I was on a four hour flight today from Nashville, TN to LAX. While it was jammed, it was made slightly more tolerable thanks to Google Gears and a couple of simple tricks to make your battery last a little bit longer.
As a point of reference, I have an HP CompaqNC6000. The battery, on the ‘Best Performance’ setting only lasts about 90 minutes. Doing the following, I was able to get it to last the full 4 hour flight.
1.) Dim Your Screen – Your screen uses up a ton of battery power. Dimming it can make all the difference in the world. Take it as low as you can tolerate it. Don’t go so dark that you are straining your eyes to see the screen, but take it low.
2.) Turn Off WiFi – WiFi doesn’t work on planes (yet) and your WiFi radio is always trying to send a signal out. This uses up a lot of power. Most laptops have a switch on them to turn off the WiFi functionality, if not there is a simple Windows utility to shut the radio off.
3.) Don’t Use Your DVD Player or Play CD’s – I know that it is tempting. You’re on a long flight, you’re bored and have just spent the past couple of days in a conference room, all you want to do is watch a movie. All that spinning and video rendering is going to use up processing power which will, in turn, use up your battery.
4.) Go Offline, Part 1- If you are going to do email on the plane, make sure you go offline. Most users have Outlook configured to query the server every couple of minutes. If it doesn’t get a connection, it just continues to try to make this connection. Again, this uses up battery power. Go to File | Work Offline.
5.) Go Offline, Part 2 – So, what can you do if email & DVD’s aren’t an option? Leverage Google Reader for your RSS feeds. Download and install Google Gears in order to be able to download all of your RSS feeds to your PC. When I did it today, I had 1900 feeds. It only downloads text, but it will give you a chance to get caught up on all of the blog posts that you’ve been blowing off.
I hope that this helps keep you going long after everyone else on your flight has shut down.