Troubling trend of e-waste due to non repairable devices

superczar

Well-Known Member
Skilled
Somehow there seems to be a common assumption that our phone/PC hardware can run for 10 years or even more while delivering a great user experience.

The problem with this assumption is that most app stacks are designed with a performance baseline expectation that moves up every year.
In addition, its not just thick client apps that are designed this way but also web apps.

So even if somehow your once brilliant centrino laptop or SD S1 chip Nexus one were fully optimized and operational today - the webpage/ webapp that would have felt super zippy on it circa 2011 would be so much more complex today that it will barely load.
 

vivek.krishnan

If you cant see the green dot, I'm offline :P
Skilled
Isn’t running custom rom on your primary phone, risky?. I mean who knows how it has been developed, what kind of hidden malware/ Remote access tools,etc are built in. Unless one can develop it from clean factory images on his own, I personally wouldn’t trust any of these custom ROMs. There are safety issues when it comes to SAR values, as lot of these custom ROMs tweak the thermal limits to push performance, change the cpu governor, etc. through custom kernels/ altering OEM provided values. This could result in higher radiations emitted from the device and harmful to human skin if not kept at distance. The OEMs quality checks all these but custom rom developers can’t.

there is a reason that banking apps are generally prohibited from running on rooted phones due to security issues. It’s not safe in bypassing them hiding magisk.

as MKBHD (Marques Brownlee) says in his YouTube video, buy tech for what it is now and don’t buy it for what it will be In future.

Risky? Nopes. Its no more risky than using a phone without a password lock and allowing some else to use it.

As for the ROMs - build your own. Supply Chain attacks will be there always and the only way is to DIY.

The other stuff is something that you can do, but why would you. Its akin to saying you can use a knife to cut vegetables but can also be used to commit murder.

Banking apps are playing it safe rather than taking the proper precautions. The modern day equivalent of this is the banning of crypto purchases by many Indian banks in gateways. They are just playing it safe.

Always buy tech for what it can deliver and not what it will in future.
it is a well known practice among youtube and public forums. so called reviewers suck up to companies due to fear of getting shunned. it is unethical.

The best example of this is NVIDIA and Hardware Unboxed. Really cheapskate tactics by NVIDIA.
Somehow there seems to be a common assumption that our phone/PC hardware can run for 10 years or even more while delivering a great user experience.

The problem with this assumption is that most app stacks are designed with a performance baseline expectation that moves up every year.
In addition, its not just thick client apps that are designed this way but also web apps.

So even if somehow your once brilliant centrino laptop or SD S1 chip Nexus one were fully optimized and operational today - the webpage/ webapp that would have felt super zippy on it circa 2011 would be so much more complex today that it will barely load

Correct. It wont deliver a great UX. But would get the job done for most basic stuff like calls and etc.

As for computers - same goes. The main issue would be loading youtube or video calls when H264 hw is not present (forget H265/AV1). For most office work an SSD and some RAM does the job.
 

belictony

Member
Disciple
Risky? Nopes. Its no more risky than using a phone without a password lock and allowing some else to use it.

As for the ROMs - build your own. Supply Chain attacks will be there always and the only way is to DIY.

The other stuff is something that you can do, but why would you. Its akin to saying you can use a knife to cut vegetables but can also be used to commit murder.

Banking apps are playing it safe rather than taking the proper precautions. The modern day equivalent of this is the banning of crypto purchases by many Indian banks in gateways. They are just playing it safe.
the no. Of users who can build their own custom rom is far less compared to the population of users buying mobile. So it is not a valid argument to push right to repair.

What kind of precautions you want the banks to take against custom roms with root privileges and RAT installed?. 3rd factor authentication which is not dependent on SMS or passwords set on the custom rom phone?. To implement such a mechanism would require lot of costs for the banks and it won’t serve a huge no. Of users.
 

superczar

Well-Known Member
Skilled
Correct. It wont deliver a great UX. But would get the job done for most basic stuff like calls and etc.

