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Old 05-19-08, 08:21 PM   #1
Yen
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OT: Major rant about short-lived computer electronics

If we can buy bikes, cars, refrigerators, TVs etc. that last 30 years or more, then why on earth can't a printer or scanner last more than a handful of years before it needs replacing?!

My dad gave us a nice scanner about 5 or 6 years ago. It was a surprise gift for Christmas after I expressed an interest in one. A few years later, we replaced our computer and kept the scanner and the printer.

This past year or so the scanner not performed well. Sometimes it scanned, but would take FOREVER to respond. Then it reported that a plug-in or somethng related to the Adobe PhotoDeluxe software was missing. Now, it makes the noise as if it is getting a signal from the computer, but no scan whatsoever.

Hubby has uninstalled and reinstalled the scanner s/w twice, turned off/re-booted/unplugged the computer and scanner at least twice, verified that we have the latest driver, and has spent several hours doing everything he can think of to get it to work. He's good at stuff like this and almost always gets things working.

Since it was a Christmas gift, and especially because it was gift from my precious father whom I lost barely 2 months ago, this scanner is very sentimental to me. It makes me sick to think it's time to trade it in for something newer when it may be just a compatibility issue with the computer.

Why, WHY WHY?!!???!!
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Old 05-19-08, 08:24 PM   #2
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Just buy a new d*mn scanner

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Old 05-19-08, 08:26 PM   #3
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In a more serious note, home-quality scanners are fairly light-duty. Commercial (expensive) scanners can last a long, long time.

I once had a printer that broke after printing 17 pages.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:31 PM   #4
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Well then, why do home-quality refrigerators, blenders, and other household appliances last MUCH longer, probably as long as many commercial versions? People have old refrigerators in their garage (or house), old b/w TV sets still going strong.

IMHO they build home-quality scanners to be light-duty because they know we've accepted the fact that we'll have to replace them (and printers, computers, and other computer devices) every few years or so. We accept it!! We wouldn't tolerate a car that failed on us in the middle of the freeway every few days and just slammed to a halt while we were sailing along at 65 mph, yet we accept this.

WHY?!
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Old 05-19-08, 08:45 PM   #5
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If it did last, you'd have a scanner that would work well if only it was compatible with the new OS on the upgraded computer. Planned obsolescence.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:54 PM   #6
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Things get better! They can't keep making things backwards compatible, so it really is planned obsolescence.

On the bright side, at least you didn't pay $12,000 for a mac Lisa with 256k of ram and no hard drive. We get a lot for our money nowadays.

The way I figure it, there are 2 ways to go with things... if you're not a hard core user, you remain behind the times by about 4 years, and people will GIVE you everything you need as they upgrade. Or you can buy it for pennies on Craig's List. You need some techie skills here to know what will work with what. But you will find yourself with more computer stuff than can shake a stick at.

OR, you buy the best, latest technology and you hang onto it for as long as you can, buying used identical peripherals as you need to replace something. You do not buy anything new until the software you need to use outstrips the computer. Then you buy a whole new system. Using this method means you can probably go 8 years if you're a light user between systems. I have to do this every 2 years--.
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Old 05-19-08, 08:56 PM   #7
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BTW, Yen, make sure it's not locked. You're supposed to lock the scanner everytime you move it. If it's locked, it will sound like it's on but it won't scan. It's usually a little slidy switch on the back of it.

If you don't lock it when you're not using it, and you move it around a lot, it will stop working.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Yen View Post
Well then, why do home-quality refrigerators, blenders, and other household appliances last MUCH longer, probably as long as many commercial versions?

WHY?!
This is not my experience. I do think we're living in the age of reasonably decent cheap stuff made in China or Malaysia. However, quality control seems, often enough, to be lacking. I just bought a well-respected brand name tea kettle. After about a week the handle fell off. I don't think this kind of story is all that unusual.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:40 PM   #9
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solveg - I didn't know about that switch! I checked, and it was unlocked. We never move the scanner though.

