Tag Archives: Google

Google sucks… battery

I think it’s safe to say I use my laptop a lot. Not only is it my primary work machine, but it also comes home with me each night. 5:151 isn’t the end of the working day so much as time to relocate to my “office on the train”. Once I get home, should I have anything else I need to catch up with3, I have the option of heading into my home office2, or sitting with the wife while she watches her TV.

Last night I noticed my laptop battery was near dead (31 minutes left) which was odd because the 13″ MBPr’s are supposed to have insane battery lives of something like 7 hours. I know battery life diminishes with age, but this machine is still quite new and I was looking like I was only going to get 4 hours off a full charge. Something was not right.

Turns out the 7 hour charge is only attainable if you’re not spanking the CPU constantly, which it seems I was. Admittedly I do run an awful lot of applications and processes in the background, but they should all be in idle wait loops, delicately sipping power until called upon.

Some quick investigation showed that Google was at fault, although surprisingly not Chrome4. Google Drive was chewing up huge swathes of CPU, apparently updating the “synchronising” status, and halving my battery life. Restarting it caused the meagre 20% power I had left to start heading back towards the 1 hour mark.

Since restarting it it’s played nicely, and (after a recharge and some minutes on the train on battery power) I’m back to a project 8 hours 15 minutes battery remaining with Google Chrome now listed as the only app using significant energy.

1 My working day is dictated by trains, and the next one is an hour later. I don’t doubt stupid o’clock will feature during my time at Rainbird, but we’re trying to run things so that the mental startup hours are the exception rather than the norm.

2 slash spare room – by home office I mean I’ve got a thunderbolt display on the desk where my gaming rig lives. It means I can plonk my laptop down there and wheel my chair over to work comfortably on two screens.

3 I said mental startup hours, long hours are to be expected, and most of the stuff I do at home is lightweight admin stuff, or writing presentations, which hardly constitutes work anyway.

4 Although one result of the investigations into power usage is that I may be returning to Firefox or Safari given Chromes is getting to be a bit chubby and heavyweight.

Delivery Tracking

While lamenting the waste of a day waiting for a “7am-7pm” delivery which didn’t turn up, a friend of mine┬áput the following on Facebook:

“The first delivery company to give a live schedule of how they reckon deliveries will pan out during the day, and keep it up-to-date, so you can at least see where you are in the queue… will make a fortune”

That got me to thinking, how hard would this be? Superficially I don’t think this is too hard a problem to solve using current technology. The hardest bit is the route planning and we can turn to Google for that. So what do we need for an MVP?

I’m thinking a driver app that contains an ordered list of postcodes, interspersed with any breaks the driver may have. The ability to reorder the drops and/or breaks. The ability to mark a drop as done. Here the definition of done is that delivery was attempted. Each time an update is made the app phones home with the current location and an ordered list of outstanding drops and breaks.

A server sits in the middle listening for these updates. Using the current location as the starting point the server will then traverse the drop off points querying Google to find out how long it will take to drive between each point. Store the time to each post code (including any breaks) with the post code.

A client page can then be used to query the server. It would find the correct ordered list of post codes, look up your post code and report how far down the list you are and how long, roughly, until the delivery will be with you.

Of course, the devil is in the detail, and integrating this with the drivers current handheld units, the parcel tracking software and everything else would take some thought, but the basic premis is there. If you were familiar with the Google APIs you could probably knock together a demo web page showing the drivers view at the top and the customers view at the bottom in a couple of days.