Tag Archives: batteries

Is Apple Really in the Battery Business?

After watching my video review of Apple’s Magic Trackpad yesterday, Tomi wrote in to give me the 4-1-1 about the “Apple” batteries I mentioned. The record has been set straight: they are not “Apple” batteries. They are rebranded Sanyo Eneloops. Tomi uses these in a Canon PowerShot SX1 IS camera and loves them. Apparently they have a much better life than many of the rechargeable counterparts on the market.

The funny thing is that if you buy the batteries through Eneloop, you’ll spend about half as much as you would buying them through Apple… for the same exact batteries. By all accounts, these batteries do work better than most of the others you could buy. They last longer – and cost less – than the Energizer or Duracell equivalents.

Using rechargeable batteries just makes sense. You’re saving money AND saving a little space in our landfills. I personally haven’t used disposable batteries in quite some time now. What about you?

Top $10 Tech

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette. All opinions are 100% mine with my standard disclosure.

I'm a Gillette Pro

We take technology for granted on a daily basis. Most people equate the word technology with computer-related items despite the fact that by definition it extends far beyond that scope. Technology encompasses any inventions, gadgets, doohickies, appliances, doodads, thingamabobs, whatchamacallits, and gizmos that we use in our homes each day. They’re the little things that we have lying around, grabbing to use without even really thinking about. We know they’re there yet we don’t stop to realize how much easier our lives are for having them.

I took a tour of my house and opened my eyes to inexpensive (under ten dollars) tech gems that I take for granted, and was shocked to see how many there were. Here are just a few.

  • Batteries – Can you imagine a world without batteries? Take a glance around you right now and count how many items you see that need a battery to make them work properly. When I did this myself, I was astounded at how many there were. Imagine coming up with alternatives for all of the battery-operated things you use regularly. How much time and effort do you save by having these objects? Before the invention of batteries, we had to power our gadgets with the help of tiny dinosaurs on treadmills, and this could get quite messy after a long day.
  • Toothbrush – Yes, a toothbrush is a type of technology, and one we definitely don’t stop to think about. We simply use it – day in, and day out. Prior to an actual toothbrush being invented, our ancestors likely used their finger or a leaf to clean off their teeth IF they even thought to clean them at all. Imagine how gross you would feel – and look – if you never used one of these simple little pieces of tech. When your teeth feel like they’re wearing sweaters, it’s time to get scrubbing!
  • Earbuds – The next time you’re out in public walking around, make a conscious effort to notice how many people have earbuds sitting in their ears. Thousands of people use these on a regular basis while walking, cooking, cleaning, exercising, sitting on an airplane, or during their commute. We listen to music and podcasts, catch up on the news or our favorite shows, and generally tune out the rest of the world for those few stolen moments of solitude. Even if you’ve got nothing to plug them into, they’re nice for avoiding conversation with street corner tuba buskers and one-eyed spare change hustlers.
  • Gillette Fusion ProGlide – For men and women alike, shaving is something we do without thinking, though this hasn’t always been the case. Before the advent of the safety razor in relatively recent human history, shaving could be a quite dangerous chore that was tasked to experts. I shudder to think about how we would all look without having a simple way to shed unwanted hair -from our chins to our legs to our underarms – whatever the case may be. We want to look and feel our best, and shaving is just one of those things we do to prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead. Until recently, I never took the time to notice how invaluable my razor is. On the other hand, think of all the gadgets I could have at the ready if I grew a gnarly gnome beard to keep them in!
  • Electric Can Opener – If you cook, you know exactly why this made my list of items. You’re busy whipping up a pot of your famous chili and have to spend fifteen minutes opening several cans of beans, tomatoes, and sauces. With one of these shiny little pieces of technology, that time is cut to just a moment or two. I am convinced it also saves me from having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists. I’d make sure to rinse it between peeling open cans of dog food and peaches, though. Just saying.
  • Alarm Clock – It doesn’t matter if you use a traditional alarm clock, your cell phone, or your computer. You still likely use an alarm to wake yourself up at a certain time. Can you even imagine what time people would stumble into work or school each day if we didn’t have some type of alarm clock in our bedrooms? Very few of us have our bodies programmed to wake up automatically. I’d definitely never make it on time to morning appointments without one of these. The rooster I was using annoyed the neighbors, so I made them a nice chicken dinner as a peace offering.
  • Thermometer – If you’re a parent, you are already grateful beyond belief for these tiny little pieces of tech goodness. You can easily tell when your child has a fever. It’s not so easy to tell with the touch of a hand exactly how high that temperature may be. A kiss to the forehead may tell you that the person needs a dose of Tylenol, but it won’t tell you if they may need other medical intervention. Even as an adult, one of the first things a doctor will ask when you call them is how high your fever is running. Without the aid of a thermometer, you cannot begin to give them an accurate answer. Resist the urge to tell your doctor where he/she can stick that damned thermometer, anyway.

