Author Topic: Planned obsolescence  (Read 2075 times)

FireLane

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Planned obsolescence
« on: December 06, 2023, 07:04:32 AM »
I have a Canon MP160 printer-scanner combo. It's really old, but I've never needed to replace it because it still works perfectly well... until now.

Last week, I discovered a big, ugly crack in the scanner's platen glass. I have no idea how it happened. It prints just fine, but if I scan something, the image comes out with the crack superimposed on the document. It looks terrible.

I thought fixing it would've been a fun DIY project. I called Canon to see if I could order a replacement piece of glass, but no such luck. The customer service rep told me that they EOL'd this model in 2009. They don't even make parts for it anymore!

There's a TikTok channel called Old Things Never Die. It's a guy whose passion project is restoring antique appliances like potato peelers, coffee grinders and waffle irons. He sandblasts away the rust, replaces deteriorated wooden and rubber parts, polishes and paints the metal, and reassembles all the pieces. It's strangely soothing to watch.

Some of the antiques he restores are over a hundred years old. But with a little TLC, they work as well as the day they were made. Compare that to my scanner, which is less than twenty years old and already impossible to repair. It feels like a cliche to say they don't make things to last anymore, but in this case it's true.

I could easily afford to replace it. But it feels so wasteful to junk this machine and buy a brand-new one just because it has a cracked piece of glass, not even a mechanical failure.

My public library has a free scanner. On the rare occasions I need to scan something, maybe I'll just use that from now on.

Adventine

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2023, 07:15:43 AM »
You also download free scanner apps on your smartphone (I assume you have one). Plenty of options available. I've personally used CamScanner and the Google Drive app's Scan function. Both work great for my basic scanning needs.


Another option is to check your area's Buy Nothing groups. I see people giving away printer/scanners almost every week.

solon

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2023, 07:25:27 AM »
I'll put in a vote for Genius Scan mobile app. I use it a lot, never let me down.

And I'll echo adventine, find one of these Canons cheap somewhere to use for parts.

solon

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2023, 07:28:11 AM »
I realize these solutions aren't what you're looking for, the larger point of your post is that planned obsolescence is bad, and you just need a place to gripe. No problem.

You're absolutely right of course - planned obsolescence is bad. It's just the world we live in though, and there's not much we can do about it.

Kris

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2023, 07:30:47 AM »
I'll put in a vote for Genius Scan mobile app. I use it a lot, never let me down.

And I'll echo adventine, find one of these Canons cheap somewhere to use for parts.

Genius Scan is great. I use it, too. Haven’t needed a “real” scanner for years because of it.

Just Joe

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2023, 10:28:57 AM »
Once upon a time we bought a scanner online. It arrived and the glass was shattered. I contacted the seller and they happily sent another and did not want the old one back.

I hated throwing away something that otherwise worked so I took it to a glass shop and they cut me a new piece of glass while I waited. Can't remember the exact cost but it was cheap.

Gave that scanner to my parents and they used it for years.

Yes, planned obsolesce drives me crazy. I've been pleased that things like computers and phones are often repairable at independent shops for affordable prices even here in our smallish town.

I have wondered if some companies frequent design changes are meant to orphan previous models as quickly as possible. There isn't any tech advances from this model to the next, just aesthetic changes. Lawn mower engines are terrible for this. Need an engine part? There are a dozen different engine model numbers to consider. Why not just make one 10 HP engine for a decade or so before making token changes? Makes it hard for anyone to stock parts for things like that.

FireLane

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2023, 12:17:58 PM »
You also download free scanner apps on your smartphone (I assume you have one). Plenty of options available. I've personally used CamScanner and the Google Drive app's Scan function. Both work great for my basic scanning needs.

Another option is to check your area's Buy Nothing groups. I see people giving away printer/scanners almost every week.

I'll put in a vote for Genius Scan mobile app. I use it a lot, never let me down.

And I'll echo adventine, find one of these Canons cheap somewhere to use for parts.

I was just griping, but these are good suggestions!

I've used my phone camera to take pictures of book pages and convert them into text with Google Lens, but an app especially for scanning sounds even better. I'm going to download some of these and try them out.

