Single charger for smartphones: they will arrive in autumn 2024

We have been talking about the subject for years, both because it has a tail and because the laws have their processes and times, but yesterday the law that unifies device chargers in Europe was finally approved and it has also done so with a large majority of 602 votes in favor and only 13 against and 8 abstentions In summary: that USB-C is the connector of the future and will be mandatory in Europe from the end of 2024.

Let’s see what the implementation timing will be: Once the law is approved, it will be applied after two years. Due to this, by the end of 2024 it will be mandatory in the European Union for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras to come equipped with a USB Type C port. Starting in spring 2026, this obligation will also be extended to laptops.

More specifically, the standard establishes that “all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and helmets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, headphones and rechargeable laptops through a cable, operating with a power supply of up to 100 watts, shall be equipped with a USB Type-C port.”

What happens now with manufacturers like Apple, which tends to go it alone on these issues of uniformity? Well, he will have no choice but to go through the hoop. Apple already incorporates this port in devices such as MacBooks or iPads, but not in iPhones. Starting at the end of 2024, Apple will be forced to add it. If we do the math and following the nomenclature of those from Cupertino, it would be up to a future iPhone 17. However, in order to avoid reaching the last moment, Apple may very well seek to adapt before.

Or you could complain and take the law to court in a huff to buy time. Apple in the past has been reticent about this law, explaining that it reduces innovation and could increase e-waste. But Europe is not up for the job, since by introducing a single charger, this measure will help save about 250 million euros a year and reduce electronic waste by 980 million tons, contradicting Apple’s forecasts.

Once the point of charging via cable is cleared, the next battle will be wireless charging, where various standards fight to be the hegemonic.

Elon Musk now wants to buy Twitter, will it be the final one?

We had already talked about the previous news from time to time because the laws are hard to come by and you know who is also hard to do? Elon Musk, who returns to his old ways to conquer Twitter, a soap opera that for the past few months had us on edge: he first made an offer, entangled and then withdrew it. Well, the South African returns to put his initial offer on the table.

In the last hours the rumor has returned with force and last night Twitter announced that it had received a purchase proposal from Elon Musk. The price is $54.20 a share, 54% more than what the shares were worth before the hare jumped.

This point is important because the South African has been saying yes or no for a long time and this news shakes the stock market: when Elon Musk withdrew the offer, the shares fell. It was then that Twitter sued the businessman with the intention that the purchase materialize in the original terms. Coincidence or not, for that complaint there will be a trial that begins imminently on October 17.

Since then, everything has been excuses to back out: that there are many bots and spam, that it is a breeding ground for misinformation or that the users who claim to have that network are not such. We will see, but it seems that Musk is committed to opening the portfolio before the court is the one that closes the matter with possible compensation.

 Did you have an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6s? Be careful because Apple could reward you with 189 euros

This is news for those regular iPhone fans of the bitten apple, and it is that although the iPhone 14 has just been presented, this news affects users of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, which date from 2014 and 2015 respectively.

It all started with a Reddit thread in which a user urged you to change your iPhone’s battery if it was slow. This is known as throttling, and it could cost Apple dearly, which at the time acknowledged that it was deliberately slowing down the performance of these two models to minimize battery degradation. The famous ‘throttling’ already caused economic problems for Apple in Italy, and now the same thing could happen here.

When this Applegate happened, the firm apologized and launched a discount program on battery replacement, but of course, it did so once the hare jumped.

For this reason, in 2020 the OCU filed a class action claiming that the company “intentionally manipulated and without reporting the performance of some of its popular iPhones in an act of clear planned obsolescence” and it has recently been admitted for processing. In this lawsuit, compensation of between 99 and 189 euros is requested, depending on the model, so be very careful if you are among those affected.

From the OCU they estimate that “more than 400,000 are affected by this malpractice by Apple.” They give the option to those who have not done so to join that claim, which “will not entail any expense, because OCU assumes the costs of the judicial procedure.”

Heating the house with pellet stoves has also risen in price, the solution: flax pellets

This winter is going to be blacker than ever. Added to the low temperatures are the energy crisis and inflation. In this scenario, there are those who have proposed to change their boiler to return to firewood or get a pellet stove, a fuel that allows us to heat our home for less money than other alternatives such as gas or electricity. For those who don’t know, pellets are pressed residues of wood.

The problem is that pellets are also rising in price. In France or Canada, however, there are those who have decided to bet on an ally as unexpected as it is traditional and well-known: linen.

That is the proposal that Soels Electrotech, a company from Comines, in northern France, has been working on for years. The idea is to take advantage of the waste for the manufacture of pellets and go a step further in the use of a material whose shavings are already used in company boilers.

To form the pellets, they remove the dust and pass the material through a system that compresses it until a pressed granule is obtained. The best thing is that there is already at least one boiler manufacturer that has adapted its machines and that flax pellets would be cheaper than wood pellets.

In the midst of the energy crisis, the idea has not taken long to capture the interest of the media and even authorities. The French deputy Brigitte Liso published images of her with those responsible for the firm on her Twitter profile.

In Canada, it is the Prairie Clean Energy firm that explains that their country generates more than 48 million tons of agricultural residues that it does not give out and “can be transformed into clean and renewable biomass pellets.” Praire ensures that this type of fuel is equivalent in caloric properties to wood pellets, with an extra advantage: lower ash content. 

To understand the importance of the Soels or Prairie proposals, it is important to understand the context and, above all, where and when they are raised. As the Canadian company points out, their country generates a large amount of flax waste every year that could be disposed of. Soels is not aiming blindly either: flax production plays an important role in France. Le Figaro points out that the country is a benchmark thanks to 11,000 hectares dedicated to the valuable material.

The moment could not be better: that of the rise in the price of the pellets themselves due to the fear of the electricity and gas bill. In a matter of a year, a 15 kg bag of biomass made up of pressed sawdust has gone from costing 4.5 to 7.5 euros. And its demand continues to rise. The OCU details that today the pellets are 67% more expensive than just a year ago and even with everything, biomass continues to be an economical option to heat the house.

In 2023 the ZBE labels arrive, the end of cars with a B label?

The countdown for cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants in Spain to have a low emission zone has begun. And he has done it with some doubts that should be clarified. Will I be able to move freely with my car? Do vehicles with a B sticker have their days numbered?

Let’s go by parts: In 2023 all cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, and those with more than 20,000 inhabitants whose air quality reports are negative, will have to have a low emission zone (ZBE), this is included in article 14.3 of the Climate Change Law. The goal is to improve air quality and promote sustainable mobility vehicles.

But what the law says is one thing and its application is another: the Spanish government has given the power to the city councils so that they are the ones who structure their own LEZs. In this sense, a LEZ does not have to affect the city center or, at least, it does not have to affect only the city center. For example, it can be designed to control access to schools, spaces near hospitals or industrial centers.

During the information that accompanied the announcement of these mandatory LEZs, the DGT published that being there would be the entry signal to a LEZ zone and that the circulation of polluting vehicles would be prohibited there “except Zero emissions, ECO and C”, referring to their environmental badges. But at the moment no city prohibits the circulation of cars with the B sticker. 

What are the B cars? Basically gasoline cars registered between January 1, 2001 and January 1, 2006 and diesel cars registered between January 1, 2006 and September 1, 2015.

In the coming months we will see how the cities are adapting these LEZs to their structure. Without a clear regulation, the simplest and most probable thing for city councils is to slightly reconvert the city center to reduce the volume of traffic on the streets but continue to allow total freedom for vehicles with or without labels, whatever it may be.