I had just about given up on trying to participate in Second Life because my laptop kept crashing. I enjoy a good challenge and I enjoy fixing computers. I had modified the operating system in a number of different ways but the machine still could not handle the load. The graphics card did not meet the specifications of Second Life and I felt compelled to consider alternatives like building a high performance desktop.
Participation in a virtual world demands a computer that can handle the heavy number crunching concomitant with displaying graphical output. Since the graphics card did not meet Second Life’s specifications I knew that I was pushing it to it’s absolute limits and beyond. Since high performance desktops can have some fairly exotic cooling systems to overclock the CPU, it occurred to me that if I could keep the internal components of my machine just a little cooler, perhaps I could squeeze out more performance.
I had dusted the internals of computers in the past but had never noticed a change in performance. I had also never demanded as much from a machine as I did with Second Life. Was it possible that simply by removing the dust from the chips I would enable them to run just a little cooler and meet the demand? I decided to do an experiment and blew out the internals of the computer with some compressed air. Much to my surprise the computer no longer crashed. Unfortunately, two months later the it started crashing again. So I repeated the experiment and sure enough it went for another two months before crashing. Now I repeat that ritual every two months with consistently good results.
Since my computer is no longer crashing, I can spend less time fixing it and more time exploring in and writing about virtual worlds. I can more or less run the machine with the default settings that it shipped with although there are some embellishments that I enjoy. I may still build a high performance desktop to replace the laptop when it becomes obsolete or the inherently poor ergonomic design becomes intolerable, but for now I’ll have to find another challenge.