I also didn't think of looking for a glass shop to just cut me a new piece of glass. I'll have to see if there's one near me that can do that.

SmashYourSmartPhone

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2023, 02:57:58 PM »
You're absolutely right of course - planned obsolescence is bad. It's just the world we live in though, and there's not much we can do about it.

Yes we can.

Start refusing to buy and use unrepairable things.  Repair things that are "impossible" to repair (a new pane of flat glass cut to size seems a good option here).  Start doing radical repair, or joining with friends who do such things.

"What can we do, that's just the way life is?" leads to record profits for peddlers of toxic technology.

GuitarStv

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2023, 03:18:21 PM »
You're absolutely right of course - planned obsolescence is bad. It's just the world we live in though, and there's not much we can do about it.

Yes we can.

Start refusing to buy and use unrepairable things.  Repair things that are "impossible" to repair (a new pane of flat glass cut to size seems a good option here).  Start doing radical repair, or joining with friends who do such things.

"What can we do, that's just the way life is?" leads to record profits for peddlers of toxic technology.

Next you'll be saying that people don't need a smartphone.  :P

ChickenStash

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2023, 09:22:53 AM »
I'm going to go against the grain a bit here and say that if you got 15 years out of what looks to be a sub-$100 class MFD then you did far better than what it was ever intended to do. I would also say it's not reasonable for Canon to still have repair parts available for that cheap POS after all this time. The consumer level stuff is designed to be disposable, lightweight, and cheap.

Start shopping for devices at the office or enterprise level and things get much more durable and repairable. The cost will go up pretty fast, though. It's been awhile since I priced these things but I'd guess the bottom end for something that would be somewhat reparable, durable, and have long term driver support would be in the $500 range, probably more, depending on the use and feature set. From my professional world, a small MFD that would be supported/maintained under contract was usually around $1500. Call around to the folks that maintain the printer fleets for local businesses and see what they recommend for something with a low repair rate.

Same thing with appliances. The cheap junk toasters, coffee makers, fridges, washers, driers, whatever at Walmart or the BigBox stores are made to be as cheap as they can get away with and include as many useless whizz-bang doodads they can cram in to increase the profit margin. Want a coffee maker that can be passed to your grandkids? Go to a real restaurant supply house and get a commercial Bunn - properly maintained it will last until stars burn out. How about a washing machine or drier? Get a commercial SpeedQueen like in a laundromat.

The downside? Less fancy optional doohickeys, boring appearance, and significantly higher initial cost.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2023, 09:46:11 AM by ChickenStash »

GuitarStv

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2023, 09:38:24 AM »
I'm going to go against the grain a bit here and say that if you got 20 years out of what looks to be a sub-$100 class MFD then you did far better than what it was ever intended to do. I would also say it's not reasonable for Canon to still have repair parts available for that cheap POS after all this time. The consumer level stuff is designed to be disposable, lightweight, and cheap.

Start shopping for devices at the office or enterprise level and things get much more durable and repairable. The cost will go up pretty fast, though. It's been awhile since I priced these things but I'd guess the bottom end for something that would be somewhat reparable, durable, and have long term driver support would be in the $500 range, probably more, depending on the use and feature set. From my professional world, a small MFD that would be supported/maintained under contract was usually around $1500. Call around to the folks that maintain the printer fleets for local businesses and see what they recommend for something with a low repair rate.

Same thing with appliances. The cheap junk toasters, coffee makers, fridges, washers, driers, whatever at Walmart or the BigBox stores are made to be as cheap as they can get away with and include as many useless whizz-bang doodads they can cram in to increase the profit margin. Want a coffee maker that can be passed to your grandkids? Go to a real restaurant supply house and get a commercial Bunn - properly maintained it will last until stars burn out. How about a washing machine or drier? Get a commercial SpeedQueen like in a laundromat.

The downside? Less fancy optional doohickeys, boring appearance, and significantly higher initial cost.

Looks like I know what our next brand of washing machine will be. . .

Miss Piggy

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2023, 09:50:55 AM »
I also didn't think of looking for a glass shop to just cut me a new piece of glass. I'll have to see if there's one near me that can do that.

Yes, I was going to suggest a glass shop as well. If you have ANY trouble finding one in your area, call a cabinet/kitchen remodel shop. They'll know where to send you, since many cabinet doors these days need glass (and manufacturers often ship the cabinets without the glass...you get it locally). It should be pretty darn cheap.

solon

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2023, 11:28:46 AM »
You're absolutely right of course - planned obsolescence is bad. It's just the world we live in though, and there's not much we can do about it.

Yes we can.

Start refusing to buy and use unrepairable things.  Repair things that are "impossible" to repair (a new pane of flat glass cut to size seems a good option here).  Start doing radical repair, or joining with friends who do such things.

"What can we do, that's just the way life is?" leads to record profits for peddlers of toxic technology.

Yeah, you can do that. But it isn't going to change anything, that was my point.

SmashYourSmartPhone

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2023, 12:11:59 PM »
Next you'll be saying that people don't need a smartphone.  :P

Indeed.  And while the 2G/3G turndown has obsoleted quite a few bits of hardware, I expect a VoLTE capable non-smart-device to last quite some while in practical use (a decade+).  It pains me greatly that plenty of perfectly good 3G devices were senselessly obsoleted.  Retaliate by getting the minimum possible plan that serves your basic needs and stop feeding money into the maw of the cell carriers.

I'm going to go against the grain a bit here and say that if you got 15 years out of what looks to be a sub-$100 class MFD then you did far better than what it was ever intended to do.

Certainly.  They're built to be burned in piles in Africa for "recycling," while leeching toxins into the air, soil, and water.  That's what our "disposable electronics culture" is.  Burn piles in Africa, waiting to happen.

Quote
The downside? Less fancy optional doohickeys, boring appearance, and significantly higher initial cost.

You badly misspelled "upside."

Yeah, you can do that. But it isn't going to change anything, that was my point.

And I guarantee that purchasing the latest and greatest disposable gewgaw and throwing it out in a year when the screen fails, then "oh dear I have to buy another one!" thinking won't change a damned thing either, except how much encouragement there is to have disposable pieces of toxic trash as our dominant cultural legacy.

One can, at least, refuse to engage with it.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2023, 04:20:56 PM »
Yes, I was going to suggest a glass shop as well. If you have ANY trouble finding one in your area, call a cabinet/kitchen remodel shop. They'll know where to send you, since many cabinet doors these days need glass (and manufacturers often ship the cabinets without the glass...you get it locally). It should be pretty darn cheap.
This is awesome to know, thank you for sharing it!! I'm sure they know where the good prices are for simple panes & I have a project coming up that benefits from this exact knowledge.

Firm agreement that anytime we can avoid BUYING disposable/ disposable-grade items we aren't just making our own future lives easier, but preventing future trash, which makes future generations' lives easier.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2024, 10:00:12 AM »
My local Goodwill routinely sells scanners in the $10-20 range.

Asalted_Nut

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2024, 12:31:28 PM »
A little add on to those mentioning scanning with a phone - iPhones actually have this feature built in to their "Notes" app which is on iPhones by default. Just in case anyone finds it helpful!

crocheted_stache

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2024, 10:41:25 PM »
+1 on getting an equivalent secondhand scanner if repairs fail or cost too much. I haven't tried one, but where I am, there also seem to be a steady trickle on the free groups of copier-printer-scanners where one function has failed or someone has concluded that it's not worth replacing the ink for what little they print anymore.

We have a basic flatbed scanner that's probably 15 or 20 years old. We mostly use it around tax time, to digitize the handful of documents we can't download.

afuera

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Re: Planned obsolescence
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2024, 10:01:31 AM »
I have an iPad that a got for free 9 years ago.

It works perfectly, screen unblemished and battery life surprisingly long lasting but the only thing we can use it for is to watch youtube on safari because the IOS can't be upgraded to be compatible with any third party apps.

We are very strongly considering just getting rid of it and getting some newer android tablets to download ABC mouse and a couple other learning apps for our kids but it just seems so wasteful to get rid of a completely functional piece of tech because of a software update.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!