Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'tweaks'

Colin Ian King

Improving battery life on the HP Mini

A few weeks ago I wrote about my experience using an HP Mini netbook - well in this follow up article describes how I reduced the power consumption on this device with some fairly basic steps.

I started from a fresh clean install of Ubuntu Karmic 9.10 (32 bit) and pulled in all the latest updates. I then installed powertop using:

apt-get install powertop

Then I unplugged the power and let powertop run for 10 minutes to settle in and then noted that ACPI power estimate was ~13.0W.

My first saving was to totally disable Bluetooth - wireless power savings are a good way of saving power. I don't use Bluetooth at all and to save memory from the driver being loaded I blacklisted the btusb module by adding btusb to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf (this is rather a heavy handed approach!). I then rebooted and re-measured the power consumption - down to 9.7W.

My next tweak was to enable laptop mode. To do this, edit /etc/default/acpi-support and set ENABLE_LAPTOP_MODE=true. Not sure if this is a big win for devices with SSD like my netbook, I believe one will see a bigger power saving with HDD based devices using this setting.

I noted that powertop was informing me to use usbcore.autosuspend=1 and disable hal polling, so I'd thought I'd follow it's wisdom and make these tweaks.

I edited /etc/default/grub and changed the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT setting by adding usbcore.autosuspend=1, and then ran sudo update-grub to update /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

Next I ran:

sudo hal-disable-polling --device /dev/sdb

..for some reason /dev/sdb was being polled and I don't require this overhead for some auto sensing functionality.

I rebooted and remeasured the power consumption - down to 8.7W. Not bad.

Next I totally disabled compiz and turned my display brightness down - this saved 0.3W, bringing the the system down to a reasonable 8.4W. I'm not sure if the compiz savings were much, but if I can save the GPU work by turning off compositing then that must save some power.

My final tweak was to disable the Gnome terminal cursor from flashing - this saves 2 wakeups a second (not much!). To disable the cursor blink for the Default profile I ran gconf-editor and set /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/cursor_blink_mode to off. This saving is negligible, but makes me feel good to know I've saved two wakeups a second :-)

So now my machine was in a usable state, and down to 8.4W. I could tweak my access point to reduce the number of beacon intervals to save Wifi wakeups, but that's going a little too far, even for me! I then wondered much power Wifi was using, so I disabled it and after 15 minutes my system dropped down to 7.3W. This is good to know but a little pointless for my normal work pattern when I need net access - it is a netbook after all!

I'm sure I can save a little more power, but for now it's a good win for a little amount of work. I'm open to any suggestions on how to save more power. Please let me know!


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Colin Ian King

With Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, there is a 60 second confirmation delay when logging out, restarting or shutting down.  This default can be over-ridden to act instantly rather than waiting for a confirmation (and 60 second timeout) by setting the apps/indicator-session/suppress_logout_restart_shutdown boolean to true as follows:

gconftool-2 -s '/apps/indicator-session /suppress_logout_restart_shutdown' --type bool true

(or use gconf-editor to do this if you want to use a GUI based tool).

I suspect the rationale behind the 60 second confirmation delay is just in case one selects logout, restart or shutdown accidentally and in doing so, one has the ability to cancel this before accidentally closing one's session.   So beware if you use this tweak - it assumes you really want to instantly logout, restart or shutdown!


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Colin Ian King

Disabling terminal bell in bash and vim

The terminal bell sound generated in bash and vim is rather annoying to myself and is an audible alert to my colleagues that I'm typing badly too. So how does one disable it?

Open ~/.inputrc and add the following line:

set bell-style none

To disable the bell in the vim editor, edit ~/.vimrc and add the following line:

set vb

Ah - silence again! That's one less distraction to contend with!


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