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Car Accessories and Gearhead Gadgets

It’s supposed to be spring, but still feels like winter – and I’m nursing a heavy cold! My dashcam has broken, my car’s wireless phone charger is kaput, and my windows keep steaming up. So I’ve been shopping online to solve these problems. I’ve bought a dual camera dashcam, a phone stand wireless QI charger, a car dehumidifier and a four USB slot charger to plug into the cigarette lighter. Not all of these purchases work out well for me, however…

Ztylus Stinger equivalent: https://amzn.to/303sluV
Elky four USB car charger: https://amzn.to/3sIyo49
R300 dual camera dashcam: https://amzn.to/381tKpW
Nextbase dual camera dashcam: https://amzn.to/37Z38WP
Phone stand wireless charger: https://amzn.to/3kAQuCs
Car dehumidifier bag: https://amzn.to/2NTnBoY

TRANSCRIPT


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God, I need a haircut. My Kingdom for a barber!

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Whatup nerds? I’m Jay Shareef. Welcome to another
episode of Tech Tuesdays! On Tuesdays I make short

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videos about whatever tech or gadgets I’ve
purchased in the last week. And this week

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I’ve been shopping for car related gadgets. I’ve
had four different things arrive in the post.

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And I’m going to start with the most important
one. At the moment, I’ve got this plugged into


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my car charger. It might look like a simple USB
charger, that you plug into the cigarette lighter,

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but it’s much more than that. Now, I bought this
three years ago for the princely sum of £9 GBP.

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And it’s called the “Ztylus Stinger” – that’s
“Stylus” with the Z, by the way. And the reason

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it costs so much is that it has two additional
functions. In the event of an accident you can

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use this to cut your seat belt and to smash your
window. And I’m the kind of morbid-thinking person

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who worries about such things, especially because
I’ve often got kids in the car. And I’ll leave

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a link in the description if you want one for
yourself. However, it’s time to move on, because

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two USB charging ports is not enough any more.
So here is a four USB charger that came in the

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post this week. And the reason I bought this was
because I’m going to be charging at least three

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different devices in my car at the same time.
It’s called the ELKY Quick Charge. It only costs

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£5 GBP. And it claims to be USB 3.0 compatible. In
other words, it can charge more quickly than the

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old USB 2.0 chargers. My old Ztylus Stinger
has a maximum output of 2.4 amps. Whereas 

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this ELKY Quad USB charger has a maximum output
of 3.5 amps. That’s not a huge difference. But

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more is always better, for sure. Before I talk
about the other three products I’ve bought, let’s

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quickly head outside for a look at the status
quo… Hello. So here I am in my environmentally

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unfriendly car. Some people call them “Chelsea
Tractors”. I don’t like that term. I think that’s

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a slur on these wonderful SUV’s that I absolutely
love. It’s the third one I’ve had in a row… my

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third SUV. Anyway we’re in here to look at two
things. Firstly, this is my dashcam. this dashcam

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came with the car. It’s wired in as you can see.
Now look what happens when I turn the ignition…

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Nothing happens, apart from that clicking
noise. Basically, it’s now defective. Now those

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are like £10 GBP dashcams, that you could
get off ebay, delivered to you from China.

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They’re not particularly high quality. Look…
what’s it doing? What the hell is that? I have

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no idea. Okay, so that’s problem number
one. The second problem I have is to do

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with my car charger – my phone charger.
So i have one of these wirelessly charged

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phones. And I don’t know what they call it…
QI charging or whatever the hell they call it.

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And so I bought one of these chargers quite a
while ago. And the idea is that it connects to

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your cigarette lighter socket. And you just
put your phone in here, and it should close up,

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and then charge your phone. But as you’ll
notice… Oh it is charging my phone!

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That’s typical. It’s actually working today. But
for the last few weeks it hasn’t been working. So

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that’s what I need to fix. I need to replace this
with a more reliable one that actually works.

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Also i don’t really like this mechanism. This
this kind of arm mechanism that connects it to

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the windscreen. I don’t really like that. And
what I want is something that’s a little more

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convenient, easier to use. Also,
you’ll notice my screen is horribly

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fogged up. That’s a regular problem you have
if you live in a cold climate, like we do in

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Northern Europe. In the UK it rains a lot and it’s
very cold. Temperature changes throughout the day,

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and you end up with these foggy screens. So
these are the three problems we need to solve.

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So now we’ve identified the problems, how am I
going to fix them? Let’s start with the dashcam

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situation first. The car came with a cheap and
cheerful device. It was basic, and it did the job,

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and that’s fine. But now I want something more
interesting. And what really intrigued me was

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the idea of having a dual camera dashcam. I wanted
one that films what’s behind me as well as what’s

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in front. And luckily there are many different
options available on Amazon and ebay. The one I

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went for in the end is called the R300. I’m not
even sure which company makes it to be honest.

