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Three tips to increase your laptop battery
Nobody wants to make a dash to a power outlet to rescue their laptop battery. That's no fun, especially with everyone working and learning from home these days in various corners of the house that may not have a convenient outlet nearby. Luckily, modern laptops are much more efficient than their predecessors. Nowadays, even inexpensive desktop-replacement laptops can last for more than eight hours on a single charge.
Most people don’t realize that the battery in your laptop won't last as long as the manufacturer advertises unless you pay attention to some key factors: your power settings, how many apps you're running, even the temperature of the room in which you're working. The good news is that none of this requires much work to sort out, once you know which settings to adjust. Let's take a look at the best ways to get the most out of your laptop's battery.
Use the Windows Battery Performance Slider
The first tip to increase your laptop battery life is to pay attention to the Windows 10 battery performance slider. It aims to group all of the settings that affect battery life into a few easy-to-understand categories. Your PC manufacturer determines exactly which settings the battery slider controls. But in general, keep these guidelines in mind:
• The Best Performance mode is for people willing to trade off battery runtime to gain speed and responsiveness. In this mode, Windows won't stop apps running in the background from consuming a lot of power.
• The Better Performance mode limits resources for background apps, but it otherwise prioritizes power over efficiency.
• The Better Battery mode delivers longer battery life than the default settings on previous versions of Windows.
• The Battery Saver mode, a slider choice that will appear only when your PC is unplugged, reduces the display brightness by 30 percent, prevents Windows update downloads, stops the Mail app from syncing, and suspends most background apps.
Closing Apps and Using Airplane Mode
If you don't need to be distracted by notifications, consider enabling Battery Saver. It's a good habit to adjust your laptop use in more battery-conserving ways, such as by sticking to one app at a time and closing everything else when you're not using it. It's a bit like turning off the lights when a room is vacant. If you're going back and forth between Firefox and Word, by all means keep both apps open. But if you're just watching a YouTube video, you'll be best served by turning off and closing everything else.
Also consider enabling Airplane mode, if you know you'll beediting a document with no need for web access. In addition to reducing distractions, Airplane mode eliminates a significant source of battery drain: not only the wireless radios, but also the background apps and processes that constantly use them, such as updaters and push notifications.
Carry A Battery Backup
Finally, the easiest way to ensure that you always have enough battery power is to bring along an external battery pack.
These external power sources plug in to your laptop the same way your charger does. They generally cost between $100 and $200, but come with adapters for use with many different laptop models. They can be used on more than one system, and even for other devices, such as your phone or tablet.
Willie E. Brake is a Computer Expert and Industry Analyst at All About Technology, a Certified MinorityBusiness Enterprise and Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, based in Detroit, Michigan.
Tips for organized tax filing
(StatePoint) 2020 was a particularly stressful year -- but filing its taxes doesn’t need to be. With the following tips, you can stay organized and cool-headed throughout the process.
File early so you check this major to-do off your list and relax. The good news is that the sooner you file, the better. This is true no matter what your circumstances are. If you owe money, you’ll have that much more time to plan your payment. If you’re due for a refund, filing sooner means you’ll have your money sooner, money which can be used to pay bills, be invested or be added to a rainy day fund. To that end, take some time to glance at your overall financial picture so you can make a smart game plan for directing your refund usefully.
Check Your Work
A multi-functional printing calculator with a 12-digit display can help you check your work and track and manage any necessary calculations, while ensuring your figures aren’t truncated. Look for a model that prints in two colors, such as Casio’s HR-170RC, so you can quickly see both positive and negative numbers to avoid reading errors. If you have any international holdings, this is a must-have tax season tool, as its functions include currency exchange. This model also has a built-in tax feature that lets you store a frequently-used rate and pull it up when needed, as well as a check function that allows you to scroll up to 150 steps of previous calculations.
Your financials and personal data are especially vulnerable during tax season. Be sure to keep all the paperwork associated with your taxes organized securely. As forms arrive by mail, file them neatly in one place that’s locked and secure. Sensitive information can easily be misused if it falls into the wrong hands. If you’re storing information electronically, be sure to use strong passwords and work only on a secure network.
By giving yourself the right tools and plenty of time, you can better ensure timely, accurate tax preparation.