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11677 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2556049 2-Sep-2020 22:11
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richms: Crappy old first gen core i7 machines are still usable for many things since the demands have not gone up massivly since they were new. Anything older than that will not be any use when upgraded. A low spec machine now has about the same ram and storage as one from 5 years ago, so upgrading wouldnt help that out at all.

Off the repair track.. a standard motherboard form factor would allow a side-grade to a modern low power mobile processor with efficient multimedia extensions.

489 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #2556176 3-Sep-2020 10:20
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What I would like to see is a law around support time for upgrades from the sale of cheap junk gear. If the importer cant ensure that all android patches are available for it for a length of time after sale, then it should be able to be deemed no longer fit for purpose and a pro-rated refund due on it based on the length of time owned and when it stopped getting updates. Its not the hardware on devices that is the problem causing ewaste, its software.



That's a really good point, I wonder if this has been tested at all with the Consumer Guarantees Act or taken to Disputes Tribunal. I'm racking my brains for when I was heavily involved with CGA and consumer electronics in previous roles and I don't remember coming across any specific examples. To be fair as far as telco goes, I was mainly focused on Apple which has long software support lifecycles, and then on other technology eg laptops which also tend to have long term software support.

Ant  Reformed geek | Referral links: Electric Kiwi  Sharesies  Stake


23459 posts

Uber Geek

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  #2556194 3-Sep-2020 10:56
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Are you me?



Haha, yup, sounds like we could be twins :)


I guess, I keep trying to make a difference where I can...

2316 posts

Uber Geek

  #2556897 4-Sep-2020 11:55
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If the importer cant ensure that all android patches are available for it for a length of time after sale, then it should be able to be deemed no longer fit for purpose and a pro-rated refund due on it based on the length of time owned and when it stopped getting updates.



Every Android device Ive owned (except my current ph, so far) , has had zero or near zero updates & patches available. Incl 3 Samsungs
They were abandoned after release (pretty much) , and sold with out of date Android versions .
Id say the majority of Android ph's & tables in NZ are unpatched , the exceptions being a few brands and the flagship models .


Apple keeps its older phones up to date (within reason) , so should be no excuses for major Android manufactures not doing the same .


Consequences : regulating that Androids need to stay fully supported will wipe all the new cheaper ph's & tablets off the NZ market .  So budget users
will buy very old used phones instead , and those very old phones will be so old that they arnt patchable or updateable anyway.
Average Android users dont ditch there phones just because it not updateable , they keep using them till they die or are too slow .



294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2557013 4-Sep-2020 14:46
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I wouldn't call myself a greenie by any stretch of the imagination, but like many people my views have been influenced by a greater focus on sustainability.  I am grateful for that.  In the industry of which I have the greatest knowledge, IT and computing, it has been bothering me for a while that we have a number of general purpose computers whose usable lifespan is shortened by the inability to be easily upgraded by a knowledgeable end user.


If all general purpose computers had the ability to have their RAM and primary drive and battery upgraded by your local techy teenager with a screwdriver set, a spare 5 minutes, and a hankering for a pizza as a reward for his or her time, I think this would give all of these machines a longer potential useful life, even if they get retired to Grandma playing Scrabble online and video chatting to the grandkids every other day.


I'm not picking on brands here, but the ones I have seen and recall off the top of my head are the:


  • ThinkPad Carbon X1 (original)
  • HP X2 1013
  • Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Apple iMac (obviously not a portable machine)

If NZ & Aussie gave 3 years notice that the import of machines that were non-upgradable would be banned, I think this would be sufficient time for manufacturers to catch on that consumers are starting to push back against 'planned obsolescence', and for other countries to follow suit.  I detest the idea of 'nanny state' telling me what I can and cannot do, but I also detest that we have become a disposable society.  There has to be a balance.


Your thoughts and comments are welcome, both for and against. :)



Problem is the examples given above don't qualify as general purpose laptops... perhaps the phrase "general purpose laptops" should be removed from thread title?




Lenovo X1 Carbon =  Ultrabook


HP X2 1013 = Tablet.


M$ Surface Pro =  Tablet (convertible).




^Designed with low weight & ultra low power usage in mind, hence why RAM/CPU & other components are soldered to the motherboard. (fwiw Intel "U" = Ultra Low Power & not replaceable).