When one remembers that technology doesn’t only encompass things you’d find in your office, it’s easy to appreciate the things around us that we use on a daily basis. Each of the items I listed make life a little easier for us. Isn’t that what technology advancements are all about?

What inexpensive pieces of technology lying around your house do you use regularly without thinking about them? Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler…

Battery Saving Tips for iPods and Zunes

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If you use your MP3 player a lot, you likely go through batteries very quickly. Here are some great tips that can help you extend your battery life… and save you some money.

  • Backlight: You can change the setting on your iPod to adjust how long your backlight stays on. You can also set it to stay off permanently, to save the battery even more. Just changing the backlight on-time from 10 seconds to 5 can make all the difference. If you are in a well-lit area, turning it off all together can help as well.
  • Drain the battery Purposely run down your battery every once in awhile to increase life. You should fully run the battery down, and then charge it fully. You can easily run the battery down by pressing “play” with the volume up full, and leaving it to run if you dont have time to listen to it.
  • Play your music at a lower volume. Turn it down to a level where you can hear it over conversation and other noise… but set it so you can just hear the iPod a little bit more. By doing this, you can not only help preserve your hearing but also save alot of battery life.
  • Use lower-quality music files and changing albums To reduce access to the disk drive on hard disk ipods, there is a certain amount of cache memory for the music files to be loaded. This increases battery life and increases speed between the changing of song. It also acts as jog protection.

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Wireless Power

Is it just me, or is this invention a game changer?

It may sound futuristic, but Powercast’s platform uses nothing more complex than a radio–and is cheap enough for just about any company to incorporate into a product. A transmitter plugs into the wall, and a dime-size receiver (the real innovation, costing about $5 to make) can be embedded into any low-voltage device. The receiver turns radio waves into DC electricity, recharging the device’s battery at a distance of up to 3 feet.

Fewer wires? Fewer proprietary power cables? Fewer batteries? Fewer headaches? OMG. Finally, a piece of technology that nobody will be able to live without.

Actually, even though I’m looking at this link today (March 30th) – the page title is “Powercast’s technology cuts the electric cord – April 1, 2007.” Is this an AFD joke that was published before AFD?

A Better Battery Life

I was surprised – our battery interview turned out to be quite informational. PC World also has a handful of iPod battery tips, although I believe the suggestions trancend Apple’s platform. Here are my takeaways from both pieces:

  • Don’t leave your battery-driven devices plugged in all the time.
  • Let your batteries drain completely before recharging them.
  • On the iPod, “Standby” doesn’t save as much juice as “Pause” does.
  • Turning off sound equalizers may also increase battery life.
  • Batteries drain quicker in warmer environments.

My biggest beef with batteries is that they’re not all removable, they’re not all rechargable, and they’re not as interchangable as they should be. Moreover, I’m wholly unimpressed when I can’t charge a device by USB.