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Cooling mats for laptops - are they useful?
Autor de la hebra: Nicole Schnell

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ucrania
Local time: 22:48
Miembro 2008
inglés al ruso
+ ...
in extreme weather... Jun 19, 2009

I just put two pencils (hexagonal -- not to roll) under the laptop.
This increases the space from 2.5 mm to 6-7 mm.

[Редактировалось 2009-06-19 11:23 GMT]


 

FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
inglés al húngaro
+ ...
Of course Jun 19, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Sorry folks. Just a side thought about this: do you mean that many of you use the laptop as your only computer and use it for translation work? Is the laptop powerful enough for that or is the balance between required mobility and power more on the side of mobility in your case?


Laptops have already overtaken desktops in sales and are still marching on... obviously, they are powerful enough for most users. Translation is not very HW intensive, especially given that most people don't use massive databases... many don't even use a CAT.
Take my machine as an example: a run of the mill HP with a 2GHz Core2duo and 2GB of RAM, recently upgraded with a lightning fast SSD for faster database searches. It's plenty fast enough for translation... there is no desktop configuration out there that could bring a noticeable bump in performance for translation. Perhaps a corei7 with lots of DDR3 RAM would make those 10,000+ record Multiterm and TM imports 10 seconds faster so I'd spare 10 seconds every week or so... Maybe also bring down TM lookup times from 0.5 seconds to 0.3... not relevant in any situation I have come across so far.

As a side note, one of the major bottlenecks is the hard drive... and the fastest consumer drives out there today are the SSDs which are all in the laptop form factor, so you are not losing anything in this regard by going mobile.

At home, I just plug in a keyboard, a mouse and a second monitor and I'm good to go.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Países Bajos
Local time: 21:48
Miembro 2006
inglés al afrikaans
+ ...
What I find annoying... Jun 19, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:
I read about cooling mats which sell for about $ 20.00. This sounds too good to be true. Do they actually work or is it just another cheap gimmick?


No, I'm sure they work, but what I find annoying is that they typically lift the rear end of the laptop instaed of the front end. When I'm sitting at a desk, it's okay if the keyboard is tilted upwards, but when I use my lap, I actually prefer to have the keyboard tilted down (less strain in the wrists), so it would make more sense if the darn things were thin at the rear and thick at the front. What do you think?


 

Leonardo La Malfa  Identity Verified
Italia
Local time: 21:48
inglés al italiano
+ ...
A cheap solution Jun 19, 2009

I'm from a hot country, too, but there's more to it than just weather conditions. My laptop used to generate a significant amount of heat, I felt it under my hands through the keyboard, coming out from the left side, or on the burning hot desk under it. My CPU temperature reached peaks of 90 °C, with an average of 70 °C. And no object put to raise my laptop and let more air circulate below was of any help. Yes, I was slowly roasting my CPU.

I then read in other fora people talking
... See more
I'm from a hot country, too, but there's more to it than just weather conditions. My laptop used to generate a significant amount of heat, I felt it under my hands through the keyboard, coming out from the left side, or on the burning hot desk under it. My CPU temperature reached peaks of 90 °C, with an average of 70 °C. And no object put to raise my laptop and let more air circulate below was of any help. Yes, I was slowly roasting my CPU.

I then read in other fora people talking about regular cleaning, which reminded me of my laptop manual. It says, in fact, to inspect the laptop for "dust accumulation at least once every 3 months". I counted 42! But what disturbed me more was that "at least". So I removed dust from the inside, with the help of a powerful hairdryer (with cold air), a brush, and a vacuum cleaner. I must say that from the left vent came out a lot of dust and various unidentified other things. Then, I screwed everything back together, and thoroughly vacuumed the keyboard (the C key got literally sucked in, but went easily back into position - so beware).

All in all, after restarting the system, CPU temperature at startup was less than 55 °C, and the fan wasn't even operating yet. After almost 2 hours working with all applications normally running, fan is on, but no burning hot air is coming out from the left vent, the desk under the laptop is not hot anymore, but above all, the temperature keeps below 60 °C (apparently stable at around 58 °C). And I don't even have to raise my laptop from behind. Which is cool... literally.

From now on, I'll schedule regular cleaning sessions. So, I'm not suggesting that you clean your laptop by yourself, if you don't feel comfortable with that. But you may call the customer support centre, or your local IT shop, to have it cleaned properly. It worked for me, it's cheap, and does not add clutter to your desk.
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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
Good point. Jun 19, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:

No, I'm sure they work, but what I find annoying is that they typically lift the rear end of the laptop instaed of the front end. When I'm sitting at a desk, it's okay if the keyboard is tilted upwards, but when I use my lap, I actually prefer to have the keyboard tilted down (less strain in the wrists), so it would make more sense if the darn things were thin at the rear and thick at the front. What do you think?


