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Technology! ARG!!!
Old 08-20-2017, 08:37 AM   #1
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Technology! ARG!!!

I've been an early tech adopter my whole life. Had a DARPA email account back when there was no one to email with. I spent my entire career in high tech.

But! Every once in a while--and especially this past week--I'm ready to throw my laptop in the trash, cut my cable cord, disconnect the electricity and go whole-hog off line and live in a cabin out in the woods!

Here's my tale of woe:
In the past week:
My modem started dropping its internet connection. My modem wasn't that old but after a lot of playing around, I went and dropped $200 for a new one.
Nothing...same problem. Back and forth with Comcast. Guy comes out (they charged me $40 because I installed the modem myself--don't ask! $%#&#) does some messing around and despite my strong suspicions that the problem is out on the pole, says: "It's not at the pole, but you're all set now!"
Well, that lasted two days before I had the same problem. New guy comes out, climbs the pole and says "Yup! It was all corroded!".
No problem since then. (so far...fingers crossed)

Then, our 11 year old fridge died the next day. New one will take 3 weeks to arrive so we've got a rented one sitting next to the old one. $2K plus $250 rental.

Then, my supa-dupa "ride-flat" tire goes flat. Dealers says, "well it's better for us to come tow it...don't drive on it". I had the tires insured but they only cover the one that went flat and because you can't drive on tires that are not equally worn, I need to pay for the other one! $475

Yesterday, my 5 year old Chromebook had a sudden case of the flu and the lower row of the keyboard stopped working (my log in uses those letters!). New Chromebook $200. While the re-boot went flawlessly (love Chromebook!) spent another hour getting it to talk again to my printer.

Meanwhile, independent of the internet issue, my Wink Hub that controls a lot of stuff (lights, door lock etc) went south. I cheaped out and bought a used one but because it was so old it took three days of updates to get back on line.

So!

It's not so much the cost but more the time lost getting all this stuff working. When things work, they are incredible time savers (Amazon, Google) and informative (this forum!) but when they don't work...OMG! what a PITA!

That's my rant. Thanks for reading.

I just wonder if we're just trading the time saved shopping on Amazon with time spent making it all work.

There! I just spent 30 minutes typing a note on this forum to b*tch to people I don't even know!
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Old 08-20-2017, 08:44 AM   #2
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I have found that if you are early adopter of electronic goods, then you should prepare yourself to be disappointed. I look it like buying a new production car...the first year is prone to lots of bugs and issues that are discovered by the first year purchasers (beta testers, if you will). I have often heard that buying a car in it's 3rd year of production is usually the sweet spot when it comes to dependability.

So, when it comes to fancy technical things, I always wait about a year before making the leap and generally speaking, I don't have too many issues. I have figured out that for the best bang for the buck (w/ computers), I buy factory refurb. They run flawlessly for at least 2 or 3 years and then I can just toss them when they start acting up and I haven't spend more than $200 on a computer in a very long time.
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Old 08-20-2017, 08:48 AM   #3
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I've always been a relatively early adopter. For software, I don't like to buy the 1.0 version of anything, but I'll usually get the 1.2 version.

I've always had good luck buying cars in the second year of a model redesign.
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Old 08-20-2017, 08:49 AM   #4
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I have found that if you are early adopter of electronic goods, then you should prepare yourself to be disappointed. I look it like buying a new production car...the first year is prone to lots of bugs and issues that are discovered by the first year purchasers (beta testers, if you will). I have often heard that buying a car in it's 3rd year of production is usually the sweet spot when it comes to dependability.

So, when it comes to fancy technical things, I always wait about a year before making the leap and generally speaking, I don't have too many issues. I have figured out that for the best bang for the buck (w/ computers), I buy factory refurb. They run flawlessly for at least 2 or 3 years and then I can just toss them when they start acting up and I haven't spend more than $200 on a computer in a very long time.
Yeah, anyone remember the "Cue Cat"? Had one of them!
But all of my issues this week were with established technology.
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Old 08-20-2017, 08:50 AM   #5
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Marko, look at it this way. Everything broke all at once, and you have had all of it fixed or replaced.

Pretty aggravating, but the outcome is that probably nothing you own will break for a very long time! At least, I hope that is the case.


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Old 08-20-2017, 08:56 AM   #6
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That's kinda how it all happens. For us, the older we get the tighter the money has been getting. For us we couldn't spend all the money you've spent on things. You're so fortunate to have so much money to repair things. We moved across the country. We sold our really great fridge with the house. When we moved we had no money to get a really nice fridge again. So we got a $100 one off Craigslist and were talking just last night how pleased we are with it.

Our tv broke two weeks ago. Inverter board maybe? We don't have enough money to get a new board (so we can repair it ourselves) let alone get a new tv. Anyway we love our old one and want to keep it.

I did actually spend (very painfully) $100 on two UPS's for my computer and my son's. Why in the world would I buy these things when our tv is busted? Because we have been having random blackouts and brownouts, which are death to the computers. We rely on our computers for everything, from our entertainment to income, so it was a no-brainer to protect our systems which would be more expensive to replace if a board gets fried in a brownout.

Our cars are in a constant state of repair. It's a great money saver learning to repair your own.

I guess all this stuff breaks eventually, no matter how much care you give it. Seems like it all happens at the same time doesn't it and they can all be expensive fixes!
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:00 AM   #7
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There! I just spent 30 minutes typing a note on this forum to b*tch to people I don't even know!
Your right to b*tch is widely broadcast due to tech!
Keeps you on your toes, right?
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:00 AM   #8
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I used to be an early adopter of tech.

