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Laptop In The Studio

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At the risk of sounding like I am addicted to online social media ... there are days when I need to respond to emails quickly, and it is very disruptive to stop working every hour or so to leave my studio and go check my inbox.

 

I also wish that I could listen to iTunes while I'm working, rather than being at the mercy of commercial radio stations (all of which annoy me eventually).

 

I've always thought that clay dust in the studio would kill a computer really fast. Does anyone keep a laptop in their studio, and if so, how do you keep it safe from dust?

 

Or is this just a bad idea?

 

Mea

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I have my laptop in my studio. Its a netbook, does the basics and wasn't very expensive. My studio is dirty but I have pandora, itunes running while I am working and even listen to movies (via netflix) while i am working sometimes. If you are concerned about dust you can alway get an i-pod and use that. I have done that as well and put it on an arm band that protects it from the clay. I am sure you can by a keyboard cover that would protect the dust from getting into the keyboard. My boyfriend (the tech-y one) bought a set of speakers and amp(?) to hook the laptop or ipod too to help with volume too since the sound in a cheap laptop is not that great. I only work a couple days in my studio a week so the impact hasn't been awful but an everyday potter is going to create more dust which could ruin a laptop. Perhaps you will end up with a cleaner, musical filled studio!

 

 

 

 

At the risk of sounding like I am addicted to online social media ... there are days when I need to respond to emails quickly, and it is very disruptive to stop working every hour or so to leave my studio and go check my inbox.

 

I also wish that I could listen to iTunes while I'm working, rather than being at the mercy of commercial radio stations (all of which annoy me eventually).

 

I've always thought that clay dust in the studio would kill a computer really fast. Does anyone keep a laptop in their studio, and if so, how do you keep it safe from dust?

 

Or is this just a bad idea?

 

Mea

 

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If you want to spend a fortune, you can alway look into ruggedized computers. I've seen a panasonic tablet dunked in water with it running; here's a computer that was subjected to an extreme dust test. http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=_QWTcyM8YXI

 

Maybe you could find one used?

 

 

I have my laptop in my studio. Its a netbook, does the basics and wasn't very expensive. My studio is dirty but I have pandora, itunes running while I am working and even listen to movies (via netflix) while i am working sometimes. If you are concerned about dust you can alway get an i-pod and use that. I have done that as well and put it on an arm band that protects it from the clay. I am sure you can by a keyboard cover that would protect the dust from getting into the keyboard. My boyfriend (the tech-y one) bought a set of speakers and amp(?) to hook the laptop or ipod too to help with volume too since the sound in a cheap laptop is not that great. I only work a couple days in my studio a week so the impact hasn't been awful but an everyday potter is going to create more dust which could ruin a laptop. Perhaps you will end up with a cleaner, musical filled studio!

 

 

 

 

At the risk of sounding like I am addicted to online social media ... there are days when I need to respond to emails quickly, and it is very disruptive to stop working every hour or so to leave my studio and go check my inbox.

 

I also wish that I could listen to iTunes while I'm working, rather than being at the mercy of commercial radio stations (all of which annoy me eventually).

 

I've always thought that clay dust in the studio would kill a computer really fast. Does anyone keep a laptop in their studio, and if so, how do you keep it safe from dust?

 

Or is this just a bad idea?

 

Mea

 

 

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I think an Ipad might be a good bet because there is no keys but a touch screen keypad....less crevices for dust. I personally don't need to stay in contact with people during my work time so I don't have any computer in the studio.

 

Marcia

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At the risk of sounding like I am addicted to online social media ... there are days when I need to respond to emails quickly, and it is very disruptive to stop working every hour or so to leave my studio and go check my inbox.

 

I also wish that I could listen to iTunes while I'm working, rather than being at the mercy of commercial radio stations (all of which annoy me eventually).

 

I've always thought that clay dust in the studio would kill a computer really fast. Does anyone keep a laptop in their studio, and if so, how do you keep it safe from dust?

 

Or is this just a bad idea?

 

Mea

 

I have a flat screen tv and a dish receiver mounted on the wall about 8 ft. high and they still get covered with dust. I think electronic equipment vibrations pulls the dust to it. I usually just listen to shows I have already seen and the music stations, I don't even want to answer the phone when I'm working it breaks my concentration. Denice

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I don't think dust can harm a laptop but if you're worried about it how about putting a dust cover over it? Just make sure air can flow under the laptop.

 

I think a bigger concern is the effect of the dust on your lungs.

 

 

At the risk of sounding like I am addicted to online social media ... there are days when I need to respond to emails quickly, and it is very disruptive to stop working every hour or so to leave my studio and go check my inbox.

 

I also wish that I could listen to iTunes while I'm working, rather than being at the mercy of commercial radio stations (all of which annoy me eventually).

 

I've always thought that clay dust in the studio would kill a computer really fast. Does anyone keep a laptop in their studio, and if so, how do you keep it safe from dust?

 

Or is this just a bad idea?

 

Mea

 

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I agree that an iPad is the way to go. AirPlay your iTunes content or Pandora radio to a set of speakers hooked up to an AirPort express.

 

And there are still Apple Specialist locations out there that still have their iPad 1 demo units, which you can buy for less.

 

Ultimately, if all you want is iTunes and email, don't waste any money on a full computer.

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I've had a cheap netbook in my studio for over a year. It's not pretty since I don't always wash my hands before touching it, but it works. I have it hooked up to an old surround speaker system we were no longer using, so at least it sounds great.

 

 

I wouldn't risk it with an iPad... too expensive (you can buy a brand new netbook for under $200), and made of glass. Seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

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Guest HerbNorris

I have used laptops /netbooks in the studio, and I have put them into dry cleaning bags, with the very thin, almost crystal clear plastic. If you place it loose enough, you can type carefully and see the screen.

