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Augusto recently had an epiphany about turning an older Microsoft Surface he had laying around, that wasn’t quite working (Augusto, you can clarify for listeners), into a Chromebook. And, we thought it would be a fun, techie episode for us to discuss how to do so. Also, we discuss how choosing the right technology upgrade or retirement strategies can help sustain and renew the only known celestial body in this vast universe that supports human life. (We’ll give some ideas at the end of this cast.)
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Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:24
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Francis Wade 0:26
I’m Francis Wade.
Art Gelwicks 0:27
And I’m Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:26
Welcome gentlemen and to our listeners today to this episode of productivity cast, where we will be discussing a wonderful world of replacing technology. In essence, Augusto recently had I’ll call it an epiphany, about turning an older Microsoft Surface he had laying around that wasn’t quite working, and Augusto is going to clarify for you all what actually happened. And then he turned that into a Chrome OS, device, a Chromebook, in essence, and so we thought it would be fun, you know, a little techie episode for us to talk about how he did so. And then after that, we’re going to really discuss the broader discussion of how do we spend time and resources regarding upgrading replacing technology, and so on, so forth. So I’m gonna turn it over to you, Augusto, in terms of how did you give new life to your old Microsoft Surface?
Augusto Pinaud 1:21
Well, you know, part of part of what I do is helping small business owners and coaching businesses, sometimes understanding what they need technology wise, you know, years ago, people will go and jump and get a new machine and faster machine. And in many cases, that was justified, that was how software was, but now that software has evolved and a lot of it happened on a browser happened online, really, we have discovered that we don’t need necessarily that much more power as we used to. So the problem was the solutions you used to have on the past was get unbuilt line is a Linux machine. And that is fine and dandy. Except that requires you to be a little bit more geeky, even that now the UI on many of those Linux distros are a lot more friendly, still require a certain level of geekiness to go and adjust that and unsolvable the problem. So I happen to have a dead Microsoft Surface. The hard drive is that this says Surface Pro two. And the hard drive was it belonged to a client of mine. And after we discovered what it was, it was dead, and Microsoft don’t fix them because it’s all glued together in a way that basically they broke more than what they survive. Microsoft basically tells you good luck. So client leave the machine with me as a dead machine. And it was instead of in the trash on one of the shelves, because that’s what happened, I was actually looking for a tablet that I could use to record this another podcast. So I did not need to carry the MacBook with me. That’s how these ideas start. So the Microsoft Surface had a micro SD slot hidden on the back. So what I went was I stopped in an electronic store and buy a superfast micro SD, put it in the back and use that as the main hard drives. After I did that. Then I went to a website called Cloud ready ready.com. And they have a free distro of a version of Chrome OS, chromium. So I installed that and basically that create a full Chrome OS machine. After I have done that I have used that same thing into a couple of my clients, allowing them to get back to live a lot of all technology that they have laying around. The reality is that is most of your business leaves on the cloud. And you don’t use any specific platform software, you can leave in this machine’s forever from I have been recruiting now for three or four months to podcast and other things with this Chrome OS machine on a machine that technically is that so it has been a really fun project and a great reminder to myself as well as my clients. What we can do to reuse technology really, if you see this machine, except that you see the Microsoft logo on the front. There is no other thing that will make you think that he said reuse machine or even though the hard drive inside is that
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:50
so for folks who are interested if you have a machine hanging around that is maybe lagging or slow or maybe even In a good news case where it’s not operable, you may be able to bring it back to life. And so a gousto, I think you’re going to have some links in the show notes for folks to check out the various tutorials and whatnot that you use to be able to make that happen.
Augusto Pinaud 5:14
Yes, and the process is pretty simple. And cloud ready is free, at least for one machine, if you want their support, they have programs for supports that you can get, but mostly, is free for everybody. So it’s, it’s really, really an awesome, awesome platform.
Art Gelwicks 5:30
How have you found the battery life on the Surface tablet after installing chrome and King, you compare that to what it was before you did?
Augusto Pinaud 5:40
Well, this was not my machine, this was a client. So sadly, I cannot report on the before I can tell this machine is pretty old. I can check what what is the year but I found the battery life really bad. And then I you know, big Sam comparing that with my own machine with my own iPad. And I was really well this is you know, that the life of this of the batteries really, really poorly until I discover or remember that this is a machine from around 2013, where three and four hours of battery, it was the norm, it was cool. Hey, four hours of battery. It’s pretty cool. The problem now is we are getting to the point where we have 10 and 12. And four hours of battery seems like last nothing. But it does right now be no machine from 2013, solid four hours of battery on on the on the distribution that I have. So it works really really well.
