[Windows] Granola optimizes power usage, aims to lower energy consumption without decreasing performance [Linux]

GranolaMany who know me, think that I am an advocate, believer and promoter of a greener life style. This is untrue. The truth is I am a cheapskate. I spend the majority of my days dreaming of ways that I can cut corners and save money. I never knew  that there were developers out there who made applications for the penny pinching demographic until I came across Miserware’s (don’t you just love the name?) Granola.

What Is It and What Does It Do

Main Functionality

Granola claims itself to be an application that curves and optimizes power usage on x86 servers and PCs running Linux and Windows without affecting visible performance, memory and functional availability. In short, its a very fancy power management tool.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Attractive user interface
  • Customizable figure display
  • Bone simple and easy to understand settings
  • Easy to adjust and understand power policy

Cons

  • No advanced options
  • Can’t really tell if its working unless you monitor and compare usage or install another application (which isn’t a con per-se but still worth mentioning)
  • No offline help documentation
  • There is no option to add a shortcut to the desktop or start menu

Discussion

Granola is a cereal made of rolled oats with dried fruits, nuts and honey or brown sugar. A great breakfast food packed with protein, low on calories and a dietary staple for anyone who wants to stay healthy and trim. At first, why Miserware chose to name their product after a simple breakfast mix is unclear. I then researched it a little more and came upon Urban Dictionaries top definition of granola (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=granola). It describes granola as an adjective that is used to refer to people who are environmentally conscious and aware, open minded, socially active with extremely left winged agendas. I think the euphemism or dysphemism is hippy. It then makes partial sense why Miserware would name it granola. What fills in the blanks is Miserware are tongue in cheek developers who don’t take themselves too seriously. This theme presents itself all over the Granola power management tool.

Granola4Installation is quick and easy. The most notable feature is Miserware’s giant picture logo which depicts the planet as a coin going into a slot. You get a standard usage agreement to tick ,a wizard window for install directory selection and that’s it.There wasn’t even an option to include a desktop or start menu short cut. This was head scratch moment one. Head scratch moment two came when Granola launched after install. I asked myself ‘is this it?’ and ‘where’s the rest of it’. It was like a pretty woman suffering from anorexia, there was no rest of it. The base user interface barely takes up a sixth of your screen. It cannot be maximized or restored, only closed or shared on a social network. Closing it, will only close the user interface.
The essence of Granola is the Power Management Daemon that runs unseen like a ghost on your PC’s background.  I wasn’t entirely sure that it was running at first to be honest, however you do get a system tray icon that  has more functionality than the base user interface. From it, you can bring up the user interface, launch the settings screen, launch the About window,  submit feedback, alter the power policy or exit the application. Note: If you exit the application from the system tray menu, it will exit the front end but the Manager will still be running from the background unless you choose to close it manually.

Granola3The user interface, has a marble like black background and consists of five major sections. The settings screen can also be called from the top right corner. The way the user interface – if you can even call it that – was designed, it initially seems as if its not the key user interface. I mistook it for an offers screen. From the top, what you see is the Granola logo, followed by how much you’ll save in kilowatts, money, CO2 emissions in weight  and how much CPU energy you have saved. At the bottom, it displays how many trees you, along with the Granola  community have offset through your collective efforts in using Granola. Along with this comes a giant forest icon, that links you to the Granola community web page when clicked upon. The user interface has a real comic book or brochure feel to it, it’s unfortunate that it’s inextensible.

The settings window is black and white lined like a neon sign in an old movie. Here you can also change the power policy. From lowest speed(CPU) – where you’ll definitely see a drop in performance ,to miserware mode which is the standard default and is interchangeable as a medium mode and highest power which turns off power management completely. Other settings allow you to choose whether the application window launches at start up, whether it checks for updates, select the energy cost per kWh, the currency it uses to display the money saved, reporting type and CO2 units. You can choose between three major currencies, Pound, Euro and dollar.  You can choose whether reporting is annual or cumulative.  You can choose whether CO2 emissions are measured in pounds (lbs) or kilograms (kg).

Granola5I like the messages that it comes with in each section. For example, underneath the amount of kWh you have saved yearly, a ‘enough to power 20 electric furnaces’ type message will accommodate it according the score. if automatic update checks are on, every time you start the application up, it checks and if it should find one it will display a message prompting the user to either update or ignore it. I advise the user to restart your computer after the update because the update closes the Granola power manager and fails to bring it up after install, in most cases.

Conclusion and Download Link

There you have it. Whether you prescribe to the church of Scrooge or just like the smell of your own flatulence, Granola is a simple application for the casual user that will make you feel good. Don’t hesitate to give it a try and if you’re inclined to, join the community, participate and save a little change along with the environment.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 5.0.1

Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and Linux

Download size: 4,51 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/42

Is it portable? No

Granola homepage

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6 comments

  1. Mdu
    Author/

    [@Machar] Aah , a pragmatist. is that aimed at Granola, the review or the whole left winged agenda? Anyway, when I was monitoring the back end and how the CPU was clocking, there was a noticeable decrease in general output. On my laptop, it lowered the screen brightness when I placed it on the lowest setting. It does seem to do something. Whether its true that I’ve saved 100 trees this year, I’ll never know but I’ve probably saved a couple of cents in electricity.