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Is There a Worm in the Apple?

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on January 17, 2020 11:46

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Technology has improved lives and enabled progress. But is the business model employed by many manufacturers healthy? Is programmed obsolescence in the interests of consumers, and even of manufacturers? I believe technology can be marketed better, produce more wealth to mankind, and benefit more people.

I run an old Willis Jeep, a real fun vehicle, and can go places where few other vehicles can take you. I have to fend off relatives who want to borrow it to patrol their fences, or perhaps they just want to have fun? Mine was built in 1972, from 1964 parts, but the Universal Jeep was launched back in 1952. That was when an enthusiastic journalist, Tom McCahill, bought one and wrote: "Here is a wagon you can drive from Hudson's Bay to the Panama Canal the hard way -- straight."

Good then, better now! Photo Tom McCahill

You can still get parts for them today, Kaizer Willis offered me a replacement body tub a few years ago at $ 1500 - a bargain!

My environmentalist daughter's wedding ride. My pic

Somewhere in NASA land a computer patiently assembles data sent by the two Voyager craft, launched in 1977, and still contributing to human knowledge. These two satellites are doing what they were designed to do. No updates, upgrades of hardware, new software, no fancy apps.

Voyager at work. Photo NASA

Why then do people have to take manufacturers to court to gain the right to repair worn-out equipment? I hear American farmers import jailbroken software to tune up their new tractors when they can't find old, repairable machines to buy.

President Putin of Russia, it seems, still uses Windows XP, long discontinued and replaced a dozen times. I used it, back when, and it did everything I needed to be done. If I was still on Windows and a virus had not eaten my hard drive I would still be using it. I believe a large percentage of the cyber-population is still on Windows 7

Why is it not possible for users of older systems to continue using old but gold systems, perhaps with the help of manufacturers? I am not aware of enthusiast groups supporting El Capitan or Windows XP, surely there should be?

Most people in the developing world cannot keep up with the delirious obsolescence race, and use older but still good technology. I had a client submit a PhD dissertation done on Word 2003 for editing. A 500 page document covering important research that really adds to human knowledge. Converting back from my Word 2011 with latest service packs stripped out all the spaces! We had a desperate scramble in the hours before his submission deadline, as you can imagine!

My point is that his program represented good, valid engineering and did everything he needed. The latest additions and bloatware were irrelevant to him and to me as editor, yet the developers let us down, all in the name of forcing users to fork out money on something they don't want. 

The race to more profit, newer technology and higher profits contribute to waste, fads and fruitless expenditure. Why would we need upgrades if they got it right the first time? 

Can we get a Jeep computer and software now, please? 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on January 17, 2020 11:46

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Source: Daily Mail

Computer scientists from the University of Stuttgart, University of Saarland and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics...

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