Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Tablet Covers, Holders, and Bags

First, thank you to those who commented on my last post! OMG my first comments!! So exciting.

As my "iPad portfolio" project comes to a close (pattern review forthcoming), I feel that it's a good time to educate fellow crafters in some issues that you should be aware of when creating a laptop or tablet case, bag, or portfolio. 

My job revolves around resolving computer and device problems. I have seen many devices fail due to poor case design, using a device while in its case, or leaving a device on while it is put away.



Heat can be a problem with any mobile device. It can cause harddrive failures and processor/motherboard malfunctions. These can cause loss of data or even total device failure- an expensive proposition for a new device! Most warranties do not cover heat related damage.  

The configuration of most laptops limits air flow through the body of the computer, resulting in an average internal running temperature of 98-115 degrees; many models run even hotter! Most laptop case designers keep this in mind while engineering laptop cases. But did you know that your tablet or phone can produce a similar amount of heat? Check out CNet's article about iPad 3's external temperature: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57401047-37/confirmed-new-ipads-heat-a-non-issue/ . In this article, they look at the external temperature of the iPad 3 and a few laptop models, confirming that in general, the iPad does not run "too hot". But with an external running temp of between 80-90 degrees, an iPad can get toasty really fast. Often, cases can make the problem even worse! When making a case for your mobile device, here are some tips to keep running temperatures at a minimum.

Things to Avoid When Making a Mobile Device Carrier

1. Extra Padding
We want to protect our devices, but padding can trap heat against the body of your device. Skip the quilt batting for Insul-Bright or similar batting, making sure the silvery part is facing away from the device. This adds a bit of support to the case but also reflects additional heat. 

2. Mobile Device "Bags"
Sleeves, wallets, and socks do not allow sufficient airflow for your mobile device to cool off during use or in a hot area. Avoid this design unless you will be turning your device off (not hibernate) whenever it is stored.

3. Covering Ventilation
Do not under any circumstance cover ventilation holes with your case- most ventilation is both air intake and output. Ventilation is most often found around the edges of a mobile device.

I want to emphasize that the prettiest pattern when crafting your case may look awesome, but may damage your (very expensive) hardware. Keep these things in mind when designing your cool new case!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Tablet Cover and Paint Chip Quilt progress

Let me first apologize for the blatant theft of the idea for WIP Wednesday's from my favorite blogs: In Color Order, Live a Colorful Life, Swim, Bike, Quilt, Freshly Pieced (add your link!) and several others.

I have two WIPs this week - the previously shown but now completely pieced (with a border and everything!) quilt top for my Paint Chip quilt - only basting, backing and quilting left! and a tablet cover

For the tablet cover, I am using a pattern by Indygo Junction called Tech Pocket and Portfolio. The pattern includes 2 different patterns for eReader/iPads. A review is forthcoming.

For the exterior fabric, I'm using a lovely yellow vintage sheet I purchased from Jeni's In Color Order Etsy shop. I've been saving it (I only had a half yard) and slowly using it in small projects. For the interior, I'm using Good Fortune by Kate Spain, which I purchased at a local fabric store but is available from many retailers.

Although the pattern suggests I use sewing "foam", I am using Insul-bright due to concerns of the newer iPads having low tolerance for excessive heat. Again, details about this coming up in my pattern review.

And here are most of the pieces (except the exterior pieces) all together. Obviously, something isn't working out right at this point since the two panels don't seem to match in size. At all. Hmmm...

And last but not least, I have finished the border for my Paint Chip quilt. Because I'm so excited about it, I took several pictures...

Here's the top 2/3s...

 And the bottom 2/3s...

The current plan is to back it with a light gray (I've forgotten the colorway...) and "stitch in the ditch" around each color block... using THESE:

to create a reverse pattern on the back! I'm super excited with how cool it COULD be!

Thanks for reading! Linked to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday link party!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When life gives you lemons...

In my life experience, it has always been true that when it rains, it pours. This year has been a painful reminder of how precious life is. The other day, my grandfather fell and broke his hip. He was given only a slim chance of survival without surgery (due to the various illnesses inherent in being bed-ridden) and only a slim chance of surviving surgery (due to a heart condition). We chose for him to have the surgery as his quality of life would be so low if confined to a bed.
Last night, we thought we had dodged a bullet. Papa woke from anesthesia without problem (the biggest concern). Several hours later, the tube which allowed him to breathe while anesthetized was removed with only some difficulty in his breathing. However, he is still declining: his kidneys are failing.
I find myself torn. I had planned to take Thursday and Friday off to visit Rohoboth Beach in Delaware, but these recent family events make me want to return home, but my parents are very stressed out with other relatives coming to see my grandfather - they've said while they would love me to come home, I wouldn't be able to do anything,  probably not even see him.
So I guess I'm going to the beach? How am I supposed to enjoy my vacation knowing he is dying?
Life hurts sometimes. My only hope is that I can appreciate my vacation knowing he would want me to be happy, that he has always loved the beach, and remember how pivotal he has been to my understanding and love for the world.

Papa, Kika (now deceased), and I in Florida 7 or 8 years ago. Their love for each other has inspired me in all things, and I can only hope that I can live and love with as much passion as they have.

Get well, Papa. Love you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Let me introduce myself...

It is a constant frustration to me that I cannot write (or do anything) in a consistent fashion; self-discipline is an area I have always struggled with. It is with that in mind that I try to start yet another blog. In an attempt to give myself a creative outlet, I hope to interact with the local and national blogging community I have longed to be a part of for so long. So without further adieu:

Hi! My name is Alex, and I work as a computer analyst at a local university. "Analyst" is a very ambiguous term- what I actually do is desktop support; I come to staff members in trouble and assist them to resolve computer related problems, from hardware malfunction to user errors. This is a high stress, high impact, "customer facing" job which pays just a bit more than my rent. In my field, I am a bit of an anomaly- I do not have a computer related degree, an analytic mind, and I'm not socially impaired. I do, however, have a passion for people which has served me well. But I am not my job.

This is Sigmund (grey, female) and Freud (black, male). They cuddle me in times of need, and puke on my carpet when it seems like I'm running late to something.

My current creative hobby is quilting - I've made some squares, but am working on a quilt top that resembles paint chips; I'm sooo excited because it actually looks like I imagined!!
And for good measure, a project that looks pretty the I abandoned working on.. (hexies clearly aren't for me!)

And some sheep from the Maryland sheep and wool festival!

Hi! I'm so glad to meet you!