"WE STAND BEHIND OUR PRODUCTS." Jose Calero, Owner & Entrepreneur
WELCOME TO OUR RESOURCE SECTION. IT CONTAINS IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU USE AND/OR DEPEND ON A NOTEBOOK COMPUTER.
THERE ARE THREE SUBJECT AREAS WITH VITAL INVORMATION:
ABOUT LAPTOP OVERHEATING 101
ABOUT LAPTOP ERGONOMICS 101
ABOUT LAPTOP DESKS & STANDS 101
IF THERE ARE OTHER SUBJECTS THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE INCLUDED, PLEASE LET US KNOW AND WE WILL BE HAPPY TO RESEARCH THE SUBJECT AND PROVIDE IT HERE. THANK YOU FOR VISITING OUR RESOURCE PAGE. HERE IS THE FIRST SUBJECT . . .
LAPTOP OVERHEATING 101
If you own a notebook computer then you should know this information because your notebook's proper operation and eventual life span depends on how you deal with this issue. The issue is heat build-up in your notebook and if you didn't already know, heat is your notebook's worst enemy - plain and simple. Aside from certain death that comes with the crash-to-the-floor or liquid spill over the keyboard, internal heat is the defacto number one killer of notebook computers. What most people don't know about this issue and what most manufacturers wont' tell you is that the excessive heat within your notebook eventually wears out the electronic components. That's why notebooks die - they simply wear out from heat fatigue.
If you own an automobile, you probably know that the cooler the engine runs the longer it will last . . . . along with changing the oil regularly. A notebook computer is no different. Keeping a notebook running as cool as possible will help minimize screen freezes, timeouts (overheating shutdowns), delayed operations, blue screens and even degraded WiFi connectivity.
So why do notebooks suffer from this overwhelming heat condition? The manufacturers are in a race to produce the thinnest, lightest, cheapest notebook possible and most of them are willing to sacrifice form for function. They install desktop CPU's that require heavy duty heat sinks and exhaust fans but don't install those cooling devices because there's no room inside the notebook housing for them. As a result you have a portable computing device that you can fry eggs on until well done. . . and bacon until it's crispy!
Let me state that the purpose of this subject is to explain as simply as possible how heat is generated inside your notebook and how to reduce, as much as possible, the negative affects it has on your notebook. Please understand that you will NOT be able to eliminate these negative affects altogether but there are some things you can do to mitigate them.
This section is NOT intended to be a complete and thoroughly exhaustive explanation on the affects of heat on your notebook but rather a basic understanding on the subject. If you do a simple Google search using the search term 'Overheated Notebooks Computers', you will find more information than you will probably care to read.
To explain this phenomenon, let me start with a few key questions:
1 - What are the sources of heat in your notebook?
1.Hard Drive / CPU
5.Wireless network cards
6.External temperatures over 100°
2 - Why does the heat build-up in your notebook?
1.Poor notebook design - i.e. ventilation
2.Not enough heat sinks
3.Blocked air vents
4.Dust and dirt build-up
5.Exhaust fans are overwhelmed
6.No exhaust fans or exhaust ports whatsoever
3 - What can you do to mitigate these heat effects
1.Before you buy your next notebook, check it
out, avoid those with overheating problems
2.Regularly clean the ventilation ports to insure
3.Blow compresses air through your computer
to clean out the dust build-up
4.If possible, clean off the exhaust fans with a
hand vacuum cleaner
5.Incline the notebook so hot air can escape
6.Use a notebook stand with a built-in USB fan
if your notebook gets really hot
7.Adjust the computer settings to slow down
the computer's operation
and finally. . .
8. Place your notebook on a hard surface and never on a pillow or blanket
NOW! AN IMPORTANT NOTE - Unless you are really experienced, do NOT attempt to remove the keyboard yourself to dust around inside your notebook. First, it's really dangerous and you could receive an electrical shock. Second, you would probably void any factory warranty by doing so.
Finally, I'd like to provide you with a brief explanation on heat and how it works in regards to your notebook. In the physical world, heat is released or transferred by one or a combination of three primary methods:
-Convection - the exchange of warm air for cool air
-Conduction - transferring heat by physical contact
-Radiation - heat radiating out from a source into open air
Because the heat builds-up within the housing of your notebook, its primary method of escape is radiation. Typically it radiates out the bottom of your notebook as everyone who has worked with a notebook on their lap can tell you. It gets hot. So as it radiates out the bottom of the notebook while it's on your lap, it's being absorbed by your clothes first and then your skin. That's called conduction - transferring heat by physical contact. Your lap is in direct contact with the heat source and it's absorbing the heat as it radiates from the bottom of your notebook. Can you say 'Ouch'?
Conduction also comes into play when you have a lap desk that's in direct contact with the bottom of the notebook. As heat radiates from the bottom of the notebook it is being absorbed by the lap desk. If the lap desk is made of plastic, it would absorb the heat, concentrate it and then begin to act as an insulator. Then the heat from the lap desk would begin to radiate the heat downward towards your lap but at a lesser intensity. If the lap desk is made of Aluminum, it will absorb the heat and dissipate it across its platform and be less likely to radiate it downward towards your lap.
