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View Full Version : Consumers lose once again



B. de Corbin
18 Jun 2016, 04:33
I would so like to see legislation such as this passed - planned obsolescence and the short shelf life of expensive tech is very nasty:


Big Tech Squashes New York’s ‘Right To Repair’ Bill (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/right-to-repair-new-york_us_57641b5ce4b0853f8bf097fc?section=)

Hawkfeathers
18 Jun 2016, 05:08
Planned obsolescence is furthered along by the constant introduction of "new & improved" stuff, too. Sometimes all the new bells & whistles are just more junky things designed to break down, but everybody wants them.

B. de Corbin
18 Jun 2016, 05:42
Planned obsolescence is furthered along by the constant introduction of "new & improved" stuff, too. Sometimes all the new bells & whistles are just more junky things designed to break down, but everybody wants them.

oh yeah...

I wish it were still possible to buy a stripped-down car.

MaskedOne
18 Jun 2016, 05:52
Apple is involved. Historically, Apple doesn't like people not named Apple tinkering with their stuff. This is the same company that wanted jailbreaking an iphone to be illegal. I can't speak for the others but ludicrous arguments in pursuit of absolute control over its tech is par for the course with Apple.

DanieMarie
18 Jun 2016, 10:53
Apple thinks its products don't contribute to an e-waste problem? Oh really? Then why are there a gajillion iPhone 4s (and earlier) floating around that you can barely even donate because no one wants them and because Apple won't update the software for those models? At the very least they could let you update iOS on all iPhone models so that newer apps will run on them. Apple would probably say it has something to do with RAM and processors, but they're not that different between the older models they don't update and the ones they do. They just want you to toss your iPhone and buy a new one, and that's not cool.

DragonsFriend
18 Jun 2016, 11:19
There is no reason you can't do whatever you want with your old I-phone, coffee maker or car. There is also no reason for the manufacturer to provide copyrighted materials or patented information to help you. You own the device and they own the copyrights, patents and trademarked goods. You can do anything you want - except require them to help.

Hawkfeathers
18 Jun 2016, 11:30
There is no reason you can't do whatever you want with your old I-phone, coffee maker or car. There is also no reason for the manufacturer to provide copyrighted materials or patented information to help you. You own the device and they own the copyrights, patents and trademarked goods. You can do anything you want - except require them to help.

There comes a time with some things when you can't get parts anymore, or the cost of them is ridiculously close to the price of a new item.

B. de Corbin
18 Jun 2016, 13:25
Apple thinks its products don't contribute to an e-waste problem? Oh really? Then why are there a gajillion iPhone 4s (and earlier) floating around that you can barely even donate because no one wants them and because Apple won't update the software for those models? At the very least they could let you update iOS on all iPhone models so that newer apps will run on them. Apple would probably say it has something to do with RAM and processors, but they're not that different between the older models they don't update and the ones they do. They just want you to toss your iPhone and buy a new one, and that's not cool.

From what I've read they will become even harder to repair because glue is being used on the new models, instead of screws or clips.

I would like to see tech be created so that it can be mechanically upgraded instead of being replaced.

DragonsFriend
19 Jun 2016, 11:01
Well, I have cut apart the molded transformers that power printers and such to repair them. A bad diode or fuse to replace and then glue it back together. I have one that is still working after a few years. The first one that I repaired was the power supply for my first computer - a TRS-80 purchased in 1972. It had three power supplies - one for each of the component parts. I had to make the same repair to each as they failed.
As far as the software is concerned, if you know how to write it (or learn how) you can write the apps yourself or even replace the OS with another.

If a new item costs less than a repair then why repair it?

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What I don't understand is why any company should be required to provide help to an end user to repair their products. The folks who make your coffee makers don't - the folks who make your shoes and clothing don't - the folks who make your cars don't (at least not for free) so why should your phone or computer manufacturers have to?

