iLok turned me into Pirate

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

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As a studio owner, the most rewarding aspect is:

buying expensive software
1
13%
writing emails to tech support
2
25%
"log in to your account"
1
13%
wrangling with compatibility issues
0
No votes
just making music
4
50%
 
Total votes: 8

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Post by fossiltooth » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:35 pm

ubertar wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:in order for a processor manufacturer to improve a processor, they must eventually change its architecture. A given architecture has a limited upgrade path. This isn't planned obselescence, it's just engineering and physics.
That's a reasonable point, which directly contradicts Justin's assertion that the reason computers aren't built to last is because of lack of demand.
there is currently no market demand for a computer that will last for 20 years. So they're simply not made that way.
Nope. What would contradict my point is if you could name a desktop computer that was made to last you for 20 years! :)

The closest thing you could say might be "RADAR" which is, generally speaking, not what people are thinking of when they say "computer." It's cost to entry is also like, $10,000 for a base model. Because that's kinda what's going to happen with a digital system built for insane longevity and stability. It's just going to cost more for a huge number of (largely market-driven) reasons. It's just not going to be the same price as a $2000 desktop.
ubertar wrote:I love how you guys keep saying, "this is not a conspiracy" when I never said it was a conspiracy.
Um... It's in the title of the movie. Are we reading the same thread? :D
ubertar wrote:There's no conspiracy involved, or necessary, just decisions made by individual companies.
This is pretty much exactly what I'm saying. Wait. Why are we arguing? : )
MoreSpaceEcho wrote: i don't have much to add except that every time i've gotten a new computer it costs less than the one before it and is way faster/more powerful. this is a good thing, no? i don't expect them to last for 10 years, nor would i even want/need them to.

that said, every time i've replaced them, it's been because i wanted to, not because the old one died or anything.
^^^Yes, This ^^^

Computers are not made to last the user twenty years, because the user, generally speaking, wants to upgrade. Physical breakage is kinda irrelevant to the issue, although that sometimes happens too.

Also: If you replaced every single part inside of your computer, is it really still the same computer? I'm gonna have to agree with Chris on that one and pretty much say "nah." That's a bit of a stretch, I think.
ubertar wrote:Pseudoscience? There's nothing in that film that purports to be science. I don't see how you can make that claim.
Science is what makes lightbulbs go! The documentary fails at explaining the tradeoffs that go into making lightbulbs, and why the 1000 hour guideline was decided upon to begin with. That's all science.
ubertar wrote:
Our expected running hours for bulbs are actually due mostly to our EE and manufacturing standards, many of which are positive, particularly from an perspective that takes into account efficiency, safety and environmental concerns.
WTF does that have to do with the film? They were talking about something that happened 100 years ago. There were no regulations taking into account efficiency, safety and environmental concerns at the time.


What is the 1000 hour target but a market regulation developed by engineers? The truth is that the Centennial light puts out 4 WATTS. And much of that is wasted as heat! It would be easy to increase the longevity of incandescent bulbs -- But we'd have to reduce efficiency as well. More energy would be wasted as heat. Those are facts. The doc leaves them out. So I stopped watching.

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Post by ubertar » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:40 am

There are so many things wrong with your last post, Justin, I don't even know where to begin. I also wonder if it's worth the time to bother.
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Post by ubertar » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:05 am