As for computers - same goes. The main issue would be loading youtube or video calls when H264 hw is not present (forget H265/AV1). For most office work an SSD and some RAM does the job.
I tried something recently with an old laptop.. circa 2009 maybe
I wanted to keep it as zippy as possible (for kid to play around with) so I installed one of the lightest possible OS (puppylinux)

The UI was zippy, the default apps opened reasonably fast...
And then I tried to open gmail in a browser to dowload a file - and a few minutes later, I gave up on the experiment :)

The hardware itself is fine - but the rest of the computing environment around it has changed dramatically.
Sure - it will work for a very specialized use-case .. I suppose I can still use it as a home automation server - but then as an example, the much faster and much much less power hungry Rpi4 costs less than 4K.. why bother then?
 
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goDofWar_skr

Well-Known Member
Adept
Related to same topic but a bit off topic, does banking apps run on custom rom ?
Not sure what the scene now is but they used to work by using magisk hide feature.. Although I had faced difficulties with a few apps even with magisk
Nowadays I no longer have time or interest to try out custom roms like before.
IMO the best would be to stick with the stock ROM, debloat it using guides from xda or elsewhere, and just apply a launcher you like on top of it.. That's more than enough to get a smooth experience out of any phone
 

nRiTeCh

Well-Known Member
Skilled
@AINDRASIS_GUPTA I have worked in Apple for more than a year and I can vouch for their dirty jugaads and hera-pheris they do and what not inside dark shit. Have already highlighted this numerous times here.
I'm not defending android here nor blaming apple but the freedom and flexibility with android is something apple will never ever offer to its consumers but force them to be bidden by their crappy rules and policies and customers who are loyal to apple and have already invested in it has no options outside.
Related to same topic but a bit off topic, does banking apps run on custom rom ? If so the I will always prefer a device of that quality. It’s really important to know what’s needed and what’s not needed. How to reuse the old phones instead of ditching them. I personally think that our hardware can run for more than 10 years or so but if software supports it for you.
Yes, I'm using only custom roms+rooted since many yrs now and everything runs fines provided you closely watch on your rom updates+Magisk fixes.
Magisk was heavily broken last yr for few months so I have to change my phones name to Pixel series and then re-root only to recognize my phone as Pixel on google and it helped pass SafetyNet with ease allowing me to run all banking/corporate apps successfully. Had posted this on GitHub as well.

See currently as well my Redmi is registered as Pixel:
1620653853741.png

Somehow there seems to be a common assumption that our phone/PC hardware can run for 10 years or even more while delivering a great user experience.
This was decade ago for pc and then for phone. These people used to buy those big fat 50k phones believing this will last them for a decade and when there belief crumbled, they are now using a sub 10-20k phone and enjoying it for 2yrs before dumping it and again buy next phone in similar price range..
 
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vivek.krishnan

If you cant see the green dot, I'm offline :P
Skilled
I tried something recently with an old laptop.. circa 2009 maybe
I wanted to keep it as zippy as possible (for kid to play around with) so I installed one of the lightest possible OS (puppylinux)

The UI was zippy, the default apps opened reasonably fast...
And then I tried to open gmail in a browser to dowload a file - and a few minutes later, I gave up on the experiment :)

The hardware itself is fine - but the rest of the computing environment around it has changed dramatically.
Sure - it will work for a very specialized use-case .. I suppose I can still use it as a home automation server - but then as an example, the much faster and much much less power hungry Rpi4 costs less than 4K.. why bother then?

Weird, we have 2-3 Intel 1st gen i3/i5s - obviously with SSD & RAM upgrades done. Almost all works fine, including Zoom. Not checked teams however.

But yeah, a phone from that era is pretty much bound to be useless for anything apart from calls and SMS.
the no. Of users who can build their own custom rom is far less compared to the population of users buying mobile. So it is not a valid argument to push right to repair.

What kind of precautions you want the banks to take against custom roms with root privileges and RAT installed?. 3rd factor authentication which is not dependent on SMS or passwords set on the custom rom phone?. To implement such a mechanism would require lot of costs for the banks and it won’t serve a huge no. Of users.

This is a very funny response according to me.

