Regular readers will know that I treated myself to an MSI Wind netbook at Christmas, and I now use it quite heavily instead of my HP desktop PC. In fact I haven’t used the desktop at all for the past week.
I’ve been using the Wind’s built-in trackpad rather than plugging in a separate mouse. This is the first time I’ve used a trackpad for more than a few minutes, and after a busy session of dragging, cutting and pasting in Microsoft Word a few days ago I discovered something unexpected … trackpads can get very hot! (Well, mine does anyway.)
Since I’ve never heard of this before, and there doesn’t seem to be anything much about it on the web, I’m left wondering whether this only happens with the MSI Wind, or whether it only happens with *MY* MSI Wind.
It could be to do with friction – in the same way that you can make fire by rubbing sticks together – though that seems unlikely as the trackpad feels smooth.
The wind’s trackpad only works when you touch it with your skin – prodding it with the blunt end of a pencil, for example, won’t work. So perhaps a more likely cause of the heat build-up could be to do with the way it uses the capacitance of your skin to detect movement.
I would have asked you to help me test this on other laptops and netbooks, but I don’t want to be held responsible for burns or nerve damage. So I’ll take all the risk myself and try it out on a few other machines. Playing a few quick games of Spider Solitaire (which comes with Windows) is a good way of testing it, as it involves lots of dragging and dropping and heavy trackpad usage.
As I said, I don’t want you trying this for yourself. (But if you do, I am not to blame for any damage or injuries.) Spider solitaire is also horribly addictive and will keep you away from your writing, so if you have it on your machine you should delete it!
(If you’ve experienced “trackpad burn” – which is my name for the phenomenon – or you can explain what’s causing it, please leave a comment. Any cures for overly sensitive fingertips – which is what I now have – are also welcome!)
Dave Haslett, ideas4writers, www.ideas4writers.co.uk