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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 is a weekly Saturday guest on The Tech Guy with -- who else? - The Tech Guy, Leo Laporte.

    Leo Laporte & I chat about some sort of fun or weird gadget weekly his The Tech Guy Radio Show. The show is syndicated by Premiere to over 180 radio stations around the country. Leo's closing in on 1.5 million listeners! I'm on the Saturday Show with The Giz Wiz Gadget of the Week. My spot is on about 1:45 PM PST / 4:45 PM EST. 

    And if you watch The Tech Guy stay tuned. Because after the Tech Guy Show  Leo does The New Screen Savers Show, and then I return to do Giz Fiz PM, a show with viewer questions, Match Game questions, videos, guest of the week and more! That starts when New Screen Saver ends..about 5:00 PM PST/ 8:00 PM EST. Watch it all at

    All The Tech Guy Labs show notes, shows & info can be found here: 

    Below are the gadgets we've talked about on the show.


    Add WiFi & a Router to a room just by plugging in these two units.

    As I reported on Daily Giz Wiz 1243, I used the TV Orb to send video from my office to my apartment, which are back to back in a Manhattan brownstone. Basically I wanted to use my Roku box in my living room where there is no WiFi. Although the Orb worked with the doors open, the video was less than good with the doors closed. So I figured wired was the way to go. But I didn’t want to drill a hole through the wall for the cable, so I came up with another solution. Western Digital offers a gadget that lets you stream high-speed encrypted video and data wirelessly to connected devices via electric lines anywhere in the home.  It’s called the Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit. Belkin offers a similar solution, but I’ll tell you what Western Digital added to make it more convenient to share your WiFi.  The Livewire Powerline AV Kit features two adapters, one for the room where the WiFi source is, and one for the room where you want WiFi. While the Belkin unit offers an adaptor that handles a single WiFi line, each of the Western Digital units offer four ports that allow users to connect the router to seven Internet-enabled appliances. (One of the eight ports requires the WiFi in cable.) One WD adaptor plugs into an available electric outlet in each of the two rooms you’re connecting to create a high-speed network. (Western Digital says the system is capable of handling up to 200 Mbs - megabits per second). Installation is easy, but there is one warning you should pay attention to! Do not use these units with power strips or UPS units. They should be plugged directly in an AC outlet. When I was setting up the units I found the two required AC plugs, but I couldn’t see where they plugged in on the adapters. Then I realized the place the AC wire & plug go had a warning stickers covering the port. That warning was the one NOT to use extension cords, power strips, etc. Of course I had to see if that was true, and it was. It doesn’t work. But when connected as instructed, they work fine. A green LED light on each unit lights to let you know they’re connected. Now I can watch Netflix on my HDTV via the Roku box using the WiFi that’s in my office! Works perfectly. The Livewire Powerline AV Network Kit lists for $139.99, but if you do a web search you can find them right around the $100 mark.

    SEE or hear this Netcast: 


    A high quality mini-speaker system at an affordable low price. 

    At CES quite a few manufacturers introduced portable speaker systems as more and more people carry their music files with them. At Show Stoppers, Pure Acoustics launched their own wireless, ultra-portable speaker: the HipBox. (Pure Acoustics is known for building high-end speaker systems and this certainly is their smallest entry ever!) The HipBox is a smart looking, pleasant sounding and ultra-portable speaker. You can connect the HipBox to any device, from smartphones to iPads and iPhones, and of course, any mp3 player via the headphone jack. With dual inputs, it can even play music or podcasts stored on USB flash drives or SD cards. The HipBox weighs less than nine ounces, so you can share your music and podcasts (know of any good podcasts??) anywhere: at home, the park, the beach, etc. This gizmo would also be good as a speaker for laptops or desktop PC’s. The company says the built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery can also be used to recharge a dead smart phone if necessary. Fully charged, it offers about four hours of portable playtime. At the show, I saw two models. One had an FM radio and a small LCD screen that displayed the radio station frequencies. The other model, without FM, had slightly larger speakers and to my ear, sounded better. On the company website they only show the unit without FM. For now maybe they decided to just go with the one that sounds better. HipBox is available in four designer colors and retails at an affordable $39.95. 

