Essential guide to care your laptop battery, laptop adapter, power tools battery

Battery extenders for HTC, Samsung, Blackberry smart phones

powerskins battery extenders batteries  300x167 Battery extenders for HTC, Samsung, Blackberry smart phonesBattery cases are no longer the exclusive domain of iPhones, as Android-based phones ramp up in popularity.

One of the most annoying aspects of travelling is running out of battery on your smartphone just when you really need it — when checking emails just after getting off a long flight, or trying to access maps in a foreign city.

iPhone users have had a good range of options to bump up their battery life, but there haven’t been any for people getting inadequate battery life from handsets like the HTC Desire HD, Samsung Galaxy S2, Google Nexus S or BlackBerry.

A new range of smartphone battery skins from XPAL is now addressing that gap in the marketplace.

XPAL says it is tackling the challenge of making battery cases for a broader range of handsets head-on, even though Android/BlackBerry/Windows Phone 7 handsets often have a shelf life of less than six months.

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Currently, XPAL has cases available for:

  • HTC HD7
  • HTC HD2
  • Samsung Galaxy i9000 / i9003
  • HTC Desire HD
  • Samsung i9020T
  • Google Nexus S
  • BlackBerry 8520
  • BlackBerry 8530
  • BlackBerry 9700
  • BlackBerry 9780
  • HTC Sensation
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 (available end of August)

powerskin htc desire hd 232x300 Battery extenders for HTC, Samsung, Blackberry smart phones

Above: a PowerSkin on an HTC Desire HD.

The PowerSkins all have a capacity of between 1200mAh and 1620mAh, depending on the phone model, which means that they deliver roughly the battery life of the handset’s inbuilt battery again.

Because charging the handset’s inbuilt battery too often can wear it out prematurely, PowerSkins also come with an on/off switch so you can decide when to start giving your handset additional juice — the best strategy is usually to only do so when the handset’s inbuilt laptop battery is about to run out.

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Lithium-Ion Batteries Market Set for Boom Courtesy of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

batteries1 Lithium Ion Batteries Market Set for Boom Courtesy of Hybrid and Electric VehiclesDriven by plunging prices and accelerating demand from the electric and hybrid automobile market, lithium-ion will emerge as the world’s leading rechargeable battery technology and achieve 350 percent revenue growth from 2010 to 2020, according to a new IHS iSuppli Rechargeable Batteries Special Report from information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).

Global lithium-ion battery revenue is expected to expand to $53.7 billion in 2020, up from $11.8 billion in 2010, as presented in the figure below. Revenue will rise to $31.4 billion in 2015, allowing lithium-ion to surpass the current dominant rechargeable battery technology, lead acid.r banner2 Lithium Ion Batteries Market Set for Boom Courtesy of Hybrid and Electric VehiclesWhile lithium-ion will find wide usage in mobile electronics products such as cellphones and notebook PCs, usage in cars will fuel the bulk of sales growth.

“Lithium-ion at present is much more expensive than alternative technologies, costing two to three times as much as sodium-sulfur, lead-acid and nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable batteries,” said Satoru Oyama, principal analyst of Japan electronics research for IHS. “However, lithium-ion pricing will decline much more rapidly than the other technologies, coming close to cost parity in 2015, and then becoming the least expensive type of rechargeable battery in 2020. Combined with the inherent advantages of the technology, the increasingly competitive cost of lithium-ion will cause car makers to employ it as their battery technology of choice in future electric and hybrid vehicles.”

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Lithium: Just What the Doctor Ordered for Automotive

Lithium-ion delivers several enhancements compared to other rechargeable battery technologies.

These advantages include more flexible form factors and lighter weight. Furthermore, lithium-ion devices have no memory effect, meaning they maintain their full capacity even after a partial recharge. Finally, lithium-ion laptop batteries are considered to be more environmentally safe than other technologies.

These features make lithium-ion particularly attractive for electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Because of this, the automotive segment will be the leading market for lithium-ion batteries by 2015, surpassing the current top application, notebook PCs.

Lithium’s Elements of Success in Electric and Hybrid Cars

The dominant battery technology used in hybrid cars now is nickel-metal-hydride. More than 1 million hybrids with nickel-metal-hydride batteries were shipped in 2010, led by the Toyota Prius.

However, shipments of nickel-metal-hydride batteries to the hybrid market will not grow in the future as the use of lithium-ion begins to take off.

One concern regarding the use of first-generation lithium-ion batteries in cars is safety. There can be a risk of fire using existing lithium-ion battery materials due to the high temperatures involved. There have been documented incidents of lithium-ion battery fires in smaller devices, such as PCs and mobile phones.

