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Discussion Starter #1


phonebloks: a modular + customizable smartphone

So I keep hearing people talk about this idea so I finally decided to look into it. The idea seems interesting but its way too idealistic.

Essentially it is about a phone that you can customize almost completely. The parts are replaceable individually and detachable like blocks.

Have any of you guys heard about this? Would you buy into it? Even if it were technologically do you think people would actually purchase it?
 

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Modular design isn't exactly new and, if it were popular, people would be buying modular cars with interchangeable parts. Instead, every industry in the world is currently researching printing and self-assembly methods that, eventually, could produce disposable paper phones you buy from a vending machine or whatever. Making things more modular merely adds to the expense and people want functional phones rather than nice cubes to assembles.
 

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Modular design isn't exactly new and, if it were popular, people would be buying modular cars with interchangeable parts. Instead, every industry in the world is currently researching printing and self-assembly methods that, eventually, could produce disposable paper phones you buy from a vending machine or whatever. Making things more modular merely adds to the expense and people want functional phones rather than nice cubes to assembles.

Disagree.

Industry doesn't push for modular design because that would mean less sales as people only want to replace individual parts, instead of the current way which is to sell complete units, which of course means a greater profit.

New car designs are hardly new. They have like one extra little thing. An eco model is hardly an eco model when you consider the manufacturing behind it. If a vehicle company really wanted to push for better sustainability, they wouldn't sell complete new cars, they'd sell engine swaps, for example.

Modular design is a great idea and the only reason it isn't happening is because it would mean a gigantic drop in profit for all the companies who got their footing by selling complete units off the shelf.

Printing complete disposable items is not the way to go. It wastes far too much resource. Modular design greatly negates that.
 

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I surmise it would be horribly slow in actual operation. The bus would be a nightmare to engineer.

BTW, I remember a wonderful modular software system from years ago, called OpenDoc. In theory it was great, but in practice, it was a memory hog, and horribly slow. I was a big fan of it, and was one of few I knew (even online) who actually invested time and money purchasing components for it. But in practice, I could never get it to work the way I wanted. I suspect a phone like this would suffer the same fate--reality seldom approaches the ideals of theory.
 

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I surmise it would be horribly slow in actual operation. The bus would be a nightmare to engineer.

BTW, I remember a wonderful modular software system from years ago, called OpenDoc. In theory it was great, but in practice, it was a memory hog, and horribly slow. I was a big fan of it, and was one of few I knew (even online) who actually invested time and money purchasing components for it. But in practice, I could never get it to work the way I wanted. I suspect a phone like this would suffer the same fate--reality seldom approaches the ideals of theory.
Wasn't opendoc a software thing?
 

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Wasn't opendoc a software thing?
Um. Yeah. The two big apps I used were Cyberdog (internet suite) and WAV, the word processor. Oh, maybe Wikipedia...

OpenDoc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But my point was that these sort of modular, do-it-all systems seldom work out in real life. Imagine buying a car that way. Sheesh, even Linux seems to be moving toward a unified system, as Ubuntu is slowly becoming the backbone behind several other distros (sheesh, even Puppy Linux has hopped on board the Ubuntu bandwagon!!!) ;-) A modular phone like this, with each component having to enter the system bus like this, I can easily see having speed issues. Speed is one huge reason for the reduction in chip sizes. Hence my doubts about a phone like this working in practice. Cool concept, but my own experience suggests less than stellar success. :)

Not that I would want to discourage anybody from trying! I'm just offering my own perspective.
 

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Um. Yeah. The two big apps I used were Cyberdog (internet suite) and WAV, the word processor. Oh, maybe Wikipedia...

OpenDoc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But my point was that these sort of modular, do-it-all systems seldom work out in real life. Imagine buying a car that way. Sheesh, even Linux seems to be moving toward a unified system, as Ubuntu is slowly becoming the backbone behind several other distros (sheesh, even Puppy Linux has hopped on board the Ubuntu bandwagon!!!) ;-) A modular phone like this, with each component having to enter the system bus like this, I can easily see having speed issues. Speed is one huge reason for the reduction in chip sizes. Hence my doubts about a phone like this working in practice. Cool concept, but my own experience suggests less than stellar success. :)

Not that I would want to discourage anybody from trying! I'm just offering my own perspective.
Well, Desktops allow you to do pretty much the same thing, and they work just fine... Get a CPU that meets your needs, GPU, HDD or SDD, wireless adapter if you need to use wifi, bluetooth adapter, etc, etc... I think it could work if they can make the mother board efficient.
 

