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Planned Obsolescence

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DrDave04/01/2019 11:25:40
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I normally do my CAD on a desktop computer, but I decided to use the laptop for a change the other night. When I started Fusion 360, it kindly let me know that it will “require OS X 10.12 or higher after our 2019 January update”. The current OS is an earlier version than this, so I need to update it.

When I tried to download the current OS, the Mac App Store told me that it could not do this because “this version of macos 10.14.2 cannot be installed on this computer”. Hum: not happy. Yes it is old & slow, but it still works. A bit like me.

not done it yet04/01/2019 11:47:51
3372 forum posts
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I sympathise. My Acorn BBC Model B won’t run anything much later than about 1990! It was quite fast in its day, but with only 32 kbytes of RAM, it needed to down load regularly from the 5 1/4” floppy discs!

SillyOldDuffer04/01/2019 12:49:43
4719 forum posts
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With computers we haven't got to planned obsolescence yet - when you buy a new computer it really is better than the old one! The hardware is still developing and so is the software that uses it. No consolation when you don't need the latest gizmos or better performance.

I sympathise. I wasted an entire morning last year when my printer stopped working after a Ubuntu upgrade. When I tried to print from Windows, that failed too - exactly the same reason, out of date driver. Fortunately, although the printer is out-of-production it's still in belated software support and I was able to fix it at the cost of a manual install. One day it will happen again and I shall go on the web to be told the modern equivalent of 'Sorry guv, you can't get the parts...'

It's a cruel world.

Dave

Paul Kennedy04/01/2019 14:23:31
45 forum posts
122 photos

Search Legacy Drivers ! There are places that will have the driver you need ! Get em while you can so you never face that issue in the future !

colin hawes04/01/2019 14:32:06
501 forum posts
18 photos

My HP printer will happily print my Word documents but when I try to print from the internet it now comes up with " unexpected configuration problem 0x80004005 ". I have little knowledge of these things and wonder if this has been caused by a windows update or some other cause? Colin

Nick Clarke 304/01/2019 15:54:36
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Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world - look at this link (down the page) and you will see the planned dates for different versions of a Linux distribution stretching forwards to 2028 at present.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_version_history

The latest version, still in development is only planned to last until the end of 2020.

This is at least honest and up front - I am certain that a similar timeline exists for every operating system, only Linux (Ubuntu) seem to be able to tell you about it up though.

Mark Rand04/01/2019 15:56:04
761 forum posts

The HP Laserjet 5000 that I rescued from a site we unfortunately closed in 2005 (The Alstom/Metro Cammel works in Birmingham), is no longer supported by the Windows 10 that I had to upgrade the PC to because its Windows server 2008 would not recognise the super-duper PCIE solid state drive and video cards I bought it as Christmas presents. Luckily, I discovered that someone in Internet land had written a third party driver (not HP or Microsoft) that works perfectly.

This was important to me, since it's a reliable A3 printer and it's still on the toner cartridge it had when I rescued it. I'm not sure I'll live long enough to ever open the new-old-stock one I bought ten years ago..,

Nick Clarke 304/01/2019 16:12:40
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Its not just planned obsolescence - the life of many things is far shorter that we would like them to be - only cars made after 1992 HAD to be able to run on unleaded fuel and leaded was banned in 2000 (and LRP which never really became reliably available in 2003) so an 8 year old car might not have any fuel in 2000. What about analogue TV? What about Analogue mobile phones? all of these were not a lifetime buy but became unusable after only a few years.

I suppose we expect things like a computer system to last forever - and they basically will provided that nothing within the system changes.

Unfortunately new software versions, supplies and consumables, cables, peripherals and anything like the internet form part of a computer system, and these all change so unless you stay completely isolated adding nothing and needing nothing so must we all too.

SillyOldDuffer04/01/2019 16:41:56
4719 forum posts
1010 photos
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 15:54:36:

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world ...

We have slightly different definitions of Planned Obsolescence Nick. I define it as deliberately designing a product to not last beyond a certain time. Battery chemistry adjusted to die after a few years, things made flimsy so they don't wear well, time bomb timers in software and printer cartridges, cars without rust prevention etc.

Even though I have to keep replacing the tubes I don't think toothpaste is an example of planned obsolescence. Nor do I think computers suffer planned obsolescence in the sense that they are deliberately made worse than they need be. Rather, this technology is still in development and there is more to come. Due to genuine progress old computers become obsolete in a way that old lathes don't. Ubuntu's upgrade plan is about keeping up-to-date with developments, not because they want people to spend money. (Make your own mind up about Microsoft's motives...)

