European Commission regulators have suggested that smartphones and tablets sold there offer 15 different kinds of spare parts for at least five years, as part of a broad effort to lessen their environmental impact.
A draft regulation of “ecodesign requirements for mobile phones, cordless phones, and slate tablets” posted on August 31 notes that phones and tablets are “often replaced prematurely by users” and are “not sufficiently used or recycled” (i.e., junk-drawer-ed) at the end of their life. The cost is the energy and new materials mined from the earth for new phones, and unrecycled materials sitting in homes. Extending the lives of smartphones by five years—from their current typical two- to three-year lives—would be like taking 5 million cars off the road, according to the Commission’s findings. (Ars Technica)
The Quebec division of the Automobile Industries Association (AIA) of Canada issued a statement this week outlining its concerns. The division represents more than 6,500 businesses in the industry, from repair shops to banner head offices. Almost 91,000 people work in the province’s automotive aftermarket.
“Unlike other Canadian provinces, Quebec does not manufacture vehicles but rather specializes in the aftermarket sector, which covers maintenance and repair, as well as the distribution and sale of parts,” the statement said.
It noted challenges that need to be overcome to ensure vehicle safety and the importance of preparing for the arrival of electric vehicles. At the top of the list was right to repair. Data collected by vehicles are transmitted to the manufacturer, which then limits what independent repair shops can get and how many can access the data.
“Without access to this data, independent auto repair shops cannot fix a vehicle,” the statement said, adding that this results in higher consumer costs.
The group wants to see legislative changes to give vehicle owners free and complete access to data generated while driving, along with the option of sharing access with the shop of their choice, the statement added. (Auto Service World)
If you buy something simple like a hammer, the manufacturer has little say over what you do with it and no way to enforce any of its rules. Unfortunately, tech companies have an easier time retaining control of their products because of the nature of the products themselves. When you buy a new phone, you may think of it in terms of components. You’re purchasing a 32-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon processor, 8GB of ram, etc. You will indeed own those components, but those aren’t the phone.
What you’re purchasing when you buy a phone, a laptop, or even a TV, is something that can run the company that made its software. How much of an issue this is varies from company to company. Apple is known to be quite tight with its code, while Android is a bit more open. But the important thing to note is that you don’t own the software the device is running — you’re just being allowed to use it. The terms around that can change at any time, and the company that owns the software can also withdraw its permission at will.
If your purely mechanical lawnmower breaks, you can go to a hardware store and choose from a selection of parts. There may be various parts that work with your lawnmower, allowing you to balance cost and quality before purchasing the one that’s right for you and carrying on with the repair. With an iPhone, things aren’t that simple. If you don’t buy Apple’s official parts, your phone’s functionality might be reduced. The off-brand part you purchased could be identical to an official Apple part in almost every way, but if your phone does not believe it came from an official source, Apple will punish you for it. (Review Geek)
Repairers from different countries will soon be welcome in Brussels. From 30 September to 2 October, Fixfest, an international gathering of volunteer repairers and tinkerers, activists, policy-makers, thinkers, educators and companies will be held there. The third international edition of Fixfest is being organised by The Restart Project, in close collaboration with Right to Repair Europe and the Belgian organisations Repair Together and Repair & Share.