To achieve acceptable safety levels for hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, lithium-ion battery makers must take steps to prevent internal short circuits which can cause external damage. These steps include improving control of power generation during discharges and enhancing the management of rapid charging.

While automotive will be the dominant market for lithium-ion batteries, notebook PCs and cellphones will remain major markets for the technology, accounting for $12.3 billion in revenue in 2010, up from $7.8 billion in 2010.

Other major uses for lithium-ion batteries include use in solar power systems, smart electricity grids and electric tools.

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Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

laptop batteries Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For MomMother’s Day is upon us, and what’s that? You haven’t gotten her a card yet? There’s still time for an eCard. We’ll show you some of the best ones we found.

If you haven’t visited the eCard universe lately, you’ll be surprised how sophisticated they’ve become. Gone are the amateurish graphics and tacky music, replaced by symphonic scores and majestic 3D animations.

Some of the cards in the gallery below are free, while most of them require a “membership” to the cardmaker’s site. Either way, all will get you out of this procrastination predicament you’re finding yourself in right now:

Jacquie Lawson

2jaquie motherdaycard 2 Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

This lovely work of art from Jacquie Lawson plays a waltz by Chopin with a payoff at the end: there’s a flower arrangement that reveals the meaning of each flower. One-year membership is $12.

American Greetings

3americangreet Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

This one from American Greetings is accompanied by beautiful music, excellent animation and a full-screen surprise at the end. Free Trial.

O Jolie

4ojolie Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

O Jolie’s “Secret Garden” features subtle animation, soothing classical music and understated elegance. Works for birthdays and other occasions, too. $12/year membership


1Funny Mother%27s Day Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

Be careful sending one of these Someecards — some moms might find them refreshingly forthright, honest, and maybe even hilarious, while others might be offended. We like this one because it makes fun of the giver rather than the receiver. This one’s free.

Blue Mountain

5motherday bluemountain Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

Blue Mountain’s cavorting dolphins, bears blowing bubbles and pleasant animation that goes outside the frame might delight your mom. 1-month membership is $3.99.


6greet doowop Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

Hallmark brings the doo-wop music along with a whimsical animation that emphasizes gratitude for all dear Mom’s done for you. And this one’s free.


7jibjab mothersday Mother’s Day 2011: Top 7 Awesome eCards For Mom

JibJab lets you insert your face into the proceedings with “Mom Rap,” a goofy video and serenade for your mom. You might like this one more than she does, but if she has a sense of humor, you’re golden. If so, she might just be going around the house for the next few days saying “You better watch your booty when Mom’s in the ‘hood!” $12/year membership.

Tagcloud: cards, ecards, Mother’s Day 2011, Dell latitude d410 battery, Dell xps m1530 battery, Dell inspiron mini 9 battery, Dell latitude x300 battery, Dell 312-0867 battery, HP pavilion dv8000 battery

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Battery Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Mobile Computing

Battery Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Mobile Computing batteries  Battery Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Mobile ComputingResearchers at Stanford University have just made a major breakthroughthat may impact the technology industry for years to come: they’ve built a better battery. The project, an attempt to use lithium-sulfur in place of the lithium-ion technology that is used in batteries today, has been in development since 2007. Recently, the scientists’ efforts were rewarded when they created a battery that lasts four times as long as its lithium-ion counterparts while also having the benefit of being “significantly safer” than today’s batteries which occasionally explode after short-circuiting.

Although still a ways off from commercial viability (and availability), the lithium-sulfur batteries promise advances like 80% more capacity, 10 times the power density and, theoretically, the ability to last four times as long as modern batteries.

The new battery technology represents the final step in our quest for always-on connectivity to the mobile web. We already have Wi-Fi hotspots, 3G and 4G networks for Internet everywhere and a host of mobile gadgets from netbooks to iPads and mobile phones to notebook computers. But what we haven’t had yet is a way to keep our gadgets powered up for more than a day or so without a charge. That may be soon about to change.

