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Planned Obsolescence is your fault
12-29-2018, 04:45 PM
Post: #1
Planned Obsolescence is your fault
Interesting article ... Don't blame the manufacturer Big Grin

Planned Obsolescence is your fault
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12-30-2018, 07:31 AM
Post: #2
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
Which is why I use a calculator from the early 1970s most of the time Smile


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12-30-2018, 02:19 PM
Post: #3
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
I agree. In general whatever "mass" direction is the fault of the mass.

In a democracy (but I would extend that even to dictatorships) the population gets what the relative majority wants.

Climate change (consumerism is strongly related to it) and the inaction that we have is the fault of governments and populations. Even criminal organization thrive in places where the population - due to danger and what not - is not actively fighting back.

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12-30-2018, 10:38 PM
Post: #4
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
I wonder whether the media plays a significant part, in telling users what they should expect from new models.

All the hysteria over new releases seems more driven by the media than by any consumer that I know, who could care less. mind you, my friends probably aren't the norm Smile

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12-31-2018, 11:54 AM
Post: #5
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
Hello!

(12-30-2018 10:38 PM)cdmackay Wrote:  I wonder whether the media plays a significant part, in telling users what they should expect from new models.

In a way certainly. On the other hand, the media are constantly fed with "sensational news" about the new products from the manufacturers - who happen to be their main advertising clients and without whom those media might not exist at all... If I look at the display of an airport or train station newsagent I see dozens of glossy smartphone-, tablet-, computer- and camera-magazine titles. These need to be fed with "news" constantly and sell those onward to us stupid herd of customers.

For me, whatever the author of this original article claims, planned obsolescence is clearly manufacturer driven. There are not only trendy products like smartphones out there, where customers might actually be one of the driving forces behind that obsolescence. There are also washing machines and vacuum cleaners. People generally don't like to shop for those. They rather spend a little more money on their purchase in the hope that the product will last many years. Unfortnunately this is seldom the case, apart from some lucky exceptions. I just repaired my mothers battery-powered hand held vacuum cleaner. Made by a well known manufacturer (don't want to name-and-shame here) and certainly not the cheapest one. Middle price segment I would say. It had failed because the charging connector is of the flimsiest possible kind, even micro-USB-connectors of typical smartphones are more solid!. To prevent it from being ripped off the PCB when the connecting plug is pulled, they had used two drops of glue together with the two soldered connectors (very thin wires). The glue has failed shortly after the warranty ended of course and the connector came off the PCB. For 99.9% of these products this would have meant "sraight to the landfill". Luckily I was around at the right time to resolder the plug and fix it in place with a decent amount of epoxy. Using a proper amount of proper glue (or a more robust connector) in the first place would have added 2 or 3 cents to the manufacturing cost. Planned obsolescence, nothing else. And certainly not driven by customer demand.

Regards
Max

NB: And I hope to live long enough to see (worldwide!) laws coming in force about making electronic devices with non-replaceable batteries. As described in the article.
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12-31-2018, 12:45 PM
Post: #6
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
What is interesting is that they find out - in advance - exactly how much glue you need to run up to the warranty (that in EU is 2 years).

Doing that for many elements in a product is not that simple.

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12-31-2018, 12:55 PM
Post: #7
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 11:54 AM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  For me, whatever the author of this original article claims, planned obsolescence is clearly manufacturer driven. There are not only trendy products like smartphones out there, where customers might actually be one of the driving forces behind that obsolescence. There are also washing machines and vacuum cleaners. People generally don't like to shop for those. They rather spend a little more money on their purchase in the hope that the product will last many years. Unfortnunately this is seldom the case, apart from some lucky exceptions.
(...)
Using a proper amount of proper glue (or a more robust connector) in the first place would have added 2 or 3 cents to the manufacturing cost. Planned obsolescence, nothing else. And certainly not driven by customer demand.

NB: And I hope to live long enough to see (worldwide!) laws coming in force about making electronic devices with non-replaceable batteries. As described in the article.

I am with you Maximilian: that's my POV, too. Nothing lasts as it used to, It is seldom and/or hardly repairable/replaceable. Household appliances' quality has gone south.
And who needs to add another function every single year to a smartphone that already has gazillions on board?
But if we don't buy, they won't produce, people is laid off... So, let's start another landfill!

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12-31-2018, 02:54 PM
Post: #8
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 11:54 AM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  For me, whatever the author of this original article claims, planned obsolescence is clearly manufacturer driven ...

I agree the manufacturer driven argument, but only for short term.
Using your vacuum cleaner as an example, I doubt you will even consider the same brand again.

