Solo Cup WiFi Signal Extender

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OK, this one isn’t a solution that I’m positive is really making much of a difference but it’s worth mentioning. Ever since my Airport Extreme Base Station partially bit the dust due to a power surge I’ve been using an inexpensive ASUS wireless router at home. Signal coverage isn’t as good as it was with the Apple device but it covers most of the house, at least to some degree.

Last night I experienced issues with Xbox Live. The cause may have been an issue with my ISP or the Live service. I wasn’t sure but I decided to attempt to extend the wifi signal a bit.

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Improving Battery Life With A New MacBook Pro (15″, MacBookPro8,2)

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The Short Version: Using gfxCardStatus to manage the graphics mode made a notable difference. Uninstalling McAfee Security made the most difference.

This week I started using a new 15″ MacBook Pro (MacBookPro8,2) with OS X 10.7 (Lion). It wasn’t long before I noticed a dramatic difference between the battery life of the new MacBook Pro and that of my previous 17″ MacBook Pro, which was about two years old.

In the System Preferences I had noticed that I couldn’t configure the system to only use the integrated, low-power graphics card. Rather, I had to choose to enable “Automatic graphics switching” (in “Energy Saver”) or disable it. If it’s disabled then the computer automatically uses the high-performance, battery-draining graphics card.

Last night I began to suspect that the system wasn’t properly switching to the low-powered card. It turns out that I was almost correct.

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Monoprice 1800mAh Backup Battery Case for iPhone 4

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The Short Version: It’s worth exactly what you pay for it. If you really need a reliable, high-capacity battery case that’s worth the inconvenience of carrying a brick then I don’t recommend this case. Mine has sat unused on a shelf for months. I may just charge it up once a month for emergency use at home. It does a good job of maintaining a charge when unused for a long period of time but unfortunately I started having a problem with the case randomly stop charging and then restart, even when it was sitting on a flat surface. I suspect the dock connector is failing, which is similar to problems others have mentioned in product reviews for this device.

My iPhone 4 battery still works well but I have noticed that it doesn’t last quite as long as it used to, especially if I’m using it for power-hungry tasks such as playing a game or browsing the Web. I think I’ve treated the battery well by making it a habit to not leave it on the charger all night and instead only plug it in until it reaches 100%.

This week I started browsing iPhone battery cases. I perused the reviews for several, but I couldn’t make up my mind. The battery performance drop wasn’t enough to justify spending $60-$80.

At one point I jumped over to Monoprice.com and came across a backup battery case that had good reviews and only cost about $24. I went ahead and ordered one. It arrived today.

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