An Always-On Mobile Web

With these sorts of improvements, lithium-sulfur batteries could lead the way in the next phase of the mobile revolution. They could allow us to fully enjoy the web from anywhere in the world, without having to worry about dying batteries, access to power outlets or having to carry around replacement battery when planning long-lasting mobile computing sessions.

battery%20tech Battery Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Mobile Computing

Far more than just a convenience, better battery technology would impact how our mobile devices are designed and how they behave. For example, Apple currently imposes numerous restrictions on members of their mobile device lineup for the sake of battery performance. On Apple iPhones, iPod Touches and the forthcoming iPad, applications aren’t permitted to run in the background and Adobe Flash technology has been banned altogether, supposedly for its CPU usage which rapidly drains battery juice. Other mobile smartphone makers, while not necessarily as restrictive as Apple, still have to weigh the benefits of providing these same types of features with the performance hit their gadgets will take if they do so. And as anyone who regularly fires up their smartphone web browser knows, too much Internet surfing during the day means a phone that dies out before nightfall.

bn nook logo oct09 Battery Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Mobile ComputingAnother example of the technology’s potential impact: e-Readers. Today, if you want to pack your Kindle or Nook device to take with you on vacation, you still have to go through the thought process: how long will I be gone? Will my battery last? Should I pack the cord? Now imagine that you could just throw your e-Reader into your bag without a second thought, just as if you were packing the paperback novel or newspaper these sorts of gadgets aim to replace. Would that encourage more people to make the switch from the analog formats to digital?

The Impacts of Better Laptop Batteries

What if, in the future, concerns like these were no longer a worry? What if phones, netbooks, e-Readers and other mobile devices could be used for days on end without the need for a charge? That would radically impact the way we think about and use our mobile devices.

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There are a million other use cases that could benefit from this technology change, too, including sensor networks, computing from remote areas, faster news dissemination from areas impacted by disasters (either natural or man-made) where power outages have occurred, gadgets for hikers, campers and other explorers who spend weeks away from civilization and, therefore, away from electricity, mobile location-based services that run in the background on smartphones and other personal mobile gadgets and – OK, we’ll admit it – the ability to Twitter all day long without a recharge.

For the nitty gritty technical details about this new battery technology, MIT’s Technology Review explains everything from the cathodes to the conductivity as well as the challenges still ahead for this breakthrough technology. Most notably, the scientists still need to figure out how to maintain capacity. After five discharge/recharge cycles, the batteries lost one-third of their initial storage capacity and after 40 to 50 cycles, they ceased to function altogether. However, if the researchers can overcome that final hurdle and a few others, the new technology could one day become commercially viable. It’s too soon to know if that will actually occur, but as gadget lovers ourselves, we’re hopeful.

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Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

What role does a Viking king have in the evolution of smartphones? What’s the connection between Samurais and iDesigner Jony Ive? And what’s so fruity about BlackBerrys? Check out top ten rundown of telecoms trivia to find out.

1 BlackBerrys were almost called Strawberries

blackberry bold 9900 official 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

A marketeer at Research In Motion initially wanted to call the company’s iconic business blowers ‘strawberries’. The thinking was that the physical QWERTY keyboards they feature reminded him of the seeds you find in the summer fruit.

He was overruled by his boss, though, who favoured ‘BlackBerry’ because the alliteration meant it had more of a ring to it. It’s hard to argue with him.

2 Microsoft’s Kin sold just 500 units

microsoft kin phones 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

The Kin was launched in a blizzard of hype. But in the face of mass indifference from consumers, Microsoft pulled its social networking focussed Kin phones from the market after just six weeks. In that time a trifling 500 units were sold.

Of all the handsets once touted as iPhone killers (an ignominious list that also takes in the Palm Pre and the Nokia N8), none fell as short as the Kin.

3 The first mobile phone call was in 1973

One afternoon in 1973, Motorola General Manager Martin Cooper took to the streets of New York with a prototype mobile phone. It was a monolithic device that snaps reveal was every bit as obelisk-like as you’d expect.

But it worked well enough for Cooper to make a call. And what a call. The first number he rang was Dr Joel S Engel of Bell Labs phone company. When Engel, who was head of research at Moto’s deadly rival, picked up, Cooper was delighted to be able to inform him that Moto had beaten them to the punch with the first functional mobile phone.

4 Cameraphones in Japan & Korea must make a shutter sound by law

camera illustration 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

The rise of voyeuristic photography in Japan and Asia was an unwelcome side effect of the boom in cameraphone ownership. It’s now such a problem that handset makers are now legally bound to make handsets that do not allow users to turn off the shutter sound.

5 Bluetooth was named after a Viking King

viking warrior 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

Bluetooth technology, which enables smartphone owners to swap data wirelessly, landed in smartphones back in 2000 with Ericsson’s T36. But the name ‘Bluetooth’ goes much, much further back.

The tech, which was developed jointly by Scandinavian tech giants Ericsson and Nokia, takes its name from King Harald Bluetooth of Norway. Unlike other potentates of the 10th century, the Danish king favoured negotiation with his foes over bloodletting. And it’s for that propensity to talk first and fight later that his name was chosen for the communications technology.