Francis Wade 6:41
Other question, can it work on an iPad and or iPad?
Augusto Pinaud 6:45
On an old iPad? Not because the iPad will not allow you to install over the iOS? Okay, but he will work on a window on an old windows he will work in an old Mac too.
Art Gelwicks 6:58
Yeah, the iPads are different chipset so it wouldn’t support it anyway, there are
Raymond Sidney-Smith 7:02
myths out there in the wild about people being able to install Chrome OS on iPads. But it requires a heck of a lot of work to be able to get it get it on there.
Art Gelwicks 7:13
I’ll be honest, and this is just brutally honest. Why would you want to? I mean, really, just because you can doesn’t mean you should
Augusto Pinaud 7:22
I completely agree with that.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 7:23
I think it’s I think it’s about being able to breathe life into the form factor of a, an existing laptop or desktop that that would really work well, I think actually, there are probably some Linux distros that would work better on an iPad experience. Because you know, the iPad is a tablet experience, you may be able to actually be would probably be savvy or to use some of the instructions that get Android onto an iPad, because it has all the functions for being able to take advantage of the sensors, and the touchscreen. But I just think it’s I think it’s just a really brilliant notion to be able to breathe life back into your computer that you may feel is failing or old. And for those who may not know, this, Chrome OS is, in essence, a you know, it’s a type of it has a Linux kernel. So you know, in essence, you can actually activate project Cristini within the Chrome OS environment and have a full Linux desktop. So you can you can still have a Linux, you know, experience with Chrome OS, which is really quite brilliant news, go into the advanced settings and turn on the the Linux option. And you’ll be able to boot right into the Linux environment, which means you can have all of the desktop software that Linux has available to it, which is pretty amazing. So this really takes us to the larger discussion around when do you upgrade and or when do you replace? And in a gastos case, he was reviving a a tool that was already broken. And I’m curious about for those of us who have existing machines that are just working? When do you decide to make that that change? When do you decide to upgrade the device or decide that it’s time to disregard that device and transfer over to a new one.
Augusto Pinaud 9:24
Again, it used to be that you require to upgrade a lot sooner to keep the workability of the machine assuming that’s a word. With more and more things on the cloud. your machine may be a little slower, but in most cases and most people really will make no difference. And so for me now, the again I I work on an iPad is my main machine. So my criteria for a great is the most That machine is still being supported on the on the current iOS. So right now, we are in iOS 13. And this year, we’re expecting iOS 14 to be released when iOS 14 gets to be released, if my machine is not supported that moment will be upgrade. Most of what I do doesn’t require a really fast machine. So I have, my machine is still pretty decent speed wise. And that’s a great theory, I used to be on a time schedule, because to keep the machines going fast enough. And now with things going on the web and on the cloud, I really don’t need to have the latest machine, even the MacBook that I have is pretty old MacBook Air, and it will keep on that same criteria, the moment that it cannot upgrade to the latest OS, I will make the upgrade of the machine. For most people, that is not even a criteria for most people there is still is the moment the machine die. Because there is most of the platforms they use now will continue running, even if they don’t make the upgrade. And I think that’s an interesting changes has happened in the last five to 10 years. It used to be we go 10 years back, you upgrade the machine or you were dead, basically, because the machine stopped working really well, software and we’re not easily backward compatible. And, and all those things. So I think that has come a natural evolution on the upgrade process. And also on the sustainability of the hardware as well as software part
Francis Wade 11:52
as a Windows seven user you can imagine I agree with that. I in the past, I’ve upgraded when either something broke, or it became patently obvious that I needed to because things were unavailable to me or software I wanted to use was couldn’t be used or I there was a hard stop, there was a must upgrade or, or it would render the unit useless for my purposes. But this last time. So in I skipped windows eight, I tried windows 10. And it didn’t work in when as soon as it was released, I tried it so it had was full of bugs. So I went back to Windows seven. And I’m still using Windows seven. And the only reason I would upgrade at this point and I plan to do so. But it’s only because Microsoft has said that they’re not supporting windows seven. But functionally and on a practical basis. I really have no reason to other than that they have said I should. And they’re not supporting it. However, I did notice last week, last week, yeah, there was an upgrade from Microsoft at all update and auto update. So it did they are although they’re not supporting it, they are common s supporting it. And I heard that, that they were putting out Windows XP updates up until I think recently. This is an S that’s auto updates. So I’m no wandering again, because I intended to install Windows 10 this month. And then I saw the update. I’m wondering, okay, well, they’re kind of supporting it. And I imagine that those are the most critical updates, like computers plenty fast for my needs. It has all the memory has a brand new hard drive I put in not brand new, but maybe a couple of years ago. And once again, I’m thrown back into the I’m not sure mode, whereas I thought that was sure. But now I’m not sure anymore. And and I also in line with what I was thinking which is or saying which is if I do buy a new computer, for example. The old one becomes what do I stop using it? Do I put it on the shelf to gather dust, it’s entirely functional. So and i’m not i’m at heart, a cheap, minimalist. They put the two together and I’m sort of back I’m back into quandary mode.