Rocketfish Flexible Device Holder

This device, the Rocketfish model RF-WSMNT, holder is great because of it’s solid construction. It works well with most cell phones and smaller GPSs. This holder uses a suction mount on the windshield. The suction is very stable and reliable.


Compared to previously used device holders it is much better overall, especially in terms of durability. However, it is not as easy to slip my phone in, the goose neck is not quite as stiff an therefore bounces around a little more on rough roads. It’s not too hard to mount but could be difficult if finger strength is an issue for you.

It doesn’t work so well with my GPS because there is a mounting bracket at the back which prevents it from being held in place properly. If I don’t need a charge then I can remove the bracket and it fits in just fine. Since my GPS’s charge port is at the back the brackets are not deep enough to properly hold the GPS plus charger mount.

Price – 4.5 / 5
Mine was purchased at $26.99 for an open box item from Future Shop. The regular price at $29.99 is still an O.K. price. At around $25 I felt this was good deal. Though more expensive than the typically cheap holder it compares well to other similar models I have seen.

Quality – 4.5 / 5
The quality on this is outstanding. The mechanism feels solid for holding and releasing your device. The rubber hold the device in place is secure. Since the rubber is strong I could adjust to stay away from side buttons. The trade off of the rubber is that it means you can’t just slide it in.

Durability – 5 / 5
Very durable over the past 5 months and I haven’t noticed any issues.

Overall – 4.5 / 5
I would easily recommend this for quality more than price. The secure suction can be a negative if you don’t have good finger strength and don’t need to remove it frequently.

Pricestar star star star half-star
Qualitystar star star star half-star
Durabilitystar star star star star
Overallstar star star star half-star

UPC: 600603124938

Outlet Extension / Expansion

An outlet extension is a convenient and effective way of adding more power outlets to an existing socket. With the model highlighted here you simply plug it in and go from two to six outlets. The old way we used to this was with an extension cord, or power bar. This was much cheaper, less clumsy, and resulted in less clutter.

6 Outlet Extension

6 Outlet Extension Details

Again my retailer of preference is the dollar store. While these may sell for about $10 at the hardware store and are almost certainly of better quality, I am unconvinced of the need for better quality in most circumstances. In our family they are often used on a night table for some combination of a low powered lamp or clock.

Price – 4.5 / 5. I got this one at a dollar store for two dollars (so not a true dollar store) but I wouldn’t be surprised if one could be obtained for $1.

Quality – 3 / 5. No real quality issues here. Nothing fancy like surge protectors or a mounting screw to hold it into the socket. It has two plugs allowing it hold fairly securely in the socket.

Overall – 4 / 5. This is an easy product to recommend for basic outlet extension. For safety it’s best for when you need to plug in a number of low powered devices to an outlet but don’t need surge protection. For surge protection or higher power devices like computers, it’s best to get a proper power bar with a surge protector and circuit breaker.

Pricestar star star star half-star
Qualitystar star star
Overallstar star star star

Sabrent USB Hard disk enclosure for laptop

A USB hard disk enclosure is a cheap and simple way to have access to your files from an old computer or laptop. I purchased the Sabrent 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Tigerdirect for about $10 for my dead laptop. Fortunately, it wasn’t a hard disk failure and our family was able to recover all our old files. Not everything has been moved over but it is accessible for whenever we want it. Enclosures are available for 2.5 inch hard drives used in laptops and notebooks and for 3.5 inch hard drives for desktop computers.

Price – 4 / 5.
I’ve often seen enclosures priced at $30 plus so I was pleased with paying approximately $10 for this.

Quality – 4 / 5.
This device is solidly built, easy to set up, and has decent documentation. The only other thing I could ask for would be a less rigid case or cover that could offer some impact protection. It did however come with a little leathery sleeve. In addition it connects with USB 2.0 so it’s not as fast as USB 3.0.

Overall – 4 / 5.
This enclosure is a pretty good deal and I easily recommend it. Although it lacks USB 3.0, this can be OK if you don’t need the speed for daily use and just simply want to get at your data.

Pricestar star star star
Qualitystar star star star
Overallstar star star star

Model: ET-UST25
UPC: 857161001687

Simple earphone and power cord repair – hockey tape

Roll of Hockey Tape

That’s right.  It turns out that hockey tape is better than electrical tape.  I can’t speak for the non conductive properties of hockey tape but it’s definitely stickier than electrical tape and just about as cheap.

For non-Canadians, hockey tape is tape that is wrapped around a hockey stick on the blade where the puck makes contact and sometimes at the top end to aid in grip.

I cut a small strip and wrapped it around the end where the wire is attached to the jack.



  • It’s sticky
  • It’s strong
  • It’s black
  • It’s cheap


  • It looks a little cheap
  • Require’s a little bit of work and dexterity

So far it has been about six months and it’s holding up quite well and seems to stronger than the original.  I may want add this preventively to cheap headphones on the other stress areas such where the earpiece connects to the wire and on the ‘Y’ joint.

I have also applied hockey tape to the frayed cover on a cell phone charger.

Frayed Cell Phone Charger

Repaired Cell Phone Charger

Dollar store earbuds – plus

I found a new pair of earbuds at Dollarama called “Hype Stereo Earbud”. These are the most expensive ones they have at $2.50. They are so far, well worth the money. These are strictly earphones and don’t have a microphone for cell phone use.

Hype Stereo Earbud

Other cheap earbuds I have purchased haven’t seemed to fare as well as this one. Overall I’ve been fairly pleased with this one.

