Recent storms have left many people without power for extended periods of time and reminded us how much our technology lives, especially our mobile technology lives, depend on having electricity for our mobile devices. Several years ago, our house was without power for six days and I started to feel like an electricity vampire, carrying around an extension cord and always on the lookout for open power outlets.
Fortunately, major power outages are rare. Most of us keep laptops plugged in all the time and recharge smartphones and tablet devices on a regular basis. People who travel a lot seem to carry extra batteries, chargers and other devices to avoid situations where a phone, computer or tablet runs out of juice. They have lots of stories, tips and recommendations, but when you stay always plugged in and near regular power outlets, you don’t have much of a sense of urgency about taking power precautions. When you find that your mobile device is dangerously low on power, you’ll wish that you’d taken a few advance precautions.
For non-travelers and travelers alike, Richard Baguley has a great post on this topic at TechHive called 10 tips to keep your mobile devices charged and happy.
His focus is on optimizing battery performance. His tips include some good practices (use the original charger or a charger specifically for your tablet device, drain your battery fully from time to time, and treat your batteries with respect). He has some tips to help you when you don’t have what you need (most cell phones don’t need a specific charger, you can use a charging USB port or USB hub, any Micro-USB cable should work for phones with Micro-USB ports). He address a few common concerns (keeping a device charging is OK, when to replace batteries, how to charge a new battery). And he has a great tip on how to diagnose a USB power problem when a device isn’t charging.
All of these tips can help you prepare for a time when power becomes an issue. There are also links from this post to other related TechHive posts on how to maximize gadget battery life when you travel and how to choose a mobile charger.
And, don’t forget my best advice: pack an extension cord in your briefcase. You never know when you might have to become an electricity vampire. Having an extension cord will let you share an outlet with the other electricity vampires also looking for juice.