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Dick DeBartolo, MAD's Maddest Writer, and co-host of The Giz Wiz at GizWiz.TV, The Giz Wiz on ABC's World News Now, Tech Guy Labs on TWiT and on Computer America. But wait, there's More »

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    The Giz Wiz® and Giz Wiz Biz® Are Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

    Sunday
    May032009

    It’s another Turn The Table Tuesday and Leo comes up with ZephIR

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 Netcast 822

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    I don’t have one of these, so I had to rely on the company’s website for info. The ZephIR (pronounced zeffer) is a device that connects to a computer through a USB port.It enables you to use your computer to control almost any piece of equipment designed for infrared remote control. It is commonly referred to as an “ir blaster”. It can control DVD players, receivers, VCRs, satellite boxes,  cable boxes, televisions, and a host of other equipment. It comes with its own software and looks like a tiny black box with little LED’s on the front of it and a USB cable hooked to it. It is completely USB powered and requires no batteries or wall warts. On Macintosh computers, the ZephIR is applescriptable. This means that it can be controlled by other applications such as EyeTV, RealBasic, and others. With this scriptability, it becomes a very powerful tool to control your home theatre. The ZephIR provides the missing link to your hardware in home automation. Although it is currently available only for Macintosh, it will soon be available in a Windows and Linux version. E-mail the company to find out the current Windows/Linux status.

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    http://www.thezephir.com/ZephIR/Home.html

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    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw822 

    Sunday
    May032009

    A new kind of umbrella with some unique features.

    Monday, May 4th, 2009, Netcast 821

     

    The Senz Umbrella is aerodynamically designed to maintain its shape even under the some really bad weather conditions, The company their patented frame and powerful construction will keep it from inverting in winds up to 70 miles per hour for the original model or 40 mph winds for the mini model. I tried the mini model on a rainy, stormy day in NYC. I saw two people throw their umbrellas into the trash because the wind had turned them inside out. My Senz umbrella was fine. Another neat feature is the shape of the front of the umbrella. It’s been shortened to provide optimal line of sight from under the canopy. No more walking into people on the sidewalk or into cars when you cross the street. A longer back on the umbrella offers superior protection to keep water from dripping on your back. And this is smart: The tips on the end of the umbrella's spokes -- aptly named “eye-savers” -- are designed to protect your eyes, as well as those of passers-by. Pricing for mini $55.00; original $65.00. There is now an XL version too. The handle on the mini is very small. I didn’t try the original, but in photos, the handle looks much bigger, so I’d opt for that.

     

     

    My umbrella came from www.spoonsisters.com

    The company’s website: www.senzumbrellas.com

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw821

    Thursday
    Apr302009

    It’s Another Visit to Dick’s Warehouse.

    Friday, May 1st, 2009, Netcast 820

    Let’s go back just about seven years to the summer of 2002. Compaq introduces the Compaq Evo 500 Ultra-slim mini tower. This mini tower was one of the first of a new generation of computers that were up to 75% smaller than standard computer towers. It was powered by a1.3-GHz Celeron processor, and had a 20GB hard drive, and a 128 or 256MB of RAM. Price started at $699.00 The CNET review is still on line and here are a few lines from that: “The D500 can sit horizontally as a desktop or vertically as a tower (Compaq provides a stand for the latter position). Inside lies Intel's latest 1.3GHz Celeron, along with 128MB of SDRAM and an Intel 815e graphics chipset. A roomy 5,400rpm, 20GB hard drive completes the basic setup. The stock 24X CD-ROM drive can pop out to make room for a US$189 DVD-ROM drive, a US $249 CD-RW drive, a US $99 floppy drive, or even a second US $160 10GB hard drive.“ Amazing, isn’t it, that an additional 10 GB hard drive would be $160.00! The 15” matching flat screen monitor added $499! And for about $150 more, you could buy a stand that would hold the monitor & mini-tower together. Imagine what you can buy today for that same amount of money!

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw820

    Wednesday
    Apr292009

    A companion to the Wonder Wash --- The Mini Countertop Spin Dryer

    Thursday, April 30th, 2009, Netcast 819

    When I first heard about Mini Spin Dryer I wondered how much drying it could do when it only uses 82 watts! And only costs $69.95. But then I read this notice from the company: Important: please note that this is a spin dryer, not a regular tumble dryer. It extracts much more water from the clothes than a regular washing machine spin cycle; they come out slightly damp. So it doesn’t dry your clothes completely which would require probably 1500 watts. But after using both the washer & the spin dryer, I see they are a great combination. The clothes come out of the Spin Dryer damp and you might want to hang them up for an hour or so to dry more. Some felt dry enough to immediately press. That way the ironing would finish they drying process. But it does works in only 2-3 minutes. The drum is translucent so you can see the water flying out of the clothes as the drum spins. It’s really neat. You have to balance the load carefully since this is a very small unit that weighs just 11 pounds. It has a 2.2 lb capacity (about 1-2 pairs of jeans per load). And it’s fast spinning at 1600 rpm’s. It’s compact, measuring 13.5" x 13.5" x 15". For tiny apartments, for single people, for people who want to use very little power the Wonder Wash & Spin Dryer is a perfect combination. The Spin Dyer is $69.95.

    http://tinyurl.com/56j8l8

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw819

    Sunday
    Apr262009

    Can you believe – a hand operated washing machine?

    Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, Netcast 818

     

    It’s call Wonder Wash. It washes a 5-lb. load in just a couple of minutes. It has a patented pressure system that forces detergent into the fabric at high speed for a fast, efficient, economic and very easy wash. This sounded a little strange to me, so the company sent me a Wonder Wash to try. Surprise! It does work. My socks needed to be washed a second time, but the t-shirts and underwear came out perfectly clean! It’s geared toward campers, single people and even for the housewife with small frequent loads like hand washables and diapers. As you can guess it uses far less water than even hand washing. Size? 12" x 12" x 16" (L x W x H) According to the company, the Wonder Wash washes: 7-8 dress shirts or 10 T-shirts or 30 pairs of socks or 2-3 pairs of blue jeans. You put warm or hot water into the drum, put on the lid and screw it tight. The air inside the drum absorbs the heat of the water and expands which creates pressure inside the drum. The pressure forces the detergent (which is diluted into the water) into & through the fabric (which is porous) about 100 times faster than you could by hand or machine. You can try it for yourself too. They offer a 30-day, no-hassle money back guarantee. The price is good too. $42.95

     

    http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Wonderwash.html

     

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw818