How to Care for Your MacBook Battery

A LockerGnome reader asked, “My MacBook is less than a month old and iStat shows me that my battery health is 95% with only 17 cycles. I’m not sure if frequently unplugging and replugging my MacBook charger is causing this or not.”

This is a great question. Notebooks are meant to be portable and accessible pretty much anywhere. Unfortunately, a weak battery can ruin a user’s experience. The good news is that your frequent use of the battery actually has a positive affect on overall battery life. A stale battery that never gets the chance to discharge can age and lose its capacity at a slightly faster rate. Thankfully, Apple has a process called “adaptive charging” which

Battery Calibration
My first piece of advice is to make sure you’ve calibrated the battery on your new MacBook properly. It’s recommended that you go through a calibration cycle when you receive it and once every month or two afterwords to maintain accurate readings on your battery level monitor. iStat is a great tool, but it may not be very accurate without a properly calibrated battery.

According to Apple, calibrating your battery can be done using the following process:

  1. Plug in the MagSafe Power Adapter and fully charge the battery.
  2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for two hours or longer.
  3. With the computer still on, disconnect the power adapter and continue to use your computer.
  4. When you see the low battery warning, save your work and close all applications. Keep your computer turned on until it goes to sleep.
  5. After your computer goes to sleep, turn it off or allow it to sleep for five hours or longer.
  6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged. You can use your computer during this time.

While you are discharging and charging the battery, you can use your computer as you normally would except for a brief period of time during steps 4 ad 5 as indicated.

Charging and Discharging
Apple does not recommend that you leave your MacBook plugged in all the time. In fact, Apple describes an ideal usage situations as, “a commuter who uses her notebook on the train, then plugs it in at the office to charge.”

Apple expects its current line of notebook batteries to hold at least 80% of their original factory capacity through 1,000 charges and discharges. A system they call “adaptive charging” is in place with the intention in mind of keeping the battery healthy for up to five years.

It’s recommended that if you use your notebook infrequently, the battery be discharged at least once every month in order to maintain calibration and sustain capacity.

If you plan on storing the MacBook for extended periods of time (six months or more), Apple recommends that you discharge the battery to 40-50% prior to doing so. If you store a battery for long periods of time at full charge, it may lose capacity more quickly.

Is A Virtual Visit To The Doctor’s Office In Our Future?

I am not sure if this has to do with the current health care fiasco here in the U.S., but there is a possibility that we can expect a virtual office visit to the doctor some time soon. Optim Health, a division of United Health Group, may be bringing this type of care to us as soon as next year. This was once only talked about but now seems to becoming a reality if this project takes off.

A New York Times article states:

OptumHealth believes NowClinic will improve health care by ameliorating some of the stresses on the system today, like wasted time dealing with appointments and insurance claims, a shortage of primary care physicians and limited access to care for many patients.

But some doctors worry that the quality of care that patients receive will suffer if physicians neglect one of the most basic elements of health care: a physical exam.

Though one could imagine that this type of visit would cut down on the cost of routine care, what liability would the doctor encounter for a false diagnosis over the Internet? If the majority of patients who currently have no medical insurance coverage wish to use this service, how could they if they do not have access to a computer with a Web cam? Are we to expect the poor to go to a public library for a doctor’s appointment?

One can only imagine some poor homeless person dropping their pants in a public library to show the online doc a problem they are having with a private part of their anatomy. :-( Believe me, I do not find the homeless situation nor the health care debacle amusing. What I find amusing is this insanity that the health care providers hope to implement.

Comments welcome.

Kaiser Patients Rejoice! Microsoft Is Getting Your Health Records

Microsoft wants to get into the health record storage business with their system called ‘HealthVault.’ One of the first major clients will be Kaiser Permanente, in a pilot program. In an article from Reuters it states:

Data kept in Kaiser’s personal health records, which includes patients’ test results, prescriptions and immunizations, will be shifted to Microsoft’s HealthVault, a Web-based service that allows patients to store and manage medical data from a variety of websites and selectively share information with them, the paper reported.

Moves by technology companies, hospitals, insurers and the government to give patients more control and access to their medical information through technology are expected to help lower healthcare costs, it said.

With both Google and Microsoft going into the health care records business, it makes one wonder. Why? Are both these companies so loving and caring that they are concerned about you and I?

What do you think is their real motive?

Comments welcome.


Disruptive Technology – Are You Ready For Implants?

Some news that is coming out of the CES [Consumer Electronics Show] in Las Vegas this week is coming from Zoran Corporation. According to their spokesperson, the company is predicting a new type of disruptive technology that is looming in our future.

According to the article here, disruptive technology is any technology that either “is one that changes our lives in a drastic and positive way.”

With this in mind Zoran Corporation is proposing embedding micro processors chips under our skin stating this will provide valuable information that could extend our lives. I am guessing that these chips would provide information about us that could be used for health care purposes. 

Are we going to be scanned like a can of Del Monte peas at a super market?

Is this the only information that these chips will provide?

Or can these chips obviously be used for other purposes beside health care? 

Not to get into the religious aspect of this controversial development, but isn’t this what some are saying will eventually lead us to the end of the world?

 What do you think?

Comments welcome.

[tags]embedded, chips, micro, processors, health, care, extended, life, zoran, corporation,  [/tags]

Revolution Health Care – Interesting Concept

AOL founder Steve Case has started a new service called Revolution Health Care at his new website located here.

In his introduction letter, Mr. Case states that he fully became aware of the short comings of the health care system here in the U.S., when his brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he saw first hand the struggles his brother went through. He describes the medical bureaucracies his brother had to endure, the mountains of paper work, and the time it took from being diagnosed until his brother actually received treatment. His intro. letter can be read here.

So I took a look at the Revolution Health Care site for two reasons. One was to see what it was all about, and two, to see if there was any information for a condition that my wife has suffered and which has previously been diagnosed as Lupus.

The first thing you will notice when you enter the web site, is that it is very easy to navigate and is easy to use. Everything is spelled out in a eye pleasing format with plenty of options to choose from. So I headed over to the section “Conditions and Treatments.” Nothing revolutionary here. Some patient support about patients suffering from Lupus. I know from first hand experience what my wife has been and is going through. And descriptions of the illness that I am also familiar as well as available treatments. Again,nothing new. And I do not say this to be critical, only as a personal observation.

Your mileage may vary.

There are many other areas for you to explore including Healthy Living, Doctors and Hospitals [comparing doctors and hospitals in your area], Insurance [what companies in your area provide health insurance], and a section Learn From Others [where people post their medical experience].

So if your interested, I’d take a look and see what you think. In fairness this is a new site and will take some time to grow.

[tags]health, care, medical, hospital, insurance, [/tags]