I reviewed some of my smallish purchases of the past several months, and noted some ones that I still feel very good about, because they worked so well. I will share these here, along with appropriate Amazon link. These may be practical gifts for family/friend, or may be something you’d like to get for yourself.
( 1 ) Stoner “Tarminator” to safely remove sap and tar from car. In search of shade in the searing summer heat, we sometimes park under a pine tree, which can drip sap on the car paint and windows. Removing the sap without harming the car finish is not so easy. The internet pointed me to this product, which has performed well. I spray some on a little folded part of a paper towel, and rub at sap with that. Stoner Car Care 91154 10-Ounce Tarminator Tar, Sap, and Asphalt Remover Safe on Automotive Paint and Chrome on Cars, Trucks, RVs, Motorcycles, and Boats, Pack of 1
( 2 ) Compressed gas to blow dust off laptop heat exchanger. I got a warning message on my laptop that the fan was not functioning properly, and needed immediate attention. I think by that they meant the machine was overheating. It turns out that in your laptop there is a thick copper heat conductor that runs from your hot processing chip to the fan outlet on the side of your computer. The fan sucks air from the bottom of your PC, and blows it across a heat exchanger attached to the heat conductor. In time, dust can build up on this heat exchanger, and block the airflow.
The “right” way to address this problem is to disassemble the laptop to expose this heat exchanger from the inside (as shown in picture above), and peel the lint off. Problem is with my particular PC, it is a huge, perilous task to do this disassembly. The internet told me of a hack solution, which is to shoot cleaning gas into the heat exchanger from the outside, to knock off at least some of this lint. See this YouTube video by “Ultimate DIY” for the technique. It seemed to work for me – I got a can of cleaning gas (below), shot it into my PC side outlet vent in various spots, and have had no fan or overheating warnings since. (I also tweaked my standby power settings so the fan does not run all day if I am not using the PC).
( 3 ) Barge “rubber cement” to glue almost anything. This stuff sticks really well – spread a thin coat on both surfaces, wait 10-15 minutes, press together, and leave for a few hours. Unlike most “superglues”, it will work on rough or porous surfaces, including situations like leather where flexibility is needed.
( 4 ) Indulge in nutty taste, impressive appearance, and health lore of black rice. A couple of years ago I got some so-called “forbidden” (black) rice from an Asian gourmet outlet. (At one time this rice was so prized it was forbidden for anyone but the emperor to eat it). It tasted great, but was ruinously costly. I have found similar rice on Amazon, imported from Italy. No cooking directions on the box, so here is what worked for me: Add 1 cup rice to 2 cups boiling water, simmer 20 minutes, and strain off excess water. Try it once:
( 5 ) Small indoor/outdoor play/crafts table with bench seats for 2-8 year old kids. This has worked well, especially for otherwise messy foods and activities. Give it away when your kids are done with it. See picture below. The sides and benches fold in, under the table, for storage or transport. Includes optional shade umbrella. Avoid the smaller version of this table, it would get outgrown immediately.