Author Topic: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it  (Read 1019 times)

stratozyck

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Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« on: March 20, 2017, 01:01:09 PM »
Anyone else believe that the consumer electronics experience has gotten worse over the past few years, say from roughly 2010 or so?

My first iPad (iPad 2) was bricked due to an Apple iOS update a few years back and this got me thinking along these lines. I should have the right to legally roll back the iOS to a version that worked without having "Software update available" messages harass me.

You can say "oh the free market will adjust you can go to a competitor..." but I have the same problem with other non Apple devices. My XBox won't even work on the internet unless I update it to the latest OS. Not to mention they are forcing people to switch to their new OS. That is textbook market power run amok. The solution is regulations.

The model for this is cell phones. Long ago you could not keep your cell number if you switched carriers. This was intentional because it was a way for them to force you to stay with one provider. Then a regulation came out to fix this and shazam the cell phone market got more competitive and easier to switch. These regulations are not anti free market - they attempt to bring the market into more perfect competition as opposed to one with strong supplier power.

There are other areas - like geez I hate the proliferation of ads that force you to see them (by auto playing or "expanding" when you suddenly get to a point in the story). That needs to stop. There are whole websites I can no longer go to because ads have effectively ruined them. The auto open iTunes thing that some websites have makes me want to send SWAT teams into developers' homes and make them watch as we pour cat urine all over their possessions. I'm a nice guy so we'd leave it at that.

Spam, while more under control than it was (thanks to classification algorithms) is still rampant.

Here are my ideas/demands (add yours!):

1) Default opt out for any mailing list. The right to sign up for things with a fake email. Every mailing list and spam e mail should have an auto "unsubscribe" that does not require a login. I have wasted too many minutes of my life having to reset passwords to things I do not use to unsubscribe from them. I usually put them in the junk folder instead but we can do better.

2) The right to be advertising free. A regulatory body could enable a higher pay per month internet fee that gets split between the sites you go to and based upon time spent. It can be $20 or something but if you spend it all on MMM, MMM can get $20. If I spend 1% of my time on MMM, then they get 1% of that. It would incentivize content over "how can we trick the most people into clicking ads?"

Of course, you can avoid this by not signing up for it and still have the crappy experience we have now. Still, this would be an awesome right to extend into other areas of life. Door to door selling should be banned by default and only allowed if I expressed prior interest in a product or signed onto something, and should only apply once and be non transferable.

3) Right to be forgotten. This is a contentious issue in Europe. Did you know Facebook keeps all your info even if you hit delete? This is disgusting and they should be required to disclose this when you hit delete. I think most people don't realize that if its free - you are the product. It seems there was a race to the bottom and I have no option of paying for a version of FB that does all this. While there are other social media sites, FB is the de facto monopoly because they reached the critical mass to be king of the hill for quite some time.

4) I want an option enabled in bill pay sites that allows sign in with only account number and no password. There would be no payment or personal information stored but if there is no security risk, I do not worry about strangers randomly typing in account numbers and paying bills for strangers. I have had so much trouble with so many bill pay sites that make their password, identity, and login hurdles so high that I get locked out and end up having to call India to get it unlocked. Allow me an out if I know it's not a security risk.

Anyone have any others? I am contemplating writing lawmakers on this. I think many current laws already apply but our judges and legal system is by and large old and tech illiterate.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 01:32:17 PM »
Anyone else believe that the consumer electronics experience has gotten worse over the past few years, say from roughly 2010 or so?

My first iPad (iPad 2) was bricked due to an Apple iOS update a few years back and this got me thinking along these lines. I should have the right to legally roll back the iOS to a version that worked without having "Software update available" messages harass me.

You can say "oh the free market will adjust you can go to a competitor..." but I have the same problem with other non Apple devices. My XBox won't even work on the internet unless I update it to the latest OS. Not to mention they are forcing people to switch to their new OS. That is textbook market power run amok. The solution is regulations.

The model for this is cell phones. Long ago you could not keep your cell number if you switched carriers. This was intentional because it was a way for them to force you to stay with one provider. Then a regulation came out to fix this and shazam the cell phone market got more competitive and easier to switch. These regulations are not anti free market - they attempt to bring the market into more perfect competition as opposed to one with strong supplier power.

There are other areas - like geez I hate the proliferation of ads that force you to see them (by auto playing or "expanding" when you suddenly get to a point in the story). That needs to stop. There are whole websites I can no longer go to because ads have effectively ruined them. The auto open iTunes thing that some websites have makes me want to send SWAT teams into developers' homes and make them watch as we pour cat urine all over their possessions. I'm a nice guy so we'd leave it at that.

Spam, while more under control than it was (thanks to classification algorithms) is still rampant.

Here are my ideas/demands (add yours!):

1) Default opt out for any mailing list. The right to sign up for things with a fake email. Every mailing list and spam e mail should have an auto "unsubscribe" that does not require a login. I have wasted too many minutes of my life having to reset passwords to things I do not use to unsubscribe from them. I usually put them in the junk folder instead but we can do better.

2) The right to be advertising free. A regulatory body could enable a higher pay per month internet fee that gets split between the sites you go to and based upon time spent. It can be $20 or something but if you spend it all on MMM, MMM can get $20. If I spend 1% of my time on MMM, then they get 1% of that. It would incentivize content over "how can we trick the most people into clicking ads?"

Of course, you can avoid this by not signing up for it and still have the crappy experience we have now. Still, this would be an awesome right to extend into other areas of life. Door to door selling should be banned by default and only allowed if I expressed prior interest in a product or signed onto something, and should only apply once and be non transferable.

3) Right to be forgotten. This is a contentious issue in Europe. Did you know Facebook keeps all your info even if you hit delete? This is disgusting and they should be required to disclose this when you hit delete. I think most people don't realize that if its free - you are the product. It seems there was a race to the bottom and I have no option of paying for a version of FB that does all this. While there are other social media sites, FB is the de facto monopoly because they reached the critical mass to be king of the hill for quite some time.

4) I want an option enabled in bill pay sites that allows sign in with only account number and no password. There would be no payment or personal information stored but if there is no security risk, I do not worry about strangers randomly typing in account numbers and paying bills for strangers. I have had so much trouble with so many bill pay sites that make their password, identity, and login hurdles so high that I get locked out and end up having to call India to get it unlocked. Allow me an out if I know it's not a security risk.

Anyone have any others? I am contemplating writing lawmakers on this. I think many current laws already apply but our judges and legal system is by and large old and tech illiterate.

Multi-tier internet is probably a bad idea. See the whole Net Neutrality debate from a few years ago. Not to mention the privacy implications of sending a portion of your ISP bill to the sites you visit.

You might consider a password vault (there are a bunch out there) to keep track of your sundry logins. Yes, it's suboptimal, but it's better than getting locked out/calling India when you need to pay your quarterly water bill or whatever.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

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marty998

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 02:38:43 PM »
It's getting to the point where I have to write down all my passwords and logins and those god awful secret questions.

Question: "What car did you first learn to drive in?"

Answer: "The Discovery Space Shuttle"

I always put in joke answers to these questions (should point out the one above is not one I have used:D)

Problem is that I easily forget these odd answers!

ketchup

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 02:40:53 PM »
It's getting to the point where I have to write down all my passwords and logins and those god awful secret questions.

Question: "What car did you first learn to drive in?"

Answer: "The Discovery Space Shuttle"

I always put in joke answers to these questions (should point out the one above is not one I have used:D)

Problem is that I easily forget these odd answers!
My favorite is "What's your favorite beverage?"  I always put something outrageous like Methylene Chloride.

neo von retorch

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 03:11:51 PM »
I'd like to start with some counter-examples.

* My Blackberry (in 2010) required software updates that took a long time to download through my computer, and then a ridiculously long time to install. My Google Nexus downloads updates directly, installs them in a few minutes, and is ready to go. Generally updates add new functionality, bug fixes, improved energy conservation and improved UI responsiveness. (I have read about, but not experienced, some bugs introduced by updates.) I think the net effect of most software updates on an Android phone are positive.

