Dr. Bill’s Geek Gift Recommendations!

It’s that time of year again! The time when I give you my best finds for gifts for your geeky friend or family member! A lot of these are special Black Friday deals, so check them out quickly! A dozen choices for you to peruse!

Google Home Hub1)
Google Home Hub for $99.00 on Black Friday
$99.00
Out for less than a full month, but on discount for the holidays if you act now! The Google Home Hub is my screen hub of choice for the bedroom, because it doesn’t have a camera, and it can show me the weather while I lay in bed getting the gumption to get up in the morning! Help at a glance. See your life in one view, and get things done hands-free. Google Home Hub helps you make the most of moments at home.

Command your day.
With Voice Match, get your calendar, commute, reminders, and more right on the home screen. You can even watch the news, make a shopping list, and place calls to friends, family, and local businesses.1
“Hey Google, add doctors appointment to my calendar.”

Simplify your smart home.
Voice-control compatible lights, cameras, TVs, and more from a single dashboard. Works with Nest and 5,000+ smart devices from 400+ popular brands.
“Hey Google, show me the front door camera.”

Answers for any moment.
Ask questions and get visual, immersive answers from Google on weather, recipes, local business info, and more. You can even watch helpful videos from YouTube.
“Hey Google, show me how to tie a tie.”

Play your favorite songs.
Use your voice to play your favorite songs, albums, artists, and music videos from YouTube Music. You can also listen to Spotify and Pandora. All available free.
“Hey Google, play some jazz music.”

Relive your memories.
Use your voice to show any picture youve ever taken in Google Photos. And with Live Albums, always view the latest photos of loved ones.
“Hey Google, show me my photos from Hawaii.”

1 Calling available for US and Canadian domestic calls only, not including 911 calls and premium numbers.


Nintendo Switch2)
Nintendo Switch Game System
$299.00
The GameMaster’s favorite game platform is ready for you this season! Now that you can view YouTube, play games, even with other Switch users, why wouldn’t you get it? Not only would I get it…. we did… for the GameMaster last year! And, he HIGHLY recommends it! Nintendo Switch console, Nintendo Switch dock, Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R), and Two Joy-Con strap accessories. One Joy-Con grip, HDMI cable, and Nintendo Switch AC adapter.


Oregon Trail Game3)
Oregon Trail Card Game
$19.99
Nostalgia for us older geeks! Formally an eight bit game for old PC platforms, the Oregon Trail game is now a board game! Players work together to move along the trail, fording rivers and playing Supply Cards to overcome calamities.

Playing Time: 30 Minutes or Less

Number of Players: 2-6 Players

Manufacturer’s Suggested Age: 12 Years and Up; level of difficulty: Intermediate

Level of difficulty: Intermediate


Star Wars Popcorn Maker4)
Star Wars Death Star Popcorn Maker
$49.99
Because Geeks love Star Wars and Popcorn, of course! Pop some corn and watch the original trilogy while eating your popcorn! That’s no moon, it’s a popcorn maker from a galaxy far, far away!

Popper heats with hot air, creating bright and fluffy popcorn you can season however you’d like. Machine makes delicious popcorn in minutes.

The top half of the Death Star conveniently doubles as a fun serving bowl.

Put it on display when not in use – makes a great addition to your Star Wars collection!


Exploding Kittens Game5)
Exploding Kittens Card Game
$19.99
Yes, this game is weird, but also VERY geeky! Cats, goats, explosions…what more do you need? Hologram ensures Authenticity. Exploding kittens is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats. Family-friendly, party game for 2-5 players (up to 9 players with 2 decks) This is the most-backed project in Kickstarter history and all cards feature illustrations by the oatmeal. Includes 56 cards (2.5 x 3.5 inches), box, and instructions. This box, like 99.99% of boxes, does not Meow.
Skill level: Beginner


Star Trek Bluetooth Combadge6)
Star Trek Bluetooth Combadge (Half Off)
$39.99
Half off!! Come on, you know you want to answer your smartphone from your combadge! We’ve had a screen-accurate prop replica ST:TNG badge in our closet for a while. The only thing it was missing was the ability to emit the classic communicator chirp sound effect when we pressed it.

And then we found out an audio company is making a fully-functioning officially-licensed communicator badge. Behold the Star Trek TNG Bluetooth® ComBadge. It hooks up to your phone or device via Bluetooth® and has a built-in microphone for hands-free calling. Once connected, one touch answers/ends calls, plays/pauses audio, or accesses Siri, Google Now, or Cortana. And, of course, a touch plays that classic communicator sound effect. Warning: you’re going to want to keep the micro-USB charging cable handy right after you receive this, because making it chirp is well-nigh irresistible.
And don’t forget to sign off, “[Your name here] out.”


