Blogs are often self centered, opinionated whines about whatever is pissing off the author at the moment. This blog will follow that grand tradition.
A few years ago I paid $700 for a brand new, ultra small, latest technology, top brand, mobile phone. In some countries you call these cell phones, but here in Australia we call them mobile phones. I don’t want this to be confused with the Cell processor that I’ll be talking about later, so I’ll use the term mobile phone.
A couple of months ago the power button became a bit erratic, sometimes it would work, sometimes it didn’t. This power button is used for other functions, mostly to back out of the current mode. Closing the phone will usually back out of the current mode, so as long as I never turned the phone off, all was sweet. Then the power button failed completely, and has never worked again. A bit later the left smart button started to fail, then the display went funny colours, followed shortly by the left side of the cursor pad failing.
It was obvious to me that there must be a ribbon cable between the two parts of the phone, and that constantly opening and closing the phone was wearing out this cable. The ribbon cable was slowly starting to fall apart. I can no longer use certain functions, but it still works as a phone. For now. So long as I never turn it off.
I went out today to see if I could get it fixed. I had done some preliminary research on the net, and it was not looking good. Sure enough, when I asked at the store I had originally bought it at, they said flat out that they could not help, I should try the mobile phone repair place on the next street. The mobile phone repair place told me that my three year old phone was too old, and they could not even get spares. They didn’t even have a service manual for me to look at.
Three years is a long time in the technology business, and anything with moving parts has a good chance of wearing out in three years. So expensive, brand name, mobile phones are not expected to be repairable three years after they were latest technology. $700 is a lot of money to pay for something that is expected to be disposable. Chances are the $1000 mobile phone you purchased today is just as disposable.
Mobile phones have reached what I like to call Seikel’s limit. It’s a little rule of thumb I discovered many years ago. Any type of consumer electronics technology will reach a point where it has gotten as small as it will ever get, then fashion will take over and it will get bigger, you will never see that technology get as small as that ever again. It’s happened so often that I have a good feel for when that limit has been reached, and I usually go and buy the “smallest it will ever get” version. This mobile phone of mine is Seikel’s limit in this country. One or two mobile phones are smaller, but not available here.
When fashion takes over after Seikel’s limit, features are often the next thing to stop getting added. The result is that after I buy the Seikel’s limit device, there is never likely to be a device as small or feature packed available ever again. Small, feature packed devices are so yesterday. So if I want to replace my slowly failing mobile phone, I can only ever replace it with something bigger, with maybe one or two more features if I’m lucky.
Expensive disposable technology sucks.
Computers are expensive technology that sometimes suck, and sometimes are considered disposable. Linux is good at extending the life of old computers that would otherwise get thrown away. Terra Soft Solutions (TSS) is willing to support old PowerPC (PPC) hardware that the manufacturers long ago declared to be obsolete. Even after the manufacturer declared PPC itself to be obsolete (it isn’t), Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) will keep it running. On the other hand, TSS is only a small company, with not enough people to support all the ancient PPC hardware. Even we have to draw the line somewhere.
The CEO can give a sigh of relief now that I have tied this blog to the company in a positive way and thus earned my pay. B-)
“Tails from the Yellow Dog Down Under” (coming soon) is not about supporting old hardware until it rots into oblivion, we have YDL.net, various mailing lists, web forums, and IRC channels etc for that. “Tails from the Yellow Dog Down Under” is all about the shiny, the new, and the interesting things people are doing with YDL on computers. On the other hand, we don’t care if these shiny new things are being done on ancient, decrepit computers, or the latest next gen gaming console. We only care that it is running YDL.
In other words, blogs.ydl.net is for blogs by YDL enhanced account members and TSS staff. “Tails from the Yellow Dog Down Under” will be for building a community of potential new YDL users, ones that have not already payed us money for an enhanced account. It’s not ready yet, so I’ll probably write some teasers in this blog of mine. I’m from Australia, hence the “Down Under” part.
Once I get up the nerve, I’ll open up my phone and try to fix it myself. This will require careful planning, because I wont be able to turn it back on again until I fix it. I have no idea what I’ll find inside, or even if it’s repairable. If I cant repair it, I’ll not be able to turn my phone back on again. Ever. So I’ll have to rush out and buy a new mobile phone. I’ll get a cheap one this time, mobile phones are so disposable.
P.S. Siemens, I’m a registered developer, you have my contact details if you are feeling generous with spare parts.