The power of sunshine

So I've been seriously thinking about my net holiday idea again.
The main problem is the power of laptops, there battery are pretty crap, even my tabletpc lasts around about 3.5 hours with wireless on. Never tried it with just the Lan connection on, or thinking about it now, with just bluetooth on.

Anyway once you put the brightness of the screen up, your 3hours becomes a very sickly 2hrs and if you want to read the screen outside in the sun your gonna need all the brightness your laptop can deliver.
Even while I write this post on the coach ride from Bristol to London, the sun is giving me grief, so much that I had to draw the make shift curtains.
Anyhow, if you plug in power your fine. You can drain all the power you like and still have the brightness on maximum. However, on a net holiday would you want to be confined to one area in which you can have power? Not really, no.

The solutions

Why not have extra thick power packs which will increase the life of the laptops? Yes I guess it would work, but no one wants to carry around a brick of a laptop on holiday? And lets not forget most people will bring there own laptops rather than rent one.

Why not have power blocks everywhere, so people can plugin everywhere? It would kind of work except we would have to once again supply mains power for every type of laptop. We could tell people before hand to take extra power blocks?
Another issue with always on mains power is if one falls in the swimming pool, everyone dies of a nasty electric shock, where if just the laptop everyone gets stunk no one dies. I'm guessing because obvioulsy I've never tried it myself.

Why not use solar power? Ah you hit the nail on the head. If we use solar power in a hot sunny place like south spain, we could easily get the charge of a main supply. But its safer and can be moved around alot more than mains adapters.
So ok theres two ways to do this. Some kind of large one which will power a set of laptops or little mini ones which you put on the outer side of the laptop. Maybe theres some kind of mounting like you get on those usb laptop cameras?
Once you got that sorted and powering the laptop, there should be enough sunshine to power the laptop thought-out the day. because if I'm right in saying, it only really requires daylight not bright and hot sunshine. Maybe it generates charge quicker if its brighter?

This kinda makes me think why cant the hotel be solar powered? And indeed, why not?
What self confessing geek wouldnt want to come on a net holiday? I'm sorry but I wouldnt beable to resist it.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and