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 14:36
So So a couple things there. Francis, I just wanted to you know point out the fact that if you are if you are considering a keeping windows seven, the updates that Microsoft are pushing are absolutely critical vulnerability patches. There. They are not feature updates, and they’re certainly not general security patches which would you know, and Since they don’t want you to be a vector for a large scale, botnet, which is basically a malware focused system, where many computers are infected and used as a, you know, as basically a part of this larger scale malware attack system, if you want to call it that, and so the the, that’s really all they’re trying to patch in in terms of that, but you’re still vulnerable, security wise. And and, you know, you, you really should upgrade from Windows seven, if you are listening to this. And, and, and you are not as comfortable as Francis is with regard to the, you know, just being on Windows seven, I mean, yeah, no, that’s, that’s a good thing. Also, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s the bigger, I think the bigger concerns for me are really ransomware attacks, because windows seven does not have that built in, you know, and Microsoft has done a really good job in Windows 10, of putting in some ransomware protection technology, and both natively on the system, but also some connectivity to OneDrive, so that you have, in essence, locked files that the ransomware attacker can’t then zip up in essence, and hold you ransom for Windows seven just doesn’t have that functionality built into it. And neither does windows eight or 8.1. So you know, that I’m aware of. So windows 10 is really critical for that component by itself. Plus, I think that Windows 10 has come a long way and being a really efficient operating system. I mean, it runs really, it’s peppy, on most machines, and you know, even though you know, you do need to have a fairly modern chipset and modern drives, to be able to run them you are you are getting a better experience, you’re just going to be more productive, because things are going to move faster. I still think that folks who want to stay in older devices, you’re probably better doing what a gousto did, which was put a put some type of Linux kernel based operating system on on your computers, and then you circumvent the security problem, because who attacks Linux, and or Linux distro, because, you know, as, as most people maybe don’t know, Linux is a kernel, it’s not the operating system itself. So when we say a Linux distro, we really mean an operating system that’s using the Linux kernel. And so there’s, there’s actually a, you know, we’re giving a lot of credit to Linus Torvalds, for just the writing of the kernel, and not for all of the other work that is the operating system. So there are a lot of operating systems that run on top of the Linux kernel that you can install. And they’re really, really easy. I’m gonna put some links to this in the show notes for anybody who’s interested. But if you have an older machine, and you primarily do your work on the browser, there’s really no reason to, to have all of this finagling with licensing and windows and arguing over who the big tech giant is, Linux has come to that place where deciding to upgrade may mean staying lateral in terms of your hardware, and updating the software that is the operating system to a system that will be not problematic for you For you know, many, many years to come. So that’s my soapbox.
Augusto Pinaud 18:30
And you made an interesting point that as an iPad user, that’s not an option because everything is so tied up by Apple, you need the software, you need the hardware, and they really control it. But if you don’t want or you’re not interested on that, it allows you to really now explore awesome software, or awesome hardware, I mean, that he’s available that may or may not have been your first option, you know, I, I did. There’s Microsoft surf surface, Harvard, I believe, is that they did a Microsoft did a really good job on that. And being able to use they’re good hard work with something different than Microsoft, something that probably will not work really well. on current year if you put a microphone on Microsoft operating system, their windows eight is really really cool and open the possibilities to ask the moment to upgrade the machine upgrade for something a lot more cheap, but also a lot more cool that what you will find for that, you know, if I go right now and look, you can buy Surface Pro for around 200 bucks, that cheaper than most of the Chromebooks that are on the market. And it will give you a hardware that looks a lot more cool than the plastic things that you will be able to find for 200 bucks.
Art Gelwicks 19:57
I don’t want to be the naysayer. Hear, but it’s not quite as easy as it would sound. Not all devices support all Linux distros. Not all devices actually will even boot up. In many cases, you have to go through and change your firmware or not your firmware settings, your BIOS settings to recognize a boot off of a USB drive. So don’t don’t underestimate the amount of work that’s necessary to do this, it can, sometimes it can go really smoothly, it sounds like gousto, you had a really easy implementation. And I think that’s great. I’ve tried this multiple times on multiple different machines with varying results depending on the machine and the setups. So this is not for the faint of heart. But it it is very doable.
Augusto Pinaud 20:48
I put in that difference between, you know, the pendant that I have done some Linux and I agree with you, what surprised me was never where and cloud ready was how easy it was. And you’re right, it may be dumb luck was a hard word, but it was technically not even on their list of support at Harvard. And it was really a piece of cake to, to do it. That is the reason I wanted to make this episode and talk about them. Because they really did a good job into make it easy for anybody to be able to do this.
Art Gelwicks 21:29
Yeah, the other thing I would say is don’t use your primary machine as a test machine. If you do have an old one that you’re that you want to try. Do it there do all the research. I’ve run into people who said, Oh, yeah, you know, I’ve got a desktop computer, and I want to be able to dual boot with Chrome OS. And, okay, I hope you’re patient, because it’s gonna take a little work and configuration. But yeah, like I said, I’ve, I’ve got all kinds of crazy laptops sitting around, and I’m definitely gonna give cloud ready a second look to see what I can do with it. I want to back up half a second, though, and ask a more direct technical question. When you’re running that. Are you running Chrome OS off of the microSD? card? Or is it actually getting installed to the internal storage of the device?
Augusto Pinaud 22:20
It’s I this machine? That’s exactly what made it interesting. Was this machine, the hard drive is that there is nothing. So everything is running out of the microSD machine. Yeah, see that Microsoft card, sir.
Art Gelwicks 22:34
Yeah, that’s something to take into consideration too, because the speed of the micro SD card of the speed of the USB drive is going to be significantly slower than the internal storage. So if you, if you have an option on a device like that, where you can configure it to run off of internal storage, depending on the device, you may get better performance. Now I say that, but on some devices, you may not, if you have an older laptop that you’re trying to install this to, and it’s got an old spindle drive in it, you know, 5400 RPM drive, you’re not going to see the storage performance, you would see off of an SSD drive that’s in something like a surface. So it’s going to be a catch, not really a catch 22. But you have to say, Okay, this thing is better than dead. How much better is it?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 23:24
The risk associated with putting your you know, messing with a production machine is certainly to be considered. And I’m only concerned with people’s data privacy and data security when it comes to keeping old machines in use, which is why I think the risk of installing Linux is far lower the risk and the headache of installing any Linux Linux distro is, is a far lower headache, then your entire system being compromised. And your your data being breached by malware. So that’s my kind of standard is yes, it may be there may be a little bit of work involved in installing any new operating system. I mean, you know, the hype, I’ve installed a lot of Windows computers over my days. And just it’s supposed to be easy. But you know, it’s not quite so when when you get into the particulars of it. So, you know, we just all have to be mindful of the fact that you should have backups, have backups of your data, and keep those in cold storage, meaning they should not be connected to your computer for some period of time when once you’ve made those backups. Because you know, automated backups are great, but the moment your computer is taken over by somebody, that also means that they have access to your backups, which is not great.
Augusto Pinaud 24:48
Yeah, we can go back to some of these productivity cast episodes where I did the upgrade to Mac OS Catalina
Art Gelwicks 24:59
you Yeah, those are the ones we were concerned, we’re going to get tagged with an explicit rating.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 25:07
Oh, man. Okay, so when should you replace your technology? And this is not just computers, I mean, this comes down to your phones and your tablets and, and your, you know, other devices that might be hanging around your, your toolkit, when do you decide to replace your technology?
Art Gelwicks 25:26
Alright, this, this is a sore point for me, because it depends on the equipment. I mean for for laptops and desktops and things like that. You can be in the Frances camp of replace it when it’s not doing your job that you need anymore. You could be in my camp where replace it as soon as you can afford to do it. But you also have things like phones. This is a this is a big issue, for example, you know, you think Android devices, Android devices basically stopped getting updated after three years. Well, there’s nothing wrong with the hardware at that point. But it’s an operating system obsolescence, you look at things like going from Windows seven to Windows 10. In many cases, you can’t upgrade the device, or you can’t upgrade the operating system because the device won’t support the requirements of the operating system. So you have to replace completely functional hardware, just to support some operating system requirement. So it’s really hard to say, you know, you should replace it every so that I’ll go to Chromebooks. here’s, here’s the example I have sitting next to me right now, I have one Chromebook that has now been updated. To be supported by Chrome, for the next eight years to receive updates. I have another Chromebook fully functioning works great. They’re not going to do updates for it anymore. It has reached its end of life. There is nothing wrong with that Chromebook. But yet it will not receive any updates past chrome 76 should I have to replace that piece of hardware, just because it’s outside that window. Now, Google’s a good example of recognizing that Wait, these devices are hanging around longer, therefore, we’re going to give them eight years of updates. But look at software like Windows seven, and Windows XP, I mean, their systems that have been running out there for 1015 years. So I don’t think hardware obsolescence is really as much of a problem as people think it is. It’s the software that’s running on it, and the requirements thereof, that force us to, I want to say artificially upgrade our systems. And with so much stuff being moved to the cloud. Now, I think that’s going to become even more prevalent, where you can run a system for 578 years without any issues. As long as you had valid valid security updates, and browser updates, you’re fine. Yeah, I’m
Raymond Sidney-Smith 27:53
in the same camp, I think that you should keep your your machines, you know, for a little bit longer than than we currently do. I mean, the replacement cycle right now is between 1818 and 24 months is pretty much the replacement cycle on average. And, uh, you know, it’s just, that’s just too short of a period of time for, you know, these devices, I mean, you know, just from the electronics pollution, that that is produced, and that’s mostly the discarding of electronics into landfills and other places. And the problem with that is that, you know, those have harmful elements in them, you know, cadmium, beryllium, and other kinds of flame retardants that are being in essence leached into the environment, and can be very toxic to to people, and of course, animals, and, you know, the local ecosystem. So it’s really imperative on all of us to be able to be mindful of the fact that when we have these electronics, not just our phones, but any electronics, you know, I’ve lots of Google homes and nest tubs and, you know, monitors and disk and and keyboards, and so on, so forth. And they all contain these things. And we have to be mindful of what we’re doing with regard to the plastic as well as the the metals that are being discarded on a consistent basis. So it’s just a matter of, of, I think, being mindful as it relates to what you have and why you have it and whether or not the hardware is still good. And the it’s just, you know, one of the big tech giants telling you that you need to replace it because they’re going to stop security updates, stop feature updates and those kinds of things. And whether or not there’s a way to get off that, that hamster wheel, and it’s probably why I’m such a big proponent of Linux not to keep beating that drum. But it is one of the reasons because you know, it gets you off the hamster wheel it gets you off that that cycle of rinse and repeat of replacing technology when you really don’t need to, you know, a lot of these boxes will not require you to make that jump all the time. I think in the Mobile phone space, I think that’s more prevalent, as art was talking about, I think, absolutely, we’re kind of stuck in that space, because we do need the security updates. And so every new piece of hardware that you put on, at least any modern phone that you have, is, is kind of forced into that replacement model, because of where we are. There are some folks out there who have who have, you know, figured out how to get off that, you know, rat race or whatever you want to call it, but I don’t think for the for the average, you know, smartphone user, you can do that. It’s just going to be the case. Isn’t there a case in Europe? Or Wasn’t there a case in which Apple was sued by the EU? Wasn’t it that, because they were, they effectively were slowing down the device to encourage the individual to buy a new phone? Yeah, that was that was broader than then. I mean, I don’t know about the the specific case in the EU. But I know, that was a broader issue across, you know, Apple’s ecosystem, generally, that there was a, there was a, I’m gonna still call it a rumor, I’m not sure if it was ever confirmed. And, and so systems were slowing down at, you know, because it said, Oh, you know, in order to be able to save battery, we’re slowing your systems down. And, and so, you know, ultimately, they were, they were, you know, called out for it. I don’t put it past Apple, I don’t put it past any of the major providers of of these, you know, hardware software, you know, combinations. You know, they’re they’re out there to make money. And, you know, when when they can increase profit by doing something like that, you know, there’s a, unfortunately an incentive, that’s that that is created,
Francis Wade 31:39
right. And people, people like people like me who hold on to things. And the opposite side of it is that I’ve learned not to become the first person after that Windows 10 episode, I have learned not to be the first person to go rush the download and install anything, because they’re the unintended mistakes that they have put in there. I don’t want to be the one to face them the first. So there’s, there’s upgrading too quickly, and there’s upgrade or upgrading too slowly. And right now we’re in this, I find myself in this weird spot around two pieces of technology where I don’t really have rules, it’s more a case of let me go find out what everybody else is experiencing and see what they say. And when they start that when the noise starts to get loud enough, then I’ll do something. But until then, if I don’t have the experience myself, I’m really just crowdsourcing. And if I hear tomorrow, that there’s ransomware going across the world, it’s tearing up windows seven machines, I bet you by the way that happens. I’m crowdsourcing, I’m just listening to what people are saying. And what people are saying is no problem. And I wish I had a better method than that. I’m also on the other side. If I think about upgrading something, right, that way, I go crowdsource again and say, What are people saying about the immediate upgrade. And this all came from that Windows 10 debacle.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 33:12
ransomware is probably the number one challenge for people, you know, security wise today. And it’s one of those silent problems because people are ashamed of letting others know that they’ve been attacked in that regard. Mostly, because, you know, most of the ransomware attacks are our foe, they’re not actual ransomware attacks. So there’s like the ones that are legitimate, where they actually do encrypt your data and then hold it ransom for you to pay, usually in some kind of cryptocurrency for it. And then the other side is the one that that pops up a notice or they send you an email us so you see this notice that pops up on your machine and it says, hey, we’ve we’ve been recording you over the last 24 hours. And if you’ve been watching pornography, or pictures of your family, or things of that nature, we we have it recorded and so if you don’t pay us, then we’re going to we’re going to make that public, we’re going to put that out there on, you know, some internet site of some sort of some kind. And that gets a lot of people who, you know, are just unawares of the fact that it’s it’s it’s a scam, they start paying these, these ransoms, and that is proliferated. You know, it basically it’s a job, you know, someone’s out there and now their job is to go ahead and find people whose systems are vulnerable infect them and make money and that’s just the nature of of it. So I think that it’s a it’s a much more prevalent problem than is being reported. And so I just, I encourage you, Francis to give it more consideration only because it’s it’s going to be under reported by the by the various You know, nature of, of the way in which ransomware propagates. So,
Augusto Pinaud 35:05
I agree with what ARD was saying, I think it depends on the kind of devices. But I agree with the criteria for me has turned firm speed and performance to security. Because even when the speed on the new devices is obviously is going to be significantly better than their old hardware, if you can still get the software update for the security, there is no real reason to upgrade the upgrade need comes as soon as you are now required to make sure you have the securities. That applies, in my opinion to hard work in general, that that’s that’s the first, the first rule. The second rule to that now is, if you use an a specific piece of software that require, you know, a faster machine, then that will be our second criteria. But for most people, really their higher word now, it used to last two or three years. Now we lost five or seven. And it is a new reality that hardware companies had been trying to adapt now, for a while and at the same time, has been trying not to let users know that their hardware now lasts a lot longer than what it used to. So for me, the criteria to upgrade is when the current machine cannot be upgraded anymore, and not for a refund of new features. But for a refund that we were discussing about security that I think is really, really important.
Art Gelwicks 36:39
If operating system companies would go through and just say look, we’re going to split apart feature updates and security updates. And just keep doing the security updates. And at some point say look, you know what, you got an old operating system, we’re not going to give you any new features. But we’re not going to keep we are going to keep people from crawling in the backdoors of your system. I think that’s reasonable. I think that’s completely realistic. And I think that’s something that any rational computer user could probably live with, are we going to see that though, I’m not holding my breath.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:12
And there’s an there’s an argument on the other side of that, though, which is that, you know, Google, Apple, Microsoft, the rest of the major manufacturers, that includes Samsung, and Huawei and others like them. You know, the real problem with that is that if you have to support legacy technology for potentially a decade, or more, as, as Microsoft has done with many of these windows, you know, some some of these are multiple decades old now. You know, that is a huge amount of resources having to be dedicated to keeping those machines in current practical use. I mean, there’s a there’s a larger cost associated with it. So I I recognize the argument on the other side, I think that I think that there’s a reasonable standard, which is, you know, say we we set a standard legislatively that they have to support for five years, eight years, whatever it is, right 10 years on the on the on the on the longer side of it. But we should not have this like, varying number where this device manufacturer says they’re going to support it for X amount of time. And then this one says they’re going to, you know, for y amount of time, it’s the lack of a fixed time, that really is bothersome to me because no one knows, right? When you buy a device, you just really don’t know how long it’s going to be supported. Or in the case of Google, you know, which, you know, everybody listening knows I love Google. But they they go ahead and say, Okay, well, we’re going to support this for 72 months, you know, or whatever they say the timeframe is going to be and then they’re like, oh, surprise, we’re going to extend it for another 24 months. Like, no, just why don’t you tell us that out the gate. And then we know how to plan out our replacement strategies, and our upgrade technology strategies ongoing. And that’s the part that really, you know, irritates me Is that you? Certainly from a business perspective, which is typically My, my, my, you know, audience, I’m thinking about how do I how do I plan out cash flow? How do I plan out technology upgrades from from a profitability perspective, and you can’t do that, if they’re constantly moving, the chronology of that,
Augusto Pinaud 39:29
not only that, that that is a strategy that hardware companies can use to define what you are going to buy or not buy, make the support of certain devices but make it as you said upfront, you know, we will upgrade this device for longer than what we will upgrade our entry level that will be completely fair. You know, for example, when you look on the iPad, an iPad Pro, okay because of the way Apple has built them, okay? They can support them for much longer than what they can support a regular iPad, why components are faster out of the gate, so there will last for much longer. So they have more memory around there is a couple of things like that that can be used. So they can come and say this device will be supported for seven years while the regular iPad will be only be supported for three, or five, or whatever is that they decided strategically, but I agree with you that will then will allow people to see it on the side. Okay, well, do I want this machine that it was going to be supported for five years? Or do I don’t understand or I don’t care about it, and I will get the cheapest one? Because here’s what cash flow can afford me. Right?
