Category Archives: ABC

Best Father’s Day Tech Gifts on WABC TV


Tech gifts to buy for Father's Day


Last week I showed off some of my favorite Father’s Day Techie gift ideas on WABC. I adore Michelle Charlesworth, have worked with her for years and her energy and personality always make these segments so fun. You can watch the full video here: yes, I flew the drone!


For more info on the products, see below.

Microsoft Surface 3

The Surface 3 is a tablet that does double duty as a portable laptop when combined with the (extra) Surface 3 Type Cover. It’s thin and light and gets about 10 hours of battery life. It runs all Windows programs, has USB ports, a headphone jack and micro USB ports. Detach the keyboard and you’ve got a 10.8-inch high res tablet for kicking back and watching videos or reading the news.
Price starts at $499

LG G4 Smartphone

This new flagship phone from LG has even iPhone lovers taking a second look. LG’s G4 phone, is a sleek 5.5-inch phone with a quad HD display running on Android 5.1. The phone has a removable battery and an impressive camera.
Its defining feature is a smart-looking hand-stitched leather back cover, available in a variety of colors. Whichever carrier Dad uses, there’s a deal through Father’s Day for an extra battery and storage.
T-Mobile is offering five times more memory and if Dad is a world traveler, make sure to check out T-Mo’s Simple Global Feature which includes unlimited data and texting to the US.

Sengled Pulse Bulbs
The Sengled Pulse Bluetooth bulb is a simple way to get great-sounding music in any room of the house. It’s an LED light bulb with integrated JBL Bluetooth speakers. They’re super easy to install, just replace the bulb in any standard E26 socket and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Use the Pulse app to control the music and dim the light. The Pulse Solo is $59.99 or pick up a master and satellite set of two dimmable bulbs for $169.

MyCharge HubPlus

Never run out of battery again. The myCharge HubPlus portable charger has built-in Lightning and Micro USB cables for charging devices on the go. Dad can charge up his tablet and phone at the same time – there’s plenty of power. And when it comes time to charge up the charger, a built-in wall prong makes it quick and easy to power up the 6,000 mAh battery for the next trip. It’s small, fits easily into a bag or backpack and is a life-saver for staying connected on the go.

Knomo Bude Backpack

Dads don’t always carry briefcases anymore because their stuff is smaller and more mobile. Laptop-toting dads will appreciate the look and comfort of Knomo Bag’s Bude Backpack, made of a lightweight canvas that’s both dirt and water resistant – perfect for the city. There’s a padded compartment inside that protects up to a 15-inch laptop and a tablet, and lots of compartments for keeping cables and gear organized.

Parrot Bebop Drone

What’s more fun that flying a drone around the neighborhood or on the beach? Flying a drone that that has a built-in camera that captures 1080p video and can shoot 14mp stills. The Parrot Bebop Drone is made of impact-resistant foam, and is lightweight enough for you to take anywhere. No worries about the learning curve; the propellers stop automatically on impact and if the drone gets too far away from you, a GPS function lets you call the drone back home.

Goodbye Pix-Saying Bye to the Newsroom Family

Yes the ID pictures are from the year I began working at ABC and were never updated, so I have no idea how security was supposed to recognize me. Luckily, I’ve barely changed since the 80’s 😉

And the last picture? That’s called tape. We used to record on it, and cut it, and splice it, and search the floor for missing breaths. Really.

Grad Gift Ideas for Class of ’12: My ABC World News Now Segment

ABC’s Tech Contributor Andrea Smith (@abcandrea) has a round-up of today’s latest gadgets for those ready to take on the world post-graduation.


Your grad is already living in an HD world and technology is doing its best to keep up. Apple has released the third generation of its Apple TV, bringing full 1080p HD and a new user interface to the tiny box that lets you stream video content from various sources.

For those apartment-hopping or possibly moving to a new city for a new job, there’s really no reason to sign up for cable, or make a huge commitment when you can stream movies and TV shows from iTunes, Netflix, MLB.TV and other subscription services. YouTube is available, of course as well as the ability to stream your own HD videos from your mobile devices using AirPlay over your Wi-Fi network. In fact, the Apple TV makes a great companion for your iPad as it will send movies, music, photos and video games to the TV screen using Apple’s AirPlay technology.

You’ll need to buy an HDMI cable separately.

< Click Here For More Info >

Logitech UE Air Speaker $399

Gone are the days of moving stereos and receivers and speakers, all your grad needs today is an AirPlay-enabled speaker and an iOS device and the music will flow. There are a few on the market but Logitech’s UE Air Speaker with dual tweeters and woofers is so stylish and elegant, it will fit nicely on any bookshelf or table.