6 ‘App store’ was patented by Sage Networks back in 1988

app store business 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

Patent battles are ten-a-penny in the tech sector right now. But few are as intriguing as the ongoing spat between Apple and Amazon over the latter’s use of the term ‘app store’ for its Android applications market.

In fact, the phrase ‘app store’ was originally coined in 1998 by Sage Networks. And a cursory look at its patent filing reveals that it was thinking along similar lines to Apple way back then. Not least in the way that the application details plans for a service to host computer software applications over a global computer information network. Sound familiar? It gets even more uncanny later on, when we’re informed it planned to allow “multiple users to rent software applications developed by applicant or third parties”.

Alas, although Sage was granted the patent, it didn’t complete the final stage needed for it to be binding. In 2002, a rebranded Sage, now in the hands of new owners, attempted to reapply for it and was rejected out of hand.

7 Nokia phones’ tone for receiving texts is Morse Code

text illustration 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

Or to be more specific, it’s Morse Code for the letters ‘SMS’. That’s ‘short messaging service’ to you and me.

8 Nokia once claimed there was no market for touchscreen phones

 Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

Back in 2006, Nokia bestrode the mobile phone world. But if you cared to look close enough, the seeds of its decline were already in evidence. Nowhere was that more evident than a survey it conducted into sector trends.

According to Nok Nok, poll participants had left them in little doubt there was ‘no market for touchscreen phones”. So for its Nseries phones it retained physical QWERTY keyboards in keeping with their billing as pocket PCs.

A year later, the touchscreen-toting first iPhone appeared. And as the world went for the tech in a big way, Nokia was left floundering. As Apple and Android eat away at its market share month by month, the company’s movers and shakers must rue their “faster horse” moment more each day.

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9 HTC stands for High Tech Computer Corporation

htc logo large 520x300x24 fill Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

As anyone who knows phones will tell you, HTC wasn’t always the fun consumer brand it is now. For aeons, their functional phones were the sole preserve of geeks and technocrats.

But while the gadget-maker’s MO has changed, in the form of the moniker ‘High Tech Computer Corporation’ (HTC) it’s stuck with a name every bit a sawdust-dry as its handset offerings once were. Although in a funny kind of way, we actually think that it’s meta-boringness almost makes it cool.

10 iPhone takes its cues from samurai swords

 Top 10 smartphone facts you may not know

Apple design doyenne Jonathan Ive is Apple’s not so secret weapon in the smartphone wars. And his weapon of choice is the samurai sword.

Or at least, it’s an inspiration. In search of an insight into ensuring his products stay light while retaining an integral toughness, Ive once travelled to Japan to see how the sword-creating craftsmen have been forging the blades since time immemorial.

The purpose? To see metal pushed to its absolute limit. The sword makers are experts in creating blades with soft, light inner layers while ensuring the outer, business end is super sharp and robust. It’s a process that involves folding and re-folding steel over and over again and is a tradition that’s been handed down for centuries.

How far the techniques he’ll have learnt in the Land of the Rising Sun actually feed into Ive’s drive to create ever-thinner-but-robust kit is hard to quantify. But given the man’s meticulous attention to detail, you can be sure that the experience will have fed in somehow.

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Sony new Vaio SA and SB-series with docking stations and battery slices

Sony is equipping its new Vaio SA-series and SB-series with docking stations and battery slices. The laptop battery life is going to double, and the annoying plugging in of power cables will be a thing of the past.
Sony laptop battery Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slicesSony Vaio VPC-SB1Z9EB with Battery Slice VGP-BPSC24 on the Docking Station VGP-PRS20

Who hasn’t stared jealously at the extensive docking and battery options available for the business class models from HP, Lenovo or Dell? Now Vaio users can profit from these features too. The mainstream consumer series, Vaio SA and SB, come with docking stations and battery slices, granting the user the ultimate battery life experience.

Docking Station VGP-PRS20

The docking station, VGP-PRS20 (about 129 Euros), uses a power adapter cable which is similar to that of the notebook (mixing the two up won’t cause any problems). As the user will have two power cables which serve the same purpose, he/she can leave the cable of the docking station plugged in during a trip for simplicity sake. The docking station can be used to recharge batteries (including the battery slice) and the slider on the right side allows the user to switch to “Extended Laptop Battery” mode.

The docking port offers HDMI, VGA, 4 USB ports (no USB 3.0; those are only available on the notebooks themselves) and 2 x RJ45 (LAN) ports. As soon as the Vaio is placed on the docking port, the HDMI, VGA and RJ45 ports of the laptop can no longer be used, and to prevent anyone from doing so, the docking station has two plastic flaps on the side which block these ports effectively.

