Author Topic: Video on planned obsolescence.  (Read 6641 times)

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Offline tooki

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #50 on: April 08, 2021, 04:24:10 pm »
If a filament is suspended in a perfect vacuum, do we agree that the only way it can lose heat is by radiation?  (IR + light)
I guess so, maybe. But it doesn’t matter, since incandescent light bulbs don’t use vacuums. The envelopes are filled with inert gas at roughly a bit below ambient pressure, such that the glass envelope isn’t under any real pressure. If they were under vacuum, the glass envelope would have to be much more robust, plus it makes the manufacturing far more complex. (As vacuum tube manufacturing shows us!) Instead of pulling a high vacuum they just shove a hose in and pump in the inert gas, which pushes out the air.* Since it’s at ambient pressure, it can then be “lazily” sealed off without the complexity of having to maintain high vacuum during pinch-off.

*Edit: hmm, I double checked in response to replies, and indeed the videos I found showed that they pumped out the air and then added the inert gas fill. But I know I saw the flushing-the-air-out-with-inert-gas method for manufacturing something, and it’s gonna bug the hell out of me that I can’t remember what it is!

I was thinking about the implications of a coiled filament.  It seems to me that by coiling the filament, it cannot radiate from half its surface (the IR radiation on the inside of the coil is balanced by the IR radiation coming in from the opposite side).  So a coiled filament will run hotter than the same length of filament that has not been coiled.  -  Which in turn means that a coiled filament could be made from thicker wire, and might therefore last longer...  ?



Thats not what a filament looks like. It’s a much, much more open coil, and again, it’s a coil of coiled wire, totally changing the radiation formula: nowhere near half is being reflected back in. It does make a difference, and indeed it’s part of why we do it.

The <1” (2.5cm) of filament in a bulb is actually around 20” (50cm) of coiled coiled wire.


« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 11:29:44 am by tooki »
 
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Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #51 on: April 08, 2021, 05:02:00 pm »
If they were under vacuum, the glass envelope would have to be much more robust, plus it makes the manufacturing far more complex. (As vacuum tube manufacturing shows us!) Instead of pulling a high vacuum they just shove a hose in and pump in the inert gas, which pushes out the air. Since it’s at ambient pressure, it can then be “lazily” sealed off without the complexity of having to maintain high vacuum during pinch-off.
Not true. Air is pumped out thus creating vacuum inside and only then inert gas is filled.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #52 on: April 08, 2021, 06:00:56 pm »
I guess so, maybe. But it doesn’t matter, since incandescent light bulbs don’t use vacuums. The envelopes are filled with inert gas at roughly ambient pressure, such that the glass envelope isn’t under any real pressure. If they were under vacuum, the glass envelope would have to be much more robust, plus it makes the manufacturing far more complex. (As vacuum tube manufacturing shows us!) Instead of pulling a high vacuum they just shove a hose in and pump in the inert gas, which pushes out the air. Since it’s at ambient pressure, it can then be “lazily” sealed off without the complexity of having to maintain high vacuum during pinch-off.

Lots of bulbs do use vacuums, typically below about 40 watts, this is because as the wattage goes down and the filament is thinner, the convective losses of a gas fill become much more pronounced. The pressure is not an issue at all, vacuum tubes for example are obviously vacuum filled and the envelopes on those are not any thicker than light bulbs. It actually isn't as simple as just "shoving a hose in", it's necessary to draw a fairly hard vacuum and bake out impurities before backfilling with inert gas. Getting lazy with this process is one reason a lot of cheap bulbs don't last very long. The inert gas fill is done for only one reason, to reduce the evaporation of tungsten by increasing the pressure inside the bulb, it doesn't save any manufacturing effort.
 

Online MikeK

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #53 on: April 08, 2021, 06:02:22 pm »
And Bill Hammack needs to make more videos, dammit.
 