If you can spot a bad component in a circuit or identify a chip you can get enough information to do most anything with any product. My advice is to educate yourself.

thalassa
19 Jun 2016, 11:17
What I don't understand is why any company should be required to provide help to an end user to repair their products. The folks who make your coffee makers don't - the folks who make your shoes and clothing don't - the folks who make your cars don't (at least not for free) so why should your phone or computer manufacturers have to?



Because companies have been making things for too long without regard to what happens to the junk they make monstrous profits off of for too long. E-waste, plastics, and metals are a huge waste stream problem. If your company purposely makes things to break so that consumers have to buy new ones every 6-12 months, then yeah, your company either a) needs to be held responsible for the disposal of said product--whether it's a coffee maker or a phone or b) should be responsible for providing a way for consumers to update those products that are updatable. Throwing things away is a luxury we aren't going to have forever, municipalities can't afford to have large-scale programs to handle it, and most consumers don't have the resources or abilities to handle it themselves.

If you make it, you take responsibility for it at the end of its life cycle.

DanieMarie
19 Jun 2016, 12:27
Because companies have been making things for too long without regard to what happens to the junk they make monstrous profits off of for too long. E-waste, plastics, and metals are a huge waste stream problem. If your company purposely makes things to break so that consumers have to buy new ones every 6-12 months, then yeah, your company either a) needs to be held responsible for the disposal of said product--whether it's a coffee maker or a phone or b) should be responsible for providing a way for consumers to update those products that are updatable. Throwing things away is a luxury we aren't going to have forever, municipalities can't afford to have large-scale programs to handle it, and most consumers don't have the resources or abilities to handle it themselves.

If you make it, you take responsibility for it at the end of its life cycle.

This.

Also, it's funny that DragonsFriend brought up clothing, because clothing waste is a huge problem for a lot of municipalities, and it needs to get addressed soon. In addition, a lot of the processes used to create and dye textiles is really damaging to the environment, which is never priced into the cost of a 2 for $10 tank top that falls apart after a few washes.

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From what I've read they will become even harder to repair because glue is being used on the new models, instead of screws or clips.

I would like to see tech be created so that it can be mechanically upgraded instead of being replaced.

I'm all for modular tech. I like being able to replace and upgrade specific parts as I need to.

thalassa
19 Jun 2016, 13:55
This.

Also, it's funny that DragonsFriend brought up clothing, because clothing waste is a huge problem for a lot of municipalities, and it needs to get addressed soon. In addition, a lot of the processes used to create and dye textiles is really damaging to the environment, which is never priced into the cost of a 2 for $10 tank top that falls apart after a few washes.

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.


Not to mention that washing synthetic fabrics (http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/27/toxic-plastic-synthetic-microscopic-oceans-microbeads-microfibers-food-chain) are a huge problem when it comes to microplastics and water treatment...but, as usual, companies don't want to take responsibility for their products.

Another problem is manufacturing chemicals--chemicals invented and made for industrial processes that are never tested toxicologically before use for its affects on workers or the environment or into the waste stream.

The thought, of course, is that if you don't know, you can't be held accountable until someone else does the work of testing and research.

DanieMarie
19 Jun 2016, 23:50
Not to mention that washing synthetic fabrics (http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/27/toxic-plastic-synthetic-microscopic-oceans-microbeads-microfibers-food-chain) are a huge problem when it comes to microplastics and water treatment...but, as usual, companies don't want to take responsibility for their products.

Another problem is manufacturing chemicals--chemicals invented and made for industrial processes that are never tested toxicologically before use for its affects on workers or the environment or into the waste stream.

The thought, of course, is that if you don't know, you can't be held accountable until someone else does the work of testing and research.

Exactly.

It's a problem in a lot of industries, including tech, textiles, agriculture, and home accessories. A lot of the products on the shelves right now are cheap in order to be competitive, but they do not cover the costs of the damage they cause. In reality, most things should be more expensive, which in itself fosters a "repair" mentality, as no one wants to spend thousands on a new TV or hundreds for a Blu-ray player that is going to break after a few years and can't be repaired. If you spend that kind of money and you're an average person, you're making an investment in that product for a longer period of time.