Whats to say that there is no vuln in the OS supplied by the manufacturer? There are lots of cases. BLU comes to mind. So if you want to fix this - since the manufacturer does not want to, you may have to install a custom rom, but you cant. Now here does right to repair kick in?

On a much different note, recently Qualcomm has come out with a CVE for their RTOS (CVE-2020-11292) which may not be patchable at all. As of now the disclosure is not public, but I feel this is sorta like the SS7 vulns, you need a modern overhaul of the arch to sort it out.

You are assuming much without understanding how security operates. Additionally, you can have a custom ROM without the SU module, which is what most do. I am perfectly fine without needing the SU module.

Banks are taking a cautious approach and eliminating the variables which they cannot control. Here, this is IMO a moot point since even on stock such stuff can and does happen since the public usually installs APKs from ahem sources.
@nRiTeCh Very true. Most of us now are assuming 3 years at best and over that its pure luck
 
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belictony

Member
Disciple
Weird, we have 2-3 Intel 1st gen i3/i5s - obviously with SSD & RAM upgrades done. Almost all works fine, including Zoom. Not checked teams however.

But yeah, a phone from that era is pretty much bound to be useless for anything apart from calls and SMS.


This is a very funny response according to me.

Whats to say that there is no vuln in the OS supplied by the manufacturer? There are lots of cases. BLU comes to mind. So if you want to fix this - since the manufacturer does not want to, you may have to install a custom rom, but you cant. Now here does right to repair kick in?

On a much different note, recently Qualcomm has come out with a CVE for their RTOS (CVE-2020-11292) which may not be patchable at all. As of now the disclosure is not public, but I feel this is sorta like the SS7 vulns, you need a modern overhaul of the arch to sort it out.

You are assuming much without understanding how security operates. Additionally, you can have a custom ROM without the SU module, which is what most do. I am perfectly fine without needing the SU module.

Banks are taking a cautious approach and eliminating the variables which they cannot control. Here, this is IMO a moot point since even on stock such stuff can and does happen since the public usually installs APKs from ahem sources.
@nRiTeCh Very true. Most of us now are assuming 3 years at best and over that its pure luck
vulnerabilities are not designed by manufacturers nor manufacturers design software with that as an intent. In case of custom rom, developers/ hackers with malicious intent can build the custom rom with malware and release it to people like you who also wants to use custom roms in their primary phome where banking apps and SIM cards are used; further claim or complain that banking apps are just conservative in their approach. The risk is too high and nothing funny about it.

users installing apps from play store is also a risk as not all apps are free from malware or spywares or getting detected by automated play store scanning and most of the time, an app doesn’t work/ force closes if the user doesn’t give the required permissions in android.
 

greenhorn

Well-Known Member
Skilled
John deere at least I believe the issue is more nuanced. From what I understand for a lot of their tractors the hardware is identical, but features are software locked and then sold at a lower cost. Farmers are able to getting this stuff unlocked by hackers/having tools instead of paying JD. Also. JD is answerable to the EPA for ensuring emissions compliance. If the EPA find out that tweaking the firmware to upgrade power or mileage at the cost of emissions is easy, that - they argue would also land them in trouble. Ideally the enforcement of this should be done by the govt directly on the end users, but the govt being both powerful and lazy has put the onus on the manufacturers


I am all for right to repair and easy repairability, but some of the concerns raised my manufacturers are valid to an extent. I recall that once i was able to update the IMEI number in an zte blade once I flashed the firmware with a third party one. Certainly not something the govt would allow, even for third party repair folks. Similarly, emissions, safety equipment, security devices in electronic etc come with higher expectations of anti tampering, but then everything is integrated for ease of manufacture, and the lines start getting blurry. It certainly is possible to make a phone like the fairphone, but how many people will be willing to pay 40k for a phone with the same features as a 15k phone even if it can be serviced to run for 3-5+ years? Most people would rather spend instead on curved displays, and flashy features every 2 years, and manufacturer's are aware.
I was throwing away a bunch of 1a and 2.4 a micro usb chargers the other day. Perfectly working, but then quick charge and usb pd have made them all obsolete. I fished out my old redmi 4 for my son to watch videos, and realised how slow regular charging is. The EU is moving towards standardized chargers. On one hand I'm very happy I don't have to deal with micro vs mini vs usbc vs lightning vs 30 pin. On the other hand if it means getting stuck with the current charging standard for the next 5 years? Uhm no thanks.

