Pace of technology and throwaway society

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by Slaphead, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Slaphead

    Slaphead TPF Noob!

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    Got to thinking last night about technology and moreover about the fact that we just have too much of it kicking around our homes with a much too short lifespan.

    For example a quick count around the flat revealed 12 LCD colour monitors of various sizes (not including the TV which is still CRT) on various devices, of which the oldest is about 4 years old (This is only the stuff thats in use and not the old stuff thats packed away in the cellar). Of these devices I would expect 50% to be retired and replaced over the next 1-2 years

    15 years ago there would have probably been at most 3 colour screens (2 TVs and possibly a computer monitor). The 2 TVs would probably be expected to last 10 years or more, and they would be repaired if they went wrong (in fact our TV is 15 years old now).

    15 years ago if you had a 5 year old SLR and it stopped working you would probably have had it fixed. These days if a dSLR breaks down after 3 years you'll probably throw it away and buy a new one because the cost of repairing it is more than the camera is worth (assuming you haven't already been infected with upgradeitis and replaced it anyway).

    Computers - when they're over 3 years old and something major goes wrong with it it's probably not worth repairing (especially laptops). After 5 years you probably won't be able to get the parts to repair it anyway.

    Mobile phones - How old is yours? 3 years maximum for the majority of us I'll guess although I'm tempted to say 2 - and I'll bet you bought your current one as an upgrade and not because the old one died. I also doubt that you could have a 2 year old mobile phone repaired anyway.

    I don't think that anybody that knows me would consider me an environmentalist, but the amount of stuff that we're throwing away these days scares the hell out of me.

    Maybe I'm just getting too old (40 now) and even though I work in IT I just find everything moves too fast for it's own good. Nothing has the time to really settle down, mature, and become rock solid stable before a new "must have" technology comes along and breaks everything again.

    Sooner or later something has to give

    Sorry for the rant - just feeling a bit overwhelmed today.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yep something has to give out.
    Thing is electronic advances are very very quick and companies also stagger them - the maxim in manufacture today is not to make something that will last but something that will just do the job, but has faults.
    Then when it breaks or an upgraded version is released fixing some of hte problems we are encouraged to purchase it. In the past products were made to both last and also be repaired - allowing access for the repairer into the machine, now many are sealed up (plastic mostly) and getting inside is not possible without breaking a lot of the device up (and they are still not sealed enough to be waterproof of course;).
    Factor in then the inflated cost of living in the western world, and that that in turn means that manhours are very expensive and you get the other reason why its not practical to repair things - it just costs way too much to repair something. Which is also why many broken and old mobile phones are collected and then resold the the 3rd world nations - where repaires are more economical to be performed

    I agree its a stupid manner to live in and it is burning up resources at an alarming rate - something will give.
     
  3. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    HAHA I did buy my phone as an upgrade when my old phone worked (and still does) perfectly. but the one I had two phones back is almost gone since I sold the parts for it :D
     
  4. polymoog

    polymoog TPF Noob!

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    I know what you mean ... my last two mobiles have been upgrades before the previous ones died, but to be fair, that was also because I could get them free, by renewing my contract :)

    My previous computer was second hand and from 2000 and I got my new one last year, so it did last 8 years anyway :) And I only got a new screen in December, because the old one (second hand from 1999) died ... but my TV (second hand) is still going strong, don't know how old it is but I would guess late 80s (doesn't even have a remote control, but does have the all important Scart connector so I have home cinema and digibox connected)

    And my laptop is 2 weeks old and then one it replaces is from 2000 as well, but when I got my DSLR I had only had my digital compact for 6 months!!

    So I have a mixture of replacements :)

    And what about cars .... we get through those like tissues now as well ...
     
  5. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    My car is 13yrs old (and almost dead I'm just barely limping it along) my computer is 4yrs old (but I got it free from someone upgrading) My cell is less than 2 but I plan on keeping it until it completely dies (but my last 2 or 3 had the screens fail within 6mo (and I used them with no screen for another 6mo until something else failed)) I don't even know how old the thing I use as an mp3 player is I got it off my dad because he was going to throw it away. I still have 2 computers which are probably 8+ years old but I don't really use them because I don't have a spare keyboard (and I'd like to have a wireless card for them). I'm basically the electronics dumpster for people who "upgrade" regularly.
     
  6. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    P.S. one of my 2 laptops is what we in the biz (the being a geek biz) call a "frankenstein" the hard drive and screen had failed so I stole them from another computer where I had spilled a monster on the keyboard and the motherboard failed. It was probably 6 years old when repaired.
     
  7. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Throw away society. We are forced to throw away because we are not given quality products. Products today are made as cheap as possible first and foremost. Quality means that it has to last through a warranty period.

    When I moved into my house in 2000, I was given a 1967 Sears 12 hp garden tractor. That thing was a beast. The motor was completely locked up when I acquired it. I tore the motor apart and didn't even have to replace anything. I reconditioned the crankshaft and the rod myself, put it back together and ran it. It mowed the lawn like a monster. I had a blade and a snowthrower on the front. I excavated and pushed dirt all around my yard with the blade. My neighbor's house is 300 feet away. I was afraid of putting a window out with the snowblower. It broke several times on me, but I fixed it very cheaply and it kept going. $10 here, $20 there, I mowed and snowblowed and mowed and snowblowed. Eventually, a hole wore in the gas tank, a spark from the battery upon starting it, and I was out in the yard mowing while unknowingly flames were eating up my precious tractor. It was too late when it started smoking bad enough to notice, I was too far from the house, and it was torched. Everything wired burned. I finally got rid of it.