That said computing isn't completely innocent. Don't get me started on the subject of consumer printers and i-mania!

Dave

Brian G04/01/2019 17:12:29
589 forum posts
25 photos
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 15:54:36:

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world...

Perhaps the answer is to stick with Windows? <Ducks> My 2008 Acer laptop runs 64-bit Windows 10 and with some extra RAM and an SSD (the original drive now occupies the second bay - it isn't one of these slimline lightweights) it is faster now than when new.

It does feel odd running Windows on old hardware and then buying new parts to assemble a Linux server though

Brian

Nick Clarke 304/01/2019 17:28:29
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 04/01/2019 16:41:56:
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 15:54:36:

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world ...

We have slightly different definitions of Planned Obsolescence Nick. I define it as deliberately designing a product to not last beyond a certain time. Battery chemistry adjusted to die after a few years, things made flimsy so they don't wear well, time bomb timers in software and printer cartridges, cars without rust prevention etc.

But don't all products have a design life? - certainly it is foolish for business to expect people to be able to buy a product once and never again isn't it? A 2003 vintage Toshiba laptop upstairs now is not used because it cannot have its memory expanded more than its current 512Mb (it came with 128Mb) and the operating system, Windows XP needs more that 512Mb to run well. It was not booby trapped or anything, only designed to run the day it was made and with what expansions and update that could be predicted for X years - I suspect X was about 6. It had built in obsolescence after that time, presumably because to allow infinite expandability and upgradability would make it too expensive and complex for the market - and Toshiba would not be able to sell a new laptop as well.

Looking at just two of the things you suggest - I manage a number of printers - some have timers in consumables that will only allow a certain number of pages to be printed - built in obsolescence. Others start to print badly - you shake the toner cartridge and print a second copy OK. The first has built in obsolescence, but all the copies it prints are good while the second is a hassle and wastes time and paper. The other example that makes me think is a car without rust protection. I had to drive a Moskvich pickup in the 1970s that had cost the small firm £431 new. It rusted away while you watched, but a more expensive vehicle could not have been afforded by the company. Planned obsolescence or an engineering solution to 'How do you provide a vehicle to transport fridges at next to no cost?'

I think one problem is that in the past many products were ridiculously over engineered and our expectations have risen to suit. My hundred year old project Drummond round bed lathe is an example. The Chinese mini lathe on the bench won't last that long, but I don't think it should, and I certainly couldn't have afforded it if it had been designed to do so.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 17:36:47

Nick Clarke 304/01/2019 17:35:05
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#Posted by Brian G on 04/01/2019 17:12:29:
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 15:54:36:

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world...

Perhaps the answer is to stick with Windows?

I agree that sticking with Windows (or Mac or Linux whatever) is a plan, but in my opinion sticking with means upgrading hardware and software as necessary.

Unfortunately if you bought say AutoCad in 2003 to run on Windows XP staying with that version and expecting a new printer to work with your computer is hopeful to say the least.

And upgrading one part - say the printer and expecting am XP driver to be written for you new product, or running Windows 10 and hoping a 15 year old printer and 15 year old software to work on it is just silly.

Financially sad to say any computer system will need regular, often unfeasibly expensive, updates to continue to work.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 17:38:26

Bill Phinn04/01/2019 17:36:37
208 forum posts
41 photos

If Smartphones count as computers, the fact that in October Italy fined Samsung and Apple five and ten million Euros respectively expressly for incorporating planned obsolescence into their phones does at least suggest that computer manufacturers have been guilty of this. Apple themselves have confirmed that they deliberately slowed down older iPhone models because "their batteries diminished over time".

Mike Poole04/01/2019 17:57:21
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The trouble with electronic stuff is it won’t die but electromechanical stuff like printers do. Every time I have bought a new printer it has been significantly better than its predecessor in output quality and functionality, I do find it useful to be able to print wirelessly from my phone or iPad rather than the pc now I have that facility. In industry the manufacturers have you over a barrel with upgrading as they themselves are over a barrel with the supply of components to repair old equipment, once component manufacturers cease manufacture then what is left is a finite resource and when it’s gone it’s gone.