Apple iMac = AIO?   (Upgradable albeit a pita job requiring LCD screen removal unlike other AIO's).










What I personally have an issue with is OEM WLAN/WWAN card whitelisting.















294 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #2557413 5-Sep-2020 12:26
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I am a little perplexed by comments to the effect that a normal lifespan for a modern laptop (or other similar device) is around 5 years, give or take a year. Surely that is ridiculously short? Why should that be the norm? I get that there are specific use cases that warrant the latest and greatest, but five years should hardly be acceptable as a standard. My newest devices, which are indeed starting to develop issues, are older than that, and some are much older. Even if they are not repairable, which is another issue, they ought to be good for at least 10 years. This is incredibly wasteful, if nothing else.



The expected life of a consumer device according to most manufacturers is 12 months. Generally I'd expect business quality laptops to last 5+ years, but not lower end consumer gear.



This is simply not true.   I also work in IT Industry (18 years) I've yet to see a laptop or desktop with an expecte lifetime of 1yr, regardless of warranty.


A laptop/desktop is many components not one.  HDD's ofc don't last forever, but solid state components e.g. CPU/RAM & attached PCI devices do.


In my experience Motherboard/PCB issues are usually due to bad soldering (8800GTX anyone?). Reflow can (sometimes) revive a dead board.




Fwiw FBGA processors are more power efficient than their FRU counterparts. That's why manufacturers use them on tablets.  

111 posts

Master Geek

  #2560356 8-Sep-2020 15:22
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As some others have commented, I don't think NZ alone has the influence to push such a policy and if we did without support from other countries, it would backfire on us.


That said, I'd be 100% behind an international effort to ensure batteries are user replaceable items. I'd also support efforts to standardise battery form factors and battery mangaement system interfaces so that reliable third parties can produce aftermarket products. Right now, we have the perfect storm of non-user replaceable batteries in most devices with proprietary monitoring, and the only places to get aftermarket batteries are extremely dodgy sellers.


Batteries in current devices have expected lifespans of anywhere from 2 years to 5 years, and many devices - especially Apple (although their batteries at least usually last well) - will throttle performance when the batteries degrade, something most general consumers don't have any concept of and think their laptop is just getting old and slow.


With regards to comments on "thin and light" being the cause for lack of upgrade ability - this really isn't the full picture. There's no technical reason why e.g. a MacBook Air class device couldn't have a user-replaceable storage device, or even user serviceable RAM. The reasons are commercial, and not primarily driven by the consumer. Making a Macbook Air-class device with user serviceable battery, RAM, and storage simply requires different design compromises - maybe 15% less space allocated to speaker cavity, or 5% less space allocated to battery, or perhaps 2mm additional thickness at the back of the chassis. It may also require new standardised miniaturised form factors for expansion RAM cards and SSDs - both things that have been in development at several times over the past few years but fizzled out because there's just no commercial payback right now.


Would consumers care about these compromises? Hard to say. It's quite possible they wouldn't - I certainly wouldn't in an ultrabook-class device. A tablet, probably. Do the manufacturers care though? Yes, a lot - it takes their devices from 10 year usable lifespans to 5, it increases their perceived likelihood of selling new devices, gives them a small amount of new marketing, and pushes the narrative to consumers that this is the expected lifespan for such a device (when in reality, even a 10 year old laptop is still surprisingly capable today when augmented with a modern SSD and maxed out RAM), reinforcing that upgrades are difficult and complicated and often impossible.


There's very little excuse IMO however, for bigger, thicker devices like the Thinkpad T14s to come with soldered RAM, storage, or even WiFi cards. The AMD version has a Mini PCIe card, but the Intel version has soldered WiFi chip in the same place with a bunch of empty space around it - ridiculous. The benefits of upgradeability are obvious - it's why e.g. the 2012 pre-retina MacBooks are still useful devices - you can stick 16GB of RAM and 2TB SSDs in the 13" models if you want to taking them far in excess of the early retina machines. How many classroom fleets could be serviced with upgraded 3 year old ex lease machines I wonder?




2316 posts

Uber Geek

  #2560764 9-Sep-2020 10:45
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Would consumers care about these compromises?



That should be average consumers, not the tech savvy or IT support .  :-)
The av consumer  doesnt consider replaceable batts, doesnt consider easy servicing : sales have proven that
The av consumer looks at price , size , brand & whats the latest must have model .


