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Lithium is a conflict mineral now. Developers who don't optimize for speed, thus forcing turnover of perfectly good devices, are complicit in humanitarian atrocities.

@octet33 tbh just in general I abhor the mindset of "oh we don't need to optimize, modern hardware can handle it"

which is literally just like "fuck you if you have older hardware"

@kinsey I've gone on Twitter tirades about this before. But yes, absolutely.

It's anti-environmentalist and incredibly classist, to assign a finite lifespan to devices that aren't inherently wear items.

@octet33 @kinsey it contributes to an incredibly destructive part of planned obsolescence with mining frequently toxic minerals only to use them for a year then throw them in the ocean when we should be keeping them in the economy permanently to reduce the amount of mining needed. Refurbishment and recycling are good steps in this but so is software optimisation so as to extend lifespan.

@Pyretta @octet33 @kinsey Additionally, outside of the performance issues, there’s something that can be done to improve the lifespan of the device in firmware, but on smartphones/tablets, I’ve literally only seen Apple do them (and only automatically when the device is always plugged in). Business laptops sometimes do them, and most electric vehicles (where the planned lifespan is over a decade) have them, though.

Offer an option to limit charge voltage/percentage. 4.2 volts is the typical maximum voltage for Li-ion, and 4.0-4.1 is a good place to be for maximizing cell lifespan.

…meanwhile, smartphone manufacturers are selecting cells rated for almost 4.4 volts nowadays, so that they can get more capacity in a smaller space. But, at 4.4 volts, quite a bit of damage is being done when it sits at a full charge, and of course the cells rapidly degrade, losing capacity and increasing in internal resistance (so they get hotter as they charge and discharge, degrading performance due to modern smartphones being thermally-limited).

When you combine batteries that aren’t end-user replaceable with the inability to limit charge, it really reduces the lifespan of the device…

(Although, I was under the impression that quite large lithium deposits were available in comparatively stable countries - as in, the more stable parts of South America and in Australia - and it was really cobalt that was the concern. Cobalt-free chemistries are being developed, too. Toxicity of the various elements and compounds in a mobile device is a concern, though.)

@bhtooefr @octet33 @kinsey yes but first world countries don't like having ugly mining operations going, they'd rather force some other country to do it for them with effective slave labour to sell it to them cheaper . Capitalist optimization!

@bhtooefr @octet33 @kinsey It's mostly about how little they can pay the people actually doing the work. Environmental protection laws are part of it, but the real driver is how much product they can make for as little as possible and that typically drives otherwise expensive mining operations to extremely impoverished nations where people are desperate and unaware of the risks to their health.

@Pyretta @octet33 @kinsey I wonder if effective carbon taxation could affect this (although it could also backfire), by making it more expensive to ship from far away.

(How could it backfire? Shipping by sea is incredibly efficient as far as CO2e per mass-distance, to the point that… I’ve heard of a bicycle frame manufacturer that claimed their carbon was actually lowered by manufacturing frames in Taiwan and shipping them to the US, instead of manufacturing them in California, because the California option required shipping the frame around the state by truck to get all of the manufacturing processes done. If that applied to mining processes, then it could actually drive more mining offshore (and therefore to the more impoverished countries).)

@octet33 @kinsey good point, although I'd like to argue that storage devices (SSDs, HDDs, etc.) are wear items for data integrity reasons.

Mostly incoherent rage 

@octet33 Agree completely with the sentiment here, but I can't help but suggest a tweak to the specifics.

There are multiple ways to optimize, and optimizing for speed can easily have the effect of *increasing* power draw, use of wear-item hardware (e.g. disks), and waste heat generation. I'm responsible for helping engineers optimize both datacenter-hosted software and (potentially) mobile software, so the balancing act can get super complex.

Being complicit in the ecological and socio-political destructiveness wrought by careless technology is appallingly easy. I, personally, don't want to give people yet more accidental ways to "feel like" they are helping while actually making it worse.

The rule of optimization is, as always, Get Good Measurements. Measure the impact of your tech.

Yes, it's hard. Do it anyways, because it's important. :ancomheart:

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