Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Norbtek.info Show #012 - Cool Tools

Sunday, 12/18/2005. Show #012

Cool Tools for Your Home or Jobsite


  • CNET - PlayLimit: A time limiting device for Game Consoles allows kids to play video games for a limited amount of time with tokens, similar to an arcade. This device has a coin slot for the tokens, a locking box for used tokes, parents a simple and convenient way of limiting the time their children spend in front of a TV. Many studies have shown that too much TV is bad for children. Even educational video games and programs, if not restricted, can reduce children’s ability to think and learn for themselves. How can PlayLimit help? Simple. By giving kids tokens for a specific time period, parents set a definite limit on how much TV their kids can watch. What’s more, the tokens empower kids to manage their own time, so parents no longer have to be the “time’s up!” police. Once children understand their TV limits, parents can encourage other activities such as reading, drawing, and sports to fill the void. And that’s the ultimate purpose of PlayLimit — to be a positive experience for both parents and children.CNet article.

  • ENGADGET - Hack your Roomba – Yeah that’s right. Manufacturer, iRobot, is making it easy to hack your Roomba with their Serial Control Interface. Roomba fans have been hacking their vacs for almost as long as the round robots have been on the market, but they haven't always had the blessing of Roomba-maker iRobot. That started to change earlier this year, when iRobot began pre-installing the software needed to control the bot via its serial port (above). Now, iRobot is going one further with the release of the iRobot Serial Control Interface, which will make it easier for owners of older Roombas to get the bots to do their bidding. Of course, actually using the SCI to mod your Roomba may void your warranty, but you knew that already. At least the folks at iRobot recognize that there's a market for hackers out there, and if you're ready to void your warranty, they may as well help you do it.

[Special Notice]
[Mac Review Cast Contest]

Tim Verpoorten, at the Mac Review Cast, has a great holiday give-a-way contest going on. A prize a week for three weeks. The first week’s prize will be a pair of Altec Lansing XT1 USB portable speakers valued at $99.95. All you have to do is listen to the show and send in an email. Each week Tim will announce another prize, and how to enter. So go check out the Mac Review Cast and enter the contest. Go to http://www.macreviewcast.com/ and good luck.

[Main Topic]

Revolver Ergonomic Tools by WORX – Tools include:

  • “Assault” Reciprocating Saw - $150

  • “Blockbuster” ½” Hammer Drill - $130

  • “Bladerunner” 7-1/4” Circular Saw - $150

  • “Intruder” – 3/8” Drill - $99

  • All tools run off 120V corded power
Drill Dr. Bit Sharpener – Available at Home Depot and Lowe’s for $100

Ryobi Laser Level with AIRGrip Attachment - $37 at Home Depot

Black & Decker BullsEye Auto Leveling Laser - Available at Home Depot for about $50

Miter Saw Laser Envy? - Available online at Amazon.com or your local Lowe’s and Home Depot for $30

Do-It-Yourself Project Calculator - Available at Lowe’s for $20

X-factor Safety Eyewear - Available at Home Depot for $10

FireStorm® 18 Volt, 4-Piece Cordless Combo Kit - Available at Lowe’s for $179

Little Giant LadderYou can get the Model 22 for $400 available at the Little Giant Website

Cold Heat - Just $30 at Think Geek.

Gmail Podcast

[Windows XP Tip]
More and more often, the hard disk space on today’s PCs are becoming gunked up and leaves the user to wonder what is taking up all the space. Generally, the following are the major consumers of hard disk space:
  1. System Restore snapshots

  2. Temporary Internet Files / History
By running the Disk Cleanup utility, you can free-up much of that space. Click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type cleanmgr, and then click OK. Select the drive, More Options, System Restore, and then Cleanup.
This purges all the restore points, except the newest point. This should clear-up most of the disk space. If not, choose the following options disk cleanup and run it:
  1. Remove temporary Internet files

  2. Remove downloaded program files

  3. Empty the Recycle Bin

  4. Remove Windows temporary files

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Norbtek.info Show #011- A Geek's Christmas Gift

Sunday, December 4, 2005. Show #011

A Geek’s Christmas List! - An Open Letter to Santa Clause.

Dear Santa,

I have been a really good Geek this year; from doing my podcast and trying to give good advice and information to the listeners and let them know about really cool stuff, to fixing my friends computers for free, to helping our work’s IT guys out by trouble shooting thing at the jobsite for them.

I would like any or all of the following things to be left under the tree on Christmas morning! Here’s my list…

A Philips 42" Plasma HDTV
Roku PhotoBridge HD
Dell Axim X51v
Bluetooth keyboard
Rhino Hardcase
Seagate 3.5" - 300GB USB / Firewire Hard Drive
Shell HomeGenie™
Harmony 688 Remote
Archos AV-700 Mobile DVR
Video iPod
Apple G-5 iMac
Xbox 360 – Ultimate Bundle
Spazzstick Caffeinated Lip Balm
Sony HDR- HC1
Canon PowerShot S2 IS.

Well, I think that ought to about do it. I don’t want to get to greedy. So, Santa, if you can, these are the things I would like to see come Christmas morning, however, you could surprise me with returning all our service men and women back home to their families, if not for good, at least for a day. They are the ones who make all the things I asked for possible.

Bless all of our brave service men and women, bless their families, and bless America.

Thanks Santa,


We received a bit of mail this time.

Listener Veronica wrote in and asked: What are some of the coolest things you can do with home automation in a small townhome? Things that are not overly expensive.

Well I expect that by "Town home" that you own a "condo" style home that is in an apartment type complex and that you own, not lease. So with that presumption made, here is what I would suggest. The X-10 company has a great web site that has a really cool special on their Activehome Pro Starter System. This type of system is really great for not having to modify your home electrical system or change out switches and plugs more of a DIY type of system.

Another site to go to that provides a higher end home automation setup is Smart Home. If you are really looking into doing some nifty setup in the future, your better off going with something offered here. You might have to get an electrician involved, but I know it will be worth it.

Last podcast I told you about listener Art who heard my special segment about the ReplayTV on the Typical PC User Podcast and that he picked up a ReplayTV. Well, he did more that that, he picked up 3 ReplayTVs! Wow! That is cool. Hey Art, write me back and let me know how it is going with your new ReplayTV setup.

  • Please visit our Frappr! listener map @ http://www.frappr.com/norbtek
  • Want to ask a question? Just look for the “Ask Your Question” link on the left hand side of the website.
  • We have Gmail invites to give-away. Send me an email, Norbtek.info@gmail.com, with “Gmail Invite” in the subject line and we will get that out to you.

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