DragonsFriend
20 Jun 2016, 07:37
Exactly.

It's a problem in a lot of industries, including tech, textiles, agriculture, and home accessories. A lot of the products on the shelves right now are cheap in order to be competitive, but they do not cover the costs of the damage they cause. In reality, most things should be more expensive, which in itself fosters a "repair" mentality, as no one wants to spend thousands on a new TV or hundreds for a Blu-ray player that is going to break after a few years and can't be repaired. If you spend that kind of money and you're an average person, you're making an investment in that product for a longer period of time.

If you are aware of such practices or others then it is your responsibility not to buy the product. That's the way free enterprise works. The manufacturers who produce the best product at the best price gets to stay in business. If you support manufacturers who produce crap or use methods you don't approve of then you are the one creating the problem.

Hawkfeathers
20 Jun 2016, 07:45
If you are aware of such practices or others then it is your responsibility not to buy the product. That's the way free enterprise works. The manufacturers who produce the best product at the best price gets to stay in business. If you support manufacturers who produce crap or use methods you don't approve of then you are the one creating the problem.

You don't know, going in, for the most part. Now, with textiles, there's also a big producer of waste called the fashion industry, prompting people to dress differently every year whether their clothing has worn out or not. As far as other things, you just don't know. I had a desktop pc crap out after 3 years and another one was still chugging along after 13. Same brand.

I have dishes, cookware, silverware, etc. that's probably older than a lot of the members of this forum and it's held up great - that was pretty much luck. I've heard that newer Pyrex can shatter going from hot to cold. A lot of products were changed at the formulaic level a few decades ago due to environmental controls placed on the manufacturing process, and this made a shorter-lived product.

MaskedOne
20 Jun 2016, 08:03
If you make it, you take responsibility for it at the end of its life cycle.

There is actually a potential backlash that I have issues with here. If say...

Apple (chosen entirely at random, really, truly.... yeah, I'm lying)

Is responsible for the product after <insert random entity> buys it (beyond certain warranty requirments) then they get a new legal theory to try and impose regulations on <insert random entity's> use of the product. Now this may not bother me (not a fan of apple) but <insert random entity> might subscribe to the old fashioned idea that if they purchase a physical product then said product belongs to them...

Also, yes, this issue can be pre-empted somewhat with careful legal phrasing but trust in legislature isn't my strong suit.

thalassa
20 Jun 2016, 08:26
You don't know, going in, for the most part.

Plus, there's often no alternative.

DanieMarie
20 Jun 2016, 09:24
If you are aware of such practices or others then it is your responsibility not to buy the product. That's the way free enterprise works. The manufacturers who produce the best product at the best price gets to stay in business. If you support manufacturers who produce crap or use methods you don't approve of then you are the one creating the problem.

I don't. But I do a LOT of research into the things I buy. A lot of people lack the time, know-how, and resources to do the kind of research I do to find out things about the purchases I make. It's not always clearly labelled or public information. Often, it involves delving deep into investigative journalism, academic research, and other stuff along those lines.

The market does not correct itself. The 19th century proved that. Companies should have a responsibility to price fair labour and the environmental impact of production into their goods, or better yet, engage in sustainable practices. They should also publish *correct* information about the impact that their production has on ecosystems, workers, and communities (I say "correct" because a lot of companies do publish glossy PR on this stuff, and it is *not* correct). However, a lot of companies will not do this out of their own free will, which is where regulations come in. There has to be some kind of line that should not be crossed that keeps us from ruining the world. At the moment, that bar isn't high enough, because we *are* ruining the world.

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You don't know, going in, for the most part. Now, with textiles, there's also a big producer of waste called the fashion industry, prompting people to dress differently every year whether their clothing has worn out or not.

The worst part is, it's a total sham. If you take a look at runways, fashion magazines and street style from the past couple of decades, it becomes pretty clear that there are absolutely no real trends anymore. You can wear whatever you want, as long as you hold your head high. Take the 70s for example. The 70s have been "back" three times in my relatively short lifetime, and the 70s wasn't even that long ago. And if you wore 70s style during the times it wasn't "back," you could always just say it was "vintage." Fashion decided that we should change styles every 6 months, then every 3 months, and that pretty much made the whole idea of trends implode on itself.

thalassa
20 Jun 2016, 09:45
There is actually a potential backlash that I have issues with here. If say...