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It’s one of those generic Chinese manufacturers.
And this is what it looks like when you try and

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use it. I’ve already put a brand new 32 Gigabyte
micro SD card inside. And, because this is filming

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in full HD, I made sure that i used a Class
10 card. The moment you turn on your ignition,

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the dashcam starts receiving an electric current
and it automatically starts recording. However,

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I’m just going to stop recording so I can
show you the menu system. It’s pretty much

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what you’d expect. You can choose whether to
record using both cameras or just one of them.

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You can choose whether to record audio or not.
You can set the time and date of course. You

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can turn the beeps on and off – and, of course,
as always I turn them off straight away. You can

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turn the view screen on and off. And then you
have something called “G-Sensor Sensitivity”.

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What this is about is how the dashcam responds
to shocks. If you’re ever in an accident,

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your car will usually decelerate quite quickly.
And that is what this G-Shock Sensitivity

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is about. In the event of an accident, the dash
cam will notice the dramatic change in G-forces,

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and it will immediately save and lock the
latest video recording. That way your footage

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of the accident will be preserved. This dashcam
gives me four options for G-Shock Sensitivity:

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Low, Normal, High and I can also turn it off.
Turning it off would be useful in some scenarios. 

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Imagine you’re doing a track day in your car, and
you’re on a track full of hairpin turns or you’re

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having to accelerate and brake a lot. What you
don’t want is for your dashcam to misinterpret

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your heavy braking or fast cornering as a series
of accidents. So in those situations you turn

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off the G-Shock system. Similarly, if you’re in a
performance car, or you have an aggressive driving

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style, then you might want to turn the G-Sensor
Sensitivity to Low. I’m going to leave it on

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normal, for now, as I’m not an aggressive
driver by any stretch of the imagination.

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There are a couple of other settings like Language
and Vibration and Frequency. But I’m just going to

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leave those on the default settings. The video is
supposed to be full HD at 30 frames per second.

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And it does record the audio as well. The video
of the front is supposed to be 170 degrees wide.

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So, basically the same as an action camera. The
advert on Amazon claims it has “night vision”.

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I’m not sure what that means, but it seems to do
the job well enough in the city. Now on Amazon

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this model costs about £60 GBP. However, I got
mine off ebay for half that price. Unfortunately,

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that ebay seller has suddenly disappeared.
So I can’t share a link for you. But I will

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leave a link below to this dashcam on Amazon.
However, I would strongly urge you NOT to buy it.

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Whenever you buy these generic,
unbranded Chinese gadgets online

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you’re rolling the dice. And you might get
lucky and end up with something brilliant. But

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a lot of the time you’ll wish you spent a little
more for a branded product. And that’s exactly

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the case here. The dashcam has some annoying
issues. Firstly, it’s not actually full HD

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at all. It will take the video feed from both
cameras, front and back, and create a hybrid video

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of them both. However, both those feeds are
VGA resolution. So, they’re 640 pixels by

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480 pixels – essentially that’s an image of about
300,000 pixels per camera. Now full HD is actually

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2 million pixels. So, even taking these two
cameras together, you’re not getting a full

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HD image. To be honest, for a £30 GBP dashcam, I
could live with that. But this device has a much

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bigger problem, that is a total deal breaker
for me. You see, to check the file sizes,

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I tried to transfer the videos to my computer.
When I put the SD card into my Macbook, however,

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I couldn’t read the files. In fact, my Macbook 
couldn’t even see the files! I thought that maybe  

0:09:46.960,0:09:52.080
this is just an issue with my Macbook. So I tried
the card in my other Macbook and had exactly the

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same problem – the files just wouldn’t show up.
Then I tried putting the SD card in a normal PC.

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Even the Windows 10 computer couldn’t see the
files. So then I put the card back in the dashcam,

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I connected the device to my computer with a USB
cable, I still couldn’t access the files. The only

0:10:12.880,0:10:20.320
way to view the videos you’ve recorded on this
dashcam is to watch them on this tiny screen here.

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Because the moment you put a new SD card
in this device, it immediately demands

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that you format the card. And, until you
format that card, it won’t let you use

0:10:31.680,0:10:39.680
the device. It seems to format the card into its
own proprietary file system. And that file system

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can’t be read by PCs and Macs. So there’s no easy
way of getting the videos off this dashcam. I wish

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I could send it back. But, as the ebay shop that
sold it to me has disappeared, there’s no chance

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of getting a refund. So I’ve learned my lesson,
and now I’m going to pay a little bit more money

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and buy a branded dashcam instead. And I suggest
you do the same. Next product I want to talk about

0:11:10.320,0:11:16.720
is the wireless phone charger. Now, as you saw
earlier, I got myself a wireless charger that

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attaches to the windscreen. I bought it for 25
pounds from Amazon a couple of years ago. And

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I’ve never really liked it. It looks quite ugly.
It often detaches itself from the windscreen. And

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the wire hanging down from the bottom rubs on
the dashboard, and is probably getting damaged.

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I was willing to tolerate all of this because
i didn’t realize there were alternatives. Then,

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while browsing Amazon, I came across this.
It says it’s a wireless charger. And it’s

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specifically designed to hold your phone in a way
that works well for Google Maps. And here it is.

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Now I have to confess that this is the second time
I’ve ordered this product. The first time around

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I got one that wouldn’t charge my phone. I’ve
bought another one in the hope that I just got

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unlucky last time ,and hopefully that was just a
dud device rather than a design flaw. The best way

0:12:18.960,0:12:27.280
to test this out is right here. So I’m plugging
the USB-C cable into the back of the device. 

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And now… the moment of
truth… will it charge my phone?

0:12:33.200,0:12:46.160
Nope! No. I had high hopes, because I really love
this design. But it’s the second one I bought..

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It’s a design flaw. It’s not… I 
didn’t get a dud device last time.  

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It’s a bloody design flaw. And I’m 
so, so disappointed by that. Because  

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I love the look of this. I think that’s 
a much more convenient way of having  

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a wireless car charger, because it holds
it nicely in a kind of landscape way…

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like this. And that’s what you want.
But it just will not charge my phone…

0:13:13.440,0:13:21.920
Oh… What? Oh… Oh… is it?
It is. It’s charging my phone.

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It really is working. Oh that’s… that’s… Thank
God for that. I thought I’d wasted £25 GBP (quid).

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Anyway, it cost £25 GBP. There’ll be a a link
in the description below. Success! So happy

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it actually worked. Okay… did it work? Yes it
did, because… unplug it… yeah it does work.

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Maybe it’s just … oh yes… yeah…

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uh I don’t… I don’t know.
I don’t know what to say now.

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Because it clearly only works intermittently…
And I can’t guarantee that it will work. But

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I do prefer this over the old design. I like
this kind of, you know, phone sitting landscape.

0:14:15.520,0:14:17.600
Well I’ll keep it for now and we’ll see.

0:14:20.400,0:14:26.480
I might send it back. I’ll try for a few weeks,
but maybe I’ll send it back. We’ll see. And,

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finally, I mentioned earlier about how annoying
it is that my windscreen always gets fogged up.

0:14:32.800,0:14:38.800
Again, this is a common issue in colder countries.
The only way of dealing with it quickly is to turn

0:14:38.800,0:14:45.040
on your aircon, because aircon sucks moisture
out of the air. That reduces the fogging on your

0:14:45.040,0:14:52.160
windows and windscreen. But I hate running aircon
for two reasons. Firstly, I suspect it causes

0:14:52.160,0:14:58.640
respiratory problems, because the air coming out
of aircon is pretty unnatural. And, secondly,

0:14:59.360,0:15:04.400
I’m a cheapskate. My gas guzzler
car is expensive enough as it is.

0:15:04.400,0:15:10.800
If I use aircon, my fuel economy is going
to drop by five percent, at least. So,

0:15:11.600,0:15:17.520
is there an alternative? Again, while browsing
Amazon, I came across something that claims

0:15:17.520,0:15:26.720
it can help. It’s a reusable dehumidifier bag.
Basically, it’s a kilo of silica gel in a porous

0:15:26.720,0:15:34.320
cloth sack. You may have seen these little packets
of silica gel before. Whenever you open the box on

0:15:34.320,0:15:40.720
a new gadget, for example, there will be one
of these little packets inside. And the job

0:15:40.720,0:15:48.160
of these packets is to absorb any excess moisture
in the air so your device doesn’t get damp inside

0:15:48.160,0:15:55.600
it. This big fat lump of silica gel is supposed
to basically do the same thing. So, I tested it.

0:15:56.400,0:15:59.360
This is what my windscreen looks
like normally every morning.

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And this is what it looked like the day after
I stuck this thing on my dashboard. I will say

0:16:07.440,0:16:15.440
that yes, it did make a difference. However, that
difference is pretty small. I will probably keep

0:16:15.440,0:16:20.720
it in my car anyway. Apparently, once it’s 
absorbed a lot of moisture, you can stick it  

0:16:20.720,0:16:27.680
in the microwave for 10 minutes and it will steam 
all that moisture out and be as good as new. I’m  

0:16:27.680,0:16:31.120
not particularly confident about the stitching on 
this thing. It’s already starting to fall apart.  

0:16:31.680,0:16:38.480
And it’s not a perfect solution to my problem. 
But it seems to make a small difference. So,  

0:16:38.480,0:16:43.680
I will live with it. But I won’t recommend that
you buy one for yourself. And, as a result,

0:16:44.800,0:16:50.400
I’ve basically rejected three products in a row
today. But at least that’s useful consumer advice!

0:16:50.400,0:16:56.480
Anyway, that’s the end of the show. This has been
another episode of Tech Tuesdays. I hope you found

0:16:56.480,0:17:01.480
it to be useful. I’ll be back again
with another video very soon.

0:17:01.480,0:17:04.720
So be sure to like and subscribe
and yadda yadda yadda….

0:17:04.720,0:17:06.875
Later nerds!

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