Tech Talk: A PC energy crisis |

Tech Talk: A PC energy crisis

Kings Beach resident Ernie Dambach is a self-admitted computer geek who enjoys helping others navigate their way through the digital world.

Imagine this recent scenario: I was working on a killer Power Point presentation aboard a plane heading for New York City. My laptop was humming along happily and I was feeling confident that everything would be completed when I got off the plane and met with the client. Then my world went dark ” literally. The laptop’s battery was done for and so was my career. Any tips for avoiding this scary scenario in the future?



I feel you Powerless! You probably already know that playing games and watching DVDs is a major battery suck, but what else can you do to extend the life of your battery? Here are a few ideas that will help you get the most from your laptop battery and avoid another career-busting caper.

Dim the screen To conserve power, turn the screen brightness down. The screen is the most power-intensive component in your laptop and the brighter it is the more power it utilized.

Unplug the un-necessaries: If you don’t need that flash drive or host-powered hard drive, unplug ’em.

Battery basics ” Contrary to popular belief, Lithium-Ion batteries don’t need a complete discharge, but you should use it once you’ve charged it up. Also, consider keeping a charged up spare on hand.

Multi-tasking mayhem ” So you’re working on an important presentation and you only have about an hour of battery life left. Now is the time to streamline operations: Unplug the iTunes, stop messing with your emails and focus on just one computer task … the one that’s due in 59 minutes!

Mute the music ” Even if you aren’t listening to music, if your speakers are on your battery is fueling all those beeps and program prompts. Switch to mute and you’ll save lots of valuable power.

Turn off WiFi ” Many laptops have a switch that will easily turn off the WiFi and Bluetooth. If not, it can also be done within the operating system. This not only saves mucho power, but it will keep you on the right side of the law, since broadcasting radio signal is a big no-no on an airplane!

The less work that the hard drive has to do sorting through an sundry of rubbish files the better. If you defragment your hard drive when it’s plugged in, the computer will use less power when it’s on battery operations.

This week, check out the recently released iPhone version of Google Earth. Users claim that it’s one of those mind-blowing iPhone applications that reminds one how truly amazing and innovative the iPhone really is. Google Earth is a free app and it is available in the AppStore.

Kings Beach resident Ernie Dambach is a self-admitted computer geek who enjoys helping others navigate their way through the digital world. His computer and networking company Tahoe Tech Group serves small and medium businesses, as well as the home computer users throughout the Tahoe Truckee region. Log onto, or call (530) 550-0999.

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