Tag Archives: technology az

Universal Cell Phone Tripod Mount – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Universal Cell Phone Tripod Mount by Carlus.  Recently we launched our new instagram (ItsAJackLife) and Dorothy has been managing it for me.  We started to do some short videos there and decided being able to use our tripod would be a good idea.  Issue was my old adapter made by DaVoice didn’t work for vertical, only horizontal.

Up till now that was not a problem because I hate VVS (vertical video syndrome) on sites like YouTube but for Instagram you have to do vertical and I get why.  So I figured why not get a mount that does both.  I almost passed on the Universal Cell Phone Tripod Mount by Carlus simply because it was so cheap.  I mean how good could it be for 6.88?

But it just looked like  what I needed and with Amazon you can always return something if it is crap so I gave it a shot. 72 reviews and 4.5 stars.  Gets an A on Fakespot and the Company itself Carlus gets and A as well.

When I got this thing I was impressed.  It is plastic but well built, thick plastic and that is the right material for this little product.  The thumbscrew holds firmly and has a rubber gasket to keep it clamped down.  It mounts to a standard tripod or monopod shoe and it like everything I recommend just works and always works.

Some reviewers did note that on some larger phones the phone won’t fit with a case on it.  I measured the max spread of the clamp at 3.75 inches so measure any larger device you might want to use it for.

You can also get the mount along with a small tripod and a bluetooth remote for your camera.  I can’t speak for the tripod because I have enough tripods and didn’t need another one.  The bluetooth remote is the same one DaVoice uses and many other vendors do as well.  They work just fine, just if you use it make sure the phone is screen side to you so you can be sure it started when you pushed the button.  If not you could finish a 10 minute video but have never started the camera, ask me how I know.

In any event the Universal Cell Phone Tripod Mount by Carlus is a great little tool for the money. So if you need something like this for your phone give it a try, at less then 7 bucks it can’t be beat.  In fact I now recommend it over my prior recommendation from DaVoice.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router – Item of the Day

routerEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router.  I did a TON of work when I last upgraded our router, this is the one I settled on, I have never regretted it.  It has now been running for three years and I have no desire to replace it.

We have a large house, not a mansion or something like that just a long house because the garage was converted to indoor space and lot of brick walls.  We always had trouble with the signal in certain areas, and especially out in the detached metal garage.

This thing bangs signal out hard and with one extender (which you can find here) I can hit almost any part of my 3 acre property.  It also has two bands one at 2.4 and one at 5 ghz.  We have found some of our devices like say our printer, just does better on the 2.4 ghz band.  Since they merge to a common network you just sign the equipment in on what works best and all is well.

It also comes with a guest network, so your visitors can be on the web but not on your network, which is very nice.  You can configure everything in your browser, the set up is step by step and anyone with a very basic computer knowledge can do it.

Best part?  Well it also has a smart phone app, this lets you pull up your network, see everything on it, change passwords, get your password if you forgot it, etc.  But the very best part of this is you can, reboot from you phone.  Yes you can reboot your router from your phone.

Imagine this, you and your spouse decide to hit the bed early and watch some Netflix, network issues ensue, you need a reboot.  Don’t get up like a fool and walk to the other side of the house, grab your phone and give the reboot command and all is well.

I dealt with a lot of buggy crap with three previous routers, unfairly yelled at Comcast customer service about their wonky internet due to one of those, found this and finally I am happy.  I can use my laptop or phone on network from my pool or in my garage, my guests have their own network, everything works and I have good signal in the entire house.

I am not a network administrator, or a MCSE or anything like that.  I just know this works, it always works, it is easy to set up and manage and does what I need.  If anyone wants a free router by the way I have three in my closet you are welcome to the next time you stop by.

So if you need a new router or are just ready to upgrade give the TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router a shot.  I finally agree with the NY Times for a change, it is in their words “the best router for most people”.  It is far from an enterprise product but for home networks it is the best thing I have found.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com


Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter.  I really have always liked the 800 watt inverter as a prep item.  It is that perfect balance of being able to run most things you can run from you car and an equal bang for the buck balance.  For many years I recommended the Whistler XP800i 800 Watt Power Inverter.  That item is now discontinued so I have changed my recommendation.

I conferred a great deal with a few contacts on this including new expert council member Shawn Mills and in the end I am not leading with the recommendation for the Cobra CPI890.   It is a solid piece of gear, comes with a 2 year warranty and of course if you have any out of the box problems Amazon will exchange it.

