The Battery Revolution (or How My Life Has Changed)

I’ve owned and used notebook computers for a long time now[1], but I’m doing something today that I’ve never done before. I’ve ventured out into the wild world without my safety cable. You know the one. It attaches to your computer at one end and a three-prong connecter attaches to the wall at the other. (Electric) Life-giving juice flows from the wall to your machine enabling work and play.

And for the first time in my computer-using life, I don’t have mine with me. It’s an odd feeling, and one that you may have already experienced[2]. My trusty old black MacBook had great battery life when I bought it back in 2007. I could get close to four hours of writing time if I was careful.

Yet, I was never confident enought to leave that white tether at home. If I was working at a coffee shop or library, and I wasn’t using my power cable, it was in it’s dedicated pocket in the bag at my side. It certainly wasn’t at home in the living room[3].

And I know, Macs in particular have been getting workday-length battery life for several years now. I just hadn’t exactly put the whole thing together in my mind. It doesn’t just mean a couple of pounds less equipment in my bag for a day trip. It means I can work wherever I need or want to. It means I don’t have to ask fellow patrons if they’d allow me to connect my surge protector to a crowded outlet at the coffee shop.

My new machine works where I want it to. I can now think of powering my computer the way I think of powering my phone: at night, when I get home. It’s a mobile device, not just a portable one.

Maybe I’m being a little over-the-top. Maybe I’m just super amped about my new computer. Maybe I should have bought one of these machines years ago and experienced the revelation with everyone else.

Those are all at least a little bit true. But honestly, going from two to three hours of battery life[4] to seven to ten hours of battery life is the biggest revolution in my computing life since my parents brought home our first Packard-Bell Pentium 386.

  1. Nigh on twenty years, in fact. Criminy.  ↩

  2. I’m late to the party here, I admit.  ↩

  3. Where my fancy new Magsafe 2 cord sits at this instant.  ↩

  4. If I’m being honest, it was closer to forty-five minutes towards the end.  ↩