I understand what this means. There are car manufacturers which are advertising car strereos with qc3.0 chargers right now, which will become obsolete when the next qc standard is released. My car is immune because it has an older head unit with no USB, and I use the 12v socket to charge my phone and aux and bluetooth to connect to my stereo. Android auto is nice, but that means that your entire head unit gets stuck with whatever charging/display interface is current right now. I guess that's the price to pay for innovation.
 

AINDRASIS_GUPTA

Well-Known Member
Disciple
John deere at least I believe the issue is more nuanced. From what I understand for a lot of their tractors the hardware is identical, but features are software locked and then sold at a lower cost. Farmers are able to getting this stuff unlocked by hackers/having tools instead of paying JD. Also. JD is answerable to the EPA for ensuring emissions compliance. If the EPA find out that tweaking the firmware to upgrade power or mileage at the cost of emissions is easy, that - they argue would also land them in trouble. Ideally the enforcement of this should be done by the govt directly on the end users, but the govt being both powerful and lazy has put the onus on the manufacturers


I am all for right to repair and easy repairability, but some of the concerns raised my manufacturers are valid to an extent. I recall that once i was able to update the IMEI number in an zte blade once I flashed the firmware with a third party one. Certainly not something the govt would allow, even for third party repair folks. Similarly, emissions, safety equipment, security devices in electronic etc come with higher expectations of anti tampering, but then everything is integrated for ease of manufacture, and the lines start getting blurry. It certainly is possible to make a phone like the fairphone, but how many people will be willing to pay 40k for a phone with the same features as a 15k phone even if it can be serviced to run for 3-5+ years? Most people would rather spend instead on curved displays, and flashy features every 2 years, and manufacturer's are aware.
I was throwing away a bunch of 1a and 2.4 a micro usb chargers the other day. Perfectly working, but then quick charge and usb pd have made them all obsolete. I fished out my old redmi 4 for my son to watch videos, and realised how slow regular charging is. The EU is moving towards standardized chargers. On one hand I'm very happy I don't have to deal with micro vs mini vs usbc vs lightning vs 30 pin. On the other hand if it means getting stuck with the current charging standard for the next 5 years? Uhm no thanks.

I understand what this means. There are car manufacturers which are advertising car strereos with qc3.0 chargers right now, which will become obsolete when the next qc standard is released. My car is immune because it has an older head unit with no USB, and I use the 12v socket to charge my phone and aux and bluetooth to connect to my stereo. Android auto is nice, but that means that your entire head unit gets stuck with whatever charging/display interface is current right now. I guess that's the price to pay for innovation.
You raise a very important point here.

Capitalism feeds innovation.
On one hand, with the help of right to repair, people will be able to use their gadgets for an extended period and we'll enjoy environmental sustainability.
But, on the other hand, innovation will take a back seat because companies will not be compelled to invest in R&D when they'll see their old products being used for a long time, lowering the sales of new ones.

It's indeed a slippery slope.
 

Sammoka

Member
Disciple
Just one more thing that these OEMs just dont tell you anything about the thermal pad size on GPUs or motherboard VRMs. The main advocate Louis Rossman did touch on this yesterday in a small video but yes its a nightmare to know which thermal pads fit and which dont. Unlike confidential data, thermal pads are not proprietary business ideas these are from third party vendors who serve the entire public too. Also just giving the thickness isnt delving confidentiality.
 

belictony

Member
Disciple
You raise a very important point here.

Capitalism feeds innovation.
On one hand, with the help of right to repair, people will be able to use their gadgets for an extended period and we'll enjoy environmental sustainability.
But, on the other hand, innovation will take a back seat because companies will not be compelled to invest in R&D when they'll see their old products being used for a long time, lowering the sales of new ones.

