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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.


    Only backpack I know of that has a built-in security alarm.

    Gadget From Saturday, August 14th, 2010

    They're called the iSafe Laptop Backpacks. The company recommends their bags be used for children 8 years old and up. The model I showed, the iSafe Ultimate Backpack, is the top of the line and is designed for ages 14 & up.) The company says that children should be old enough to understand that the iSafe bag is an alarm system, not a toy. It should be used as a tool to help them escape dangerous or harmful situations. The alarm system is concealed in the lower section of a pouch that is in a pocket on the one of the front straps within easy reach. To activate the alarm system the child pulls the activation cord. That will disengage the safety pin instantaneously activating the alarm. To deactivate, reinsert the pin. It emits two siren signals in opposite directions, away from the user's ears, which should attract attention all around. The iSafe Bag is water resistant and shock resistant. The alarm can run up to 2 continuous hours, assuming the batteries are new. Because of the way the straps are located it should be extremely difficult and time consuming for an attacker to remove the iSafe backpack. (It is important that the company’s instructions are followed when wearing the backpack.) The Ulltimate Backpack fits laptops with up to 15.4 screens. There are ten pockets to store everything a college and high school student needs on the go. An audio device portal can accommodate mobile gear and more in secured compartments. There’s a feed-through for headphone cables. iSafe Backpacks prices range from about $60 to $100. The Collegiate is $99.99. It weighs 3.1lbs w/batteries. 

    Hear or SEE a Daily Giz Wiz Tom Merritt & I did on this gizmo:


    Did I take that pill? And if I did, when did I take it?

    I bet you’ve asked yourself those question anytime you needed to take pills at certain intervals. An simple way to remember to take your medicine is to use The Pill Timer. It’s an easy to use medication management system designed to help people, patients, and care­givers get the full benefits from their prescription medications. You program it for prescribed regimen interval – by pushing a button on the cap to tell it you need to take a pill say - every 2, 4, 6, 8 hours, etc. Once programmed, an alarm sounds for 20 seconds when it’s time to take a pill. Along with the alarm, a red light flashes for one minute when dosage is due. When you take off the cap to take your pill, the timer automatically resets to 0:00. That way you can easily see how long it’s been since you took your last pill. There’s an hourly reminder alarm and the LCD continues to blink if the dosage is missed. Pill Timer can help you prevent accidental under and over dosing. The battery is not replaceable, but the company says it’s guaranteed to last for at least 3 months. My guess is that the battery will last a lot longer, but the company wants to make sure you don’t use the cap battery too long, which could make the timer not operate properly. Luckily the The Pill Timer is under $5 and comes with USP approved prescription vial. $4.95 

    Hear or SEE this Netcast:


    A scanner that's small enough to carry in your pocket.

    The VuPoint Solution Magic Wand Portable Scanner lets you scan documents, photos, receipts, etc. anywhere and save them on a Micro SD card. You choose between 300 x 300 dpi standard resolution and 600 x 600 dpi high resolution. You copy in color or black and white (monochrome). Setting up the Magic Wand is very easy. Insert the batteries, which are included, scan the white sheet of paper (also included) until the green light goes out to indicate the device is calibrated. Then starting scanning. Outside of being a little lopsided, because I didn’t scan in a straight line, my first scan was really good. This is a perfect, inexpensive device that will let you turn stacks of documents into organized digital files. Scan just the portion of a book you need. Or a recipe from a cookbook. It features a Contact Image Sensor, scanning status LCD display and Optical Character Recognition software. Scan speed is about 13 seconds for high resolution with color and 3 for standard with color. Your speed may vary. The Magic Wand supports Micro SD cards up to 32GB (card not included). Works with Windows / Mac OS 10.4 or above. The kit includes USB cable, software, carrying pouch and 2 AA batteries. Although there are a few other mini portable scanners on the market, this one does an excellent jou and  retails for less than $100. Available on the web, or at Bed, Bath & Beyond. $99.99. On the right is the first scan I made with the Magic Wand. Outside of not scanning in a straight line and stopping a bit too early (cuting off the bottom of the magazine) this is a really decent scan. And it's available just in time for back-to-school.  Company website:

    Hear or SEE this Netcast:


    An under $15 device that might save your life in a car accident. 