    SEE or hear this Netcast:


    With these "tech" gloves, you can leave them on and still use all your touch screen devices.

    So what’s a touch screen-lover to do in the cold? You probably already know that regular gloves will not let you operate a touch screen device. They keep you warm, but they create a barrier between you and your touch-screen device. That’s where Agloves are different. These “tech gloves” can be worn while you use any of your touch screen phones, cameras, multimedia devices, etc. Why? Because of silver. Silver is the most electrically conductive element. Agloves are made with silver-coated nylon fibers knitted into a comfortable fabric that puts the conductivity back in your touch. (The company says silver is the most electrically conductive element.) Agloves’ silver fibers are not restricted to two or three fingertips. They’re knitted into the fabric of the whole glove so all ten fingers can be touch-screen ready. This is important because it provides greater surface area for the natural bioelectricity in your hand.  If the tips of your fingertips are not conductive enough due to dryness and cold, the bioelectricity from the palm of your hand flows through the super conductive glove to your fingertips to maintain your connection. And a great little side benefit, no fingerprints! I used these gloves down by the Hudson river with a stiff wind blowing. Down to about 40 degrees they’re nice and warm. Below that, you might want use these as liners, under other gloves. (But you'll have to remove the top gloves when you need to use the touch-screen.) Under $18. For now, they’re only available on the web.  

    See or Hear this Netcast:


    Panther Vision updates their very popular LED reading glasses.

    I love my Panther Vision LED lighted reading glasses. They’re great for working on projects in dark corners, or under furniture. Or for when the lights go out. Well now they have a new version called LightSpecs. Panther Vision says these are the most durable and brightest lighted reading glasses available! I can vouch for the fact that they are indeed bright, and they do feel sturdy and well made. Since you wear them exactly the same way you wear regular glasses, they shine lots of ultra bright light where ever you look. You can read or work in bed without disturbing your partner -- repair small parts or build a model -- great for sewing, crafts or home improvement projects. And your won’t disturb your seatmate when traveling by plane, train, bus or car. Unlike the earlier version glasses where the battery compartment and LED light was added to the outside of the frame, this new version has the two ultra-bright LED’s hidden inside the eyeglass temples. Really nice! LightSpecs are available in diopters from 1.00 to 3.00 in .25 increments so you can get the EXACT magnification needed. The company says you can expect 50+ hours of battery life. Yes, batteries ARE included, and they’re easily replaceable with no tools needed. Prices range from $24.99 to $29.99. One website sells them for $24.99, and offers free shipping over $25! That annoys me! For the penny, they won't ship them for free!? Okay, I’m not mentioning their website here! Do a web search for the lowest price. And if you see similar lighted glasses from Foster Grant, it’s okay, they’re licensed from Panther Vision. 

    I did a podcastof this gizmo. Hear or SEE it here:


    Really old tech comes back to life with a new high tech use.

    The pop-up Wired Store at 4th Street & Broadway, NYC (open until 12/26/10) has a lot of fun gadgets, gizmos, demos and displays. One of the most unique is the USB Typewriter. It’s a mash-up of new innovation and way old technology. Are you old enough to have owned an old fashioned manual typewriter? Or do you currently own one because you can’t stand to part with it? Guess what? You can now use old typewriter as a keyboard for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even iPad! At the Wired Store I typed on an iPad using an old manual Royal typewriter keyboard! The USB Keyboard is available three ways. There’s a kit to convert your own manual typewriter into a USB-ready keyboard. It comes with two blank PCBs and all electronic parts (unassembled), so you can have the knowledge and satisfaction that come with wiring up this fun electronics project by yourself. It should take an experienced solderer roughly 3 or 4 hrs to assemble the electronics, and another 3 hrs to install them on the typewriter. That’s NOT for me, but it only costs $59.00. If you already have your own favorite old typewriter it can be made into a USB typewriter for $399. (It takes about a month for the conversion, so it can't be a Holiday gift.) Or, for $699 you can pick out one of their old manual typewriters and have the whole thing delivered to you, ready to type!

     Dick De, USB Keyboard Video:  

    Info on the Wired Store:

    Hear or SEE this Netcast: