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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power Laptop Macs
I've been using iBooks and MacBooks for years, but it never occurred to me until today that you don't necessarily need the screen backlight at all when you are working in sunshine. The display can be fully, beautifully illuminated by direct sunlight. "Frontlighting" instead of backlighting!

The catch is that the screen really does have to be fully illuminated by the sun. Any shade from your own body, or anything else, and the shaded part of the screen will be pretty much invisible. But if you can get all or most of the screen sunlit, you will not need any backlighting at all.

What a great battery saving tactic ... I wish I'd clued in ages ago!
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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: dutchieman on Sep 20, '07 08:02:13AM

Living in the Netherlands, I have no way at all to confirm this hint :P



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: morespace54 on Sep 20, '07 08:17:54AM

I guess it's not working as good with the new reflective screens...



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 20, '07 09:16:20AM

I live in the UK and find the rain keeps shorting out the keyboard.



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: woodgie on Sep 20, '07 08:44:32AM

Funnily enough I use this hint whenever I can. But as the Nederlander above says, us mid/northern Europeans have a hard time using it much :)

Interesting point about the glossy screens though, another reason I'll be going for the 'normal' screen.



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: styrafome on Sep 20, '07 09:53:54AM

This used to work even better with the old monochrome LCDs. Those were very reflective, and if there was any bright light I could shut off the backlight.

The first Mac Portable didn't even have a backlight! But the LCD was 100% black or white. No gray, no color.



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Nice laptop you used to have
Authored by: mistersquid on Sep 20, '07 10:04:04AM

What a GREAT idea. Instead of draining your battery power you can expose your delicate LCD to unfiltered sunlight for hours at a time.



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Nice laptop you used to have
Authored by: PaulIngraham on Sep 20, '07 02:59:15PM

Do you think? I did wonder about that! True, UV is amazingly destructive stuff in general, but I don't think that moderate usage in sunlight is likely to be a serious threat to an LCD screen. I'm sure the coffee I drink continuously in its presence is just as risky!

Of course, I also just don't really know. Does anyone have any technical knowledge about how sensitive a MacBook screen is to sunlight?

And I don't want to baby a laptop, I want to USE it. I do all kinds of stuff with my laptop that is - gasp! - going to shorten it's lifetime. But even with hard use, my tangerine iBook was useful for 7 years.



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Nice laptop you used to have
Authored by: kevinway on Sep 20, '07 04:12:16PM

I love to work outdoors, and have used this hint for a long time. It hasn't caused any noticeable problems.



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Garmin handheld display
Authored by: yrn1 on Sep 20, '07 10:53:16AM

The Garmin handheld GPS's displays are about the best example of transflective displays. With moderate daylight or even at dawn, you can still clearly read the display without backlight.

I guess they can't really use this for laptop screens, because it'd be quite difficult to get the colors correct. But since I hardly use my iBook for photo/video editing, I'd trade it for a transflective display any time. That should be an incredible boost for battery life!



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: syko on Sep 20, '07 12:05:35PM

ya, and make sure you slap some sunscreen on your neck, or your bald spot..

:D hehe



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: Occam on Sep 20, '07 12:12:05PM

I have an aluminum G4 17" PowerBook.

How do I turn off the backlighting?



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illuminate laptop screens with sunshine to save power
Authored by: barefootguru on Sep 20, '07 12:41:11PM

Turn the brightness all the way down.



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Increase the contrast...
Authored by: Pedro Estarque on Sep 20, '07 10:13:31PM

In System Preferences and it gets even easier, though it might hasten your visit to an ophthalmologist.



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