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Author Topic: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To  (Read 4188 times)

Renegade

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Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« on: April 23, 2015, 10:15:13 AM »
This article is an interesting jump point on how things are breaking sooner.

http://ifixit.org/bl...lanned-obsolescence/

Quote

You aren’t imagining it. Turns out, your stuff really is breaking down more quickly than before. A recent study by a European environmental agency just confirmed it: the lifespan of your electronic goods is—indeed—shrinking.

More at the link.

Report summary is here:

http://www.oeko.de/e...-check-obsolescence/

The report itself is only in German though. :(

Lightbulbs anyone?
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tomos

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 05:14:49 PM »
^ no lightbulbs here @ 106 pages long :D

Even skimming it for graphics is hard work ;-)
interesting though:

  • sold in 2011 in Germany - Gold in:   monitors=1,645 kilos; laptops=740;   smartphones=240
  • sold in 2011 in Germany - Silver in: monitors=6,090 kilos; laptops=3,100; smartphones=2,350

and the font (Times New Roman?) and paragraph formatting, they're certainly not easy to read on screen...

_________________


Is (one) part of the problem that people tend to want to get stuff as cheaply as possible?
I believe that that's the reason that after-sales service is suffering, at any rate.

I know I fit in that bracket - I want something, and I want it cheap. But you get burned that way - poor quality products that dont last long and you got to spend again.
And I do also want good quality - I check reviews and look at amazon etc customer reviews (in particular the one to three star ones) - mind you most of those are not about long-term performance.
Tom

ewemoa

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2015, 12:46:32 AM »
Noted the following via the ifixit link:

  http://www.eesc.euro...press-releases.29603

Quote
For the first time, an EU institution is looking into the positive aspects of a total ban on planned obsolescence: more jobs, better consumer protection and a boost to sustainable development. The EESC has today issued an opinion on product lifetimes and consumer information to combat the business strategy of obsolescence.

October 2013...

superboyac

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2015, 01:29:54 AM »
Very interesting, and obviously a controversial topic.

I'm always curious about this subject, and fascinated by it.  It's clear that the stuff made a few decades ago in general were more robust...you can tell just by handling them and feeling the weight of the metal and wood, etc.  And there's this argument that that kind of heft is way overkill.  On the other hand, things will break more easily.
But then the other extreme is building stuff like phones that are actually planned to start breaking down after a set number of years.  And that can be done with an OS upgrade, etc.  Now that is a little more fishy.

An interesting personal example...
I grew up on the transformers toys.  The big "nostalgia" about them were that they were made of die cast metal, and all of us grown kids now reminisce on that aspect, and how well made they were, etc.  Now, in the past decade, with the new movies, a lot of these toys have been reissued or recreated and marketed to us grownups who were kids at the time (aka adult toys).  They are not made of metal, but they are actually better toys than the original ones.  They are more poseable, better looking, more accurate to the cartoons.  but less metal.  At first I thought I'd hate it, but I like them more!  And most of the fanbase does as well.  So it's an example of something about myself I would have never predicted.  Before this, i was die hard about the metal.  Will they last as long?  Possibly, but not if they are dropped or something.  i don't know.  I find myself changing my mind a lot about this sort of thing now.

Deozaan

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2015, 03:02:42 PM »
This is relevant:

Cell Phones - Then vs. Now.png


wraith808

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2015, 05:40:45 PM »
^ I don't think so much because of the upgrades in functionality.  Before... screen?  What screen?  Now, the screen is the main part of the phone.  Consumes more battery, less resilient.  And that 1-2 year max on a phone is pure hyperbole.  I had a phone for 2 years, then passed it down to my wife for two more and my son is now using it.  I only passed it down and didn't keep it because my wife insisted that I get a new phone instead of her.  Then she passed it down because he didn't need a new phone.

What phone is that?  An iphone 4.

SeraphimLabs

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2015, 06:12:40 PM »
Its not hyperbole if people are constantly replacing their phones because they have to have the latest fashionable new model even though their current one is still fully functional.

