Experience has taught me - sure, you might have to replace something that breaks several times that one long lasting one will be cheaper in the long run. However, technology moves so fast that if it is ease to fix you can a) fix it quickly, b) often can fix it cheaply, and c) fix it with a superior product featureset. How many of you still have and use your old zip drives? They sure do last, but no one reall uses them anymore, and can you even find drivers for them in Vista/Win7?
For 4a, I believe "fix" really means "replace" in most circumstances. Got an iPod? Battery die? Oh... Just replace the iPod...
I probably should have expanded on that a bit.
In the context it was given to me in, we we discussing the issue of maintenance. So I'll try rephrasing it so that my buddy Randy's point is a little clearer: It's ok to buy cheap or inexpensive as long as it's easy and cheap to fix
. If it isn't, you're better off spending more money up front for something that's not likely to break to begin with
There's been some debate about the necessity of considering things like this. Especially since much of the tech we use has been engineered with a high degree of obsolescence in mind. And also because most modern techniques for electronic assembly makes many devices virtually unrepairable.
But I think it's important to at least be aware of what inexpensive tech products really cost us. Because there's lots of things on a circuit board you really don't want (or can afford to have) sitting in landfills for the next century or so. A growing tidal wave of obsolete electronics has already started flooding our landfills. And most local recycling centers aren't geared up to handle this type of industrial waste. Consequently, many municipalities are enacting laws that prohibit just dumping electronics in the trash. And many are now charging a fee to pass such waste on to places that can recycle, detoxify, and dispose of electronics safely. (Which has the unintended consequence of encouraging illegal dumping - but that's a topic for another day.)
So it's important to remember that a lot of our technology becomes obsolete (and gets trashed) because it was deliberately designed
to be "junked." This is the strategy of manufacturers who are out to make some easy money for their bottom line. They get the customer to not look too closely at what this practice really costs society as a whole by passing a small
portion of the savings in manufactured cost over to the customer - as a bribe
Machiavelli suggested that anytime something was going on that didn't make sense, you could get to the bottom of it by "following the money" to see who profited by it. Manufacturers make money in three ways. First, by the overall number of units sold. Second, by the margin of profit on each item. Third, by the avoidance of rework or re-manufacturing expenses whenever possible.
Building relatively inexpensive devices, which are designed to be thrown out every three years, is a good way to get an optimal yield out of the above three criteria. But only at the hidden expense of downstream waste - which the manufacturer is not held responsible for.
So next time you factor "avoiding obsolescence" into a purchase decision, as yourself the question: Why is there so much obsolescence?
And also ask who's
recommendations you're following as a way to deal with obsolescence.
Follow the money and you'll soon discover half of what you've been taught to believe is marketing hype and industry propaganda.
Regarding 4b, does "last" mean more than 6 months, or as long as the warranty + 1 day?
I think it currently means from when the credit card transaction first clears until the 'charge-back' period expires.