The placement of the device does not involve the use of any latches or locks. This means: place the laptop on the two protruding bumps and you’re done. The subnotebook will not slip due to two securing hooks (silver) which stick out of the base unit and secure the model so that it doesn’t fall.

372f7ff2cf Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slices
VGP-PRS20: Point of view
88d2433cb8 Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slices
VGP-PRS20: Lying on top
d0aa6036e5 Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slices
VGP-PRS20: Port blockers
6c66647404 Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slices
VGP-PRS20: Connector

Battery Slice VGP-BPSC24

The VGP-BPSC24 battery slice is a flat battery (Li-Polymer, 6 cell), which fits under the base unit of the Vaio SA- and SB series models. It has a capacity of 4.400 mAh or 49 Wh (11.1V). The notebooks have have a connector on the bottom which allows them to attach themselves to the slice battery. However, this connector is not the same as the one found on the docking port. This additional battery slice VGP-BPSC24 costs around 130 Euros and weighs 520 grams.

During notebook use, the laptop batteries are designed in such a way that the slice battery will be used first. The slice battery can be charged via the notebook or  through a small charging dongle (while the battery is not connected), so theoretically, the 13.3 inch device can run the entire day without internet.

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The black battery slice looks good when attached to the notebook, even though its colour only fits to that of the black Vaio SB. The latch has two metal hooks on the locking side. The holes for these hooks, on the other side, are made of synthetic material. To prevent an accidental unlocking, the security mechanism is two-fold (lock and release). The perpendicular hole in the middle of the slice battery is for the docking station (without this hole, the slice HP COMPAQ Business Notebook NC6400 Battery would raise the laptop enough to free the non-functioning ports).

Laptop Computer Battery Run time

For our test we used the series model VPC-SB1S1E/W with an i5-2410M processor. This model comes with a 50 Wh battery (4.540 mAh). We dimmed the brightness to roughly 100 cd/m² during our test. The CPU load was low while surfing on the web (no videos, only websites). One downside is that the charging of the duo packet (notebook battery + battery slice) takes a while: 5:46 hours.

WLAN-Test @50 Wh Standard: 314 minutes (5:14h)

WLAN-Test @50 Wh + 49 Wh: 648 minutes (10:48h)

Thanks to the docking station and battery slice, the user is spared the chaos of  cables all over the place, and the mobility is doubled. These two additional features are fully compatible with each other, which means that the Vaio notebook can still sit on the docking station, even if the slice battery is attached. These features are sure to immensely increase the comfort of the user, as both the Vaio SA (not available yet) and the Vaio SB can connect within one second to these peripheral devices.

a98a981650 Sony new Vaio SA and SB series with docking stations and battery slices
Docking Station VGP-PRS20: USB 3.0 is only available on the device

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How To Maximize Battery Life Of HTC Thunderbolt

thunderbolt battery life batteries  How To Maximize Battery Life Of HTC ThunderboltEven though the HTC Thunderbolt didn’t make our longest-lasting smartphones list, that doesn’t mean owners have to settle for short battery life. It is possible to squeeze all-day power out of the phone. We’ve found a slew of simple things you can do to get more hours off the charger without making your phone pointless as a mobile computing device (that don’t involve a bulky battery).

Remember, the HTC EVO 4G had some longevity issues, too, and we suggested you check out these tips over at Good and Evo (25+ at last count) to make it last longer. Several of these apply to the Thunderbolt as well. The forum-goers over at Android Central have a monster thread about the topic. And, of course, we have our own (general) battery tips for Android phones. After mining these tips for my own Thunderbolt, I’ve been able to get 12 – 16 hours on a regular basis.

Here are the tips:

  • I lowered my default screen brightness to 25%. Your needs may vary, especially if you spend more time outdoors.
  • I leave my WiFi radio on constantly. This doesn’t drain much battery when it’s not within range of a network it knows and isn’t constantly searching for networks to connect to because I disabled WiFi notifications. This keeps the phone from updating me every time a network comes in range, which is every 3 feet in NYC. By leaving the WiFi on, I don’t have to remember to connect to a network when I’m at home or work or other places I frequent. This saves a lot of battery power.
  • I also changed the WiFi sleep policy to Never so that the phone uses WiFi (when connected) even if the screen is off.
  • I disabled Always On mobile data. All of my services still sync just fine. Background Data is still on.
  • I disabled data roaming. Most of the time I’m in a normal service area.
  • I usually turn off my screen when I don’t need it out of habit, so my screen timeout time is long — 5 minutes. However, if you tend to just leave your phone off to the side when you’re done, set this lower.
  • I’ve turned off auto-sync for services I don’t use (News, Stocks) and upped the sync interval for apps and services I don’t check very often. Be sure to go into individual apps that sync data to do this as well.
  • Every now and then I poke my head into Settings > About Phone > Battery > Battery Level to see what’s using the most power. Sometimes it’s a system setting or component, but sometimes it’s an app updating too frequently. Then I can adjust.
  • The only home screen widget I use is the HTC clock/weather app. I deleted FriendStream first thing.
  • I disabled “Movie Updates” in the BlockBuster app.

