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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

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    Some new travel gadgets.

    One of the newest travel bags is the Anti-Theft Urban E/W Tablet Messenger bag from Travelon. It features two roomy zip compartments, including a padded front compartment for an iPad or tablet. The rear compartment is fleece lined to protect other tech gadgets like smart phones from scratches. There's an interior organizer with RFID blocking card and passport slots. These help prevent thieves with scanners from obtaining info from credit cards and passports with embedded ID chips. There's a magnetic front flap close compartment and rear zip pocket for quick grab items. And finally, for added security, there's a theft-resistant adjustable strap and a tethered key clip with LED light. It's from Travelon and lists for $65.00. Since Travelon makes a wide variety of bags, this one is model 42936, available in black only.

    http://www.travelonbags.com/anti-theft/urban/anti-theft-urbanr-e-w-tablet-messenger

    A travel bag for when you come home with more than you left with .......

    This is the Packable Travel Bag also from Travelon. When you travel you often return home with more stuff than you left with. This small 8.75 x 7 x 1.25 pouch is a help with those extra items you picked up on your trip. It's called the Packable Travel bag. It's small enough to stick in a suitcase or backpack, but it opens to a full size carry-on travel bag with large front zip pocket and 2 side zip pockets. The carry pouch actually folds in and becomes an interior pocket for more packing and storage. Adjustable shoulder strap too. Made of lightweight, water and stain resistant rip stop material. List price is $40.00 and it's available in lime, grey and black.

    http://www.travelonbags.com/packable-travel-bag-1430

       

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    A travel device that does a lot.

    Satechi seems to have the knack of coming up with very useful, reasonably priced gadgets. The Satechi Smart Travel Router / Travel Adapter is one of them. First off it has a plug that adapts to fit into four of the most common plug configurations used around the world. Then the built-in travel router features four different modes for your wireless networking needs on the road. There are also two options provided to charge your device: an AC power port and a USB port. So this compact adapter is convenient for charging smartphones, laptops, music players, cameras, e-readers, tablets, and other devices all around the world. (Be aware though that the Smart Travel Router can only support passwords containing letters and numbers. Special characters cannot be used.) It also functions as a typical router, connecting to the Internet and broadcasting a wireless signal, enabling you to create your own network or as a repeater, connecting to your existing network and amplifying it. You can find all the tech specs at the company website. It retails for under $50. Be aware Satechi make the same device without the router functions, which sells for about $25. At first I thought I had found this device on sale for half price, but it was not the Travel Router version which lists for $49.99. It's $39.99 at the Amazon link below. 

    Company website: http://www.satechi.net/index.php/gadgets/travel/routers  

    Company video: http://youtu.be/npX_9PKiCoY  

    Amazon link: (Giz Wiz link. Pay the same $39.99, but Giz Wiz Biz gets a small credit toward buying more gadgets for the show on Amazon.)

    Satechi Smart Travel Router with USB Port for charging iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, MP3 devices, and more in US, CA, MX, UK, EU, AU, NZ, HK, and China (with Router)   

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    Three gadgets from The Inspired Home press event.

    I attended a press event called The Inspired Home (http://www.theinspiredhome.com/) as presented by the International Housewares Association. 

    Don’t just make pancakes. Create them! Introducing PancakeBot* - The coolest addition to your kitchen. *Batter not included 

    I was pleased to discover the PancakeBot - The world's first pancake printer! It was a Kickstarter project and evidentially people were very interested in this idea. The creators were looking for $50,000, but 2,074 backers pledged $460,584 to help bring this project to life. Here's info from their Kickstarter page: The PancakeBot allows you to “print” out pancakes into just about any design you can imagine. It's easy, REALLY fun, and you don’t need an art degree (or a culinary one) to do it! Designed to inspire, entertain, and bring out the creativity in both young and old at home, the PancakeBot is also a product with commercial durability to help your brand make a lasting impression and draw in more customers. From the whimsical dream of Miguel Valenzuela to make a pancake machine out of LEGO for his two daughters, the PancakeBot has evolved into a complete patent pending product capable of creating pancakes like never before. Our included user-friendly software allows you to design your own pancake by tracing any image right on your computer.  From your favorite piece of art or character, a child's drawing, a product image or your company or team logo, the software creates the file and the PancakeBot does the rest. As the artist, you control what lines are drawn first, which in turn lets you determine the shading of the pancake. Once you have traced the image, the files can be stored on an SD card allowing you to print the designs you have created at anytime without having to ever re-trace the image. The PancakeBot uses a patent pending batter dispensing system to "print" the batter onto the included griddle. By using a combination of compressed air and a vacuum, the PancakeBot controls where the batter is dispensed. Onboard controls let you fine-tune the dispensing of the batter as it glides over the griddle. Suggested retail price mentioned at the show was $299.00. 

