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

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    Hey, can you give me a hand & hold this 2X4 while I’ll saw it?

    Monday, May 25th2009, Netcast 836




    Tri Vise Industries introduces the new Plate Vise. I was at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas recently. To show is big, so they have divided it into many categories. (But not as big this year due to the stale economy.) It’s more like the National Hardware, Electrical, Plumbing, Homewares, Garden, Outdoor, Inventors, and New Products Show! There are many devices that try to solve a simple problem with a complicated device. The Tri Vise is plain and simple and solves a big problem for the do-it-yourselfer. Namely, who is going to hold a piece of lumber or  piece of pipe while you saw it. The Tri Vise is a metal plate with no moving parts. It instantly holds electrical conduit, struts, pipes, and lumber off the ground for easier handling. Just slide what needs to be cut through the proper opening and lay the 'not be to be cut' end on the floor. That automatically props up the end has is to be cut! Its "hold in place" design doesn't allow materials to spin or move, making it ideal for measuring, drilling and cutting. It’s safer because materials such as conduit and lumber are raised above the ground, thus allowing for both hands to be free to properly handle and operate power tools. It weighs less than 4lbs so it can be moved around easily. Click here to see the TRI-VISE plate in action with a little flash demo. At the show they told me it should be in mass market outlets in the fall for about $20. But you can purchase it online now for a bit more: $24.75.



     Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw836


    Shake It Up: Winner of the Hammacher Schlemmer 1995 Search for Invention.

     Friday, May 22nd, 2009 Netcast 835

    For several years I was a judge in the Hammacher Schlemmer Search for Invention Contest. I did it for so many years I can actually spell both names - Hammacher & Schlemmer - without looking on the web! In 1995 one of the winners was the Shake It Up baby bottle. Shake It Up is very clever device. It's a two-chamber baby bottle for travel and mixing baby formula on the go. It is now known as the Umix Travel Bottle. I didn’t know it before the contest, but baby formula is only good for a very short time because bacteria begins to grow as soon as formula is mixed with water. Then it continues to multiply quickly at room temperature. One way to slow spoilage is to carry formula in an ice chest and then warm the bottles at feeding time. That’s the problem the Shake It Up bottle was invented to solve. The bottle has two chambers. The upper one stores the powdered formula and the lower one stores the water. The bottle looks like an upside down “L” when it’s closed. When it’s time to mix the formula and water just straighten the bottle and Shake It Up. I did a web search and although it says the bottles are still available at various websites, when I got there, they were not listed. It’s okay though. I’m off formula now.


    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw835



    Presto! And your computer can run faster!

    Thursday, May 21st, 2009, Netcast 834


    I have an older computer that has so many programs loaded on it; it takes 7 to 8 minutes to boot up. Yes, I timed it! There are so many pop-ups, things like looking for Logitech black & white web cam – stuff I haven’t used for years! I just never got around to dumping all the unused crap. Well, there’s a cure for that. Something that will let your computer start almost instantly. Instant-on and a Windows machine usually don’t’ go hand in hand. Mac and/or Linux folks know that instant-on exists. To the rescue comes Presto Instant-On from Xandros. They’re the company that produced part of the software that helped the first Eee netbooks dazzle with their quick startup! Now you can add it to your XP or Vista machine. The download is a big one, 463 MB! Yep, depending on your connection that could take half an hour or more to download. But once it’s installed when you reboot, you’ll find your computer starts with two choices: Windows or Presto. You have to make your choice in 30 second or Windows will auto startup XP or Vista in 30 seconds. I looked away from the screen and was surprised when I saw the familiar Windows XP screen. Then I rebooted and saw the Presto choice. Presto does boot rapidly; in under 15 seconds. It offers Skype, IM, WiFi access and a free office program that lets me open and edit Word files. Built-in too is a Firefox browser. More apps are available through the Presto Applications Store. As Leo said on the Daily Giz Wiz. Presto has found a way to bring Linux to a Windows PC. There's a free seven-day trial version available; and if you like it the full version is $19.95! If you change your mind after using it it’s simple to remove using the Add/Remove Program. It made my older almost unusable computer usable again. It’s perfect for web searching, emails and like text editing. And it shuts down in seconds too! What a treat.




    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw834


    A New Indoor Flying Machine.

    Wednesday, May 20th,2009, Netcast 833


    The company (WowWee) goes a little over board when they say the FlyTech Bladestar, a revolutionary indoor flying machine; changes helicopter flight as we know it! Sensor-based navigation enables it to glide through the air, avoiding ceilings and flying away from obstacles! But I’ll grant them that this is a fun toy! It’s probably even more fun for someone who’s had some experience with remote control models. I don’t, but I found this pretty exciting to fly. You can assemble it in about ten minutes. The 1st 5 minutes are trying to figure out what in the world the instructions are asking you to do. Then you realize you just have to snap on the wings and rotors and it’s almost ready to fly. It does take a bunch of batteries – 6 AA’s for the control console, which you supply. The battery in the helicopter is built in. Before it can fly the Bladestar it has to be charged. You hook a mini cable hidden inside the remote to the helicopter. You wait until the green flashing LED’s turn into one steady LED to indicate the Bladestar is ready to fly. Charging takes about 15 to 20 minutes which gives you about 5 minutes of flying time. In the sensor-based navigation mode the Bladestar glides through the air, avoiding ceilings and flying away from obstacles. You have to read the instruction book to see exactly how this flying machine “sees” to understand what it can avoid crashing into. It’s ships with a dogfight accessory in case you want to have a face-off between two FlyTech Bladestar flyers. This is an indoor only flyer and you have to make sure there are no fans, or air conditioners running which could interfere with its flying ability. The flying machine is made from light "high-flex" materials and designed to be crash resistant. I ran it into walls & ceilings without any harm to the unit. The list price was $49.95, but was quickly reduced to $39.95. Be sure to do a web search. You can find it at lower prices. More info & videos are at the company’s website:




    Hear this Netcast: www.twit.tv/dgw833


    On This Turn The Table Tuesday (TTTT) Leo Talks about A New Kind of Exercise Ball.

    Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, Netcast 832

    Someone handed me one of these gizmos at CES. I had no idea what it was used for because it didn’t come with any instructions. Now I find out from Leo I own the Dynaflex Pro, which is the company’s entry level Gyro. (They have a high end LED lighted Dynaflex PowerBall!) It’s an exercise device. The heart of Dynaflex Gyro is a smooth spinning rotor encased in a molded outer sphere. To start it up you can use the Power Cord which comes with it, or opt for the optional powered Docking Station. Either way, once the gyro is spinning, you have to keep it spinning with circular hand movements - much like turning a doorknob. The faster it spins the more dynamic resistance you'll experience. Leo said you could easily feel your muscles working while using it. It’s said to be therapeutic for hands, wrists, arms, biceps & triceps and it’s capable of speeds over 9,000 RPM. There's no right or wrong way to use it. Just keep it spinning (at your own pace) and have FUN. And this impressive: NASA has used Dynaflex Gyros to help our astronauts stay in shape during long space shuttle missions! Leo suggested buyers add the optional speedometer. It keeps track of the top speed you achieve as you spin the Dynaflex and remembers your best speed from workout to workout. The price is all over the place. I did a web search and saw it on sale for anywhere from about $12 to $25. The Docking Station is $11 to $15 and the speedometer is another $12 to $18. You can read all about it at the company’s website:




    Netcast www.twit.tv/dgw832