Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Web Secret #68: Wireless Extension Cords

It's been a while since I've reviewed cool stuff. Hadn't been inspired, until I stumbled upon one of my favorite sites,, a website that features endless toys, gadgets and geekery.

Anyway, the gadget du jour on the site, Wireless Extension Cords, had me reaching for my Amex card in a matter of seconds. Why? - (you might ask...)

I like to imagine that when Al Gore is paid $250,000 to deliver a keynote speech about global warming, his computer/microphone/powerpoint/lighting set up works. I, on the other hand, arrive at my speaking venues ready to give a stirring presentation about innovative uses of social media, and find that, 9 times out of 10, things DON'T WORK or are "not set up properly."

Examples of "things not working" include:
1. my flash drive does not work in their computer
2. my PowerPoint slides are not visible on their screen
3. the microphone they attached to my lapel is dead
4. no one knows how to operate the brand new LCD projector
5. I have 10 minutes of power left before my computer dies (did I click "hibernate" instead of "shut down" before I got on the plane???) and the nearest outlet is 20 feet from the dais.

And the tech person assigned to FIX things at the conference is:

a. unfindable
b. an idiot
c. does not have the necessary gear to solve the problem (eg an extension cord!)

This has led me to arrive with enough backup equipment to implement a Plan B, a Plan C, or (God help me), even a Plan D, when all else fails.

Clearly a new addition to my presentation first aid kit is going to be Wireless Extension Cords (priced at an affordable $34.99.)

All I need to do is plug the Wireless Extension Cord (WEC) base unit into a standard wall outlet, and plug whatever I need into the satellite unit (in this case my laptop power cord.) (The WEC uses microwaves in the 7.2GHz range, so it won't interfere with wireless networks, Bluetooth components, etc.) Now, all I need to do is adjust the antennae on the two units so they are aimed at each other. Turn everything on and I have the power! The distance the WEC units can broadcast differs from situation to situation (due to interference of such things as walls, power lines, and microwave ovens), but ThinkGeek has beamed power over 300 feet!

Problem solved.

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