10 tips to make your phone’s battery last longer
Even hi-tech smartphones can last for days – as long as you follow a few basic procedures to keep the battery at full.
Making your phone last all day is simple – you just have to know how to use it
As smartphones have become more capable - for playing gaming, watching movies and shooting video - battery performance has worsened and now most modern smartphones won’t last a full a day before you need to reach for a charger.
Phone manufacturers are working hard to improve battery performance – Motorola in particular with their RAZR i and RAZR MAXX – but if you buy most other smartphones, be ready to charge every evening.
Here are some tips to help conserve your mobile phones battery life:
Modern Android and Windows Phone smartphones include power or battery saving modes typically located in the Settings menu. It is activated once the battery reaches a certain level, forcing battery intensive features – including push email, screen brightness and Facebook updates – to switch off. Unfortunately Apple doesn’t include any such power or battery saving features on its smartphones, although free apps like Battery Life Pro help monitor performance and shut down applications.
The biggest drain on a mobile phone battery is the screen and unfortunately the bigger and brighter the screen, the more battery life it uses. Save battery power by selecting ‘Automatic brightness’ and the screen will adjust the brightness automatically depending on the lighting conditions.
Alternatively, if the battery indicator is reaching precarious levels turn the brightness down as low as is comfortable to conserve as much power as possible.
Make sure auto lock is activated, so when your phone isn’t being used the screen shuts down saving power.
If you’ve got a phone with an AMOLED screen (such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S2) using a dark wallpaper may also help save battery.
In a working environment where loud ringtones are frowned upon, instead of popping your mobile phone in vibrate mode, which uses your battery, use silent mode instead.
Stop email sync
Your phone probably checks for emails every few minutes or if you’ve got a smartphone that supports push email, constantly. Every time your phone syncs or an email is ‘pushed’ though, it uses battery power. To change the rate of email syncing or to switch it off, go into the Settings menu of your smartphone and increase the interval your phone checks email, it varies from phone to phone, but we would suggest setting it to check every half hour, or to switch off sync completely. You can therefore manually check your email as and when you choose and save a sizable chunk of battery life in the process.
Reduce social networking updates
Getting Facebook and Twitter notifications delivered to your phone automatically (like push email) uses your battery, so turn notifications off. Most phones allow you to switch off all syncing with a simple toggle.
Turn connections off
WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth are found on most modern phones. Forget to turn your WiFi off when you leave the house and it will continually look for a WiFi connection, using the battery. So make sure you turn any connections off when you are not using them.
Shut down apps
Even if you are not using an application it may still be running in the background using the battery, so close any apps you aren’t using. Do this on an iPhone by double tapping the menu button, pressing the program icon and click the minus button.
On older Android smartphones, you may need a task manager to do this, however newer handsets running Android 4.0+ allow you to pull up a task manager by simply long pressing the home button. You can then thumb through your open apps and swipe them off screen to close them. You can even see what apps use the most battery in the settings of your Android smartphone.
Don’t download pictures
Downloading pictures when browsing or using email is something most of us do without thinking, but every time you download a photo it uses both data and power. So if you can live without pictures, turn them off in the internet browser’s settings menu.
When taking photographs using your smartphone, be conservative with your flash use. In digital cameras the flash is a huge battery drain and the same applies to phones, so instead of leaving it in automatic mode, turn the flash off when taking photographs, only turning it on when necessary.
Night time = downtime
Night time is the time most people charge their smartphones, but if you don’t have a charger to hand make sure you turn your phone off at night.
Smartphones are always trying to connect to a network, be it a cellular network, a wireless network or a data network. The harder they try and connect, the more battery they use. A
great way to save your battery is to switch on aeroplane mode when reception is poor or you’re underground. This stops your phone searching for signal when there’s none to be found and makes the best use of whatever battery you have left.
If you’ve followed the above tips and your phone battery still doesn’t last very long, it’s time to consider a charging accessory. The Mophie JuicePack Air (£40) fits over your smartphone, doubling the battery life, alternatively if you don’t fancy changing the look of your phone consider a portable battery charger like Proporta TurboCharger 7000 (£54).
Biggest solar storm since 2005 pummels Earth
A January 19 image provided by NASA shows an M3.2 solar flare captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions, US space weather monitors said Monday
A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions, US space weather monitors said Monday.
The event started late Sunday with a moderate-sized solar flare that erupted right near the center of the Sun, said Doug Biesecker, a physicist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center.
"The flare itself was nothing spectacular, but it sent off a very fast coronal mass ejection traveling four million miles per hour (6.4 million kilometers per hour)," he told AFP.
A rush of radiation in the form of solar protons already has begun bombarding the Earth and is likely to continue through Wednesday.
The radiation storm is the largest of its kind since 2005 but still ranks only a three on the scale of one to five, enough to be considered "strong" but not "severe," he added.
NOAA said its website the S3 ranking means "it could, e.g., cause isolated reboots of computers onboard Earth-orbiting satellites and interfere with polar radio communications."
Biesecker said that when it comes to radiation storms, the polar regions are affected most.
For instance, the storm could spell disruptions to airline flights, oil operations, Arctic exploration and space satellites.
Night-sky viewers in Asia and Europe may be able to witness the aurora, or Northern Lights, late Tuesday as a result of the storm.
"We don’t expect major impacts from an event like this," Biesecker said.
"It’s the people who need GPS (global positioning system) accuracy of centimeters who have to worry, not people who want to know if you’re going to turn the car 30 meters (100 feet) ahead."
That’s an idea worth floating: The amazing wildlife haven built on water designed to combat urban pollution
By Graham Smith
Wide open spaces in cities are becoming an increasingly scarce commodity as the world’s urban population continues to expand.
Now an architect has developed a floating park that is a haven for wildlife and will in turn address the rise in pollution.
Koen Olthuis, of Dutch firm Waterstudio, has unveiled the Sea Tree, a multi-tiered structure comprising of layered green habitats.
Urban future: The Sea Tree offshore nature park will be a haven for wildlife and will address the rise in pollution
The water-based park will provide valuable living areas for birds, bees, bats and other small animals, bringing positive green effects to urban environments.
It will also extend underwater, providing aquatic creatures with an environment to thrive.
Designed for use in cities with large waterways, such as London and New York, the Sea Trek will not be accessible to humans.
Mr Olthuis came up with the concept because it is so difficult to add extra park zones to a city on land. Open space such as rivers, seas, lakes and harbours should instead be utilised, he believes.
He proposes using offshore technology similar to oil rigs to construct the Sea Trees and has even suggested that oil companies donate them to cities to show ‘their concern for a better city environment’.
Anchored: The water-based park will provide valuable living areas for birds, bees, bats and other small animals, bringing positive green effects to urban environments. It will also provide a habitat for aquatic creatures
Eco-friendly: Designed for use in cities with large waterways, such as London and New York, the Sea Trek will not be accessible to humans
The giant floating towers would be moored to the seabed with underwater cables; the height and depth of the Sea Tree can be adjusted depending on the location.
Mr Olthuis said: ‘Underwater, the Sea Tree provides a habitat for small water creatures or even, when the climate allows for it, artificial coral reefs.
‘The beauty of the design is that it provides a solution and at the same time does not cost expensive space on land, while the effect of the species living in the sea tree will affect a zone of several miles around the moored location.’
Waterstudio claims the structure will be fully realised within two years and that an undisclosed client has already expressed a keen interest.
Positive effect: The Sea Tree will allow all sorts of wildlife to thrive in areas of cities where it previously was unable to do so
Above and below: Airborne creatures will occupy the top half of the Sea Tree, while underwater an aquatic environment will thrive
Doomsday Clock moves closer to midnight
The Doomsday Clock has been moved one minute closer to midnight – meaning that the world is theoretically one step closer to a huge global disaster.
This week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved the hands of the symbolic clock from six to five minutes before midnight to reflect the world’s lack of progress on battling climate change, and new states pursuing nuclear weapons that could spell Armageddon.
Japan’s Fukushima accident last year was also a deciding factor in the clock’s change.
In a formal statement issued at the time of Tuesday’s announcement, the BAS noted: “It is five minutes to midnight. Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed. For that reason, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is moving the clock hand one minute closer to midnight, back to its time in 2007.”
The decision was made following a symposium in the US where scientists reviewed the implications of recent events and trends for the future of humanity with input from other experts on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change and biosecurity.
The last update of the clock was in January 2010 when a whole minute was gained. But that was when BAS thought the world was cooperating in terms of their nuclear ambitions.
