Press Event:

     

    GizWiz Video: https://youtu.be/gaDrVxWVPps   

    Sunday
    Aug282016

    Here's an early look at a new gadget from Nite-Ize.

    This new Nite-Ize lantern was introduced at the Outdoor Retailer Show that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 2-4, 2016.

    The NiteIze Radiant 300 rechargeable lantern is packed with features, especially considering its compact size. Its ultra-lightweight, durable design features a first-of its kind carabiner handle to easily clip carry, or hang the Radient lantern. But the charging technology is where this gadget shines. The base of the lantern has two integrated USB ports - one input for re-charging the 2600 mAh rechargeable battery (in just 3.5 hours), and the other is an output for charging other small devices such as a smartphone or camera. At 300 Lumens, the intelligent switch is used to activate high, medium, and low white LED modes or a red LED mode to preserve night vision. A micro USB cord and a protective carrying bag that doubles as a light diffuser are conveniently included. The lantern is weather resistant and impact resistant (drop proof to 1 meter). Dimensions: 3.86" Dia. x 7.92" | 98mm Dia. x 201mm. Weight: 11.6oz | 329g. MSRP is $44.99. It should be shipping soon. It's not on Amazon yet. (This was posted 8/14/16)

     

    Giz Wiz Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njlvoNe858I&feature=youtu.be

     

    Product page: https://www.niteize.com/product/Radiant-300-Rechargeable-Lantern.asp

    Sunday
    Aug282016

    Three (actually four) fun uses for LED's!

     

    A couple of years ago Chad introduced us to the LED disco bulb. Just screw into a lamp base, turn it on, and you have an instant disco display! I bought 3 of them and friends bought a lot of them too. But now you can forget the disco light bulb with just one rotating dome – here's a new version with two rotating disco lights in one bulb! The old one is on the left and the new one is on the right in the picture.

     

    Here's what Amazon says about this fun gadget. (Like many things on Amazon, it has an endlessly long name. Meet the-) HociTech 6W Rotating LED Strobe Bulb Multicolor Crystal Stage Light, Double BulbHead. The beautiful colors rotating with the bulb create an amazing strobe disco effect in any room. Ideal for home party's, disco, Bar's ,Club's , stage and even children's rooms. Get Rotating Colorful lights in your room in seconds with this awesome gadget. Long working lifespan. Filled room auto-rotation with RGB three kinds of light color. $11.99 and Amazon Prime. Free shipping for Prime Members. (link below.)

     

    And the Giz Wiz adds: I like it! I like it a lot! Watch the video and I think you'll like it a lot too, assuming you like rotating bright color LED lights! It really fills a room with lights rotating in every direction. Just make sure the lamp you put it in is not at eye level, or you'll find it very annoying! Check out the video we shoot:

     

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/hzO94oTrY3Q 

     

    Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2byYHUg 

     

    And here's the bulb you see at the beginning of the video, the single spinning dome disco light. It's under $4 here with free shipping, but it's not Amazon Prime:

     

    http://amzn.to/2bn8Uqb

     

    Sunday
    Aug282016

    These gloves might keep you warm, but they're cool!

    LED Flashing Fingers Gloves!The fingers on these LED gloves light up different colors and fade in and out. I have no particular use for them, but hey, I love LED's and these look great! They have 6 Modes for the 7 color LED's. When the LED's are off, these just look like black and white fabric gloves. When you turn them on, the white finger sections light up. The light modes are changed by pressing the button on the top of each glove, located toward the wrist. They're powered by 4 CR2032 batteries which are included (and replaceable). I love Amazon's ideas on how to use this gloves: Can be used at dance halls, bars, stage performances and other large entertainment venues. --- And my favorite use: Can also be used to play the piano at night. They were $11.99 as of 8/17/16 and Amazon Prime, so free shipping for members. 

    Giz Wiz LED Glove Video Demo: https://youtu.be/HNzn4YmmiTg

    Amazon link: http://amzn.to/29VUn1B 

    Hang on! I found them here on Amazon for $7.99, still Amazon Prime. As of 8/28/16 

    http://amzn.to/2b1mcGN