    The slide-out blade protector glows in the dark, an added feature.Swiss+Tech makes an entire line of “micro-tools,” each small enough to be worn on a key chain. (In a few cases, a rather large Key Chain.) The BodyGard 5-in-1 Emergency Tool is one they designed for the car. In one pretty small gizmo you get five devices: automatic glass breaker, safety-blade seat belt cutter, sonic alarm, flashing red distress light, and bright-white LED flashlight. It’s designed to help drivers escape from their vehicles when the windows or doors fail to operate due to vehicle damage, fire or submersion. The automatic glass breaker is spring-loaded to automatically deploy when pressed firmly against a vehicle’s side or rear window. (Be sure to view the usage guidelines.) The safety-blade seat belt cutter quickly frees both the driver and passengers from their seats if their seat belts do not unlatch after a vehicular accident. When not in use, the blade is housed securely within the casing to prevent either accidental or intentional cutting. Both the glass breaker pin and safety blade are made of high-carbon steel. The company says that not only can BodyGard be used in vehicle emergencies; it can also be used to signal for help or to ward off attackers when walking, biking and hiking. With the push of a button, its sonic alarm signals trouble with a high-decibel output. (I’m not so sure this will work 100% of time because in the woods, the sound won’t carry that far.) More likely attract attention if you’re lost in the woods is the bright, flashing red distress light. It’s push-button activated to signal for, and direct help to your location. And finally there’s a high-intensity flashlight can be used for night sight and safety. BodyGard is also impact-resilient and water-resistant, with a tough ABS construction and a limited lifetime warranty. It comes complete with a replaceable A23/12V battery and instructions for care and use. At less than 3” x 1-3/4” x 5/8” in size, and weighing only one ounce it attaches securely to a key ring and releases with a quick tug for fast emergency use. Price is under $15.00.

    You can also check out the 7-in-1 BodyGard at the link above. The link below is a place on Amazon you can purchase the device for under $15. (I haven't shopped there.) 

    Hear this Netcast:


    Soon a new Droid, the Droid X joins Verizon Wireless. Here's a first look.

    The Droid x from Motorola Droid will be the newest smart phone when it's released on July 15th. It has a built in (720p) HD camcorder, 8 MP camera (with dual flash), Skype mobile (keep in touch with the folks back home)  GPS (don’t get lost), plays movies on a crytal clear 4.3” HD screen (use on the airplane) and HDMI output so you can watch your videos on the big screen at the hotel. (Be sure to bring your own HDMI hookup cable.) It's a lot of high tech travel gadgets in one small device.  There’s also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and of course, GPS (with turn by turn voice navigation, but not live traffic.) The Droid x has some newer initials too: DLNA which stands for wireless Digital Living Network Alliance technology. It's a way for different formats to work on a wider variety of devices.  Droid X is shipping with Android 2.1 with an updated version of Motorola's Blur coming later in the summer. It will be an over the air update, so you don’t have to take your phone anywhere to have it upgraded. Something I’m really impressed with is the Swype typing app which is preinstalled. Swipe your fingers across the keyboard to spell words and they appear on the screen with a very high degree of accuracy. I was sure the phone couldn’t figure out exactly what keys I was dragging across, but the word I wanted appeared on the screen. It’s like typing with some amazing ESP app. But wait there’s more. This gizmo has three microphones. Two are for directional audio capture and one is to add in noise cancellation. If you're eligible for a Verizon Wireless upgrade at any point in 2010, you'll be able to pick one up for $199 (after a $100 mail-in rebate) starting on July 15. The phone comes with 8GB of internal storage and a 16GB microSD card installed. A data plan is set at $24.99. the Droid X lets you create your own WiFi 3G HotSpot that can connect up to five devices, but that will cost you an extra $20 a month. It comes with a perhaps unwelcome 2GB data cap.