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Author Topic: Products designed to fail, a documentary  (Read 14470 times)
Gothi[c]
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« on: November 01, 2011, 07:29:40 PM »

In case you need yet another thing to piss you off in this world,
Here's an interesting documentary I found that confirms what I always suspected: how nowadays products are designed to fail from the start...

http://documentaryheaven....the-lightbulb-conspiracy/

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o</a>
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 07:30:57 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 08:56:05 PM »

Not sure if it's that one or another one similar, but I've seen one of them before -- excellent video(s). smiley

It goes across so many industries as well.

e.g. I have clothes that are 20+ years old and still very good. I still wear them. I also have clothes that are a year old and they're dying. ;-(

Edit: I think that's the one I saw.  Thmbsup A VERY worthwhile watch!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 09:01:59 PM by Renegade » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 10:24:04 PM »

I only watched the start of this doco up to the point when the soft voice of the women speaking over it said, as though announcing something incredible and new:
Quote
"Planned obsolescence - the secret mechanism at the heart of our consumer society."

The opening credits didn't say when the film was made, but it would presumably be within the last few years if it is now on YouTube.
I have to say that I am surprised at such apparent naiveté in a film-maker and it makes me suspect a potentially deliberate attempt to mislead on their part.

Recommended reading for me in my studies in the early '70s was an excellent book: Vance Packard's book The Waste Makers

Quote
Description of the book on Amazon for Vance Packard's book The Waste Makers

An exposé of "the systematic attempt of business to make us wasteful, debt-ridden, permanently discontented individuals," The Waste Makers is Vance Packard's pioneering 1960 work on how the rapid growth of disposable consumer goods was degrading the environmental, financial, and spiritual character of American society.

The Waste Makers was the first book to probe the increasing commercialization of American life—the development of consumption for consumption's sake. Packard outlines the ways manufacturers and advertisers persuade consumers to buy things they don't need and didn't know they wanted, including the two-of-a-kind of everything syndrome—"two refrigerators in every home"—and appeals to purchase something because it is more expensive, or because it is painted in a new color. The book also brought attention to the concept of planned obsolescence, in which a "death date" is built into products so that they wear out quickly and need to be replaced. By manipulating the public into mindless consumerism, Packard believed that business was making us "more wasteful, imprudent, and carefree in our consuming habits," which was using up our natural resources at an alarming rate.

A prescient book that predicted the rise of American consumer culture, this all new edition of The Waste Makers features an introduction by best-selling author Bill McKibben.

Vance Packard (1914-1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and best-selling author. Among his other books were The Hidden Persuaders, about how advertisers use psychological methods to get people to buy the products they sell; The Status Seekers, which describes American social stratification and behavior; and The Naked Society, about the threats to privacy posed by new technologies.

What Packard described was and apparently still is an accepted result of Western civilisation creating the concept of a Corporation to produce goods for consumers to consume. If you search the DC Forum for references to the film The Corporation, and the terms "psychopath" and "legal person", then you should be able to find more material about this and it will save me the trouble of duplicating it in this comment.

I should add that most Corporations seem to try to operate within the law most of the time, and that includes some degree of consumer protection within the duration of a product's consumer warranty/guarantee. These warranties are usually something to the effect that the product is guaranteed to be free of defect and, if it fails, then it will be replaced/repaired at no cost for a period of 12 months from date of purchase.

From experience, built-in product obsolescence tends to kick in within 18 months to 3 years for most computer-related products, and often is cunningly designed into a slow electro-chemical breakdown within the capacitors in the circuitry. When they fail, there can "unfortunately" be resulting damage to other associated components. I read somewhere that a firm in Singapore (I forget it's name) was reputedly highly proficient in supplying capacitors that fail like clockwork in a planned/timed obsolescence, and they supply the major computer hardware manufacturers.

