Fried laptop batteries and other tech tales

Reader mail has clogged the inbox along with pitches for Chinese pharmaceutical stocks, so let's get right to it (the mail, not the stock picks). Q: I have a new Dell laptop, but I am barely getting an hour of battery life from it before I get a warning on the screen and I have to power it off before I lose everything. Is that normal? What can I do to get better battery life? I called Dell but I got nowhere. A: Well, you have a couple of things to do. If you bought a low-end Dell you probably got a low-end battery. You can shop around and upgrade to a longer-life battery for less than $100. Secondly, you can reduce the brightness of your LCD screen when you're running on battery. That will sharply lengthen the amount of time your laptop will run on battery power. On a Dell you just hold down the Function Key (marked "FN" in blue) and hold the key marked with a sun symbol with a down arrow until it is as dark as you can stand. To increase brightness, you hold down Function Key again and hit the sun symbo...

ยป Scripps Howard News Service - JAMES DERK - 09-05-2006

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