As to reviews I have basically given up on inverters for reviews on Amazon.  In the end people are idiots, no you can’t run a 1200 watt microwave with a single marine battery and a 800 watt inverter.  If you plug a 400 watt inverter into a cigarette lighter in your car and actually attempt to pull 400 watts something is going to give.  Why?  The cigarette lighter connection can only deliver about 150 watts maximum.  And on it goes.  Yes the inverter is going to whine and stop working when your batteries are drained.

In the end the Cobra inverters are solid for what an inverter of this class is designed to do.  Yes they are modified sine wave inverters, that is why they cost so much less than a pure sine wave inverter, but unless you are runnign something that requires it, that doesn’t matter.

Inverters like this are good for what they have always has been a good low cost option for back up power when you need it.  It allows you with simply some extension cords and some power splitters to make use of the one or two “generators” sitting in your driveway or garage.  If you are sane you can power most things in your house with one or two of these just not all at the same time, you can run a fridge for a few hours to keep it cool then run other things.

It will easily run some LED lights to keep you able to see where things are.  It will of course give you all the power you need to charge all your devices, run a laptop and even a cable modem, again you just have to pick what you want to do at any time, you can’t do everything at once, but you can do an awful lot.

At 54.99 a piece I don’t know of any other single preparedness item that can do as much for under 60 bucks.  I also want to say this is a big time case for two is one and one is none.  This is a good product but inverters do fail, all electronics do, so keep two at least on hand. In spite of me picking on some of the negative reviews, some are reasonable.  Again any brand of inverter will have some failures, I have yet to find one that doesn’t.  Again these come with a two year warranty.  I recommend having a back up and simply using a warranty as designed if needed.

So check out the Cobra CPI890 800W Compact Power Inverter today and consider adding it to your black out kit.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – This inverter line is available in power from 130 watts all the way up to 2500.  I really love the 200 Watt Model and just ordered one.  I will likely bring it around as a stand alone item at some point.  It is designed to go into a cup holder and has one AC plug and two USB ports.  It is really perfect for charging small devices and say a laptop or running a small fan when camping.

Remember in all this, your car or truck is not a light saber, if you take more power from it than your alternator can make you will drain your battery.  Also any inverter above 200 watts needs to be clamped onto a battery not pluged into a 12vdc port if you want to pull anything above 150 watts.

Also larger inverters like say 1500 watts and above need to be bolted to a battery not clamped on.  And we are talking about real power in all these, just like the power from a wall plug, electricity can kill you.  If you don’t know what you are doing with a project get professional help.

Lastly I know I should not have to say this but if you hook up say a 2500 watt inverter to say a single battery, it may give you 2500 watts, for a few moments but it will quickly drain if you run anything with that much power.   So size your inverters to your systems accordingly.  Over sizing your inverter by more than say one level up is generally a waste of money.

Otium Bluetooth FM Transmitter – Item of the Day

bluetoothEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Otium Bluetooth FM Transmitter.  I was turned onto this product by a listener and knew at once I needed one for my old F350.  About 2.5 years ago we got our Toyota 4Runner.  It was the first tech heavy vehicle I have ever owned.

I really love being able to play my iphone music and podcasts in it, to make phone calls hands free and hear them over the speakers, etc.  I have been trying to talk myself into getting a new stereo for my truck with features like that.

I just can’t justify it!  My old beast is a long ago paid for 2005 F350.  Not only is it an 05 but it was even when new a bare bones work truck.  I paid cash for it in 2011 and it has been a good partner.  I just don’t drive it that much any more, so I wanted the cool features and access to my music but couldn’t justify the expense.

I did have a FM Modulator in it for a while that allowed me to play music but it wasn’t really that good of a sound quality.  What I had been doing is taking my Bose Speaker with me, but I don’t really like having a 300 dollar speaker sitting in my truck when I am in the store or what have you.

Coming in at only 20 bucks, when I first reviewed it, I almost wrote this thing off but the guy that wrote in about it was raving about it so I gave it a shot.  Man this thing is slick.  First you pick an open unused frequency on the FM dial and set it to that.  You pair your phone to it and that is that.  And today it is an even better deal as the price has dropped to only 16 bucks!