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Online SilverSolder

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #54 on: April 08, 2021, 06:32:39 pm »

According to the reference posted by @Wolfram (perfect handle for this topic!), http://lamptech.co.uk/Documents/IN%20Operation.htm ,  the losses due to gas convection is only 20%, most of the energy goes out of the bulb via radiation.
 

Offline helius

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #55 on: April 08, 2021, 07:06:14 pm »
There were some incandescent bulbs with built in diodes to allow the use of a shorter and thicker filament for a given wattage, often marketed as "solid state enhanced". They did not achieve much popularity since they appeared around the time CFLs became affordable.
They existed a lot longer than that. Here is an article from Inc. Magazine from March, 1986:
https://www.inc.com/magazine/19860301/9470.html

As the article mentions, diode buttons that insert in lamp sockets were already available (at least as early as the 1970s).
The story of DioLight is interesting. They made two, relatively minor, "innovations": the diode is wired inside the bulb base, and there is a metal reflector around the stem. They had difficulties finding contract manufacturers:
"As soon as we told them we wanted to make a long-life bulb, they'd say, 'No way, Jose. We're in the bulb-replacement business.'"

The Inc. article doesn't get into the technical reasons that DioLights can last for 50 years, but voltage reduction is only part of it. The other aspect is the aforementioned temperature coefficient of resistance. Tungsten has a tempco of +0.0045, but silicon has a tempco of -0.07. That makes it very easy to compensate for the turn-on surge and avoid burning out the filament by rapid heating. Carbon is another material with a negative coefficient, but at -0.0005 its magnitude is unhelpfully small.

Of course, nothing truly lasts forever, so DioLight's lifetime guarantee would eventually backfire. The company failed much sooner for unrelated reasons.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #56 on: April 08, 2021, 07:26:50 pm »
It was common for halogen retrofit lamps in the 90s to use a diode, I have a few of the ones that are in an oddly shaped thick glass envelope, Sylvania I think, which have a diode inside the base. One of the issues though is the half-wave rectified power causes visible flicker. They are claimed to last longer than conventional incandescent lamps although I remember my grandmother bought one when I was a kid and it didn't really last much longer than an ordinary bulb, despite being much more expensive.

I also remember those buttons you could stick on the bottom of the lamp and screw-in adapters, they did greatly increase the lamp life so they had some uses in hard to reach locations, but they brought with them the same compromises as conventional long-life lamps, the light was dimmer, yellowish and considerably less efficient. The same old trade of lifespan vs efficiency.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #57 on: April 08, 2021, 09:14:13 pm »

Surprisingly many people will argue there is no such thing as planned obsolescence...

And people will argue that it exists where it doesn't, or where it's just incompetence or cost-cutting.  "Yeah, maaaaan, they had a carburetor back in the 70's that got 100MPG maaaaaan.  But they don't want you to know."

Sure, but that's not what was being discussed in the video:   we are talking about hard-core planned obsolescence.

I can see it could be hard for e.g. an Apple fan-boi to admit they are being taken advantage of this way, but nevertheless, that is what is happening to them.
Or maybe it’s because it’s actually not. The useful lifespans of Apple products is well above average, and this has been the case since the 80s.* Apple provides OS updates for its phones and tablets for 5+ years, far above the 0-2 years typical in the Android world. (My iPad is from 2014 and still gets OS updates, and is still more than snappy enough for daily use. My 2015 iPhone 6S running the current iOS is nearly as snappy as my year-old SE. I only upgraded because I couldn’t get replacement parts quickly enough due to COVID delays, and my screen was cracked.)
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors. The consensus seems to be they're fairly reliable. Apple frequently get criticised for making new products incompatible, with accessories designed for older products and updates which deliberately slow the device down.

