About Me


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, and on Tech Guy Labs with Leo Laporte on TWiT.tv. But wait, there's More »

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    The Giz Wiz & Gizneyland Studio

    + World News Now, MAD Magazine, TWiT, & more!

    The weekly "Giz Wiz Show" with OMGchad & me  

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


    What could be more powerful than an air conditioner that runs on flashlight batteries?

    Dick’s Gadget Warehouse Friday, September 4th, 2009, Netcast 910

    I put the mouse in the photo so you can see how massive this "Air Conditioner" is!I have two mail order “portable air conditioners” in Dick’s Gadget Warehouse. The Cool Wagen and the Port-Air-Conditioner. To call these battery-operated toys “Air Conditioners” is really a joke. They hardly work well as a fan! The object here was to fill the top of each unit with water. Then as the water ran down little tubes in front of the fan it was supposed to create “chilling” air. It didn’t. It often did leak however, so you had a nice puddle of water on your desk! Also battery life was fairly dismal, so it didn’t cost “pennies a day”. Replacing 4 D batteries every couple of days was not “cheap”. If you heard this Netcast  (you can hear it at the link below) I held the Cool Wagen up to the microphone, so you can hear for yourself that it was far from silent, or even quiet, when running. About 20 minutes of that noise and I’m sure you would shut it off. But then again, I guess that would save power! Also the artists who helped create the printed ads for these crappy devices would add their own touches to make them seem grander than they were. In the ad, one unit has a “Master Control” panel shown. There is no such control on the actual product. Some 25 years ago they cost about $10 each plus $5.95 for shipping. Yes the shipping raised the price by about 60%. In today’s money, they would cost about $25 to $30. A rip-off then, and it still would be one today! But people today are a lot smarter about shopping.     

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw910


    Need help with that carton? Box Buddy to the rescue!

    Thursday, September 3rd, 2009, Netcast 909

    Every year millions of people move. Even if you don’t move, I’m sure you’ve got “plenty of stuff” packed in cardboard boxes. Dick’s Gadget Warehouse is pretty much floor to ceiling cardboard boxes. They’re great storage and usually they’re free because they arrive at your place with something else inside. The only trouble with cardboard boxes is that they’re hard to carry. Except the neat ones that have handles cut in the side. Well now every cardboard box you have can have handles, thanks to Box-Buddy. It’s the box handle cutter! Box-Buddy is a clever, lightweight tool that easily cuts handles in the side of cardboard boxes. It helps eliminate the awkward handling and carrying of heavy loads that could result in lower back pain and injuries. No other cutter offers such a simple way of cutting "C" shaped holes on opposite sides of any typical style corrugated box. It’s easy to use. Separate the two halves of Box Buddy. Push the pronged half through one side of the cardboard box where you want the handle to be. Then d line up the other half of Box Buddy with the prongs and push them together. You do have to push hard to make a good, clean cut out. Box-Buddy stores easily and is priced under $10! I spoke to the guy who invented it, Lionel Robitaille. Do you know I always talk about how expensive it is to bring a product to market? Lionel spent $250,000 so far! So if you need a Box-Buddy, it would be great if you bought one soon!

    Here’s the company’s website, complete with demo: www.box-buddy.ca

    And here’s a place on Ebay that sells them for $9.99:


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw909


    Tame airplane cabin noise with the new Bose Quiet Comfort 15.

    Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, Netcast 908

    I love to go Bose Press Events because they’re famous for their “fake you out” demos. That’s where you think you’re listening to one thing, but it’s really not that way in reality. At their latest demo, four members of the press at a time were ushered in a special area setup in the Bose Time Warner store in Manhattan. Inside this room, interior “cabin noise” from various airplanes were played and the loudness level was displayed on a large screen. One airplane cabin registered 91-92 db, which is pretty loud! Then we put on the QuietComfort 2 headphones that were on top of each desk. The QC2 headphones did a good job of reducing the airplane cabin noise. I’ve been using the QuietComfort 2s since they came out and they make a long flight much more bearable. (There’s also a Quiet Comfort which 3 has a lighter, more open design, but performance is about the same as on the QC 2.) Then we were instructed to open a drawer at the side of the desk so we could experience the brand new Quiet Comfort 15! When I slipped them on – well they were ‘knock your socks off’ amazing!  I asked if I had missed 12 models of the Quiet Comfort since the number jumped from 3 to 15! The gentlemen from Bose said “no”, but the engineers felt the new headphones offered such a dramatic improvement, just going up one number wouldn’t be right. Then we went onto a demonstration of the audio quality of the headphones. We watched a video of Yo Yo Ma and Diana Krall. Great sound, great bass, great everything. And here’s the Bose “gotca” came in. We didn’t know it, but as we were watching the music video, the sneaky Bose folks added back the airplane noise to the demo room. No one watching the demo noticed it. When the music ended, there was silence. Then we took off our headphones and everyone broke out laughing when realized we had heard the mini-concert quietly, over the 91decibel airplane noise! That showed just how effectively the QC15’s work. Very impressive! The price is $299, the same price as the ones they’ve replaced. And they’re available now. By the way I asked the President of Bose, Bob Maresca to verify the demo was totally on the level. I knew it was, but I knew you would ask. Bob said: “Would we fake a demo? Never! Trust us, you were listening to that music over the cabin noise!” Hey, Bob grew in Brooklyn, 2 blocks from where I grew up, so I know he’s telling the truth! Besides, it’s Bose. Like they need to fake anything.


     Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw908


    A Turn The Table Tuesday Like No Other!

    Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, Netcast 907

    The Axia Console sitting in place at TWiT Cottage.Leo is so impressed with his new Telso Axia Element Control Console, he decided to make it his pick for this Turn The Table Tuesday. If you thought Leo was a little nutty when he would pick gadgets that cost almost a thousand dollars, wait until you hear the price tag this week’s pick! I turn to info I found on the Official TWiT Wiki, http://wiki.twit.tv/wiki/Equipment  

    It’s a brand new audio console (mixer): Telos Axia Element control console and accompanying Powerstation processing unit. This equipment is on loan to Leo from Axia. Total cost of the Axia equipment, if it was purchased, is about $43,000 according to Axia representative Kirk Harnack, and the installation and tweaking labor would be about $7000.

     What Leo said on the Daily Giz Wiz is that he loves the simplification of wiring for the TWiT cottage studio. There are dozens, or even hundreds of wires for a standard console. But it’s totally different for the connection panel of an Axia Element. Since the Axia mixing engine handles all the mixing, only one eight-pin connector is necessary! Pretty amazing, huh? I know you won’t be running out to purchase your own Axia system right now, but if you’re a studio professional, maybe you should!


     Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw907


    Off My Camera Lens, Dust & Fingerprints!

    Monday, August 31st, 2009, Netcast 906

    It looks like a kind of thick fountain pen, but it's actually the LENSPEN. It was sent to me by the Spoon Sisters who find unusual gizmos for their website: www.spoonsisters.com. LENSPEN is a quick and easy way to clean your camera lens.  On one end is a convenient, retractable brush, made of soft, natural bristles. Use that to dust away any hard particles or contaminants. (I used this brush on my Netbook keyboard to get dust out from between the keys.) On the other end of the device there’s a unique tip that holds the special LensPen cleaning compound. It flexes, matching the contours of the lens. By applying gentle pressure on the lens and using smooth circular motions, any smudges or fingerprints will be removed instantly. Fingerprints are oily and that’s why some cloths just smear the oil without actually removing it. But wait, there’s more! More than just protection for the tip, the special LensPen cap replenishes the tip with more cleaning compound each time it is replaced and twisted a half turn. The same company makes Digi-Klear, a similar device to clean other digital equipment. It’s the same price and also available from Spoon Sisters. $13.50.


     Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw906