I Keep Going, and Going, and Going…

The ups and downs of this election are really wreaking havoc with my emotional health, and I’m almost at the point where I can no longer afford to devote this much attention reading a dozen weblogs and a dozen news sites every day. It’s the same way I feel about high-stakes sporting events: it takes a tremendous strain out of me to get too invested in something over which I have very little, if any, control. This weekend, at least, I’ll get a little bit of a break, as I’m heading out to the airport right now for a trip to see some of my family in Oakland, California. Internet access will be intermiitent, so there will be few if any posts until I’m back on Monday night or Tuesday morning — and maybe few if any chances to follow the race.

PowerBookGoing off on kind of a wild tangent: I’m on the train right now, and when I popped open my PowerBook and booted it up, I was reminded of a question to which I’ve long wanted to know the answer. That is, when embarking on a trip with a laptop, does it save more energy to shut down before unplugging and leaving home and then booting up, say, two hours later while on the road? Or, instead, is it more energy efficient to put the laptop to sleep first, and then simply wake it later while on the road? I would assume that booting up off the battery is more energy consuming than keeping a laptop in sleep mode for two hours, right? See, I’m already starting to focus on less weighty issues…



  1. I never shut down my powerbook. Just close the lid and let it sleep. The amount of power used is minimal. The longest I left it was a week and it lost around 10%.

    The bonus is the way you can just open the lid and start immediately – I love it!

  2. I heard it’s not the safest thing to do. The reason being, the hard drive needle doesn’t fully disengage during sleep mode so should the machine wake or get banged around to much, the needle could jam into the drive plate.

    Not sure if it’s a theory or actually true.

  3. I travel extensively with my powerbook, and I, too, just put it to sleep. I even regularly put it though the x-ray machine while it’s sleeping with no adverse effects.

    Perhaps this is obvious, but turning Airport off, reducing screen brightness to the lowest level you can manage, and shutting the lid while you’re not actually typing or reading the screen will result in significantly longer battery life. I can work for 4-5 hours on a cross country flight.

  4. Kirian, it sounds plausible that leaving it in sleep mode isn’t all that safe, but I’ve been doing it for so many years — with a PowerBook 3400c, a PowerBook G3, a Titanium PowerBook G4 and my current 12″ PowerBook G4 — and haven’t encountered any such problems, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep doing it. I don’t mean that to sound snotty… it’s just that old habits die hard!

  5. >> I don’t mean that to sound snotty… it’s just that old habits die hard!

    Not at all, I do it too! I just heard that theory a while back and think about it sometimes when others bring up sleep mode.

  6. I think Kiran’s warning should come with some context, though. The drives commonly used in powerbooks are built to withstand ridiculous levels of G-force. Granted, this protection is most “in place” when the drive heads are parked (about which Kiran is right–only happens when the drive is off), but the shock buffering on the drive itself is quite hearty.

    To put it another way, I think any physical force which might damage the powerbook’s drive is probably much greater than that which would damage, say, the screen or the casing.

    I regularly ride (and have, since my Powerbook 2400c) with my Powerbook in a padded case in my bicycle Pannier, and have never had a drive problem. YMMV.

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