Apple (chosen entirely at random, really, truly.... yeah, I'm lying)

Is responsible for the product after <insert random entity> buys it (beyond certain warranty requirments) then they get a new legal theory to try and impose regulations on <insert random entity's> use of the product. Now this may not bother me (not a fan of apple) but <insert random entity> might subscribe to the old fashioned idea that if they purchase a physical product then said product belongs to them...

Also, yes, this issue can be pre-empted somewhat with careful legal phrasing but trust in legislature isn't my strong suit.


Its not that difficult--Require companies (in this case, electronics companies) to offer consumer-based recycling for their products. When I'm done with my phone or my computer or my ipod, whatever, I should be able to take it back to where I got it from and they take it off my hands to dispose of it in a way that is a minimum burden of the environment. Good companies already do this anyhow.

Hawkfeathers
20 Jun 2016, 10:02
I don't. But I do a LOT of research into the things I buy. A lot of people lack the time, know-how, and resources to do the kind of research I do to find out things about the purchases I make. It's not always clearly labelled or public information. Often, it involves delving deep into investigative journalism, academic research, and other stuff along those lines.

The market does not correct itself. The 19th century proved that. Companies should have a responsibility to price fair labour and the environmental impact of production into their goods, or better yet, engage in sustainable practices. They should also publish *correct* information about the impact that their production has on ecosystems, workers, and communities (I say "correct" because a lot of companies do publish glossy PR on this stuff, and it is *not* correct). However, a lot of companies will not do this out of their own free will, which is where regulations come in. There has to be some kind of line that should not be crossed that keeps us from ruining the world. At the moment, that bar isn't high enough, because we *are* ruining the world.

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The worst part is, it's a total sham. If you take a look at runways, fashion magazines and street style from the past couple of decades, it becomes pretty clear that there are absolutely no real trends anymore. You can wear whatever you want, as long as you hold your head high. Take the 70s for example. The 70s have been "back" three times in my relatively short lifetime, and the 70s wasn't even that long ago. And if you wore 70s style during the times it wasn't "back," you could always just say it was "vintage." Fashion decided that we should change styles every 6 months, then every 3 months, and that pretty much made the whole idea of trends implode on itself.

I agree - I recently saw an interview with a DJ from New York where he pointed out that 1967 was a huge year in music, and produced a revolution, and we haven't had it since. He said, we have classic rock stations now playing late 60's, 70's, and some 80's music. Can you imagine a station 30 years from now playing "classic 2015"? No. Today's stuff is all throwaway and remakes and nothing new under the sun. I think fashion's done kind of the same thing. We're in a long stage right now of just milling around waiting for something to actually happen. So meanwhile, people buy brand-specific instead of style-specific, and you'll see high schoolers all wearing one brand of shoes, etc. They really look the same as any other, but there's that desire to be in fashion, and therefore the constant churning of new items and wastefulness, without any real change accompanying it.

Planned obsolescence does create jobs, and this is part of the issue. At one time when no one had a refrigerator/tv/you-name-it in their home, manufacturing/selling/designing/delivering them was huge business. Then everybody had one, and they were made to last 30 years, so where'd all those jobs go? They start promoting "new & improved" items so people will upgrade. It's all a very vicious circle.

thalassa
20 Jun 2016, 12:05
At one time when no one had a refrigerator/tv/you-name-it in their home, manufacturing/selling/designing/delivering them was huge business. Then everybody had one, and they were made to last 30 years, so where'd all those jobs go? They start promoting "new & improved" items so people will upgrade. It's all a very vicious circle.


They sure as heck didn't start inventing flying cars and Rosies.

