Today’s food for thought

“I think the engineers today are designing more junk than ever,” he said, in a manner that seemed to exempt me from the otherwise broad condemnation.”

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5 thoughts on “Today’s food for thought

  1. what really interesting (sad) is that I think the author left one major junk producing area out…the “ship it at all costs” arena. I have sadly seen, first hand, horrorific hardware and software ship with known bugs that would result in product death (or if not death, make it so painful to use that it equals death).

    I think software is the most prone to the “ship it at all costs” scenario (when was the last time you bought a computer software package that didn’t require an update almost upon openning the package?) but when software drives the hardware….I remember one customer who wrote a flash driver wrong. It would have to be rewritten and it would take a few days and then another spin through QA….maybe a 5 week delay…they decided to ship as is and require a customer to upgrade the device. Since the flash programmer was where the bug was, there was a very good chance the programmer would not work. Luckily the product sucked and no one really bought one.

  2. It’s been all I can do at my company to delay my product’s release until it passes QA demonstrably. I’ve been sticking to my guns, but I’ve also drawn a lot of fire.

    Fortunately it’s paying off — customers who have received even late betas are really, really happy with the improved quality and performance. I think it’ll speak for itself, over time.

  3. My problem of planned obsolescence is not filling landfills. Landfills will be mined one day for the valuable material when the price of that material gets high enough.

    Planned obsolescence has a psychological impact that troubles me. The idea of a disposable society quickly moves into areas that aren’t disposable; people, relationships, family, etc. This troubles me.

    Material obsolescence can continue indefinitely if a source of energy to recycle these products exist (which at the moment it doesn’t!). Recycling can be active (the blue box program) or passive (mining fifty year old landfills for the material buried by our grandfathers).

    What annoys me to no end is the attitude that companies have that once shipped the product is no longer their problem and that is why I applaud programs that require disposal arrangements.

    I would like to see more active recycling. Throwing things in a landfill to let nature get a first crack at the garbage releases toxins into the environment that I would like to never see in my environment.

    Anyway, to close up my ramblings, I will say that most engineers are given the specs on the product including how long it should last. If you want to blame someone blame the marketing droids and the executives that insist on planned obsolescence. Or better yet have government regulations on minimum warranty periods.


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