Another example, car manufacturers tried to save money by using cheap timing belt.
However, they are switching back to timing chains ...


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12-31-2018, 05:29 PM
Post: #9
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
Quote:Household appliances' quality has gone south.

Yep. My mother-in-law had a toaster that she and my late father-in-law were given as a wedding present. Although it was over 50 years old, it still worked fine, but had some stains and was out of style, and she thought, "I think I can afford a new toaster every 50 years!" She got a new Black & Decker one, and it lasted only 6 months.

Our 45-year-old dishwasher (made when I was a kid, and installed by the previous owner of the house) worked fine but my wife said it was ugly; so we got a new one. The new one doesn't use enough water or energy to get the dishes clean and rinse all the soap off!. We got a new refrigerator to replace the decades-old one, and we had to get the new one fixed in the first year. My brother-in-law's parents were given a refrigerator for their wedding, and it was still working fine more than 50 years later when they had both died, and it had never had any repairs.

I sure hope my HP stuff lasts my lifetime. There's nothing like it made today. SwissMicros may be close, but they don't offer any interfaceability like HP-IL did (and no, USB does not qualify when you want to interface to lots of things at once, like instruments on the workbench). I've had frequently used programs in my HP-41cx continuously for 25+ years, without ever re-loading. Try that in a smartphone, or even a PC!

I don't use a smartphone. My wife and son have had a half-dozen of them, and every one of them has had major portions quit working after only a couple of years. The things that appeal to the giggling teenage cheerleaders at the electronics counter of Walmart or similar store don't appeal to me one bit.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
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12-31-2018, 06:24 PM
Post: #10
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
The industry *wants* you to spend more money. They even insert breakdown chips inside electronics to make them fail. There are a few brands I've stop buying because of that. There are car brands I'd never even dream of buying again.
If you have a reliable product, you can be sure that the industry stops making spares/refills for that product. For instance, I had my most reliable printer for years, an OKI 4w L.E.D printer. The toner was dirt cheap, abt US$10,- a cartridge that lasted over 1.000 pages. Well, try to find toners for that one today. Try even to find a PC with a parallel port so that I can use it again.. Or, even an OKI printer..?
I now have a "business grade" printer from another brand. There's the planned obsolescence in the FW and toner. They last for 180 days, no matter what. Luckily I found a description to circumvent that on the net, I think it was even on hackaday Smile Now my toner lasts until the print fades, usually abt 3.000 pages and the 3rd party TAS toner bought "loose weight" costs med abt US$10 per lb. which I've now refilled the toner unit with a couple of times, instead of paying in excess of US$100,- for the brand-name one.

A few years ago the Norwegian state TV sent a documentary "The light bulb conspiracy", a french documentary, which now can be seen at Youtube. It's English narrated but hardcoded with Norwegian subs. There's English subs over the parts that's in French.




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12-31-2018, 07:18 PM (This post was last modified: 12-31-2018 07:23 PM by SlideRule.)
Post: #11
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 06:24 PM)DA74254 Wrote:  Norwegian state TV sent a documentary "The light bulb conspiracy", a french documentary… It's English narrated but hardcoded with Norwegian subs. There's English subs over the parts that's in French

read all about it at BBC - Future - Here's the truth about the 'planned obsolescence' of tech

The Centennial Light is often pointed to as evidence for the supposedly sinister business strategy known as planned obsolescence. Lightbulbs and various other technologies could easily last for decades, many believe, but it’s more profitable to introduce artificial lifespans so that companies get repeat sales. “That’s sort of the conspiracy theory of planned obsolescence,” says Mohanbir Sawhney, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University.
So is this conspiracy theory true? Does planned obsolescence really exist?
Sticking with light bulbs as a product, they provide amongst the most emblematic case studies of planned obsolescence.
Initially, companies installed and maintained whole electrical systems to support bulb-based lighting in the dwellings of the new technology’s rich, early adopters. Seeing as consumers were not on the hook to pay for replacement units, lighting companies therefore sought to produce light bulbs which lasted as long as possible, according to Collector’s Weekly.
The business model changed, however, as the light bulb customer base grew more mass-market. Greater sums of money could be reaped, companies figured, by making bulbs disposable and putting replacement costs onto customers. Thus was born the infamous “Phoebus cartel” in the 1920s, wherein representatives from top light bulb manufacturers worldwide, such as Germany’s Osram, the United Kingdom’s Associated Electrical Industries, and General Electric (GE) in the United States (via a British subsidiary), colluded to artificially reduce bulbs’ lifetimes to 1,000 hours. The details of the scam emerged decades later in governmental and journalistic investigations.
“This cartel is the most obvious example” of planned obsolescence’s origins “because those papers have been found,” says Giles Slade, author of the book Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, a history of the strategy and its consequences.