Jet Travis - now that I think of it, those old refrigerators and TVs and blenders etc that are still working after 30 years..... were made 30+ years ago! Perhaps, therein lies the difference. "Reasonably decent cheap stuff" fits perfectly within our throw-away society.


I guess our next purchase will be an all-in-1 printer. We looked at a few the other night that can scan, print documents, print photos, burn CD/DVD, even print and attach a CD label! All for a few hundred dollars. And I can hardly wait to see what the replacement will be able to do when it stops working in just a few years.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:45 PM   #10
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If it did last, you'd have a scanner that would work well if only it was compatible with the new OS on the upgraded computer. Planned obsolescence.
You might want to try Linux. Your old scanner might be supported and you may find you like Linux better than M$ even if it's not supported. The most popular Linux is ubuntu 8.04. and is replacing M$ Vista as that OS is so bloated and bug ridden that people that need a computer for doing real work and not as a game machine are adding ubuntu to there computers at an exceedingly fast rate. All it will cost you to try it out is a free download and a blank CD-R. Just go here
http://www.ubuntu.com/ if your currently running XP or Vista you'll want ubuntu 8.04. If your running and older computer; say something with Win98 you'll want xubuntu 8.04. http://www.xubuntu.org/ xubuntu will allow you to recycle your old computer into a very usable machine once again.
Once you make your choice just download the ISO image and burn a disk from it. Detailed instructions on how to do this are on both pages. After you have burned the disk you can boot your computer with it without making any changes to your computer as the disk you burned is a live-CD. You do not even need a hard drive in the computer! This allows you to try out Linux on your computer before you install it. It's be slower and a little restricted on what you can do but you'll know if all your hardware is supported. After a week or so with Linux you'll detest M$ Windows and see it for what it really is, an over priced flaky X-Box.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:55 PM   #11
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My friend Yen, I must say I hear your frustration and anger at that scanner coming through the post. I think I understand a little bit after having lost a dear one. When my father's watch stopped it should not have been a surprise, but it was. I wished it could have kept on going just like I wished my father could have. Perhaps, since your father's passing is still so raw, one thing you might find helpful is to take something off of the scanner and make it a keepsake. I don't mean to trivialize in any way your loss but perhaps it might help. I have my grandfather's and my father's things in a special place in my home. I have a little drawer I keep the things that remind me of them. Perhaps you could even take the logo off of the scanner and save it if you don't want to save the whole thing. I'm grasping at straws I know, but I just would like you to know I feel for you and your family. Since my dad bought me my first bike I guess he is responsible for me writing this in some small way. Good luck and blessings upon you. I really wish you the very best.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:59 PM   #12
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My friend Yen, I must say I hear your frustration and anger at that scanner coming through the post. I think I understand a little bit after having lost a dear one. When my father's watch stopped it should not have been a surprise, but it was. I wished it could have kept on going just like I wished my father could have. Perhaps, since your father's passing is still so raw, one thing you might find helpful is to take something off of the scanner and make it a keepsake. I don't mean to trivialize in any way your loss but perhaps it might help. I have my grandfather's and my father's things in a special place in my home. I have a little drawer I keep the things that remind me of them. Perhaps you could even take the logo off of the scanner and save it if you don't want to save the whole thing. I'm grasping at straws I know, but I just would like you to know I feel for you and your family. Since my dad bought me my first bike I guess he is responsible for me writing this in some small way. Good luck and blessings upon you. I really wish you the very best.
That's such a thoughtful post! I hadn't even thought of Yen's loss.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:03 PM   #13
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I haven't had very good luck with all-in-1 jobs. They don't do anything all that great.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:04 PM   #14
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[quote=Yen;6725793]I guess our next purchase will be an all-in-1 printer. We looked at a few the other night that can scan, print documents, print photos, burn CD/DVD, even print and attach a CD label! /QUOTE]

We own a couple of Epson all-in-ones. Go the Epson store online; frequently they have refurbished returns.

