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Redundancy, electrical

Life limits of firmware driven devices

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HOWARDT16/04/2022 22:32:45
908 forum posts
39 photos

Just had to replace an Amazon Echo, 2nd generation, refused to allow connection to BBC Sounds app so no radio 4. Alright I know I can use a radio and do in the workshop but in certain circumstances it is convenient. Talking with the daughter she has the same problem with some similar age Echo devices. Now what I am coming to is with all the talk of repairabiliy to extend life of electrical items, what is the use of manufacturers ignore firmware updates on older devices to allow them to work. Whilst I can understand there will be limitations it seems manufacturers will continue to force us upgrade hardware before it reaches a mechanical end of life, Microsoft et al has been doing this for years. Will we ever get truly upgradeable devices in the future to negate all the electronic waste.

Ady116/04/2022 22:57:01
5089 forum posts
736 photos

The British used to make stuff that you could repair and lasted forever

What has survived from the 1960s?



um er...

Edited By Ady1 on 16/04/2022 22:57:48

Calum Galleitch16/04/2022 23:08:51
191 forum posts
65 photos

It's a real pest, and one of the reasons I have over the years stuck with a hi-fi, vinyl and CD collection. I do have a small MP3 player but I consider it disposable. I bought one of the very first hard-drive music players, preceding the iPod, and it was wonderful, and longer lasting than the typical iPod, but the software to rip and download files to it have not been available for decades. I have a £20 digital radio in the workshop but in general I try to avoid clever consumer electronics. I also avoid laptops and use desktops with standard components for the same reason.

The fundamental problem is that hardware once sold brings in no cash, but programmers to update firmware and maintain websites and so on cost a fortune, so anything that relies primarily on up to date software is at risk. I think this is gradually becoming less of a problem - my phone is five years old and still in good order, and doesn't appear hopelessly clunky and out of date as a five year old smartphone once did. The raw power of modern electronics is starting to struggle to find a use for most of us.

None of this fixes your Echo Dot, though! The answer has to be regulatory, I think; you could complain to Amazon, and if you were very pushy/lucky [delete as appropriate] you might get a replacement or a refund, but honestly I think the person to complain to, daft as it sounds, is your MP. They are the ones who can actually create a repairable ecosystem of devices, or mandate that hardware be documented for open source programmers to use.

Ady116/04/2022 23:30:30
5089 forum posts
736 photos

Got one of the last Hoovers made in the UK in the 1990s, the Hoover Aquamaster

Still going strong and used to suck up my workshop mess

Edited By Ady1 on 16/04/2022 23:31:36

Peter Greene 🇨🇦17/04/2022 01:55:21
509 forum posts
6 photos

My iPhone-6 is about to become obsolete.

Chris Evans 617/04/2022 07:18:44
2056 forum posts
Posted by Peter Greene 🇨🇦 on 17/04/2022 01:55:21:

My iPhone-6 is about to become obsolete.

My Daughters bought me an iphone- 6 some time ago because they thought my old android phone was so yesterday. I have never got used to the iphone and look forward to the excuse to go back to what I had.

Clive Foster17/04/2022 09:08:23
3135 forum posts
109 photos
Posted by Peter Greene 🇨🇦 on 17/04/2022 01:55:21:

My iPhone-6 is about to become obsolete.

Define obsolete.

Despite not getting iOS updates it will still do just fine as a phone, E-Mail, camera, music player et al.

Won't bite until things like internet banking, booking services and similar that need live interaction with specialised software stop supporting that operating system. Which generally seems to be security issues. My old iPhone 4S still runs fine and would do phone calls, E-Mail et "other simple stuff" al but got swopped for a first generation SE when Barclays pulled support for internet banking. Now relegated to calculator and othe workshop applications duties.

I'd be unsurprised to discover that something like an iPhone 6 could be kept running for a decade beyond end of production if you didn't need to interact with secure services.

Its a question of when technology and interconnection methods stabilise. Once stable the old stuff just keeps on trucking.

(Writing this on a mid-2010 Macbook Pro 17" running OS 10.12.6 which does everything just fine. Not upgrading 'cos I'd need to spend £1,000 to upgrade VectorWorks for the new OS and get precisely nowt for it because the CAD side hasn't been touched for yeras.)


John Haine17/04/2022 10:06:37
4671 forum posts
273 photos

I think "obsolescence" is the correct term...

Ady117/04/2022 10:15:38
5089 forum posts
736 photos

It will only get worse

These new electric cars are permanently connected to base like a mobile phone (Tesla etc)

Fall into your car at 8am to go out and...

"Good Morning John. I've upgraded myself with some wonderful new software which will save the planet and meets this weeks government guidelines. The fee payable has been removed from your bank account"

Welcome to the 5G internet of things

(The internet of dodgy things)

Edited By Ady1 on 17/04/2022 10:17:03

Peter G. Shaw17/04/2022 10:41:30
1421 forum posts
44 photos

Last week, I ordered two new cartridges (HP 45 & HP 78) for my HP Deskjet 6122 printer. After looking on my usual site, and failing to find them, I ended up on Amazon, and duly placed the order. Later that day, one of the associated firms, telephoned me to say that they were out of stock of the HP colour cartridge, so would I accept two after market cartidges. They then went on to explain that HP had stopped making cartridges for printers over 10 years old which perhaps explains my earlier difficulties. Of course I agreed, and no, I can't comment on the substitutes as they have gone into stock.

