Category: Consumer electronics

Retro collectors are uncovering hoards of old data

Read the full story in Wired.

Much like baking and crocheting, interest in retrocomputing soared during the pandemic, as the tedium of lockdown forced people to channel their frustrations into creative pursuits. Sales of vintage machines proliferated during the period, and many of these collectors have unsuspectingly amassed vast troves of sensitive personal and information. This presents a challenge, not just for the corporations affected, but for those forced to determine what to do with them.

Microsoft mouse made with recycled ocean plastic

Read the full story at Recycling Today.

Microsoft has debuted its Ocean Plastic Mouse, the exterior shell of which contains 20 percent mechanically recycled ocean plastic. The new product is the result of the tech company’s collaboration with SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry.

Recycled plastic won’t solve tech’s waste problem

Read the full story at The Verge.

Buying a gadget made with recycled plastic instead of brand-new materials might sound like an environmentally friendly investment, but it does very little to cut down on the heaps of plastic pollution and electronic waste that are trashing the environment and ending up everywhere — including in our own bodies.

Bye-bye, batteries! Engineers release software for DIY battery-free electronics

Read the full story at Centered.

When playing a handheld video game, don’t you just want to keep going and going without worrying about replacing batteries? Now you can, thanks to Northwestern University computer engineers. 

They were on the team that developed a battery-free Game Boy that harvests solar energy and kinetic energy from the user’s button mashing to power the device. Now they introduced a platform to enable even novice programmers and hobbyists to build their own battery-free electronics.

The European Union wants a universal charger for cell phones and other devices

Read the full story from NPR.

If you live in the European Union, your days of futzing around with a handful of chargers to find one that fits your latest gadget may be numbered.

Under a proposal released Thursday by the E.U., there would be one universal charger for all cell phones and other handheld electronic devices — no matter whether you had an iPhone or Kindle or anything else.

Valve’s Steam Deck teardown is a breath of fresh air for the right to repair

Read the full story at The Next Web.

It is an unfortunate truth that most modern gadgets — and the companies that make them — are hostile to consumer repairs. Not only are gadgets designed in a way that practically forces people to buy a replacement for even simple repairs, but companies often actively make changes to inhibit repair by consumers and third-party repair services.

Valve has taken a refreshingly different approach with its upcoming Steam Deck — before the Nintendo Switch-like console has even launched. The company released a teardown video that shows how to take the unit apart and gives you a good look at its internals, as well as clearly spelling out all the potential pitfalls of such an operation. It’s a breath of fresh air for those of us who believe in the right to repair.

The European Union wants a universal charger for cell phones and other devices

Read the full story from NPR.

If you live in the European Union, your days of futzing around with a handful of chargers to find one that fits your latest gadget may be numbered.

Under a proposal released Thursday by the E.U., there would be one universal charger for all cell phones and other handheld electronic devices — no matter whether you had an iPhone or Kindle or anything else.

A big win for right-to-repair

Read the full story at Grist.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Federal Trade Commission to tackle at repair monopolies.

Recycling critical metals in e-waste: Make it the law, experts warn EU, citing raw material security

Read the full story from the CEWASTE Project.

End-of-life circuit boards, certain magnets in disc drives and electric vehicles, EV and other special battery types, and fluorescent lamps are among several electrical and electronic products containing critical raw materials (CRMs), the recycling of which should be made law, says a new UN-backed report funded by the EU.

Right to repair is on the way

Read the full story at Green Biz.

Beyond enshrining consumer rights, the right to repair could combat planned obsolescence and a throwaway culture that has turned e-waste into the fastest growing waste stream around the globe.

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