Star Wars Death Star Waffle Iron7)
Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker
$34.99
“Come to the Dark Side, we have waffles!” This is an indirect omage to the old Geek Culture movie “Hardware Wars!” And, I am not sure the maker even knows it! The secret of the Death Star was that it looked like one thing, but it was technically another. It looked like a moon hanging there in space, but we know that secretly it was actually a space station. Waffles are a lot like that, too. They look like dessert, all covered with strawberries and whipped cream and chocolate chips and powdered sugar and syrup (well, maybe not all of those at once), but they’re technically breakfast. Booyah.

If you’re ready to make your kitchen explode with awesome, you need a Death Star Waffle Maker. Plug it in, warm it up, and pour the batter onto the non-stick cooking plates. In just minutes, you’ll have golden, delicious waffles, good enough to destroy a planet for. Well, a small one, at least.

And if one side turns out a little funny with bubbles or you overcook it and there’s a Dark Side, just flip it over. There’s a Concave Dish Composite Beam Superlaser indentation on both cooking plates, so you’re covered. And both sides have pockets for your tasty toppings. Just keep in mind when you break out the syrup that it’s likely to do its own version of the trench run.

Honestly, there’s no need to waffle. You know you want it!


Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter8)
Star Trek NCC-1701 Pizza Cutter
$24.99
I have one! You need one! Of course you do! (Of course, it IS the Enterprise, so I have never actually used it to cut pizza! Respect.)

Star Trek Pizza Cutter – This Pizza Cutter is in the shape of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Original Series.

Cut Pizza Boldly – The Star Trek Pizza Cutter has its mission to explore strange new pizzas, seek out new toppings and cheeses, and boldly cut pizza where no man has cut before.

Stainless Steel – The pizza cutter is a laser-etched stainless-steel blade with a zinc-alloy chromium-plated body. Not dishwasher safe, hand wash only.

Dimensions – Blade diameter: 4″. Total length including blade: 8.5″. Weight: 10 oz.

Officially-licensed Star Trek Collectible – This is officially-licensed Star Trek collectible, and a ThinkGeek creation and exclusive.


Schrodinger's Cat Decision Maker9)
Schrodinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker
$28.55
How else would a geek oriented executive make decisions? Helps you make tough decisions! Schrodinger’s Cat will give you an answer – Alive or Dead. A great gift!

Schrodinger’s Cat will help you make tough decisions! If you’re having trouble deciding between things often, then Schrodinger’s Cat can help. With this Schrodinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker, just ask the cat a yes or no question, slide open the door to watch the cat magically fluxing between life and death.

If the cat ends up staying alive, then the answer is yes! If the cat comes back dead, though, then your answer is no. The almighty Schrodinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker has spoken!
Go and do its bidding. Meow. The Schrodinger’s Cat Executive Decision Maker measures about 5 3/4-inches wide 4 1/4-inches deep x 4 1/4-inches tall.

Require 3x ‘AA’ batteries, not included. Ages 14 and up.


RIF6 CUBE Mini Projector10)
RIF6 CUBE Mini Projector – 2 inch Portable Handheld Projector
$174.99
Wow. I really DO want this one! How cool is this? (Yes, it IS expensive, but look at what you get!)

ULTRA PORTABLE PROJECTOR SCREEN – This 2-inch mini projector lightweight, portable and can be easily carried for a movie theater experience at home or outdoors. This pico pocket projector is equipped with a built-in rechargeable internal battery that lasts up to 90 minutes

COMPATIBLE with HDMI DEVICES – This small handheld and wireless projector is designed with an HDMI cable port to mirror out your smart phone, computer, laptop, gaming console, or TV screens. It also comes with a built-in speaker and a headphone jack

MULTIPLE CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS – Unlike other digital cube projectors, ours is powered with a wide range of inputs where you can play high-resolution videos, movies, slideshows, music and office text files directly from a USB flash drive or micro SD card

CLEAR FULL LED DISPLAY – Vibrant LED light projection with full 50 lumens lasts up to an incredible 20,000 hours and displays a video screen size of up to 120 inches. Whether on the bedroom wall at home, or office board room for business presentations, you’re guaranteed an amazing experience

COMPLETE with ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIES – 2 x 2 x 1.9 inches mobile projector has a flexible mini tripod with bendable legs to help adjust projection angle and keeps your projector stand stable. It also comes with a remote control charger, USB and HDMI connectors.