Azvanna
20 Jun 2016, 14:47
Its not that difficult--Require companies (in this case, electronics companies) to offer consumer-based recycling for their products. When I'm done with my phone or my computer or my ipod, whatever, I should be able to take it back to where I got it from and they take it off my hands to dispose of it in a way that is a minimum burden of the environment. Good companies already do this anyhow.

I was thinking of writing to my MP to lobby government for a regulation like this. The problem with microbeads in beauty products made it abundantly clear to me there's no responsibility on anyone to follow the lifecycle of their product through to the end. What if all new products introduced to the market had to supply a third party report on how the waste from their product after consumption would impact the environment?

DragonsFriend
21 Jun 2016, 09:22
There are places to recycle electronics every place I have lived. Even the small town in the middle of farming country close to where I now live has electronics recycling centers. These are run as private businesses for a profit. There are reusable components, silver, gold, and platinum in just about every device and the people who are recycling these devices are making a profit. If you force the manufacturers to do it you take the income away from the private businesses that are doing it now.

thalassa
21 Jun 2016, 11:11
If you force the manufacturers to do it you take the income away from the private businesses that are doing it now.


Most manufacturers would contract it out. Private companies would probably get more business...but not the type they necessarily want. Phones and tablets aren't as cost effective unless you can turn them over at a high volume (http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8z18c5h6)...and the precious metal volume of phones (and other electronics) has been decreasing over time, which decreases the profit (a very interesting read) (http://www.bren.ucsb.edu/research/documents/cellphonethesis.pdf)

Most places I've lived have never been interested in the little stuff (which is why this stuff gets sent to China and done without workplace or environmental protection and causes huge pollution and worker illness problems) because there's not enough money to be made off of it. The municipal recycling center will take my fridge and my TV because they have to, the private sketchy joint will take my car and my copper pipes from a plumbing project because they can turn a profit. And that's about it.



Because this is the reality of e-waste:


If you're like some 80% of Americans, you'll simply toss your obsolete gizmos into the trash. After all, that Jurassic 15-in. (38 cm) computer monitor doesn't look as though it's packing up to 7 lb. (3 kg) of lead. Every day Americans throw out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers, making electronic waste the fastest-growing part of the U.S. garbage stream. Improperly disposed of, the lead, mercury and other toxic materials inside e-waste can leak from landfills.

If you're part of the 20% trying to do the right thing by recycling your e-waste, there's something else to worry about. Old phones and computers can be dismantled to get at the useful metals inside, but doing so safely is time-consuming. Thus, many electronics recyclers ship American e-waste abroad, where it is stripped and burned with little concern for environmental or human health. And authorities rarely stop the export of potentially hazardous e-waste. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that refused to ratify the 19-year-old Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to regulate the export of hazardous waste to developing nations.
source (http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1870485,00.html)

thalassa
21 Jun 2016, 11:27
Its not that difficult--Require companies (in this case, electronics companies) to offer consumer-based recycling for their products. When I'm done with my phone or my computer or my ipod, whatever, I should be able to take it back to where I got it from and they take it off my hands to dispose of it in a way that is a minimum burden of the environment. Good companies already do this anyhow.



Here in the US, Best Buy, Dell, Staples, LG, Samsung, Sprint, Sony, and Panasonic have recycling programs for their TVs, PCs, and mobile devices.

DanieMarie
21 Jun 2016, 12:08
Here in Germany, cities are responsible for recycling electronics. So basically, companies get to pass on the cost of that to the state (which is really fresh, considering that most larger companies shirk on their taxes through Luxembourg or somewhere similar). And even for the few that do recycle their own electronics, the manufacturing processes are so damaging that the cost of those goods don't even come close to covering the damage they do (for example: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth). If we consumed those products at a slower rate and repaired and repurposed existing products more often, the waste from manufacturing new products would probably be manageable. As it is, nope.

Hawkfeathers
21 Jun 2016, 12:39
Where I lived in NJ, the town had 1 day a year when you could bring old computers & peripherals to the recycling dep't. I don't know what the deal is here. Lots of people who live out in the country just dump stuff on their own land and leave it forever.