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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
    Jun272016

    Gadgets from the "Housewares For The Holidays" Press Event.

    This Spring's Inspired Home Event was called "Housewares for the holidays". It's basically fun gadgets, gizmos and appliances which will be available starting mid-year, which is now. It's for the press and it took place in NYC on June 9th, 2016.

     

    Over the years we've done many Star Wars kitchen gadgets on The Giz Wiz. But it seems, we're not done yet! Pangea Brands says the Star Wars franchise is among the most recognizable brands on earth with Darth Vader at the helm. That's why they're offering four different Star Wars toasters and waffle irons. There's the Darth Vader toaster molded in sturdy black plastic. That's out already. But I think the Storm Trooper Toaster might get even more attention when it's released August 2016. (Pictured on this page.) It's molded in sturdy white plastic and nicely detailed. Pop in bread, toaster pastries, hamburger buns or English muffins, and it's ejected with the Galactic Empire logo toasted right on them. As you'll see in the video, I pick up a 'piece of toast' and show the label to the camera. Turns out it's not real toast. I understand that's it's easier to have fake toast to bring to trade shows but I wanted to point that out since I don't know what the actual toast will look like. But no matter what, they're sure to be conversation starters. The toaster measure 12" X 10" X 8.5" and weighs in at 4.1 lbs.

     

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/1g0bT5UTBJI

     

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

     

    Here are Star Wars toasters and waffle irons that are already available:

     

    http://amzn.to/28PSrV5

    Monday
    Jun272016

    It's an ice chest and so MUCH more!

    The KoolMax is a gadget perfect for right now, the warm/hot weather. It's fair more than just a ice chest. Well, it's starts out as a 40 qt. cooler that holds up to 48 cans or 28 bottles. The company that makes it Sondpex says that their advanced insulation technology keeps ice frozen for up to 3 days. Inside the lid is a detachable cooler flashlight (3 AAA batteries not included) which can be used elsewhere at night. But the KoolMax adds a lot of other features like a 350 watts maximum output power Bluetooth digital music player and FM radio with two built-in 6.5” Hi-Fi water-resistant speakers and two 2” high performance tweeters. But wait, there's more! An XLR microphone/instrument input, 1/4 inch instrument input, let's you entertain with live music if you want. There's also 12 volt power outlet plug (cigarette lighter port), 2 standard 3.5mm auxiliary jacks, a powered USB port for charging phones, tablets, etc. even an USB data port and SD card slot to play MP3 /WMA music (supports up to 32GB). The company says their built-in rechargeable battery lasts up to 16 hours of playing time and the KoolMax comes with a handy remote control, plus a 100-240V AC/17V DC adaptor. And finally, there's also built in weather resistant storage for iPad and charging compartment for iPhone/Smartphone. To move it around easily it's equipped with a heavy-duty wheeled design with a long, telescoping handle for easy transport. Oh, and one more important thing. The extra large side handles each have a with convenient bottle opener! In four color choices, about $349.99 at retailers and on Amazon. 

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/7Cwx-ZuAFtw 

     

    Amazon link with many different prices: http://amzn.to/1UCA4I3 

    Monday
    Jun272016

    From Kickstarter to your kitchen.

    Don’t just make pancakes. Create them! PancakeBot, which we've talk about in the past, is now in stores and online. Just a little background if you're not familiar with the PancakeBot story. The world's first pancake printer 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 in just about any design you can imagine. 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. Use the included software to design your own pancake by tracing any image right on your computer.  Files are stored on an SD card and if you can't draw you can download designs others have created and uploaded to the PancakeBot website. The PancakeBot uses a patent pending batter dispensing system to "print" the batter onto the included griddle. It doesn't have to be special batter, but it has to be mixed to the the proper consistency. (They were using Aunt Jemima pancake mix at the show.) 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 $299.00. 

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/_FBPrCHl2AM

     

    It's here on Amazon, but the reviews are not very good:

     

    http://amzn.to/28SbfpQ

     

    Company video: https://youtu.be/sj-sKoBBJ5I

     

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

    Monday
    Jun272016

    Bugs bug me, so I'm fighting back.

    Warm weather brings the bugs, and one of my least favorites, mosquitoes! I'm one of those people who attract them, even when lots of other people are around. So I thought I'd try a bug zapper from Amazon. I picked the PestBlast. Here's what Amazon says about it: PestBlast is a powerful LED Light with an electric zapper all in one to cure the annoying insects we are all accustomed to, including ones that carry terrible diseases such as the Zika virus! Very easy to install and operate, just think of the regular bulb you have at home. (Not compatible with dimmer switches) Simply turn the power off before inserting the PestBlast in any 110V socket. Once the bulb has been inserted, turn the switch on to activate both the light function and the zap function. To activate the zap function only, simply turn the light off and on again. To activate the light function again, toggle the switch once more. That's it! EASY!! All flying insects that are so annoying and harmful are quietly and consistently destroyed with this PestBlast 2 in 1 creative zapper. Simply the best and most convenient zapper for use anywhere and everywhere!  

    And my take? There are only 16 reviews on Amazon, but the PestBlast light got 4.6 out of 5 stars. I hooked mine up in the backyard and overnight my light killed four mosquitoes. I think that's not bad for one night using a low power bulb. The actual bulb is big in size and didn't fit in the fixture I originally got it for. You'll see in the video just how big it is. But it was under $20 and Amazon Prime, so free 2-day shipping for Prime Members. So far I like it. It's not a powerful house like my old Flowtron, but it's doing something, and it was pretty cheap. If you buy one don't be surprised if it has no logo on it. Mine is just a plain white case with no "PestBlast" markings, meaning this bulb is probably sold under many different brand names.

     

    Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/7uMy7cmVamI

     

    Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1TZVU7W

    Monday
    Jun272016

    Need more USB 3.0 ports & a Ethernet Connection?

    Here's another inexpensive gadget I bought on Amazon that is very useful! I use Skype on an ACER S7 when we record the Giz Wiz. The S7 is a beautiful machine, thin and lightweight. But like other machines this svelte it only has 2 USB ports, both 3.0. I need one of them so I can be hard-wired to the router for best speeds. And I like using a USB external monitor for guests. I thought 'if only someone made a 3.0 USB hub which also had a Gigabit Ethernet Convertor. I did some research and found the INATECK 3-Port USB 3.0 HUB & Gigabit Ethernet Convertor. It's been designed specifically for users of ultrabooks, notebook, laptop PC and tablets with USB Port to deliver convenient access to high-speed USB 3.0 connections. Plug it into one USB 3.0 port and you have three USB3.0 ports and one RJ45 Gigabit ethernet connection. Another great use for this device is to replace a broken Ethernet port, or one in a bad location. On the downside, and one that isn't too important to me, is that this device does not have LED indicator lights built in, so you'll have to check your screen to see that it's connected. It also is inexpensive, under $20 on Amazon. I paid $22.00, but it was under $20 on 6/1/16 at the link below.  

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

     

    Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1XR1oTS

     

    BOO! HISS! I just discovered there's a newer version with lights - and aluminum case! Just $5 more. $24.95, here:

    http://amzn.to/1O6Sgc7