Made to break : technology and obsolescence in America
Giles Slade.
ISBN-13 978-0-674-02572-1 (pbk.)
Copyright © 2006 by Giles Slade
First Harvard University Press paperback edition, 2007

BEST!
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12-31-2018, 10:13 PM
Post: #12
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 12:55 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Nothing lasts as it used to

Counter-example: cars. If you'd told me 30 years ago that I'd ever be driving an econobox for twelve years and counting, with 240,000 km on the clock, and zero major repairs, I don't think I would have believed you.

Being an apartment dweller, I don't own any large household appliances, but the ones I know about from family and friends tend to do their jobs, and when they break, are easy to repair.

Nobody expects to repair a calculator or a cheap cell phone since replacing them costs less than having a technician even take a look at them. If my $1000 TV were to break, I'd want to get it fixed, but if my $59 DVD player or my $59 camera stop working, I'm just going to replace them. Why would manufacturers go out of their way to make devices like that easy to repair?
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12-31-2018, 10:56 PM
Post: #13
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
I understand planned obsolescence. People shop primarily on price and most manufacturers build inexpensive stuff that breaks. I get it.

What I find frustrating is that you can't get a high quality product even if you're willing to spend the money on it. We have a 3-year-old range that cost a fortune and it's a piece of crap. Reviewers heavily weigh price rather than durability. Sigh.
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12-31-2018, 11:19 PM
Post: #14
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 02:54 PM)Albert Chan Wrote:  I agree the manufacturer driven argument, but only for short term.
Using your vacuum cleaner as an example, I doubt you will even consider the same brand again.

Another example, car manufacturers tried to save money by using cheap timing belt.
However, they are switching back to timing chains ...


Exactly why I will never buy another Honda again.
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12-31-2018, 11:41 PM
Post: #15
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 10:56 PM)David Hayden Wrote:  We have a 3-year-old range that cost a fortune and it's a piece of crap.

Good Lord. A gas pipe, a few valves, and burners? How can anyone screw that up? And electric ranges are even simpler... What make and model did you get?
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12-31-2018, 11:45 PM
Post: #16
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 10:13 PM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  
(12-31-2018 12:55 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Nothing lasts as it used to

Counter-example: cars. If you'd told me 30 years ago that I'd ever be driving an econobox for twelve years and counting, with 240,000 km on the clock, and zero major repairs, I don't think I would have believed you.

Being an apartment dweller, I don't own any large household appliances, but the ones I know about from family and friends tend to do their jobs, and when they break, are easy to repair.

Nobody expects to repair a calculator or a cheap cell phone since replacing them costs less than having a technician even take a look at them. If my $1000 TV were to break, I'd want to get it fixed, but if my $59 DVD player or my $59 camera stop working, I'm just going to replace them. Why would manufacturers go out of their way to make devices like that easy to repair?
If you'd bought a Volvo or a Toyota back then, you'd be convinced Wink
As for your "cheap" camera and DVD; 40 years ago my dad worked at an electric appliances repair shop. They did house calls to do repairs on everything from washing machines to toasters. And yes, they repaired the consumers appliances. Even Razors were repaired. They rewound electric motors at the shop, which is unheard of in the "western world" today. While I was working in the GOM (I'm a ships engineer), we sent electric motors for rewinding to Mexico, just recently. I live in Latvia; here they repair things still. My (now late) amplifier broke twice, first the power supply, then the internal RIAA. Both repaired, before eventually all the analogue inputs broke and I thrashed it. They repaired my Subwoofer's power supply at the cost of 1 -one- % of the Subs total price. My wife is Russian, and in Russia they do repair just about everything at low cost and the appliances lasts "forever". My wifes son still has his Nokia 1101, 16 years and counting. Still hasn't even replaced the (NiCad) battery..

(12-31-2018 10:56 PM)David Hayden Wrote:  I understand planned obsolescence. People shop primarily on price and most manufacturers build inexpensive stuff that breaks. I get it.