So even though it probably could last longer, in practice it will not and it is designed with that in mind.

Its like how cars are litearlly DESIGNED to last 160,000 miles. I have mechanical engineering books with equations that literally let you calculate how long the components will last so that you can shave off costs as much as possible by shortening its service life and then setting a warranty that expires when the designed service life is also used up.

Disposable Society is finally showing itself to be the problem it truely is. Certainly took long enough.

Deozaan

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2015, 06:55:50 PM »
And that 1-2 year max on a phone is pure hyperbole.

Agreed. I think that image was made more for humor/punditry than for accuracy. I'm currently using a phone (Galaxy Nexusw) that was (nearly) a year old (specs wise) when I bought it in the summer of 2012. So it's approaching 4 years old and it still works. It's sluggish as all get-out, and the battery life is even more abysmal than is standard fare these days, but it still works.

And yeah, more demands on the battery due to larger and higher quality screens means the battery doesn't last as long. Bigger screens means it's easier to break from a fall, and relying on touch input means a cracked screen possibly spells the death of the device's usefulness. Etc.


wraith808

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2015, 10:01:21 PM »
Its not hyperbole if people are constantly replacing their phones because they have to have the latest fashionable new model even though their current one is still fully functional.

The problem with that statement is that it isn't the devices.  It's the people.  Which isn't what this article was about.  So... hyperbole.

SeraphimLabs

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2015, 10:56:26 PM »
Its not hyperbole if people are constantly replacing their phones because they have to have the latest fashionable new model even though their current one is still fully functional.

The problem with that statement is that it isn't the devices.  It's the people.  Which isn't what this article was about.  So... hyperbole.

Not if after a generation or two the device was redesigned with a 1-2 year upgrade program in mind. If people aren't going to keep the same device for longer than that, why design the device to last longer? Make it last only as long as the average consumer will use it, and never mind the outliers that keep the same device for years on end they are obviously not the people you should be designing for.

Perhaps usage statistics have been kept showing how long on average they last.

superboyac

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2015, 12:43:52 AM »
This is relevant:
 (see attachment in previous post)
That's totally a joke graphic.  The phones at this point are replacing desktop computers for a very large portion of the userbase.  So yea it's a "phone", but not really.  These phones now are closer to laptops than they are to those robust nokia phones.

wraith808

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2015, 09:04:08 AM »
Its not hyperbole if people are constantly replacing their phones because they have to have the latest fashionable new model even though their current one is still fully functional.

The problem with that statement is that it isn't the devices.  It's the people.  Which isn't what this article was about.  So... hyperbole.

Not if after a generation or two the device was redesigned with a 1-2 year upgrade program in mind. If people aren't going to keep the same device for longer than that, why design the device to last longer? Make it last only as long as the average consumer will use it, and never mind the outliers that keep the same device for years on end they are obviously not the people you should be designing for.

But there is no proof that they are.  As shown by the fact that my iPad 1 is still in excellent condition, and sells for 1/5 the price I bought it for 5 years ago.  There is the consumer use case, but the outliers are very much still there, especially with the upgrade policies as they are and breakage/loss.

SeraphimLabs

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2015, 11:35:39 AM »
Its not hyperbole if people are constantly replacing their phones because they have to have the latest fashionable new model even though their current one is still fully functional.

The problem with that statement is that it isn't the devices.  It's the people.  Which isn't what this article was about.  So... hyperbole.

Not if after a generation or two the device was redesigned with a 1-2 year upgrade program in mind. If people aren't going to keep the same device for longer than that, why design the device to last longer? Make it last only as long as the average consumer will use it, and never mind the outliers that keep the same device for years on end they are obviously not the people you should be designing for.

But there is no proof that they are.  As shown by the fact that my iPad 1 is still in excellent condition, and sells for 1/5 the price I bought it for 5 years ago.  There is the consumer use case, but the outliers are very much still there, especially with the upgrade policies as they are and breakage/loss.