Using my laptop on my lap never really worked - I have a wide screen and it is too large to balance it on my lap comfortably. I am using one of those Thin-and-Light models, but 4-6 pounds is still heavy. I also like my wireless mouse. I use one of those tilted laptop stands for exactly the reason that you mentioned - strain in the wrists.

[Edited at 2009-06-19 23:13 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
Great links! Thank you, Sakis! Jun 19, 2009

Sakis Serafeim wrote:

I'm satisfied with my Zalman ZM-NC1000. HOWEVER, not all cooling pads are a perfect match for all laptops (and you don't wanna throw your money out of the window, do you?). So, have a look at this before you make up your mind: Notebook Coolers: A Buyer's Guide. Also, this info is very useful: Guide to Cooling Down Your Notebook Computer.


Perfect. Exactly what I was looking for.



 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
No Vista Jun 19, 2009

Stanislaw Czech wrote:
If you are using Vista - it is very easy to change power settings, you just click on the icon of a battery in a system tray and choose between three original settings (High performance, Balanced and Power Saver). From my experience changing from High Power (the default) to Power Saver or even Balanced significantly reduces emission of temperature (and noise too) while providing enough power for text processing and most other applications used in translation.



Windows XP allows some power saving settings as well but I don't have Vista (I am waiting for Windows 7 instead).

Thank you and greetings, Stanislaw!



 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
But you have air conditioning, right? :-) Jun 19, 2009

Henry Hinds wrote:

I live in a place that is REALLY hot, and my laptop? Always cool. I did not know such a problem even existed.


It happens only when the laptop is working really hard - working in various programs at the same time while the machine runs a hard disk scan in the background. Those thingies can run really hot then. Plus, it is about 100F in summer. I can't give him a cold shower...


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
My personal nightmare Jun 20, 2009

Claudia Alvis wrote:

Temperatures that are too high can have negative effects on the CPU, hard-drive and the battery of a laptop.


The meltdown...


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 18:48
inglés al portugués
+ ...
In Memoriam
I always wonder why translators use notebooks at home Jun 20, 2009

I never had a notebook, and have plans NOT to buy one.

My desktop has 3 or 4 fans inside, and runs smoothly all day long, and into the night too, even when the weather is close to 100F. The keyboard is large, the standard type. I don't have to search for those merged keys. My mouse, the same for the past 15+ years is a trackball that uses a billiard ball; no touch pad that will take my cursor away if I run my hand over it. My monitor is a 19" LCD (the 21" CRT I tried before buying
... See more
I never had a notebook, and have plans NOT to buy one.

My desktop has 3 or 4 fans inside, and runs smoothly all day long, and into the night too, even when the weather is close to 100F. The keyboard is large, the standard type. I don't have to search for those merged keys. My mouse, the same for the past 15+ years is a trackball that uses a billiard ball; no touch pad that will take my cursor away if I run my hand over it. My monitor is a 19" LCD (the 21" CRT I tried before buying it was just a bit too large).

If I had a notebook, while working at home (i.e. 99.9% of the time), I'd plug all of the above peripheral devices to it, to have comfort. So, what would be the use of having a notebook?

I think that notebooks were devised for people on the move... salespeople, journalists, keynote speakers, service engineers, etc.

Nevertheless I know just too many translators whose only computer is a notebook. It sounds to me like a family who owns a home trailer, and their only car is a VW Beetle. It can do it, but not so easily.

Most of all, I keep a lot of computer "junk" around. One of these days, out of nothing, my computer's power source blew up with a loud bang (actually I think only a capacitor blew up in there). Maybe 10 minutes later I was operational again! If a notebook ever flickers, it's time to take it to a very specialized service shop, and hope for the best.

So it always makes me wonder if I'm missing anything.
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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 12:48
inglés al alemán
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PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
In Memoriam
That's easy: back pain Jun 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

If I had a notebook, while working at home (i.e. 99.9% of the time), I'd plug all of the above peripheral devices to it, to have comfort. So, what would be the use of having a notebook?


I can't sit in the same chair for hours. So I need some mobility. Everything is wireless (router, network, printing) and the only thing I need is a power cord. Back pain is an expensive hobby.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Países Bajos
Local time: 21:48
Miembro 2006
inglés al afrikaans
+ ...
For José: portability Jun 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
If I had a notebook, while working at home (i.e. 99.9% of the time), I'd plug all of the above peripheral devices to it, to have comfort. So, what would be the use of having a notebook?


You can take your laptop to another premises where they also have all of those things -- then you only need to take your laptop, because all the rest is at the other place already. If you are happy to constantly transfer stuff from and onto a flash drive or external hard drive to be portable (and remember to synchronise the content on your various computers)... then that is your solution.

Maybe 10 minutes later I was operational again! If a notebook ever flickers, it's time to take it to a very specialized service shop, and hope for the best.


Don't you get tax breaks for buying computer equipment in your country? Where I'm from, you can buy a new laptop every once in a while and write if off to tax over a period of a couple of years.


