Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lithium-ion Battery: What Everyone Should Know

Most of us remember one of the first advancements in rechargeable batteries for consumer devices, the Nickel-cadmium battery(NiCd).  This battery type became known for having “memory” at a particular charge level.  I was told we were supposed to always let the battery fully discharge or it remembered any level it stayed at. In the future the battery would only charge as high as that level.  Eventually, the time available from the battery would decrease and become useless.

Small consumer products and even new vehicles took off with the introduction of Lithium and rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries.  They were able to hold a longer charge and they didn’t have the same memory issue as the NiCd battery. They’re not as toxic and when not in use they don’t lose their charge as quickly.

We’re still learning about the care and feeding of Lithium-ion batteries. For instance, the folk-lore about conditioning a battery is not true. A Lithium battery like the AA’s you put in your remote control are not the same as Lithium-ion. They don’t have the same risk in your device.

My new Helix from Lenovo included many new battery options to help prolong the time I could spend unplugged and also to extend the life of its batteries. The Helix has a battery in both the keyboard and tablet/screen providing a total of 10 hours of power when properly balanced.

helixbattery Lenovo Settings App  Power section

The “Battery Health Mode” feature of the Lenovo battery app has a setting that prevents batteries from being fully charge. If a lithium-ion battery remains fully charged it won’t last as long. This utility is intended for folks who have their laptop plugged in most of the time.  This is much more common now that laptops have replaced desktop computers in the office. The utility recommends only charging 50% when powering my Helix from the wall socket  I just need to remember to change this option and fully charge if I expect to be unplugged for a while..

Another important lesson learned especially by the airline industry is the risk of fire by damaged lithium-ion batteries. There have been recalls and some unexpected fires in the news including an iPhone which was reported to catch fire while being charged but these are still rare given the wide spread use of these batteries.

In 2006, I wrote about a recall by Dell after one of its laptops caught fire and a video was uploaded to YouTube. Later in that year I shared a video which was part of the research initiated by my partners at PC Pitstop.


pitstopYesterday PC Pitstop and D2 Worldwide released the results of their renewed research. While trying not to scare anyone the research is clear that anyone using a lithium-ion based device needs to know the possibilities.

Everyone should know the rules of a lithium-ion fire.
1) You can’t cover it with a blanket, it doesn’t need oxygen. 
2) Do not use water to put it out. Combining water can be explosive.

The best solution is having a Type D Fire Extinguisher. I also recommend leaving the scene as quickly as possible while calling 9-1-1. Whether it’s a laptop or electric car be sure to notify first responders a lithium-ion battery is used.

The video below was created by D2 Worldwide for PC Pitstop. I recommend sharing it with friends, family and anyone you know.

Click Here For More Information and video’s

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Friends of WinPatrol Around the World

I had a lot of fun looking at the statistics for my websites but one surprise and wake up call was how many friends we have outside the United States. I do enjoy sharing information with others so today’s blog provides some of the details that show which countries are the most active.

 germany_flag   portugal_flag   russia_flag   finland_flag   spain_flag   poland_flag   france_flag    brazil_flag   greece_flag   norway_flag  

Only 42.45% of the connections to our website this year have been from the United States. Another 2% were not-set or hidden.  That could mean about 55% of the computers running WinPatrol may be outside the 50 states.  I’ve shared a chart below which shows this years access to by our friends in countries which had visits of 2% or greater. There were a total of 206 countries that could be identified.

The following indicates access to since the beginning of the 2013. These figures relate to  connections, including requests for PLUS Info so they aren’t directly connected to download counts. It’s more of an indication of WinPatrol usage. The tool used to provide this data was Google Analytics.


