Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

A cloudy future ahead?

May 21, 2011

Clouds by Karin Dalziel

The announcement this week from Google regarding the launch of the Chromebook, a simple and cheap netbook running on Google’s Chrome OS (effectively a laptop with a web browser), raises some interesting questions about the future of cloud computing and the state of the computer landscape.

The Chromebook will mean that users must access applications solely from ‘the Cloud’. Although this might seem like a radical shift for some, we must remember that many of us are already accessing email, photos, social networks and more from ‘the Cloud’, so perhaps this is a further step in the direction towards a purely cloud-based future?

I think another interesting aspect around this story is the simplicity the Chromebook will offer the user. By accessing everything from ‘the Cloud’, the computer experience is kept simple and identical wherever you are and with whatever devise you’re using.

Finally, is Google taking Microsoft head-on with this development? It’ll be interesting to see how they respond as things develop further.


Extending your iPhone 4 battery life

November 24, 2010

It’s been just over a week since I bought my first iPhone (4), and like many who have Apple’s brilliant smartphone, I quickly realised that the battery doesn’t last for very long compared with your average feature phone.

Smartphones such as the iPhone are incredibly useful tools if you’re a social media enthusiast like me. They allow you to keep up-to-date with your social networks, tweet on the move and check your emails remotely. All this in addition to being a phone (well, it is called an iPhone), multimedia centre and an MP3 player (amongst many other features). And it is all these great features that drains the iPhone’s battery life so quickly.

So, like anyone else, I went on the hunt within the blogosphere for some top tips on how to extend my iPhone’s fairly feeble battery life. What follows is some of the best tips* I found on my endeavours:

Update the latest software

Apple recommends that users always download the latest software for the iPhone as engineers may find new ways to optimise battery performance.

Reduce screen brightness

The brighter the setting, the more battery it requires. I always reduce mine to just below the half-way mark because I don’t need the phone to be that bright. Always ensure ‘auto-brightness’ is switched on. Go to Settings > Brightness

Turn 0ff 3G

If I’m in an area with limited or no 3G coverage, I sometimes turn the 3G settings off because battery is used up searching for a 3G signal. To disable 3G, go to Settings > General > Network and set Enable 3G to Off.

Turn off WiFi scanning off

If you’re in an area with no WiFi, then turn it off. The battery is used up as the iPhone will be constantly scanning for a WiFi signal. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and set Wi-Fi to Off.

Turn off location services

Some apps, such as FourSquare and Facebook (Places) for example, require location services. If you don’t need these, switch them off by going to Settings > General > Location Services.

Turn off Bluetooth

I hardly ever use Bluetooth, and battery can be used up if it is left on constantly. Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth and set Bluetooth to Off.

Turn data push off

I found that when I first got my iPhone it was set so that data was being ‘pushed’. When I’m at work or at home, I find that I don’t need data being pushed to me, which automatically sucks in email and other data whenever it becomes available. I have therefore decided to check my email manually or set my phone to check for me periodically (fetch). Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data

Fetch emails less often

Following on from the above point, ‘fetching’ means the iPhone will check periodically for data such as email. However, the more your phone needs to access a network, the more the battery is used. So set the iPhone to fetch data when you need it to. Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data

Turn off apps that are not in use

A few days after I got my iPhone, I didn’t realise I had a number of apps running in the background even though I wasn’t using them. These apps use battery life and can be turned off. Double-click the Home button. This will bring up a list of apps at the bottom of the screen. Hold you finger over an app for about two seconds, and it will then begin to wobble. You’ll then have an option to close them down (this won’t delete them).

Use your iPhone regularly

It sounds a bit silly in a way, but using your iPhone regularly is good for the battery. For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, the electrons need to be kept moving. Apple also recommends that iPhone users go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down)

* This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many more tips for extending the iPhone’s battery life. The list above is a refined list based on the tips that I have personally found useful.

Do you have any tips for extending the iPhone’s battery life? If so, I’d love to hear what they are.