Browsing Bowser here:   Dangerous? Really?  OK.  I’ll bite… How can my lap be dangerous to my laptop?  I mean, isn’t my laptop named so just because it is so lap friendly?

Well Browsing Bowser, you would be right about laptops that were first introduced before the turn of the century (that’s the 21st century…).  Laptops were designed to provide mobile computing capabilities to mobile business people by putting “computering” right in their lap – literally. The laptop computer allowed the busy computer user the ability to keep on working with a computer anywhere, anytime – right on her/his lap.

As the popularity of and demand for laptop computing increased, so did its ability to do all the things the big boy computers were doing – providing high computing power and high storage capacity just like those big, ugly, stationary boxes were providing – and looking better and more stylish at the same time.

But there is a “cost” for packing high computing power into smaller spaces and lighter form factors (geek speak for computer shape).   That “cost” is called HEAT.   HEAT – like in HOT; like in OverHEATing; like in cooking delicate computer components as well as motherboards.  (Motherboards are the communication centers for the computer.  No motherboard – no computer).

HEAT, Browsing Bowser, is a big problem for the mobile computer and the mobile computer user! And therein lies the danger

Newer laptops have components and systems to manage the large amount of heat generated by their increasing processing power. These include fans, vents and various other controllers.  If you take look at the bottom and sides of your laptop, you’ll find several venting systems. Obviously, all the vents must be kept unblocked to properly dispel heat.

However, if the vents become obstructed, heat cannot be dispelled and the laptop will go into self-preservation modes to counteract overheating.  Some signs of laptop overheating are constant running of the fan, sluggish performance, error messages, freezing up or unexpected shut downs.  And especially, don’t overlook actually feeling the heat….

Continued overheating however, can result in destroying the motherboard on your computer! If that misfortune happens – unless your device is under warranty – it might be cheaper to buy a new device than replace the motherboard… That’s a whole lot of dog food…

So what blocks the vents, you ask?   Laps, beds, pillows, blankets, towels, – all are common items that block laptop vents. Actually, anything that creates an uneven surface under the laptop can block vents and cause overheating and subsequent damage. Even laptop “cooling pads” can be damaging. Although the pad provides a necessary flat surface, it can “trap” heat at the same time. If you do decide to buy a “cooling pad” for your laptop, be sure to select one that has a fan. The fan types are usually the same price so the choice is easy…

Browsing Bowser here:   OK!   “That’s a cool laptop” takes on a whole new meaning!   I get it.  My lap can block the vents that cool my laptop that keep it healthy.   But you also said “Vice Versa”.   Does that mean a laptop can be dangerous to my lap as well??

Bingo, Browsing Bowser!   An overheated laptop potentially creates “burn hazards to the consumer”.   In 2010, Sony recalled 233,000 Vaio model laptops for just that possibility!     See Source 1 below.

Not only that, there is a potential hazard to your dog house, Browsing Bowser.   It is reported that Fire Chiefs in the United Kingdom issued warnings that laptops left on beds overheated and caused damaging house fires.   And yes, I checked that out so I’m not passing along those irritating hoaxes…    See Source 2 below.

Browsing Bowser here:    Well, you got my attention and I can see you weren’t just being cute with words.   I see that laptops have changed so much that they really aren’t lap devices…that there really is a proper way to treat my laptop and proper care and cooling will help keep it a DogGoneGood laptop.

Come to think of it, I think I understand why I see them referred to now as “notebooks” rather than laptops.

But I have one more ear-scratcher about the origins of laptops…  Why in the world did anyone let a 20+ pound device sit on his/her lap in the first place?!   Everyone knows a Great Dane isn’t a lap dog!!


Source 1:  http://mobileoffice.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=mobileoffice&cdn=gadgets&tm=53&f=20&su=p284.13.342.ip_&tt=13&bt=2&bts=2&zu=http%3A//www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10284.html
Source 2:  http://www.harrogate-news.co.uk/2012/02/24/fire-chiefs-issue-warning-that-overheating-laptops-can-cause-fires/