You know that you must keep computers from getting too hot, right? Like, all the heatsinks in the new Dell XPSs and PowerMac G5s that keep ICs from melting off the circut boards and such. Well, what about if a computer gets too cold?
Say you were going on a scientific exploaration to the Antartic, and you wanted to take you PowerBook along with you: the temaptures can be around -40ºF, which is pretty chilly, and would most likely cause your hard drive to freeze, and you screen to shatter.
So what would you do to keep it warm? (Expecing that your in a tent on some ice shelf.) I mean, you cant really just put a coat on it; or wrap it in a blanket. Or can you? Does apple sell 'bookwarmers' for all the people in Greenland and the like? I doubt it.
I'm not going there any time soon, but I thought it was an interesting idea.
Don't know what would break first but a quick look at apple's site revealed that the operating temp is only supposed to be 50ºF to 95ºF, with the storage temp between -13ºF and 113ºF.
Not too sure about the new ones, but my Titanium PB gets really hot, especially when doing encoding or other hard work. Maybe enough to negate the outside temp once it was working?
I know some everest and other mountain expeditions have used laptops with webcams etc. Not sure how specialized everything was...
Its a good question though. Any 'fritter members living in the arctic regions?
If the PowerBook was warm to begin with, or the blanket was warm, wrapping it up would actually help. In the past when I've had to take photos outdoors during our frigid Minnesota winters, I've put my camera inside my jacket to keep it warm (as cameras get cold, they slow down). If you had an insulated pouch, and threw one (or more) of those chemical heat packs in there, a PowerBook could be kept at a decent temperature.
The only problem I could forsee from the could would be what you mentioned -- freezing hard drives and LCD screens. I wouldn't worry so much about the LCD shattering as the liquid crystals freezing, which would make the screen unusable. ICs generally run better when they're cold (hence the reason for heatsinks), and several people have managed to do some extreme overclocking using liquid nitrogen. I would make sure that the PowerBook cools down and warms back up gradually, but other than that, the motherboard and its components should be OK in sub-zero temperatures.
So if you rigged it up to use a flash disk (like a lot of MP3 players have) instead of a hard drive, that'd solve the disk problem...
Are there any sort of really-really-cold-weather LCDs?
Google turned up this interesting comment from an Everest expedition:
"Once the sun hits our communication tent, the computers usually are warm enough to function properly. When it is really cold, we keep the computers warm in our sleeping bags at night. In extreme cases we have had to put the computer batteries in a Ziploc bag and boil them."
One of the UK Apple magazines in the 1980s had a photo showing Bonington using his IIc with the LCD display.