Sunday, December 03, 2006


I may have fixed an issue with my laptop, as best it can be fixed. Laptops do something called Frequency Scaling, or Underclocking. That's where when you're not plugged in, the CPU uses less power by being slower. I have a 2.8 GHz CPU in my laptop, but it's suppose to run slower when on battery. On Ubuntu, I was having some difficulties getting this to work. I finally got it working. I can 'throttle down' my CPU, as low as 349 Mhz. As the battery gets lower, I can make it go slower. Right now, I have it set at 699 MHz. Before, my battery lasted on a few minutes before it was depleted all the way down. As of this sentence, I've been running about 15 minutes, and it says I have 13 more minutes. I can also lower the brightness of the screen to eek out a bit more battery life. So, I've got that working, and it's seems to be helping. A lot.

This is an old battery I have on this laptop, so getting a new one would help me get more than an hour. But, they're almost $200. I'd rather save up and get a System76 Laptop, that can go for 4 hours. The more powerful ones can go to three hours. This computer never did that good new. But, for now, I have my portability back. As best it can be.

I keep trying to come up with ways to make this laptop work better. Getting a new battery and a faster hard drive would help, but now they're not really needed. My goals are now to keep what equipment I have working as long as possible. Hopefully, it will be 3-4 years before I really need a new laptop. Keeping my goals in line with the Free Geek ideals, I'll be able to keep most of my equipment working longer than people could imagine.

Speaking of Free Geek; that's moving forward. My professor is in discussions to see what we can do through Valencia Community College to make it happen. It would make it a lot easier with their help. And, grant money might be available. Cross your fingers. The Free Geek thing is important to me.

Well, my battery made it for 30 minutes. Much better than the 5 minutes it was doing before. I'd had the CPU set for 1.05 GHz for the first 15 minutes, with the monitor at full brightness. I think I could make the battery last longer by dropping it down right away. I'll try that tomorrow. It's late right now.

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