Art Gelwicks 40:45
All right, well, I’m gonna climb back up on my old man soapbox, then and say that the downfall of all of this was when we stopped building our own machines, because then we could actually upgrade devices and we could take out old hard drives and put in new ones, we could take out old ram cards and video cards and upgrade them to new systems. So once we’ve got once we decided that as a consumptive society, we wanted little black slabs of glass and big black slabs of glass and, and high design instead of high function ability. That’s when we started to go down this slippery slope. So Johnny, I have I blame you.
Augusto Pinaud 41:22
And we got we can blame Johnny. Oh, that one. But for I, I been a laptop was my main machine from what to? I like to say 2020 19 or 2000? I live on a laptop and then I leave on an iPad. I so on the laptop. Yes, you could do RAM and hard drive updates, but you were really limited anyway. So I don’t know if I want to do I have the technical knowledge to build the next up? Yes. Do I want to carry a Dexter with me? No, those pictures of people. You know, sitting with textbooks on a Starbucks, I still think is ridiculous. Even what I understand they can machine and upgraded more easier than what I can with my tablet or mice labs.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 42:14
As we’re closing out this episode, what can listeners do right now today to do good for the planet, cuz Why the heck not. And, and so I’ll start I’ve got two suggestions for folks. One is you can take those cell phones or smartphones that are sitting in your drawers somewhere, closets and other wise that you’re no longer using. And you can actually donate those to local charities that give them to victims of domestic violence. And so there are a lot of organizations that are just Google, you know, cell phones, donation, domestic violence, and you should be able to find local organizations that take those phones, and they’ll do a couple of things. One, they’ll obviously put a sim in them and and then provide them to victims who need them. So that’s number one. Number two is that they can also then resell those items on to the onto markets. And then use that money to be able to raise funds and be able to help folks so you’re not only helping the planet by that, second are in reduce, reuse, recycle the three R’s of of that, but you’re you’re reusing the the device by giving it to someone who can then reuse it, but you’re also helping, you know a great cause to is, I believe that every business owner, if you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner, you should be developing a an environmental sustainability program at your company that could be as simple as a recycling program. It could be a an environmental sustainability initiative within the company choosing to invest in environmentally conscious mutual funds. It could be a very broad sweeping way in which you educate your clients and customers that can be really great marketing for you in terms of showing your environmental sustainability and practices to your customers and building goodwill and and all kinds of other ways in which you can work with vendors to be able to reduce carbon footprint, you know, so that you’re able to get products to you or services to you for a lower cost to the planet. So one, donate your your cell phones to victims of domestic violence charities, and the other is to develop an environmental sustainability or some kind of company initiative dedicated to the environment.
Art Gelwicks 44:47
One about the cell phone donations, any cell phone, I know this is true in the US does not require a sim to actually be in it to be able to dial 911. So as long as it has a h Charge, you can use it to dial in emergency number to get help. That’s something that I don’t think a lot of people realize. If you charge up that phone, then turn it off and put it in a drawer, should something happen, you still have a phone that you can at least dial 911 with. And that applies to all of them, I’m almost positive, that’s the case. Second, there’s an app out on Android, I don’t think it’s available on iOS, but it is on Android, there’s an app called Alfred. And Alfred allows you to take any cell phone and turn it into a Wi Fi enabled webcam. So if you take an old cell phone that you don’t want to use anymore, don’t bother putting a sim in it, just use enable the Wi Fi on it, you can turn it into a webcam, or a smart cam that you put somewhere, you know, like a security cam. And it will do things like notify you of sound and motion and things like that. So you can reuse those devices in that way.