The best combination of heat dissipation, however, is radiation and convection. That happens when heat that is radiating from the bottom of your notebook is allowed to travel laterally along the surface of the lap desk and then rise. After all, that's what heat does, it rises. So if you have a situation where the heat is radiating from the bottom of you notebook and allowed to escape laterally, you'd then want cool air to rush in to replace the escaping warm air. This provides the ideal convection cycle where heat escapes, cool air rushes in to replaces it thereby cooling your notebook.
This is notebook cooling at its best and can be achieved by either a passive or forced cooling methods. The passive option requires no tools or devices - it's based on a natural convection cycle. The forced cooling option requires fans and fans need power from the notebook computer.
In conclusion, this is an important subject and everyone who owns a notebook computer should know about it. Go online and Google 'Overheated Notebook Computers' and learn as much as you can about the subject. Because if you don't deal with the problem now, you most certainly will have to deal with the consequences down the road.
LAPTOP ERGONOMICS 101
CORNELL UNIVERSITY ERGONOMICS DEPARTMENT: "the design of laptops violates a basic ergonomic requirement for a computer, namely that the keyboard and screen are separated.' But as you know, that's not the case with laptop computers. The Cornell website goes on to explain why notebook design is a problem, "The reason is simple - with a fixed design, if the keyboard is in an optimal position for the user, the screen isn't and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn't."
HARVARD UNIVERSITY ERGONOMICS DEPARTMENT: The use of laptop computers poses an ergonomic challenge - Laptops do not easily allow basic ergonomic adjustments since they have a fixed design. When the keyboard is in the proper position for the wrist, the screen is not at an adequate height for viewing and vice versa. Using a laptop, however mobile and convenient is a tradeoff between poor neck/head posture and poor hand/wrist posture. To alleviate this potential problem we recommend the use of a laptop stand. Laptop stands come in different sizes, styles, shapes and colors.
CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC): "Laptop computers are not recommended as primary computers. In the office or while at home, a docking station is recommended to provide adjustability which will enhance neutral postures."
WHY DO WE TALK ABOUT THIS ISSUE?: We're not just about pushing products - we also push information - knowledge. Of course we'd like to sell some products - that's how we stay in business. But first we'd like to enlighten you so you can make better, more informed decisions and here's the rational for this thinking.
A couple of years ago we took a long, hard look at this business and realized that there are some serious long term harmful effects that can come from misusing a notebook computer. At that time we didn't see the big notebook manufacturers stressing ergonomics or the need for notebook users to learn new strategies when working with a portable computer. Even today you don't hear a lot about the issue but it exists nonetheless. And it is taking its toll.
So we came to the realization that since we sell products that provide ergonomic benefit to notebook users and reduce the hazards of using a notebook computer, who better to provide enlightenment in this area than someone like us. We realized that good ergonomics makes for good economics. That's why we invested heavily in providing resources that had a big emphasis on ergonomics. We even have an Ergonomist on staff who can answer your questions for FREE about laptop computing.
We feel confident that when our customers and customers-to-be visit our site and make that small investment in time to learn how to work safely and comfortably with a notebook computer, they will eventually come to live better, healthier lives.
It is our firm belief that an informed consumer is our best customer. The more you know about proper ergonomics, the more you will appreciate our products over the other guys.
Do not underestimate the importance of ergonomics. It could save you much pain and suffering down the road. Think Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Think Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs), think back pain and shoulder fatigue. Setting up the proper ergonomic environment is a process of coordinating the following conditions: your body height in relation to you chair height, required back support, desk height in relation to your chair height, distance from the desk, type and size of notebook used, ideal viewing position and much, much more.
We offer the following Ergonomic Illustration that demonstrates practical uses that will help you work smarter and avoid pain in the future. This link will let you download the illustration you're seeing so you too can live and learn to work pain free: http://www.laptopdesk.net/ergonomics.html
But if you're still not convinced that you could possibly fall victim to some form of ergonomic injury, then consider this. . . .
Question: Why do laptops cause so many ergonomic problems?
Answer: because they were designed for portability- NOT PRODUCTIVITY!
Here are more fun facts directly from the OSHA website:
1.Back specialists say as many as four in five patients have chronic nerve damage caused by working on Laptops
2.The problem is getting much worse as ergonomic related injuries are rising at an unprecedented level
3.1.8 million workers suffer from ergonomic-related injuries each year
4.Of these, 600,000 employees, or one third, have ergonomics related injuries severe enough to require time off
Want more proof? Listen to this:
-Ergonomic injuries: currently cost $15 billion to $20 billion dollars annually for workers' compensation and $30 billion to $40 billion in other expenses such as medical care.*
-Healthcare premiums are rising: Since 2001, the cost of premiums has gone up 78 percent, far outpacing a 19 percent increase in wages and 17 percent jump in inflation
-Company lawsuits regarding ergonomic medical conditions are on the rise: Computer manufacturers have spent a total of less than $1 million to research ergonomic improvements, a sum the Office Ergonomics Research Committee calls "woefully inadequate."
So here's the bottom line: take this problem seriously or it could happen to you.
