[ubuntu] Battery charge disappears suddenly

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I can't tell if I have an Ubuntu problem or a hardware problem, but there is certainly some sort of problem. I have a laptop running Ubuntu Jaunty, with a thingy on the desktop panel in the lower right-hand corner to tell me how full the battery is. When I turn it on without plugging it in, it will start out showing 99% battery charge. Naturally, this starts going down slowly; however (and this happens almost every time) it will suddenly skip from eighty-something percent to 3%. Then the computer automatically shuts down. The first time this occurred, I thought I had somehow lost track of time and let the battery discharge. I have now several times seen the marker skip directly from 83% to 3%. Charge cannot simply disappear like that; where can it be going? (Hardware)