Indeed, Ned...

Winter is coming, and the cold, icy weather can be brutal on more than just your head and hands — it’s not too good for your devices either. If you live in a cold region, then you’ve probably got hats and gloves for yourself (maybe even some pelts), but what about all that tech you spent your hard-earned money on?

Temperatures can play havoc with technology, from the blistering heat of summer to the freezing cold that many of us are about to experience. But don’t fret. The cold may be coming, but there are things you can do to guard that gear. Here are a tips that will soon have you laughing in the face of winter.

Kick portables to the curb (or at least from your vehicle): If you’ve ever gotten into a car that has been sitting outside over a winter’s night, then you know how freezing cold it can be. That heater just can’t warm up fast enough, can it? Well, you don’t want to subject your laptops, phones, tablets, mp3 players or gaming handhelds to that cold either. Yes, it’s a little inconvenient, but so is a frozen hard drive or a cracked screen. If there’s no choice, and you have to leave a gadget in the car, at least wrap it up in an extra scarf, jacket, sweater or any other layers you might have on hand.

Handle condensation wisely: Sometimes, after being out in the tundra, condensation can form inside your device. The chances of this go up if you try to turn on your gadget while it’s still cold. If you spot wetness — or, for that mater, you just dropped it in a sleety puddle on the sidewalk — DON’T power it on right away. I know, you want to see if it’s still okay, but resist the urge. First, let it naturally come up to room temp, then put the device in some uncooked rice. (Make sure it covers it.) This is your best chance at getting rid of that moisture and salvaging your gadget.

Turn your device off… completely: Running around with a sleeping laptop or netbook increases the odds (and potentially the magnitude) of damage that can happen if you let it fall — say, like on that icy patch in front of your house. Don’t let it happen to you. Power your machine down completely before you head outdoors, just to be safe.

Invest in a decent earbud with inline mic/call answer button: If you don’t have to whip your phone out in the sub-zero temperature to answer calls, all the better. You can keep it safe and toasty warm in your pocket without missing calls if you have an earbud with an inline microphone/call answer button. Spend a couple of bucks and get a good one, a product that fits well and has good call clarity. (It does no good if you don’t like using it because it’s uncomfortable, or everyone sounds like Darth Vader on the other line. Personally, I like Etymotic.) You won’t have to use gloved hands to fumble with a ringing cell phone — a scenario that has had me drop (and break) more than one smartphone.

Get a case or sock: There are numerous tough cases, sleeves and the like for any gadget you can imagine. While you may prefer a naked look to your device, the extra padding is a good way to maximize protection — possibly even insulation. Think of it as a winter snuggie for your beloved.

Use case scenarios differ, so depending on what and how you rock, there are also plenty of products out there to help, from capacitive gloves for touchscreen use to laptop warmers and portable power (cold temps can be hell on batteries), and everything in between. ‘Tis the season for sales and promotions, so check out your favorite retailers and see what they have to offer.

Got any other must-do tips for winterizing your gear? Share them below in the comments!

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