How-To Geek

From the Tips Box: DIY Zero Cost Steadicam, Temporary Web Page Bans, and Decluttering Your Power Strip


Once a week we round up some of the great reader tips you send in and share them; this week we’re looking at how to turn your camera tripod into a zero-cost Steadicam, blocking distracting web pages for 24 hours, and decluttering your power strip with cable extenders.

Build a Zero-Cost Steadicam From a Tripod

Bill writes in with the following tip:

I noticed you guys have some great photography and video tips… so I figured you’d like this clever one. I found out how to do this from a YouTube video, so rather than spend a lot of text explaining how to do it I’ll just include a link to the video in my email. Suffice to say, it’s a really clever way to take your camera tripod and, by removing a screw or two, turn it into a makeshift DIY steadycam. It’s a tad on the big side but it’s free!

After checking out the video we have to agree, that’s a rather clever way to use material you already have to offset the weight of the camera. Thanks for sharing!

Ban a Web Page for 24 Hours


Emily writes in with the following tip:

I liked your guide to blocking web sites through your router, but for simple temporary blocking I found a better way (at least a better way for me, to keep myself focused). It’s called SelfRestraint and it’s a simple open-source app that lets you create a temporary black list of web sites for up to 24 hours. It’s great for those “Get off Reddit!” moments.

We’re all about expanding our anti-distraction arsenal, thanks for sharing Emily!

Declutter Your Power Strip with Cheap Cable Extenders


Fred writes a simple hack:

I tell you, those stupid transformers that come with everything keep getting bigger and bigger. The one that came with my last printer was easily the size of two decks of cards and covered over three outlets on my power strip when it was plugged in! I did a little digging around and found out that you can buy really cheap cable extenders for like $10-15 for 5. It might not be the prettiest solution but it lets me plug in one transformer, no matter how big, to each spot on my power strip. No more wasted spaces!

We’ll we know what we’re buying now, we found a pass-through set of 5 for $18 on Amazon. Thanks!

Have a clever tip to share? Shoot us an email at and look for your trick on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/1/12

Comments (6)

  1. Dan Valenza

    Monoprice is the supreme being of cable acquisition.

    They have the short power cords for $1.15 each (less if you buy multiple at a time).

  2. Dave

    Was just going to post on Monoprice, but Dan above beat me to it. They also have Y-splitters (1 male to 2 female) for $2.17, less in quantity:

    Of course, shipping will add to that, but there are undoubtedly some other cables &c. you also need. For example, an 18″ micro-USB cable like you charge most phones with is 99¢, less in quantity. And if you need a bracket to attach a monitor or TV to a wall they’re WAY less than Best Buy or even Costco, for very sturdy ones.

  3. marinemerchant

    As far as cable extenders go… I prefer something like the Power Squid. ( Less clutter and you can usually get them on sale 2 for $20 I believe.

  4. Nick

    The same pass through pack on is listed at CDN$59.99+9.95 S&H what a rip off.
    Canadians get screwed every time!

  5. Joshua

    As expected, the temporal web page ban forces the file to resolve to nothing using the hosts file.

  6. temarc

    “We’ll we know what we’re buying now, we found a pass-through set of 5 for $18 on Amazon. Thanks!”

    We will we know what we are buying now, we found a pass-through set of 5 for $18 on Amazon. Thanks!


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