AirPlay speakers let you take advantage of Apple’s ability to send uncompressed music from iTunes or an iPad/iPhone. You just need them both connected to your Wi-Fi network to get great-sounding audio that can fill a room. A built-in docking station lets you charge your device and play music at the same time.

< Click Here For More Info >

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 8GB $249

If you’re looking for a budget-priced tablet, the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for $249 is a great option. It has a 7-inch-screen, of course, front (VGA) and rear-facing (3MP) cameras and it’s running Android’s latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Unique to the new line of tablets is a built-in IR blaster that turns the tablet into a smart remote for your TV. The remote is powered by the Peel app, which, after learning which home entertainment products you use and who your provider is, provides a guide to help you find your favorite shows. For those who like to play along with a second screen, the Smart Remote also lets you share what you’re watching with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.

The Galaxy Tab 2 is W-Fi only, which keeps costs down, so you’ll have to provide your own connection now that you’re off the wired campus. Though the tablet provides only 8 GB of storage, it does feature a slot for a MicroSD card to expand up to 32 GB.

< Click Here For More Info >


If your grad is a movie buff, don’t let them get caught with geeky movie theater 3D glasses. Stylish glasses make a great gift that can be used over and over.

Whether you choose the wear-over model, the kind that fits right over your prescription glasses, or clip-ons that do just that, you’ll look great taking in a Real 3D movie or staying home to watch a passive 3DTV.

Marchon’s glasses are made with patented curved-lens technology, which allows for a wider field of peripheral viewing, giving you optimal 3D viewing. They’re Real 3D certified and compatible with most passive 3D technologies, such as TV’s and gaming systems.


Here’s a high tech take on a tradition graduation gift. It’s a pen, but it’s also an HD video and audio recorder. So you can play James Bond, or take it with you to grad school to record notes and lectures. The Swann HD PenCam Mini 720p looks like an elegant ballpoint pen, with ribbed casing and gold trip, but it’s also got a teeny lens that lets you shoot video or stills at the push of a button. For students wanting to devour every minute of a lecture, you can add a 16GB MicroSD card which Swann says will hold up to eight hours. Data is uploaded via USB to your computer, which is also how you recharge the pen. Ink refills come the old-fashioned way.

< Click Here For More Info >

Travel Gadgets, my World News Now segment

Tech tools to take on the road when you travel. Here’s the video from my recent  ABC’s World News Now segment. And read on after the clip for more info on the gadgets I showed.

If you’re planning a trip this Spring, or even a little weekend getaway, you’ll want to check these out.


If you’re one of those people who is constantly running out of juice, and looking for a quick way to charge up your phone or your tablet, look no further than the bag on your back. The Powerbag has an internal battery that can charge up your gadgets on the go. It will charge a variety of devices, because it comes with different connecters with micro and mini USB tips, as well as an Apple connecter. There’s also a separate USB slot available for charging an extra device, provided you have the cable. Powerbag says the battery can charge the average smartphone twice.

Charging the bag is simple. It comes with an AC plug that goes directly into a water-resistant port in the front of the bag. When the bag is charging, you’ll see a light indicator on the front of the bag. You can also take out the battery and plug the cable directly into it.

The best part of the sling model, aside from the roomy inside, is the ability to move the strap from side to side, depending on whether you’re a leftie or a rightie. The Powerbag Sling comes in six different colors with a 3000mAh battery. You can but additional batteries or upgrade to a more powerful battery on their website.


Running out of power for your portable devices is almost a bigger issue these days than getting lost when you’re on the road. Where are you going to be able to stop and plug in your devices to charge them up? And what if you only have a mini USB cable with you but your blinking GPS needs a micro connecter. Innergie has solved that problem, and then some.

The PocketCell rechargeable battery pack can add hours to your devices, whether it’s an iPhone, Android phone, e-reader, tablet, portable game console, if it takes a USB cable, chances are, you can charge it. Included with the battery pack is Innergie’s Magic Cable Trio which has integrated smart-tip Apple, Micro, and Mini USB connectors, which means there’s very little likelihood of you saying, I don’t have the right cable. And they’re all connected so they won’t get lost.

You can recharge the PocketCell from either a laptop or computer, or an AC plug using a standard USB power adapter.