“The challenges to rid the world of nuclear weapons, harness nuclear power, and meet the nearly inexorable climate disruptions from global warming are complex and interconnected. In the face of such complex problems, it is difficult to see where the capacity lies to address these challenges.
“Political processes seem wholly inadequate; the potential for nuclear weapons use in regional conflicts in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and South Asia are alarming; safer nuclear reactor designs need to be developed and built, and more stringent oversight, training, and attention are needed to prevent future disasters; the pace of technological solutions to address climate change may not be adequate to meet the hardships that large-scale disruption of the climate portends,” the BAS added.
Created in 1947 by the board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, the Doomsday Clock was originally seen as a symbol of the threat of nuclear war.
The original time was set at 11.53pm, or seven minutes to midnight, with the latest setting being 11.58pm in 1953, when the US and Russia each tested thermonuclear devices within the space of nine months.
It was 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 after the end of the Cold War – the furthest the clock hands have ever been away from midnight.
The clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.
Queen to share Pacific nation’s coins with Star Wars characters
Characters from the Star Wars space epic are to appear on a nation’s currency for the first time.
The coins will feature Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Yoda
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Yoda and a cast of other heroes and villains from a galaxy far, far away, will join the Queen on coins issued by the South Pacific island state of Niue.
A set of 40 coins is being produced by the New Zealand Mint.
As legal tender, the coins will have a face value of NZ$2 (£1), but the silver content in each is worth considerably more than that.
The coins are primarily aimed at collectors and investors around the world in a bid to boost Niue’s flagging government coffers.
Sets of four, each containing 1oz of silver, will sell for NZ$469 (£235).
Others struck in silver-plated base metal will cost much less.
"You wouldn’t want to go and spend them because they’re only worth $2, but the value is much more than that," said Chris Kirkness of the New Zealand Mint.
"No one is going to go buy an ice-cream with them.
"Traditionally, who would buy these would be coin collectors, but this product opens up the market as a gift product and for enthusiasts of Star Wars," he told Fairfax newspapers’ website.
"You know Star Wars if you’re seven or 70."
While Star Wars characters are depicted in colour on the reverse of the new coins, a traditional effigy of the Queen by the sculptor Raphael Maklouf dominates the obverse.
Underlining the target market, the first issue goes on display at the American Numismatics Association’s show in Chicago next week.
Further coins will be released until 2014.
Fans of George Lucas’s classic films are expected to be enthusiastic about the coin issue.
Star Wars rapidly developed a cult following after first appearing on cinema screens in May 1977, and spawned a huge merchandising industry.
Niue, a remote Polynesian state of only 1,400 people, normally uses New Zealand currency.
The island nation courted controversy in April with the commemorative stamp it issued to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The stamp featured a perforated line down the middle, which split the happy couple.
Ask A Stupid Question Day comes to British schools
Ask A Stupid Question Day comes to Britain’s schools, encouraging pupils to ask teachers the daftest things they can think of.
Nature’s opposites: a camel (left) and a soapdish Photo: GETTY/CHRISTINE BOYD
Ask A Stupid Question Day has come to Britain’s schools.
The tradition dates back to the 1980s in America, and took place on 28 September or the last day of the school year. Pupils are encouraged to ask their teachers ridiculous questions.
Now British children are to get the same opportunity.
To mark the occasion, we have attempted to find some of the silliest questions ever posed in Britain to date, as asked by users of the Any Questions Answered (AQA) text service. Here are 10 of the best.
Q: What’s the opposite of a camel?
A: The opposite of a camel is a soap dish: it has dimples instead of humps and lives in a mostly moist area.
Q: How long would it take to roast a fully grown Indian elephant?
A: An Indian elephant, average weight 5000kg, would take 2916 hours and 40 minutes to roast to perfection (based on 35 minutes a kilogram). You would need an extremely large serving dish.
Q: In Mars Bars, how much taller is Jeremy Clarkson than Tom Cruise?
A: A Mars bar is four inches long. Jeremy Clarkson measures 19.25 Mars Bars (six feet five), while Tom Cruise is 16.75 Mars bars high (five feet seven). That’s a 2.5 Mars bar difference.
Q: How long would it take a snail to slide around the world?
A: 34,519 days at 0.7 miles a day or 0.03 miles per hour, the average speed for a garden snail.
Q: What’s the funniest word in the world?
