Tag Archive for laptops

Laptop Batteries – Keep them in/plugged in!

A few weeks ago, listening to The Tech Guy Leo Laporte, I found out I have been operating, and advising people, on old information.

The modern day laptop batteries are just fine being plugged in pretty much all the time. I had been telling people to let them run down when you could, then when the system told you you were about out of power, to plug them in to help them get the most out of their life spans. Leo says that’s a procedure based on a study done years ago, and turns out it was flawed.

So, if you’ve been regularly running your battery down, so it lasts longer…don’t worry about it. Leaving it plugged in just fine.

Soldier’s Angels VALOur-IT Fund Drive 2010

Technology moves ahead in unpredictable ways, sometimes.

History lesson below, for the interested. For those who are ready and need to donate and move on: Click here.

If you’re looking to help an old Sailor out, then “push” the button for Navy. Know this: It all goes into the same pot, but, the need to poke at our fellow military members doesn’t go away easily, so…resist the urge to help any service team other than Navy…..

Now to some background:

Barely 5 years ago, a “MilBlogger,” and Army Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss, ended up on the wrong end of an IED when on patrol in Iraq and subsequently in Walter Reed Medical Center. Having been a fairly active poster, when a Soldier’s Angels representative asked if he needed anything, he asked for a laptop so he could blog from the hospital, since he’d be there a while. They bought one off of eBay.

He had injuries to both arms, leaving him with one in a cast, and the other in a halo. Typing, as you may surmise, was pretty tough. He posted indicating he sure could use some help…maybe so he could talk to his computer.

Some people helped him out getting Dragon Naturally Speaking. As a result, Chuck’s Blog came back to life.

As a result of that, the idea that this mashup of existing tech would be able to help others. The conception of the idea came from one of Chuck’s reader’s, Beth (FuzzyBear Lioness in the comments section), who thought if it worked for Chuck, who else might it help?

So, the first use of the Project’s Name happened 8/18/2005.

Now we are but 5 years and a few months later, over $600K collected, about 50 bloggers on the teams, and begging for air time on the big websites (and getting some!), with close to 6000 laptops delivered. They are new. They are good ones, and they are provided at the Major military medical facilities, and, they can be requested, if someone has slipped by the system unnoticed.

I believe it was last year, they added the purchasing and providing of Nintendo Wiis, which has helped with physcial therapy for the injured warriors. GPS units are now also provided to those who are getting out and about, to compensate for the short term memory loss issues as a result of TBI and severe PTSD injuries.

The “gateway” to the many pages of information and the project blog is here.

One particularly descriptive post titled “Laptops Save Lives?!” has the words of the real “end users” of the charity of the donors of this work. It may be from 2007, but the truth is right there. This is a great project, which really “gives back” to those who entered the services and gave much of themselves.

Besides just the close to the problem connection, from a problem solving standpoint, I see this as a job training program for the majority of these wounded troops, as they will be medically retired/discharged. If they have used a computer to get and stay in contact with their families, friends and “Battle Buddies,” they sure will be able to draft up a business letter, surf the net to do research and learn to crunch numbers with Excel for the employer who wants a person who looks forward into life and works to achieve their potential.

I could go on for many pages, having personally met Chuck and Beth, and Patti, the Founder of Soldier’s Angels via these campaigns over the 5 years. The stories are real, the ideas amazing, and the unselfish acts to take an idea from one person to many is a lesson in building relationships.

Once more: Donate here to Team Navy!

learn more

Tuesday Tech Tips

Today’s discussion:  Saving money, while going mobile!

Back in 1994, I made a plan to upgrade the computer network and computers at the desks in a 360 person software support organization.  We had 14 project managers, and several department heads that regularly traveled to conduct our business, to include holding technical and financial discussions of all sorts.  Part of the plan I came up with was to make life much easier for all involved in the mobile life style.

One option, and the one most people considered at the time, was to get them all a laptop computer, and to also make sure their desktop computer was upgraded.  Certainly, that would work at one level, but it had the potential for not being very effective from the work stand point.  The key issue was:  When you left the office, did you have your files with you?  It’s nice to have the laptop, but not very smart if you got to Washington DC and all the inportant fiels were on your desktop in Virginia Beach.

Here was the solution, which I submit for your consideration:  For each significant traveler, buy a good laptop, a good 17″ (that was large back then) monitor, a full sized keyboard and a mouse.  What this allowed the project managers and I to do was to work in our offices using the laptop as the CPU unit, while we had the comfort of the regular keyboard, mouse and monitor.  When we had to take our work on the road, it was a matter of unplugging the monitor, the keyboard, the mouse and the network cable.

The net result:  We always had our work files with us, and we saved the taxpayer the cost of purchasing a desktop, too.  Spread across 23 people and with the CPUs costing about $1200, if I remember correctly, it was significant savings.

I mention this because many people I work with don’t really need two computers to be effective.  The objection raised is the need to be able to feel comfortable while sitting at home/in the office doing large jobs, which, if you have purchased the large monitor, the keyboard and mouse, is addressed up front.  The added benefit is you always have your files with you, and will not need to pay for a remote access software package to compensate for the days you forgot to transfer them before you headed out for an appointment.

However, this isn’t a viable option if the office in the home has a “shared” asset, meaning others will come in and need to use the system while you are out.  If this is the case, then you will need a good management system, done in your head, to make sure you don’t leave the very files behid you will need at the meeting/client site.

My recommendation: Ditch the desktop when you are next able to, and transition to a “desktop replacement” capable laptop, supplemented by a good keyboard, mouse and monitor on the working desk in the office.