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*Through the mid 2000s, researchers continuously found that Windows PCs were replaced after an average of 3 years, while the average Mac was replaced after 4-5 years. Between the longer lifespan and the dramatically higher resale value, the higher up-front cost was more than compensated. Since then, the average useful lives of both PCs and Macs has risen a lot, but the much higher resale value of used Macs is still the case.
That's not been the case for a long time though. I've had the same computer for nearly five years and it was nine years old, when I got it. The only upgrades were the RAM and a solid state hard drive.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #58 on: April 08, 2021, 09:33:21 pm »
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors.
Their cables last a few months in average and are sold at huge premium. Competitor cables last for years and are much cheaper. Before they removed user ratings:

 

Offline james_s

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #59 on: April 08, 2021, 09:37:59 pm »
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors.
Their cables last a few months in average and are sold at huge premium. Competitor cables last for years and are much cheaper. Before they removed user ratings:

While it's a small sample size, I'm still using the original cable that came with my iPhone SE. I still have the original cable that came with my iPhone 4 as well, although I replaced it after the cat chewed on the end but it still functioned. I have various gripes about Apple products but I have not had any issues with build quality.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #60 on: April 09, 2021, 01:53:12 am »
The switch to more advanced bulbs that have less "real world" life and at higher cost might be considered related to Planned Obsolescence:    basically, needlessly increase the complexity of a product so you can charge more for it.

This works best of all if you can lobby to have laws passed that bans the simple and inexpensive solution that you don't think is making you enough money...  especially if you think the public would not accept price rises on the existing, simpler product!

I could make the same statement about electronically commutated motors which replaced shaded pole motors in refrigerator evaporators because of EPA requirements.  I have never had one of these shaded pole motors fail, but I have had to replace the electronically commutated motor in my new refrigerator 6 times now in 10 years, and they cost $30 each.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #61 on: April 09, 2021, 02:01:22 am »
I could make the same statement about electronically commutated motors which replaced shaded pole motors in refrigerator evaporators because of EPA requirements.  I have never had one of these shaded pole motors fail, but I have had to replace the electronically commutated motor in my new refrigerator 6 times now in 10 years, and they cost $30 each.

I'm kind of surprised to hear they're THAT bad. Did you look into what actually failed? I've had the shaded pole motors fail before but it was only the bearings. My friend had a fridge in a rental house that would make weird chirping noises, I immediately identified it as bearing failure in the evaporator fan motor but they had no clue what it was.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #62 on: April 09, 2021, 02:22:36 am »
I could make the same statement about electronically commutated motors which replaced shaded pole motors in refrigerator evaporators because of EPA requirements.  I have never had one of these shaded pole motors fail, but I have had to replace the electronically commutated motor in my new refrigerator 6 times now in 10 years, and they cost $30 each.

I'm kind of surprised to hear they're THAT bad. Did you look into what actually failed? I've had the shaded pole motors fail before but it was only the bearings. My friend had a fridge in a rental house that would make weird chirping noises, I immediately identified it as bearing failure in the evaporator fan motor but they had no clue what it was.

Bearing wear after a year is insignificant.  The electronics are failing.  The original and all of the replacements except one come from Switzerland but the most recent one, which has lasted the longest so far, was made in China.   :-//
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #63 on: April 09, 2021, 02:24:59 am »
Yeah the shaded pole motors I've had fail were all at least 15 years old. I'm still surprised these are that bad, I'd be curious to look inside one and see what is actually failing, it may be a good opportunity to improve the design. There is no inherent reason a motor like that can't be reliable, I mean the ubiquitous brushless DC muffin fans often last many years and in every one of those I can recall having fail it was bearings.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #64 on: April 09, 2021, 02:26:10 am »
The switch to more advanced bulbs that have less "real world" life and at higher cost might be considered related to Planned Obsolescence:    basically, needlessly increase the complexity of a product so you can charge more for it.

This works best of all if you can lobby to have laws passed that bans the simple and inexpensive solution that you don't think is making you enough money...  especially if you think the public would not accept price rises on the existing, simpler product!