    Here’s how it all began: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aux0ZQJVBk 

    A later prototype in action: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1853707494/pancakebot-the-worlds-first-pancake-printer/description  

    http://www.pancakebot.com/

    How would you like to have a professional bartender at your side?

    Perfect Drink does just that, it makes a perfect drink. The company also makes Perfect Bake, but at this press event they were demonstrating Perfect Drink. They call it a revolution in home bartending, and it sure is easy to use. Perfect Drink's smart scale and free app lets you choose from hundreds of drink recipes, and you can add your own if you like. Pick a drink you want to make and just follow real-time pouring instructions on your tablet, smart phone, etc. As you pour each ingredient watch as a virtual glass fills on your smart phone or tablet. When the amount is right, the bar lights up and dings! That way you know exactly how much to pour and when to stop. Choose any serving size from a single serving to a party pitcher. Perfect Drink compensates for over-pouring by re-adjusting the amount of the other ingredients automatically to fix your drink. You can even let Perfect Drink know what you've got on hand and it will generate a list of drinks you can make and show you how. Works with Apple iOS 6.0 or higher, Android OS 4.1 or higher, Includes scale, accurate to 1 gram, stainless steel shaker, 3.5mm connection cable and stand for your iPad, Smartphone, etc. Retail $49.99, but it’s only about $42.00 at the Amazon link below. There is a Bluetooth wireless version coming around October, 2015 and it lists for $99.99.  

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/jkHLk8vBM-4

     

    Amazon link:  

    Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending 

    Company websites: http://www.perfectdrinkapp.com/ and http://www.perfectbakeapp.com/ 

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    A New Kind of 911 Phone.

    At this event I found out about the Mace Alert 911. Actually, I didn't know there was a company named Mace, but there is. And now I know they're huge and they produce all kinds of safety devices, including Mace in many forms. But I thought Mace Alert 911 was a different kind of device people would especially like to know about. Here's info from the company: With Mace® Alert 911, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing help is available in any emergency situation. With just a touch of a button, you will be connected to a local "911" Emergency Dispatcher. One Touch Direct Connection to 911 • In the event of an emergency, be one push away from assistance. • No Monthly Fee • Use Anywhere in US • One Year Battery Life • Emergencies happen, be prepared 24/7 with the Mace® Alert 911 at your side. • The Mace® Alert 911 works anywhere in the US that has a cellular connection. • This device requires no monthly fee! • Batteries included. ---And now back to me. I like the idea that it uses any available cell phone network, and that there is no monthly fee. I asked if it had to rearmed or anything after use and was told “no, you can use it as often as needed.” I also asked if it was legal in NYC. (I believe burglar alarms in NYC cannot be connected to 911). John, the CEO, said this is fine for use in all 50 states. The price is $249.99, but it's a one-time payment, there are no monthly, yearly fees. And it's small; dimensions 2.5” w x 2”h x .75”d. 

    Company video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w42qv6wTE08&feature=youtu.be 

     

    Company website: http://www.mace.com/mace911alert.html

    Sunday
    Jun212015

    Handy tools for the DYI guy - or gal.

    I see few people wearing safety eyewear when using power tools and even less using safety eyewear AND earplugs. Well there’s one new product that can provide both hearing protection & safety eyewear. It’s from ReadyMax and it’s called SoundShield. This product features retractable earplugs integrated within the temple pieces of safety glasses. They offer an anti-fog & scratch resistant lens. The company says their ANSI impact rated lenses absorb 99% of UV rays. As you’ll see in the video, they are available in many varieties including a model that fits over prescription glasses, a 2X magnification model, and more. Price is around $19.99 for most, $24.99 for a couple of the designer models. 

    Giz Wiz SafetyGlasses Video: https://youtu.be/5p5c83Gw0WU  

    Also from ReadyMax, tools that feature a built-in high-intensity LED. It turns on with a touch of a button and shines through the jaws of a pliers or adjustable tool to stay focused on the work surface. No more fumbling for a flashlight or needing an extra pair of hands when working in tight, low-light conditions. The company says their sealed HubLight is waterproof, oil proof and chemical proof. You can easily replace the three standard #392 watch batteries and the high-intensity narrow beam LED is rated at 10,000 hours. Retail is about $25 for each of the 7 new LED tools. 

    See them here: http://www.readymax.com/product-category/tool-products/   

    Company video: https://vimeo.com/99858327  

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