You can now make calls, listen to music or podcasts, etc.  One really great thing is it also has a USB port so you can charge your phone and you don’t loose the outlet for that purpose.  It also takes an SD card if you want to put music or audio files on it that way.

Another great feature is that it has an aux port, so you can directly connect a non bluetooth device or not use bluetooth on your phone to conserve battery life, or simply because you don’t want to use it for any reason.

Most newer vehicles now come with these features built in but if you have an older vehicle this little gadget will give it a hell of an upgrade for only 18 bucks.  So check out the Otium Bluetooth FM Transmitter if you have an outdated sound system.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – My only word of caution is make sure you have some “empty space” on your FM dial based on where you live.  Here in Dallas I have 107.7 and one other frequency that are actually empty with minimal bleed over.  I have put presets for these two stations on my radio so I can swap if one starts picking up too much static or bleed.  I live in a huge market and the dial is really crowded, in many areas the dial is full of empty channels.  If anyone knows of a comparable product that uses AM bands, please let me know, TONS of empty space there!

TP-Link AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the TP-Link AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender.  I got one of these to provide better WiFi signal to the outdoor areas around my home.  I am a big fan of TP-Link and already reviewed their TP-LINK Archer C7 Wireless Router in a prior review.

The two work together great but this extender will work with any wireless modem running on 2.4 and/or 5GHz.  Here is what I love about this extender vs. others I have tried.

There is no software to configure it and the start up guide is DEAD simple.  You simply plug it in and take any computer with wireless and connect to it, you log in as the admin with included info for that.  You then attach it to any other networks in your home and tell it the password for those.  It learns them and done, you can now plug it in anywhere it gets a good signal and it will simply reconnect.

What this does is pretty cool.  Other similar items I have used instead basically attach to your network and create a new network.  For instance, we will call your main network A and your extender creates a network B, B has its own login info, etc.  So you are on one network and get too far away, if your device manages to self switch to B fine but this usually doesn’t happen.  Sometimes your devices become confused as to which network to be on if both are weak etc.

Instead with this device if your network is Network A, this device simply becomes an extension of Network A.  And if you are running a cool router like the TP-LINK Archer it is every better.  The TP-LINK Archer runs at both 2.4 and 5GHz, which is great because for instance our older printer is only on 2.4 and for some reason our smart TV only like 5.  But we also have “Guest Networks” on the TP-LINK Archer.  This isolates guest logons from our main devices in their own network.

So when I configured the TP-Link AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender I attached it only two the two guest networks.  So now when my guests arrive I can provide good quality WiFi on both bands so everyone can connect.  I created a relatively simple password for this week that will be changed later and only the guest networks are accessible.

If any of this sounds complicated it isn’t.  Despite what people think about me I am not some sort of a bad ass hacker or anything, if you can update your iPhone you can install this repeater and again while I think it is a beautiful match for the Archer 7 Router the TP-Link AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender is “vendor agnostic”, meaning it doesn’t care what manufacture it is extending it just works.  So if you have dead zones or just want your WiFi to reach the back of your property consider getting one of these today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch – Item of the Day

lightswitchesEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch Kit.  These things are just awesome and for only 30 bucks they provide a lot of convenience.  The set comes with two remotes and 5 individual switches.

They are pretty intuitive but here is how they work.  You plug one of these into an outlet, then you plug in what ever you want to control remotely into it, you just installed it, you are done.  Now if it was unit one, when you push “on” for unit one, what ever is plugged into it comes on, when you push off, it goes off.

I know some of you are thinking, oh gee another gadget so people can sit on their ass and not even walk across the room to turn on a light.  Now hold on, here are a few uses that make a lot of sense.

For one we have a floor lamp that is behind the couch, to get to it you have to walk around the back and contort yourself in an odd position to get to it.  It isn’t a huge deal but it is a pain in the ass and it is also the best place for the lamp.  Install one of these and no more contortionist activities to turn on the lamp.

Our Grandson is too short to reach the wall switch in the bathroom, install a small light, pop in one of these.  No more, “I’m scared to go to the bathroom alone” stuff.

I shoot videos at my desk and I have some pretty heavy lights that make the room work well for that.  Say I want to shoot a video on the fly, push a button they come on, then off.  Not a big deal but when it comes to my work with as much as I do I try to be as efficient as possible.

