Mac: If you need to keep your computer awake until certain apps or processes are finished running and you don't trust the built-in energy management settings, you can use the boldly named Amphetamine 3.0 to keep your Mac on under whatever circumstances you require.
Tagged With power management
Dear Lifehacker, Every time I turn a light or appliance on/off, the sound from my LCD TV cuts out for a second or so (picture remains fine). I have my TV, PS3 and stereo hooked up via a basic surge protector board but was wondering whether upgrading to a more robust surge protector (probably with the eco/green power saving capabilities) would solve this annoyance? Thanks, Ryan
Windows only: PushMonitOff is a nifty little stand-alone executable that instantly turns your monitors off with a hot key combination, allowing you to flip them back on when needed. Why would you want to turn off your monitor by keyboard instead of using the the physical monitor button? If you manually turn off the monitor, you can't awaken the monitors with input from the computer. Once you activate the hot key combo and shut down your monitors with PushMonitorOff, any input from the keyboard or mouse will turn them back on. If you're sporting multiple monitors, clicking two keys on your keyboard also saves you the reach of flipping two, three, or more buttons to power down without feeling like you're shutting down a power station. Don't laugh—when clicking my bank of monitors off, I feel like I should be hearing turbines winding down. The default combination is SHIFT+F1, but can be modified to any combination you like by accessing PushMonitOff settings via the system tray icon. PushMonitOff is a portable and stand-alone freeware application, Windows only. Photo by Lemsipmatt.PushMonitOff
Windows only: Tiny utility NoSleepHD stops external hard drives from powering down, bypassing the mandatory sleep mode built into many USB drives—and eliminating the delay while the drive powers back up. Using the utility just requires launching, selecting an external hard drive, and starting NoSleep mode—which writes to a file every minute so the drive never has a chance to power down, eliminating the delay when accessing files on the drive. This application does the exact opposite of getting green with your computer, but could come in handy if your home media server has issues dealing with the drives shutting down. NoSleepHD is free and open source, works for Windows only. Readers using Linux could simply create a cron job that writes to a file to keep the drive awake.
With proper (that is, hideous) summer temperatures swamping most of the country, it seems timely to remind the Lifehacker community of some of the useful techniques you can use to make sure your beloved PC isn't a victim of heatstroke. Beyond keeping your working environment cool and ensuring decent airflow, there are more specific steps you can take. For laptop users,
A post on Microsoft's Windows 7 blog offers some interesting insight into how power consumption works on a current notebook. As the graph shows, your display consumes almost half of the total power, with the combined efforts of the chipset and processor running a close second. Improving those numbers is one of the targets for Windows 7, though I'm deeply sceptical of the claim that "most systems resume from sleep in less than 2 seconds", improved boot times for the platform notwithstanding. Even with a relatively speedy resume, sleep functionality has also been mixed with some recent Windows notebooks I've owned -- many have done a singularly awful job of dealing with attached devices or even reconnecting to networks. But there's always hope, isn't there?
Windows 7 Energy Efficiency
If you think booting up and shutting down your computer negates the benefits of turning it off to begin with, or that your screensaver is saving you energy, get thee to Ted Samson's rundown of five PC power myths and why they're wrong. Save yourself and your company some cash and compute more sustainably by getting your computer's power management in order.
One of the main development goals for Windows 7 is improving battery performance on laptop systems. Much of that is down to the manufacturer who builds the machine, but Windows 7 also includes a new command line tool for identifying power problems. As demonstrated in this morning's WinHEC keynote, you can type powerconfig /energy duration:20 and generate a report identifying potential sources of power problems, ranging from poorly configured Wi-Fi to battery-draining background applications. While you can set shorter durations for the test, running for longer identifies more potential problems. The current public builds of Windows 7 don't have lots of UI elements enabled, so it's likely that there'll be a friendlier front-end to this system before the final version arrives -- but it's still a nice tool for the power tweaker.
Budget Qantas offshoot Jetstar suffered an extended computer outage over the weekend, which was apparently due to a power surge somewhere in its network. While you won't be forced to check in hundreds of passengers manually if your own power supply fails, it always pays to be prepared for unexpected power incidents. As I've noted in the past, a fully-charged laptop and a wireless broadband card can get you a long way when there's no electricity around. If most of your key resources are in the cloud, heading to a net cafe can also be a good option. What other tactics have you used to deal with unexpected loss of power?
When I woke up this morning, the main power circuit in my house had died. This was bad news for my wallet and my productivity, as the power didn't get restored until 2pm and I had a bunch of work to do. I had two laptops -- a fully-charged ThinkPad and a half-charged Eee PC -- and a wireless broadband card. Would they last until the electrician finished doing strange things in my bathroom?While it sucks being without power for an extended period, there's an upside: it really makes you focus on what tasks you need to get done and what power management options you have.