Gadget News: Tips for Making Batteries Last Longer, and Green Tech Apathy

This week I saw a man talking to his iPhone. Not into it, to it. “No, no, just a little longer,” he pleaded. But from his frustrated sigh, I’m assuming the phone died anyway. There are ways to make a charge last longer, saving you headaches and avoiding plugging your gadget into a wall power source as often. Here’s some advice on stretching the juice in smartphones and laptops, from The New York Times. For the full list, click here.

Dim It
The brighter your screen, the more juice you’re using.

Check Coverage Area
Phones, which are always looking for a signal, have to work harder if the cell-phone signal is weak, reducing battery life. Switch off mobile capabilities if you’re in an area whithout coverage.

Check Mail Manually
Setting your mobile smartphone to check for messages automatically, or to alert you that you’ve got mail, both drain power. Turn off the “push” option and increase the interval between when the phone checks for new messages. Your best bet for increasing your battery life is to check for messages manually.

Turn Off Everything
Cut power to a minimum by putting your smartphone into “airplane mode.” You won’t be able to receive e-mail messages or make or receive phone calls, but you will stretch your battery.

Disable Animations
The hotter your laptop feels, the more battery power it is using. One of the biggest power hogs is Flash animation (used to run online videos and animated ads). Disable Flash when not using wall power, and consider using a program that automatically restricts Flash (BashFlash and ClicktoFlash for Macs and Flashblock for PC).

For more, including apps to aid you, go to the article.

One additional recommendation the Times story doesn’t mention: After you’ve squeezed every bit of juice out of the battery, don’t toss it in the trash. Find the nearest recycling center at Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation or Earth 911

A question for you tech lovers: Do you care if your gadget is green? An independent panel surveyed 1,000 people for Retrevo, a consumer electronics review and shopping site, on consumer interest in green gadgets. The bottom line, according to the company: “It's clear that many consumers get the message about being green with gadgets however in order to get them to put their ‘green’ into action the industry and the government needs to step up and make it easier and worth the effort.” Check out the survey results up top and below.

“The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”