The exception to this obsolescence is typically when the manufacturer has - presumably by mistake - produced something that is effectively "built like a truck" and likely to have a useful working life of 100+ years - like my trusty HP ScanJet 3400C scanner, for example.
In the latter example, HP deliberately and without warning forced the product's progressive obsolescence.
They did this by removing support for the drivers in XP (where Microsoft instead provided a basic driver) and in Windows 7 (where Microsoft had presumably been asked by HP not to provide a basic driver, so there was nothing). Of course,  when I bought the scanner, HP omitted to tell me that they were going to use this ploy. If they had, I might have bought something else.
The scanner worked fine - or could have done - except that it just didn't have any software that could drive it was all. (I posted about this in the DC Forum a while back.)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 10:34:55 PM by IainB » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 12:10:22 AM »

I have to say that I am surprised at such apparent naiveté in a film-maker and it makes me suspect a potentially deliberate attempt to mislead on their part.

I think that's just being dramatic as the fact that it goes on is utterly beyond comprehension. I don't think that they're trying to mislead. (I don't speak or read Swedish or any of the other languages used in there though, so I could be at a disadvantage in trying to determine that.)

+1 for The Corporation. Wicked video! A must see.  Thmbsup

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IainB
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 12:13:01 AM »

In case you need yet another thing to piss you off in this world,
I forgot to thank you for reminding me how utterly pissed-off it makes me every time something I buy suffers from PO (Planned Obsolescence).    mad

A bit of a rant:
Start of rant.
In the UK in the '70s, the Consumer's Association drew public attention to the PO of the common incandescent electric lightbulb. Most lightbulbs employed a single tungsten filament strung in a small array inside the bulb. After not more than a few hundred on-and-offs, the filament could take the repeated expansion and contraction no more, and snapped, melting at the point of fracture - as it arced and overheated whilst the filament was parting. This made it "flash" as it failed. The bulb had "blown" - on the same principle as a common electric fuse.

For years, the lightbulb manufacturers had planned for this in their production schedules.
After the Consumer's Association had drawn public attention to the PO, some manufacturers belatedly started to produce coiled filaments and then coiled coil filaments, using already well-known technology, which used a coiled tungsten filament instead of a single straight filament. They could have started manufacturing these years before, but they did not until the Consumer's Association drew public attention to the PO.
The life of these bulbs was much longer due to the coil taking up the expansion/contraction as a whole, rather than it straining a single straight filament.

The UK government had pretty good consumer protection laws - e.g., to protect consumers from unscrupulous product/service suppliers. I think they eventually introduced a ban on the single filament lightbulbs as they were clearly a ripoff and wastefull, and the manufacturers were clearly not going to stop pushing the lightbulbs into the market unless they were prohibited from doing so. Why should they? The single filament bulbs were highly profitable.

The Consumer's Association in the UK was very effective in publicising this and similar cases of consumer ripoffs, and corresponding change was brought about as a direct result.

When I went to New Zealand in the '80s, it was like going back in time to the "dark ages" of consumerism in the UK. I was surprised to note that the NZ Consumer's Association seemed apathetic, utterly weak and ineffective - a complete waste of time.
A few years later, whilst on a management training course at NZ's Massey University, we were given a talk by the then CEO of the NZ Consumer's Association. In the Q&A time after his talk, I asked him why the NZ version of the Consumer's Association was not so proactive, agitative and forcing of change in consumer rights protection and regulations. I gave examples.
His reply staggered me: "Well, the NZ Consumer's Association reflects its members' needs. The character of NZ people is a lot more laid back than the British people, so we don't like to get too pushy." (OWTTE)
This explained a lot to me - it made sense - for example, the NZ Automobile Association seems to be equally apathetic and useless when compared to its UK counterpart.
In any event, the next day I cancelled my subscription to the NZ Consumer's Association and I have not renewed it since.

I have kept my eye on their magazine though, but sadly I think the NZ Consumer's Association still seems to be apathetic and a complete waste of time, and the NZ consumer protection laws (e.g., consumer advertising standards) are virtually non-existant, and what little they have lacks teeth or is otherwise ineffective - especially where the NZ Consumer's Association might have been able to claim that they had been involved.

