Sunday, May 17, 2009

Aerofoil 1.5?

Recently I've also been thinking of improving Aerofoil to include new features that greatly improve battery life for Vista and Windows 7. This is not to say I will produce an Aerofoil 1.5, but more a general gauge of user feedback as to features you'd like to see. With up to 240 unique hits a day on this blog I'm hoping some of you will be able to give me some info on features you think would be worthwhile and would save battery life.

Things I have already tried and dismissed:

FeatureExpected GainDismissed because...
Screen colour reduction (going from 32bit colour - 16.7 million colours to 8 bit colour - 256 colours)Lower power GPU usage since it is doing less colour workTests showed no real gain, possibly a few seconds, but importantly Vista is mostly blacked out and very hard to use
Auto process priority management - lowering task priority for heavy processesLower CPU usage should mean greater battery lifeUsage of a machine became unbearably slow. Conversely, trying to put the CPU priority up instead so a task was done faster is counter productive, since user input is slow and the application is waiting longer at high priority
Decrease the sound volumeLower power usage from lower volumeNot much to be gained here unless you play music constantly, and probably quite annoying

Features like hardware disabling I think are overkill and is potentially dangerous so I won't be considering that (e.g. switching Bluetooth off, disabling Bluetooth driver stack). Hardware disabling would also require a lot of manual configuration, and one of the design paradigms behind Aerofoil is to keep it as simple as possible.

So what can I do, how can I improve Aerofoil - I was pretty much resigned to 1.4.5 being the last version - but given it's success I'd like it to become the defacto must have battery saving application for Windows Vista and Windows 7 Notebooks?


Anonymous said...

How about lowering the priority of non essential programs?

Benjamin said...

Thanks for the suggestion - I did a bit of research and came across this wikipedia article that basically says I shouldn't tamper with process priority because idle priority prevents the CPU from sleeping and consumes more power: