The European Commission is getting ready to force all mobile phone companies to use a single connector on their chargers, in order to eliminate the mountains of e-waste generated by switching chargers every time you switch phones. Transformer bricks with esoteric connectors are the most common form of electronic crap I see on street-vendors' blankets around the world (at least a hundred of them yesterday on Brick Lane in London, and literally thousands and thousands of them in Mumbai's Chor Bazaar), and given that they all put out nearly the same voltage and amperage, it really does seem like pure waste.
Many of my devices seem to be converging on a mini-USB, which I love, since it means that when I travel abroad, the only adapter I need is my laptop and its USB ports.
The European Commission plans to force mobile phone manufacturers to manufacture one mobile phone charger for all mobile phones, according the European Commissioner for Industry, Gunther Verheugen in an interview with the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Verheugen said that his patience has been tested enough by the mobile phone industry, which was given several chances to develop one charger for all mobile phones, and he does not exclude severe measures to force the manufacturers to come with a solution. The main reason for his demand is trying to decrease the volume of electrical waste within Europe, which is become a major environmental problem. The current situation that requires users to purchase a new mobile charger with each new mobile phone has become unbearable according to Verheugen. In a reaction, the president of the European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association (EICTA), Tony Graziano, told Deutsche Welle that Verheugen's demand is legally and technically impossible to due differences in voltage and battery requirements within the European Union, although he acknowledged the increasing burden of mobile phone chargers on the environment. He also said that the industry is not likely to develop one charger for all brands. Verheugen also said that he rather sees the industry to develop such a charger voluntary, but warns that the EC has the legal and political means to force such development.
EC wants one mobile phone charger for all brands
On the crowdfunding site Massdrop, board-game fan Cassidy Williams is taking preorders for a $160 Scrabble-themed mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (if you've got a mechanical keyboard kicking around that you'd like to convert, you can get the $47 keycap set instead).
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I think all modern computers should look like these vintage ones photographed by James Ball a couple of years ago. [via Wired]
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