You can purchase the additional mini DC adapter w/dual USB ports for $20



The hotel room never seems to have outlets. Or is it just that we have more things to charge at the end of the day? Either way, be safe and pack the Belkin Mini Surge Protector along with all your gadgets. It’s a compact power strip with three AC outlets and two USB ports that also acts as a surge protector. The 360-degree rotating plug makes it easy to fit into hard-to-reach outlets. Never worry about stacked up waiting-to-be-charged phones again, just don’t forget to pack it when you check out.



The sad fact of travel in the connected age is not every hotel offers wi-fi in its rooms. I ran into this situation on a recent trip when I found only wired internet access at a very uncomfortable desk. The trouble was, neither my husband nor I had a laptop with is. we both had tablets that needed wi-fi. And who wants to sit at the desk? The TP-Link Mini Pocket Wireless Router was made for just this occasion. Plug the Ethernet cable into the back of the cube-shaped device, plug the device into a wall socket, and you have wi-fi that everyone in the room can access.

Super Bowl Apps: My ABC World News Now Segment

The Super Bowl XLVI 2012 is set for February 5th at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Here are some free apps to help get ready for the big day. This is video of my segment on ABC’s World News Now originally seen here:

First, where to watch:

If you’re stuck at work or nowhere near a TV for Super Bowl XLVI, you’re in luck. This year, for the first time ever, NBCSports and will offer a live stream of the big game. NBC Sports has been streaming Sunday Night games for a few years now so here’s what you should expect: You’ll get additional camera angles, DVR-like controls to pause live game play, and social networking capabilities.

NFL Mobile (iOS, Android)

This is the first time that we’ll be able to watch a live stream of the game legally on mobile phones. NFL Mobile is the place to be and Verizon is the network to be on if you want a live stream of the SuperBowl.  You need to download NFL Mobile “Premium” which includes the live video part of the app (games, NFL RedZone during the season and 24/7 NFL Network).   Premium is at no extra charge for 4GLTE smartphones users.  Users with 3G devices must subscribe to Verizon Video at $10/month to get the live video.

The app features live audio, current drive chart, real-time scores and lets you easily post comments to Facebook and other social networking sites. You’ll also see additional camera angles, in-game highlights and live stats.

A word of caution on data; remember watching all that video will chew through your data plans so keep an eye not just on the ball but on your reminders as well. Verizon will send a reminder every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes asking if you’re still there, and want to continue watching….just to be sure. If you don’t respond, the video stops.  And, the app also offers the option to watch the live video over wi-fi, if available.

Giants Mobile (iOS, Android)

The official app for Big Blue. This free app offers Giants fans real-time news, video on demand, photo galleries, all the latest stats, and a place to check out all the lastest Giants-related Tweets. You can share your own comments to Facebook or Twitter right from within the app, or check in to the stadium when you arrive for the game.

New England Patriots 2011 (Android, iOS, BlackBerry)
Fans of the New England Patriots know to go to this official team app for the latest news and videos. Also stats and scores, game details, video and audio broadcasts. Their photo gallery includes pictures of cheerleaders! You also earn points for watching videos that you can redeem when buying  fan merchandise.

ESPN ScoreCenter (iOS, Android, Win Phone 7)

Sports fans probably already have this app but if you’re going to be arguing stats with others while watching the game, you need this. ScoreCenter gives you one-touch access to everything you need to know for the big day, including stats, news and standings. You can set alerts for your favorite teams, and on game day, get live game details and analysis featuring last play and in-game stats.

A+ Superbowl Commercials (iOS)

Are you a fan of the Super Bowl commercials? Of course you are! This app collects the YouTube links to some of the best commercials from year’s past, and will update as soon as new ones are posted.


Facebook App

Facebook has teamed with USA Today on an app to let Facebook users rate Super Bowl commercials and share and discuss the ads with their friends. Since 1989 USA Today’s Ad Meter has ranked ads shown during the big game. Now, Facebook members will be able to vote, and see the results of their voting when the results are released on Feb. 7th.

All news having to do with commercials for the big day; what to expect, what’s already been teased, what’s coming on the big day.


Meeting Paula Faris, ABC’s newest anchor

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to work with Paula Faris, ABC’s new anchor of World News Now and America This Morning. Who knew she used to do sports in Chicago? How awesome!! My best Super Bowl apps segment was a great introduction, aside from minor technical issues with Wi-Fi in the studio. Oh yeah, we pre-taped a Valentine’s Day segment as well, here’s a picture.