Ah, fuck it. This is a waste of time, but here goes...
fossiltooth wrote:
ubertar wrote:
GooberNumber9 wrote:in order for a processor manufacturer to improve a processor, they must eventually change its architecture. A given architecture has a limited upgrade path. This isn't planned obselescence, it's just engineering and physics.
That's a reasonable point, which directly contradicts Justin's assertion that the reason computers aren't built to last is because of lack of demand.
there is currently no market demand for a computer that will last for 20 years. So they're simply not made that way.
Nope. What would contradict my point is if you could name a desktop computer that was made to last you for 20 years! :)
No, dude. You said the reason they're not made is because there's no demand. That they're not made is a given. It's not proof or even evidence for what you're saying. It makes much more sense that they're not made because it's not really possible, for technological reasons. So my original position (that it was planned obsolescence) and yours (lack of demand) were both wrong.
fossiltooth wrote:
ubertar wrote:I love how you guys keep saying, "this is not a conspiracy" when I never said it was a conspiracy.
Um... It's in the title of the movie. Are we reading the same thread? :D
For fuck's sake. When people are saying that, it's not in the context of lightbulb longevity, which was the only conspiracy posited in the movie.
fossiltooth wrote:
ubertar wrote:There's no conspiracy involved, or necessary, just decisions made by individual companies.
This is pretty much exactly what I'm saying. Wait. Why are we arguing? : )
Because you spouted a bunch of arrogant, dismissive nonsense about planned obsolescence and a movie you didn't watch.
fossiltooth wrote:
ubertar wrote:Pseudoscience? There's nothing in that film that purports to be science. I don't see how you can make that claim.
Science is what makes lightbulbs go! The documentary fails at explaining the tradeoffs that go into making lightbulbs, and why the 1000 hour guideline was decided upon to begin with. That's all science.
You can argue that they left out facts that contradict their thesis, but unless they're making shit up, it's not pseudoscience. It may be poor reporting, or deliberately misleading, but it's not pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is fake science. Are you saying scientific claims they made are wrong and based on false principles?
fossiltooth wrote:
ubertar wrote:
Our expected running hours for bulbs are actually due mostly to our EE and manufacturing standards, many of which are positive, particularly from an perspective that takes into account efficiency, safety and environmental concerns.
WTF does that have to do with the film? They were talking about something that happened 100 years ago. There were no regulations taking into account efficiency, safety and environmental concerns at the time.


What is the 1000 hour target but a market regulation developed by engineers? The truth is that the Centennial light puts out 4 WATTS. And much of that is wasted as heat! It would be easy to increase the longevity of incandescent bulbs -- But we'd have to reduce efficiency as well. More energy would be wasted as heat. Those are facts. The doc leaves them out. So I stopped watching.
"A market regulation developed by engineers". :shock:
Where's the face-palm emoticon?
I really, really hope you didn't mean that literally. Please tell me it was a failed metaphor. You could argue that it was technologically undesirable to produce longer lasting bulbs because of low power and inefficiency, but that has absolutely nothing to do with market regulation. If these tradeoffs are unavoidable, there would be no reason why any company would care if its competitors put out longer lasting bulbs, since consumers wouldn't likely want them anyway. Were the documents showing industry collusion and fines for longer-lasting bulbs fakes? Maybe they were, but if you're going to argue that, then argue that.

Maybe you should go back and watch the rest of the film before continuing this conversation. It's more even-handed and less conspiracy-minded than you think. "Conspiracy" is in the title b/c it's attention-grabbing and sensational. Most of what they're talking about is mundane and ubiquitous-- things we take for granted and are generally numb to. It's not particularly eye-opening, but it didn't deserve the slam you gave it in your opening post.
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Post by ubertar » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:24 am

A quick google search shows that modern incandescent bulbs can last much longer than 1000 hours... I'm seeing 5K, 10K, 20K... is the technology in these new bulbs so different from what was available earlier? Are these nano-carbon-tube filaments or something? Or is this something that could have been done a long time ago but wasn't? Apparently the engineering hurdles to producing efficient, long-lasting incandescent light bulbs were not insurmountable. Whether the technology to clear those hurdles existed then or not I don't know.

edit:

Apparently, it's just the difference in filament thickness, so no special advanced technology involved. No safety issues or low wattage; just somewhat less light produced than a similarly rated shorter-lasting bulb:
311sw3gkhlL. SL160 Incandescent Light Bulb, Long Life A 21, Long Neck, 20,000 Hours, 150 Watt, Clear

150 Watts, 120 Volts, Made in U.S.A.
Shape: A21 (Length: 5 5/16″, Diameter: 2 5/8″)
Finish: Clear
Base: Medium (Brass)
Life: 20,000 Hours

Long life incandescent light bulbs use a thicker filament than standard light bulbs. A thicker filament burns longer and is substantially less susceptible to power spikes (the cause of most incandescent light bulb failures). However, the thicker the filament the less light will be produced. You can expect less light output from long life incandescent bulbs compared to standard incandescents.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:34 pm

Guys, when are we going to get to the part about whether or not Tesla actually invented a time-machine? Please get to that?