* Windows - the "update story" is still not perfect. Ads in Windows 10 are atrocious (merely by existing, if not the actual experience of occasionally seeing them.) But largely, the updates are seamless, happening quietly and quickly in the background. The Anniversary Update introduced widespread improvements in features and improvements. The upcoming Creator's update will also introduce a great number of improvements. Comparing this to older update systems, it's a vast improvement. (Our taste for good update systems has certainly been elevated, and a lot of these experiences have likely been forgotten.)

* I own two laptops, both about 4 years old. While one has developed an occasional video issue which I believe is hardware related, they have both been (otherwise) wildly stable and reliable. (SSDs are vastly better than HDDs.) My desktop is 8 years old and it's still a perfectly competent gaming and web development machine (despite going from Windows 7 through 8, 8.1 and now 10.) I compare that to the various hardware driver issues I've experienced with past desktops, and the flakiness of laptops I've had in the past. I'd say computer hardware has been on a very positive trajectory.

* My TV and Roku are excellent at what they do. Fast UIs, low power usage, brilliant display of content. (Pre-2007, I had a 150 lb hunk of glass and plastic with a low resolution 35" screen. I also once had a VCR. TV hardware is unarguably better than it was in the past!)

It's certainly a shame that some hardware is actually ruined (i.e. bricked) by updates. There's no excuse for it, and if it's forced, the manufacturer should be held responsible for replacements or repairs. On the other hand, I think devices should have reasonable expectations - if the capability of the device relies on manufacturer sponsored centralized network hardware, there should be a reasonable minimum amount of time that you get usefulness. But also, if the connectivity of the device is central to the functionality, and improvements to functionality to all users require a common software level, then forced updates make a lot of sense. (As a software developer, the thought of "eternal support of infinite versions" sends a cold chill down my spine.) So if your non-internet Xbox activity is not affected, and doesn't require the update, then it's a reasonable push from Microsoft. If you want to keep up with the latest features and connecting to all other Xbox users that will have the updated software, you need it, too. (If they push it for offline games, which I believe Sony does in some cases, and maybe Microsoft does, that's a different matter!)

Finally, in the PC vs Mac vein, a friendly jibe... if your iPad is being bricked by updates, consider moving away from Apple ;) Maybe market forces are working better than you realize, but you still believe "Apple is best" and just assume that things are getting worse for other manufacturers, when it's just Apple that's going downhill lately!

Spork

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 03:15:17 PM »
Oh god, please no!

One of the principle reasons I really wanted to FIRE was the creeping regulations and controls in IT and the internet.  As someone that's been in IT/Engineering/Design for just under 30 years, let me assure you:
* there are an ever increasing number of regulations
* they aren't making things better
* they are making busy work for people and taking them away from real tasks


My first iPad (iPad 2) was bricked due to an Apple iOS update a few years back and this got me thinking along these lines. I should have the right to legally roll back the iOS to a version that worked without having "Software update available" messages harass me.

You can say "oh the free market will adjust you can go to a competitor..." but I have the same problem with other non Apple devices. My XBox won't even work on the internet unless I update it to the latest OS. Not to mention they are forcing people to switch to their new OS. That is textbook market power run amok. The solution is regulations.

I can absolutely assure you that if there is regulation, forcing you to update and/or forcing buggy versions offline is much more likely that allowing you to roll back.  OS's are updated because flaws are found.  Right now a bigger issue is the number of badly engineered IOT devices that don't do updates (and that is likely to trigger forced bricking and/or updating.)  They are literally capable of breaking the entire internet right now.


1) Default opt out for any mailing list. The right to sign up for things with a fake email. Every mailing list and spam e mail should have an auto "unsubscribe" that does not require a login. I have wasted too many minutes of my life having to reset passwords to things I do not use to unsubscribe from them. I usually put them in the junk folder instead but we can do better.

This is already the case.  The problem is you're dealing with people that don't follow laws.  New laws don't help those people.


2) The right to be advertising free. A regulatory body could enable a higher pay per month internet fee that gets split between the sites you go to and based upon time spent. It can be $20 or something but if you spend it all on MMM, MMM can get $20. If I spend 1% of my time on MMM, then they get 1% of that. It would incentivize content over "how can we trick the most people into clicking ads?"

Of course, you can avoid this by not signing up for it and still have the crappy experience we have now. Still, this would be an awesome right to extend into other areas of life. Door to door selling should be banned by default and only allowed if I expressed prior interest in a product or signed onto something, and should only apply once and be non transferable.

Imagine the in-depth DPI inspection that every ISP would have to do for this!  Dear Jezus what an accounting nightmare.  This reminds me of the old days of internally billing departments for their network usage and disk space.  (Hint: It cost us more to keep track of this crap and hash out the billing than it was worth.)  Just run an ad blocker.  For sites that have a premium option, feel free to send them $10 a month to be ad free.
People are already really wary of DPI.  They already don't like the amount they're being tracked via various cookie schemes. The DPI database becomes the marketing center of the universe.  Imagine if that thing gets hacked.  Imagine all the personal information stored there!


3) Right to be forgotten. This is a contentious issue in Europe. Did you know Facebook keeps all your info even if you hit delete? This is disgusting and they should be required to disclose this when you hit delete. I think most people don't realize that if its free - you are the product. It seems there was a race to the bottom and I have no option of paying for a version of FB that does all this. While there are other social media sites, FB is the de facto monopoly because they reached the critical mass to be king of the hill for quite some time.

I like the philosophy.  It doesn't work.  If you think that you can "undo" something that has been published electronically, you're wrong.  It's like thinking the nudies on snapchat actually go away and no one can grab them.

4) I want an option enabled in bill pay sites that allows sign in with only account number and no password. There would be no payment or personal information stored but if there is no security risk, I do not worry about strangers randomly typing in account numbers and paying bills for strangers. I have had so much trouble with so many bill pay sites that make their password, identity, and login hurdles so high that I get locked out and end up having to call India to get it unlocked. Allow me an out if I know it's not a security risk.

I'm really not sure what you mean here.  Bill pay sites have real money attached to them.  You have to know where the money comes "from". Otherwise, you'd have to enter your payment information on every single transaction.  What you really want is a password manager.

Anyone have any others? I am contemplating writing lawmakers on this. I think many current laws already apply but our judges and legal system is by and large old and tech illiterate.
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Spork

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Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight

solon

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 03:33:12 PM »
Did you see Scott Adam's latest blog post today? Cell phones are the enemy of the state! They cause addiction. The current generation is already lost. We may be able to save the NEXT generation.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/158630186091/i-declare-mobile-phone-carriers-to-be-enemies-of

stratozyck

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 11:58:00 AM »
But more generally, forget on the specifics (I was really frustrated that for some random, unknown reason my iPhone would not connect to my WiFi for 5 days straight and now magically is OK?)...

Do you think that the legal system may lag behind on privacy because the judges, lawyers, etc those at the top are generally too old to understand that existing laws might be violated by tech?

For example, we don't need a new law to prohibit me from spying on your in your backyard with my drone. That's harassment whether I am pointing a telephoto lens at you constantly or hovering over you at 200 ft with a Phantom.

I think the same thing is going on with privacy on the internet. Regardless of the merits of the other stuff, I definitely, 100% am on board with a right to be forgotten. If I hit delete on FaceBook, I want that info gone and a legal notice saying it is gone.

Chris22

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 12:29:46 PM »
If I hit delete on FaceBook, I want that info gone and a legal notice saying it is gone.

Why?  You most likely "signed" (agreed to) a notice saying the opposite when you created your FaceBook profile. 
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BlueMR2

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 03:24:55 PM »
Well, part of it is that we want to be more Earth friendly.  RoHS compliant electronics use significantly less of those hazardous heavy metals, but it comes at the expense of a noticeably higher failure rate.  Then of course there's the "winner take all" rush to hit the market first which has corners cut everywhere.  Yeah, it all works out in the end giving us a nice rate of improvement, but it hurts all the time.

I don't have a tablet anymore myself as I can't seem to have one of any brand last more than a year before it just dies.  Sticking to a real PC for my Internet work and when I'm mobile, I'm not on the web...

