I often notice that the lack of the use of UNIX principles in the software world more or less directly translates to planned obsolescence in products. When software is modular, and each component does only one job and does it well with well-defined and simple interfaces, you can easily hack with it and adapt it to your needs.
The author (@yingw787) describes this process with his headphones, where he was able to make use of the headphone jack for a bluetooth adaptor and simply attach a microphone suiting his needs. Most notably, the batteries and cushions are replaceable. If we look at competing all-in-one-headphones, when the batteries age, when the supported Bluetooth standard becomes older and older or simply when the non-replaceable cushions deteriorate, you have no other choice but to throw them away at some point. And that’s what planned obsolescence is in a nutshell.
We need to be more critical of companies designing their products for the landfill. Everybody’s talking about “climate change” and environmentalism, but many have no issues buying a MacBook with glued in batteries or headphones where nothing is replaceable, even things that are used heavily. Things used to be much more serviceable in the past, but somehow most people do not care about it anymore.
Not that I disagree, but even as a staunch Apple critic I somehow contest the MacBook example. Most people don’t buy it for the hardware, but for the software. And if it needs to be mobile.. it’s not an iMac without a battery. Also 90% of the people preferred the old models with replaceable batteries and nobody I know ever said “Thank god it’s thinner and lighter and I happily accept that I can’t change the battery” - so they accept it because there’s no alternative, if you want/need to stay on OSX. And that is a different discussion not suited here.
Not my personal problem in this case, but for everyone there are things where it’s easy/medium/hard to change their habits and to make compromises. I know a few people who would prefer to get rid of their car a lot easier than switching from OS X.
Maybe I’m not most people, but I personally buy laptops for the hardware, and not the software :) I had a Dell Precision 5530 early last year (enterprise-grade XPS 15), and I didn’t like the feel of the hardware. I got the Lenovo PI Gen 2 (enterprise-grade X1 Extreme), and I liked it, so I installed Ubuntu on it. I would say the OS is our interface to the hardware, and an open OS allows us to commoditize the hardware and give us lever.
I won’t say it’s easy, but for me the biggest oof in transitioning from macOS to Ubuntu was the lack of SelfControl.app, and Timing.app, which managed my blockers and time tracking. Instead, I purchased a tool called RescueTime, which comes with a redirect proxy (?) that blocks certain distracting websites even after if I block using /etc/hosts, and tracks my time. Not as polished as macOS, but it works for my personal dev workflows. Laptop sleep, night shift, etc. work fine out of the box for 19.10 and Linux kernel 5.x.
None of the 2 latest laptops I’ve gotten from work have had user-replaceable batteries.
Hmm, what do you mean by user-replaceable batteries? Like ones with the release latch baked into the battery case, or ones where it has a detachable power bus inside a unibody laptop case?
I personally consider both user-replaceable, and have replaced the battery in my Mid-2012 15’’ MacBook Pro twice with no complications. I looked online at the MacBook Air battery, and to my surprise other companies do make replacement batteries for those too. The batteries aren’t glued in or anything.
The ones with the latch. But if one can open the laptop using standard screws and there’s no glue involved that’s fine too.
Okay cool! I personally don’t mind the Apple-specific screw heads. You can get a full set of different screw heads on Amazon for $20. And nope, no glue involved!
I’m a big fan of voting with my wallet. I’m willing to pay much more for things that give me the consumer as much lever as possible. Maybe it won’t counterbalance the rest of society, and maybe it will. I consider it to be my stand and my voice :)
To be fair you can replace the cushions of the QC35 and also connect it to your laptop using a 3.5 mm to 2.5 mm cable.
I wonder if the small rechargeable lipo battery in the QC35 is more environment friendly then 100 replacement batteries. (although you can easily buy re-chargable ones).
Hmm, you’re right. I did a little bit more searching and in addition to what you mentioned, it looks like the Bose 700 do come with the same 2.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack. I’ll post a correction and credit you.
I’m not quite sure about environmental friendliness of AAA vs. LiPo, but I searched on Bose’s website and I don’t see a replacement battery program or replacement guide for either the QC35s or the Bose 700s. I kind of just hope that Home Depot actually does e-recycle those parts instead of dumping them overseas. The big selling points of a replaceable battery for me is the zero charge time, and multiple vendors -> low price :)
https://onezero.medium.com/unraveling-the-secret-supply-chain-behind-an-amazonbasics-battery-e7b9ead4d72e delved a bit into the supply chain world of alkaline batteries. Personally been using nimh rechargeable batteries on a hand-me-down pair of QC15’s, but the tradeoff I’ll bring up is that I never carry these headphones and for travel carry a boring wired pair of earbuds. Travelling with the QC15’s means carrying them along with a battery charger.
I sometimes think we’re at a point where battery serviceability needs to be regulated into existence, though I’m hesitant as that’s just one point of the problem and doesn’t address battery supply chain issues (particularly low-quality/fake batteries, reselling old batteries, proof-of-service when selling a used item with replaced batteries, etc.). There’s other problems (google ‘repairable loophole’ in the e-waste export space).
I wasn’t surprised that Amazon’s supply chain is…locked down…but I did not know it took 100x the energy to produce an alkaline battery than it outputs during its lifetime.
I did a quick DuckDuckGo search and apparently not only are there NiMH AAA batteries, but there’s also Lithium-ion AAA batteries and Lithium-polymer AAA batteries, with different tradeoffs between battery capacity, rechargability, and cost. I like that about standards, you can usually pick from a number of options :)
@jelly Updated and credited!
When replacing my ear pads I can’t remember that you could see or access the LiPo battery easily so replacable batteries are a valid point.
Great article, makes me want to buy QC25s if I ever need another pair of ANC phones. I have the Teufel Mute BT (from work) and I’m only semi-happy with them. But at least they do have a 3.5 jack.
Thank you! I looked at the Teufel Mute BT, it looks like it also has headphone jack and AAA battery! All that’s missing are replaceable cushions, couldn’t find those on the website.
These are mine: https://stuff.art-core.org/2020/teufelmutebt.jpg - not sure if they updated the model, mine are from ~christmas 2017.
Also neither the sound nor the ANC are great, but I can’t really compare the ANC as this is my first pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
I replaced my fancy noicecancelling ones by fancy (wired) in-ear ones. They block out just as much, but are soo much simpler.
(come to think of it, I also only used wired mice. Same reason)
Simplicity is such a huge selling point! Explainability -> maintainability!
Not quite apples to apples, but my Sony MDR-7506 headphones came with an assembly guide and a parts list. I was instantly a fan.