With this as a background to ignorance, the typical NZ consumer is relatively undiscerning and remains a sucker waiting to be taken advantage of, and "Caveat emptor" is certainly still the best advice for consumer protection.
The manufacturers, producers and retailers are seemingly well aware of this, and the products in the marketplace, TV advertising, and selling methods all reflect this situation. The corporation is king and has control over production and the consumer. What few consumer protection laws exist also reflect this - even extending to statutes limiting people's employment contract rights. (Employed people are the best consumers as they have a personal disposable income and thus the propensity to consume.)

So, do not be surprised if you find, if/when you visit NZ, that the single tungsten filament bulb still dominates, and most NZ consumers wouldn't have the foggiest idea of what a"coiled coil" tungsten filament was. Only relatively recently have the low-wattage fluorescent bulbs been pushed into ("flooded" might be a better term) the marketplace - apparently at the manufacturers' behest. These bulbs are unnecessarily expensive, and - from my experience - typically have a limited life, starting to go dimmer and dimmer, so you have to replace them before they actually fail. Vance Packard was spot-on.

This sort of thing in a modern Western-type society would usually reflect the power of manufacturing lobbies in government, rather than anything accidental, and it probably could not have got that way without corruption and/or coercion being involved.
End of rant.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 12:27:58 AM »

Personal conspiracy of mine: here's an easy way to see if an electronic product you have is designed to fail:

Try using it without a battery inside it, but hooked up to a charger. If it doesn't work, it's designed not to function without a battery. Rechargeable batteries stop working in a satisfactory way after a couple years. Then you find out that the battery either isn't made any more, is overpriced, or in the case of most Apple devices, can't be replaced by the user at all. So you either go through an un-fun process in which you renew the life of your 'old' product, or you go through a 'fun' process of buying a new one.

I have an iPod Nano, about two years old. Fun fact: when it's charging, the backlight stays on. How much you want to bet the backlight runs off of the battery, even as it is charging?

In the meantime, there is no flat-pack battery standard. Nice round AA's, AAA's, but no flat-pack battery standard. And every device uses a different battery.

It is, however, impossible to complain about batteries without feeling mighty old. I better buy a new phone soon.
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 01:21:04 AM »

@doctorfrog: Spot-on.
I have worked for different computer manufacturers and been well-trained in their product marketing strategies and their software marketing strategies.
This training so far covers Control Data, IBM, ICL, DEC, digital, HP. (I think that's all.)

There are two absolute basic marketing objectives which are almost always applied:
1. Lock-in (that doesn't necessarily mean "forever", just "as long as possible").
2. Built-in obsolescence.

Because neither objective in practice is illegal - in fact, they are arguably both "rights of self-survival" for any Corporation -  they are exercised to the Nth degree.
You provided some perfect examples of both.

Whilst it is illegal for Corporations to form syndicates to do something such as, for example, establishing non-competitive agreements, or establishing retail price maintenance agreements(*1), it is not illegal for them to collaborate to sustain the two objectives above for each other, for mutual and non-competitive benefit in new and potential aftermarket sales. Laptops and their batteries are a classic example, and there is an interesting and relatively new twist in the branding of some HP laptops with the "DR Beats" logo and even for the DR Beats headphones sometimes being a compulsory and extra-cost component in the laptop package deal.

It sometimes seems like you have to think like a good corporate psychopath to be able to dream up some of these ideas. HP and their inkjet printer ink cartridge design - and cost - are a classic example of this - very clever/devious marketing. HP invented the idea of locking you into their expensive ink brand by embedding part of their proprietary inkjet printer technology in the ink cartridge. And it's quite legal.     Wink
Ink cartridge sales form a huge and profitable revenue for the HP consumable products division. That's why they almost give the printers away to the consumer market (and don't forget Objective #2 either). The principle of consumable-driven product marketing like this was, I think, originally dreamed up or developed by Gillette. It was the case study we were taught about in Marketing 101 at any rate. With razor blades, the obsolescence is managed through blades getting bunt and needing to be replaced, and by increasing the number of blades in a razor head every so often. I think we are up to 5 now, and that would seem to be near any practical limit.

