How to Make Sure That Your Tech Lasts - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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How to Make Sure That Your Tech Lasts

Technology is a huge part of modern life, and most people have some kind of technology with them at all times, typically a smartphone. Often, technology is replaced after only a few years, as there’s always a next model or evolution of our gadgets. It’s a time of innovation, which is something to be celebrated.

All kinds of wonderful things that seemed impossible in our childhoods are part of life now. People can instantly communicate with each other from the other side of the world, connecting with family, colleagues, and friends that they’d struggle to speak to otherwise. Imagine what a worldwide pandemic would have been like without this ability.

So, how did we get here?

The Digital Revolution - Into the Information Age

This trend of innovation is a symptom of the digital revolution, the period where technology developed and transformed from a mechanical and analog basis to a digital basis. It’s considered an industrial revolution of sorts, although opinions differ whether it would be the third or fourth industrial revolution.

The seeds for digital technology were sown in 1947 when the transistor was invented. It was first dreamt up decades earlier, but the first working model wasn’t built until 1947. This little device revolutionized the field of electronics, serving as efficient, miniature switches and signal amplifiers. Arguably, much of the progress made in technology development since then can be attributed to the transistor.

The digital revolution started in earnest between the 1950s and 1970s, as computers moved from government offices and other organizations to the family home. Video games became popular around this time, as did the proliferation of digital record keeping. Within only a couple of decades, transistors had allowed computers to turn from gargantuan machines to something small and relatively affordable. People became increasingly familiar with computers, if not at home, then at work or the arcades.

1991 saw another leap in the digital revolution, as digital mobile phones overtook the analog version. Even more importantly, the internet was opened up to the public. By the time the 21st century began, cell phones and digital hi-def televisions were common, as were business websites and internet connections. Things have only progressed more and more rapidly, with many inventions being made obsolete.

Some say that the digital revolution ended at some point in the 21st century and that we have now moved into the information age. While these are sometimes used as synonyms, often the information age refers to the idea that information (or data) has become one of the most implant resources in society. Others, however, posit that digital advances are now changing the industrial sector itself, which is what defines it as a form of industrial revolution.

In any case, it can’t be argued that the digital revolution has changed the world, for better or worse.

The Throw-Away Culture

There is a darker side to these constant advances and the subsequent need to always have the latest model. While it’s nice to have the latest technology, it usually isn’t strictly necessary. Some companies could take advantage of the desire to have newer gadgets by only slightly increasing each iteration, making millions of dollars with minimal effort. Perfectly good devices are thrown away simply for the crime of being apparently obsolete.

This is often attributed to a “throw-away culture”, which describes an economy designed around consumerism. This consumerism is attributed to a culture of overconsumption, where manufacturers and consumers alike prefer flimsier products that are designed to be replaced after only a short time. This practice is designed to maximize profit.

There are a few major issues that arise with this practice. The obvious one is the cost of replacing an expensive product every few years. These things add up and, while you can hold off, some products seem designed to fail. Whether this is due to deliberately planned obsolescence, where a product is literally designed to break easily or quickly become out-of-date, or due to shoddy manufacturing is moot. The result, in any case, is that you have an expensive bill coming up and, depending on what you’re replacing, very little time or options.

A more long-lasting and pervasive issue is the effect on the environment. Everything that is manufactured takes resources and energy. Gadgets that are replaced almost as soon as you get them are no exception, but all those resources end up in a landfill when they could have been used in a device that lasts far longer.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to keep your technology lasting longer.

What You Can Do

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. No matter what you do, your electronics will either break down or become obsolete in time. That’s the nature of improvements in technology and, as stated before, it is a good thing. But you can make your gadgets last for a reasonable amount of time, saving you money and doing your bit for the environment.
Buying Sustainable Technology

The first and arguably simplest step is to make sure you get the right technology. There are two ways to do this, and your circumstances dictate the best option for you.

If you don’t want to spend a premium price on your electronics, the cheapest option often seems the most tempting. Unfortunately, the cheapest option is often the one that will die on you sooner rather than later, either breaking down or becoming rapidly out-of-date.

Rather than buying something brand-new and cheap, consider buying a higher specced refurbished model. These models still won’t last as long as if you’d bought them new, but they’re usually far more powerful and sturdy than a lower-quality product. It still has the discount and, technically, you are recycling something that would have otherwise gone to waste. Chances are, you’d be able to get a far better piece of kit than if you’d tried to buy it new.

However, the ideal method is to buy tech that is designed to last in the first place. This can mean buying something unlikely to go out-of-date or break down anytime soon. Keep an eye on reviews and, if you can, have a look at the physical product itself. You should be able to get a feel of how durable it is, especially around moving parts. Your tech shouldn’t feel fragile.

But if you’re a little more tech-savvy, then you should buy electronics that are easier for you to repair and upgrade. Or at least technology that you can take to a repair shop.
Keeping Your Tech Going

Repairs, maintenance, and upgrades are the best ways to look after your electronics. Yes, it might be tempting to just throw it out once it starts having problems, but you don’t have to.

Regular maintenance will keep you apprised of any future issues so that you can hopefully prevent them. If it breaks, then you may be able to fix it yourself, depending on the device and the problem. Finally, you should consider both software and hardware upgrades.

Many devices automatically update themselves, but there isn’t much that your device can do if it runs out of memory. However, with certain devices, you can upgrade the memory yourself, keeping your gadget viable for longer.

Unfortunately, disasters do happen, possibly destroying your electronics before their time. With this in mind, consider making sure that they’re covered by your home warranty so that the repairs or replacements don’t have to come out of your wallet.

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