I could make the same statement about electronically commutated motors which replaced shaded pole motors in refrigerator evaporators because of EPA requirements.  I have never had one of these shaded pole motors fail, but I have had to replace the electronically commutated motor in my new refrigerator 6 times now in 10 years, and they cost $30 each.
It only means that particular motor is crap. I have no warm feelings towards shaded pole motors whatsoever. They are junk which convert most of consumed power into a lot of heat which reduces bearing life. And the only good things about them are that they are cheap and stall current is almost the same as current at normal operation.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #65 on: April 09, 2021, 07:40:16 am »
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors.
Their cables last a few months in average and are sold at huge premium. Competitor cables last for years and are much cheaper. Before they removed user ratings:


Oh, I'd forgotten about the crappy cables, which I believe were due to Apple going halogen free and nothing to do with planned obsolescence, so it didn't enter my mind. Going by the dates on that screenshot, none of the complaints are recent, so hopefully it's been resolved now. I've had similar problems with halogen free cables, on a project I've worked on.
 

Online Bassman59

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #66 on: April 09, 2021, 04:33:09 pm »
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors.
Their cables last a few months in average and are sold at huge premium. Competitor cables last for years and are much cheaper. Before they removed user ratings:


Oh, I'd forgotten about the crappy cables, which I believe were due to Apple going halogen free and nothing to do with planned obsolescence, so it didn't enter my mind. Going by the dates on that screenshot, none of the complaints are recent, so hopefully it's been resolved now. I've had similar problems with halogen free cables, on a project I've worked on.

One of the reviews mentions the iPhone 4, and yeah, the screen shot date is 2014. The Apple Lightning cables we have that shipped with recent products -- new iPhone SE, iPhone Xs, AirPods, whatever -- have been quite robust, certainly all much better than off-brand cables which last a week.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #67 on: April 09, 2021, 05:18:19 pm »
new iPhone SE, iPhone Xs, AirPods, whatever -- have been quite robust, certainly all much better than off-brand cables which last a week.
They last a week if you buy cable for $0.5 including delivery from China. Cables which cost $2-3 last for years with no sign of wear. Screenshot is old because since then Apple removed customer ratings, I wonder why...
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 05:20:23 pm by wraper »
 
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Offline David Hess

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #68 on: April 10, 2021, 03:45:52 am »
Yeah the shaded pole motors I've had fail were all at least 15 years old. I'm still surprised these are that bad, I'd be curious to look inside one and see what is actually failing, it may be a good opportunity to improve the design. There is no inherent reason a motor like that can't be reliable, I mean the ubiquitous brushless DC muffin fans often last many years and in every one of those I can recall having fail it was bearings.

The electronics are potted in epoxy where the coil would be on a shaded pole motor with what I suspect is an exposed 3 wire hall effect sensor to track rotation.  The oldest ones I have seen used shaded pole motor armatures without the shorted turns.

Because the motors still turn, but at low speed, I suspect the rotor may have demagnetized.  Whatever the problem, over a 10 year period they have an appalling reliability and cost effectiveness.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #69 on: April 10, 2021, 11:05:15 am »
Yeah the shaded pole motors I've had fail were all at least 15 years old. I'm still surprised these are that bad, I'd be curious to look inside one and see what is actually failing, it may be a good opportunity to improve the design. There is no inherent reason a motor like that can't be reliable, I mean the ubiquitous brushless DC muffin fans often last many years and in every one of those I can recall having fail it was bearings.

The electronics are potted in epoxy where the coil would be on a shaded pole motor with what I suspect is an exposed 3 wire hall effect sensor to track rotation.  The oldest ones I have seen used shaded pole motor armatures without the shorted turns.

Because the motors still turn, but at low speed, I suspect the rotor may have demagnetized.  Whatever the problem, over a 10 year period they have an appalling reliability and cost effectiveness.

The only motor in my refrigerator is inside the compressor. I've not looked at it, but the ones I've seen are normally capacitor start, induction motors. It wouldn't surprise me if inverter driven compressors are used in industrial refrigerators and some top of the range domestic units.