 

FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
inglés al húngaro
+ ...
1 thing Jun 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I never had a notebook, and have plans NOT to buy one.


That's your decision, but it's not really rooted in any hard facts.

As I said earlier, a good laptop with the right peripherals is just as good for pretty much any translation job as any desktop. The minuscule performance differences never matter in practice. It's not like we need a killer graphics card or 2TB or storage and 2 optical drives...

Plus, if the power goes out while you are in the middle of a document on your desktop, all your unsaved changes are lost and you have to go look for power elsewhere to continue work, possibly lugging around a desktop and peripherals if it's an urgent job... If the power goes out here, I still have 2 hours on the battery to try and finish the job and/or hope power comes back before the battery runs out.
Plus I can put the computer to sleep, close the lid, grab the power cord and go to a café, a friend's place or another country and continue work right where I left off within 5 seconds of finding somewhere I can sit down. I can work while waiting at airports and even on planes and buses if I really want to. Kept waiting in the bank for half an hour? Take out the computer and get some work done.

Some people even buy a notebook simply because it gets the job done just as well and consumes less power. The only real drawbacks I can think of are the somewhat higher price and fewer possibilities for customization & repairs...


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 18:48
inglés al portugués
+ ...
In Memoriam
Some views Jun 20, 2009

FarkasAndras wrote:
José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I never had a notebook, and have plans NOT to buy one.

That's your decision, but it's not really rooted in any hard facts.


It's based on my set of hard facts, which I tend to project on other translators that seem to do the same kind of work as I do. I'm not trying to argue a point here, but possibly learn (and let others learn) something.

Considering Nicole's back problem, it's her set of facts. I work sitting on a nonspecific swivel chair, nothing fancy nor designer-branded, but it's been working for over a decade. Now and then I manage to sit on it for maybe some 18 hours, and have no problem with that.

FarkasAndras wrote:
As I said earlier, a good laptop with the right peripherals is just as good for pretty much any translation job as any desktop. The minuscule performance differences never matter in practice.


I don't complain about notebook performance. As their lifecycle is shorter, the ones I see are usually more powerful than the desktop I have. What I mean is that they are not partially upgradeable. To illustrate, when I built my first Pentium I computer, I noticed that the floppy drive I was puting in it was the very one I had bought for assembling my 386DX40 some years before, never had any other computer stuff from Teac.

FarkasAndras wrote:
Plus, if the power goes out while you are in the middle of a document on your desktop...


That's not the issue here, an UPS will take care of that.

FarkasAndras wrote:
Plus I can put the computer to sleep, close the lid, grab the power cord and go to a café, a friend's place or another country and continue work right where I left off within 5 seconds of finding somewhere I can sit down. I can work while waiting at airports and even on planes and buses if I really want to. Kept waiting in the bank for half an hour? Take out the computer and get some work done.


This is the whole issue for me: I don't work as a translator outside my work environment, which is one whole room at home, my office.


Samuel Murray wrote:
You can take your laptop to another premises where they also have all of those things -- then you only need to take your laptop, because all the rest is at the other place already.


I know, it's called a docking station. But that's the whole point: I wouldn't be taking my notebook anywhere.

My discussion here is about a few translators I know that won't (take their computer anywhere) either, but they use a notebook all the time, and complain about pain and strain in various places of the body, because it's not ergonomic, it's just... portable! (a feature they don't need)

Samuel Murray wrote:
Don't you get tax breaks for buying computer equipment in your country? Where I'm from, you can buy a new laptop every once in a while and write if off to tax over a period of a couple of years.


It is possible, one has to turn ito a company, even if it's a one-man-show one, but most often the gain is not worth the pain in paperwork.


 

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Perú
Local time: 15:48
Miembro
español
+ ...
It's the best of both worlds Jun 20, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I always wonder why translators use notebooks at home

So it always makes me wonder if I'm missing anything.


You'd be missing anything only if you needed portability. If you don't, then the answer is no.

I have a 2.5 GHz, 3MB RAM, 250GB, Intel Core Duo laptop that I use as a desktop. It's by no means as powerful as the powerful desktops out there, but chances are I'm not gonna get a 8MB desktop computer. And I bought a powerful laptop (back when I bought it) because I'm planning to use it for the next 10 years

The main advantage of a laptop is their portability. If you have to run errands, wait at a doctors office or just in the mood to work at a coffee place, you can just take your work with you if you want.

I have my laptop connected to a dock with two 19"-inch monitors (the laptop's monitor acts as a third one, usually with all the electronic dictionaries and glossaries, the multiterm client), a full keyboard and mouse, 2 external hard-drives, a wireless head-set, a scanner, a printer, etc. And that's where I mostly work. But it's good to know that if I have to move away from my desk, for whatever reason, I can just unplug it and do just that.

[Edited at 2009-06-20 18:17 GMT]


 
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