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A personal lament

October 10, 2014

P.1I remember when the only TV one could buy was black and white
When you phone weighed 5 pounds and was virtually indestructible
When you were not home you used a pay phone because the cell phone hadn’t been invented yet
When the only computer was called Univac at the University of Pennsylvania
and it weighed more than a car.

My mind drifted as I thought about the upcoming final exams, when a blur flashed before me that quickly focused into my fathers large hand. As the fog of concern about those exams cleared I heard him asking for a wrench. It was another typical Saturday in the 60’s with me helping dad with projects he couldn’t get to during the week. Sometimes we worked in his shop in the basement fixing household appliances that had broken or like today out here in the garage lovingly dissecting the valve cover on my mom’s 59 Ford Fairlane.

Their was a time not too long ago when your most prized possessions were those that lasted for years and sometimes decades. Back in the 40’s, 50’s and even the 60’s most people’s major purchases, cars, air conditioners, TV’s, and appliances were only bought because they knew they would ‘stand the test of time’. Back then when something broke or did not work right you either fixed it yourself or took it to one of the thousands of repairs shops in the area. People of that era would never think about throwing the device away and buying a new one, to them that would be insane.

Today that insanity rules, not because people just got tired of fixing things but because companies realized if they manufactured something with fixed lifespans you would have to come back and buy a new one. And yes they forced the majority of those repair shops out of business by not making parts for ‘that particular model’ anymore or the part cost almost as much as a new appliance. Today those companies are selling items so cheep it is now a way of life to buy new instead of fixing. But have you noticed that the general price of those ‘cheep’ replacement items are going up.

Lets get to the crux of this posting I am both depressed and mad because my printer has again crashed. In shopping for a new one I have found that the price for printers is almost the same as for a set of new ink cartridges however I can not get one compatible with my computer! It seems that the printers will only work with the latest update of my operating system and they are now connected by WiFi not hard lines. So once again someone in some corporate office decided that you and I must upgrade our computer if we want to have a printer that works.

Oh and have you noticed that you are constantly being told that your this or that computer program must be updated? I do not know about you but when I finally figure out how to make a program work at its best and it does everything I want it to do, I would like to keep using that program not have to learn all over again how to make some new replacement program function.

Yes I am just an old man longing for bygone days
when the things we bought did not have a built in failure date
and stood the test of time.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2014 8:13 pm

    Well, Pete, when you and I reach our built in failure dates, nobody will go out and replace us. So, does that mean we will beat the system?


  2. Uwe permalink
    October 10, 2014 8:51 pm

    In Addition to your statement: I saw something on German TV yesterday stating the new and cheap mixers are only allow to operate them for 10 seconds…and then you have to stop for a minute.
    …cannot be very useful…but cheap…


  3. October 12, 2014 5:36 am

    Hey Buddy – Yep, we were the first of the ‘throw away’ generations and it has only become more predominant with time. This mentality has bled over into our psyches as now if we’re in a relationship and trouble occurs the knee jerk reaction is to just ‘throw it away’ and find a new one. No one wants to take the time to make something work any longer; it is indeed very sad…


  4. October 12, 2014 3:25 pm

    Hey Pete,

    Have to agree with you printer ink cartridges are the “new oil” of the world!

    YOU can buy a printer for about $80-100 but the ink costs more than Chanel No.5 or champagne, prompting consumer advocates Choice (In Australia) to call for a government investigation. A 3.5ml cartridge of yellow HP ink costs $10.50 through the Good Guys, meaning consumers will pay $3/ml – or $3000 per litre.

    That’s one-third more than Chanel No.5 perfume. A 100ml bottle of Chanel No.5 costs $224.77 from online retailer The Iconic. That’s $2.25/ml or $2250 per litre. Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said the price of printer inks was “notoriously high” and on a per-litre basis it is “one of the most expensive liquids on the planet”.

    An 18ml cartridge of black ink costs $35.32 or $1960 per litre. While less expensive than Chanel No.5 it still pales in comparison to a bottle of Moet which at $75 for 750ml costs $100 per litre – barely 1/20 the price.Yet consumers have no way of telling from the specifications on the packaging how much their printer will cost to run, this is convenient!


  5. Terry permalink
    October 14, 2014 3:08 am

    After ten years of good use, my washing machine was limping and I bought a new one. It lasted about two years and died and no one was interested in repairing it. After six months of hand washing, and my daughter washing what wasn’t hand washable, I bought another. Do I think it will last 10 years? No….


  6. October 28, 2014 6:12 am

    Wow I haven’t seen your blog in awhile. Sorry if I missed more posts.


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