Why You Should Use Sleep Mode

Jason Cross

Shutting down your PC at the end of the day is so 20th century. What you probably should be doing is putting it into sleep mode. You'll save that interminable wait for your system to boot up, and it won't destroy the Earth or your bank account with a dramatic change in energy usage. Allow me to illustrate.

I have a fairly high-end system at home. It's a Core i7 920 based PC with 6GB of RAM, a high-end GeForce card (sometimes it's a Radeon, I go back and forth), and a reasonably quick Seagate 7200.10 hard drive. I'm running the final release of Windows 7. This is how long it takes me to shut down and boot:

Shutdown: 0:16

Boot: 1:06

Shutting down is pretty fast, but booting up is painfully slow. Bear in mind, this is what I call "true" boot-up time. It the time from when I press the power button to when I'm at a usable desktop (where you can actually click on things and get a response). Like your system probably is, it's not totally clean. I have Dropbox and my antivirus software loading at boot. Here's the numbers to go into sleep mode, and wake from sleep:

Sleep: 0:18

Wake: 0:02

That's right two seconds to get to a truly usable desktop waking from sleep mode. Shutting down takes a couple seconds longer, but waking my computer up is almost instantaneous. Not to mention that I can wake up my PC by tapping the keyboard, instead of reaching down to press a small power button.

But what about power, you ask? Am I running up my power bill? As long as your system BIOS supports the S3 ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) mode, no. The S1 mode leaves the CPU and RAM powered up, the S3 mode powers those down. Our article from a couple years ago on how to check and change your BIOS sleep state is still relevant. My high-end system uses some 120-130 watts just sitting at the desktop (not including monitor), and uses 1 watt when powered off (most computers draw a very small amount of power, even when off, so they can do things like turn on when you press the power button). In sleep mode, my system draws a whopping 5 watts. Five. What does that different of 4 watts mean to you?

My computer is running a lot more than the average person's, so let's just suppose your system is turned off 16 hours a day. That 4W difference works out to a whopping 1.92 killowatt-hours (kWh) per month. According to the Department of Energy, the average price for electricity in the U.S. is 11.59 cents per kWh, so sleep mode costs you 22.2 cents per month. The average home in the U.S. uses 936 kWh per month, so 16 hours of sleep mode a day would be a 0.21% increase in monthly power usage. That's what we call a "rounding error."

Of course, some systems use a little more power in sleep mode, but it's almost always under 10W. We have more on how to change the function of your computer's power button here. You probably don't want hibernate mode, which dumps the contents of your PC's RAM to the hard disk and then power off your PC, so you can resume right where you left off (with programs open and so on). With the large amount of RAM in today's systems, this can be a pretty slow option.

You should also make sure your BIOS and Windows are both up to date. Sleep mode has been finicky in the past, but motherboard manufacturers and Microsoft have worked out most of the kinks by now. If you don't update your BIOS and OS, it might not work right.

Follow Jason Cross on Twitter or visit his site.

Saying 'happy birthday' with a little creativity

(ARA) - Parents can spend a small fortune to celebrate their little one's big day, but taking a more original -- and less costly -- approach can result in even more success.

Just ask the trend experts at American Greetings who research celebrations happening year-round. What they have found is that a great idea -- and a little creativity -- go a long way.

The most important step for any successful party is having a fun concept to build off of, says Julie Post-Smith, director of specialties at American Greetings, who leads the gift presentation trend team.

"The key to any great party is a having a great theme, and we have found countless ways to accent any idea with a few simple touches," she says. "Once you have developed a theme, you can use your creativity to decorate any space, put together the perfect menu and come up with fun activities."

To help parents who might be looking for an idea to use, Post-Smith and her team have the following suggestions:

* Go under the sea for ideas: All kids love adventure, so why not take your party under the sea? Fill your ceiling with royal blue and sea green balloons to create the atmosphere. From there you can enhance the concept with goldfish-filled centerpieces, accenting each place setting with a piece of coral and using nautical-themed gift bags for favors (be sure to include offbeat ideas such as salt water taffy and beach gear to play up your theme.) One fun activity for your party is a safe twist on the popular game of pinata. Fill empty balloons with candy, blow them up and have kids try to pop these faux bubbles to win treats.

* Be sporty: There is no better idea for a high-energy, athletic child than a sports party. Pick their favorite game and create a whole day around it. One idea is a baseball-themed get together. Make simple T-shirts for all the kids, coordinate them into teams and organize a wiffle ball game. After the last run has scored, create an ice cream sundae diamond with different crunchy, fruit, sweet and warm toppings at each "base."

* Embrace your sweet tooth: If you are struggling for ideas, pick a more general concept that will allow you to incorporate simple touches. A great example of this is a candy-themed party, which is sure to offer a sweet and colorful platform for the fun. Accent your table with a vase filled with candy and use large lollipops as a colorful alternative to flowers. Give the guests a taste of your childhood by helping them to make candy necklaces.

* Get colorful: For younger celebrants the simplest themes can result in the most fun. If your little girl is in love with everything pink, use it as your main element. Have all guests dress in the color and deck out your home in pink decor. You might not be able to find a disposable pink tablecloth so use pink wrapping paper instead; it's more festive than the regular throwaway version, and just as convenient. To continue the simple idea, serve pink punch, and of course, be sure to ice her cake in the appropriate shade of frosting.

* Plan a spa day: Older girls will love getting to pamper each other with manicures and pedicures. Turn your living room into a spa with relaxing chairs, music and refreshments. Keep the theme going with small favor baskets filled with fun beauty items. You can even use convenient gift boxes and bags shaped just like purses to give them a fashionable touch.

* Ensure a Wii bit of fun: The Wii has become a staple for many youngsters, so why not embrace it? Create a tournament for the kids to compete in, complete with a large bracket you post on the wall. With sports games the most popular, have nutritious snacks and drinks on hand to keep their energy up. For those not playing, give them the chance to bet on the winner with chocolate coins. Give the ultimate winner -- and the top handicapper -- a special gift at the end of the day.

No matter what theme you go with, Post-Smith says that focusing on what makes your guest of honor happy is always the best advice.

"If you come up with an idea that they love, everything else will definitely fall into place," she says. "Just have fun with it and so will they."

For more tips and to find where you can buy everything needed for any birthday party, visit www.corporate.americangreetings.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Source: crestonnewsadvertiser.com

Deputies: Magazine Subscriptions Not Going To Charity

Reporter: Heather King

A local sheriff's office is warning about people selling you magazine subscriptions who are not telling the truth about where the money goes.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office is getting complaints about United Family Circulation, which is doing business as Legacy Sale Door-to-Door Solicitors. Deputies say the salesman are claiming they give "some" of what they collect to charities and community causes.

One women said she was told the subscription was tax deductible and would benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital. The woman said she later found on the receipt, the purchase was not tax-deductible. When deputies called St. Jude, they found out the hospital is not receiving any money from the magazine sales.

Deputies say the sales people are usually between the ages of 18 and 25. They are driven to an area in a van by a “handler” and dropped off to go door-to-door soliciting. Deputies say, ironically, the representatives are usually deceived by their own employer.

Lawmen say, if these people come to your door, call them, so they can keep track of where the sales are going on.

Source: www.witn.com