Price – 2/5
At $2.50 it is not in true dollar store category but low enough to not to be concerned about experimenting.

Quality – 3/5
I wasn’t expecting high end audio and I didn’t get it. What I did get was some bass and an OK sound. Vocals were still a little tinny though better than other dollar and discount store models I’ve tried. What was most impressive with these was the volume. I typically do not get enough volume out of cheap earphones. With these there was enough volume for music and podcasts, and in addition phone calls were also quite audible.

Overall – 3.5
I give these well over a passing a grade. The only real compromise is on sound quality. As such I can easily recommend them for anyone mainly looking to save money on earphones.

Pricestar star star star
Qualitystar star star
Overallstar star star half-star

Dollar store earbuds

These are basic Dollarama earbuds at $1.25. They are branded as “Electra Tech Sound”.

Electra Tech Sound Earbuds

These ones are not too bad for the price.
Price – 5 / 5 At just over a dollar it can’t really be beat. So full marks here.

Quality – 2.5 / 5
The sound quality I would rate ast fairly decent for the price. OK for music and podcasts. These earbuds don’t have the extreme tinny sound you typically get with cheap headphones. In addition, they come with a pair of foam covers. These covers are a little thin and hard to attach but improve comfort so it’s worth the effort. They also feel reasonably sturdy. Where these fall short is in their low volume.

Overall – 3 / 5
These earphones get a positive recommendation. I only hesitated to recommend them fully if you need to use them where you need a good amount of volume such as for noisy areas and for cell phone use. I leave these at work on my computer and I have been reasonably pleased. I can just leave them around because they are cheap enough to be replaced.

Pricestar star star star star
Qualitystar star half-star
Overallstar star star

Use Old BlackBerry Charger In New Smartphone

If you’ve got an old BlackBerry charger you can use this as a charger for your new smartphone.

New smartphones are often charged with a standard micro USB charger. This includes newer BlackBerries which are charged via mirco USB. Older BlackBerries use mini USBs.

Note that this doesn’t apply iPhones which have their own proprietary connector, but there are lots of cheap alternatives for them.

What’s the difference?

A mini USB plug can easily be converted to a micro USB plug via an adapter. These can be readily obtained from several retailers on eBay. I got mine from eBay seller “expert-island”.

This conversion makes a great replacement changer or an extra changer to keep at work or in your travel bag.


Blackberry charger – mini USB


Micro USB Charcher


Mini USB to Mico USB Adapter


Discount store replacement cell phone earphones

One problem to consider is the earbud earphones that come with your smartphone. Earphones are often subject to physical damage and as such I am often on the lookout for economical alternatives. The one I am looking at now is an unbranded (no-name) pair of earbuds from a discount store.

Price – 4 / 5
At 5.99, its not exactly dollar store territory yet its cheap enough to experiment with.

Quality – 2 / 5
These earphones have a slightly tinny sound quality, which is not too surprising given the price. It’s slightly better than dollar store models I’ve used. I wasn’t expecting much on the sound but what was really disappointing was the low volume. On music or spoken word podcast it wasn’t too bad but on phone calls it was especially disappointing. Unless I was in quiet room I couldn’t hear a thing. The person on the other end also had trouble hearing me but not as much trouble as I had hearing them.

Overall – 2.5 out 5
There is nothing here for me to recommend or not recommend since I couldn’t find any brand name or manufacturer. What I do is provide general thoughts on this class of earphone. The type you may buy maybe of better quality but it is was poor enough to recommend avoiding a purchase if you can. You may only want to take a chance on this one as an emergency replacement. The lack of volume on calls prevents me from giving them a better overall score.

Pricestar star star star
Qualitystar star
Overallstar star half-star

Coby clock radio with iPod/iPhone dock and mp3 jack

A clock radio is not traditionally a high tech device but if you’re like me and have trouble waking up in the morning it is an essential piece of technology. I had a few criteria when we had need to replace one.

  1. Cheap as possible – $100 clock radios are not for me at this time. The $30 range is the minimum I thought. Would meet all the criteria.
  2. Large numbers – Everyone in our house wears glasses so with bigger numbers some of us will be able to tell the time unaided.
  3. Mp3/Aux jack – I figured it would be nice to simply plug the phone into the radio so we could listen to a podcast or some mp3 music in through the radio instead of head phones or the tiny speaker built into the phone.
  4. Dual alarms (nice to have) – useful to have preset for the weekend that you can quickly enable.

Price – 4.5 / 5
Purchased for $25.13 on sale from about $34 at Canadian Tire. I would have been OK with the regular price so I was quite pleased when I saw it on sale.

Quality – 3.5 / 5
This unit hit all the marks for the required large numbers and mp3 jack. It didn’t however have the nice-to-have dual alarms.
The radio sound not spectacular but quite acceptable for the price range.

The sound for the iPod however is much better than I expected. Unfortunately we don’t use it much any more. It is an iPod nano and requires a computer to load song and podcasts on it.

The quality of the sound from the mp3 jack is not too bad yet disappointing overall. I had to crank the volume on the phone and the radio to get a decent listening level. The problem with this is that I could forget to turn the volume and it would be set for literally a rude awakening in the morning.

Overall – 4 / 5
This is a good quality radio for the price, even at the regular price. With decent sound, a nice large display, and an iPod/iPhone dock most people should be happy with this clock radio. The minor negatives of low sound in the mp3 jack and slightly complex buttons don’t hold me back from recommending it.

Pricestar star star star half-star
Qualitystar star star half-star
Overallstar star star star