Fixing the performance of my Lenovo W520 on battery power

6 November, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ever since I got my Lenovo W520 it has had terrible performance while on battery power. I had tried changing all of the preferences within the Power Manager to maximize performance when on battery but nothing seemed to make a difference.

Overall, the computer performance changed dramatically when unplugging the AC connection.

After a bit of searching online last week, I found that an update to the BIOS would fix this issue, and I can confirm that it indeed did fix the performance issues that I was experiencing.

If you are running a Lenovo W520, you should update your system BIOS to version 1.32 using the following files. From Lenovo’s support forum, “Please apply BIOS 1.32. This fixes TurboBoost when cold booting on battery. You must keep the battery in the system when on AC if you want to use TurboBoost as well.“:

Hope that helps.

How I fixed the WiFi on my HTC Sensation 4G

23 September, 2012 § 19 Comments

For the past eight or so months I haven’t been able to use WiFi on my HTC Sensation 4G. Every time I try to turn on WiFi I get an error.

I’ve tried all sorts of things to fix this. I upgraded my phone from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich. I rooted my phone and installed the WiFix Manager app. I read through countless forum posts from other people suffering from the same issues. It seemed like nothing would fix this.

A couple weeks ago I found a work around that continues to work (mostly).

While traveling in Europe, I had my phone on airplane mode so I wouldn’t use my data plan overseas. This was the key for finding the workaround.

To get WiFi to work on my HTC Sensation 4G:

  1. Put the phone into airplane mode.
  2. Restart the phone.
  3. Turn on WiFi.
  4. Connect to the WiFi network.
  5. Turn off airplane mode.

Occasionally the WiFi will cut out and lose its signal. I can fix this by turning the WiFi off and then back on without going through airplane mode.

This now works pretty well, but there are intermittent kernel crashes from the poorly-written WiFi drivers.

I hope this helps others who are in a similar position as myself.

My scenic view of the web

5 January, 2012 § 3 Comments

Inspired by Web Sceneries, I took some pictures of my two most-visited sites using the new 3D view in Firefox Aurora‘s Inspector. I also took some pictures of the Acid2 and Acid3 tests, since I was curious to see how crazy their HTML might be:

Through trial-and-error, I’ve learned the following shortcuts for navigating with the 3D view, also called Tilt.

  • The arrow keys, up/down/left/right, provide panning.
  • The W-A-S-D keys provide forms of roll, pitch, and yaw.
  • The + and – keys provide zooming in and out.

The Inspector’s 3D view is really cool, giving web developers another tool to use when debugging issues with sites (and a way to take cool pictures as well ;)).

Blinded by the light! – An improved image viewing experience in Firefox

4 January, 2012 § 19 Comments

Starting with Firefox 11 (currently in Aurora), directly viewed images in Firefox are finally treated as a first-class citizen within the web browser. Thanks to the contributions of Carlo Alberto Ferraris, images are now centered vertically and horizontally and placed upon a neutral/dark grey background [1].

Browsing the internet with the lights turned off and clicking on a link to an image used to result in short term blindness, what I like to call getting “blinded by the light”. It’s crazy that Bruce Springsteen and Manfred Mann have been talking about this use case for so long and it took until now for it to get fixed 🙂

Here’s some screenshots of what it looks like in case you’re using something older than Firefox Aurora or one of those other web browsers:

The cool kids using Firefox Aurora or Firefox Nightly are seeing and experiencing this change already. Join us today!

[1] For those feeling like this is too much change, Dagger has created the “Old Default Image” add-on that adds the ability to revert to the previous behavior or change the background color to your own liking.

How I made my own URL shortener

25 December, 2011 § 2 Comments

Well, this will be a short post (get it?)…

About a month ago, I registered the domain (as well as I set up a simple page on the site that directs users to various webpages/websites about me. I’ve also been using the domain as a URL shortener, but like most lazy developers I chose the simplest and easiest route.

To do so, I uploaded an .htaccess file that does a permanent-redirect to the longer URL. Here is the current state of the file:

redirect 301 /1
redirect 301 /f
redirect 301 /9
redirect 301 /c
redirect 301 /cheevos

To add a new shortened URL, I connect to the server via FTP and append another line.

It’s pretty easy for one person, and it’s nice to have both control over the shortener as well as letting other people know that this is a link from me that can be trusted.

Announcing Cheevos for Firefox

23 December, 2011 § 9 Comments

Today is the release of version 1.0 of the Cheevos for Firefox add-on!

Cheevos for Firefox is an addon for Firefox that makes learning about different parts of the browser fun, as well as giving you the opportunity to brag to your friends about your pro-level web surfing.

With Cheevos for Firefox, you will gain achievements for using Firefox. Whether it’s finding hidden Easter eggs within the product, or taking advantage of the power of the world’s fastest, most extensible, most personalizable, and most friendly web browser, Cheevos for Firefox will surprise and make using the web browser more fun than ever.

Varying levels of points are awarded based on the difficulty of acquiring an achievement. See how many points you can collect!

Thanks go out to all the people who have helped test, add features, and recommend ideas for new achievements:

Download Cheevos for Firefox today and let everyone know what you think of it!

My contributions to today’s Firefox release

20 December, 2011 § 3 Comments

Today (12/20/2011) marks the release of an update for Firefox that brings improved JavaScript performance using Type Inference (making Firefox about 20-30% faster), among other great updates. I didn’t work on the JavaScript engine improvements, but I did contribute a couple patches for HTML5 videos and the Web Console.

“Dimming the lights” for videos

Starting today, we now have greatly improved the viewing experience of watching HTML5 videos. See this short screencast for a demo of the feature at work.

This feature is perfect for the next time you come across an HTML5 video and want to “dim the lights”.

Web Console

Another feature I helped work on was the Web Console. Firefox contributors have been working really hard to provide the best set of developer tools out there. What you see today is the foundation for the future (hint: the developer tools in future versions are sweet!). The Web Console is a great tool to use to watch network activity, test a JavaScript snippet, and view JavaScript & CSS error logs.

Let’s go through a short tutorial of the Web Console in Firefox:

  1. Open the Web Console
    • On Windows and Linux, press Ctrl+Shift+K
    • On Mac OS X Lion, press Cmd+Shift+K (Cmd+Option+K starting in Firefox Aurora)
  2. Click in the command-line part of the Web Console (the text entry area at the bottom of the console)
  3. Type console.log(“Hello, web console!”)

Great! You’ve just used the Web Console to execute a line of JavaScript. If you’re looking for something even cooler that you can do with the Web Console, venture over to Frank Yan’s blog post where he talks about animating Firefox’s tabs using the Web Console. Firefox’s Web Console can be a great Swiss-army knife tool to keep in your back pocket as you navigate the web 🙂

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