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Post by vvv » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:44 pm

Wait, Tesla, ...


... didn't they cover Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs"?
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Post by fossiltooth » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:05 pm

Ubertar -- I'm sorry to say that a lot of what you've written here is either poorly researched, self-contradictory, or just plain untrue.

Just for starters, it appears you're confusing incandescent bulbs with modern CFL and LED bulbs. The former last between 750 - 2,000 hours on average, the latter can last more like 10,000 - 50,000 hours on average. Longer burn times are technically achievable for both, but there are real engineering trade offs and actual efficiency regulations that prevent longer-burning bulbs from making it to the wider consumer market in many cases.

If you really want, I could go through what you've written point-by-point to comment on similar errors. But that would just make both of us look bad.

You're obviously a smart guy. It just seems clear that you're arguing from a very emotional place right now, and this little "debate" of ours is not focused on the issues at hand, nor is it an honest exchange of substantiated information. You'll have to forgive me if I don't participate further.

I have better things to do than get into name-calling matches on the Internet and to do research for people who don't want to hear it. I'm sure the same is true for you. At this point, it really seems we're arguing for the sake of arguing. That's where my interest starts to flag. You're welcome to the last word, should you choose to take it.

Thanks and be well,

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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:51 am

Justin,

It's true things got more heated than they should have, and I could have been more civil in my responses, and for that, I apologize.

I hope that bowing out of the conversation doesn't mean you're not going to read my response. I also hope you change your mind and decide to respond.

No, I haven't confused incandescent bulbs with CFLs and LEDs. In my last post above, I posted an example of an incandescent bulb advertised that lasts for 20,000 hours.

Here's one on Amazon, for just over two bucks, rated for 20,000 hours:
http://www.amazon.com/Incandescent-Ligh ... B000273T22

It took about two seconds to find it.
I'd consider Amazon part of the "wider consumer market".

Here are some more:
http://www.lightbulbsdirect.com/page/001/CTGY/IncanLL

If you're going to say things like, "a lot of what you've written here is either poorly researched, self-contradictory, or just plain untrue", you've got to back that up. You can't just throw words like that around. Every point I've made I've backed up with a rational argument you can either accept or refute. You also show that you're not interested in what others have to say-- clearly you missed my example of an incandescent bulb lasting 20K hours because you just assumed that I was confusing it with CFL or LED. You assumed, instead of reading and considering, even though it was right there. You did the same thing with the movie. You saw a few minutes, and assumed you knew the rest, and went on to say things based on willful ignorance.

Your first post in this thread shows a misunderstanding of what "planned obsolescence" is. Making cheap sandals that wear out isn't planned obsolescence. That's just plain old obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is designing something to fail after a certain amount of time or number of uses, that would otherwise last longer, like the counter chip in some printers that stops it from working after a certain number of prints. A conspiracy would be if a bunch of printer companies got together and decided to install those chips in their printers. I don't think that's going on. But if one company does it on its own, while it's not a conspiracy, it's still unethical, and possibly illegal. When Apple put out ipods with irreplaceable batteries that crapped out after 18 months, and told people to just buy a new ipod, they lost in a class-action suit.

Whether the major light-bulb manufacturers in the 1920s got together and agreed to limit light bulb life to 1000 hours so they'd collectively sell more light bulbs or not, I don't know. It's not implausible, given the state of antitrust laws at the time and the massive power of big business in the pre-Depression era.

The filmmakers clearly have an agenda and are pushing their view, but they do present some evidence. Some of that evidence doesn't really support their position, like the 100 year bulb which puts out hardly any light. So their bringing that up is a little underhanded. But it doesn't make their overall thesis untrue. It is interesting how lots of long-lasting incandescent bulbs have sprung up since CFLs and LEDs have been on the market and government (not industry) regulations threaten the existence of inefficient bulbs. That, to me, gives credence to the idea the limit was deliberate and not an engineering necessity, even though it wasn't mentioned in the film.

There's a Time Magazine article from 1945 about the Phoebus cartel, which could shed some light (heh) on this, but it's behind a paywall:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 25,00.html
I'm curious to find out what's there. Any subscribers here?

The light bulb thing is just one example, though. The main points are about planned obsolescence-- an unethical practice, and consumerism in general, and even if the film is a bit heavy-handed in making its points, I think it's worth checking out.

I hope you do read this, and respond. Just because we have an argument doesn't mean I dislike you. But it is frustrating when you don't make or respond to specific points, and instead make assumptions and general pronouncements.
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Post by chris harris » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:11 am

ubertar wrote:The filmmakers clearly have an agenda and are pushing their view, but they do present some evidence. Some of that evidence doesn't really support their position, like the 100 year bulb which puts out hardly any light. So their bringing that up is a little underhanded. But it doesn't make their overall thesis untrue. It is interesting how lots of long-lasting incandescent bulbs have sprung up since CFLs and LEDs have been on the market and government (not industry) regulations threaten the existence of inefficient bulbs. That, to me, gives credence to the idea the limit was deliberate and not an engineering necessity, even though it wasn't mentioned in the film.
If the 100 year bulb doesn't support their position because it puts out hardly any light, couldn't it be argued that the "long-life incandescent bulbs" don't support their position either? The thicker filament produces less light than a thinner filament. Perhaps at the time, the market demanded a brighter light bulb? And, now, in an era where a room may have a half a dozen or more lightbulbs, the output of an individual bulb is less important.

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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:25 am

chris harris wrote:If the 100 year bulb doesn't support their position because it puts out hardly any light, couldn't it be argued that the "long-life incandescent bulbs" don't support their position either? The thicker filament produces less light than a thinner filament. Perhaps at the time, the market demanded a brighter light bulb? And, now, in an era where a room may have a half a dozen or more lightbulbs, the output of an individual bulb is less important.
It could be argued, sure. But if the limit was purely a result of market forces, then wouldn't there have been some niche market that persisted for longer-lasting bulbs, at least for a time? It takes time for market forces to play out. It also makes sense that for some applications, say, factory floors where there is lots of open space and high ceilings (making it hard to replace bulbs) there would be demand for a long-lasting bulb. Someone could keep making them and find a market and survive, I would think. Or light bulbs in submarines-- they need to be heavy duty and long-lasting. You can't go out to the store to get more when you're out at sea for six months at a stretch. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that these same companies were making mil-spec bulbs during that same time period that lasted longer and were less fragile that weren't made available to the general public.
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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:39 am

Thanks for the soothing tones ubertar.

I'm still not sure if this is the right place to have a conversation about lightbulbs. But if you really want to continue, All I can offer you is some essential information that I think both you and the film are missing.

Like I've already agreed, incandescent bulbs with the lifespans you've linked are certainly possible on a technical level. It's just that there are huge tradeoffs that make them extremely unpopular on the wider market. Fact is, they're just kinda crappy by consumer standards, so stores don't really sell them. (Also, there are very progressive regulations against them in many cases, and for good reason. More on that in a minute.)

For instance, on your Amazon link, they leave out how many lumens the bulb puts out at that power. If you do scroll down and click on some of the links that do include measures of light output as lumens, you'll find that even the best extra-long life incandescent bulbs put out half the lumens at the same wattage.

Here's some random crappy 1,000 hour 75-watt bulb. 1080 Lumens.

Here's one of your 10,000 hour 75-watt bulbs. 580 Lumens.

