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posted by janrinok on Sunday April 17 2022, @02:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-connect-them-to-anything dept.

Historically, "smart" TVs aren't always particularly smart. They've routinely been shown to have lax security and privacy standards. They also routinely feature embedded OS systems that don't age well, aren't always well designed, don't perform particularly well over time, are slathered with ads, and are usually worse than most third-party game streaming devices or video game consoles.

Yet when if you go shopping for "dumb" televisions — as in just a high quality display with a bunch of HDMI ports and not much else, you're usually going to be out of luck. There are options, but guides on this front will usually shovel you toward computer monitors (too pricey at large sizes), or business-class displays (ditto).

[...] Of course it's challenging because TV manufacturers now make more money collecting and monetizing your personal data than they do selling the actual hardware. Last year Vizio noted it made $38.4 million in one quarter just from tracking and monetizing consumer viewing and usage data. It made $48.2 million on hardware (which also includes soundbars, and other products) in that same period.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RS3 on Sunday April 17 2022, @10:02PM (2 children)

    by RS3 (6367) on Sunday April 17 2022, @10:02PM (#1237783)

    I'm not truly as cynical as this will sound, but, as an engineer, one of the main things companies want to see on my resume: how I "cost reduced" something. Cheapened. And that's not just one time, it's a constant evolution of everything electronic / mechanical. An additional component, and sorry, I'm generalizing, it's not absolute, but too often companies "lay off" older engineers in favor of the younger more malleable ones. Older ones might be more prone to make more solid designs, like the "good old days". Also, some countries are particularly good at copying something, and "cost reducing" (cheapening) it all the while.

    I keep wondering if there's a market for stuff that's really well made. Thinking of if someone started a retailer / reseller and only sold good stuff. I know some people who go out of their way to buy really good tools. I also know people who buy the very cheap stuff and don't care if it breaks- they buy more cheap ones. Sigh. Admittedly there's generally a huge price disparity and the cheap ones are tempting.

    I have an infuriating washing machine. Found at end of neighbor's driveway. Needed some work. It's maybe 10 years old. It's an HE top loader. It's totally uncontrollable. If you try to cheat it, you'll generally anger it and it will dump all your warm soapy water down the drain. You can't cancel the dump, nor power it off. The display will go all dark as it pumps $ in energy and detergent down the drain. I unplugged it, grabbed some 5 gal. buckets, and recovered most of it. Sometimes it overfills, sometimes under. It decides on temperature, ignoring the Hot, Med, Cold you've chosen. If you try to cheat on the temp, it will get angry and display a cryptic error code and just sit there. Sometimes you can figure out what magic combination of buttons to push and get it back running again.

    Extremely cheaply made. And, it has pockets in the stupid tub that hold water that gets VERY stinky after a few days. So you have to run some kind of special cleaner in a cleaning cycle. Not so efficient afterall.

    Undersized bearings that are famous for going bad. Mine still work, but scream. I'll measure the dB someday, but you don't want to be in the room with it during final high speed spin. I might replace them someday. Time & effort better spent on a better machine, even if it needs work.

    Awesome upgrade repair on your van- exactly my style.

    Farmers are usually very resourceful, smart, and great at fixing things. I often wish I was one. My mom's father was, so it's in my blood, but he died when I was quite young so I didn't get to work with and learn from him.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Monday April 18 2022, @06:42AM (1 child)

    by anubi (2828) on Monday April 18 2022, @06:42AM (#1237860) Journal

    Oh gawd, the nausea I experienced at Sears upon examining the newer washing machines. I still have my old Kenmore Direct Drive model 70. Yup, like you, an end of the driveway find intended for the scrap metal hauler 20 years ago. Still running fine! All that was wrong with it was the PO kept raising the lid when the thing was trying to drain and it overheated and glazed the clutch. Disassembly and a quick rub on the concrete floor knocked the glaze off, and so far I've got another 20 years out of it.

    These new ones...first thing I would do is build an Arduino for it

    I am updating an old oven/cooktop from bimetallic control to Arduino control. Thing won't hold precise temperature. It will now. Type K thermocouple. And all the knobs will do exactly what I want them to do. Including the new safety interlock that keeps main power off until I have entered a certain sequence on the control panel using temperature set function like a combination lock. Hold a button down to fire up the 12 volt system, twirl the temp knob back and forth to the correct numbers, then the big White-Rodgers will pull in, then the Triac SSR's, controlled from the Arduino, will take over. Everything's on timer. Quadrature encoded controls, and, of course, the old latching start-stop hard relay latch circuit with the White-Rodgers.

    It will use the same White-Rodgers contactor as I used for my van. Just to make damned sure those heating elements don't unexpectedly engage upon child play, bump, cat, or power line spike. I mean when this is powered down, only thing still running is the Arduino clock. If I want to see the time, I can power up the Arduino by pressing the start switch, but if no combination is entered, the Arduino won't power the White-Rodgers coil, and the whole shebang turns right back off when the button is released. I want this to have enough smarts to keep me out of trouble by timing out to complete shutdown when done. Or if setting goes wrong, tell me on it's LCD what the problem is.

    I have so much fun building stuff like this that I rarely have time to watch TV.

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Tuesday April 19 2022, @05:23AM

      by anubi (2828) on Tuesday April 19 2022, @05:23AM (#1238100) Journal

      I was re-reading this thread. It's stale by now, but I did fail to react to a point RS3 brought up ... And that is the new corporate race to mediocrity by corner cutting, laying off experienced engineers, opting to hire the cheapest incoming technical expertise without benefit of decades of experience.

      I watched this play out in two companies in Southern California. The new breed of MBA got in, the engineers were organized to be subordinate to them. Engineers now had no recourse when ordered to implement poorly considered designs. Some engineers who had no alternative went along with the MBA and survived a bit longer. Some of us were too proud of what we could do, leaving the MBA no alternative but to lay us off. A lot of the older ones took retirement, now their experiences were no longer available to the new hires.

      It seemed that the MBA were trained that we were nothing more than interchangeable worker bees. Support for thousands of customers who have bought our products for decades was now being provided by people who barely knew how to pronounce the name of the thing, and maybe even knew what it did. But how to fix it? How to modify it?

      Oh, the MBA specialized in fresh, crisp haircuts, pressed suits, lavish meetings, and a good firm hand shake. But we were about as competent as those nice looking car repair businesses in the elite areas of town, where you bring a car to them, needing as little as a new set of spark plugs, only to have their well dressed Mechanic tell you he's sorry, but your car is over ten years old and you need to retire it and buy a new one.

      Meanwhile, go to the next town over where the working people live, and fixing it is no problem.

      It's been my observation that the MBA usually have no concept as to how stuff works, and no experience in developing abstractive skills... Stuff like your customer has a problem. They have come here for years to have their concerns addressed. Using the Skills of the Mastery of Business Administration, the Cash Flow has been noted and the company bought out. Cost centers are identified, and profit centers kept, cost centers - such as dedication to making quality product - can be marginalized/eliminated by making those dedicated to serve the customer reorganized to be subordinate losers to the Management MBA.

      The frustrated customers now have to go somewhere else. All we can do is show up in crisp haircuts, shined shoes, expensive suits, exquisite meeting experiences, but no one knows how to change a spark plug.

      The ability to abstract why we have customers never seemed to be taught in a business curriculum. It was all about making money.

      I would almost swear they use the CIA Simple Sabotage Field Manual as a guidebook on how to manage a workplace.

      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]