Amazon Alexa FireTV Cube11)
Amazon Fire TV Cube
HALF OFF – $59.99
Again, HALF OFF! You KNOW you need it! Great for Cord Cutters, and at this price, a real deal! Fire TV Cube is the first hands-free streaming media player with Alexa. From across the room, just ask Alexa to turn on the TV, dim the lights, and play what you want to watch. With far-field voice recognition, eight microphones, and beamforming technology, Fire TV Cube hears you from any direction. Enjoy hands-free voice control of content—search, play, pause, fast forward, and more. Plus control the power and volume on your TV, sound bar, and A/V receiver as well as change live cable or satellite channels with just your voice. Fire TV Cube has a built-in speaker that lets you check the weather, listen to the news, control compatible smart home devices, and more—even with the TV off. Fire TV Cube is always getting smarter with new Alexa skills and voice functionality.

Experience true-to-life picture quality and sound with access to vivid 4K Ultra HD up to 60 fps, HDR, and the audio clarity of Dolby Atmos. Enjoy tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills. Get over 500,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC, and more. Access YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and more websites with Silk and Firefox browsers.

An Amazon Prime membership unlocks thousands of movies and TV episodes including “Thursday Night Football” and Prime Originals like “The Big Sick” and “Sneaky Pete.” Now includes all-new Alexa Voice Remote with power and volume controls.


ZOLO Bluetooth with Alexa Speaker12)
ZOLO Halo Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Smart Speaker with Alexa
$19.99
Alexa AND a Bluetooth/WiFi speaker for your PC, Tablet or other Bluetooth or WiFi connected device! Oh yeah! Superior Audio: Professionally tuned 5W high-excursion speaker and bass port deliver exceptional sound quality and rich bass from Halo’s miniaturized body. Alexa Built-In: Voice-activated Alexa functionality with over 10000 life-enhancing skills. Stream audio and music services (including Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible ); Check news, traffic, and weather; find answers; control smart home devices; and shop with your voice. Multi-Room Sound: With simplified Wi-Fi connectivity, link up to 6 Halo speakers simultaneously for house-wide audio and Alexa communication. Bluetooth Connectivity: Not only a Smart Speaker, Halo works as a stand-alone high-fidelity Bluetooth Speaker!


The Answer to Life is NOT 42, it’s CHEESE!

Cheese!Hitch-hiker’s tells us the answer to life, the universe, and everything is: 42. On Kim Possible Ron Stoppable’s naked mole-rat, Rufus, told us that the answer to life is CHEESE! It seems Rufus may have have been right all along!

NBC News this week had a story with a sub-title proclaiming: “Cheese and yogurt were found to protect against death from any cause, and also against death from cerebrovascular causes, like stroke.” Wow. “…Death from any cause!” So, if you eat cheese then riding a motorcycle with no helmet is OK again? Sounds good.

It’s time to reconsider low-dairy diets, new study suggests

On the other hand, I say… fake news!

To be fair, they are saying that adding cheese to your diet may be helpful in preventing diseases. But… watch your wording, guys!

A Smoke Alarm That Doesn’t Detect Smoke?

Smoke DetectorOK, this is embarrassing!

Dumb Smoke Alarm Recalled Because It Can’t Even Detect Smoke

Gizmodo – By: Adam Clark Estes – “If you own a Kidde smoke detector, you might want to inspect it. The company just issued a recall on nearly 500,000 smoke detectors that, sadly, did not detect smoke. The Kidde PI2010 and the Kidde PI9010 are the models affected by the recall.

The situation is definitely dangerous for half a million smoke detector owners. It appears that Kidde or one of its partners simply failed to remove a part of the smoke detector that blocks the smoke detector from detecting smoke. Said part is a yellow cap that may or may not be present in the smoke detector you own.

So check out your own situation. If your smoke detector is called Kidde and it also has this yellow part, you might be in trouble. CPSC recommends you contact Kidde, which can provide you with a replacement alarm that isn’t worthless.”

Alexa REALLY DID Lose Her Voice… Briefly

You mean the Super Bowl ad is real? Wow.

Alexa briefly lost its voice amid widespread Amazon Web Services outage

The Verge – By: Chris Welch – “Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa went quiet Friday in an unintended, real world reproduction of the company’s Super Bowl ad. A regional outage impacting Amazon’s servers led to Alexa becoming unresponsive on Echo products and other devices that support the assistant. I tried a simple weather inquiry on the Echo Dot in my living room, and the signature blue ring stayed lit up for about 15 seconds without any answer. A tone eventually sounded, and Alexa said it had lost connection. Subsequent attempts also failed, producing a red ring accompanied by Alexa asking me to try again later.