Mike

Michael Gilligan04/01/2019 19:07:28
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Posted by Bill Phinn on 04/01/2019 17:36:37:

... Apple themselves have confirmed that they deliberately slowed down older iPhone models because "their batteries diminished over time".

.

To be fair ... it's simply a statement of fact, to say that the performance of rechargeable batteries diminishes over time.

If you can supply a rechargeable battery that lasts forever ... The world will beat a path to your door !!

MichaelG.

Nick Clarke 304/01/2019 19:52:35
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390 forum posts
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 04/01/2019 19:07:28:
Posted by Bill Phinn on 04/01/2019 17:36:37:

... Apple themselves have confirmed that they deliberately slowed down older iPhone models because "their batteries diminished over time".

To be fair ... it's simply a statement of fact, to say that the performance of rechargeable batteries diminishes over time.

If you can supply a rechargeable battery that lasts forever ... The world will beat a path to your door !!

MichaelG.

You could even say it was good engineering to adjust what Apple could control to manage the behaviour of what they could not.

Me defending Apple - What IS the world coming to!!! smiley

SillyOldDuffer04/01/2019 20:01:21
4719 forum posts
1010 photos
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 17:28:29:
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 04/01/2019 16:41:56:
Posted by Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 15:54:36:

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life in the computer world ...

We have slightly different definitions of Planned Obsolescence Nick. I define it as deliberately designing a product to not last beyond a certain time. Battery chemistry adjusted to die after a few years, things made flimsy so they don't wear well, time bomb timers in software and printer cartridges, cars without rust prevention etc.

But don't all products have a design life? etc.

Edited By Nick Clarke 3 on 04/01/2019 17:36:47

Yes indeed - we are having a violent agreement...

My fault!

smiley

Dave

Mark Rand04/01/2019 21:02:20
761 forum posts
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 04/01/2019 19:07:28:
Posted by Bill Phinn on 04/01/2019 17:36:37:

... Apple themselves have confirmed that they deliberately slowed down older iPhone models because "their batteries diminished over time".

.

To be fair ... it's simply a statement of fact, to say that the performance of rechargeable batteries diminishes over time.

If you can supply a rechargeable battery that lasts forever ... The world will beat a path to your door !!

MichaelG.

 

Umm. All of the mobile phones I've ever been in charge of had batteries that could be replaced simply by the user! No, they weren't/aren't Apple laugh.

 

In the meantime, the 34 year old VAX computer cluster at my ex-employer's keeps chugging on...

Edited By Mark Rand on 04/01/2019 21:03:20

Bill Phinn04/01/2019 21:19:27
208 forum posts
41 photos

Posted by Michael Gilligan on 04/01/2019 19:07:28:
To be fair ... it's simply a statement of fact, to say that the performance of rechargeable batteries diminishes over time.
If you can supply a rechargeable battery that lasts forever ... The world will beat a path to your door !!
MichaelG.

Yes, it would certainly be very unfair to castigate a company purely on the strength of its rechargeable batteries having undergone a reduction in performance over time.

In Apple's case, however, the crux of the complaint was not that their batteries underwent a scarcely avoidable reduction in performance over time but that the company incorporated in their phones an automatic CPU slowdown in response to reduced battery performance yet did not communicate the fact that they had done this to users. The deliberate and unexplained slowing down by Apple of CPUs will inevitably have led some users to think, “my phone is slow so I should replace it” not, “my phone is slow so I should replace its battery”.

Not a few critics, including myself, feel that Apple could have been a lot more transparent* about the "fix" they built into phones to compensate for reduced battery performance, and feel additionally that their lack of transparency on this issue casts a shadow over their business ethics.

*e.g. programmed a message to appear on the screen telling the user that the phone had gone into "low-power mode" or such like.

Michael Gilligan04/01/2019 21:38:14
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Posted by Bill Phinn on 04/01/2019 21:19:27:

[ ... ]

In Apple's case, however, the crux of the complaint was not that their batteries underwent a scarcely avoidable reduction in performance over time but that the company incorporated in their phones an automatic CPU slowdown in response to reduced battery performance yet did not communicate the fact that they had done this to users. The deliberate and unexplained slowing down by Apple of CPUs will inevitably have led some users to think, “my phone is slow so I should replace it” not, “my phone is slow so I should replace its battery”.

[ ... ]

.

I agree completely, Bill yes

But ... Does that qualify as 'planned obsolescence' or quite the opposite ?

MichaelG.

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