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Greener Gadgets Conference: Heirloom Culture

At the Greener Gadgets Conference last Friday, a lot of great minds came together to discuss how technology can advance and buy tramadol capsules we can lessen our impact on the planet at the same time. One concept kept coming up throughout the day and, as obvious as it seems, it struck a chord with me.

This major theme was that we needed to focus on creating an heirloom culture. Saul Griffith concluded his keynote with this point and the other panels throughout the day seemed to keep circling around this idea.

The concept is that any products that we manufacture from here on out should be made to last, to the point where we could hand them down to our children, and we as consumers should take care of our things and consume less. The combination would mean cutting down on waste and the need for raw materials and energy to make new things. Ideally, our current culture of constantly creating and buying new things to replace another, would instead become a culture of maintenance and repair.

A good example of this would be that instead of electronics companies releasing new models of their products every six months to a year, hardware and canadian generic cialis all, they would instead only release software to update the electronics. This way, people could take advantage of gains in technology without having to throw out the existing product. Completely new models would be released much less frequently and only when the hardware itself truly demanded it. At that point recycling would be widely available and free.

Griffith also explained to us that dramatically reducing consumption was only half of what needed to be done to turn the climate crisis around. Auto companies and other major manufacturers, while creating less of their products, would instead take over building wind turbines, solar panels and all clean energy infrastructure.

The point he was making was that in order to have all the clean energy in place that will be necessary, there will have to be a global priority shift like what happened in World War II when companies took over making military equipment and supplies because of the dire need. The manpower and tools already exist to make these things, but we lose time by building new plants to manufacture them. Companies would stay in business and buy cheap levitra maybe even prosper and the world would also make major gains in getting renewable energy in place.


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Upgradable entertainment technology
written by Dave M, March 02, 2009
This struck a chord because I'm in the process of getting rid of my TV and doing everything via my computer. This means that software upgrades are important, but not only that, if I want a hardware upgrade i wont have to ditch the ordering cialis whole thing, just change 1 card. Eventually the PC will be out of date, but then the cards can be recycled into a new tower
Why I like computers
written by LauraDM, March 02, 2009
That's why I love computers, I've run the last mile on all three desktops I've had (Apple IIc was one year older than me and lasted to when I was 12, a Pentium I that died two years ago and a Thunderbird that died last month) and one of the laptops, two of the laptops ended up being refurbished, upgraded and sold to last a few more years, and I'm pretty sure the specs on my laptop will do fine for the next 4-5 years without issues at least, and it's easily upgradeable after that. Then again, we make most electronics last as long as possible at home, it's just that little beats the modularity of most computers imho.
Capitalism (ie, the very foundation of t
written by Damo, March 02, 2009
If companies made products to last (and it's certainly within their power to do so) then sales would plummet and the entire American capitalist-based economy would completely crumble.

Oh, wait...
Slight problem
written by EV, March 02, 2009
In order for electronics to last 50 years, they have to be speced to handle the viagra where to buy next 50 years of levitra prescription drugs upgrades. That's not technology, that's an appliance. You aren't going to get technology that won't be obsolete for 5 years much less 50. Over that time, processing power will go up, power consumption will go down. Imagine if we tried to do this 20 years ago and how power innefcient our machines would be if they were running off of 80s computer technology.

About the only thing I can think of that has lasted for 50 years was the record player and even that had four different formats. Once we hit a brick wall in Moore's law, you might have the long term devices come back. In the mean time, the rapid advance in technology means that the old gadgets are obsolete after a few years and can not hope to keep up with the new ones.
written by suzi, March 02, 2009
That is an awsome idea! Weather the powers that be or society let it happen remains to be seen. Good luck and gods speed.
This is already available for computers.
written by Mr. TUX, March 02, 2009
...and it´s called Linux. Depending on your hardware, you can run different ¨flavors¨ of Linux (called distributions). For example, if you have an old Windows 95 PC, you can comfortably run Puppy Linux on it and have a full featured system. You can even run in in ram! Of course, if you have newer software you can run the mighty Ubuntu, and if you have slightly older software, try the viagra cialis online Ubuntu variant named Xubuntu, which is performance-oriented.

Now, of course, you can join forums where you can learn from other people mistakes and take apart your laptop, or other electronics, but it would be much easier if computer vendors released the SERVICE MANUALS to the public. This won´t happen unless the government presses them to do so, since they are more than happy to charge you for something you can do for yourself, if only you had the documents to learn from.

Overall, this is really a problem for electronics. Look at watches. You can take a 100 year old mechanical watch to a good watchmaker and he´ll be able to fix it. That cannot be done with high end electronic (quartz) watches because of part availability. You probably have to send it straight to the manufacturer and hope they still have replacement parts.

Government action is needed.
written by Mr. TUX, March 02, 2009
Took out the Hard Drive of an old laptop and made this post using a 1.6 ghz old Acer laptop WITHOUT hard drive, running Puppy Linux on 1.5gb RAM.

