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Thompson: Before you toss that phone, try to fix it
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Before you throw an iPod or iPhone away because it is not working, consider checking out the Web site This cool little site tells you how to fix a variety of ailments. It has step-by-step pictures and even tells you what tools you need to use. Fascinating stuff.

John Brady had ants getting into his dog’s food bowl and it was driving him nuts. He tried all kinds of things to deter the ants and nothing seemed to work. Finally, he had a moment of inspiration. He purchased a toilet “wax ring” from a plumbing supply store. (For those of you not familiar with a wax ring, it’s used to secure a toilet to a drain pipe). He placed the dog bowl on top of the wax ring and he hasn’t had a problem with ants since.  

Have you ever been in a store looking at an item and wondered if you could buy it cheaper online? If you have, I’ve got a great tip for you. At no charge you can dial 888-DO-FRUCALL, (that’s 888-363-7822), enter the item’s barcode number and you’ll immediately know if you can get it cheaper and where. To learn more about this service, check it out at

This past week my wife had a plumber at our house to fix some slow drains. Unfortunately, the plumber used some really harsh chemicals (harsher than the stuff you and I can buy at the store) and damaged a small area of our bathtub’s finish. Here’s the tip: any time you put any kind of chemicals down a drain, be sure to use a funnel. The funnel will protect the surface of the tub and the metal ring around the drain. If you don’t have a plastic funnel handy, just make one out of newspaper.

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.