And here's the happy customer's 2 star review:
I could no longer find the 75 watt clear bulbs made by G.E., that I like so well, so I turned to 1000Bulbs to get a bulk order of incandescents before CFEs take over. Unfortunately, I found out after the purchase that bulbs with a longer estimated usage time probably are less bright than those with shorter usage times. I got exactly what I ordered; unfortunately, the bulbs turned out to be exactly what I did not want. Sometimes on-line purchases are a great deal; other times they are not, as in this case. Yet I don't hold 1000Bulbs responsible. I should have called and asked my question before my purchase, except I didn't know at the time it would be an issue.
I'll let Metafilter give more context. (I've added emphasis to one especially pertinent bit.) If you really want to have this conversation, maybe go there, or to Quora? I just don't think it's appropriate for the TOMB. Over at those places, you'll find some real EEs who can give you the specifics.
http://ask.metafilter.com/26344/Was-Edi ... out#415497
This sounds like you've heard one of those "some guy invented a car that runs on water (but the auto industry had him rubbed out)" urban legends -- i.e. that Edison invented a bulb with very long life, but the manufacturers prefer to produce bulbs that need replacement.

There's a grain of truth here, and that is -- well, a bit from Wikipedia:

"Incandescent lamps are very sensitive to changes in the supply voltage. These characteristics are of great practical and economic importance.... 5% reduction in operating voltage will double the life of the bulb, at the expense of reducing its light output by 20%. This may be a very acceptable tradeoff for a light bulb that is a difficult-to-access location (for example, traffic lights or fixtures hung from high ceilings). So-called "long-life" bulbs are simply bulbs in which this tradeoff is designed in.... Operating a 100 watt, 1000 hour, 1700 lumen bulb at half voltage would extend its life to about 65,000,000 hours or over 7000 years ? while reducing light output to 160 lumens, about the equivalent of a normal 15 watt bulb."

Similarly, there are "light bulb life extenders" that you can insert -- which basically reduce the voltage flowing through the filament to a level which doesn't stress it as much. The article goes on to cite examples such as the firehouse lightbulb that has burned for more than a century -- but the news stories rarely point out that it burns at 4 watts, meaning this is less an inherent property of the bulb as the conditions under which it has been used.

You could probably extend the life of all the bulbs you own in your house right now to the very end of your residence in that building -- but you'd have to live in a pretty dim house.

Despite the math, it doesn't appear to be the case that it's easy -- in Edison's day or now -- to manufacture a bulb at typical cost which will last much longer than the ~1500 hours of a typical incandescent bulb.

Fluorescents, of course, are another matter entirely -- since there is no filament to deteriorate, they can last a great deal longer, and they are also much more efficient due to their lesser reliance on heat energy. I've replaced all but a few "reading" lights in my house with fluorescents, and the difference is astounding -- I almost don't remember the last time I had to change a bulb. At less than 1/4 the power requirements, the extra expense of the fluoros (even subsidized) is easily made back, and there are other savings in terms of less excess heat in the summer that would have to be air-conditioned out (and the lost heat in the winter is easily made up by the furnace, which is far more efficient).
And all this is setting aside the fact that in the US and EU, many of those less efficient bulbs are illegal because of how much power they waste. In many cases, companies can only legally offer old stocks of them for sale. They can't build or buy new ones for the American market -- and for good reason! Both the environmental toll due to increased power consumption, and the number of consumer complaints about misleading product claims, would be pretty much intolerable.

And that's not even to mention that online companies that eschew US and EU regulations can sell bulbs that have wildly inflated advertised life spans. In fact, our so-called "1,000 hour" bulbs often last much longer than that. That's simply the point by which half are expected to stop working. The truth is that the lightbulb regulations we have are largely progressive. Not the other way around. And that's what this film misses.

In the real world, there are a lot of tradeoffs. A film like this oversimplifies the issues and leaves viewers lacking essential context and information. I mean, did you get any of this context from the film? I didn't. So I shut it off an called it crap.

Generally, I agree with its underlying premise: That we live in too consumerist of a culture and buy too much cheap unnecessary crap that's gonna break or get thrown away. I just don't like people leaving out half the story in order to make their point. It makes for a weak point and a lot of misinformation.