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Well, Desktops allow you to do pretty much the same thing, and they work just fine... Get a CPU that meets your needs, GPU, HDD or SDD, wireless adapter if you need to use wifi, bluetooth adapter, etc, etc... I think it could work if they can make the mother board efficient.
So, is that comment directed more towards the phoneblok concept or OpenDoc? :-0
 

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So, is that comment directed more towards the phoneblok concept or OpenDoc? :-0
Phoneblok. Software is different because they have a lot of dependencies, and much of the performance relies on proper programming and implementation.
 

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Disagree.

Industry doesn't push for modular design because that would mean less sales as people only want to replace individual parts, instead of the current way which is to sell complete units, which of course means a greater profit.
I take you don't shop at Walmart. Most people could not care less about modular design or whether it saves them money in the long run. They're often so stupid they'll buy the same cheap plastic crap repeatedly because it keeps breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Disagree.

Industry doesn't push for modular design because that would mean less sales as people only want to replace individual parts, instead of the current way which is to sell complete units, which of course means a greater profit.

New car designs are hardly new. They have like one extra little thing. An eco model is hardly an eco model when you consider the manufacturing behind it. If a vehicle company really wanted to push for better sustainability, they wouldn't sell complete new cars, they'd sell engine swaps, for example.

Modular design is a great idea and the only reason it isn't happening is because it would mean a gigantic drop in profit for all the companies who got their footing by selling complete units off the shelf.

Printing complete disposable items is not the way to go. It wastes far too much resource. Modular design greatly negates that.
Companies act on demand, if there was a high demand for stuff like this then they would invest more into it.

They could just as easily overcharge for parts as they do the whole phone.
 

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I take you don't shop at Walmart. Most people could not care less about modular design or whether it saves them money in the long run. They're often so stupid they'll buy the same cheap plastic crap repeatedly because it keeps breaking.
Yes but they only buy that same plastic crap because it's the only thing they're presented with. Imagine a culture where modular design is the number one consideration, where everyone thinks first and foremost about how they can maximise their given resources. It's quite an easy thing to achieve, given the correct upbringing with the right amount of social conditioning. It's not much different from the sort of conditioning we see through propaganda in the world today. Only difference is that it would be in the name of good, rather than in the name of profit.

Basically, we just need to tell people that repair is better then replacement. It's a very simple case of altering the base education of the populace. From that they could be changed drastically.
 

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Companies act on demand, if there was a high demand for stuff like this then they would invest more into it.

They could just as easily overcharge for parts as they do the whole phone.
Companies only act on demand because the owners are brought up into the capitalist mindset where everything should be maximised for profit, rather than being optimised for the good of the the people.

All it needs is the right amount of socio-cultural change.

100 years ago most major new items were sold with a manual with detailed information on how to fix every last fault. And if you needed a tiny new part, you could get hold of it. Whereas these days we're given a shiny object wrapped in plastic that we're expected to replace as soon as it gets the slightest scratch.

In just one century the consumer culture has evolved greatly, and for the worse. In just as much time, or less, this culture can be u-turned into one that is far better for the species as whole.

You can't shun the modular design idea just because 'current society' isn't used to it.
 

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Yes but they only buy that same plastic crap because it's the only thing they're presented with. Imagine a culture where modular design is the number one consideration, where everyone thinks first and foremost about how they can maximise their given resources. It's quite an easy thing to achieve, given the correct upbringing with the right amount of social conditioning. It's not much different from the sort of conditioning we see through propaganda in the world today. Only difference is that it would be in the name of good, rather than in the name of profit.

Basically, we just need to tell people that repair is better then replacement. It's a very simple case of altering the base education of the populace. From that they could be changed drastically.
LOL, according to the National Science Foundation one in five Americans still believes the sun revolves around the earth, which also happens to be the number who believe Jesus is returning in their lifetime. Education and intelligence have little to do with the issue and denial is not the name of a river in Egypt. All the ranting and raving over education and intelligence is classist capitalistic propaganda. The sad fact is the only thing ever proven to distinguish people with successful careers is the amount of working memory they have rather than education or intelligence.

