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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    Spices that travel!

    Monday, March 8th, 2010, Netcast 1041

    At the Green Products Expo I meet Holly McWhorter, creator of The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. Holly originally designed it for Frequent Travelers who had to face dreadful airline food, hotel food, or terrible local restaurant food. She decided to come up with an easy way to 'save the dreadful meals and make them taste a lot better'. She did that by creating the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. It’s a pocketsize set of organic seasonings that are essential for any foodie on the go. It includes sixteen organic herbs and spices, plus wasabi, soy sauce and a mini-bottle of... wait for it... Tabasco! In the big kit you’ll find organic basil, cayenne, cinnamon, ground cloves, curry, dill, granulated garlic, ginger, mustard powder, nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, paprika, pepper, and thyme; plus sea salt, wasabi powder, soy sauce and Tabasco sauce. For 2010 they have come up with smaller, regional specialty kits for Thai, Indian and Mexican. All seasonings are organically grown and the kits are made in New York City by a team of developmentally and other mentally challenged adults. The program is under the supervision of professionals trained in working with the mentally challenged, at the Manhattan packaging and assembly workshop of the nonprofit AHRC. All the herbs and spices in the kit are USDA-certified organic (not including the wasabi, which is so expensive in organic form that the kit would be prohibitively expensive itself), and come from a farming co-op in Oregon that is dedicated to sustainable farming practices. At this point the Tabasco and soy sauce in the kit are conventional, but that will change at the earliest opportunity. Holly adds: “By buying a Mobile Foodie Survival Kit, you are supporting not only sustainable, organic farming practices, but also the gainful employment and sense of well-being of the disabled adults who made it. The farmers, the workers and I offer you a heartfelt...THANK YOU!” The complete kit is $35. The regional kits are $20. 

    www.foodiekits.com    or www.uncommongoods.com 

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1041


    A Golf Gadget That’s Gone.


    Back to Dick’s Gadget Warehouse Friday, March 5th, 2010 Netcast 1040  

    Ultradata’s GREENSFINDER was pretty high tech for it’s time. It was introduced in 1994, some 16 years ago. GREENSFINDER was a hand-held device, which contained data on over 10,000 U.S. golf courses. It included important information like greens fees, restaurant facilities, phone numbers, types of terrain, travel directions to the course, availability of carts, caddies, clubs, and other course features. But wait, there’s more! GREENSFINDER also contained a four-player scorekeeper with player name entry. The number keys also contained letters, and other function keys doubled as rocker alphabet keys, so it wasn’t the most convenient device for entering info. But you could also use the device keep track of each player’s individual score. (Ultradata also made GOLF GUIDE. It listed more than 13,000 courses in the U.S., with directions and phone numbers. Other information includes course descriptions, number of holes, hours, fees and senior citizen discount availability.) There was one downside to these devices. Although they were state-of-the-art for the time, updates were available only once a year. To update them, you ordered a new cartridge – which included fresh batteries. You had to make sure you returned the warrantee card because that was the only way Ultradata would be able to contact you to say an update was available. GREENSFINDER retailed for about $80 and the updates were about $35, including postage.      

    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1040                                              


    Look! It’s a Lapdesk! It’s a speaker! It’s a fan!