A: The funniest word in the English language is fartlek (an athletic training regime); other funny words include furphy, pratfall, parp and firkin.
Q: What is the best type of biscuit to make a mattress from?
A: The best type of biscuits to make a mattress from would be fig rolls or strawberry Newtons. They would be soft, but still provide some back support.
Q: I want to write a film script which makes me millions: what should it be about?
A: Based on the top-grossing films, your script should be about a young wizard and a robot looking for a ring on a pirate ship which sinks. Good luck.
Q: In an average lifetime, how much gas will a human expel?
A: The average adult has 14 occurrences of flatulence per day. Total expulsion is about 538ml, making approximately 14,727 litres of gas expelled in a life time.
Q: How long is a piece of string?
A: A piece of string is twice as long as half its length. It is usually shorter than the amount you need to wrap a parcel, but always long enough to tangle.
Q: When will I die?
A: You will die in a freak parachuting accident aged 98. Your memorial service, attended by more than 1,000 of your closest friends, will be at Wembley.
Russia sets up university institute to study the yeti after spate of sightings
Yeti: Sightings are on the rise in Siberia
Russia is setting up a university research institute to study the Yeti after a spate of claimed recent sightings in Siberia.
Scientists say they have found 15 witnesses in the past year who gave statements that they saw the Abominable Snowman in one remote area .
‘We spoke to local residents’, said Dr Igor Burtsev, who conducted an expedition last summer and will head the new institute at Kemerovo State University. ‘They told us Yetis were stealing their animals.’
The academic claims around 30 Yetis live in a remote region of Mount Shoria in in southern Siberia.
He strongly denies accusations that the ‘sightings’ are a bizarre ruse to attract tourists to the far-flung region.
Reports say the two-legged creatures are heavy-set, more around 7ft tall and resemble bears.
‘Their bodies were covered in red and black fur, and they could climb trees,’ said one account.
One villager, Afanasy Kiskorov, even claimed to scientists that he rescued a Yeti on a hunting trip a year ago.
The creature was screaming in fear after falling into a swollen mountain river, he said.
His version suggested a ‘strange creature, looking like a huge man which tried several times to get out of water and to stand up on both feet, but dropped into the water each time and was howling’.
As his fellow-hunters ‘froze’ in amazement, Kiskorov held out a dry tree trunk.
‘The creature clutched to it and crawled to the bank,’ he said.
On the trail: Scientists believe there could be a community of up to 30 yetis existing in remote Russian wilderness
The Yeti allegedly then ran off. This ‘sighting’ was in the Tashtagol district of the Kemerovo Region, only accessible by helicopter. However, no photographic evidence exists.
Other accounts say the Yetis steal hens and sheep from remote villages.
According to Burtsev, Yetis are Neandethal men who have survived to this day
‘In Russia there are about 30 authoritative scientists who are engaged in studying the phenomenon of the ‘Abonimable Snowman’. All of them will be
integrated into this institute,’ said Dr Burtsev.
The ‘primary goal’ is to ‘establish contact’ with one of the creatures.
Leading Russian scientists deny the existence of the Yeti. An expensive Soviet expedition in central Asia found traces but no clear proof of the existence of the Yetis.
Elusive: An artist’s impression of the Yeti or Abominable Snowman
Voyager 1: the Golden Record
Included on both Voyager spacecraft are Golden Records, containing sounds and images that if they are found by extraterrestrial life forms, are supposed to best portray the diversity of life on Earth.
Flying board Voyagers 1 and 2 are identical "golden" records, carrying the story of Earth far into deep space. The 12 inch gold-plated copper discs contain greetings in 60 languages, samples of music from different cultures and eras, and natural and man-made sounds from Earth Photo: NASA
Two of the Pioneer probes, which were launched before Voyager 1 and 2 in the 1970s, were equipped with a small metal plaque stating the time and place of origin of the spacecraft onboard for the benefit of any space entity that they might encounter.
NASA got more creative with the Voyager probes however, and put together a sort of time-capsule – a selection of images and recordings – that they felt best represent the life on Earth.
Known as the Golden Record, the choice of sounds and music is intriguing. There is a selection of greetings from people in 55 different languages, as well as printed messages from former US President Jimmy Carter and other world leaders.
By Jasmine Malone 3:57PM GMT 14 Dec 2010
Voyager 1: the Golden Record –