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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Laptop Batteries

Ok, my dear husband's two year old laptop no longer has any battery power (about 5 minutes or so before it dies) so we stopped by the local battery specialist and learned some important things about Lithium-ion and Lithium-polymer batteries.

A laptop battery's lifespan is approximately 1,000 charge cycles, or 2-4 years under normal operating conditions.  The battery in question had around 75 cycles and was determined to be dead.

My husband's laptop normally stayed plugged in.. after all, you would think that plugging it in would bypass the battery.. wrong. Instead it was damaging, by overcharging the battery.  

It was recommended that you discharge the battery until you get the warning on the laptop or even better, discharge completely, then plug it in.. charge to full and then disconnect the power.   Run the battery down and recharge it at least once every month, even better, every couple of weeks but optimally.. every day.

Matter of fact, he stated that with a new battery, do this discharge cycle a dozen times or more to "synchronize" the cells. It increases the longevity of the battery.

Some things that will degrade your battery:
  1. HEAT.. heat will dry out the battery so don't leave your laptop in the car in the summer. 
  2. HEAT.. so don't let the battery get hot by leaving it on while on a bed or other soft surface. 
  3. HEAT.. keep the vents on the laptop free from dust by using a keyboard cleaner (canned air) on the vents.
  4. Leaving the battery constantly charged will greatly reduce the life of the battery just like my dh thought  was the right thing to do.
  5. Keep your system running optimally by defragging your system monthly and using system resources wisely.. The better running, the less energy used, prolonging your battery.
Who knew?  The person that will be selling us a replacement battery to the tune of about ♪♫ $90 ♫♪. So who is the smart one?  Well, we are now...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Multiple views for Multitaskers

Google Chrome has a cool plugin that allows you to create 2 side by side “panels”. Sometimes when browsing for something (such as textbooks), it would be easier to have a second screen without having to have pop over to another tab or another browser screen.

Or if you are using one screen for research and the second screen with Google Docs so you can write your report or document.

So, if you use Google Chrome for your browser, a very fast browser, this little script (Javascript to be exact) may be just what you need. Would you prefer the Firefox extension Split Browser?  Want to do this with two screens on your computer? 

You can use your windows system to keep two applications side by side or stacked.  This option can be used by right clicking on task bar and selecting your choice.  

Want to arrange two (or more) windows side by side in Windows XP or Vista? Hold down Ctrl and click on the desired windows in the taskbar; then right-click the taskbar and select Tile Vertically. In Windows 7, you can simply drag any open window to the right or left edge of your screen and then let go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Capture the Screen

Having a hard time explaining what you see on your computer? This quick tip can come in handy for your favorite (or not so favorite) tech support person.

Take a screenshot by using the Print Screen key and the Shift key, above the backspace (Shift-Prt Scr), which copies an image of your full computer screen to your clipboard so that you can paste it (using the Paste on the upper left or Ctrl-V) into your Paint program or your preferred image editor. The Paint program can be found under Start/Accessories. Save it as a gif or jpg file and send it as an attachment to your tech support. You can also insert it into a word document by taking the screen shot and then after clicking the mouse where you want the image, paste the image with Ctrl-V.  To capture just the active window (the one on top, last clicked on), use Ctrl-Alt-Prt Scr.

Click on the image to see a larger view of the Paint Screen.














Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 New Year Resolutions

So.. it is time to implement those New Year resolutions... There are so many great tools online to help you get started..
  1. 2012 Goal to lose weight? Check out SparkPeople.. one of the best (and free) sites to document and connect with others. Another site is MyFitnessPal with tools and calculators.
  2. Pay off your debt?  Well, Crown.org is a great group to help you get your financial house in order with calculators, articles, free downloads and free coaching.
  3. Considering starting a business, a side line or home business?  Check out New Venture Lab: Equipping Christian Entrepreneurs. This site includes a Venture Analysis to help you determine if your idea is worthwhile.  Startup failure rates are pretty high, so be sure to have wise counsel before you start.  Also check out the Small Business Administration for some tools and suggestions.
  4. Starting exercise on your list? Don't go and pay for the gym membership! Start walking, running, exercising at home or get active with sports. SparkPeople has exercise videos and a log to track your exercising. You can watch videos at WorkOutz or have the entire family participate in the President's Challenge.
     
  5. For your spiritual growth, you might consider reading the Bible over the next year. There are numerous sources online that break down the Old and New Testament into reasonable sections, even chronologically. Check out the Bible Reading Plans and find the one that works for you or go to Bible.com for a calendar of reading which averages three chapters a day. BibleGateway will even send you email reminders.
 So, start the year off right... plan your resolution and take the first steps to be successful in 2012.  It is always nice to start off strong.. but remember to pace your self and never quit.. even when you stumble.  This truly will help you keep your resolution until 2013.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!


As a transplant to the south, I always find traditions interesting.. So, did you know that eating black-eyed peas dates back to the civil war?  Read this article about this tradition of good luck at