Here's some obvious advice: Keep your electronics cool.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a cooler region of the world, or you don't mind spending extra on a climate-controlled interior (i.e., the air conditioner), then you're good to go. Internal parts tend not to burn out quickly at cooler temperatures.
Otherwise: Point an electric fan at any external hard drives in use. Use a USB-powered cooling pad under your laptop (notebook-sized or netbook), even though these electric fan gadgets tend to deteriorate quickly over time. For my netbook, I lay a portable box fan on the ground, so that the air flows upward. When I'm not using my netbook (which usually involves the netbook laying over my belly), I place it on the fan. The fan is much stronger than a USB-powered pad, and it really minimizes the risk of computer failure due to overheating. On the other hand, I hope the box fan doesn't load up my netbook full of bad dust, from all the air flow.
Many fan-less gadgets tout their ability to redirect heat without the need for an internal fan. It is a feature of little use when both the room and the gadget have high temperatures. We can carry the analogy to people, hot temperatures, and fever due to illness. In that case, remember to get your flu shot(s) to minimize the effect of flu season on yourselves:
Flu shot happens.
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