When you buy a new laptop, PDA, or any other battery operated device, the manufacturer does not tell you that the battery performance specifications are really only valid for the initial month or so and then spiral downward from there. Most people do not know that they will need to spend $100 to $300 or more for a new laptop battery every year or two. Most people are not prepared for their Blackberry to start dying on them in the middle of the day within the first year of owning the device.
Things happen in cycles for our clients. The most recent cycle for the helpdesk was having laptop and PDA batteries die and users asking if this is normal, even though the device is less than 2 years old. In fact, I had a client ask me this very question and that same day the battery on my laptop completely failed and would not recharge. Talk about timing....
Most of the batteries in today's laptops and PDAs are lithium-ion rechargeable. The life of the battery is a function of temperature and charging cycles (the goal for a prolonged battery life is to keep it cool and keep the charging cycles to a minimum). For the most part, these types of batteries are supposed to work for about 300 to 500 charging cycles. A charging cycle is different depending on the device and manufacturer, but normally a cycle is having the battery discharge to 75% of capacity, or below, and then charging up to 100% again. The battery will slowly degrade the more charging cycles it completes so be prepared that even after a few months of use, your battery will not perform as well as it did that first day you tried it.Things to do to help maintain your battery
- Fully charge your new battery for at least 12 hours before using.
- Fully discharge and fully charge the battery 2 or 3 times to get the best performance.
- Do not store your laptop or PDA in a very hot environment, like your car, since the heat will degrade the battery life.
- If you do not use your battery much (IE: you have a laptop that sits at the desk most of the time and is rarely on battery power) you should run the system on battery power every once in a while or the battery will fail much sooner. The battery does not want to stay at 100% charged for extended periods of time.
On the horizonBatteries are getting better and better but not even close to the pace of most other technologies. Most laptops increase their performance by nearly double every 1.5 years. If the battery technology followed this rule, we would have batteries that lasted weeks and not just hours. There is hope for better battery life out there. Apple came out with a laptop that has a battery that is supposed to last 8 hours of use and can handle 1,000 charge cycles, essentially 3 times the norm. Definitely a step in the right direction.
I have to admit that when I saw this article in wired Magazine I almost skipped it thinking to myself that GPS is just GPS so what could be new and exciting about that. Tells you what I know about GPS. There are some really amazing applications available out there, but only for a few device typesâ€¦for now. I especially like the app that let's you know when you have reached your train stop (this is great for a dark winter night) and the one that allows you to auto configure your phone depending on your location (IE: at the movies your phone will automatically turn the ringer off). Not to mention the app that helps find a cab or a good restroom.
Check out the full Wired article and see what the future holds for your PDA and GPS.
Did you know that our technology management platform, Waident Watch, can help find a stolen laptop? This platform is a very powerful and feature rich tool that helps us manage our clientsâ€™ technology. It is not made to be the lojack of laptops, but in a recent case with a client we got creative and leveraged the platform to help us find his stolen device. We do whatever it takes to help our clients and in this case we turned detective.
Here is the storyâ€¦last week a client of ours called and said that his laptop was stolen from his house and there was a rash of break-ins in his neighborhood. He went out and bought a new laptop and we configured it for him right away so he could get back to work.Starsky (AKA Mark) told the Waident gang that a client laptop was stolen. Huggy Bear (AKA John) mentioned that most likely the perpetrator would just end up plugging the laptop in to the Internet (rather than doing the computer geek smart thing of rebuilding the machine from scratch) and our Waident Watch Waigent could help find it. At that point the client, Hutch (AKA Barry) got involved in the investigation to help find the laptop, or at least secure the data if there was anything sensitive on it. Starsky shouted "let's do it, do it!" and he pre-programmed the Waigent to block Word, Excel, Outlook and other programs from working to help keep the person behind the caper from accessing any data easily.
Sure enough just a couple of days after the laptop was liberated from Hutch's domicile, our Waigent automatically notified us that the laptop was connected to the Internet and Starsky and Hutch leapt in to action. Within minutes they had the IP address of the machine, which then allowed them to get the general location, which turned out to be about 5 miles down the road. Later Starsky cracked the case wide open and found that the user had logged in to Facebook allowing him to access the culprits name, picture, and accomplices. He then turned on the webcam of the laptop and could see the perpetrators kitchen (grabbing a snapshot image). Hutch tracked the user down, got the address and contacted the fuzz.
It turns out that the person who had the laptop did have a police record and was apprehended. The police are now linking him with the rash of robberies in the neighborhood. Looks like Starsky and Hutch did it again and solved another major crime.