Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

The power of the nap

I do not want to start out today by alarming, or shocking, you Dear Reader, but I do want you to realize one thing — not everyone does things the same way we (in the USA) do.
Yes. It’s true.

Now, I’m not talking about simply using a weird language (non-English) to talk to each other. I’m talking about methods of accomplishing tasks, and how we live life.

For instance:
I am told that if you travel to some Distant Lands, you will find that the people there insist on driving on the wrong side of the road. In fact, in those places, so many people drive on the wrong side that the car builders have taken to installing the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.

I am also told that there are Distant Lands where it takes several hours to eat your meal (no Drive-Thru windows, I guess). I am also told that wine is served every night. In some of these places, it is said that the evening meal doesn’t begin until about 10pm. That one pushes my credulity, 10?! That’s my bedtime.
I have been told this is true in places like Spain, and also in Italy.
I have also heard that in France they give you three hours for lunch. That has to be a lie… my last “real” job gave me 30 minutes.

Also unlike here, many Distant Lands do not treat smoking a cigarette as a Criminal Offense… and the smoker as a leper.
Weird stuff.

* Now back to today’s title:
I mentioned Spain and Italy before, and I want to get back to them because one of the bizarre things I’ve heard the people there do is of extreme (well.. moderate) interest to me, now that I’ve reached my “middle years”– I am talking about the “siesta“.

Now to my, admittedly limited, understanding.. the way it works is like this: you eat your midday meal (with wine), BS with your friends for a while, and then go lay down and take a midday nap.. then you get up and go back to work. (Maybe that’s why it takes 3 hours?)
I gotta confess..  when I first heard of this, it sounded pretty good to me. In fact, it sounds so good, it surely must be a lie. However, I have taken to adopting this mythical siesta-thing into my own life, and now I regularly (well.. as often as possible.. which isn’t as often as I’d like) lay down for 20 minutes in the afternoon.
Only I don’t call my lay-down a “siesta”; I call it a “power nap” (some folks call it a “NASA nap”).
And folks, I can attest: what you’ve heard about power naps is true. A brief eye-shutting does rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. And now that I’ve tried this wonder, I ain’t going back.. I am now a “siesta guy”.

What does this have to do with Tech?
Glad you asked. First let me say that (gasp!) life is not all Tech.. and suggest that you may want to look into this midday nap thing yourself (it will actually increase your productivity) and give Personal Sleep Mode a try, and then…
Tip of the day: Putting computer into a low power mode, such as “Sleep” or “Standby”, or “Hibernate” is a good thing to do when you’re not actively using your machine. You will save on your electricity bill, and actually reduce wear-and-tear on your machine.
To learn about adjusting your computer’s low power-state options, read the second “question answered” in this article. And to learn how to enable Hibernation mode on your desktop PC, click here.

Today’s free link: A fella who calls himself “Mr. Electricity” has a page on his Website which helps you understand computer (and attached devices) power consumption, and by reading the information there, you can calculate how much money you’ll save by taking advantage of your computer’s ability to “power nap” too. (It can be an eye-opener to see how much your monitor is costing you.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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April 15, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hibernation vs. Sleep+Vista

What is the difference between “hibernation” and “sleep”? Both are power-saving states designed to achieve a compromise between fully-powered (“on”) and total shutdown. Without these low-power states (Stand By, Sleep, and Hibernate), you would have to go through the whole Windows’ boot process each morning. Although Vista has a shorter boot than previous versions, it still takes longer than most of us would like to wait — we are prone to desire “instant gratification” these days — and so we use Stand By, Sleep, or Hibernate.

I wrote an article on power states and how to make adjustments to when they kick in, and use the Power Options control panel. To read (or review) this article, click this link, More reader questions answered: power states. Today I want to answer the title’s question, and tell you how to enable Hibernation as a power-saving option if it is not already a part of your Power Options control panel.

To begin with, Hibernation is a deeper “off state” than Sleep (or Stand By, as it’s sometimes called), and thus offers greater power savings at the cost of a longer rebooting time. It is considered a “safer” state, in terms of data. This is because, unlike Sleep mode, Hibernation not only shuts down the power to peripherals (monitor, etc.) and hard drives, but also turns off the power to the RAM memory chips.
When you remove the power to RAM, any data there is “lost”, forgotten, gone — whatever unsaved document, any open window, and such. 
Hibernation “writes” (Saves) all the 1’s and 0’s that are in RAM to a reference file (on your hard drive) before un-powering RAM, and it “reads” this file and reloads the data when you come out of Hibernation, thus restoring you to where you ended your ‘session’. (This “reading” and loading is why it takes longer to “wake” than coming out of Sleep.)
Sleep/Stand By mode retains the power to your RAM. There is no saving of RAM contents to a file and there’s no need ‘load’ it — and thus it’s faster.. with less power savings. If there was a power interruption for some reason while in this state (and you don’t have a UPS), then your unsaved RAM contents would be gone.

Laptop computers typically come with the Hibernation power-settings option enabled and desktops don’t. If you would like to add the Hibernation option to your desktop, or if for some reason (such as a sneaky Windows Update) your Hibernation option has disappeared and you would like it back, here’s how to restore it: open a command prompt (Start >Programs >Accessories >Command Prompt) and type in “powercfg -h on” (no quotes) and hit Enter. That’s it. Now you will find Hibernation settings in the Power Options area of your Control Panel.

Vista users: Vista has a known bug which sometimes causes it to fail to read the Hibernation reference file and “lock up” when waking. This causes you to have to do a hard boot, (hold down the power button for 10 seconds) and the data in the reference file is gone. It is hoped that this ‘glitch’ will be fixed with the release of Service Pack 1, but I cannot confirm this will actually be the case. The KB Update which fixes this issue was included in SP1, and it seems to have eliminated the issue entirely. Both SP1 and the seperate patch can be obtained by simply using Windows Update, or manally at support.microsoft.com.

* If instead you would like to remove the buggy Hibernation mode, and disable it from your automatic power-saving settings, the command is “powercfg -h off” (no quotes).

Today’s free link: for those of you who like digital music, the Nexus Radio download is for you. This offers you not only 6000+ Internet radio stations you can listen to, but the ability to record directly to your hard drive.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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November 1, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , | 21 Comments