That isn't how design life works though. And the first generation of a product line is often overbuilt compared to those that follow because the typical use case has not been as well established. Later generations incorporate wear and failure analysis of previous generations, correcting weak spots while at the same time weakening strong points to cut costs.

According to the equations in my mechanical engineering books, automotive mechanisms should have a wear allowance sufficient for approximately 160,000 miles. This is pretty close to the factory warranty on most vehicles interestingly enough, the warranty expires around the time the vehicle is expected to have used up its designed-in wear tolerance.

Even though my car is currently at 202,000 with no major mechanical problems that I am aware of. It has gone well beyond its design life on most of its components, and other than the components I have replaced is a device which has exceeded its design specifications. On the other hand most cars of the same age have already been crushed for scrap, most of them due to wearing out or being damaged beyond where it is economical to repair.

Design life is not an exact science. You are designing to where the majority of a product will operate for the calculated time period without major issues. It is possible to exceed that lifetime if you take good care of your belongings or it was built with quality, but in the field most of what was produced is expected to be replaced failure or not.

wraith808

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 12:07:31 PM »
That isn't how design life works though. And the first generation of a product line is often overbuilt compared to those that follow because the typical use case has not been as well established. Later generations incorporate wear and failure analysis of previous generations, correcting weak spots while at the same time weakening strong points to cut costs.

According to the equations in my mechanical engineering books, automotive mechanisms should have a wear allowance sufficient for approximately 160,000 miles. This is pretty close to the factory warranty on most vehicles interestingly enough, the warranty expires around the time the vehicle is expected to have used up its designed-in wear tolerance.

Even though my car is currently at 202,000 with no major mechanical problems that I am aware of. It has gone well beyond its design life on most of its components, and other than the components I have replaced is a device which has exceeded its design specifications. On the other hand most cars of the same age have already been crushed for scrap, most of them due to wearing out or being damaged beyond where it is economical to repair.

Design life is not an exact science. You are designing to where the majority of a product will operate for the calculated time period without major issues. It is possible to exceed that lifetime if you take good care of your belongings or it was built with quality, but in the field most of what was produced is expected to be replaced failure or not.

I also have an ipad 2.  And an ipad 3.  And they all still operate within specs, the only mitigating factor being software support.  There might be some truth of the matter when it comes to that variable, but the idea in question is that our phones have a designed lesser lifespan because of the fact that people don't keep them.  And what I'm positing is that there is no data that the companies are tailoring hardware considerations based upon the fact that first generation consumers are not keeping their devices.  And that it is well shown by looking at the secondary market that these devices still have consumers and that market is in fact, thriving.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2015, 02:23:27 PM »
That isn't how design life works though. And the first generation of a product line is often overbuilt compared to those that follow because the typical use case has not been as well established. Later generations incorporate wear and failure analysis of previous generations, correcting weak spots while at the same time weakening strong points to cut costs.
...
Design life is not an exact science. You are designing to where the majority of a product will operate for the calculated time period without major issues. It is possible to exceed that lifetime if you take good care of your belongings or it was built with quality, but in the field most of what was produced is expected to be replaced failure or not.

There might be a few different "design lifes". I tend to stay away from the "first generations" because I'm moving away from being a tester of the cutting edge to valuing "long term". So when I entered the market for a new phone, at that time the market was just beginning to shift. I took a considered look at the "state of the market" and judged correctly that I wanted the iPhone 3GS with the extra memory, (and notably not the 3G), because as has now been proven, the 3GS is the lowest model supported in several use cases (which are escaping me at the moment.)

Point is, I'm quite pleased with the overall build quality of my iPhone 3GS, which is now several generations back, but still works almost perfectly, except for some slight problems with the power button.

Then you get spots where certain newer models try to cynically cut corners on the build quality, but I think I found the sweet spot in my phone.


