I have a dream of a future where all technology is modular, easily replacable, and recyclable.
You phone screen broke? Just replace it and recycle the old one. Your laptop's getting a little slow? Replace the CPU.
This would also require a set of universal adaptors and fittings, so that everything would be compatible with everything else.
And I honestly don't feel like this is a lot to ask?
@InvaderXan BUT MONEY!
This seems like actually sensible stuff that makes sense but how would large corporations get filthy rich if you can just replace a screen and not buy an entire new phone?
To be fair this is challenging with rapidly advancing technology. Would you rather still be using USB 1 for everything? Should we still be driving old 70s cars? You can upgrade a few things - switch to unleaded gasoline, for example, or even replace the engine, but the basic design was huge, inefficient, and unsafe. We know better now.
Of course even in established technology we don't do this either...
I have a 10 year old laptop. There's only one reason I'm considering getting a new one and that's because the CPU is now too slow for modern software. But if I could just upgrade the CPU...
@InvaderXan @anne @julia component upgrades get real weird with computers. it might be possible to have an upgradable cpu chassis (facebook is working on a generic plug for "AI" accelerators...) but usually the address bus and mobo stuff has to be designed FOR a particular chipset, like back when the extra power rails were added for bigger pentiums, you would have a hard time being forward compatible to that.
It's not unrelated to the way I don't understand why an app like Tootdon needs 109.6 MB of storage space on my phone. Like, is using that much space really necessary?
Sorry, this is a total tangent, but a friend did some cool work with atomic force microscopy - molecules that looked just like DFT predicted - so I printed him up some of his data. It's fun visualizing actual data!
Oh, that is so cool! I was always amazed at the way AFM can give you a picture of an actual molecule...
The noisy one is so noisy because (technique introduced in this paper!) it's time-resolved: you can bang the molecule, then measure it a selected number of picoseconds later to see how it wobbles. Very cool stuff. He's now setting up his own lab in the US.
Oh wow, it gives vibrational data too? By physically inducing the vibrations? Very neat. Hmmm... I think a few people in my institute might work on something similar.
Boo to paywalls. I'll take a look when I'm next on campus!
USB is convenient only insofar as you don't have to worry about where in the processor's address space to put them. The technology that enabled 12Mbps throughput on USB-1 allows 12Mbps data rates on RS232 ports as well, and being point to point, is easier to both code for and design new hardware for.
@InvaderXan The Right to Repair is an important thing, political, non-technical issue. And so is recycling — even plastics can be recycled just fine, although with pyrolysis: if only we could make the manufacturers pay for the entire life-cycle of the product.
@InvaderXan P.S. Sure it would make the products made from cheap plastic much more expensive, but that's desirable.
Yeah, this is where the @Fairphone dream comes from too. I've had my F2 since they came out, and have replaced the case and upgraded the camera. No other issues except now we're starting to see tech progress take over - software is king because capitalism, and hardware exists purely to serve software. The Fairphone lot are doing a decent job porting to old hardware, but it's resource intensive.
@quarky @Fairphone @InvaderXan
Or, in short, drivers are hard work :) "Standards" change all the time, for good reason, and maintenance is hard. Feels like there's a compromise/balance between sustainable hardware and staying compatible with newer software, which raises interesting questions about diversity and equality.
I've no opinions, because I hadn't seen this before. Thanks, I'll take a look.
To be fair we already do have all necessary fittings for modular laptops. But Lenovo would not want you to know that.
I don't even think it's about scarcity but rather complete denial of the resource.
They don't want you to think there's not enough fittings to go for everybody, they want you to think that while fittings are there and enough for everyone, you see them your entire life (open your PC box if you have it), there is no way to use them on laptops.
That monoboards are "thinner" and thus "better" and if you use fittings you get a thick, bad laptop, that to think otherwise is foolish.
Rather than creating artificial scarcity they create artificial obsolesence.
@Deiru i dunno enough about computers to grok this whole but will take your word for it :)
> Making everything __too__ replaceable would reduce profits for device makers in such a way that it would hardly be viable to be in the business.
I challenge that. It is not like the rich have "not enough money" to live like the rest. The problem is why give incentive to get rich when one can live a normal life ie. like 99% people.
It is viable to standardize otherwise Compact Disk would not exists for instance.
@InvaderXan unpopular opinion maybe, but thanks to ifixit and the like, iphones have become really good for the repairability aspect of this, and imo that’s incredibly heartening - the least designed to be repairable phones on the market, and here we are where anyone who’s good with their hands and has a couple hours to spare can refurb them at something like 15-20% in parts cost of what a new phone would run. i literally did replace and recycle a broken screen like 2 weeks ago!
As a related unpopular opinion, one reason I actually buy Apple tech is that it lasts a long time. In my experience, years longer than most other things. For the sake of reducing my waste and environmental impact, this seems like a good thing to do.
@InvaderXan same! i’ve got three iphone se’s now, one already refurbed and another soon to go on the bench for a new battery, and once i lay in a good stock of batteries and a couple spare screens i expect to be using them until at least 2025.
@alexis Good going!
Btw, I love iFixit's #RepairManifesto. I have it hanging in my room where I repair Fairphones for everybody who comes by for free.
You phone screen broke? Just replace it and recycle the old one.
Imagine compostable phone screens.
It's within the realm of possibilty TBH!
Related: Some scientists invented a way to make microchips from wood.
This sounds interesting. I wonder when it will be good enough to be used in actual devices e.g. a laptop by Dell.
@InvaderXan Not a lot to ask, but the trend is in the other direction. Less modular, fewer parts the user can replace or service.
Which figures, considering the trend is engineered by the people making more money from people repeatedly buying new things.
@InvaderXan right to repair is such a good movement
It really is! 💚
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