Maximizing battery life on the Optimus T

Yes, talking about my phone again. As was to be expected, I spent a lot of time with the phone on day one, and drained the battery in record time. Something needed to be done about that, and here’s what I’ve arrived at:

  1. I don’t need 3G, so I turned on the “2G only” option. I do not have a contract, because I like the $0 monthly fee of a prepaid SIM, and with T-Mobile that means I don’t get a mobile data plan. 2G is all I need, and it’s a lot less of a power-hog than 3G or 4G are.
  2. Turn Wi-Fi off. This sounds counter-intuitive, especially since I don’t have a data plan, but a lot of the time there’s no Wi-Fi network in range I can connect to, and even when there is, I don’t need to be permanently connected. Instead, I switch it on every few hours, which causes the phone’s various accounts to sync, then turn it off again and read the new emails/tweets/etc that came in.
  3. Display brightness all the way down. I’m indoors most of the time, and reading the screen is not a problem.
  4. Optimize for signal. T-Mobile has a terrible network, and my apartment is almost a dead zone for reception. Leaving my phone near the window instead of on the couch table means it won’t constantly be scanning for a network.

With all of this, I’ve gotten nearly 2 days out of the battery so far, though I didn’t make any calls in that time. It’s not the 5 days I used to get out of my Nokia 6300, but I think it will do.

Speaking of the lousy network coverage, T-Mobile has installed a funny app on the phone for “Wi-Fi calling”. It uses the Wi-Fi network for making calls, but still charges minutes to my prepaid contract. This seems ass-backwards at first, until you realize it’s a trick of theirs to hide how awful their 3G network really is. It’s enabled by default, and assuming you’re mostly calling from home and within reach of your wireless router, you get crisp quality phone calls, and aren’t immediately tempted to research Skype or Google Voice.

I bought a phone!

Today is the first time I’ve bought a phone. All my prior phones were either paid for and bought by my employer or hand-me-downs. This month, the last one of these did its final gasp, and it was time for me to look for a replacement.

After unsuccessfully trying to navigate a couple of online stores and filing to find an offer that didn’t require a degree in advanced marketing buzzword and retail theory, I simply walked into the T-Mobile store, told them I wanted an affordable android phone without a plan, and walked out with an LG Optimus T. It’s not going to win awards for 3D games performance, but that’s not what I wanted it for. And it’s not burning a hole in my wallet every month. First impression is pretty good, time to install a ton of apps!

git svn rebase fails, not using plink

I installed a new version of msysgit some days ago, and git svn rebase stopped working. Some digging showed that it wasn’ using plink to talk to putty anymore, but using openssh. This despite my having told the git installer that I would like to use plink.exe (and pageant).

What was going on? git wasn’t to blame here – it was svn that was using plink. I had also reinstalled msys, and with it a new subversion config file, it seems. The fix was to edit my C:Userserehling.subversionconfig file like this:

ssh="C:/Program Files (x86)/PuTTY/plink.exe"

Next time this happens, I hope I’ll remember that I wrote this little reminder for myself 🙂