Thanks for your passion on this, but I think you just don't have the full story. I'm sure there are many other things we can agree on: Are their bad actors out that who sabotage their own products in one way or another to make an extra buck? Absolutely. Thankfully, we have both laws and purchasing powers to punish those companies appropriately.

But ultimately, $40 printers don't suck because of a conspiracy. They suck because they're cheap crap and there are tradeoffs to making cheap crap. (And in case you're interested, refilling your own printer cartridges kinda sucks. Not worth it at all: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-S ... s-worth-it)

But if you want to go out and buy a printer/copier printer that's going to last you for a couple decades, you absolutely can. There's a real market for that, so they certainly do exist. They just don't cost $40!

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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:56 am

Light bulb regulations now are progressive. In the 1920s, not so much.

I would accept your argument above if longer-than-1000-hour bulbs gradually faded from the market due to lack of demand (though there'd still probably be a niche market, as I said to Chris above). But apparently, that's not what happened. The leading light bulb manufacturers got together and set standards, and the longer-lasting bulbs stopped being produced, all at once. Unless that's a lie-- but I haven't seen anyone disputing that part, only the reasons behind it. These weren't government standards-- those came much later, and there's no conflating the two.

Yes, there are lots of crappy printers that die just because they suck. That says nothing about a particular make and model of printer that has a counter chip that tells you the printer needs maintenance after a certain count, and stops working, and customer service tells you to just buy a new printer. Do you really think there aren't companies that do things like that? It sounds like you acknowledge that there are companies who do those things, but you have more faith in the system to stop them from getting away with it than I do.

Most printers are cheap, not because they're crappy, but because they don't mind taking a loss on the printer b/c they more than make up for it with the ink. I haven't gone so far as to refill cartridges on my own, but you can get pre-refilled cartridges for much cheaper than new ones, and IME they work fine.

If you had said what you just said above in the first place, instead of PROPAGANDA!!! AVOID!! Don't fall for it! Pseudoscience!! (I'm paraphrasing, obviously) it wouldn't have rankled me like it did.

Hey, if you're getting tired of this conversation, I don't mind ending it here. Peace.
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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:29 am

ubertar wrote:Light bulb regulations now are progressive. In the 1920s, not so much...

I would accept your argument above if longer-than-1000-hour bulbs gradually faded from the market due to lack of demand (though there'd still probably be a niche market, as I said to Chris above). But apparently, that's not what happened. The leading light bulb manufacturers got together and set standards, and the longer-lasting bulbs stopped being produced, all at once. Unless that's a lie-- but I haven't seen anyone disputing that part, only the reasons behind it. These weren't government standards-- those came much later, and there's no conflating the two.
I understand where you're coming from. But it doesn't have to be an outright lie to be worthy of dispute.

Think of it this way: Maybe the industry had to create conventions and standards on its own, because there was no governing body in existence yet that could make these standards on such a new technology. And perhaps those standards really did stamp out nefarious activity like as misleading longevity claims, wasted power, and a race to make more and more inefficient bulbs as a misleading marketing strategy that would sap credibility from the entire industry.

It's somewhat telling that as soon as government was capable of regulating these things on a legal level, they adopted many of the same conventions. If these conventions were really that counter-productive, wouldn't we have been right to change them? They're literally the same regulations in many cases. How could the same rules be progressive now, but somehow un-progressive then?