I didn’t condition or bump charge my battery, though that’s a step I might take in the future depending on how badly this battery degrades over time.

Anyway, this is just 10 things out of around 30 tips all told. I’m not sacrificing any functionality I desire, I’m getting all the data I need/want in a timely manner, and I have all-day battery life. Win. Check the sources for more tips to see which ones you can deploy to add some life to your Thunderbolt. And if you have any new battery usage tips, let us know in the comments!

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Managing battery life for iOS 5 devices instructions

Why wait for Apple’s iOS fix? Here are ways to tackle your power problems

Apple’s concession Wednesday that an iOS 5 glitch is behind the battery problems experienced by some iOS devices is welcome news. Not only does it mean help is on the way—Apple promised it was working on a fix—but it also lets iOS device owners who’ve been experiencing battery drain know that they aren’t imagining things. As someone who’s had to troubleshoot a power-mad iPhone 4S, I’m happy to hear that I’m not crazy. Not about this, anyhow.

While the iPhone 4S has been the focus of many battery life complaints, it’s not the only device suffering from a loss of power. I’ve received anecdotal reports from Macworld staff members as well as from readers that these battery-sucking issues affect other devices running iOS 5. And that makes sense: With its iCloud integration, wireless syncing, and greater use of location services, iOS 5 is bound to pull more power from a device’s battery. The new mobile OS also makes it easier to push data (contacts, calendars, and email) from a variety of accounts (Gmail and Yahoo, for instance), and with push comes an increasingly taxed Dell vostro 1520 power laptop battery.

If you’ve been having battery-life problems with your iOS 5 devices, you could sit back and wait for Apple’s promised iOS update to fix the problem. But if you’re more inclined to take an active approach, there are some things you can do to track down—and maybe even tackle—the source of your power problems.

System Services: Go to Settings -> Location Services -> System Services. In the resulting screen you’ll see a series of entries (the number and kind you see depends on the device you’re using). By default, they’re all switched on. But regardless of whether any of these options are buggy or not, I see little use for many of them. For example, some people have suggested that the Setting Time Zone option can cause problems as the device constantly checks with a server to see if it’s changed time zones. Unless you’re the ultimate jet-setter, you don’t need to have this option enabled. If you don’t care about what’s on sale at the corner Chocklit Shoppe, switch off Location-Based iAds. If you don’t use Maps to check on traffic, turn off Traffic. And if you know north from south, switch off Compass Calibration. At the very least, switch on the Status Bar Icon option so you can see when your device is using some of these services.

Location Services: The ability for your iOS device to tell apps where you are is one of the greatest things about iOS 5, but if it’s killing your battery, it’s not nearly as helpful as it could be. You can switch location services off entirely by going to Settings -> Location Services and flicking the Location Services Switch to the Off position. But that’s an extreme action and one you can likely avoid. Instead, scan down the list of apps and take a gander at which of your apps are currently using those services (as denoted by a purple arrow). Do you really need those apps broadcasting your location? If not, switch them off.

With regard to locations, one app to keep a careful eye on is Reminders. You can have reminders appear when you’re near a particular location. This means that your device is routinely performing “Am I there yet?” operations, which affect your battery. It’s a very cool feature, but if your device can’t hold a charge, it’s a feature you may want to do without.

Siri: If you’ve got an iPhone 4S—remember, Siri is only available on that phone—go to Settings -> General -> Siri and disable the Raise to Speak option. This is a convenient feature that invokes Siri whenever you lift the phone to your face, but I’ve seen reports that this can cause an undue battery drain. With this option off, all you have to do to awaken Siri is press and hold the Home button.

