If you’ve ever spent hours with a new gadget, inserting and removing batteries until you finally get it just right, you may appreciate Microsoft’s latest invention. Instaload is a technology designed for battery compartments that includes both positive and negative contacts at both ends. Yes, we know that sounds like a recipe for a world-ending cataclysm, but somehow Microsoft manages to make to make it work with any pyrotechnics. [More]
Dana is annoyed that the Fisher Price toy she bought for her baby promised her that batteries were included. They were in the box all right, but they were dead. In fact the manual Fisher Price enclosed with the toy suggests you immediately replace the included batteries with new ones. [More]
If you’re using the Energizer Duo battery charger, and have connected it to your PC to check the charge levels of the batteries, you may have inadvertently exposed yourself to a program that could give hackers access to your computer. The charger has been discontinued, and Energizer recommends removing the software along with the file that enables the backdoor. [More]
60 Minutes has reported on a new fuel cell product called a Bloom Box, a big metal box containing a small stack of ceramic disks and “ink” that can supposedly provide enough power to run a Starbucks. The big questions are: Does it work? And will it ever help the average homeowner save on energy costs? Google has supposedly been using four of them to power one of its data centers for the past 18 months, so yes to the first question. As for home use, a Bloom Box currently costs over $700,000, so no. Inventor K.R. Sridhar optimistically says he wants to get the price to under $3,000 in the next 5 to 10 years, though. Watch the 60 Minute segment below. [More]
Our science-obsessed cousins over at Consumer Reports decided to test some AA batteries to see which ones were the best. The results? Generic CVS batteries suck! They took the fewest amount of pictures in CR’s digital cameras before giving out. [More]
Salman spotted this bizarre battery giveaway when he was shopping at his Chicago CVS:
The big benefit of rechargeable batteries, aside from possibly being more ecological, is they’re supposed to save you money in the long run. However, blogger Len Penzo argues that for some devices, you’ll spend more money if you go the rechargeable route.
Energizer responded to Are Energizer Rechargeable “D” Batteries “AAs” In Disguise? by explaining why D size rechargeable batteries are made the way they are:
Many of Panasonic’s cameras will only work with official Panasonic batteries—the newest models require “an embedded security ID chip,” while older models have been issued a firmware upgrade that locks out third-party vendors. This is already pretty obnoxious, but what makes it even worse is Panasonic can’t keep up with demand, so the batteries they insist you buy for your camera aren’t available.
We asked U.S. Cellular to provide us more details of how their battery swap program works. Basically, it’s not meant to provide a one-off swap of an old battery for a new one; instead, the program is designed so that you can use it repeatedly to refresh your phone’s power if you’re caught away from an outlet and running low on juice.
If you bought your cellphone from US Cellular in the past 18 months, as of this week you can get your phone’s battery replaced for free. We’ve contacted US Cellular to ask them to answer a couple of questions, namely whether the replacement battery is brand new and whether a customer can swap more than once. If they get back to us, we’ll post an update. In the meantime, if you’re a customer of theirs and your phone’s battery is dying, just stop by any US Cellular store to make the exchange.
HP announced today that laptop computer batteries have been recalled as a fire hazard due to risk of overheating. Affected models are HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, HP, and HP Compaq computers sold from about August 2007 to March 2008. Find out if your computer is affected and get a replacement battery at HP’s site.
Please don’t pull the cord on Howard’s laptop or it will die. Best Buy‘s Geek Squad has failed five times to coax his laptop’s ailing battery into holding a charge, replacing both the battery and the hard drive, and shipping Howard the same incorrect replacement battery three times. Howard now wants Best Buy to honor their lemon policy by giving him a new laptop, but it seems like every Geek Squad agent has a different copy of the replacement policy, and none of them apply to Howard. It’s almost like he’s asking for a price match! Let’s read his story, inside…