Im all for user replaceable batts , as we all are.
Now hands up who's latest phone purchase has user replaceable batts (my new ph doesnt) . Thats why it wont happen .
Hands up who refused to buy or supply a notebook that didnt have user replaceable batt & a cover to access the HD/RAM .
The market has spoken . Even we dont care enough to purchase ONLY user up-gradable/repairable hardware .


Edit : despite me allways stating that ph manufacturers should be fully supporting ph's with Android updates & patches , that wasnt even a 
consideration with my latest ph purchase.
I didnt pick a new ph that would get updates for as long as the phone was usuable .
So now I learn my 2 month old ph wont ever get the Android11 upgrade . Thats on me , my fault for what I picked  . Thats why
manufacturers can get away with this sort of thing . :-)

12940 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #2560788 9-Sep-2020 10:59
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Consumer expectations are manipulated by manufacturers competing with each other for market share. Change the expectations and many problems will be solved. Ten years ago consumers would have been thrilled with machines they turn their noses up at today. 



I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney

220 posts

Master Geek

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  #2560810 9-Sep-2020 11:14
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Lots of good discussion. But the main culprit as always is consumerism and industries built upon the mantra of having to sell product to the end user i.e. growth economy. We are the ones controlling it but because we are not a single entity any change is difficult. there are lots of examples on this. So what can we do as an individual?


1) I buy ALL my IT gear second hand (except for the odd item like HDDs). It usually totally suffices most needs and people. The savings are immense and the trade-offs usually minor. 


2) I try hook up friends with used gear too since they need help with IT stuff. It usually is win-win.


3) Try to stay with Lenovo gear as much as possible as repairing is key to their gear (although even they have started changing in the last years. pressure from consumers I guess). But it also means that the design is more industrial rugged.


3) Do we always need the shiniest new product? How about changing OS to Linux? Your 7yo laptop will still do fine.


4) Do you really need a laptop & desktop & tablet & phone &....? Sit down and calculate ROI for each. How much do they cost and how many hours do you spend using them? What does the hour cost you?


5) Lastly, please dispose of technology in a safe way! Especially anything with lithium batteries in it!


Apple gear also usually stays usable longer than PC gear. And i am not talking about power users here (i.e. regular Geekzone client)!! 
The above also goes for a lot of things. Think about what can be second hand bought and what not, what cost are things going to incur over total lifetime of your ownership? Usually I can save a lot by taking second hand AND be more environmentally friendly. Does it scale? Probably not as much as I'd like but it changes consumer behavior and that in turn changes what gets produced. 

2316 posts

Uber Geek

  #2560856 9-Sep-2020 11:26
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3) Try to stay with Lenovo gear as much as possible as repairing is key to their gear (although even they have started changing in the last years. pressure from consumers I guess). But it also means that the design is more industrial rugged.



- you buy PC's that use non standard components  :-) . When lenovo decide that the PC is end of life , you cant get their SFF Power Supply (easily)
Thats why this will never change.
We talk the talk but dont walk the walk .
Its not the manufactuers , its us. We dont really care enough to change despite of what we say (on average)


If the market was there for this , manufacturers would be filling that market to suit . Its us not them .

220 posts

Master Geek

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  #2561055 9-Sep-2020 14:25
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- you buy PC's that use non standard components  :-) . When lenovo decide that the PC is end of life , you cant get their SFF Power Supply (easily)



Well so far Lenovo have changed their power supply about 3x and since I buy used I can get "old" power supplies for $20 all day long. So no, that is only a problem when you insist on buying new stuff.


But generally agree with your sentiment. It's us not them. We change behaviour the world changes. BUT because we are an amorphous bunch that can't even agree that humanity HAS an issue it needs to get a whole lot worse before it will get better. So the question is, will we notice before we are unable to correct. By what I currently see my take is a solid NO. Humanity will consume itself to total oblivion. For the last 40y we have been taught (Neocon) that individualism, profit and supremacy are the only goals worth striving for. That community, social conscience, sustainability and other similar traits are for loosers. So yeah, people will buy new and will have to have the latest cellphone and laptop and car and.... 


Having kids changed my take on all this drastically (although I was pretty conscious before too) but it does require a 100y vision to see what is happening and what humanity is doing. 


Boy oh boy that went dark quickly! Sorry

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