Monday, January 21, 2008

My laptop monitor

While I was away last week, I dropped my trusty Ibook off to the mac store as the monitor had been having some problems. I put a letter in with it explaining what i was up to re;garbage, and asked if they would send me that parts they were going to have to discard. The good news is my mac is back and I have a new monitor (gotta love Applecare) but unfortunately I cam up snake eyes on the parts part.

As anyone who read last months National Geographic article on e-waste knows, we've got a huge problem with all these high tech gizmos that we use that as we speak are already obsolescent simply by the fat that we have already bought them and they are working on the next version that we will all "need". "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 30 to 40 million PCs will be ready for "end-of-life management" in each of the next few years." It's shocking and the article is worth the read.

So i was talking this over with my Dad the other day and he brought up the point that supposedly by 2009, all tv signals will go HD requiring everyone who has a "normal" television to either learn to read (heaven forbid) or pony up some bucks and buy a new HD set. Seeing as there will be no use for the old sets int his country, I can only assume that most will end up in third world countries where kids will melt them down in order to get money for the metals they contain. And what is this all going to be for? So that we can see the acne on teeny bopper actors faces more clearly? I don't mean to rant, but doesn't this strike everyone as a bit nuts? I mean I can see having HD and those who want it getting it, but requiring everyone? Don't we own the airwaves? And wasn't the big thing about cable that we were paying for it so there would be no commercials?

....wait a minute, I was on waste...oh yeah, sorry about that.

Anyway, I was thinking about this and it seems to me that if these companies are going to make these things with planned obsolescence in mind, shouldn't they have to deal with them down the road as well? I mean I was always told "you make your bed you lay in it" right? So here's my thought. Why not add on a $50 charge to each set sold and it can be redeemed at any store that sells that brand when you turn it in. Then it would be up to the companies to deal with these things in a responsible manner. I know I'm naive and there are huge holes in the theory, but if they are going to make them, shouldn't they have to see them through to a proper end?

On a lighter note, my friend Matt who has never owned a TV is all incensed because now he's going to be forced to NOT buy an HD TV which seems like a lot more work than not buying a normal one.

My two cents.



Patrick said...

Check out the "Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program"

It's not a perfect system, but it's better than nothing, and there's no need to toss your current television...


hillary said...

I thought it was that TV signals will go *digital*, not HD. Most recently made regular TVs are capable of accepting digital signals (or can through the cable box).

Anonymous said...

The "Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program" has me incensed.

Our government (not administration specific.. GOVERNMENT specific) can't find us affordable fuel alternatives, but they CAN spend MILLIONS to make sure we continue to have our dumbing-down koolaid for the masses (TV).

"Under the NTIA plan, starting Jan. 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of up to two digital-to-analog convert boxes. Coupons will be issued to qualified applicants until $990 million in initial funding has been exhausted.

Once the initial fund is used up, Congress can authorize spending an additional $510 million to fulfill coupon requests."


Dave said...

Grrrrr as well. I hear ya. Of course, without the opiate there may be trouble. Perhaps people would start noticing all the trash building up..yikes.

SandyP78 said...

Actually, the previous poster is correct...the signal is going digital, not HD. And yes, most newer tv's are capable. I have a TV that is just about 15 years old that accepts it, so I'm venturing to say most people already have it.

Having said all this, the purpose isn't malitious. There was a desire many many moons ago to free up the frequencies that analog TV uses today for better communications usage, most notably for other government agencies to protect the safety of our country. After Septembr 11th, the push to get these frequencies cleared gained strenght, to the point where we are today. It's not so that we can continue to dumb up the population with more TV. On the contrary, our goverment basically gave broadcasters an ultimatum...either change to analog, or come February 09, you're off the air.

So, while yes I can agree we should be researching better methods of fuel efficiency and whatnot, I'd also like to live in a safe country. And if they need those frequencies, so be it. We obviously have the technology to do it. And they are willing to help those that can't afford to get a fancy new TV.