Put holes at the right spots for ventilation, and you are set.

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I have have an iPad 1; I just tested the capacitive touch through a medium weight ziplock plastic bag, and it works. So, you could run an iPad in a plastic bag. Also, there are only three places that dust could enter the iPad. The headphone jack, the power cord/USB port, and the speaker. If you covered the places you weren't using, the iPad could be your solution, if placed in a plastic bag to keep the dust out. There are sealed speakers for outdoor use on the market, those would definitely hold up to extra dust. But you might just find that cheap speakers would do as well.

 

Moreover, I've accidentally dropped my iPad from standing hieght, and while it is in the best case ever, it also survived without a problem, so I wouldn't fret too much about shocks if you have a nice case, or have it placed firmly on a table out of the way.

 

None of the Mac store resellers in my area have the iPad ones anymore.

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I don't think dust can harm a laptop but if you're worried about it how about putting a dust cover over it? Just make sure air can flow under the laptop.

 

 

I second what what Cathy said. I would be cautious about putting laptops and netbooks in plastic bags... they need airflow to be properly cooled. Laptops can take a fair amount of abuse (except dropping) and, in fact, many modern laptops automatically slow the processor to reduce power consumption (lower power consumption generates less heat).... this prevents something from burning out if the airflow is temporarily blocked. The long term effects of frequent overheating, however, will reduce it's lifespan.

 

Although dust in a studio is a fact of life, it is controllable. If you're creating sufficient dust to harm a laptop, it's too dusty for you, too. When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle were full-time potters and, unfortunately, they chose to pay little attention to controlling clay dust in their studio. They often said they "needed to put their time into production, not tidiness". I can still see the clouds of dust as my uncle dumped bags of clay into the mixer and my aunt blowing the dust off pieces with an airgun before glazing them. When things got too bad they would, literally, shovel the place out. My uncle was in his 60's when he died of silicosis... my aunt lived 10 years longer, wheeling an oxygen bottle with her 24/7.

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Thanks for all the replies. I decided to raise the question with my brother, who is a computer geek supreme. He gave me an unexpected, but very clear, answer.

 

Any device that has moving parts, such as a fan or a conventional hard drive, would quickly succumb in a dusty environment. But lots of modern devices have no fan, and use flash memory instead of hard drives, and these would be just fine in a pottery studio.

 

He recommended netbooks and iPads, which several of you also recommended. He also agreed that some decent external speakers are a must to make the music-listening better.

 

Unfortunately for me, the device I was hoping to use is a 5-year old iBook, but alas it has both a fan and a hard drive. He wasn't crazy about using a plastic bag for dust protection, but said it might work given enough ventilation, but pointed out the more ventilation you provide, the more dust gets in too.

 

I am a devoted Mac user, so I doubt I would buy a netbook, even though that seems to be a good choice. I also agree with those who think a new iPad is too expensive for a pottery studio. Lucky for me, I have early-adopters in my family, I'll just wait until I inherit a used iPad.

 

And yes, I whole-heartedly agree that we need to protect our lungs from dust too, not just our electronics.

 

Thanks again for all the replies!

 

Mea

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Any device that has moving parts, such as a fan or a conventional hard drive, would quickly succumb in a dusty environment.

 

Actually, that's not entirely true. The internal heads of most hard drives fly over the platters on an airfoil with considerably less than a micron of clearance. They are assembled in a dust free environment and are virtually airtight (although not hermetically sealed) to prevent any foreign particles from entering which would result in a head crash. So, the chances of clay dust intrusion are relatively small. The fans typically use sleeve bearings (although better fans sometimes use sealed ball bearings) so that's a little more worrysome, but only a little. PCs are common on shop floors and industrial environments... they are typically protected from dust via ordinary filters in their airflow path. More attention is, however, paid to protecting them from being sprayed by liquids... anyone who has spilled coffee or soda in their keyboard knows why.

 

My 2-cents --- If you're "on the cheap" with this need, I would consider placing your laptop in something as simple as a cardboard box with taped seams and a small fan blowing filtered air into the box so it's a positive pressure situation (ie, the air outlet holes are, say, 2/3 the size of the filtered air inlet holes). A vacuum cleaner bag as the inlet filter would be sufficient; any cloth over the outlet holes. Consider a wireless or USB keyboard mouse arrangement so they can reside outside the box... protect both with anything you have handy when you're not using them... a towel, plastic sheet, etc. If you need to see the screen make a cutout in the box and tape anything clear over the hole so you can see the screen. Speaker and keyboard/mouse wires can be tape sealed where they exit the box. Depending on how your laptops power on/off works, figure out something that's workable... eg, a hinged flap so you can easily reach in to push the button, or perhaps a hole in the top with a dowel resting on the power button... whatever you decide for power, remember that the positive pressure of filtered air will need to keep dust from entering around this power switch solution.

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Great topic! I have an older laptop that a friend is refurbishing for use in our little studio. We won't be running the computer while actual work is being done so I was thinking of just fashioning a plastic cover for it. For music I bought a decent set of computer speakers and run the iPod to them.

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I have several computers (9) all over our studio, I should say very dusty studio. Every 6 months or year I take them outside (I know they say...) and blow them off with air hose (and mask) and I create a huge dust cloud.

 

I have several that have been working in this dusty and dirty environment, some for over 8 years and the only problem I have is having to replace a fan or power supply here and there from failure that I assume is from the dust.No big deal. You can find inexpensive computers and notebooks for around $200. Fans ($2-$3) power supplies ($25 and up...)

 

Pandora (music) netflix, downloaded library audio books, netflix, Hulu, Amazon on demand. About half never even get turned off and run constantly

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