I’d resist disabling Siri altogether. When you do, the information Siri has gleaned from you is wiped from Apple’s servers. When you switch it back on, Siri is not terribly responsive out of the gate, plus it then resyncs that data with the cloud, thus burning up power.

sirisetting188 261113 Managing battery life for iOS 5 devices instructions
Disable Siri’s Raise to Speak option to save power

Push: It’s always been true that when you push data to your iOS device, you’ll put more strain on the battery. To preserve your Toshiba PA3534U-1BAS Extended Battery charge, turn push off by going to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data and flip the Push switch off. Your device will now fetch data with a setting of your choosing—every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, every hour, or manually. Choosing Manually saves the most power as data will be delivered to your device only when you use an app that requests it—when you open Mail, for example.

You can also pick and choose which accounts push (if supported) and fetch. To do that, scroll to the bottom of the Fetch New Data screen and tap Advanced. You’ll find that you can adjust settings for each account you use—iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo, for example.

Auto-Lock: A fellow Macworld editor discovered that when she updated her iPhone to iOS 5, her Auto-Lock settings changed. Before updating to iOS 5, she had the phone configured to auto-lock after one minute (thus turning off the display and saving power). After she upgraded, it was set to Never, which will burn up your battery in a hurry. The Auto-Lock setting is found here: Settings -> General.

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iCloud offers a wealth of battery-draining options

iCloud: The ability to automatically move data between your iOS device and the cloud is fabulous, but it can also deplete your battery in short order. Go to Settings -> iCloud and take a stern look at the options you find there. If you don’t routinely create contacts, events, reminders, bookmarks, and notes on your device and you’re willing to forego automatically receiving updates to these items when they’re created on other devices, consider switching some or all of these options off. (You can choose to keep existing items on the device, and they’ll remain viewable.) Photo Stream is another option to carefully consider, because when it’s switched on every picture you take with your iOS device is uploaded to the cloud. (Images taken with other devices associated with your Apple ID are also downloaded to your device.) This is yet another drain on your battery. Likewise, if you have Documents & Data switched on, more data is sent to the cloud.

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Storage & Backup and iTunes Wi-Fi Sync shouldn’t concern you, as they’re designed to work only when the device is attached to a powered connection.

Notifications: Those visual and audio alerts require power. Go to Settings -> Notifications and switch off those you can do without.

Brightness: Your device was not designed, by default, to be a flashlight. If you increase the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad’s brightness setting, understand that you’re doing so at the cost of a shorter battery charge.

AirPlay: I can’t even begin to image how quickly you’d deplete a battery charge by streaming a Harry Potter flick from an iOS device to your Apple TV. If you don’t want to find out, plug your device into a power source when you’re using AirPlay. Similarly, if you stream content to your device in the form of movie trailers, Netflix content, or a music subscription service, you can expect your battery to go south in a hurry if your device isn’t externally powered.

Taking all the fun out of it

If you were to disable every option listed here you’d have an awfully dull device. And if you’d wanted that, you would have purchased something that lacked the Apple logo. The forthcoming iOS 5 update should take care of the worst battery abuses that can be attributed to bugs and runaway processes. But it’s also likely that the extra power and flexibility we’ve demanded from our iOS devices come at a price: a device that asks more of a battery. However, given that many people are having no battery issues, it’s entirely possible that with only slight tweaks here and there, the most power-frugal among us can have our cake and eat it too.

Read More

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Apple MacBook laptop batteries susceptible to hack attacks

Kristal Apple MacBook laptop batteries susceptible to hack attacksNow that Apple has endowed the Mac operating system with state-of-the-art security protections, a researcher has devised new attacks that target the machine’s battery.

Charlie Miller, well known for his numerous attacks on iPhones and Macs, may not have achieved his ultimate objective of making a Mac spontaneously combust, but he has figured out how to permanently disable the battery. And in time, he said, it also may be possible to remotely hijack a machine by manipulating the firmware on one of the stored power supply’s chips.

“What I found was you can make any change you want to the software that runs on the laptop battery,” Miller, who is principal research consultant at security firm Accuvant and the other coauthor of The Mac Hacker’s Handbook, told The Reg. “I also saw that you can mess up the chip so it won’t function anymore. You can’t recover from that. You couldn’t even take it to the genius bar.”

The flaw making all of this possible is the result of Apple’s decision to ship MacBook batteries without changing the passwords needed to run updates or make low-level changes to their embedded controllers. By reverse-engineering past updates, he had no trouble deducing the pass codes.

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With these, Miller was able to make changes to the battery firmware that bricked the Apple a1175 battery. The hack doesn’t sound all that interesting until you consider that any changes will survive a complete reinstallation of the MacBook’s operating system. Miller theorized that if there’s a way to cause the firmware to exploit a vulnerability in Mac OS X, his laptop battery pack hack could open the door to system compromises that persist even after disinfection of reinstallation.