Footnote *1: These things have always seemed to be made illegal by statute (e.g., antitrust legislation) after the event of several cases where large Corporations had done exactly these things in order to exploit the market and/or the consumer from the vantage of an unfair oligopoly or monopoly market position.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 01:59:02 AM by IainB » Logged
IainB
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2011, 01:36:30 AM »

I think that's just being dramatic...

No, honestly, I only intended to be scathing about the video.
Sorry, my point was probably not clear: The subject was so well-known as being a "natural bodily function" within the Capitalist system that I was astonished that anyone could refer to it as:
Quote
...the secret mechanism at the heart of our consumer society
- which seems to me to be a laughable statement.

"Secret"?! How the heck could that be a "secret"?
It seems to me that it could no more be a secret than that the characteristic of water running downhill is a secret or a "new discovery".

The film-makers would surely have known this, but were presumably deliberately fostering alarmism, to get publicity for their documentary. (I think it seemed quite well-made, by the way.)

...the fact that it goes on is utterly beyond comprehension.
Well, I'm not so sure that you could substantiate that statement at all.
For example, I find it easy to comprehend, and it is arguable that probably most people would if they had a passing sense of history for the theory and practice of the development of capitalism in western economies - especially those of us who have been alive and awake and living in those economies for most of our lives.

Failing that, would it not be easily comprehended if you had read Vince Packard's book, and especially if you had watched and understood The Corporation?
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 05:37:48 AM »

I think that's just being dramatic...

No, honestly, I only intended to be scathing about the video.
Sorry, my point was probably not clear: The subject was so well-known as being a "natural bodily function" within the Capitalist system that I was astonished that anyone could refer to it as:
Quote
...the secret mechanism at the heart of our consumer society
- which seems to me to be a laughable statement.

"Secret"?! How the heck could that be a "secret"?
It seems to me that it could no more be a secret than that the characteristic of water running downhill is a secret or a "new discovery".

The film-makers would surely have known this, but were presumably deliberately fostering alarmism, to get publicity for their documentary. (I think it seemed quite well-made, by the way.)


Meh. Not sure. It seemed to me like they were simply shocked when the found out, then trying to communicate that same sense of outrage.



...the fact that it goes on is utterly beyond comprehension.
Well, I'm not so sure that you could substantiate that statement at all.
For example, I find it easy to comprehend, and it is arguable that probably most people would if they had a passing sense of history for the theory and practice of the development of capitalism in western economies - especially those of us who have been alive and awake and living in those economies for most of our lives.

Failing that, would it not be easily comprehended if you had read Vince Packard's book, and especially if you had watched and understood The Corporation?

I think you give people to much credit.

Yeah... I've known about this for years. You've probably known about it for longer. But I don't think that most people are aware. Or rather, I don't think that anyone is *CONSCIOUSLY AWARE* of it. It's like crossing the road - you never consciously think about the possibility of getting hit, but you do know that it is a possibility. The *realization* of something you know... I think that's more what I'm talking about above there.

Like, how in Hell do we allow this to go on? It's insanity.

And these same people will try and tell me that they're "green" and "environment-friendly"? WTF? Ahem. BS. They're the worst enviro-terrorists on the planet.

My take on it is this... No. Not appropriate. Skip it.

Suffice it to say that I find it fraudulent, deceitful, malicious, and lower than drug dealers. At least with drug dealers, they are honest in their business. PO is far from that.

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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2011, 06:16:49 AM »

My take on it is this... No. Not appropriate. Skip it.

Suffice it to say that I find it fraudulent, deceitful, malicious, and lower than drug dealers. At least with drug dealers, they are honest in their business. PO is far from that.

Absolutely.
It gets me hopping mad whenever I feel that I have been ripped off.
So, to have to live in what is arguably a broken version of what could be an ideal (if we changed it) system, so that we are currently obliged to let Corporations legally rip us off whenever they want (i.e., all the time) - well, it makes me unspeakably annoyed too.

Yes:
Quote
"...fraudulent, deceitful, malicious, and lower than drug dealers. At least with drug dealers, they are honest in their business. PO is far from that."

And WE created this monster! (Ain't democracy grand?!)

Do you see anyone working to change it?
...No, I thought not.
That's because IT controls us, its creators.
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2011, 06:19:26 AM »

Don't forget, we may be aware; that is, our generation (those that have been around more than a couple of decades) may be aware because we remember when a product was designed to outlast our own life.

There are going to be an ever increasing number of people that have only known products last a couple of years or so (of course, peer pressure will make them discard many working products because they are too uncool to own beyond 2 years).

This is the new norm. It will be perfectly intuitive to the new generation(s) that products fail after two years - how can they possibly work for any longer than that - it would be beyond science. And for any of those rare few that wish to experiment and see if their iProducts will run for longer than two years, then fashion will remind them that they are weird eco warriors hanging onto devices that only poor people have to put up with.

Looking back just 30 years makes me feel like we've jumped a century forward in time. I remember when a phone was a phone and a washing machine a washing machine. They were bought and expected to remain in your possession until they crumbled to dust. Now, I'm brainwashed like everyone else and believe these products need replacing to match the latest seasons "cool" colours.

edit:
You know what, we've basically all got a bit too much money - even now in these hard times. If things were genuinely tight we'd regard our possessions more valuable and expect them to last longer. We'd demand that they last longer.

We can afford all this crap. So we keep buying it. And love it when it breaks as we can go and buy the crap all over again - and complain and brag to our peers about the new crap we've just had to buy (because the previous crap really was crap).
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 06:27:10 AM by nudone » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2011, 06:44:34 AM »

Don't forget, we may be aware; that is, our generation (those that have been around more than a couple of decades) may be aware because we remember when a product was designed to outlast our own life.

There are going to be an ever increasing number of people that have only known products last a couple of years or so (of course, peer pressure will make them discard many working products because they are too uncool to own beyond 2 years).

This is the new norm. It will be perfectly intuitive to the new generation(s) that products fail after two years - how can they possibly work for any longer than that - it would be beyond science. And for any of those rare few that wish to experiment and see if their iProducts will run for longer than two years, then fashion will remind them that they are weird eco warriors hanging onto devices that only poor people have to put up with.

Looking back just 30 years makes me feel like we've jumped a century forward in time. I remember when a phone was a phone and a washing machine a washing machine. They were bought and expected to remain in your possession until they crumbled to dust. Now, I'm brainwashed like everyone else and believe these products need replacing to match the latest seasons "cool" colours.

edit:
You know what, we've basically all got a bit too much money - even now in these hard times. If things were genuinely tight we'd regard our possessions more valuable and expect them to last longer. We'd demand that they last longer.

We can afford all this crap. So we keep buying it. And love it when it breaks as we can go and buy the crap all over again - and complain and brag to our peers about the new crap we've just had to buy (because the previous crap really was crap).

+1! - I well remember a time where taking pride in ones work meant that something was built with every intention of it outlasting their grandchildren. Now fads drive a style consciousness that makes everything unseemly if it doesn't match this season's current trendy color scheme.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2011, 06:58:27 AM »

^Nudone - I hear ya! smiley

Regarding:

If things were genuinely tight we'd regard our possessions more valuable and expect them to last longer. We'd demand that they last longer.

We've come a long way as far as wealth goes.




But I stray there... Back on track...

It's now more costly to repair things than it is to replace them. Huh? Yeah. Try to repair a 10 year old washer. Heck. You can buy a functioning 10 year old one for $50 or something stupid. Why spend $300 to have a new drum installed?


Does anyone know a SUCCESSFUL and LARGE company that behaves "decently" towards it customers, and really creates fantastic products that stand the test of time? I can't think of a single one off-hand.  Not one.

I'm soooo off-track...

Demanding durability... On track...

I think that companies would just tell you to go **** yourself. Really. They'd be polite about it, but that's what they'd do.

It makes me wonder... Are there premium markets out there that're willing to pay 5x as much for a product because it's going to last for-bloody-well-ever?



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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 07:09:38 AM »

It makes me wonder... Are there premium markets out there that're willing to pay 5x as much for a product because it's going to last for-bloody-well-ever?

