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24 Apr 2014
Blog

Another Fried Laptop? Must Be Something in the Air

Ever wondered why sales guys seem to go through more laptops than anyone else in the business?


It doesn't matter how careful I am with my laptop, and I am REALLY careful with my laptop, it seems to have more problems and fail more often than my desk-bound colleagues. Unlike my desk bound colleagues I'm a road warrior, and I spend a lot of time sitting on planes.

Before I started flying regularly a laptop would last on average about 36 months before it started to show signs of fatigue (blue screen of death). However, in my new role my laptops only have a life expectancy of about 18 months. Why?

Well, it turns out that it is actually something in the air. Cosmic radiation to be precise. It sounds all a bit spacey, but cosmic rays and consumer electronics do not mix at all well.

At sea level our atmosphere shields us from much of the damaging effects of cosmic rays. However, at 30,000 feet, our exposure to cosmic radiation is significantly greater – sufficient to damage electronic devices. And it doesn't matter if the laptop is switched off and safely stowed in the overhead compartment, the rays still get to it, causing the chips and circuitry to degrade prematurely.

With this knowledge it's important that road warriors, and their respective IT teams, plan for equipment failure ahead of time. Personally, I live inside Outlook, Salesforce and Dropbox (much to the chagrin of my IT department), but it is literally the only way I can be 100% confident that I can get myself back up and running inside an hour with a visit to the nearest Apple store. Having spent $1500 on an air fare the very last thing anyone wants is a sales guy with no tools.

So, if you're an IT guy, the next time one of your road-warrior colleagues brings in another dead laptop don't berate them or accuse them of being careless, it really isn't their fault. It's something in the air....

And if you're a road warrior then make friends with the cloud. It's the only way to avoid the problem of cosmic radiation. Ironically.

Find below a bit of source material if you're interested.

 

http://softerrors.info/selse/images/selse_2013/papers/16selse2013_submission_20.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray#Effect_on_electronics

http://www.tested.com/science/space/455640-how-cosmic-rays-damage-camera-sensors-space/

 


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