From my experience, it is quite difficult to truly drain a laptop battery completely. It seems like any OS that realizes you are running a laptop will try to prevent that from happening no matter how hard you try to do otherwise. I think you'd probably have to leave your system in the BIOS for hours on end to really run it down to fully discharged.
Safety circuit in the battery prevents full drain, though you *can* fully discharge the battery by draining it until critically low, and storing it that way for a month or two (since the same safety circuit, ironically does draw a microcharge). When you try to recharge it, the circuit will detect the battery charge is too low and won't allow a charge: This is not a reversible condition.
Obviously this is not my field of expertise. Is there a better battery for that application? It certainly has been shown that there is demand for all-electric vehicles; I was under the impression that the lithium ion batteries were the best for the cars in terms of cost-benefit.
If weight were no object, I'd go with a lead acid battery. Yeah, it's got the memory effect, but on the other hand, you do get to have a fun Seinfeld drive to the end of the battery every six months or so to rejuvenate the batteries. These have proven themselves in kei-cars, golf cars and industrial carts for decades now. As far as battery drawbacks go, the memory effect is pretty fun for that application: I got tasked with draining 30 industrial cars of their charge on a week when the site was closed due to it being too icy to safely work on heavy machinery. Which meant I'd drive each one carefully out of the warehouse, out into the icy industrial ways in the site, and put my foot to the floor and not let up for anything, just sliding around, drifting around corners, pulling cookies, and all around driving 'em harder than they've ever been driven before until they run out of charge, then leave the lights on until they drained completely before shutting it down and recharging 'em...
I can understand why this isn't necessarily a maintenance routine the layman wants to perform, but it sure beats being able to do nothing at all about it other than recycle the batteries and get new ones...
I have never had 24 months of useful life from a single battery. And I don't leave my laptops plugged in indefinitely as many others do; my most recent battery I even made a point of running down the battery at least partially before plugging it in, and then unplugging when I shut down. It still became at best of marginal value after 13 months.
I have one in a ThinkPad A32 that perhaps only has 30 minutes of life left and going on three years now. I have it set up so it maintains a 50% charge until the UPS that machine is connected to loses power, in which it starts charging the on-board battery and unmounting the backup drives in preperation to lose power completely, and once it's down to only a few minutes on internal power, it begins to shut down. Kind of a neat way to extend offline shutdown time on a home server.
I recall a Dilbert cartoon about airport security... Can't seem to find it at the moment.
There are many, but I've probably seen them all at this point.
I find particularly amusing that apparently the only airports that still require passengers to remove their shoes are in the US, with the exception of London Heathrow. I was recently in Toronto for a conference and could not find one person who flew there through any airport outside of the US or Heathrow who had to take off their shoes for security.
I was pissed because I had to do that at a county courthouse to report for jury duty. WTF? What did I do to warrant getting searched just for reporting for a civic duty?
Which from the consumer point of view is functionally similar to the memory effect that plagued NiCd batteries.
Except for the fact that if you attempt to counteract it by draining the battery completely, you'll reduce it's capacity permanently and run the risk of bricking it entirely. Which is why I wonder why in the world these things are in all-electric cars: At least if the Li-Ion batteries die in a Prius, you just get crappy city mileage.
Things that age your battery faster are heat and too much or too little charge, so keeping your battery in bay and at full charge is a great way to shorten it's lifespan dramatically.
Is that why laptop batteries age so much quicker than cell phone batteries? I have had cell phone lithium ion batteries go for 2-3 years without fail, my laptop batteries seem to be junk within about 13 months (one month after their warranty is up).
Yes, this is exactly why this happens. With proper care, you can easily get 24-36 months out of a Lithium-Ion. Beyond that is really iffy, even if you've never used the battery at all. In theory, the lifespan is five years, but ha, good luck ever getting that outside a lab!
At least in my area, Amtrak introduces a different problem in the fact that it takes significantly longer to reach my destination, for a similar price. If I was on the coast where Amtrak has the Acela high-speed, I would definitely go that way over air travel.
But you do arrive with your fourth amendment rights to be free of unreasonable search in tact, which you can't say about the airlines. Can you really put a price on civil rights?