Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Feeding your smartphone (K2 #70)

Question of the Week 
My Samsung Galaxy phone runs out of battery pretty quickly. What can I do?
— Letho at Ambient Cafe, Thimphu

Answer
Dear Letho,

FEED ME!
The most popular grievance about smartphones is their abysmal battery life, and justly so. Most need to be plugged into a power socket at least daily. So what to do? First, note that it’s the bright and shiny display that sips up most of the juice, so turning down the brightness will get you major energy savings. Also, make sure the display turns off as quickly as possible after using the phone (there’s a setting for that). You can also turn off hardware that you don’t use, such as Bluetooth, GPS or mobile data, as well as many of the apps that run in the background. If all this sounds like too much of maintenance, you’re right. Luckily, there are apps that can help maximize the battery life automatically. For android, try “Easy Battery Saver” (search in the Google Play Store, or visit goo.gl/QypmuQ).

One common misconception is that it’s better to wait until the battery is depleted before recharging the phone. This is not true for the type of batteries used in today’s phones. So connect your phone to the charger whenever you have the opportunity.

So is this what technology is all about? This hassle and others remind us that instead of smartphones serving us and making our lives simpler, we now have to serve them! We should therefore think carefully how, when, and whether smartphones are improving our lives and when they become a major burden or an unwanted distraction.

A new disease
Can’t bear the thought of your smartphone running out of battery? You probably suffer from nomophobia - the fear of not having access to a working mobile phone. Other symptoms of this modern phobia (which got its name from NO MObile) are the fear of losing your phone, running out of balance, or being in an area with no network coverage. If any of the above rings a bell (or your connected phone) - you’re in good company. While there are no statistics about Bhutan, a survey done in the UK shows that more than half of the British mobile users are nomophobics.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com