How about your annual Christmas lights?  For us our tree is one of those pre lit jobs.  Dorothy has some weird form of OCD around lights on Christmas trees, (okay honestly she is a Christmas tree Nazi, Really) that is unsettling. So I got a pre lit job to end it!  Thing is you have to dig under it to get to the master switch every night.  Not with one of these.

How about a shop with a light on the far end?  I also have a friend that uses these for his extensive aquarium set up.  He has the lights wired to them and can turn on and off the fish tank lights without reaching around the back of the hoods.

Some of you likely have older parents with mobility problems, hey 27 bucks and make their life a little easier right?

Okay you electric Nazis that hate phantom loss of electronics that are plugged in but not on.  This can really add up, but if you put one of these in the connection and test it with a Kill a Watt, you will find they draw 1/10th of a watt in standby which is almost nothing.  Over a year that would cost about 10 cents in electricity, where some devices can cost 20-30 dollars a year in “vampire draw” or even more.  With that alone they can pay for themselves. 

So if you have any lights or other electronic devices you would like to be able to turn on and off as easily as you do a TV, check out the Etekcity Wireless Remote Control Electrical Outlet Switch Kit today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Tune in today for a simple hack that will making using these things even easier than it already is.  All you need is a sharpie marker.


Maxboost International Travel Adapter Kit – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Maxboost International Travel Adapter Kit.  This is the item you want when you travel and you want it both for domestic or international travel.   Everytime we travel it is the same thing, a nice hotel, a small desk, perhaps one power outlet and if you are lucky a USB port (that charges slower that dog snot in January) in the lamp base.

There we are, my phone, the wife’s phone, my laptop, her tablet, and don’t get me started about traveling before my son grew up!  With this little box you get four AC outlets and five USB outlets.  One of these lives in my travel bag at all times, it only comes out when I am away.

I use it when staying at a friends home as well.  They give you a nice little room but you have all your devices spread all over and are trying to find ways to keep stuff organized, find an outlet, etc.

I also keep one of what my friend Jon Dowie calls “an orange, Steven Harris, three way, freaking, thing“, in my bag.  So if that outlet I want down behind furniture is running a lamp, TV, etc, I can unplug it, pop in my splitter, plug the item back in and plug my box into the other port.

Now everyone can charge their devices, run laptops, etc.  And if you do travel internationally it includes adapter plugs for US-EU, US-UK and US-AU which will cover most any need you will have.  They are also high quality adapters, that snap together and organize beautifully.

The important thing, it actually works, including when used internationally.  This product has 67 reviews on Amazon and it averages 5 stars across them.  For an electronic device that is through the roof.  The best part is the price, 19.99 with free shipping.  So check out the Maxboost International Travel Adapter Kit for your needs today, especially if a lot of hotel rooms are in your future.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com


Corsair Flash Survivor Drive – Item of the Day


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Corsair Flash Survivor Drive.  I bought my first one of these over 7 years ago and I love this tool as much today as I ever have.  This thing is built like a tank, I mean it will protect your data.

It is so well made it makes a pretty decent stealth impact weapon.  I broke a one inch pine board with a hammer fist using it and it didn’t mar the finish.

This is what you need to keep a back up of all your important emergency data.  Phone numbers, account numbers, etc.  To make your drive secure just password protect any important documents and you are good to go.

We have all gotten to the point of relying on our cell phones for so much of our data.  It makes sense but two is one and one is none.  And to make this tool even more versatile just install the free version of LibreOffice Portable on it.  So when you want to open that spread sheet and the PC you have access to doesn’t have excel, you just won’t care.

What you may want to do is take a way back ride on TSP today and put together a documentation package.  You can learn about that all the way back in episode 148 “Bug Out Planning and Documentation” and build a binder for all vehicles and one for the house but keep the soft copy on a USB drive like this.

In that episode I give you simple ways to protect things like credit card and bank account numbers.  Where you will always be able to get to your numbers but anyone getting possession of your drive would find them worthless, even if they did get the document to open.  I will give you info on how to password protect a document in the PS below.

Anyway I feel we should all have a back up of important files, photos, etc beyond our phones and “the cloud”.   When I got my first Corsair Flash Survivor Drive 16GB was the largest size you could get, it is now available in up to 256GB, which is a LOT of space.  I have the 128 GB one and still have plenty of space.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. –  To password protect a document you can simply use a function during your first save.  To do so for MS Word and other MS files see this link,   To do so in Open Office see this link.