iLok turned me into Pirate

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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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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:02 pm

Aargh! Here we go again.

The info about the trade-off between efficiency and bulb life was new to me, and I appreciate that info. It's something you could have referenced in your first post on the topic, but didn't.

You claim to give markets credit, but the market was left out of this decision. It was not made by markets. If different bulbs were on the market, with a whole spectrum of variations on that trade-off, the market could have responded. If the trade-off wasn't worth it, the market would sort that out. No need for companies to collude. But that's not what happened.

Engineers at corporations are employees. They advise the people who make decisions; they don't make the decisions.

Your sandals example is what shows you don't get the concept of planned obsolescence. You can argue that the limit on light bulb life was not the result of planned obsolescence, but that's beside the point that you've been using the term incorrectly. "That's just not what that term means!" in your last post is a non-sequitur.
On the matter of planned obsolescence: You don't need a conspiracy for that. All you need are market demands. There's a market demand for $2 sandals, so companies make them. It's not economically sustainable to make $2 sandals that don't fall apart, so $2 sandals fall apart.
I agree it doesn't take a conspiracy to have planned obsolescence, but stuff falling apart because it's cheaply made is not an example of it.
fossiltooth wrote: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.
Did I even use the word "system" in this whole conversation? This is from left field.
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fossiltooth
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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:29 pm

Well, it sounds like we agree on a lot then! I guess our only real sticking point is the definition of "planned obsolescence."

The results on the first page of Google say things like this:
"A method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use. "

"A manufacturing decision by a company to make consumer products in such a way that they become out-of-date or useless within a known time period. "

"The policy of deliberately limiting the life of a product in order to encourage the purchaser to replace it"

"A policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time."
But here's what these definitions don't answer: For something to qualify as being created with planned obsolescence in mind, can its shortened life span be a product of cost-saving choices or engineering decisions that may have positive effects? Or, does its shortened life span have to come from completely arbitrary choices that are only made to limit functionality?

If it's the former, that means that lightbulbs, cheap sandals and computers all count as being subject to "planned obsolescence", and that the practice is not necessarily bad for consumers. It can actually be a legitimate answer to market demands. That's the way I'm using it. (I think it's the common contemporary usage. It seems to be the way the film is using it.)

If it's the latter, then lightbulbs and cheap sandals and computers could not be counted under "planned obsolescence" at all. In that case, the counters inside printers only would qualify if they're just put in there in order to break the machine completely before it would otherwise have broken. (I have no idea if that's how it actually works, but based on their other failures, I have no faith that the filmmakers presented that accurately!) That's the way you seem to be using the term.

Unfortunately, none of the definitions I see here spell it out one way or the other. So really, either of us could be right! Of course, if you have a more complete definition from a truly authoritative source, I'd be interested to read it.

Anyway, yes: That bit about systems was totally left-field, and aimed at the great ether -- Nothing to do with you! : ) But (slightly) more on topic, I think that the word "corporations" is weirdly stigmatized too. Right?

I mean, you ask people what they think about "corporations" and they gnash their teeth and say they're the end of western civilization as we know it. But if you ask those very same people what they think about Google and Apple, they'll act like they're completely infallible unicorn-riding cherubs-in-shining armor. (Spoiler alert: They're "corporations!" : ) Neither view is healthy, I think.

Other than the whole "definition of planned obsolescence" thing, I think we've finally worn ourselves out here. Gee -- I wonder if anyone besides us was even listening! : D

Thanks and be well,

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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:51 pm

Heh. Apple. I think they're absolutely evil. But that's a whole other can of worms. Google's not so wonderful either. They're both corporations, and they're both a big part of what I think of when I think of "corporations".

In the film, they basically talk about two kinds of planned obsolescence.

Both of them could fit under this definition: "A policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time."

The first is out and out malignant, and unethical, the no longer functional half of the last clause: That would be like the printer counter chip example, setting aside whether it was accurate or not (we're just talking about the principle now). Another example they gave was nylon stockings, and how the first ones made by Dupont were very durable and didn't run, so they sent their engineers back to work to make them not as durable. Again, for the sake of defining the word, it's the principle that matters, not whether this particular example really happened-- treat it as a hypothetical.

The other one corresponds to the unfashionable part of the above definition, and they talked a lot about how consumerism was heavily promoted beginning in the 50s to a degree that was unprecedented. This is more benign than the first one, and the consumer shares responsibility-- a point which was made in the film.
For something to qualify as being created with planned obsolescence in mind, can its shortened life span be a product of cost-saving choices or engineering decisions that may have positive effects? Or, does its shortened life span have to come from completely arbitrary choices that are only made to limit functionality?


I don't think there's anything arbitrary about it, so I can't agree with your second choice. The first is not planned obsolescence. There have always been differing levels of quality among similar goods, going back to clovis points and turquoise beads. Planned obsolescence is a way of thinking that didn't come into being until the 20th century.

If you make something cheap, knowing it won't last long, and your customers know it won't last long but buy it because they're ok with that because it's cheap, that's not planned obsolescence. That's just a consumer choice. If you make something cheap and it turns out to be more durable than you thought it would be, and you go back and redesign it to fall apart so people will have to buy a new one sooner, that's planned obsolescence. If you heavily advertise and work to create a culture where your product is seen as a status symbol and something fashionable, and to be "cool" you've got to have the latest model, and a fully functional older model isn't socially acceptable, that's planned obsolescence. Apple has been extremely effective at the latter of these. They're the absolute masters of this. They tried their hand at the first (batteries went bad after 18 mos. in early ipods and they told people to just get a new ipod) and got burned.
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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:13 pm

I don't think stimulating demand for your next product by purposefully making your last product "unfashionable" (through advertising) is any less evil than by making your last product break at a certain time. The earth (and therefore, we consumers) can't really afford either practice any longer. They're both planned obsolescence.

"Don't worry about making that iPod too tough, we'll just put out ads that make it look stupid to sell the next batch."

vs.

"Make that iPod a little more brittle, so we can sell the next batch."

What's the diff, really?

What I wish someone would start planning, is the obsolescence of capitalism.
Carl Keil

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:28 pm

>>>>What I wish someone would start planning, is the obsolescence of capitalism.<<<<

If there was only some way to make some money off of it...

GJ
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Post by vvv » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:03 pm

I, myself, continue to engage in planned adolescence.
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ubertar
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Post by ubertar » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:35 pm

Carl,

To me the difference is one of responsibility-- if you design a thing to break, you bear full responsibility for that; if you convince people they have to have the latest model to be cool, the customers share responsibility with you.

One could argue that the latter is actually more evil, because you're seducing others into evil, including those who are young and impressionable and don't know any better. Apple... apple... Adam... Eve... snake... heh. Apple.
get a hammered sound from guitar or bass! http://www.stringhammer.com
hand-made version to raise money for manufacturing... kind of like kickstarter, but you get a fully functional item now

Album!
https://paulrubenstein.bandcamp.com/album/one-eye-awake

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Post by joel hamilton » Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:19 pm

Tapeop does not support stealing.

Thanks.
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