    I spent over $2500 on a new tractor. 20 hp V-twin B&S motor, hydrostatic transmission so my wife would/could use it. 48 inch deck. two 60 pound or so weights for the back and chains on the tires. 36 inch snow blade. I have had at least 3 snowstorms now that put 12 inches or more in my driveway each time these past 2 weeks. I have to hand shovel my driveway while my $2500 POS sits. Why? Because that $2500 tractor can do nothing more than mow. If I get more than 3 inches of snow, it can't push it. 20 hp V-twin, weights and chains, and it can't push 3 inches of snow. I pushed DIRT with that 12 hp 20+ year old Sears. I was pushing a foot and a half of snow with the Sears and the 28 inch or so blade. I was throwing snow probably at least 200 feet with the snowblower attached to the 12 hp Sears tractor. But that big rumbling 20 hp of V-twin power for $2500 can't push 3 inches of snow.


    Cell phone? What's a cell phone?


    My computer I bought in 2005. I put a new graphics card in it in 2006. I probably won't even be able to post this because just yesterday my gfx card started heating up and locking up the computer. I'll just go and stick another cheapie card in it. Before this computer, I was using a Pentium 75 mhz I bought in 1995. It was my first computer, and this one bought as a replacement in 2005 is my 2nd computer. The problem with computers is the software development. They develop software to run on the latest and greatest and most expensive systems, especially games. If you buy even the absolute best computer today, it won't run tomorrow's software. I tend not to even run today's software let alone tomorrow's software. I run yesterday's software. I don't have the finances to waste money on keeping up with computers every 6 months with upgrading or building or buying new.

    Everyone is running around spending outrageous amounts of money on television. My television I paid $200 for in 1996. Actually, I paid $50 for it because I had $150 worth of gift certificates from work. It is a Magnavox 27 inch CRT and has the digital S-video cable input. I have it connected to a DirectTV DVR receiver. My in-laws' TV crapped out and they bought into a 32 inch LCD. You know what? We were there for Sunday lunch and the hockey game was on. I had to quit watching the hockey game because it looked like absolute crap. The image was so choppy it could not keep up with the action on the ice. My brother-in-law ran out a while back and paid $3000 for a 42 inch Plasma (tells when this was). I think it was 2006. I was over trying to watch the Steelers' final playoff game before the 06 Superbowl and it was absolute horrible picture. I couldn't wait to get back home so I could watch the rest of the game on my beloved 10 year old crisp and clear picture CRT television.


    Companies just don't make even medium quality any more. I was a HUGE fan of Sony. I have one of the first multi disk CD players to come out sitting in my car. It is Sony. It works fantastic. I bought it in 1991 and it has been installed in an 85 Escort, 92 Geo Storm, 89 Toyota pickup 4x4, 94 Toyota 4Runner, 88 4Runner, and a 99 Tacoma. Of the 6 vehicles, 4 are 4x4s and 3 of those were very heavily 4wheeled. It never skipped a beat. It was in the 89 pickup when I was involved in an accident in 1996. The CD magazine was ripped out of the player and the playing CD was still stuck in the player. It was completely torn down to remove the CD, put back together and it still plays to this day without skipping a beat.

    Since then, I've had multitude of Sony equipment. All junk. Every portable and semiportable CD player I, my mother, my brother, my wife, or my brother-in-law has had has broken. I am here on this forum today because of a junk Sony. I needed an updated digital camera and my wife bought me a Sony. Piece of junk! It couldn't take a decent picture at all. I returned it and upon researching a replacement, I came across a larger bridge superzoom camera. That's then I started looking at photography stuff rather than camera reviews and found this website. I bought my Fuji and joined here. Now I am shooting photos in full manual mode 90% of the time and Av the other 10%. My Fuji has never been in auto mode. All because if my wife would have bought a Canon SD750 at the time instead of the Sony, I probably would be using that and probably would not have started reading photography sites and I wouldn't be here learning about photography. All because of a Sony complete junk of a camera.


    Went a little further than I intended, but the point is, that POS Sony camera which should be thrown away immediately upon purchase is a far cry from my Sony CD player purchased in 1992 that is still working flawlessly today.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  8. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    I think I still have pieces of my second computer somewhere... I think it was purchased back in 1995 and I kept it running until around 2005. My laptop I purchased back in 2003 still works today (only had to replace the dvd rom drive). Computers can and do last if anyone in Northern California needs some from back in 2000 I have 2 sitting around that I don't use anymore because people keep giving me better and better computers when they upgrade. Mind you these won't run "modern" games but hey the only modern game I play is NWN2.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    anyone got an Xbox? ITs funny taht red ring of death is an accepted risk - and failure of one.
    but I agree so many products today as shoddy builds with little thought to design or repair - personally I think part of the problem is design is no longer a group of experienced experts but a few design students (cheap) using CAD programs. Computers are all well and fine for design, but theory and practicality are two very different things. Combine that with inexperience on the students side and rapid, shoddy manufacture and products really don't have a hope
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Some of us have been saying things along these lines since the late 60's/ early 70's - but back then we were called cranks.

    The thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with technology or with advancing technology.
    When you have built-in obsolescence or shoddy manufacture (the latter often appears to be the former) it is just poor design. And a lot of what we see as poor design is, in fact, just bad styling.
    Styling, like Advertising, is one of the horsemen of the modern Apocalypse.
    Re-styling a product makes people keep upgrading even though the technology (and often the internal workings) has not changed. Except maybe in the case of Vista.
    So if you want to stop waste all you have to do is stop buying new just for the sake of it. Impressing your friends isn't as important as you think.
    But collectively the human race has less intelligence than a rock so it will never happen. It will keep believing the advertising and imagine that being a conspicuous consumer will find it a mate.

    Personally I think we should forcibly sterilise anyone with a credit card :twisted:
     
  11. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    Does an ATM card with the VISA logo count as a credit card?
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Hell, yes. Cash only in my Society :mrgreen:
     

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