If they eat up pads, its because they are not adjusted correctly or the cable is bad. Most problems are due to a lack of maintenance.
My 04 (purchased new) has all the original cables still on it. I bought a complete set of new cables when I got the machine in anticipation of being out in the sticks somewhere on a Sunday and have a cable stick or break. Each winter, I do detailed maintenance. I remove all the moving parts, wash out old grease, put in new grease, replace all bearings that exhibit any abnormal movement, wash my cables in solvent to flush out dirt and grit and then lube the cables. When I install the cables, I use waterproof grease on the ends that connect to the levers so the end piece can rotate in the lever without binding. At the same time I adjust the valves, but the valves get adjusted (or at least checked) about 6 times a year (every other oil change) and the engine gets a new piston about every 2 years.
If a cable will not slide through it's sheath under it's own weight, then it needs to be replaced.
I dispute the claim that the parking brake causes premature wear on the pads. Depending on the quality of the pad, riding conditions, operator usage and the maintenance of related parts, the pads should last a satisfactory length of time. I ride woods, lots of water, mud and sand. I ride the rear brake slightly for control and decreased reaction time. I use the front brake primarily, but use both brakes always. When I am able to ride every weekend for about 2 hours each ride, I replace the rear pads about twice a year and the front pads about once each year. I adjust the parking brake before each ride. It's part of the routine of checking engine oil, tire pressure, chain tension, air filter, fuel and cable free play. I guess it can be summed up as; just my way of doing things. Since 2004 I have never had to be pulled out of the woods. My machine has never left me stranded.
Just me being me - some others might maintain their vehicles same or better than I do, but the vast majority don't consider maintenance until it quits or breaks and then they bitch about the cost of repair.