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Last post Author Topic: Products designed to fail, a documentary  (Read 24254 times)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Products designed to fail, a documentary
« Reply #75 on: February 15, 2012, 07:46:52 AM »

Hmm. I've been fairly lucky I guess not to have been burned too badly by this stuff. My home computer (which was custom built by a friend) is going on six years old, and in the computer world, 8 years is about the limit to ask of a comp before simple progress catches up with it.

IainB

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Re: Products designed to fail, a documentary
« Reply #76 on: February 15, 2012, 05:56:43 PM »
Yes, you probably have been lucky. This sort of cynically venal practice seems to have been going on in computer technology for years.
I think my first experience of a deliberately crippled product was back in the mid-'70s, when I was programming on a DEC PDP 15/30 (I think it was that model).
We needed to push through our production runs faster as there was a backlog of work building up, so the Ops. manager ordered a hardware system upgrade for about UKP2,000 that doubled the CPU cycle speed.

A DEC engineer arrived and went into the computer room, followed by the Ops manager. The latter watched as the engineer took a screwdriver out from his pocket and turned a screw (rheostat) in the CPU block, then returned the screwdriver to his pocket. That was the "hardware system upgrade".

If the Ops manager had done that for himself, it would have breached the contract and/or maintenance agreement with DEC and we'd have been in a ton of legal trouble.