Honestly, I think that having useful lightbulbs that use less power is better than having extremely low-output lightbulbs that waste literally, twice as much power. That's true to me no matter which way you look at it: A a consumer, as someone who cares about the environment, as someone who's interested in hidden costs. But more on that in a minute.
ubertar wrote:Yes, there are lots of crappy printers that die just because they suck. That says nothing about a particular make and model of printer that has a counter chip that tells you the printer needs maintenance after a certain count, and stops working, and customer service tells you to just buy a new printer.
I don't have nearly as much expertise in cheap crappy printers, so I can't comment on this authoritatively. But I have a feeling that if you really investigated the films claims, these "counters" may be far less nefarious, or far more necessary than the film lets on. That's clearly the case with how they addressed lightbulbs. Based on their failures there, they just don't have any credibility for me. If you have some more reputable sources you'd like to share, I'd be happy to check 'em out! But I think the real story is likely to be a lot more nuanced.
ubertar wrote:Most printers are cheap, not just because they're crappy, but also because they don't mind taking a loss on the printer b/c they more than make up for it with the ink. I haven't gone so far as to refill cartridges on my own, but you can get pre-refilled cartridges for much cheaper than new ones, and IME they work fine.
Fixed that for you! ;)

It's true: The cost of some printers is kept artificially low in order to appeal to consumers. It's just like how the cost of our iPhones and other gadgets is often kept artificially low, and we pay for their true cost through our inflated service contracts instead. All that comes down to human psychology.

If we wanted to pay less for ink, we'd have to pay more for the printer up front, and that which scares many consumers away. So, companies artificially lower the price of printers and then inflate the price of ink. Consumers unfortunately, seem to reward them for this behavior, which is pretty dumb of us.

If we use a lot of ink, there's a good chance that buying an appropriately-priced printer that used generic ink would save us money. But what often ends up happening instead is that we'll see another company offers a printer that's artificially lowered to half the price and then we buy that instead -- Even if it costs us more in ink fees in the long run. The printer companies know this about us and price their products accordingly. It's kind of our own dumbass fault.

If industry or government got together to regulate this stuff in order to help prevent us from being dumbasses (much like they're done with lightbulbs) I'd be all for it. But it would almost certainly have the side effect of driving up the price of printers in the short-run. This requires no conspiracy -- Just natural market incentives.

Now, I'm not saying that the early lightbulb trusts didn't "fix" higher prices. That's just wrong. What I'm saying is that if those regulations were wise and were reinforced by government, they wouldn't have to. Higher prices in the short term would be a simple function of that very useful regulation. But here's the fun part: once we rule out putting insanely inefficient lightbulbs on the market, companies can then focus on beating eachother at making better efficient lightbulbs. In the absence of an illegal trust, this would only drive down consumer prices in the long run -- on an what's ultimately superior product that serves the consumer better. So that's why government adopted the same conventions and simply busted the illegal trust. And it was a damn good call!

If anything, those super-long life bulbs were a lot like cheap crappy printers: Save on buying new lightbulbs, spend more on your electric bill! See how that works? For the same amount of light, you'd have to install twice as many bulbs, each of which would waste far more power than a single shorter-life bulb!

Honestly, I think we really need more great consumer-friendly mags out there that provide more real education about this stuff. The only problem is that they require subscription support to take precedence over ad support, and it's hard to get consumers to pay for subscriptions right now! If only there were some really good consumer journals that could convince folks that it's in their best interest to pay through subscriptions rather than through ad exposure. Oh snap! Catch 22. : )
ubertar wrote:If you had said what you just said above in the first place, instead of PROPAGANDA!!! AVOID!! Don't fall for it! Pseudoscience!! (I'm paraphrasing, obviously) it wouldn't have rankled me like it did.
I'm sorry to say it then, but I stand by those comments. I really do believe there's a lot of one-sided propaganda and scientific blindness in what I saw. I'm sorry if that rankles you further. But they just didn't do their research. Either that, or they explicitly ignored the side of it that wasn't convenient to their message.

I'm really not looking for a fight here. It's just that when I see important information missing I have a deep compulsion to throw it out there. I know that can be annoying sometimes, so my apologies in advance if I do it again!
ubertar wrote:Hey, if you're getting tired of this conversation, I don't mind ending it here. Peace.
No worries and no hard feelings! I just really feel like that film left a lot out and it bugged me. So we've both been bugged. But I think we are pretty far OT right now, and you're definitely right: we should probably reel it in.
Last edited by fossiltooth on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:58 am

fossiltooth wrote:when I see important information missing I have a deep compulsion to throw it out there.
You didn't, though. Not until later in the conversation. Really. Go back to your first post on this topic (half-way down page 3) and take a look. Not one solid piece of information, just lots of opinions. And a clear misunderstanding of the meaning of planned obsolescence.

