Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rechargeable Batteries

As many of you know, I believe in protecting the environment. I guess that goes against what many believe being that I am a registered Republican. (Not going to turn this blog political, just saying.)

If you have read, or read, my blog you will see that I do believe in protecting mother earth. From getting Fluorescent bulbs, to reducing my water usage outside on the lawn, to getting the High Efficiency front end loaders. (They use over 50% less water than traditional washers.)

I started using rechargeable batteries over 18monts ago. The reason I waited to post this blog was because of the testing I have been doing with them. I have been using them from remote controls, wireless mice, massage bots and my bluetooth keyboard that I am writing this on. Are they the best thing to use for energy? No.

Why not? They don't last as long as alkaline batteries, per charge. I say per charge because I have had the same batteries for the 18month testing period that I am talking about here. What happens when you are done with an alkaline battery? It goes into the trash filling up the land fills. They corrode, leak and contaminate the ground water. By the way, ground water is essential in AZ!

Now, what happens when your rechargeable battery dies? You recharge it use it and repeat. Yes, while they only last a fraction of the time per charge, you are not wasting landfill space and contaminating the ground.

What have I done to make a little difference in the lasting power? I purchased Hybrid rechargeable batteries. What are Hybrid rechargeable batteries? They have Nickel Metal Hydride (NMih) and Alkaline in them. They can be recharged just as often as regular NMih batteries but they hold the juice better when not being used. That technology allows for more energy when you need it.

Yes, purchasing these batteries will mean a little more expense up front, but in the long run you will save money by not purchasing wasteful energy, Alkaline Batteries. The batteries I have been using are 2AA and 3AAA batteries. I will be trying the D batteries once I find ones with over 4000mah capacity. I need the extra juice being that I use a Maglite at work.

When in doubt, use rechargeable batteries. Think of your children"s future and how we will be leaving Earth for their use. We need energy to survive as humans, but we don't have to destroy the environment using that energy!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today I realized

I realized something today.

There are many Treo users at work. Yes, many people still use the Treo because of it form factor and ease of use of the Palm OS. Palm OS, while old, offers new users an easy way to learn a Smartphone and its OS. Many of the Treo users are long time Palm users going back as far as the Handspring.

But, I realized something today. I am do have some technological knowledge of something. I don't consider myself to be Steve Jobs or or Jeff Hawkins when it comes to technology but I know my way around some technology.

There I was minding my own business and next thing you know I am approached by a co-worker. This co-worker begins to ask me question concerning his Treo 755p. It just so happens that is the device that I am currently using. So we begin to talk about the Treo's features and capabilities. To his amazement, he learned how powerful of a device it is. Approximately 10 minutes into our conversation there were 4 other co-workers listening to my little speech and teachings. What was supposed to be a 10 minute "get to know your device" chat session, turned out to be an hour and a half teachings on the device.

Then and there I realized that I had in fact something to offer. I often hide behind my computer, keyboard or IP address shy about being chastized for the lack of knowledge. However, today I realized that I do have something to give. Therefore, Today I realized.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Power Hero

What is Power Hero? Power Hero is a strong Palm OS application used to save a little juice on your Treo.

I have been using Power Hero for about 5 days now. Let us talk about the first page of Power Hero. Here you will see a graph. The graph will just give you an idea of what the discharge charge rates are. Click on the graph and you will get a bigger graph. In that graph you can also see the capacity of the battery and the charge rate or discharge rate. This is good for people like me who can stare at graphs all day.

To the left of the small graph, you will see 3 tabs, usage info, Power Saver and Scheduling. If you click on the Usage Info it will give you information concerning your battery. Some examples of this are, Remaining Battery Life, Last Plugged in and Last Unplugged. If you click on the I at the upper right corner of the screen, you will be taken to the info screen. If you select Usage Details, you will see the overall usage of your battery performance. Click on the I on the upper right of the screen again and you will get to the Tips screen.

