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(ieee spectrum)   VR guru asks if hardware manufacturers should be required to update firmware in perpetuity, with a portion of device price dedicated to update servers. "If that keeps them out of the landfill, I'd say yes: The benefits easily outweigh the costs"   (spectrum.ieee.org) divider line
    More: Obvious, Artificial intelligence, Artificial neural network, Neural network, Robot, Robotics, Machine learning, deep learning, own system of pattern recognition  
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271 clicks; posted to STEM » on 23 Sep 2021 at 1:21 PM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



14 Comments     (+0 »)
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2021-09-23 12:38:01 PM  
If you assume hardware will always support advances of firm and soft ware, no problem. All I know is I only get so many years out of a laptop before I can't use internet browsers due to upgrades I can't make.
 
2021-09-23 1:04:58 PM  
Maintaining old hardware that can't be replaced (or gets replaced on extremely long timelines) has put a lot of food on my table over the years.
 
2021-09-23 1:29:04 PM  
"in perpetuity"? No, your $100 purchase doesn't guarantee you 50 years of support. 10 years, maybe. Tech changes fast, I couldn't imagine expecting support for my old Atari 800.
 
2021-09-23 1:31:00 PM  
I've found it's more fun to work on older systems then newer ones. Figuring out ways to make them do new things without major changes has made me smile over the years. People don't always like that though cause if I go someone has to figure it all out and maintain it. So they throw everything out in favor of new "cloud" services. Ah well, I had my fun and got paid.
 
2021-09-23 1:47:59 PM  
I mean, Moore's law is failing. It's probably time to actually talk about this and get back to optimizing code, instead of relying on improved hardware performance to brute force by bad coding.

Combine it with discrete component replacement and right to repair, and there's no real reason it's not feasible.
 
2021-09-23 1:53:09 PM  

Nimbull: I've found it's more fun to work on older systems then newer ones. Figuring out ways to make them do new things without major changes has made me smile over the years. People don't always like that though cause if I go someone has to figure it all out and maintain it. So they throw everything out in favor of new "cloud" services. Ah well, I had my fun and got paid.


Did you document what you did so that others could follow what you did?
 
2021-09-23 1:58:11 PM  
I'd go for a nice compromise - set a minimum amount of time your are required to support it. Let's say 10 years.  Allow for a review process the manufacturer can go through to end it early, submitted to the FTC or whatever governing body this gets stuck on.  This has to be for valid reasons, though, like if it is entirely unfeasible to maintain it for some reason.

But if support ends, then the means to support it need to be made public, so the Open Source crowd can support it if they choose.
 
2021-09-23 2:09:53 PM  
I don't agree with a forever mandate.  I do agree with requiring security updates for the reasonable lifespan for the device.  Defining what is a "reasonable lifespan" might be a pain and subject to later tweaking, but at least it would codify how long we should expect our equipment to work.

For most classes of internet connected devices, ten years of security updates should be the minimum, IMO.
 
2021-09-23 2:21:28 PM  
Either we need a very, very good recycling system - which we do not have - or hardware needs to be supported and expected to last much longer. Just from a pure environmental perspective. 10 years would be great.

I know a lot of those 10 year old things can still run if you use some lightweight Linux variant. I've extended laptops lifetimes by several years doing that.

As for VR stuff, both major VR manufacturers basically DRM their stuff. Oculus and HTC. The user should be able to modify and run it without proprietary software. Like a computer - a Mac or Windows box can run Linux. From what I understand, the way they are made now is like phones, where they brick themselves if you do something the manufacturer doesn't like. That practice, in both phones and VR, should be absolutely illegal.
 
db2
2021-09-23 2:26:01 PM  
I'm in the middle of repairing a Compaq Portable so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.
 
2021-09-23 2:27:10 PM  

smd31: Nimbull: I've found it's more fun to work on older systems then newer ones. Figuring out ways to make them do new things without major changes has made me smile over the years. People don't always like that though cause if I go someone has to figure it all out and maintain it. So they throw everything out in favor of new "cloud" services. Ah well, I had my fun and got paid.

Did you document what you did so that others could follow what you did?


Oh certainly.. paper and online documentation as well as a sprinkling of code comments.
 
2021-09-23 5:33:13 PM  
I've only had to replace a motherboard once because of firmware incompatibilities, but it was 12 years old.
 
2021-09-23 5:57:24 PM  
My Android phone hasn't had an update since 2019. Lack of updates in the Android market makes it a biatch to develop for.
 
2021-09-23 8:11:54 PM  
I can run my business on 20 year old equipment.  I do it every quarter when we test the disaster recovery systems.  Reports aren't instant and some things seem to take forever but it still works.  When we replace hardware, the old stuff goes as cold spares and then to the disaster recovery site where it sits until it no longer works.  It turns out that gear 10 years old and newer is fine.  There is a window of about 16 to 12 years ago where the bad caps have killed the systems.  The oldest things we have in the system are some old sparc station 20 from 1994.  The last patch from Sun/Oracle for it was last year so a 27 year old system meet compliance requirements.

The most wasteful systems I have are macs.  I have 3 running Dosdune1's hack to keep them useful.  The old imac with the beautiful screen is nothing other than a x-plane dedicated system.  The old power pc based mac min runs netbsd. The old laptops are pending landfill as are the semi-recent mac minis.   Dosdude1 has a team of 5 people who keep old macs running and it doesn't appear to be a full time job for any of them.  The hackintosh group has a 64 bit bios loader that would trick the xplane machine into newer OS which then could run at least 10.15 (Catalina).  Apple could keep lots of junk out of landfills and it would take a few people and a room full of old hardware for testing and that would cost less than a million a year even Cupertino.  Their e-waste fines already far exceed that.  I expect it would also improve sales.  Work was burned too often by unsupported macs that they are no longer on the approved lists.  Since the work machine isn't a mac, the iphone integration isn't there so now there are no more iphones.  A decade ago more than half the company phones were iphones now there are 2.
 
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