By Paul

September 29, 2023

These are my Rockport shoes. I bought these in 2010, needing an emergency change of clothing for a night out with Dana and unable to return home for suitable clothing. These are probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. But the soles eventually became badly worn and I couldn’t wear them. Then, cue the pandemic. Finally, I took them into a local shoe repair shop, had them resoled and buffed up. Almost good as new and I’m thrilled.

In 2013 I purchased a MacBook Pro. Over time, it started to get slow, so I purchased more memory and a bigger hard drive. After swapping out the parts, it was as good as new. Then the logic board had a conniption fit and it was retired, right on the eve of a trip to the New York Auto Show. Without time for a custom order, I picked up a new one at an Apple store. It didn’t have as much memory as I would have liked and the hard drive was small, but it’d do. I figured I could always update it.

But I was wrong. In order to bolster new computer sales, Apple has made their machines almost impossible to repair by amateurs like me. The memory is now soldered to the motherboard instead of on easy-to-replace chips sets. Likewise, the hard drive is grafted onto the motherboard, instead of anchored with a ribbon cable and four screws. In order to upgrade the memory and hard drive, I had to buy a new computer. I was not pleased.

The European Union has right-to-repair laws coming for many things including personal electronics. We're running behind on this in Canada. Do I begrudge Apple from maximizing their ability to make money? No, but they think I have no business trying to fix my own computer. It’s all about from which side of the fence you're sitting.

More recently, BMW tried to charge a subscription service for heated seats in new cars. You could purchase the heated seats up front, or for a low monthly payment, subscribe to the heated seats. To say BMW was pilloried over this would be putting it mildly. They recently announced the withdrawal of the subscription.

Subscriptions and the inability to repair our devices are great ways for corporations to keep customers at the money trough. A $25 per month subscription is $300 per year. If you have three of these, that’s $900 per year of after-tax money. It adds up quickly.

But there's hope on the horizon. Apple's latest iPhone has a USB-C connector to connect and charge it, like almost every other mobile phone on the market. Right-to-repair legislation is coming. Gradually, consumers' voices are being heard.

In the meantime, I now have what feels like an almost-new pair of shoes to wear. Score one for unplanned obsolescence.

On another note, I tried Substack for my blog, but I've moved it back to the WordPress platform. I like the idea that I'm not part of a grist mill for content and clicks.

I took an amazing on-line photography course this past summer through Stanford Continuing Studies. The idea was to take a photograph using a daily prompt. Twenty-five days of shooting, twenty-five prompts. I'll share some of these photos over the next while. And yes, a cat photo was part of an assignment.



September 29, 2023
Be sure to check out Dana's blog, Time to Write. I like to think I'm a pretty good writer. Dana is an AMAZING writer.
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