Beat the Heat Low Tech Style
We had a pretty good run, my Targus Laptop Chill Pad and I. Every time the weather turned hot (which is about 90% of the time here in the Houston area) I dragged the thing out, plugged its USB cable into my laptop, and voila! No more melting thighs.
It was that USB cable that led to its demise. I kept snagging the darned loop of it on things or forgetting I had the chiller plugged in and picking up only the laptop, so I ended up dragging and bashing the poor thing up against various lamp tables, etc. Honestly, I've been surprised that those poor little rinky-dink little fans and cheap plastic survived my abuse as long as they did.
But two weeks ago, the thing died, and since tolerating this laptop's heat all summer was unthinkable, I set about looking for a sturdier replacement. I found it in the Belkin CushTop Notebook Stand, a nifty little solution with no wires to snag or electronic components to break down. It's comfortable in my lap, provides a stable, nonslip perch for my computer, and, by virtue of its vented, padded, washable construction, is at least as cool as the rinky-dink fan solution (meaning to say it's not as cool as when I work off of a desk or tabletop, but much, much better than having The Furnace melting my innards into goop.)
The CushTop comes in a variety of colors, which, oddly enough, all sell for different prices (depending on their relative ugliness, I think). I bought the chocolate/blue one pictured for under $20 (more than $10 cheaper than the black one, which would be covered with dog hair in ten minutes anyhow) at my local OfficeMax. You may have to hunt around for price, though. Mostly, they range in the twenties to low thirties.
My son, who accompanied me to Office Max to buy the thing, was appalled that I would ignore the higher tech, more expensive electronic solutions for something so homely and "uncool" looking. He's nineteen and has grown up with the quaint notion that devices which go obsolete in six months and break down in nine are necessary to display one's non-dorkhood.
And I'm old enough to have grown tired of cheaply-made crap that must be frequently and inconveniently replaced. So I'll stick with my CushTop, thank you - an inelegant solution that simply does the job.