Fast forward to now, I'm one of the folks who try and avoid tech. Seems like companies put out stuff for the sake of putting out stuff at the cost of ease of use and functionality. (Or, maybe I'm just getting older and like to generalize instead of swimming in detail ).

Today, sadly, a lot of electronics are cheap and disposable. I think they aren't built to last that long and aren't as reliable. Um...probably made in China with some corners cut along the way.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:06 AM   #9
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Marko, look at it this way. Everything broke all at once, and you have had all of it fixed or replaced.

Pretty aggravating, but the outcome is that probably nothing you own will break for a very long time! At least, I hope that is the case.
DW just said the same thing...right after she told me her cellphone needed to be replaced.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:08 AM   #10
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DW just said the same thing...right after she told me her cellphone needed to be replaced.
Oh no!

I think we need to take the attitude that some 20-30 year olds have. Everything is disposable! Nothing lasts. Something broke? throw it away and buy new, preferably the latest and greatest. It's sad but that seems to be the direction in which we must go.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:16 AM   #11
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When I worked in IT management had a policy of being " Six months or one release behind". Let others live 'exciting' lives on the bleeding edge.

Today, with all the criminals exploiting software problems I would not wait that long. When my OS gets an update I almost always wait a week and monitor the techy websites to make sure there are no unexpected surprises. Then, if the coast is clear, update.
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Old 08-20-2017, 09:22 AM   #12
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Congratulations on a good rant, but you didn't really improve your situation at all.

My rule is to keep tech constant and not add any new devices nor tech services to my life. If I get a new device, I must give up an old device.

And to not become dependent on tech, I go camping in the wilderness for a few weeks every year where there are no cell signals nor refrigerators.

A broken refrigerator is an opportunity to throw away all the crap in it that won't be used and start over with a small ice-filled cooler. All this gives you a little practice for hurricane/tornado season, too.
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Old 08-20-2017, 10:35 AM   #13
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But even if you take 'early adopter' out of the picture, it's true that we are very reliant on a lot of tech that can be finicky and hard to troubleshoot. Though mostly it works amazingly well.

It comes with the territory, but yes, it can be extremely frustrating when it doesn't work and the fix isn't an obvious/simple one.

I'm at the point, I think I better start getting my kids involved, and walk them through how I have our network set up here. If something happened and I was incapacitated, DW would be clueless. I have a far better chance getting any/all of the kids to understand this than I do with DW.

I'm starting to feel the same about finances - kids are adults now, I can walk them through our situation, DW just won't do it. She 'trusts me" - that's nice, but what I'f I'm not around (sorry, that last part is a bit off topic and discussed elsewhere from time to time, just ranting a bit).

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Old 08-20-2017, 11:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Yeah, anyone remember the "Cue Cat"? Had one of them!
But all of my issues this week were with established technology.
I had one of them! Picked it up after they went under to use as a general-purpose bar-code reader when I was trying to organize my library.

Now, of course, you'd use a smart phone.

My library is still a jumble.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:45 AM   #15
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OP, sorry to hear about your troubles. We have had our share. Last refrigerator was originally bought in 1976 (GM brand, BTW) and fixed by me last year and has become a "garage unit". The replacement cost $900 at Lowes.

$475 for a single tire? Sounds like run flat Michelins on a BMW ot Audi to me. Tire insurance? I never heard of that.

It appears these high priced tech toys are very aggravating to fix/replace because of the pain ($$$) involved.

On the Chromebook, that's my "go to" device (typing this on it as we speak). Love the things and for that $475 tire, you can buy one Chromebook and one router and have enough change left to fill up the BMW's tank.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:56 AM   #16
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Problems caused by hardware failing do not bother me as much as software. Hardware failures happen with time, and I accept that. But software bugs due to vendors rushing to release their products prior to fully testing them drive me up the wall.

So, I rarely buy "latest and greatest" stuff. Got bitten too many times, plus there are few new things that really excite me and are in the "must have" category. Life is too short to spend all that time getting the POS to work!
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:02 PM   #17
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I think that's why I love hiking so much. My j*b is tech. I like tech. I'm connecting with you on tech.

But hiking just takes me away from it all, and I love it, because some days tech gets the best of me.

BTW, I like my Subaru AWD, but if I ever blow a tire after some wear, it means 4 new ones. Or, get your new one shaved (which is hard to find a competent shop to do). You can't even do the axle pair trick. All Wheel Drive means all 4 have to be within specific size.

Since I live in the south, this may mean I skip an AWD car next time. I've been extremely fortunate so far in that my flats have been repairable.
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:27 PM   #18
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When we moved into our new house, Comcasf's internet wouldn't work. The coax end was outside the house in the mud. Then the signal wouldn't work despite call after call to them.

My friend has a friend who is the local Service Manager and he spent his lunch hour trying to figure it out. Come to find out, they had the right house and street--in another city 1000 miles away.

Comcast is such a bad company. They don't give local sales any authority to make deals but let Indian customer no service reps cut customer rates.

I know that house.problems.come in 3's. Our washing.machine is gone--$1800 for a new pair. Chrome book won't grab a WiFi signal.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:34 PM   #19
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Yeah, I had a CueCat. I also sent emails using bangpath addressing (thankfully that system is long gone!).


Never was intimidated by technology but for me the issue now is maintaining what I have. Once I started down that slope where keeping everything working was seriously becoming an aggravation I started to slow down with getting new stuff.


I think it was iTunes that pushed me over the edge. It's the most unintuitive piece of software I've ever encountered. Why it would assume that two different iPhones should be cloned and not treated independently - without prompting - is an everlasting mystery.
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:26 PM   #20
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"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax."
-- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will."
-- Albert Einstein, 1932.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
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