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...s&oid=63068985

You can get this refurbed Epson RX580 for $85 (this is the one I own). That includes about $60 worth of ink...they're selling you the printer for close to nothing to get you addicted to their ink....
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Old 05-19-08, 10:05 PM   #15
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Well then, why do home-quality refrigerators, blenders, and other household appliances last MUCH longer, probably as long as many commercial versions? People have old refrigerators in their garage (or house), old b/w TV sets still going strong.

IMHO they build home-quality scanners to be light-duty because they know we've accepted the fact that we'll have to replace them (and printers, computers, and other computer devices) every few years or so. We accept it!! We wouldn't tolerate a car that failed on us in the middle of the freeway every few days and just slammed to a halt while we were sailing along at 65 mph, yet we accept this.

WHY?
!
I agree with you about the computer components and electronics, but disagree about the appliances. The days of a refrigerator, dishwasher, or stove lasting "forever" are over. My parents had their old refrigerator in their garage and it was there when the last parent died - that thing worked for over 60 years. I just replaced a 10 year old stove, I've bought so many front loading washing machines (things "go out" on them and it is the price of a new one to fix them) that I could have opened a small laundromat. I've bought several dishwashers (same repair dilemma), and the list goes on... Irons seem to last a year or two (my mother' s GE is probably still working somewhere), CD players ditto, even the car radio in the Toyota went out and had to be replaced, if you can believe it, because it was sealed and couldn't be opened. I have a whole library of laptops in the bottom of my file cabinet - I just can't stand to throw out $2500 pieces of plastic and copper, I guess. My bike, however, is one year old and so far seems to be holding together. It's a pretty simple machine, though.
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Old 05-20-08, 03:37 AM   #16
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When my photo quality scanner crapped out on me a couple years ago I checked the
manufacturer's (HP) web site for trouble shooting help and was able to isolate the problem
to the power pack, "Brick". My local computer store wanted over $100 for a replacement
power pack....I ordered one on-line from the manufacturer's web site for $20 and am happily
still using my scanner.

Might be worth your effort to follow up with the manufacturer before replacing the scanner.

Last edited by cranky old dude; 05-20-08 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 05-20-08, 04:46 AM   #17
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solveg - I didn't know about that switch! I checked, and it was unlocked. We never move the scanner though.

Jet Travis - now that I think of it, those old refrigerators and TVs and blenders etc that are still working after 30 years..... were made 30+ years ago! Perhaps, therein lies the difference. "Reasonably decent cheap stuff" fits perfectly within our throw-away society.


I guess our next purchase will be an all-in-1 printer. We looked at a few the other night that can scan, print documents, print photos, burn CD/DVD, even print and attach a CD label! All for a few hundred dollars. And I can hardly wait to see what the replacement will be able to do when it stops working in just a few years.
Not only made 30 years ago, but quite possibly made in this country, or in a US managed plant overseas. That was an era in which people who still made things with their hands had control over the manufacturing areas in this country. Today it is perfectly acceptable cost of doing business to produce x% junk as long as its cheap junk. We (and I mean WE, you and I) still buy at Walmart and Home Depot and Stop $ Shop because the price is better. By By local hardware stores and Ma & Pop grocery stores....................you were nice but we want cheap...............................

I'm not going to say we should turn back the clock and isolate ourselves from Globalization..........we can't, its going to happen...............but do we have to let hacks in management produce junk for the instant gratification of the shareholders.
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Old 05-20-08, 05:54 AM   #18
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Get a Mac.

It's the answer to all of life's computer problems.
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Old 05-20-08, 07:13 AM   #19
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WHY?!
So they can sell more of them, more often.

Remember when cars were basically disposable? They were cheap and you got a new one every two or three years. The industry was really healthy too.

