Battery technology in all our various gadgets always seems to be the one thing that isn't moving forward. Most phones, tablets and computers are now at least 80 percent battery -- a huge chunk of environmentally unfriendly lithium and carbon.
Because the technology advances in the battery industry come so slowly, manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung have taken the only logical approach to increasing battery life: shrink every other component of the device so as to leave room for as big a battery as possible.
It seems silly to complain about these batteries because of the capabilities they have given us, but it's hard to argue they aren't holding us back.
In any case, lithium-ion batteries aren't going away anytime soon, so it's up to us to squeeze as much life out of a charge as we can. To that end, here are a few tips to do just that (Google for the instructions for your individual device):
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* Customize energy settings: Make sure you have your computer set to both power off the screen and go to sleep after a reasonable time of idle use. You never know when your attention will be diverted, so a good rule of thumb is to set the laptop's screen to turn off after five idle minutes and the computer to go to sleep after 10 minutes.
* Turn off backlit keyboards: If you have one, congrats. They're a great feature that I'll never go without again. However, they do come at a cost of draining power. If you are in an in-between area where it's just dark enough to trigger the keyboard's ambient light sensor but still light enough to see the keys, then kill the backlight.
* Bad vibes: Make sure you are properly using the vibration feature. Oh, I'm sure YOU are, but I've seen more than a few folks out there whose phone beeps and vibrates for a notification. What's the point of that? Turn on vibration when you need your phone to be quiet; otherwise, don't waste the juice.
Morgan Bonner is pre-press manager and a systems administrator for the Packet and the Gazette.