What I find frustrating is that you can't get a high quality product even if you're willing to spend the money on it. We have a 3-year-old range that cost a fortune and it's a piece of crap. Reviewers heavily weigh price rather than durability. Sigh.
I'm with you here. I'd rather buy a product at higher initial price if it would last or at least have servicable parts.
We have worn out 3 coffee machines (whole bean grounding and brewing type). Normally they start leaking, and I've tried to repair them. Guess what? You don't get spares. The O-Rings are made of an obscure standard that noone can provide. I've taken the rings onboard to work to make new ones from O-Ring kits we have. They last a few months and then brakes. The coffee piston in the compressor I've 3D-printed, since one cannot get new ones. Until I cave in and by a new one. But then, be assured, I *never* buy the same brand. The one we have now has lastet almost 4 years and counting. I'm impressed Smile

Luckily, some manufacturers see that the consumers demands and wants higher quality products with servicable parts. Take Epson and their ink tank technology. You don't have to buy heroin priced ink cartridges, instead you get refillable ink tanks and buy ink flasks at 1/100th the price.

The ones who has *not* learned the business are the light bulb mafia. They banned (at least in Europe) incandecent bulbs and everyone is now forced to buy environmentally catastrophic CFL lamps or ugly coloured non-dimmable LED's at 10x the price. "The LED's lasts at least 40.000 hours" they claim. What a sack of donkey's droppings that statement! I've replaced as many "long lasting" LED bulbs as I've replaced halogen and incandecent bulbs. Sad

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12-31-2018, 11:49 PM (This post was last modified: 12-31-2018 11:49 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #17
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 10:13 PM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  If my $1000 TV were to break, I'd want to get it fixed, but if my $59 DVD player or my $59 camera stop working, I'm just going to replace them. Why would manufacturers go out of their way to make devices like that easy to repair?

This is a good point.
Also maybe I am lucky but some of my systems post 2000 last quite a bit. I think that some things are produced economically and cannot really last while others are almost immortal.

CPUs/integrated circuits are simply immortal. Yes PCBs may fail, but I rarely saw a CPU - used within the designed specifications, no overclocking - dying.

Old monitors still work. My ebook readers from 2010 still work.

I mean for me:
a) I would see it differently if the design something to last "at least" as much as the warranty period rather than to last "close enough" to the warranty period.
b) In any case I would be amazed, as to dimension components to break at a certain point I think it is not easy. Having firmware commands is something different than having mechanical failures.
c) In relation to (a). I think that the obsolescence is more media induced or based by saving money. As designing components that lasts "around 2 years" should be more expensive than simply taking away quality out of a product.

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01-01-2019, 12:17 AM
Post: #18
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 11:45 PM)DA74254 Wrote:  The ones who has *not* learned the business are the light bulb mafia. They banned (at least in Europe) incandecent bulbs and everyone is now forced to buy environmentally catastrophic CFL lamps or ugly coloured non-dimmable LED's at 10x the price. "The LED's lasts at least 40.000 hours" they claim. What a sack of donkey's droppings that statement! I've replaced as many "long lasting" LED bulbs as I've replaced halogen and incandecent bulbs. Sad

I bought a box of eight no-name CFLs about a decade ago, at $1 per bulb. I phased them in by replacing my incandescents as they died. I went from replacing a couple of incandescents a year to replacing a CFL every few years. I'm spending less on bulbs and on electricity, and enjoy the convenience of not having to replace bulbs as often.

I guess I'll switch to LED once I use up those CFLs, but given how long they've lasted so far, that could be another decade from now...
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01-01-2019, 12:20 AM
Post: #19
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(12-31-2018 11:49 PM)pier4r Wrote:  CPUs/integrated circuits are simply immortal. Yes PCBs may fail, but I rarely saw a CPU - used within the designed specifications, no overclocking - dying.
Well, what do you think dies in LED bulbs? The LED itself still works in my dead and replaced lamps, it's the controller IC that burns to char. (I've removed the LED from the PCB and tested them).
If you've never seen CPU's failing, it's a pity I did not take pictures of my unoverclocked Fujitsu-Siemens PC CPU. It failed; it even had a hole in it.. My Samsung 9 series laptop CPU died just short of three years usage. So there's that. (Bonus question, which TV series is that last quote from?) Wink

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01-01-2019, 12:31 AM
Post: #20
RE: Planned Obsolescence is your fault
(01-01-2019 12:17 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  I bought a box of eight no-name CFLs about a decade ago, at $1 per bulb.
That's certainly not European prices. Cheapest I found in Norway is abt US$5,- each and they last almost three days. And the two full days they last, they take abt 3 3/4 hours to get the full light capacity if temp is below 10°C. Wink
In Latvia, the cheapest ones is €1,99. I admit, they last at least a couple of years, but their light intensity dims severly during use. The ones I have outside takes abt 5 mins to reach full light in 0°C and won't even light up at -30°C, which we frequently get in the winter.

As for the references to both Norway and Latvia; I'm Norwegian but moved to Latvia some 8 years ago. Though still work for a Norwegian company as a ships engineer.

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