IainB

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Stuff Breaking Faster Than It Used To - planned obsolescence
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2016, 01:39:15 PM »
I've bumped this discussion because it has an appropriate title for what I wanted to mention - deliberate and/or planned obsolescence.
There are quite a few references to "planned obsolescence" in various DCF discussions.
For example, I had a bit of a rant about the HP ScanJet 3400C scanner:    :mad:
EPSON Perfection V330 Photo Scanner + ABBYY and ArcSoft software
...Yesterday I bought a new flatbed scanner (EPSON Perfection V330 Photo Scanner) to replace the HP ScanJet 3400C which I have been obliged to throw away as HP do not support this scanner in Windows7 (they only barely supported it in XP). Its HP drivers and software made it an excellent scanner under Windows98, but it is not good for much now. A case of new and better technology (hardware and software) replacing the older, obsolete technology. ...
________________________________

...though  am extremely pleased with the EPSON V330 flatbed scanner (and especially the bundled software), HP's strategy annoyed me no end as it seemed to be quite deliberate forced obsolescence by HP. "No upwards compatibility. Tough luck if you don't like it."

The hardware was great and would probably last forever.
The software (HP Precision Scan LTX or something) was excellent.
The scanner resolution was a bit dated by modern standards - max 1200dpi - but good enough for most stuff.

HP decided to cease support/upgrade of the drivers and LTX software a while back, so those things wouldn't work in XP, and I had to rely on Microsoft drivers - which worked just fine, but I lost that useful LTX functionality.

Reminded me of the '70s book by Vance Packard "The Waste Makers". ...
________________________________

I also had an excellent HP DeskJet 3740 A3 printer that was similarly deliberately made "obsolete" through its drivers not being updated by HP.    :mad:

I was reminded of this today when reading an interesting old post in my bazqux feed-reader, from the ashampoo.com blog:
Ruthlessly calculated failure
Quote
Sven Krumrey
October 23, 2015

One day, my printer acted up. With my blood pressure spiking, I went on Google and quickly discovered that I had just been the victim of what is considered a classic error that would appear roughly after two years on the dot. I phoned the hotline and spent about 30 minutes in hold music limbo until I finally reached a noticeably tired support agent. In these moments, I like to remind myself not to blow my top but to stay calm and explain my situation with facts. Maybe it was because she was so tired but she was surprisingly blunt and honest. "The error occured in the warranty period? That's not supposed to happen!" ...
(Read more at the link.)
________________________________

Earlier this year, there was the HP scam (so it seemed to be) where, by means of an online Windows software update, or something,  HP deliberately locked-up the printers in "fail" mode" if they had non-HP ink cartridges loaded.

By the way. in the ashampoo blog post, the author refers to ifixit.com as a useful source of reference, so I went to look there for some help on fixing the blocked print-head on my Brother multi-function printer-whatsit, and found the very thing I needed:
How to Unclog Brother Inkjet Print head Nozzles

mwb1100

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2016, 05:49:36 PM »
>  "The error occured in the warranty period? That's not supposed to happen!"

That would be funny if it weren't so deplorable.  I gave up on HP a long time ago when they retired support for a perfectly good printer of mine.

app103

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Re: Your Stuff Really Is Breaking Faster Than It Used To
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 03:42:18 AM »
>  "The error occured in the warranty period? That's not supposed to happen!"

That would be funny if it weren't so deplorable.  I gave up on HP a long time ago when they retired support for a perfectly good printer of mine.


I gave up on HP printers when they tried to charge me $20 for a single use contraption to clean "factory dust" out of a brand new printer that should have been clean when it left their factory. Apparently, failures caused by "factory dust" are not covered under their warranty.

I gave up on just about everything else HP, for a variety of other crappy quality based reasons. The only things I will still buy are the inexpensive off lease refurbs of their business class (not consumer class crap) small form factor PCs. At just over $100, they still make for reliable emergency backup PCs, with a long life expectancy. (example)