In this tips screen you will see information about the information on the previous screen. If you scroll down Dan puts his hobbyistsofware e-mail address so you can e-mail him this information. This will help him fine tune the software for our Treos/Centros.

Now we go to the Power Saver tab. Here you will find four buttons at the top of the screen. Auto-Off. Simple what is states, you can choose to power off the Network, bluetooth, Infrared and Keyboard Lights after a certain amount of time. Those times can be determined by you.

Auto-Bluetooth: You have three boxes to choose from, Turn on when call received, Turn on when call dialed and Turn on when plugged in. Being that my Treo is finicky with Bluetooth, I have left these settings unchecked.

Signal Saver: I have these both checked. Just in case my phone can't find a signal for 10 minutes, Power Hero will tell my Treo to stop searching for 10 and attempt to find the signal 5 times. Because of where I work, the signal can come and go pretty often. When you have no signal we all know that the phones are designed to look for one constantly. That will certainly drain your battery.

Miscellaneous: In this button you have some more options. The only three I have checked are, Toggle Key lights with side key. Yes, you can turn off the KB lights saving a little bit of energy. Next, "Don't turn Bluetooth off if paired" Very important. Because if you don't, the Auto-Off feature will turn off the Bluetooth after a predetermined time. By checking this you have trumped the last command. Remember, only if paired will this take into effect. Last but not least, I checked the Log drain rate every 5 minutes. I am still trying to determine where the log is or if I need it. The reason I did select it was I believe my graph needs it to log the drain rate.

Now on to scheduling. You can schedule various things in this button. From network off to phone off, bluetooth infrared etc. This screen will be very helpful if you don't want those things turning on at night or during a meeting.

Below the graph you have buttons for the Phone, Network, Bluetooth, Infrared and Keyboard. By simply clicking them you can turn them off or on. This will allow you to have all the Power saving features in one screen. Last but not least, there is a slide so that you can control the Screen brightness.

How has my phone fared with this application? Very well so far. First off, my 755P is a very stable Treo. I have had no issues with it. Now, some applications can cause conflicts and resets but Power Hero is not one of them. At night I have had 30-40% juice left in my battery after a day of heavy use. Now, I have about 50% left. Th at there is a 10-20% savings of battery power.

I have yet to perfect the settings on my Treo. There is more to learn from this application. I believe that I can get more juice out of it for sure. Out of a scale of 1-5 I rate this application a 5. Why so high? The following are the reasons: The application is stable, it doesn't slow down my Treo in other words, there is no lag. It is a very power application putting all the energy saving methods into one screen and one touch.

If you hurry up Treonauts has a Heist sale going on right now. It does end on the 17th of August so hurry up. For only 9.95, Power Hero is a must have application!!!


I wanted to have an honest review on this application for Palm OS. Still, PH is a very useful application. I am most impressed with the ability to save power on your Treo/Centro all on one screen. The feature rich PH application is a must for all Treo/Centro users

With this said, I did run into some issues with my Treo. Let me start by saying this. I don't believe that the program is flawed nor do I believe that my Treo 755P is broke. My issue happened to be with another great application, USBModem.

See, both applications work well on my Treo. While using PH I had no issues, as stated above. The application worked flawlessly. On Saturday I needed to use USB Modem. I set up my connection and my Treo reset. I tried numerous times to get USB Modem to work with different settings on PH. My belief is that PH had control of the network. When USB Modem tried to disable the DUN and take over the network, PH did not want to give it up.

I decided to uninstall PH and try USB Modem. Guess what? Yup, USBModem worked like it has for the past year. Now, I am not saying that PH is not a good application. But as happens with Palm OS applications, sometimes they just don't play nice together. For now, I chose to stay with USB Modem. Not only because I paid for it, but because I need it to connect my laptop when no WiFi is available.

I did e-mail both programmers with my findings in hopes of a fix. I really want to use PH but I need it to play nice with USBModem.