Just Joe

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2017, 10:55:38 AM »
For SPAM control - have you considered just having multiple email addresses?

I have several. I have had coworkers over the years that combine personal and private activity into their one work email address. Professionally this is hugely risky to me and was borne out by a previous supervisor that was fired partially b/c they were sending out inappropriate jokes from their professional email address. Also, I can think of one coworker who misses important messages b/c they have so many personal emails coming through. This coworker is not a technical person so no sorting or filtering being used to separate the email chaff from the important stuff.

I have a professional address, one for spam, one for Google logins, one for family and friends, one for banking that I use for nothing else, one for resumes, etc. The resume address will not lead to a FB account where I have 20 years of juvenile behavior to hide. Also b/c I don't use FB. ;)

Spork

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 11:01:31 AM »
For SPAM control - have you considered just having multiple email addresses?

I have several. I have had coworkers over the years that combine personal and private activity into their one work email address. Professionally this is hugely risky to me and was borne out by a previous supervisor that was fired partially b/c they were sending out inappropriate jokes from their professional email address. Also, I can think of one coworker who misses important messages b/c they have so many personal emails coming through. This coworker is not a technical person so no sorting or filtering being used to separate the email chaff from the important stuff.

I have a professional address, one for spam, one for Google logins, one for family and friends, one for banking that I use for nothing else, one for resumes, etc. The resume address will not lead to a FB account where I have 20 years of juvenile behavior to hide. Also b/c I don't use FB. ;)

I actually use a different address for every single entity I deal with.  In other words: one personal address for friends and a few hundred addresses for web sites, businesses, etc.

I use www.sneakemail.com...  It makes it very easy to create and destroy email addresses.  When some site gets hacked or sells your address to advertisers, just delete the address and move on.

sneakemail creates a replyable misdirection.  When someone sends mail to one of your sneakemail addresses, it rewrites the sender such that your replies go back through sneakemail.  (i.e., you don't have to change your reply-to address when you reply to an email sent through sneakemail.)

My biggest source of spam is a set of 3 different idiots that have gmail addresses similar to mine.  They will mistype their email address in page after page, often on less-than-reputable sites and generate a crapload of spam.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 11:05:05 AM by Spork »
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
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neo von retorch

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2017, 11:01:36 AM »
Anti-spam Techniques

If you have a google email (let's use example MrMoneyPants@gmail.com), you can add "+" and {anything} before the "@", and it will be valid. So you can use "MrMoneyPants+TotallyLegitOnlinePokerSite@gmail.com" as an email address. The web site you use it on won't know any better, and you'll still get the email. But if they start spamming you, you can add a filter to gmail and it's gone. (Also, you know WHO spammed you directly, or sold your email address, or was hacked.)

Personally, I have my own domain name, G Suite, and catch-all... but G Suite doesn't have a free version any more. I usually use <LegitDomainName.com>@<MyDomainName.com> as my email address. When I get spam, I know which site gave out my email address (or was hacked), and I add it to a disabled account so I never see those emails again.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 11:10:53 AM by neo von retorch »

Just Joe

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2017, 11:07:39 AM »
Both great email tricks. Keep them coming!

When the OP says bricked - can't be resurrected at all??? Can't do a factory reset at all? I have had my fair share of gadgets and they all could be reset.

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2017, 02:18:24 PM »
The comments in Scott Adams blog post are some of the funniest things I have read in awhile.   The entire blog, which occasionally has some interesting insights, has become a giant shill for his MOBILE PHONE APP and that entire blog post was about how evil mobile phones are.  But I am sure this is some form of weird 3D voodoo persuasion. 

JLee

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2017, 02:52:17 PM »
leemail.me can solve your email problem.

Poundwise

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2017, 06:03:51 AM »

golden1

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Re: Consumer Tech is worse and I think we need laws to fix it
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2017, 06:37:40 AM »
I use an app called rollup to deal with emails.  It makes it a snap to comb through and delete spam emails. 

The printer was more expensive, but I switched to a laser printer and could not be happier.  It is easier to use, and the cartridges last a long, long time.  I think Epson makes a refillable inkjet printer now too.