jeudi 7 juin 2007

Increase your laptop's battery life under Vista! (yes, it is possible!!!)


So, you have a new laptop with Vista pre-installed, you are quite happy, then you check
this little icon in the system tray that says "100% battery : 1 hour 48 minutes left"!
Quite disappointing!
Fortunately for you, there are a few ways to increase your battery life with third-party programs.

First, Vista Battery Saver : this is a nice little program that allows you to disable both Aero and the sidebar while in battery mode. What is more, you can even tell the program at what point you want to disable them: for instance, you can set Aero to be disabled when there is 70% battery left and the sidebar when there is 40% battery left. This is all very easy to do and quite intuitive.

My advice would be to remove Aero as soon as possible because it uses A LOT of power.
On my U1, disabling Aero would allow me to gain around 15 minutes out of the 2 hours of battery life of the 3-cell battery. I can't tell about the sideboard 'cos I automatically remove it when i install Vista: it uses too many ressources for my liking!
As a conclusion, I can say that it is a nice app, even though it uses 9 Mb of you RAM which is a bit high I think. It is still improving though; for instance it seems that it was not working with Vista Home Premium, but it has been fixed.

2. RmClock: this is an open source project that allows you to adjust your CPU performance on-the-fly and create different profiles depending on your utilisation. For instance, you can use "ondemand" so that your CPU switches between full power (100% CPU) when, say, you work on a picture with Photoshop, and 50% CPU power when you are browsing the web.
Also, quite importantly, you can undervolt the CPU: it means that you can decrease the voltage allocated to each setting of your CPU. For instance, let's say that at full power, your CPU uses 1.35V; with RMclock, you can decrease that amount to 1.2 V for instance. This cools the system down and reduces power consumption which, in turn, increases battery life. Of course, you have to be careful in your settings: you cannot set 0.95 V for the "full power" setting: in that case, your computer will certainly freeze. One drawback of Rmclock is that you can't test each setting whereas with

3. NHC you can! The thing is, you need to have Microsoft's .NET Framework Version 2.0 for NHC to work. I think it comes pre-installed with Vista however. NHC is a bit slower on boot than RMclock and it uses more resources but it might be a bit more user-friendly than RMclock, so it is up to you. With NHC, you might even be able to control the speed of your fan, but it depends on your laptop. On mine, it soes not work.

To conclude, I can say that using Vista Battery Saver and either RMclock or NHC, you can definitely reclaim quite a bit of battery life under Vista.

However, Vista is still slow as hell (in my opinion!), so that I prefer Linux. Moreover, Beryl is waaaaaaaaay better than Aero. Hence, in another message I will talk about Ubuntu Linux on my U1F.

mardi 5 juin 2007

Ana and Novak

Hi everybody! Long time no see! Well, I have been pretty busy lately trying to find what to do with my life, but more on that in another message.

Today, I want to talk about two young and very promising Serbian tennis players: Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic.

While I was finishing a dissertation, I had the pleasure to watch the game between Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The first time I had seen Ivanovic was already in Roland Garros two years ago when she beat our Amélie Mauresmo (who, by the way, lost early this year also...) and she was only 17.
I haven't had the opportunity to see her much since that time, and I really think that she has matured quite a bit. She still has a very powerful serve and a powerful forehand, but she also looks more patient and more focused. In any case, her first set today was quite awesome. She also looks a bit thinner and athletic than she used to. I am sure she will have a bright future as a tennis player. I am looking forward to seeing her game against Maria Sharapova on Thursday. Arguably, they are the two most beautiful female players even though they are very different: Ivanovis is even sometimes called the "brune Sharapova". However, unlike Anna Kournikova who never won any tournaments, these two are going to win a lot of tournaments since they are awesome players. I know a lot of people dislike Maria, but she's such a great fighter on the court, she never gives up as her game against Schnyder shows (even though she is injured). However much I like Maria, I think Ana is going to win this game. Well, it is certainly going to be tough.

On to Novak. Djokovic is ranked 6th in the world at only 19 and is certainly the best player of the new generation, behind Rafael Nadal. I would love Richard Gasquet to earn this title, but despite all his raw talent, he is still too unstable.
Djokovic looks more mature, and in his game against Olivier Patience he showed an oncredible will to win. As he admitted later on, Patience was the better player on the court (yes, Djokovic is also very classy!) but he fought hard in the fourth and in the fifth and finally Patience made a few mistakes that allowed Djokovic to win the game.
I also predict him a bright future, even though the competition is very tough.
Finally, it is worth recalling that Jelena Jankovic is 22 and is ranked 4th in the world and also comes from Serbia: what an achievement for such a small (and formerly ravaged) country!
We, in France, are still waiting for such a generation of players.

EDIT: I wanted to add that Djokovic was supposed to have a tough game against Andreev, but I had some internet connection problems yesterday morning. Actually, he beat him quite easily and played very well. Andreev has the most powerful forehand off all players, but he is a bit limited whereas Djokovic did many different things on the court and had a good match plan against Andreev that worked perfectly!
I am looking forward to his match against Nadal, even though I don't think he can win. I hope he will at least tire him a bit before the final, hopefully against Federer. Then, who knows?