Order Country / Territory % Non-US Visits
1 United Kingdom 14.02%
2 Germany 8.96%
3 Canada 8.57%
4 Russia 4.85%
5 Italy 4.70%
6 Australia 4.38%
7 France 4.22%
8 Netherlands 4.22%
9 India 3.88%
10 Spain 2.12%
11 Poland 2.07%
12 Brazil 1.99%
13 Belgium 1.91%
14 Indonesia 1.53%
15 Ukraine 1.51%
16 Denmark 1.50%
17 Philippines 1.26%
18 Romania 1.17%
19 Mexico 1.17%
20 Finland 1.14%
21 Sweden 1.14%
22 Thailand 1.07%
23 Turkey 1.05%
24 Portugal 1.01%
25 Greece 0.94%
26 New Zealand 0.90%
27 Norway 0.84%
28 Iran 0.76%
29 Austria 0.75%
30 Hungary 0.75%
31 Israel 0.73%
32 China 0.72%
33 South Africa 0.70%
34 Switzerland 0.70%
35 Malaysia 0.67%
36 Egypt 0.67%
37 Czech Republic 0.66%
38 Serbia 0.61%
39 Ireland 0.56%
40 Argentina 0.54%
41 Bulgaria 0.53%
42 Singapore 0.50%
43 Croatia 0.46%
44 Japan 0.42%
45 Vietnam 0.40%
46 South Korea 0.39%
47 Taiwan 0.37%
48 Hong Kong 0.37%
49 Pakistan 0.35%
50 Saudi Arabia 0.31%
51 Slovakia 0.27%
52 Ecuador 0.26%
53 Colombia 0.25%
54 Venezuela 0.23%
55 Peru 0.22%
56 Algeria 0.21%
57 Slovenia 0.21%
58 Lithuania 0.21%
59 Chile 0.20%
60 United Arab Emirates 0.20%
61 Puerto Rico 0.18%
62 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.17%
63 Belarus 0.17%
64 Iraq 0.17%
65 Morocco 0.16%
66 Kazakhstan 0.15%
67 Latvia 0.14%
68 Nepal 0.12%
69 Trinidad and Tobago 0.12%
70 Nigeria 0.12%
71 Bangladesh 0.12%
72 Georgia 0.11%
73 Estonia 0.11%
74 Tunisia 0.11%
75 Jamaica 0.10%
76 Moldova 0.10%
77 Sri Lanka 0.10%
78 Cyprus 0.10%
79 Macedonia [FYROM] 0.08%
80 Jordan 0.08%
81 Costa Rica 0.07%
82 Malta 0.07%
83 Ghana 0.07%
84 Paraguay 0.07%
85 Qatar 0.06%
86 Bolivia 0.06%
87 Luxembourg 0.06%
88 Yemen 0.06%
89 Panama 0.06%
90 Lebanon 0.05%
91 El Salvador 0.05%
92 Kuwait 0.05%
93 Sudan 0.05%
94 Kenya 0.05%
95 Palestine 0.05%
96 Albania 0.05%
97 Oman 0.05%
98 Laos 0.05%
99 Montenegro 0.05%
100 Armenia 0.04%
101 Syria 0.04%
102 Guatemala 0.04%
103 Azerbaijan 0.04%
104 Dominican Republic 0.04%
105 Uruguay 0.04%
106 Barbados 0.03%
107 Libya 0.03%
108 Iceland 0.03%
109 Ethiopia 0.03%
110 Mauritius 0.03%
111 Tanzania 0.03%
112 Maldives 0.02%
113 Zimbabwe 0.02%
114 Angola 0.02%
115 Kosovo 0.02%
116 Cambodia 0.02%
117 Uzbekistan 0.02%
118 Bahrain 0.02%
119 Réunion 0.02%
120 Afghanistan 0.02%
121 Honduras 0.02%
122 Côte d’Ivoire 0.02%
123 Senegal 0.02%
124 Guyana 0.02%
125 Kyrgyzstan 0.02%
126 Myanmar [Burma] 0.02%
127 Isle of Man 0.02%

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Many Surprised by Windows XP Usage

I’ll admit I’m a little surprised at how many copies of Windows XP are still loading when computers are turned on. According to my most recent blog statistics almost 25% of you are still depending on Windows XP.


The data from says 21.5% of our visitors use Windows XP. statsjuly2013winpatrol* Numbers will vary for other websites.

I’m pleased to see XP users are still downloading WinPatrol because they may benefit more than anyone by its protection. This will especially be true next April when Microsoft drops security updates for Windows XP or now if you haven’t installed Service Pack 3.

The current official Microsoft warning is

“To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure that you're running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). The support for Windows XP with Service Pack 3 ends April 8, 2014. If you’re running Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3) after support ends, to ensure that you will receive all important security updates for Windows, you need to upgrade to a later version, such as Windows 8.”

This end of security updates also applies to Office 2003.  The Windows XP “end of support” date has already been extended more than once.

xplaunchThis isn’t unreasonable considering the official Windows XP Launch Party in NYC was in October, 2001. I recall the event because it was six weeks after 9/11. Mayor Rudy Giuliani encouraged Microsoft to help show the world his city was safe. Things were still a little tense. I remember someone from the security staff questioning why my badge said Bill but my drivers license said William.


When Windows XP ends support, users will need to upgrade or risk being a target just by being connected to the Internet.  Initially, XP users rejected upgrading because they hated Windows Vista. While Windows 8 has had a few bad reviews I feel more productive and safe with my newest Windows 8 machine.

User Account Control was introduced in Windows Vista but never lived up to its expectation. As predicted by many, no tool will be 100% effective if people ignore it.  Users who upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS are able to find out more information on a program when it tries access secure locations on their system. WinPatrol is also a choice so users are more likely to pay attention to Scotty’s bark.

In an article in Ars Technica called “Five important security apps for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows”, WinPatrol was chosen as a way to block various types of malware, “For Windows Vista, the watchdog of choice is none other than the unloved User Account Control (UAC), and for Windows XP, we recommend WinPatrol.”

In a review by The Windows Club the author says, “WinPatrol, in my opinion, is a freeware that allows you to better manage the computer, when compared to Windows UAC.”

Microsoft has continued to make advances in security and protection to keep users safe. Even though it’s even older than Windows XP, WinPatrol will also continue to improve its experience while offering protection and information to users even if they stick with Windows XP.


Update 7/23/2013:
I was surprised to see a few days after posting my stats Microsoft was also focusing on their Windows XP fans, especially business users. Click the image below for complete information.

Thanks to Windows Observer for the tip

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