    Thursday, March 4th, 2010, Netcast 1039  

    Actually, the new Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700 is all three. And why do we need that? "More and more people around the world are enjoying fantastic entertainment on their laptops - but with mediocre sound and comfort," said Denis Pavillard, Logitech vice president of product marketing for laptop accessories. "In fact, according to our research nearly 50 percent of laptop users report being dissatisfied with the sound quality of the built-in speakers. The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N700 helps transform your laptop into a private theater in the cozy confines of your lap."  Hmmm, “private theater, I’m not so sure about that, but with two built-in speakers with 2-inch high-performance neodymium drivers, it most likely will outdo the ones built into your laptop. They’re positioned on either side of your laptop to give you maximum separation in a small space. Hook-up is easy because they connect through a single USB cable. That means there's no cable clutter or the hassle of moving and setting up external speakers. Whether you're on the couch or in bed, the viewing angle of your screen and the padded base help you sit in a more comfortable position. And then there’s a quiet, efficient fan circulates air under your notebook. The heat-shielding design helps keep laptop heat off your legs and lap. The fan has it’s own on/off switch and it does sound quiet. There's no software to install and no need for batteries. (But do remember it is running off the power of your computer battery.) In addition to the fan switch the Speaker Lapdesk N700 offers volume controls for the speakers. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon for $79.99. It should be shipping soon, even though Amazon says: “June”.



    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1039


    Heard of puppy love? This is “puppet love”!

    Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, Netcast 1038  

    I saw these puppets at Toy Fair and thought they were so cute, and so well made, I really feel in love with them. (But it’s a good, healthy kind of love!) Folkmanis Puppets calls them “The Most Innovative, Creative, Puppet Maker in the World!” Hey, that seems right to me. From their website: “Folkmanis believes imagination is the key to a healthy childhood, encouraging play and discovery to develop the skills necessary in life. The company has been making the most innovative and engaging specialty puppets in the world since 1976, delighting imaginations and winning nearly every industry, child development, and kid-tested award - many repeatedly.” One of my favorites their English Sheepdog. He pants, he barks, he hunts for fleas, he wags his tail, he tilts his head quizzically, he sniffs your sleeve-and he makes your friends believe he's real, all with your help, of course. (There’s a hidden entrance for your hand and long fur hides the secret of your participation.) What amazed me even more were the low prices. The Sheepdog, which is one of their most popular puppets, sells for less than $40. I also love The Raccoon in a garbage can. He’s under $26.00.

    Brand new for 2010 is MOZART IN A PIANO. This is a delightful two-handed puppet designed in soft velvet fabrics. Mozart is a removable hand puppet that can be operated while he is hiding inside the grand piano or in the usual outside position. Piano keys can also be animated. Again, the price is great, under $40! 


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1038


    OMG! Leo comes up with a very interesting website for this Turn The Table Tuesday!

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, Netcast 1037 

    You think you have old cell phones & PDA's? These have just passed inspection.Forget the Up-Chuck, the Toothpick Bird and even the Penguin Tea Timer! This time it’s a Gazelle. No, not the animal, but a neat, new website. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of old gizmos and gadgets you don’t need or want, but you’re just too lazy to put them on Ebay. Instead of gathering dust, wouldn’t it better if they were gathering cash! That’s what the Gazelle website is all about! (DISCLAIMER: Gazelle.com is a new sponsor for TWiT. It is not a sponsor of the Daily Giz Wiz, however. But knowing Leo, he’s checked it out carefully.) Here’s a bit of info, some of which I lifted from their website: GAZELLE helps consumers earn cash for unwanted gadgets. It’s a guilt-free and environmentally friendly way to unload used gadgets. First off you *Get Rewarded* -- you get paid for the items you are not using without the friction of person-to-person selling. Second - *Be Environmental* ' Recycling starts with reusing ' extending the life of electronics by reintroducing them to the market. When items have reached the end of their life, Gazelle ensures they are recycled responsibly and are backed with a zero landfill policy. And finally, if you want you can *Make a Difference* Use the cash you make to fund a cause you care about through charity donation options. While online marketplaces and consignment shops are time consuming, risky and a hassle for consumers, Gazelle offers a fast, easy, and trusted solution that is both green and smart. We call that 'reCommerce.' To start, go the website and enter the gadget or gizmo you own. Then answer a couple of questions about the condition of the item. Then you’ll learn how much Gazelle will pay for the item. If you want to do the deal, they’ll send you a postage-paid box so you can send them the item. Once it’s examined, you get your check, assuming your assessment of the gadget's condition was correct. I plan on trying it soon!  


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw1037