In fact, I have friends who have high school diplomas and are largely self-taught who make more money than people with doctorates. Tends to piss them off a lot. :)
 

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LOL, according to the National Science Foundation one in five Americans still believes the sun revolves around the earth, which also happens to be the number who believe Jesus is returning in their lifetime. Education and intelligence have little to do with the issue and denial is not the name of a river in Egypt. All the ranting and raving over education and intelligence is classist capitalistic propaganda. The sad fact is the only thing ever proven to distinguish people with successful careers is the amount of working memory they have rather than education or intelligence.

In fact, I have friends who have high school diplomas and are largely self-taught who make more money than people with doctorates. Tends to piss them off a lot. :)
I think you're misunderstanding the concept of cultural conditioning,

Right now everyone is born into a consumer world where everything is replaced as a whole unit. It's all they know. They aren't even give the chance to think about resourcefulness. Of course some people are morons, but that doesn't mean they can't be indoctrinated with some good ways from birth.

Bring people up into a society of modular design and that'll be all they know. If, for example, a person's phone screen breaks, they certainly won't replace the whole thing, because they know full well that the only part they need to change is the screen.

"Oh my screen is broken. Better get a new phone." - that's not a normal thing to say.

You could just as easily imagine a world where people more usually say things like,

"Oh my screen is broken. I'm gonna go and get a new screen."
"Oh my screen is broken. Does anybody know how to fix this? Oh I need to replace the screen."

Kind of obvious that anyone in the world can be brought up with the correct mindset, if only such an action were promoted as the norm.

It's not about innate intelligence. Anyone can be indoctrinated to think a certain way.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Companies only act on demand because the owners are brought up into the capitalist mindset where everything should be maximised for profit, rather than being optimised for the good of the the people.

All it needs is the right amount of socio-cultural change.

100 years ago most major new items were sold with a manual with detailed information on how to fix every last fault. And if you needed a tiny new part, you could get hold of it. Whereas these days we're given a shiny object wrapped in plastic that we're expected to replace as soon as it gets the slightest scratch.

In just one century the consumer culture has evolved greatly, and for the worse. In just as much time, or less, this culture can be u-turned into one that is far better for the species as whole.

You can't shun the modular design idea just because 'current society' isn't used to it.
You cant compare the technology from a hundred years ago to now. You can actually find how to replace parts online its just that no one bothers, its not really worth the effort.

Im not shunning modular design because of society, Im shunning it because the people that tend to promote it are the ones that have absolutely no idea about how electronics work.
 

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You cant compare the technology from a hundred years ago to now. You can actually find how to replace parts online its just that no one bothers, its not really worth the effort.

Im not shunning modular design because of society, Im shunning it because the people that tend to promote it are the ones that have absolutely no idea about how electronics work.
But what changed in the last 100 years? Why does no-one bother any more?

It's just cultural conditioning.

Profiteers present everything in complete units because its easier to sell. Simple as that. They don't care about how much of a massive waste of resources it is.

So now everyone thinks it's the norm to go out and buy a whole new item just because one little piece is defunct.

Clearly that mindset can be reversed. It just depends on how people have their choices presented to them.
 

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But what changed in the last 100 years? Why does no-one bother any more?

It's just cultural conditioning.

Profiteers present everything in complete units because its easier to sell. Simple as that. They don't care about how much of a massive waste of resources it is.

So now everyone thinks it's the norm to go out and buy a whole new item just because one little piece is defunct.

Clearly that mindset can be reversed. It just depends on how people have their choices presented to them.
Well quite a lot really. Especially with the creation of computers and the internet, society needs to change along with it.

Well its easier to make, sell, distribute. If it wasnt easier to make the prices would be much higher.

Its not really that electronics are built not to last its just that they dont.
Actually a modular design will probably create more waste then less.
 

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Well quite a lot really. Especially with the creation of computers and the internet, society needs to change along with it.

Well its easier to make, sell, distribute. If it wasnt easier to make the prices would be much higher.

Its not really that electronics are built not to last its just that they dont.
Actually a modular design will probably create more waste then less.
I have no idea how you're managing to link the technological advance of society with the wastefulness of consumer culture.

Modular design is always going to be far more resourceful than complete disposable units.
 

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I have no idea how you're managing to link the technological advance of society with the wastefulness of consumer culture.

Modular design is always going to be far more resourceful than complete disposable units.
Thats because when you replace only one part, it wont run as properly along with the other parts. Eventually you are going to have to replace all the parts. And that eventually will come a lot faster in this society. Everyone will want the latest and best. But in order to have the best all the parts would have to be the latest.
So now instead of upgrading once ever two years and producing one item of waste, there will be little upgrades much more often.
 
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