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...

@anne @julia
Within reason, nothing lasts for ever. But making things upgradable and able to last for at least a decade or two would make everything much more sustainable.

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 Yeah, and asking for near-universal chargers is also pretty reasonable. Remember when all phones used different chargers? And different headphone jacks?

Yeah USB replacing wall warts has been a wonderful improvement. Though I believe that happened as soon as DC-to-DC converters became cheap and efficient.
@InvaderXan @julia

@anne @InvaderXan @julia AFAIK there was also a politician in the EU who was pushing for that to reduce waste.

@anne @grainloom @InvaderXan @julia It's going back to charger-per-device, especially now that the USB SIG approved DRM for chargers.

Yes, you read that right.

@InvaderXan @anne @julia Same feeling, with a side of "I'm not doing anything on this laptop now that I wasn't doing ten years ago, WHY HAS THE SOFTWARE GOTTEN SO MUCH SLOWER."

@ifixcoinops @anne @julia
That's probably the most irritating thing.There is no valid reason why it should take 5 seconds to open a .txt file!

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?

@zig @ifixcoinops @InvaderXan @julia I actually get a good feeling when I do something that legitimately makes my computer sweat. Topology-preserving boolean operations on kiloelement meshes? OK I get why it takes a while.

@anne @zig @ifixcoinops @julia
I mean, if I was running density functional theory calculations or something, I'd understand the processor being a little preoccupied. Making a shopping list though, not so much.


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.

(Paywalled, sorry.)

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!

@InvaderXan @anne @ifixcoinops @julia I was running something intensive a few weeks ago, but then math came to the rescue and solved the problem efficiently πŸ₯‡

@InvaderXan @anne @ifixcoinops @julia I don't say sometime intesive computation is not required, I try to explain that sometimes a bit more thoughts help solve the problem better. Sure they are problems that can be not be "easily" solved.

@zig @anne
Yeah, I know what you mean. Sadly, molecular orbitals are not among those which are easy to solve!

@anne @julia @InvaderXan Hot take and unpopular opinion: I'd rather go back to using dedicated parallel and/or RS232 ports. In fact, I'd prefer if IEEE-488 came back.

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.

@anne @julia @InvaderXan
(Well, in all likeliness, the "rs232" ports would be rs485 or rs422 ports. But, the actual clock/data recovery mechanism would be the same in either case.)

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