Miller will be presenting his findings at next month’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At his talk, he will also release a software tool that patches the vulnerability by changing the default passwords that ship with 15 inch macbook pro battery.

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Top Tips to Save Your iPad Battery Life –

Just got your new iPad, and you’re already worrying about the battery draining? Chill out, live a little, and play some Flight Control HD.

But once you’ve inducted your shiny new toy into your fleet of gadgets, and you’re ready to take him for a night out on the town in celebration, you can start to think about ways to conserve battery life.

First up, this article is going to come with a couple of caveats. For one, the iPad is, in many ways, a large iPod touch or iPhone, so a lot of the tips we give in this article will be very familiar to current Apple enthusiasts.

And secondly, the iPad’s battery is an incredible creature, capable of pumping out 12 hours of constant tapping, stroking, touching and caressing, regardless of Apple‘s meagre ten hour claims. Power conservation will rarely be on your list of concerns.

But there’ll always come a time when your HP Probook 4710S Battery is on life support, there’s not a power socket in sight and you still have a good half hour of public transport to endure.

Whatever can you do to ensure your magic rectangle has the power to see you all the way home? Well, you’d better read on to find out.

Turn off power sapping functionality

battery wifi Top Tips to Save Your iPad Battery Life   batteries

Yeah, my wi-fi hotspot is called Jim. I bet yours is something boring like Netgear or BT.

Bluetooth is the first to go. Unless you’re waggling a jailbreak-enabled Wii Remote on the last train out of Paddington, there’s probably not much use having this wireless technology clogging up your iPad. Shut it off in settings.

Wi-fi is also a good one to turn-off. You might not even be connected to a hotspot, but the little tablet is still trying to find connections every five seconds, in an undying eagerness to please its new owner.

Besides, if you’re reading a Tom Clancy novel or playing Angry Birds, do you really need web connection? Cut it loose in the Settings menu.

Location services next. I think you can afford to stop telling your three faithful Foursquare followers your exact geographical location for twenty minutes. Unless you’re geo-caching, shut it off.

You could also nix your push notifications, but if you’re still intent on bring told you have a new email, a new tweet, or that your turnips need harvesting, there could be a better way.

Quit pushing, and fetch less often

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You can turn off push email in the Fetch New Data menu, and select how often it will check for mail.

If you set up your email correctly, you can get your server to alert your iPad the nanosecond it receives a new electronic letter.

And we know its helpful for your productivity to know someones left cookies on their desk the moment it happens, but what’s an extra 15 minutes to wait?

No cookies, that’s what. But if you’re in a Heathrow bound tube, it won’t really matter anyway.

Turn off push notifications, and set it to fetch your emails instead. From here, you can make your golden retriever-like iPad pop off and look for new emails every quarter of an hour, every 30 minutes, or hourly. Or you can even set it manually, so it’ll only tax your battery when you load the the Mail, Calendar, or Contacts apps.

Choose less strenuous activities

battery book Top Tips to Save Your iPad Battery Life   batteries

If only we could compromise. Perhaps with a Plants vs Zombies book, for example.

If you’re seriously running low on laptop battery, maybe you should give that seven hour Plants vs Zombies marathon or complete Lost Season 6 re-watch a raincheck. Anything with constantly moving graphics, especially 3D ones or physics based games, will sap your battery at a far greater pace than say, a nice iBook.

You do remember books, don’t you? The ones with pages and little stories and characters named Boo Radley. Sometimes they’ll even have pictures, and they won’t kill your power source as fast as a picture of a red bird, flying through the air towards a flimsy structure filled with pigs.

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Audio is good, too, because you can turn the screen off entirely, saving literally hours of battery life. Music is a good traditional choice, but keep your iPad loaded with audiobooks and podcasts in case something different takes your fancy.

Turn the brightness down

battery bright Top Tips to Save Your iPad Battery Life   batteries

iPad screenshots don’t capture the device’s current brightness, so I had to use the extent of my Photoshop skills to bring you this image. Enjoy.

The iPad has an exquisite screen. A big glossy finished, high resolution, multi-touch bastard. It looks lovely when the brightness is on full blast, of course, but that’ll drain your battery quicker than a plug drains a sink. Which is very fast, obviously.

It’s good for your eyes, too. Reading large swathes of text on a brightly lit tablet is like reading a book that’s printed on a light bulb. Or the sun.

So it’s not just good for your iPad’s health, but yours too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander and all that. And the goose is an iPad, in this twisted, tortured metaphor.

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