More Repair Options for PCs on Way for 2023

Neither of the two giants in Apple and Microsoft do much in the way of making their devices easily repairable or upgradeable, and while trying to keep their stuff proprietary as much as possible is understandable it’s not good how so many PCs and other computing devices are discarded and end up as electronic waste instead of being repaired. The basics of electronic device repair aren’t that difficult to get, and you might be surprised what can be done with know how, a steady hand and some soldering skills.

Working on devices that are able to access the web is a huge part of daily life for so many people, and it will be beneficial to try and limit the amount of e-waste we create when getting rid of ones that could still have a longer working life. This is why it’s good news that Microsoft has announced that they are going to make desktop and notebook PC repair much more accessible to people. This will also have huge benefits for providing fully functional computing devices to developing regions of the world where they will assist with education and other interests.

Trying to minimize their environmental footprint is a priority for any quality Canadian web hosting provider in the same way it is for all businesses these days, and at 4GoodHosting we see the value in making people aware of news like this that is in line with environmental interests related to digital devices. E-waste is a problem, and it is going to be very beneficial if people can have their computers and other devices repaired more easily so they don’t have to keep buying new ones and furthering the cycle.

Around a Trend

A large portion of the carbon emissions associated with the devices we own are made during manufacturing. Replacing products before the more real end of their working life causes those emissions, pollution, natural resource use, and land degradation associated with extracting and refining raw materials go way up and there is more toxic e-waste polluting the environment in places like Agbogbloshie, Ghana and Guiyu, China.

The White House is already moving towards legislation that will have the US FTC dismantling repair restrictions around phones and electronics, and this is something that has long been needed here in North America and around the world. It’s also about ensuring that lower income families or individuals can have the same degree of web connectivity to go along with the basic rationale of being able to repair something you use as a tool in the same way you do your motor vehicle.

Both take you to destinations in a sense. The reason you’re soon going to be able to take Microsoft products to 3rd-party repair services OR fix them more easily yourself is because of As You Sow, an activist group that promotes companies being more aware of the environmental degradation levels that come excessive e-waste resulting from the shortened lifespans of devices. They were able to make this request as part of an original shareholder resolution that they were entitled to present.

Their request is that Microsoft analyze the environmental benefits of making its products easier to repair, and now Microsoft is promising to ‘expand the availability of certain parts and repair documentation beyond Microsoft’s Authorized Service Provider network.’ They are also going to offer new mechanisms to enable and facilitate local repair options for consumers, allowing them to have their Microsoft devices repaired outside what is now a limited network of authorized repair shops.

Right to Repair Movement

Just this summer US President Joe Biden issued an executive order instructing the Federal Trade Commission to craft new rules around addressing unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair and as of right now 27 states are looking at passing right-to-repair bills, and New York has introduced the first-ever national right-to-repair bill that targets all sorts of consumer products that should be repairable if parts are made more readily available from the manufacturer.

A similar type of request has been made to Apple, and industry experts say it is very likely that all major manufacturers will need to be able to prove they are operating in a more ecologically friendly manner. All sort of consumer electronics should be made easier to fix yourself, and although that will mean fewer products being produced and sold it really is high time that something like this happens considering just how problematic planned obsolescence and the like really are.

We are definitely fans of the Right to Repair Movement, and we’re happy to see that there are similar movements here in Canada that are pushing for the same sort of outcomes. If you don’t already have a soldering iron at home, it might be time to get one.

All About Handshake Domain Names

Ever since the web was in its infancy and URLs were just starting to be a thing, internet names that are TLDs (Top Level Domains) are administered by ICANN, a centralized organization that has outlived its usefulness for managing internet names in the opinion of many knowledgeable people in the industry. It’s only very recently that legitimate alternatives to this monopoly of-sorts have come into existence, but the one that’s really generating some buzz these days is Handshake.

It is the exact opposite of ICANN, and in particular with the way it is a decentralized naming solution for the Internet that is powered by blockchain technology – another major disruptor in the industry that we’ve also touched on here on a number of different occasions. HNS is the abbreviation for the Handshake naming system, which is a peer-to-peer network and decentralized system using blockchain as a means of offering better control, freedom, and security of the domain and website.

As you’d expect, this sort of development is the type that comes up immediately on radar for those of us here at 4GoodHosting in the same way it would for any good Canadian web hosting provider that likes to have its thumb on the pulse of web hosting technology and options that become available to people who need to claim their spot on the web and use it to their personal or business advantage. The appeal of HNS naming is that it is line with decentralizing the web and allowing for a more fair reorganizing of the Internet.

So how does Handshake domain naming work, and what exactly make it better for individual users? That’s what we’ll look at this week.

Handshake Domains – How Do They Work?

Let’s start here with a basic refresher on domain names. All websites accessible on the Internet are found on servers identified using Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Users aren’t expected to know IP addresses, so internet names are mapped to their corresponding servers by means of a domain name system (DNS). DNS is not centralized, but the ultimate control of names via the DNS system is held by a limited number of interest groups and they don’t always act equitably.

The Handshake name system is entirely different by design. While it also maps names to IP addresses and can be utilized in essentially the same way as the traditional DNS, names are administered by a blockchain model instead of a single centralized entity. What is key here is how Handshake takes decentralized control of the root zone and can then be used for so much more than just mapping to servers in the internet space.

As a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol where every peer is validating and in charge of managing the root DNS naming zone, Handshake meets a much more agreeable vision of how the control of TLDs is made available in a more fair system and one that doesn’t favor some greatly at the expense of others.

It’s really starting to emerge as an alternative to existing Certificate Authorities and naming systems, and it’s a darn good thing.

Distribution of Handshake Names

There is more of a chance with name ‘squatting’, and the Handshake protocol reserves the top 100K domain names according to Alexa.com as well as giving priority on existing TLDs to current owners. As a result and to use one example, Google – which currently leases google.com from Verisign, the controller of the .com TLD – can instead lay a claim to the ‘Google’ name via the Handshake blockchain.

This can be applicable for less competitive domain names too, with the blockchain facilitating name auctions which can be bid on by anyone who is in possession of Handshake tokens. This would deliver a very different owner, user, and visitor experience right across the board, but what is interesting to note is that with an HNS the internet user would be navigating to a website in an entirely decentralized manner and with nothing in the way of censorship related to a centralized authority.

Entities that are currently in existence and able to take domain names away from owners under the current ICANN style of governance would be rendered powerless by a Handshake domain name system powered by blockchain. If you’d like to learn more about uncensorable domain names you can find quite a bit of information out there.

Accessing a Handshake Name Using my Browser

You need to be behind an HNS resolver to access a Handshake name in any internet browser. This is possible with running your own HNS resolver on your device. You can also choose to configure your browser to use a DNS-over-HTTPS server that resolves Handshake names. Easyhandshake.com is one example of such a server and people with even a little bit of domain hosting savvy can easily figure out how to start using DNS-over-HTTPS to resolve Handshake names.

Several developers have rolled out browser extensions to allow standardized access to Handshake sites. Bob Wallet and LinkFrame are examples of two available for Google Chrome, and for Mozilla FireFox you’ll find that Resolvr works very well. Last mention here will be for Fingertip – an open-source, lightweight HNS resolver developed by Impervious and compatible with both Mac and Windows OS.