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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

    Monday
    Oct272014

    Change your voice on the cheap. (Best for kids.)

    Voice Changer. With this Voice Changer your Halloween disguise will be complete! Use this synthesizer to make any sound a scary sound. Choose from ten different voices to amplify your voice or disguise it as a monster or an alien. 10 Different voices! Voices range from low pitch to high pitch with various amplifications and robotic effect option. Includes special effects sound box and hands free microphone with cord. Clip on microphone for lapel or costume and belt clip sound box. Easily hide wire by running it through shirt or costume On/off button. Two superbright LED lights flash in sync with disguised voice. Requires one 9V battery (Sold Separately). $12.99, but $9.99 at the link below on 10/16/14. The voice effects are not great and the reviews are so-so, but hey you can get it under $10. I think kids will think it's neat.

    http://www.spirithalloween.com/product/voice-changer/ 

    Monday
    Oct272014

    If you haven't carved your pumpkin yet, here's a shortcut.

    The Pumpkin Carving Power Saw is from the Spirt Halloween Store and here’s what they say about it: 

    You'll be a carving pro when you use the Pumpkin Carving Power Saw. This package contains 1 power saw, 2 replacement blades, a poker and 4 creative stencil patterns. $8.99. 

    http://www.spirithalloween.com/product/sb-power-saw/ 

    I don't have one, but my co-host Chad Johnson on The Giz Wiz show does. It turns out that the Pumpkin Saw is a massive battery-eater. He had not even carved two letters of the TWiT logo when the 1st set of 4 brand new AA batteries were dead. To save battery power Chad’s advice is to use a knife to cut straight lines in the pumpkin and only use the Pumpkin Saw for curved lines. He said the saw was great for cutting curved lines. Chad also found the plastic poker in the kit to use with the enclosed stencils bent early on. Chad recommends using a toothpick instead. 

    Monday
    Oct272014

    An April's Fool Joke That Became A Real Gadget.

    The Flux Capacitor Car Charger won't take you through time - but it will charge all your USB-powered goodies in your car (and/or boat) and look super while doing it. This was originally an April Fool’s product for 2014. But now it's not only for real, it's also for sale soon! (Exact on sale date TBA as if 9/25/14) The Flux Capacitor Car Charger features two USB ports, 1 x 1A and 1 x 2.1A so it's capable of charging almost any USB powered device. But it also has that beautiful Flux Capacitor light sequence we all know and love. It's a ThinkGeek creation and of course that means it's exclusive to them. And yes, it officially-licensed Back to the Future merchandise. I don't know why you ever want to shut it off, but there is an On/Off switch for the Flux lighting effect. A flexible arm pivots up and down so you can better customize it to best fit your vehicle's power port placement. Dimensions: Flux Capacitor unit: 2.5" x 3" x 1". Power Plug: extends 3.5" out the back of the unit. $24.99. Available soon. 

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1dbd/?srp=3 

    Think Geek Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP5SPXu-oSA 

    Monday
    Oct272014

    A Clever New Drill From Black+Decker.

    BLACK+DECKER says their new 20V MAX Lithium Cordless Drill with AutoSense is the first drill designed to understand when to stop screws flush with the work surface. It has two modes, drill and drive. In drive mode, a microprocessor continuously measures the tool’s performance. As the screw enters the material there is a rapid change in its torque profile. The microprocessor analyzes the rate of change and stops most screws flush with the material within three milliseconds. To countersink screws, the tool provides depth control for micro adjustments. A battery status indicator lets you know when the battery needs to be recharged and an LED work light on the foot of the drill illuminates large work surface areas and reduces shadows. The 20V MAX AutoSense comes with a charger and a 20V MAX lithium ion battery, which holds a charge for up to 18 months. The 20V MAX lithium ion battery is part of an interchangeable system that powers more than 30 BLACK+DECKER Power Tools, Outdoor Products, and Home Products combined. Two of us used the AutoSense Drill/Driver as you’ll see in the video. The only thing to be aware of is that we found the ‘forward/reverse’ lever is easy to move. So when you start driving or drilling you may accidentally put the drill in reverse. It doesn’t damage anything, but you’ll wonder why it’s not drilling until you push the lever to forward. Price: $79.99. Model #: BDCDE120C. Available at Amazon & many big box stores. As of 9/25/14 it was $79.00 on Amazon and it's Amazon Prime, so free shipping if you're a Prime Member. Review wise, it had 4.5 stars out of 5 stars from 32 reviewers. 

    It’s here on Amazon: 

    BLACK+DECKER BDCDE120C 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver with Autosense Technology 

    (That's a Giz Wiz link. You pay the same price but Giz Wiz Biz gets a small credit to buy more stuff for the show. Thank you.)

    Giz Wiz Video: http://youtu.be/uUib7vrcY6c 

    Monday
    Oct272014

    Forget a Selfie, now you can have your own 'Selfie' booth!

    JAKKS Pacific takes the photo booth trend to the next level with their adult-sized Selfie Booth! A free downloadable app allows users to place themselves in front of a variety of background themes using special-effects “green screen” technology similar to what is used in movies! It's easy…just get in the booth, set up your smart device, choose a theme from the app, stand or sit in front of the green screen, strike a pose and click! The Family Selfie Booth includes an easy-to-assemble 54”L x 38”W x 70”H photo booth with a built-in special-effects screen, an adjustable smart device holder and 15 stick costume props. The Selfie Booth app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and the included device holder will work with a variety of tablets or smartphones. The app includes: 4 free relevant themes, each theme including 50+ backgrounds along with 100+ graphic digital decals and animated sticker overlays allows for fun customizable photos! You can also create 5 second video shorts. (At the show, they said it was 6 second shorts, so I’m not sure which.) Family Size – fits 4 adults. 54”L x 38”W x 70”H SRP $59.99, Ages 3+, coming in December. The press release also mentions a Kid Size Selfie booth that fits 2-4 kids. 34” W x 44” H x 24”D (SRP $34.99, Ages 5+). No other details on that were available. It’s not yet on the company website as of 10/1/2014 and it won’t be in stores until December, just in time for gift giving – or getting. 

    Giz Wiz Video: http://youtu.be/Wigp6XOlrpk

    Company website: www.jakks.com