Now they've been forced to make them last longer, and they got much, much more expensive. So they sell fewer, less often and the industry is faltering.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:12 AM   #20
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Consider the prices of computers and computer peripheral devices these days. I bought a printer that came with ink for no more than the price of the ink...the printer itself was essentially free. I have a scanner that cost $15 after rebate. Have you priced a refrigerator lately?

When you buy "inexpensive", you very often have to be tolerant of "cheap".
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Old 05-20-08, 09:31 AM   #21
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I have a working scanner now -- it came as a toss-in with my last laptop. But for a few years prior to that I just used a digital camera to copy documents, photos, etc that I would otherwise have scanned. It worked pretty well in competition with el-cheapo scanners. A tripod helps but is not essential.
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Old 05-20-08, 09:39 AM   #22
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Short lived electronics

Man, I must be the odd man out here.
Bought the HP Pavillion back in may of 2001 got a basic hp printer at the same time.
Sence that time, I've replaced the power supply (once) $37.95+ shipping. I installed it
Mouse (once) $12.95 wally world
Printer (once $ 39.95 Wally World
Aside from pulling the stinkin side panel and duct taping air purifier quality filtration material over the opening, I've done nothing..It works every day.
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Old 05-20-08, 09:43 AM   #23
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My wife's HP all-in-one printer/scanner/fax, a $25 yard sale treasure, has jammed a couple of times, but I have been able to unscrew a few Torx fasteners, move the carriage by hand, and get the thing rebooted and going again. More often than not, when an electromechanical consumer appliance fails, the source of the problem is something relatively minor, but the thing ends up in the landfill.

Don't get me started on garbage disposers. My 4.3-year-old expensive ISE 444 just died, and I am suspecting an internal leak leading to motor burnout. (The "0.3" is important, because the factory warranty is 4.0 years.) I am going back to cheapo models, which last just about as long as the more expensive ones.

I am about to replace a still-running 20-year-old refrigerator, and I fear that its replacement will not last as long. To put things in perspective, the price for a new 18 cu ft top-freezer unit is just over $600, compared to just under $600 20 years ago, despite at least a doubling in the CPI.
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Old 05-20-08, 10:50 AM   #24
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But the thing is, new technology is SO much better than that of just a few years ago!

I didn't own a scanner at all until about 6 years ago. The quality was so inferior compared to professional drum scanners, that I thought they were a waste. They were expensive, too.

Then at work, some clients requested flatbed scans. We thought they were crazy, but we got a new flatbed scanner and they were pretty dang good.

I'm on my 3rd scanner in 6 years. The last one does an EXCELLENT job at scanning, plus you can scan it in as a PDF, which means that text is as clear as it is in real life. Now I scan in all my financial stuff and receipts and vet bills for permanent storage.

Only 8 years ago, I couldn't even retouch a scan made on a flatbed without it falling apart. A drum scan is still best, but boy! Scanners have come a long way in a short time. They're so FAST now, too!

A drum scan can take 40 minutes to do, from mounting to saving and cost hundreds of dollars. Granted there's a ton more detail... but for most uses, you can get a reworkable image from a $150 flatbed in 20 seconds!

Go technology! I'm looking forward to seeing what my next scanner can do.
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Old 05-20-08, 11:56 AM   #25
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My friend Yen, I must say I hear your frustration and anger at that scanner coming through the post. I think I understand a little bit after having lost a dear one. When my father's watch stopped it should not have been a surprise, but it was. I wished it could have kept on going just like I wished my father could have. Perhaps, since your father's passing is still so raw, one thing you might find helpful is to take something off of the scanner and make it a keepsake. I don't mean to trivialize in any way your loss but perhaps it might help. I have my grandfather's and my father's things in a special place in my home. I have a little drawer I keep the things that remind me of them. Perhaps you could even take the logo off of the scanner and save it if you don't want to save the whole thing. I'm grasping at straws I know, but I just would like you to know I feel for you and your family. Since my dad bought me my first bike I guess he is responsible for me writing this in some small way. Good luck and blessings upon you. I really wish you the very best.

+1
That was a very touching & thoughtful post.
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