Problems with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or Cumulative Trauma Disorders don't crop up over night like a muscle sprain. They take weeks, often times months and even years to develop. But once they hit, it takes time, money, surgery and months of convalescing to recover. There's plenty of information on the Internet about every form of ergonomic injury known to man. Google "Cumulative Trauma Disorders" and see what comes up. Good luck.
LAPTOP DESKS & STANDS 101
Our aim is to help you understand these products so you can become a well informed consumer and make better buying decisions about these products as they apply to your own particular needs.
We've already discussed the problem with notebook computers and heat. We said that notebook makers are in a race to provide the thinnest form factor and most attractive notebook design and often times sacrifice form for function. A hot laptop can suffer from reliability issues and a system that overheats can fail.
But that's not the only problem with the heat that radiates from the bottom of a notebook computer. Here is Cornell University: "A hot laptop can be uncomfortable to use in your lap. The heat from some laptops can be enough to cause superficial skin burns, even through clothing! The Lancet medical journal reported (November 2002) the case of a healthy 50-year old scientist, fully dressed in trousers and underpants, who burned his genital area after placing his laptop on his lap for an hour." Can you say Ouch!
Those are some of the reasons to use a notebook desk or stand. Now let's get started on describing the five basic categories of product solutions that can mitigate the negative affects of an overheated notebook computer:
2.Direct Typing Stands
3.Desktop Replacement Stands
5.Pedestal Desk Stand
Each is explained below in further detail. Each is defined from a perfect-world perspective and not from any particular product's perspective.
The First category is LAP DESKS and they are flat rigid platforms that span the lap completely allowing the users legs to relax in a naturally comfortable position. This is more important for men because they usually sit with their legs further apart requiring a full, lap spanning LD measuring 20" to 21" long. There are two basic kinds of Lap Desks, stationary and portable. Stationary LD are bulkier and usually padded for long term use in an office or home environment. Portable LD are thinner, light weight and foldable. A portable LD should also have some no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers to prevent slipping. For mobile use, a LD should be thin and lightweight so as not to add to the thickness or heft of the computer bag. The LD should allow for ventilation under the notebook so it has the ability to breathe. Finally, a portable LD should NOT incline the notebook's keyboard because it will force the user to bend their wrists upward which will certainly cause or at least contribute to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
The second category are DIRECT TYPING STANDS and they are used on a desk top or table top to incline the keyboard and for elevating the screen height closer to eye level to create the best ergonomic typing position possible. An ideal DTS will also have multiple incline positions to select from rather than one fixed position. DTS's with a fixed incline force your body to adjust to it rather than the other way around. DTS's should also have useful features like USB-powered fans, 4-port USB hubs and some even swivel 360°. Some DTS fold flat for storage while those in a fixed shape are too thick and bulky to carry in a computer bag. A DTS should also provide no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers to prevent slipping and to serve as separators between the notebook and the surface of the DTS. The DTS does not have to be larger than the footprint of the notebook providing that it has rubber bumpers to separate the bottom of the notebook from the surface of the DTS for convection and ventilation.
The third category is DESKTOP REPLACEMENT STANDS and they incline the notebook in a 40° to 45° angle and elevate the viewing screen to the proper viewing height which is at or just below eye level. This incline makes it impossible for direct typing so a separate keyboard and mouse are required for data entry. DRS have become the next generation of "Docking Station" since the notebook is quickly replacing the desktop computer. The old style docking station is expensive and outdated and a DRS with useful features like USB-powered fans, 4-port USB hubs and a 360° swivel have become their modern replacement. As above, no-slip surfaces or rubber bumpers are essential for gripping and for separating the notebook from the surface of the DRS. Because of the severe incline, it is necessary that the shelf that supports the notebook are spread apart wide enough to provide a stable platform. The DRS should also have a wide enough base so it is stable and not wobbly.
The fourth category is OFF-THE-LAP STANDS and they are free standing platforms with a set of adjustable articulating or multiple-hinged legs that can be positioned into tens if not hundreds of heights and incline positions. These OTLS are ideal for supporting a notebook in a mid-air position. OTLS are well suited for the bed-ridden but can also be used on the floor where the user can set the leg adjustments so that the notebook is positioned at a comfortable typing and viewing level. These OTLS are more complicated to set-up but once the mechanics are mastered, they can become a valuable and most versatile notebook companion.
And the firth category is PEDESTAL DESK STANDS and they are typified by a flat platform with a single pedestal leg or a tripod leg support. Many of these designs have telescoping legs that can fold flat and some attach to a wheeled travel case. This form factor is the least popular of all the desk stands listed above but does have a practical application if you have a need for the application. Their materials range from aluminum to ABS plastic.
There are other miscellaneous types of desk stand but their numbers are so few we're not going to mention them here. The five categories mentioned above represent 98% of all notebook desk and stands on the market.
As you can see from the above descriptions, there are five basic categories of desk stands that can work to reduce the health hazards for both you and your notebook. We hope this summary has helped you better understand these products so you can become a well informed consumer and make better decisions about them as they apply to your own particular needs and lifestyle.