By mid-afternoon, Alexa had returned to normal and was responding to voice commands again. The issue was likely tied to troubles today with Amazon Web Services. Slack and other applications that depend on AWS as a backbone experienced downtime earlier in the day.”

The Black Panther Movie: A Non-Spoiler-ly Review

Black PantherThe Black Panther movie was awesome! Here is my non-spoiler-ly review. First, you HAVE to see this movie! Second, this movie does more to advance the African-American heritage than any movie has in a LONG time! The good guy in this movie is a GOOD guy! He is thoughtful, strong, honorable, wise… he thinks deeply, he cares deeply. He honors his father, even when he discovers his father is only human and not perfect. He honors tradition… and he is… dare I say it… truly patriotic! He shows that patriotism can be a strength, not a weakness, or a flaw.

The movie unflinchingly shows negative historical events… mistakes of the past, both of people, of cultures, and of countries, WITHOUT leaving it that those mistakes, issues, and problems are insurmountable. You can rise above them, you CAN win over your baser nature!

African culture is shown in a POSITIVE, strong light, but other races are not diminished to do so, rather, the movie shows that ANY culture can rise and overcome, if strong core values are maintained.

“Wakanda,” in the movie, as a nation, is the most technically advanced nation on the planet, but for all their superior engineering, riches, and culture, they end up HELPING the world… not “rubbing the nose” of the world’s other nations in it! They don’t have to scream “we are awesome!” They simply ARE awesome! The very last scene demonstrates this… I won’t give it away. But a gentle smile says it all!

Go see this movie… and celebrate African heritage with our brethren of African origin. This is how art can influence culture positively!

Electric Harley Update!

I mentioned this back in June of 2014 on the show (Dr. Bill.TV Netcast #342) … but now it is about to be released. I want one!

TechCrunch – By: Jake Bright – “Harley Davidson will launch its first production e-motorcycle in 2019.

Yes, the iconic symbol of American steel and piston popping internal combustion is shifting to voltage.

‘We announced we’ll invest more aggressively in…electric technology in premium motorcycles,’ Harley Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said on the company’s recent earnings call.

Project Livewire‘You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire… it’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.’

The Milwaukee based company didn’t provide much more detail on its e-motorcycle plans. CFO John Olin added HD ‘expects to spend an incremental $25 million to $50 million per year’ on EV infrastructure.

A spokesperson wouldn’t confirm specs on Harley’s first production e-motorycle to TechCrunch. But per the CEO’s comments, it will likely be an extension of HD’s LiveWire concept bike. The 460 pound battery powered machine debuted in 2014. It has 74 horsepower, a 93 mph top speed, 50 mile ride time, and automatic drivetrain (i.e., no clutch or shifting),.

HD’s battery-bike news comes as the American motorcycle market struggles to attract younger buyers and lags behind the auto-industry in EV development.

Overall U.S. sales have dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2008, with a sharp decline in ownership by those in their 40s and under 30. The majority of the market is now aging baby-boomers, whose ‘Live to Ride’ days are winding down.

The one bright spot in American motorcycle demographics is increased female ownership. But by most straw polls women prefer lighter motorcycles with smaller engines—pretty much the opposite of Harley Davidson’s design template of the last half-century.

For years the company’s best sellers have come from its voluptuous cruising and touring lines, including the 798 pound, 1340cc Road King.

Unsurprisingly, prevailing trends have brought financial pains to many big motorcycle makers, including Harley Davidson. Along with HD’s EV news, the latest earnings call announced a Kansas City plant closure and 8 percent U.S. sales drop.

As for the overall U.S. motorcycle market, shrinking sales and shifting consumer preferences offer manufacturers a tricky equation. The industry is attempting to serve very different buyer groups: an aging segment that prefers yesteryears’ big engine cruisers and then women and millennials—who aren’t yet enthusiastic about buying bikes, but appear privy to lighter motorcycles and EVs.

Companies have mixed things up to cope with the shifting U.S. landscape. On design, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki now offer more smaller engine, lower weight models. Harley Davidson launched its Street series of leaner bikes, including the 492 pound Street 500.

Companies are also launching learn to ride programs and lifestyle brands—such as Harley’s Riding Academy and Ducati’s Scrambler series—to bring in new buyers and create fresh social groupings around motorcycles.

On the tech side, two-wheel manufacturers have mostly stagnated around EV concepts. None of the big names—Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, KTM—offer a production electric street motorcycle in the U.S.

