I recently picked up a 1st generation Nook for $20. I was a little weary of the age of the battery (6 or so years old?), but it turns out that this Nook is one of the few consumer electronics released in recent memory that was built to be repairable. (The battery was meant to be replaced! There are even official instructions.) This is in stark contrast to my 2nd generation Amazon Kindle which had hardware problems and became unusable right after the warranty period ended. That experience soured me on the Kindle, understandably.
The rest of the e-waste entering Wistron’s recycling plant has a different fate. Cables go one way to have their copper recovered. Steel frames go another. Lithium-ion batteries go to dedicated lithium operations. Case fans might even be saved and reused. Any components that can be yanked off circuit boards are, and then it’s on to precious metals.
“In some ways, it’s gotta start on the front end, in terms of consumers wanting products that are more recyclable,” Huang said.
That’s a particularly tough sell since consumers get almost no information about how recyclable any given product is. A company may improve its image by advertising “green” programs, but there is little financial incentive beyond that to put the work into solving these problems and designing for recyclability. It’s hard enough to match competitors’ progress on all the characteristics consumers know they do want.
The closest thing to an Energy Star label for recyclability is the EPEAT registry, where companies can verify that their products meet an IEEE standard.
On Monday, HERE (the mapping company now owned by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz) and the Iowa Department of Transportation announced their own project to develop an autonomous vehicle and freight movement corridor on I-380 between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.
Poltical party caucuses are one of the quirkier aspects of American political life: local party members gather in small rooms across the state, discuss their preferences, and send a report of how many delegates for each candidate will attend later county and statewide caucuses to ultimately choose delegates to the national convention. It’s also a system with a lot of room for error in reporting, as local precinct leaders have traditionally sent in reports of votes via telephone touch-tone menus and paper mail. In 2016, Microsoft will help both Democrats and Republicans streamline the process.
From their press release, the following Chevy models will have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support:
For those unfamiliar with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, it lets you replace or supplement the infotainment system that comes with your car. For example, you could use a music or navigation app running on your phone, rather than using the software that came with the car. This will be especially interesting 10 years from now (2025!), when you might really wish you had a more up-to-date infotainment system in your 2016 model-year car. These Android and Apple systems make it much easier to update how your car works, especially compared to physically removing part of your dashboard and replacing it. Personally, I’ve been thinking it would be interesting just to leave an old smartphone in the car, charging over USB and loaded with music and maps that were downloaded over WiFi.
I’m especially intrigued by this because I’ve been considering a replacement for our 2003 model-year car, and it’s important to think 10 years ahead for such a big purchase. (After all, we’re using a 2003 model-year car in 2015.) While Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support isn’t likely to make or break our decision, it definitely has its benefits.
The way Microsoft presented the Android and iOS support on stage last week wasn’t particularly encouraging. The way that Projects Astoria and Islandwood—the codenames for Android and iOS app support, respectively—were promoted in the keynote presentation, one might think that the Android and iOS support were pretty solid substitutes for the Universal Windows Apps that are native to Windows 10 on all the hardware form factors it will support. It seemed like porting apps from those platforms would be an effective alternative to any plans to develop native Windows applications.
This is pretty crazy: Windows will support Android and iOS applications through compatibility layers. I don’t really see the iOS layer getting a lot of traction just because it takes a lot of work, but the strong Android support is going to further entrench Android as a platform you can deploy to almost anything (second only to HTML5).