Yes, you don't have to throw out your old computer hardware. Linux EXISTS TODAY...and you can download it for free.
written by Franz Ferdinand, March 03, 2009
I am with you Megan Treacy, simplest proves us over and tramadol 15 mg over to be the best.
Mr. TUX, while I was reading the article, I tried to find the best possible example of combination of utility and longevity , and then on the bottom I read you thought of the same. Watch it is.
Learn from the cialis overnight delivery soviets
written by anoun, March 03, 2009
Forget about computers and click now cheap viagra generic TVs for a second people. What about other stuff that should last longer. How many cars, mircowaves, couches, mattresses, desks, etc. have you and your family thrown out. All of those items could have lasted longer. Items that must be frequently replaced (TVs, computers)should be designed to be easy to recycle and made form safer materials. Manufacturing jobs can be replaced with recycling jobs.

The lack of cheap generic viagra durability in everything we buy is a major liability in hard economic times. Don't take my word for it. Listen to this Russian who lived through the Soviet collapse explain why the US is ill prepared for hard times:

Good luck keeping old cars
written by Christian, March 03, 2009
I think this concept is particularly applicable to motor vehicles, given the amount of resource that goes into building one. Unfortunately many cars (especially American cars, in my opinion) have not been built to a standard that allows for continuous repair and rebuilding. My diesel truck is 28 years old--but it's a Mercedes. (Not that this is a pitch for Mercedes, because in my opinion they haven't built a decent, hard-wearing vehicle in at least ten years.)My old truck is not only still serviceable, but it's particularly suited to useful upgrades like SVO modifications and turbocharging.

There are some vehicle makes and tramadol overnight models out there which are particularly amenable to long-term ownership and repair. Volkswagens and Volvos spring to mind. But try doing that with any American automobile built in the 80s.
You are right Christian ... and some str
written by Clarity, March 03, 2009
Old Volkswagens and old Volvos (240 series specially) seem to live forever. The 240s are amazing, since they are modern cars in almost every sense. Also they had a system current Volvos don´t have, which functioned as an integrated rollcage. You can rollover in one of those Volvos and won´t be crushed. And if you are not happy with the performance of the Volvo, there is even a 5.0 Mustang engine conversion around. But that won´t be really efficient. Audi still make a hell of an engine-tranny combo. An old Volvo 240 with an Audi diesel 4 banger should be great.

One strategy I take so that my belongings stand the test of time is that, if both me and my wife need something - for example, she needs a laptop, and so do I - we try to buy the same model. That way we get to know better its quirks, how to fix them, how to repair them. Also, when one of them malfunctiions, if parts are not available, we have one for parts.

Regarding part availability, ebay can be useful. Yesterday I was looking for a part donor for an old Sony Walkman, and found one.

Oh, and when buying a laptop, or any electronics, either buy a replacement AC adapter right when you buy the computer, or buy it when the model is being discontinued (at a discount). It´s what has always failed me first. This can be applied to many things. Buy replacement sunglass lenses,

Lastly, buy a laptop with S-Video out, or some kind of video out, and write down the keys you would need to know to get it to send a video signal out without looking. Why? If the LCD fails first, and there are no replacement parts, you can use it on an external monitor or in your TV, or at the very least, as a video machine for xvid files.
what about....
written by falcon, March 03, 2009
What about innovation? wouldnt it somehow be hampered by this concept? I
written by Glynda-Lee Hoffmann, March 04, 2009
It's hard for me to believe an idea only ten years old is completely lost. What happened to Bill McDonough's Cradle to Cradle model? The solution to the problem is not heirloom. It's cradle to cradle design and manufacturing, that is, everything is completely recycled. Everything. Nothing ever goes to a landfill. Ever. This never came up? We'll never go back to heirloom. But we have to get to Cradle to Cradle. The only variable is when?
Electronics is a poor example
written by Luke, March 04, 2009
Electronics is a poor example. Kitchen items, furniture, appliances, and power tools are all much better examples.

Being able to replace the compressor on a refrigerator/freezer without spewing the refrigerant seems like a winner.

When was the last time the capacity of your refrigerator doubled? When was the last time the capacity of your laptop doubled? I rest my case. :-)
Build To Last Business Model
written by Nick, March 07, 2009
Thank you for this great post. It is something we often write about, how our societies are based on disposables with the regular cycle of tramadol 100 mg maintenance/upgrades. It's tiring to be treated as cash cows.

On the flip side, we can't blame industries for wanting to squeeze profits. However, they went too far and are finding it the hard way. What we can do as consumers is letting them know with our wallets. Buy the things that are well made and cost little. They exist and us viagra it's the strongest message we can send them.

Most of us here have given up on PC and work on Macs. They last longer, and well, they just work. Same thing with household detergents. We use white vinegar and baking soda, amongst other natural, cheap and very effective products.

As far as cars, we need to ask car makers to figure out a business models around electric car that require close to no maintenance and force them to figure out how to make a reasonable profit.

Thanks for a great post,

written by Ali, March 14, 2009
Maintenance and repair will definitely create jobs.
written by Jack, December 26, 2012
Luke is right, gadgets are a very poor example. In fact most of the material and I guess embodied energy of many items is in the case, frame and so on, not the active components.
Modular design, where pieces can be upgraded, perhaps even the whole "guts" of the device, is the buying cialis key
For example my desktop case and PSU, keyboard, etc, is from the early 90's, yet I couldn't recommend anyone to still use a CPU/mainboard or almost any other electronic component from that era.

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