I think you give corporations too much credit, and ordinary people not enough. We have the same information but interpret it differently.

One additional point that does argue in your favor, though, is that GE was producing electricity at the time (I'm not sure if they still had a monopoly by the 1920s or not), so it would have been in their financial interest to sell bulbs that were less efficient, even if it cut into their bulb sales. To think that in the 1920s they were concerned about environmental impact is laughable (sorry). No one was thinking about that then. Their environmental record since then hasn't been so hot either (to put it mildly).

Sorry-- couldn't help myself. *pries hands from keyboard*
Last edited by ubertar on Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:31 am

ubertar wrote:
fossiltooth wrote:when I see important information missing I have a deep compulsion to throw it out there.
You didn't, though. Not until later in the conversation. Really. Go back to your first post on this topic (half-way down page 3) and take a look.
That's true: I didn't write a thousand word refutation of the film because it was my opinion was not the film was not worth the time or the energy. Because I felt it was that bad and misinforming.

But, I did write that refutation just now because you demanded it, and I felt your demand for that information was worth my time. I hope you took the time to read it in full -- because it touches on each and every one of the concerns you raised.
ubertar wrote:We have the same information but interpret it differently.
We have the same information now! :D But c'mon -- We didn't when the thread began though. If we did, we wouldn't have gotten into the argument in the first place.

I mean, did you really know all the stuff about lightbulb efficiency that I just took the time to type out? Did you know that the centennial light is 4 watts and that most of that energy is wasted as heat? Did you already know that longer-living lightbulbs generally end up costing the consumer more, not less in the long run, and that they are worse for the environment too? And that they're actually more like the printer/ink situation you dislike so much? And that regulation is what put an end to that? Because the film doesn't mention any of that.

I assume that most people don't go into the film knowing all that. Because if they did, they'd go: "Oh. This is terribly one-sided! Why are they leaving out the rest of the story?"

I mean, is this a topic you've researched extensively in the past? Because unless it is, why would you know any of those things? These answers are out there. They're just not common knowledge. And that's what this film preys on. I just happen to know some of this stuff because I'm a total f*ing weirdo!

For future reference, I'm generally not going to make an assertive statement about something that I don't have mountains of research on in my back pocket. Because what would be the point? I'd just be blowing hot air. I know that this is kinda weird, and maybe not the way most people work, but again: total f*ing weirdo over here! Now you know. : )
ubertar wrote:a clear misunderstanding of the meaning of planned obsolescence.
I'm sorry ubertar, but I might have to turn that one around on ya: Planned obsolescence is not what led to 1,000 hour lightbulbs. Real-world engineering tradeoffs did. That's just not what that term means!
ubertar wrote:I think you give corporations too much credit, and ordinary people not enough.
Nope. I'm giving Electrical Engineers credit and I'm giving markets credit for doing both good and bad in the world.

Markets are collections of people. Oftentimes, they make really smart decisions. Sometimes they make counter-productive decisions. That's when regulations are handy. To make for better markets that serve everyone better: Consumers, workers, investors, employers, families -- everybody. It's not an easy goal, and no system will ever be perfect, but dammit, we've gotta work towards making them better. In that effort, misinformation and one-sided stories just don't help.

The only think I'm really giving credit to here is the scientific method and the value of a deep understanding of the fundamentals of microeconomics. Both those things are incredibly balls-to-the-wall awesome when it comes to creating better systems. One sided, poorly-researched propaganda films? Not so much.

An another thing: The word "system" has become to stigmatized. In reality you can't "smash the system." I mean, you can, but when you do, another one just pops up. And who knows? It may very well suck far worse.

Better perhaps to work to improve systems to be better and fairer for everybody. That's my take, anyway.

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