Hey, folks...it's cold

I left my laptop in my car last night. For the first night in weeks, I actually went to be instead of working until all hours, so I completely forgot about it, sitting alone and cold in my trunk.

I left my laptop in my car last night. For the first night in weeks, I actually went to be instead of working until all hours, so I completely forgot about it, sitting alone and cold in my trunk. For most of us here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter. Nighttime temperatures here in northern Massachusetts have been hovering a little too close to that 0 degree mark for my tastes (Sorry, that's in Fahrenheit for the rest of the world who uses a system of measure that actually makes sense. Conversion to Celsius isn't necessary, though. Suffice to say it's really cold).

The moral of the story here is to remind your users to bring in their laptops at night. As more and more students and teachers are assigned school laptops, there are more ways in which they can damage school property. Similarly, give them some pointers for when they invariably do forget their portables in their snowbound driveways.

The biggest risk is condensation as the cold hardware comes into a warm environment. A room with a fireplace, woodstove, or pellet stove (all of which make the air very dry) is a great place to let it come up to room temperature. Ideally, that process would happen slowly, but they shouldn't be too alarmed if the computer refuses to boot or power up for the first 15-30 minutes (mine took about 20 this morning to warm up sufficiently).

The warming process also shouldn't be accelerated. Ovens, space heaters, and hair dryers are not friends with laptops. While these are tidbits that many of us take for granted, many of the users to whom we issue laptops just may not even think about it (much like I didn't think about my laptop until I woke up this morning). Feel free to share your Friday tech support horror stories (preferably involving baked or frozen laptops) in the talkbacks below.

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