Yes, but... Legal won't let them. Think about it; marketing a product that is guaranteed to last forever (hehe). And who's going to warranty that how exactly? "Forever" must be legally defined first. Kinda like car parts that are guaranteed "for-the-lifetime-of-your-car". In the US your car's lifetime is (legally) defined as 7 years ... but you will never see that little detail printed on the box. Marketing assumes that said car will get flipped right around (3-5) the same time it's paid for...or at least down to the point where the next loan won't be too far upsidedown.
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2011, 07:27:00 AM »

It makes me wonder... Are there premium markets out there that're willing to pay 5x as much for a product because it's going to last for-bloody-well-ever?

Yes, but... Legal won't let them. Think about it; marketing a product that is guaranteed to last forever (hehe). And who's going to warranty that how exactly? "Forever" must be legally defined first. Kinda like car parts that are guaranteed "for-the-lifetime-of-your-car". In the US your car's lifetime is (legally) defined as 7 years ... but you will never see that little detail printed on the box. Marketing assumes that said car will get flipped right around (3-5) the same time it's paid for...or at least down to the point where the next loan won't be too far upsidedown.

Sorry. I didn't mean that literally. I meant it in the sense of extreme durability is engineered into the product so that it lasts far beyond what current products do.

I didn't know that "lifetime" meant 7 years for a car... Sheesh...
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2011, 08:44:46 AM »

I didn't know that "lifetime" meant 7 years for a car... Sheesh...

...and so, another example of 1984's Doublespeak taking over our language. Not only will the younger generation(s) expect built-in obsolescence to be the norm, they have an accompanying language to help them think appropriately about it all.

Free = not free.
Lifetime = when you've finally paid enough to own it.
Warranty = find terms to invalidate your guarantee.

And on, and on, and on...

(edit: is it Doublespeak? It's Newspeak and Doublethink in 1984.)
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2011, 10:17:47 AM »

I didn't know that "lifetime" meant 7 years for a car... Sheesh...

...and so, another example of 1984's Doublespeak taking over our language. Not only will the younger generation(s) expect built-in obsolescence to be the norm, they have an accompanying language to help them think appropriately about it all.

Free = not free.
Lifetime = when you've finally paid enough to own it.
Warranty = find terms to invalidate your guarantee.

And on, and on, and on...

(edit: is it Doublespeak? It's Newspeak and Doublethink in 1984.)

Good point.

I forget a lot of the details, but propaganda has been refined since the 1920's or so into a very fine science.

Basically, truth is irrelevant. If you repeat a message long enough, people *WILL* accept it as truth. The in/sanity of the claim is irrelevant.

In the 1930's or 40's, Long Range Penetration Strain was developed to shape perceptions of reality in large populations. i.e. Mass propaganda.

Changing or shifting the meanings of words is a typical tactic.

Whether or not you are sickened by this, it's just a fact of life.

The question is whether you want to accept the system, or change it.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2011, 11:34:27 AM »

Having watched the film all the way through I found it illuminating (pun intended).

I hadn't realise that the lightbulb industry had intentionally produced a worldwide Cartel to reduce the life span of bulbs (being naive I just though manufacturing was really shoddy). The fact that they fined members of the Cartel huge amounts of money for producing products that were too good says it all.

Getting back to another hobby-horse the built in obsolescence of consumer products such as printers and mp3 players etc. (esp. the very expensive iPod/iPad/iPhone) really makes me boil.

I recently came across the Epson 'print counter' issue on a clients computer and found the same Russian software to reset the counter back to 0.

Its about time all these businesses were taken to task - especially given the huge amount of unsustainable landfill produced by their products. There is no real justification for having a user serviceable waste ink pad in inkjet printers - hell they could have a little refillable alcohol bottle to stop the waste of ink too!

Here's a thought - when a product fails and has to be put into landfill charge the manufacturer double the original purchase price for each item in dumping tax! That would make them think.

Don't even get me started about the 'second hand' goods con turning swathes of Africa and Asia into open sewers!
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« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2011, 08:02:32 PM »

@Carol Haynes:
Quote
...'second hand' goods con turning swathes of Africa and Asia into open sewers.