There is no fan in my refrigerator. The evaporator is in the top of the enclosure and cools by convection. It's much more reliable than a fan. I have seen refrigerators with a fan, but I doubt they're more efficient, because the extra energy used to circulate the air, will probably outweigh the tiny saving in improved evaporator efficiency.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #70 on: April 10, 2021, 11:43:28 am »
If they were under vacuum, the glass envelope would have to be much more robust, plus it makes the manufacturing far more complex. (As vacuum tube manufacturing shows us!) Instead of pulling a high vacuum they just shove a hose in and pump in the inert gas, which pushes out the air. Since it’s at ambient pressure, it can then be “lazily” sealed off without the complexity of having to maintain high vacuum during pinch-off.
Not true. Air is pumped out thus creating vacuum inside and only then inert gas is filled.

It actually isn't as simple as just "shoving a hose in", it's necessary to draw a fairly hard vacuum and bake out impurities before backfilling with inert gas. Getting lazy with this process is one reason a lot of cheap bulbs don't last very long. The inert gas fill is done for only one reason, to reduce the evaporation of tungsten by increasing the pressure inside the bulb, it doesn't save any manufacturing effort.

Yep, you guys are right about how the air is removed. I double checked and indeed the videos I found showed that they pumped out the air and then added the inert gas fill. But I know I have seen the flushing-the-air-out-with-inert-gas method for manufacturing something, and it’s gonna bug the hell out of me that I can’t remember what it is! :(

I’ve edited my post accordingly.

However, no source I found talked about (or showed) a hard vacuum, nor of any kind of baking out before filling.


Lots of bulbs do use vacuums, typically below about 40 watts, this is because as the wattage goes down and the filament is thinner, the convective losses of a gas fill become much more pronounced. The pressure is not an issue at all, vacuum tubes for example are obviously vacuum filled and the envelopes on those are not any thicker than light bulbs.
The subject here was the light bulbs once covered by the Phoebus cartel, i.e. general illumination lamps, which pretty much begin at 40W. We aren’t talking about little flashlight bulbs (many of which were krypton or argon filled anyway, as they routinely advertised this) or indicator lamps.

Vacuum tubes are typically smaller than a household general illumination lamp, which needs to be fairly robust. I suspect that if they were under hard vacuum, they’d be too fragile for general use. That one can evacuate it to a vacuum during manufacturing doesn’t mean it could hold up to household manhandling.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #71 on: April 10, 2021, 12:04:47 pm »
I suspect that if they were under hard vacuum, they’d be too fragile for general use. That one can evacuate it to a vacuum during manufacturing doesn’t mean it could hold up to household manhandling.
Vacuum does not suck anything in, it's just an empty space. Stress is created by pressure difference. And it's only a 1 bar pressure from the outside. It does not matter how hard vacuum is. Complete vacuum VS 1% of air left makes virtually no difference in how much stress glass will experience.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #72 on: April 10, 2021, 12:15:14 pm »
Or maybe it’s because it’s actually not. The useful lifespans of Apple products is well above average, and this has been the case since the 80s.* Apple provides OS updates for its phones and tablets for 5+ years, far above the 0-2 years typical in the Android world. (My iPad is from 2014 and still gets OS updates, and is still more than snappy enough for daily use. My 2015 iPhone 6S running the current iOS is nearly as snappy as my year-old SE. I only upgraded because I couldn’t get replacement parts quickly enough due to COVID delays, and my screen was cracked.)
I haven't seen any evidence that Apple products don't last as long as their competitors. The consensus seems to be they're fairly reliable. Apple frequently get criticised for making new products incompatible, with accessories designed for older products and updates which deliberately slow the device down.
That doesn’t mean those accusations are true! Apple has been using the same connector on its phones since 2012. And while some versions of iOS were annoyingly slow on very old hardware, Apple put a lot of effort into fixing that, and iOS 12 sped up older devices dramatically. (On iOS 11, my iPhone 6s was annoyingly slow. On iOS 12, it was as snappy as on iOS 9. iOS 13 and 14 didn’t slow it down at all.)