However, many years ago I had a HP 880C printer, and tried after market cartridges. It was a total failure. Going back to HP originals, and the printer worked fine. Hence, ever since I have been distinctly leary about after market stuff, but felt I had little option in the current situation. So, I now have a fully functioning printer, for which I can no longer obtain OEM cartridges. Is that right given the coming emphasis on repairability etc?

In a similar manner, I have had computers which whenever Microsoft have updated their OS, have run slower and slower until they became more or less unusable, and hence have been scrapped. Is that right? Personally, I have a deep objection to being forced by the likes of Microsoft to scrap otherwise fully working equipment: in part, this was why I changed to Linux on the demise of XP.

In a similar manner, a few years ago, I was forced into buying a new TV. Why? Well, my original set-top adaptor failed, so I bought a replacement - only to find that it would not work correctly with my 25 year old Mitsubishi 4:3 screen ratio TV. Since then I have bought another DVD recorder, only to find that it too does not work correctly with my 6 year old Samsung TV. Ok, it's usable, but why, why, cannot the manufacturers ensure that these new devices are fully compatible with slightly older equipment.

If the equipment is faulty, broken, or just plain worn out, then that's fair enough, but to be forced to change something just because manufacturers won't support it, or provide necessary software updates seems wrong to me. Yes, I'm well aware of the costs incurred, but given all the broohaha over the usage of oil, then perhaps we, or rather the manufacturers, need to think again.


Peter G. Shaw

Mike Poole17/04/2022 10:53:16
3335 forum posts
73 photos

3G’s days are numbered and I imagine 4G will be next although some years away yet. Whether we like it or not computerised devices will become obsolete, especially ones that connect to a network of any sort. My iphone7 battery which is coming up to 6 years old cannot survive a day if you actually use it for anything. I bought an iPhone 13 as I was going to a gig and only had electronic tickets so if the phone died then no tickets, printable or paper tickets cost more. A new battery may get a few more years but the phone will probably run out of update support in the not too distant future. The new phone cloned all the information from the old one in a very painless process that only took a few minutes, I was impressed. Although the obsolescence of devices is expensive and annoying I don’t think it is really practical to try and stand still, embracing the technology can make life easier than trying to resist it in my opinion but one of the reasons I retired was I had lost the ability to remember everything I was being taught on courses, I understood all I was taught but was just not remembering enough.


HOWARDT17/04/2022 11:47:58
908 forum posts
39 photos

I as others have stuck to vinyl and to a lesser degree CDs, I have never downloaded any music. It Is a question of ownership and long term storage, I still have a 78 rpm disc which I can still play which must be a 100 years old, try doing that with a download. Even cars these days are not immune to the software life limitations, if the Internet goes down how many vehicles will become non runners. Look at what happened during the severe storms we had recently, how many people went back to manual start generators and solid fuel fires.

Howard Lewis17/04/2022 14:27:42
6104 forum posts
14 photos

The technique seems to be to sell something with built in obsolescence.

Cordless devices are an example. After a few years, when the battery fails, no replacement is available, so your expensive cordless drill is no longer useable, and you have to scrap an otherwise perfectly competent machine, and buy another one.

I have a mains powered big Bosch drill. After over 20 years of use, all it has ever needed has been a set of brushes (And I have a spare set in stock!)

A much younger cordless drill lies unused because both battery packs will no longer hold a charge.

Guess which was the better purchase and bargain?

Howard. .

Edited By Howard Lewis on 17/04/2022 14:28:36

Peter Greene 🇨🇦17/04/2022 19:46:25
509 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Clive Foster on 17/04/2022 09:08:23:
Posted by Peter Greene 🇨🇦 on 17/04/2022 01:55:21:

My iPhone-6 is about to become obsolete.

Define obsolete.

5G as I understand it. If you know better I'd be more than happy to hear.

Peter G. Shaw17/04/2022 20:56:53
1421 forum posts
44 photos

I have a mains powered B&D 1/2 inch drill, about 400W, and about 30 years old. It has done, and is still capable of doing, some heavy work, and is a pleasure to use after the namby-pamby weakness of the cordless drills I have. Two of the battery drills use sub-C NiCads and have had their battery packs rebuilt using cells from RS Components. The other battery drill uses a lithium battery pack, of which I have four. I must admit that I don't use the portable drills much these days as my need for such drilling has more or less vanished. Instead I tend to use either the drill press, or occasionally the milling machine. But as Howard says, the two NiCad powered drills would be unusable had I not been able to rebuild the battery packs.

Incidently, the main use for the lithium powered drill is to raise and lower the caravan legs.

Peter G. Shaw

Peter Greene 🇨🇦17/04/2022 22:54:45
509 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Mike Poole on 17/04/2022 10:53:16:

3G’s days are numbered and I imagine 4G will be next although some years away yet.

There was a recent thread here which suggested that 5G was imminent in the UK and that 3G and 4G would be dumped at the same time.

Here in Canada the same thing is reputed to be 2 - 3 years away according to the telcos but I wouldn't want to hang my hat on anything they say ... they'll do it when they damn well feel like it. Maybe tomorrow.

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