Could you explain this for me please (maybe in a PM if it is off-topic)?
I Googled the phrase and still couldn't really figure out what it was that you were intending to refer to.
(Thanks.)
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mouser
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2011, 08:48:59 PM »

im only 10 minutes in and i'm already furious.  Angry
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4wd
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2011, 09:46:40 PM »

@Carol Haynes:
Quote
...'second hand' goods con turning swathes of Africa and Asia into open sewers.

Could you explain this for me please (maybe in a PM if it is off-topic)?
I Googled the phrase and still couldn't really figure out what it was that you were intending to refer to.

I'm probably wrong but I think Carol is referring to this: How a tagged television set uncovered a deadly trade

Possibly resulting in this: Govt to Ban Importation of Used Fridges, TV Sets
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 10:20:38 PM by 4wd » Logged

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IainB
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2011, 10:38:01 PM »

@4wd: Many thanks for the links.
I was ignorant of this trade (technology equipment dumping) by 1st world economies onto 3rd world economies.
The is almost as obscene as the plastic bottled water scam industry.
Absolutely classic Corporate psychopath behaviour though - an externalised and huge environmental footprint left for society to pay for the cleanup costs. Massive potential harm to an unsuspectingly naive and ignorant public who are impoverished and in no position to protect themselves anyway.
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4wd
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2011, 10:58:09 PM »

If you want to watch the program, grab your favourite VPN software, (eg. TunnelBear), set it to put you in the UK and go here: Panorama - 16th May - Track My Trash

Here's a thought - when a product fails and has to be put into landfill charge the manufacturer double the original purchase price for each item in dumping tax! That would make them think.

It wouldn't change them, any increased cost would just be added to the purchase price for the consumer.

I'm in agreement with nudone here, (at least I think I am), the problem is today's got to have it now! throw away consumer society.  Who these days is going to wait for a component level repair for an intermittent fault when you can go down the road, buy another electronic gizmo that probably now does more for a lower purchase price, (and most likely well below repair cost), and can toss the old piece of hardware for nothing?

The way I see it is, if you want to change the manufacturer, change the consumer.  Hit the consumer with the dumping cost and at such a rate that repair seems worthwhile.  Perhaps when the manufacturers see that consumers are more willing to repair than to replace they'll make their equipment repairperson friendly.  Reduced landfill and the manufacturers still make money off of spare parts/boards.

Of course, they'll then start doing the inkjet scam business model - yes, the printer is only $50 but the ink cartridges are $40 each.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 12:54:16 AM by 4wd » Logged

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app103
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« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2011, 02:07:30 AM »

From a post I made on Friendfeed over a year ago:

Quote
This is why "they don't make them like they used to"...



There is a slider bar that goes from "lasts forever" to "breaks immediately" and companies try to find that sweet spot that is as close to "breaks immediately" as they can get away with. Both extreme ends will put you out of business. If your product lasts forever, then once everyone has bought one, since they never need to replace it, you have no more customers unless you invest money in R&D to come out with something better with more features. If your product breaks immediately, then it is percieved as complete crap, and nobody wants it. If you find the sweet spot, you make more profit by keeping the production expenses down, you won't need to spend as much on R&D as often to force repeat buying, and lasting just long enough to keep people happy, so they are willing to buy another when theirs breaks, even though the new will be exactly the same as the old (unless the company has moved just a tad closer to the "breaks immediately" end of the bar, which all companies do as time goes on). This is why all that old stuff in Grandma's house, made by companies that don't even exist any more, still works, but you have piles of broken stuff made by some of the most profitable companies in the world, which you bought within the last 5 years.
http://friendfeed.com/app...-t-make-them-like-used-to
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« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2011, 05:21:13 AM »

I know that it's immoral, but I would actually prefer some of my stuff to break early in order to justify buying a newer, better version of it. I really think more companies should start to offer trade-in programs for their products. But they should also be forced to recycle stuff correctly, and be forced to build their products in such a way that as much of the used materials can be recycled.
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