I think many people don’t understand that adding new software features, which they have, does take up storage and runtime resources. There are 3 options I can think of:
1) don’t let the new software run on older hardware at all
2) restrict some new features to newer hardware that can handle it without being too slow
3) release all features for all devices, even if doing so makes it sluggish overall, or even if running some new feature requires dreadfully slow software emulation for something newer devices do in hardware

You see the problem? No matter which approach Apple chooses, some people will complain that it’s planned obsolescence, even though 2 and 3 in actuality extend the useful life of the device compared to the alternative.

Re-engineering software to be more efficient takes a lot of work, which isn’t always feasible to do with every release. For many, many years Apple has had the approach of a few years of “feature” OS releases, followed by a “performance” release that adds few features but does a ton of cleanup. That doesn’t get the same press as new features, of course.

(That’s a common way of developing software: do an initial release of a feature using code that works reliably, but hasn’t been optimized for performance. Then later go back and see how you can speed up the main code paths.)


Quote
*Through the mid 2000s, researchers continuously found that Windows PCs were replaced after an average of 3 years, while the average Mac was replaced after 4-5 years. Between the longer lifespan and the dramatically higher resale value, the higher up-front cost was more than compensated. Since then, the average useful lives of both PCs and Macs has risen a lot, but the much higher resale value of used Macs is still the case.
That's not been the case for a long time though. I've had the same computer for nearly five years and it was nine years old, when I got it. The only upgrades were the RAM and a solid state hard drive.
Huh? I said “Since then [the mid-2000s], the average useful lives of both PCs and Macs has risen a lot”. Doesn’t that perfectly agree with your experience?? 14 years ago was 2007, and to me, the middle of the 2000s was 2005.

What’s definitely still the same is the appreciably higher resale value of Apple products. A used Mac will retain far more value than an equivalent PC. (This can make used PCs excellent bargains for a buyer, whereas I have never found it sensible to buy used Macs. Great if you’re selling one, though!)

Oh, I'd forgotten about the crappy cables, which I believe were due to Apple going halogen free and nothing to do with planned obsolescence, so it didn't enter my mind. Going by the dates on that screenshot, none of the complaints are recent, so hopefully it's been resolved now. I've had similar problems with halogen free cables, on a project I've worked on.
Yep, it was when Apple went PVC-free. Those first few years of PVC-free cables they used were awful. I don’t know what material it is (it’s not silicone, since it readily melts), but it was terrible. I concur that they appear to have gotten it under control, though they’ve never reached the high reliability of truly top-quality cables like Anker. (But those cables also cost a lot of money, and they’re a lot bulkier than Apple’s sleek cables.)
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #73 on: April 10, 2021, 12:25:45 pm »
I suspect that if they were under hard vacuum, they’d be too fragile for general use. That one can evacuate it to a vacuum during manufacturing doesn’t mean it could hold up to household manhandling.
Vacuum does not suck anything in, it's just an empty space. Stress is created by pressure difference. And it's only a 1 bar pressure from the outside. It does not matter how hard vacuum is. Complete vacuum VS 1% of air left makes virtually no difference in how much stress glass will experience.
But it’s a big difference compared to the ~0.7 bar of the gas fill that we actually used in general illumination light bulbs, which is the point. Making a bulb that can temporarily withstand a vacuum during manufacturing is different from making one that can withstand a vacuum and household abuse at the same  time without breaking. Think about how fragile light bulbs already were, and then imagine if they were prestressed by a vacuum. No, they wouldn’t shatter if you touched them, but it certainly would reduce their maximum drop distance, for example.

I don’t need you condescendingly defining what a vacuum is, thank you. I’m perfectly aware of that. Don’t be a turd, remember? :)
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Video on planned obsolescence.
« Reply #74 on: April 10, 2021, 12:48:49 pm »
but it certainly would reduce their maximum drop distance, for example.
Not sure about that. It may actually increase strength since glass is compressed. Think about is as if it was a spherical structure with tension cables inside preventing its deformation.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 01:02:38 pm by wraper »
 


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