About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 1, 2014

Better Battery Life for Android

image I hear complaints from people all the time about how their phones’ battery life is poor.  Some say they won’t last an entire day.  Sometimes this is very true especially with older Android devices; however, the newer ones have pretty good strength between charges.  Of course, this depends on how you use your phone.

If you are like some folks I and constantly stare at your phone waiting to respond to the latest text message and/or Facebook item, then yes, you will have battery longevity difficulties.  There is absolutely nothing you can do about it other than talk to people in person.  As a matter-of-fact that is a strong suggestion to all of us.  Be personal with people and stay off of the "social" networks which actually do the opposite of making us more social.  But that is another story.

Other than the above one thing that can help is to go to your settings and change the time out on your screen.  This is the time that it takes for your screen to dim to dark after you use it.  The settings for this can vary by phone, but basically go to Settings/Display/Sleep and lower the time.  If it is set to two minutes change it to 30 seconds.  If that bothers you and you feel it is not good for you, go back and change it again.  No problem.  While is the Display area go to Brightness and set it to Automatic or dim it manually lower.  This is how bright your screen is and you can most likely dim it.  These are two of the larger battery hogs on your phone that you can control.

Anything that operates your phone while you are not using it can usually be changed for better battery consumption.  For instance, if you are not using your map feature to find your way through town cut off GPS which takes a lot of power.  To change it on my phone I go to Settings/Location Services and uncheck the "allow" GPS item.  I will not mention it again but the way I tell you to change all items here may vary by phone.  Another thing while in Settings is to got to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and stop both of them.  The only reason for Bluetooth is if you are using a headset earpiece and then you need it, but if not cut it off.  Wi-fi is a good feature but if you are outside nowhere near Wi-Fi you do not need for your phone to keep searching for it and wear down your power. 

While in the Locations area above look for "Location and Google search" and shut it down. Do you really need Google to know where you are when searching for "Blue Birds?"  Now you may if you are searching for a gas station but you could also just enter the Zip Code of the area you are in with Gas Station and get it that way.  Of course, maybe you do need it, login to your Gmail account and then go to, and let me know.  Muhahaha!  I bet you didn’t know that you were being followed did you?

Go back to Settings, click on Battery to see which apps are using your battery the most.  You may be able to click on the big power users and change their settings from there.  Change them so that you can get the most out of your battery.  Of course, the way I fight short battery life is to have a charger at my desk, bed and car.

November 15, 2011

More to Thrive On

The column about my Toshiba Thrive from last week generated several intriguing emails. 

First, "I am looking for a Tablet PC and want to know if you can tell me more about yours?"  Well, I can but I only have so much space in the columns.  You can really find all you need online starting at and Googling for the "Toshiba Thrive."   I will, however go on to talk about a couple of things I did not mention last week.

imageIt has an amazing recharging capability. The specifications said it will recharge a totally discharged battery in an hour.  Well come on folks!  Do I look like I was born yesterday?  I am not new to this stuff and I found that pretty hard to believe.  So I tested it out.  I ran my battery down to less than a 10% charge.  I plugged it in for exactly one hour and checked it.  The charge was up to 89%.  No, that is not 100% but close enough for me.  It only took a few more minutes to make it to 100%.  Just think about it, your battery is low and you have 20 minutes to spare. Charge it for those 20 minutes and you may have 25% or more of your battery capacity back.  That is amazing compared to other charging experiences I have had.

imageI mentioned the full size USB port last week and someone wanted to know if it would also hold a SD Card.  The answer is of course. Yes, there is a slot for one of those also.  There is also an HDMI slot (to connect to a video device like TV to deliver digital quality.) You could not ask for much more on a tablet.  Oh but wait, there is one more thing you do not find on many other tablet PCs, if any at all.  The Thrive has a replaceable battery.  That means you can order a new battery if needed and put it in yourself.  With others you have to pay a geek to do it and maybe send it away for a few weeks.

The other emails said that I had mentioned, "Swype" and they wanted to know if I had misspelled "Wipes".  Swype is a great Android program which allows you to significantly increase your "typing" speed on your phone or any Android device.  You simply slide your finger from one letter in a word to another and it predicts the word you are typing.  It is amazingly accurate and if you have an Android device and you want to try it out this free app, go to

The last item for today is Skype ( and no, I have not just misspelled Swype. They are two totally different programs. The really basic description of Skype is that it allows you to call phones and other computers via the internet.  It also has the built-in capability to have video along with your audio.  That allows you to talk to and see the boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, grand kids, etc. no matter where they may be located on the globe.  It is a free computer-to-computer service but for phone calls check out the rules on their site.

Have fun computing this week and keep those emails coming!  I love to hear from all of my readers and answer your great questions.

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