It's indeed a slippery slope.
What do you mean environmental sustainability?. I think the big players like SpaceX in the world know that earth and it’s natural resources are going extinct irrespective. It’s only a matter of time.

For the sake of survival, maybe this generation or the next is going to become a Multi planeted organism.

Right to Repair is going to save other than rich people, money by retaining products for Longer run. This suits thirft based Indian economy but not a capitalistic market like US. Their economy runs by consumption,
 

greenhorn

Well-Known Member
Skilled
I tried something recently with an old laptop.. circa 2009 maybe
I wanted to keep it as zippy as possible (for kid to play around with) so I installed one of the lightest possible OS (puppylinux)

The UI was zippy, the default apps opened reasonably fast...
And then I tried to open gmail in a browser to dowload a file - and a few minutes later, I gave up on the experiment :)

The hardware itself is fine - but the rest of the computing environment around it has changed dramatically.
Sure - it will work for a very specialized use-case .. I suppose I can still use it as a home automation server - but then as an example, the much faster and much much less power hungry Rpi4 costs less than 4K.. why bother then?

I have a 2011 laptop (toshiba C640) from my wife which i have upgraded RAM to 8 GB, HDD to SSD and wifi/BT to an intel 7260 AC with BT4.0 and a new keyboard. it works like a charm on windows 10 and is pretty smooth for most tasks - browsing, downloads etc.

On the other hand, i have a 3 year old inspiron for which I am still sitting on the fence on changing the keyboard (some keys dont work) because the keyboard is intergrated with the palmrest and the palmrest is integrated with the entire laptop bottom half, and it takes 1 hour to replace. Whoever designed this laptop at dell needs to be smacked on the head with that palmrest.

I did ask a friend who works in dell, and he said that for the cheaper models, dell is not too involved in the design, and they just specify some overall parameters and everything is all left to some ODM who then design these kludges for ease of assembly
 
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vivek.krishnan

If you cant see the green dot, I'm offline :P
Skilled
vulnerabilities are not designed by manufacturers nor manufacturers design software with that as an intent. In case of custom rom, developers/ hackers with malicious intent can build the custom rom with malware and release it to people like you who also wants to use custom roms in their primary phome where banking apps and SIM cards are used; further claim or complain that banking apps are just conservative in their approach. The risk is too high and nothing funny about it.

users installing apps from play store is also a risk as not all apps are free from malware or spywares or getting detected by automated play store scanning and most of the time, an app doesn’t work/ force closes if the user doesn’t give the required permissions in android.

Please stop using any Linux based device then. This is already going too much OT
 

t3chg33k

Well-Known Member
Adept

iFixit had partnered with Samsung back in 2017 with the idea of unlocking the bootloader on old Samsung devices and loading custom ROMs to give them a second lease of life. Samsung is so scared of losing sales due to prolonged use of devices that they completely gimped the program and launched it simply as a means to use the sensors for IoT earlier this year.

Companies want you to keep buying new devices upfront and they will keep piling on the e-waste until upcycling becomes embedded in law.
 

vivek.krishnan

If you cant see the green dot, I'm offline :P
Skilled
You raise a very important point here.

Capitalism feeds innovation.
On one hand, with the help of right to repair, people will be able to use their gadgets for an extended period and we'll enjoy environmental sustainability.
But, on the other hand, innovation will take a back seat because companies will not be compelled to invest in R&D when they'll see their old products being used for a long time, lowering the sales of new ones.

It's indeed a slippery slope.

Innovation need not take a back seat - I feel it would rather foster innovation because you need to give a compelling reason for people to upgrade. Pricing would go up I feel however.
 

AINDRASIS_GUPTA

Well-Known Member
Disciple
Innovation need not take a back seat - I feel it would rather foster innovation because you need to give a compelling reason for people to upgrade. Pricing would go up I feel however.
I disagree.

With right to repair, customers will make less purchases. With higher prices, the demand for new products will be less.
In each scenario, the company takes a major hit in revenues.

And if the company doesn't make enough moolah, how can it invest in better R&D procedures?
 
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