Francis Wade 45:58
I think I’m a bit behind the curve on this to be honest. So I’ve been so I’ve been thinking maybe this is the week to upgrade to Windows 10, after the advice that you gave me. So I guess I would advise anybody else who’s in a similar position to follow through your advice.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 46:17
Yeah, and depending upon your system configuration, you know, the hardware that you’re using, and so on and so forth, and can actually impact the amount of electricity that’s being used, which is a positive impact on the environment. So good on you.
Francis Wade 46:34
It’s just that bitten Once bitten, twice shy, you know,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 46:37
I totally understand, I totally understand. But I think that, you know, it’s one of those cases, make a backup, and, and then go through the process of upgrading. And I’ve done a Windows 10 upgrade for a client, just in the past week or so and clean, clean bill of health from a fairly old machine, I have to admit it was older than I thought it should have been for the upgrade. But it was better to do that then replace the system. Because of the the age of the user. You know, it was just one of those cases where the user didn’t want to change the hardware. And so I said, Okay, well, let’s just get it. Let’s get it updated. And we did and it was it’s running very cleanly. It’s uh, it’s, it’s doing really well. So everything, everything worked the way it did. And so yeah, but backup your machine,
Francis Wade 47:32
I think I’m gonna be calling you
Augusto Pinaud 47:39
gonna think twice before the why’d you are, you know, upgrading, I understand not everybody had the technical knowledge to do these upgrades or to spend the time, you know, playing with the technology and testing that technology. But in many cases, you don’t need it an upgrade, not on yours, Francis. But another good, but what you need is really to clean up, you know, the machine and and that is getting easier and easier to find on the web. It is a matter of many people being afraid, not necessarily how difficult it is 2020. So think twice before, you know, and using keeping reusing those some of those devices and posts really yeah, I understand you get a time where it is now time to replace the hardware. But that time has changed significantly, as we discussed in this episode. And in case of that, ask, because there is more than enough people more than willing to help an answer on those questions if you ask.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 48:52
So I hope everybody has gotten a little bit of next steps in terms of what they can do. And if you really want to go beyond that you can go to either carbon fund or terrapass and buy carbon offset credits, which put certified funds into environmentally sustainable initiatives. So that could include, you know, planting trees to programs that are trying to take carbon out of the air, that kind of thing. And so good stuff going on around the world. And so you can actually buy these carbon credits that are really affordable. All you have to do is lift your credit card out of your pocket to do good in that regard. So thank you, everybody for this episode. Thank you for the contributions and that includes you our listeners. If you have a question or comment about this episode, you have a suggestion for folks about what they can do to be more environmentally sustainable with their electronics and technology and upgrading and replacing their technology. there on the podcast episode site. You get there by going to productivity cast dotnet forward slash the episode Number so 001002 that three digit number is our episode number, feel free to plug that in after productivity cast dotnet forward slash, and you’ll be right there on the page there at the bottom of the page, you can leave a comment or question. And we’ll hopefully see it and respond and engage and be happy to do so. Also, they’re on productivitycast.net, you’ll find the show notes for the episode that you’re on, as well as links to anything that we discussed. So you can jump to it from there on productivitycast.net as a whole, you should see a subscribe button. And that allows us allows you to be able to subscribe to the podcast meaning follow the podcast in whatever app you’d like. It’s free. And you can you can go ahead and do that. If you have another question about personal productivity, click on the Contact button on productivity cast dotnet and you can leave a voice recorded message for us or you can type a message to us and we’ll get that and maybe we’ll make that a part of a future episode, where we’ll answer questions. Thank you to Augusto Pinaud, Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks, for joining me here on this and every productivity cast. If you could, please add a rating or review in Apple podcasts or Stitcher, we just enjoy hearing the feedback. It’s really great for us to be able to know you’re all out there and listening. But it also helps us to grow the personal productivity listening community because the algorithms help to expose us to more folks. So thank you for doing that. That brings us to the close of this episode of ProductivityCast the weekly show about all things personal productivity. I’m Ray Sidney-Smith. with everybody else here Augusto Pinaud, Francis Wade, and Art Gelwicks thank you all for listening. Here’s to your productive life.
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.