Meanwhile, some e-motorcycle startups have emerged. Italy’s Energica announced a 2018 U.S. sales campaign. California also has Alta Motors and Zero Motorcycles—whose Zero SR has 75 horsepower, a 135 mile range, and $10K price.

EVs from these new ventures are closing the gap on gas bikes in price, performance, weight, recharge times, and ride distance.

So how could this all come together to pivot the mainline motorcycle industry toward electric?

A combination of competitive pressure from these upstarts and the number 1 American motorcycle seller, Harley Davidson, debuting an e-bike.

This could prompt the likes of Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki to quickly transition their EV programs from concept to production.”

Angry Birds Champions – Play for Real Money!

‘Angry Birds Champions’ lets players fling pheasants for real money

Engadget – By: Jessica Conditt – “Angry Birds Champions is now available on iOS devices and through the developer’s website, allowing players to fling their feathered friends against precarious piles of pigs in a bid to win real money for the first time. The game is accessible through the WorldWinner iOS app or on WorldWinner.com, joining the studio’s other real-money tournament games like Wheel of Fortune, Solitaire, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.

‘It’s really the original Angry Birds physics game — and obviously Rovio’s done a number of different derivatives using the iconography — but this is the core physics game of shooting birds and killing pigs,’ WorldWinner boss Jeremy Shea told Engadget.

Angry Birds Champions is an officially licensed title, made in conjunction with Rovio. It uses an asynchronous multiplayer format: Someone pays to enter a tournament and completes one of the two modes, best-of-three or progression, and their highest or combined score is recorded. The game finds another similarly skilled player in the tournament and that person plays the same levels. Whoever ends up with the highest score wins the cash prize, and WorldWinner takes a little off the top of each match.

WorldWinner’s matchmaking system takes a number of factors into account, including how many games you’ve played, how well you’ve performed in specific tournaments, your win-loss ratio, and average or best scores.

These competitions are generally worth a few dollars each and cost less than a dollar to join. Shea wants to be clear that this isn’t gambling — WorldWinner has been building real-money tournament games for 18 years and it knows the laws inside and out. A handful of big-name games, including Star Wars: Battlefront II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, have come under scrutiny in recent months over their use of loot boxes and other gambling-adjacent systems. WorldWinner argues games like Angry Birds Champions are skill-based competitions, eliminating the element of chance that would turn them into gambling.

Still, 10 states have regulations that make WorldWinner’s lawyers squirm, so cash tournaments aren’t available in those areas (Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee).

‘We’re always in conversations with members of different states, and obviously there are players that want to play from certain states that we don’t allow and they’re disappointed when they find out,’ Shea said. ‘But in terms of gambling laws and regulations on a state-by-state or country-by-country basis — we spend a considerable amount of money on attorneys and we’re absolutely in line with the regulations as they are today and will be tomorrow.’

Angry Birds Champions also isn’t trying to become the next big eSport — though Shea would forgive you for thinking so. Players do win real money by playing Angry Birds Champions, but it simply isn’t built to be a spectator sport.

‘We clearly deliver competitions for money, from small two-player tournaments up to thousands of people participating,’ Shea said. ‘We deliver the entry fee and the prize model that most of your eSports competition deliver. But… we’ve never been in the viewership model. So I think that’s the one area where we evolve our lingo from saying we are eSports to we are really on the edge of eSports.’

Angry Birds comes with a built-in player base, with 4 billion downloads (and at least one movie) since the franchise’s launch in 2009. Shea expects Angry Birds Champions to have tens of thousands of players, easily.

‘That is one of reasons that we went with the partnership with Rovio, in particular at this stage of our development: In the past six months we have shifted our focus from being very committed to delivering a PC-based consumer experience where we’ve had our success for close to two decades, to trying to enter the mobile space,’ Shea said. ‘Our expectation is that this week, we hit all of our launch targets and this will quickly scale to be one of our top-performing games, which would put it in the thousands of players playing in a given day.’

And that’s just on iOS — WorldWinner is working on an Android version of the game as well, though there’s no launch window just yet.”

“Starman” Heads Toward the Asteroid Belt!

Elon Musk shot a dummy called “Starman” toward Mars in his own Tesla Roadstar using his “Falcon Heavy” rocket. It is going to miss Mars and is heading toward the Asteroid belt! And, it looks cool!

“That was epic,” said Mr Musk. “That’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, literally.” And, how cool is this: the driver’s seat contains a dummy wearing a spacesuit, nicknamed “Starman.” The in-car sound system is paying David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on a loop, and, a “Don’t Panic” sign on the dashboard references Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy!” Ah, a touch o’ whimsey!

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