Video Games for Kids; Young and Old: My ABC World News Now Segment

Is there a gamer on your gift list? Without a doubt, one of the best things to happen to video games is Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect accessory. Used with the Xbox 360 gaming console, it opens up a whole new world for young kids, one that makes full use of the camera and motion sensor technology. And other companies are using those technologies to get kids up off the couch and moving more than their thumbs, while exploring and interacting like never before.

Here are a few I like that I recently showed on ABC’s World News Now:


Game and bear $69.99

Just game $49.99

Kinect required

Every parent of young kids knows it’s next to impossible to get through the mall without first stopping at Build-a-Bear. So what’s better than putting your own bear into a video game, and being able to play with it? You choose from one of 4 bears, personalize it with clothing and accessories and then scan it with the Kinect sensor. It will appear as a playable character on Bear Island that you can go off on adventures with, explore caves and waterfalls, play games back and forth, or just use your hand to pet your bear friend. The animals respond to voice commands like “jump,” “roll over” and “play dead.” Brand | Kinectimals&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=G BAB | Brand&utm_keyword=kinectimals build a bear


Kinect required


This is a storybook adventure that gets kids up and moving, while playing with their favorite Sesame Street characters, and new monsters they meet along the way. They help Cookie Monster and Elmo in their quest to assist Marco with her birthday party planning. Along the way, they perform tasks but not just mini-games; they’re actually interacting with the characters in the game, like tossing a ball of trash into a garbage can on screen, running along with them or flying by flapping their “wings.” Mixed in are lessons about cooperation and sympathy, and much like the TV show, they learn to cultivate friendships and conquer their fears, right from their living room.

The game is designed so that two players can play at once, so a parent or sibling can join in. They can drop in or out of the game at any point which is nice, since little one’s patience for getting to the end of a game is sometimes lacking. The games are just as fun with one player because kids are using their whole body as the game controller, so they’re fully engaged with what they’re doing.


Let your kids drive a car on your iPad? Really? That’s the basic idea behind Disney’s new Appmates; iPad-friendly toys that basically turn your tablet into a virtual play mat. You buy a twin pack of mini toy cars, each representing a character from Cars 2 with sensors on the base of the cars. Download the free app and you’re ready to hit the road. Each car is recognized by the app so the game knows who is playing and where it is on the screen.

Kids guide the car and explore the area around Radiator Springs while performing tasks, and picking up objects along the way, like Lightning’s Horn or a metal detector. You never know when they might come in handy!

They can also compete in races and earn coins, which let them outfit the vehicle with virtual special tires, or fuel. Once you get the hang of it, the cars are easy to maneuver, and as we found in the newsroom, much easier for a 5-year-old than it is for an adult. I can see a lot of back-seat driving happening with these Cars!



Tablet gaming has become a popular pastime, but smashing a button on a flat, smooth surface doesn’t always give you the tactile feel you need when playing an arcade-style game. Sometimes you just lose that sweet spot and end up hitting nothing. Enter the Logitech Joystick for iPad, a small piece of plastic that adds a physical control to most tablet titles. The joystick itself is a black thumbpad, which is held in place by two suction cups you place right on the screen. It holds the trigger perfectly in place with enough sway to let you maneuver left or right, or whichever way you need to play a great game of Pac Man or Space Invaders.

Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure Xbox 360PS3, Wii, PC, Mac, $69.99

Skylanders, by Activision, is not a new title, many are familiar with Spyro the Dragon, but it’s a new approach to the video game platform. The starter pack comes with the game software, plus three plastic toy figures based on the game, and a Portal of Power that plugs into the game console. Placing the figurine on the portal brings the character to life in the game. Beam me up, Scotty! Each character has different powers and of course, you’ll need to collect them all in order to win the game so prepare for the add-ons but it’s a great concept and will keep the game-play going for a long time. Also welcome is the fact your kids can take their characters to a friend’s house and battle with their characters in the virtual world.

The starter pack comes withSpyro’s Adventure game, Portal of Power, three Skylander Character Figures, poster, three trading cards, sticker sheet, three Web codes and AA batteries.


Sony Move required

If your gang likes to dance, this is the game for you! Slide in the disc, follow the dance moves on the screen and get rocking! Everybody can dance to 40 of the top hip hop, pop and club favorites, including songs by Outkast, Usher, and evenBarry White.

There’s a dance class/tutorial mode for newbies, party mode where you dance off against friends, create your own moves and see if they can match them. There’s even a place where you earn extra points for singing along. Using the PS move controller and the PlayStation eye camera, your every move is recorded, so videos or snapshots, humiliating or not, can be posted and shared to on Facebook or Twitter to keep the laughter going.

This post originally appeared on and the video appeared here: