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GE Fridge DRM Workaround (gefiltergate.com)
355 points by crmrc114 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 199 comments



We're used to the idea of this happening when companies sell printers, game consoles, etc. at the slimmest of margins and rely on the sale of associated consumables (e.g. ink) to make a profit.

We're starting to see this kind of practice on an increasing number of big-ticket items where the consumables (filters in this case) represent a tiny fraction of the overall cost. GE isn't making the majority of their money off of selling you replacement filters, yet they've gone and done this to make a few extra bucks. I have a Samsung TV that tries to show me postage stamp sized ads when I'm in it's interface. I spent thousands on the thing and Samsung will be lucky to get pennies from those ads. I add filters to block the domains those ads are coming from to my router periodically, but Samsung keeps coming up with new ones.

The next TV I buy will not be a Samsung, and I suspect the author of this article has bought his last GE appliance. Why are companies driving away people who make multi-thousand dollar purchases with scummy behaviour that nets them spare change? Do the vast majority of people just not care? That's the only way the math makes sense.


>> Why are companies driving away people who make multi-thousand dollar purchases with scummy behaviour that nets them spare change?

I think the problem is you have a VP of this and VP of that, each of whom are tasked to squeeze pennies today via this vertical or that gizmo or else find a new job tomorrow. It's endemic, becoming an entrenched feature of big (U.S.) business. The people in those positions are incentivized to not give two hoots about a $2,000 lost sale eight years from now; they are employed literally to squeeze the extra $20 from replacement filters now. That's it.


Reviewers need to pay attention to these new "features".

Builtin ads or DRM should be a major point in any review or feature comparison matrix.


I understand that the vast majority of reviewers on the internet, and certainly the sites that come up first in search engine results, are compensated by the manufacturers via kickbacks.

I believe it's colloquially known as a "racket."


Is there any good work being done on solving this problem? "Verified buyer" exists on larger sites but it doesn't solve for kickbacks. Looking only at reviews written by people closer to you socially also doesn't work since at that critical proximity there aren't enough reviews.


Consumerreports is still independent and really useful, I think.


The Verge has been doing this for the EULAs of the products that they review, which I'm a huge fan of. Search for "agree to continue" on this page for example: https://www.theverge.com/21286687/motorola-moto-e-2020-g-fas...

But yeah, I wish more reviewers would do this, especially now that DRM and EULAs are finding their way into what were previously dumb appliances.


Some do, IIRC Rtings list and score points for "Ad Free" as one of their many review categories.


They do. I was well aware of the ad stuff on my last Samsung TV before I bought it, since most review sites mentioned it.


> Why are companies driving away people who make multi-thousand dollar purchases with scummy behaviour that nets them spare change?

Because high-margin goods aren't spare change. Look at the razor:

I can sell you the razor at cost-plus for $20 on a $19 manufacturing cost. I can sell you each individual razor cartridge at 90% profit for $1. At the end of the year I've sold, say, 5 razors and 50 blades, for a total of $150.

On the one hand, the razors made up the bulk of my gross revenue ($100/$150).

On the other hand, looking at the actual profit I've generated, $45 came from blades and $5 came from razors - that is, 90% of my profit came from those "pennies" that the razors brought in.

If you can strong-arm people into buying high-margin goods, that's a strong bonus to your bottom line, even if the absolute price isn't that high.

Let's plug a fridge into those numbers.

A nice new GE fridge can be had for something in the vicinity of $800 (sears website is showing me stuff $600-$1000, so let's just split the difference). Amazon has GW RPWFE filters up at $50 a pop.

You buy a fridge, what, every ten years? Every twenty? Those filters "should" be replaced every quarter? Let's be generous and say every half a year.

Those filters generate the same profit as the fridge at 16 years out, at the same profit margins. At asymmetric profit margins (say, 30% vs. 5%) they've produced profits equal to that of the fridge in a handful of years.

These aren't pennies.


Don't forget to account for planned obsolescence. If a fridge lasts 10 years, what happens when GE stops producing those filters? You start looking at new fridges. The GE fridge pissed you off, so you upgrade to Fisher & Paykel… turns out they are produced by the same company, so they don't care that GE 'lost' a customer.

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haier )


Yeah, here in the US just about every brand at any big box store is from Whirlpool, Electrolux, or Haier.


I work at GE. They sold off their appliance vertical, with brand rights, to Haier years ago. And with lighting being recently sold off, GE doesn't manufacture any home appliances anymore.


Including the Korean brands?


I stand corrected, I forgot about LG and Samsung


Ah ok, I thought it might just be the white label manufacturers went even deeper than I thought :)


I've definitely seen more LG and Samsung appliances than I did 20 years ago, and not just some off-brand in the back corner.


Fridges (and washing machines and just about every other "long-lasting" home appliances) only last about 5 years nowadays. In the case of the fridge, the compressor fails and replacing it typically costs more than a whole new unit. In the case of washing machines and other appliances, it's the CPU board or the main motor which degrades from heat after about 5 years, and a new one costs almost as much as a whole new appliance.

This behavior is so consistent in new appliances that I'm convinced companies are designing in the failures on purpose, because they've figured out that consumers will tolerate it and because the dearth of actual major appliance competitors leaves consumers no other choice.


Given I shave every few weeks blades last me 3-5 years.


That's cool. I go through about two blades a week. I'm not sure either of those facts is relevant to the discussion.


easy way to solve the problem: disconnect the TV From the internet... do you really need a smart TV? i got my samsung a few months back, and when setting it up, never connected it to the wifi or ethernet. I have an AppleTV, XBox One and NVidia Shield all plugged in and they are the smarts... The TV is JUST A SCREEN. It shouldnt be any more. It also means that 3 years down the road, Netflix changes something and your "Smart TV" looses access, your not "forced" to buy a new one... Apple change something and the AppleTV needs replacing? its $150 quid. Your TV is $1000+...


I have a thousand times more confidence that the operating system on a Xbox one or PS4 will remain patched and updated over a multi year time span... Than I do that some weird Android or webOS variant on a TV from Samsung or LG or others will remain safe to connect to the internet.

People will say, "yes , but the Xbox or PS4 home screen also shows ads". In my opinion those ads are far less annoying than having an ad on the actual TV. If I want something totally ad free I also have my HTPC connected to the screen.

I don't see giving any TVs the wifi password or a direct Ethernet cable any time in the future.


I feel the same way, but there are problems with this method. Especially with the artificial limitations on 4K/HDR content. For example, my PS4 Pro cannot watch Disney Plus in 4K/HDR mode, but my built in TV app can.

Another example: 4K on Netflix on a PC - you can't do it (unless using Intel IGPU > kabylake and Edge on Win 10 only). Mac users need to use a Win VM. But my TV app works.

It sucks, it really really sucks.


I might be wrong but I'm fairly certain I've been watching 4k netflix just fine on a HTPC that consists of a ryzen 1500x, geforce 1030 fanless, latest version of Chrome, and windows 10 home. The geforce1030 drivers have the hooks in them for HDPC transport to my home theatre receiver. Chrome has the various DRM software modules in it that keeps Netflix happy. I can definitely tell the difference on a big 4K TV if I toggle the quality setting in the netflix in-browser GUI.


That's not what Netflix says.

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23931

Netflix is available in Ultra HD on Windows computers and tablets. To stream in Ultra HD, you will need:

A Windows 10 computer or tablet with the latest Windows updates installed.

The Microsoft Edge browser or the Netflix app for Windows 10.

A 60Hz 4K capable display (with HDCP 2.2 connection if external display).

NOTE: Every monitor connected to your computer must meet these requirements to successfully stream in Ultra HD. Intel's 7th generation Core CPU (i3, i5, or i7 models in the 7xxx or 7Yxx series) or newer, or a NVIDIA GPU that meets these requirements.

A plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD. You can check which plan you're currently on at netflix.com/ChangePlan.

A steady internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher.

Streaming quality set to Auto or High. More information about video quality settings can be found in our Playback Settings article.


My configuration meets all of those requirements except I'm using the mainline Chrome browser. Is it really specifically Edge? Because edge is just the chrome browser engine internally now. I certainly do have edge installed on the same PC (kinda hard to have an auto updating copy of win 10 home without it), so I'll have to compare side by side.


Chrome doesn't support PlayReady DRM, which Netflix needs, they support Widevine instead. Right now you need a hardware device (like Roku) or a MS browser. In fact, Chrome only supports 720p on Windows/Linux.

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/23742

https://medium.com/@rihardsgailums/adventures-of-netflix-win...

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/chromium-mic...


Are you sure that's up to date? Because I'm sitting here right now with a 75" 4k screen, the PC in question, Chrome, Netflix, and it's definitely not 720p. I would notice if I was watching Altered Carbon in 720p. I can also see that the PC is moving about 23.5 Mbps of traffic from my home router, which matches with one of netflix's 2160p HEVC bitrates.


What does it say when you press "Ctrl + Alt + Shift + D"?


Also gaming consoles have advantages for specs that's for gaming but also useful for smoothness UI.

The problem is I don't gaming on TV so I buy STB with crappy SoC.


That's what I thought, until I got a Samsung with integrated Netflix, youtube etc. No more hassle with separate boxes and multiple remotes etc, I can use the Samsung minimalist remote (which is both beautiful and really usable - the aluminium one) and jsut switch from one app to another to TV etc

There's even a feature where you can directly access a channel's "smart" features from that channel (so if I'm watching Arte I press the red button and get replay episodes etc)

And then they force ads down my throat :(


The channel smart features are powered by HbbTV (Arte+7, BBC Red Button, France.tv Salto, etc.), they should work on non-smart TVs that are connected to the Internet.


ah good to know! i didn't know there were intermediate tvs that had internet without being "smart"


So build a Pihole. Now you get the best of both worlds: Use the Samsung integrated features but no ads.


I've read that you can get a non-smart and more reliable TV if you call it "digital signage".


At four times the price.


This is what i did years ago when i got my samsung smart TV to use as a monitor. Still havent agreed to the EULA. Unfortunately the firmware it came with is total shit. Sometimes there are straight up errors in whats being displayed, or it wont lock to signals, and the tv has to be restarted. There is of course no way to fix any of this without permanently enabling ads, telemetry, and audio spying as far as i know, assuming they ever fixed the firmware. Ill never buy another samsung product, i dont care how cost effective it appears in the moment. It's hard to put a price on the peace of mind of using devices that aren't actively hostile to me. You also have to be vigilant about other people boneheadedly picking up your remote and consenting to the agreements so they can use the hobbled internal processor to watch netflix with ads. When guests are using the TV there basically has to be a mini PSA about only using the attached computer and how insidious samsung is. Really great word of mouth advertising for them...


Yes, I think I absolutely do need a smart TV. The ability to just switch on netflix or even a DLNA client directly on my TV without having to switch on another device is worth the little bit of bullshit that comes with it. I've had the same "smart" Bravia TV for 7 years now, and it still works absolutely fine, the Netflix client runs just the same, the DLNA streaming works the same.....the biggest disappointment was when PlaystationNow support was discontinued, I could no longer play games using just the TV and a bluetooth controller.


Hmm. We use an Amazon Fire Stick connected to a projector.

The projector is dumb. It has its own remote, but we don't need to use it; the recent Fire Stick remotes understand how to control the volume and how to turn it off, and that's all you need.

HDMI-CEC means the Fire Stick turns on the projector when you click on it, so you don't need to turn on multiple devices.


How does one use a DLNA client on a Samsung tv?

I can only find a list of useless apps (other than Netflix, YouTube)


I have a smart TV. I connected it to WiFi for setup and update and then I "forgot" the network. Two weeks later my wife is watching Netflix and I notice it's the TV not my Roku or Apple TV. She swears she didn't configure it.

I didn't mention the brand because I haven't gone back in to double check what's happening here.


Here un mexico some providers tie your accounts to your IP (phone/internet provider has a Netflix like service) so one you login / auth from one device, it will read your ip and save it for other devices.


I have my LG TVs hooked up so I can power on/off them via ethernet (with SimpleControl).

Besides that their access to the internet is blocked on my firewall.

I don't want nor need "smart" features and I would have paid more for the same panel with fewer features.


Except that I paid not just for the screen, but also for the additional advertised "smart" features.


Smart TVs are cheaper, not more expensive. You didn’t pay for those features—you saved money by having them foisted on you.


Even if true, maybe I liked those features (not advertising) and wanted to have them?


Then the advertising and the spying/telemetry are part of the bargain that you struck.


According to the GDPR, they cannot be.


But it's factored into the price. TV prices fell a lot during the last two years or so. They earn from the ads, they sell your usage stats. You get a subsidized TV. Don't connect it to the net.


Spit-balling; when will they put GSM chips in them? The cost of a data-plan could easily be reached with estimated figures for ads and selling usage data.


GSM is old-hat. The new cool is 5G chips embedded in TVs, and they are coming. And you won't be able to opt out unless you build a Faraday cage around the TV.

https://www.t-mobile.com/tvision/tvision-5g


It’s ok, you are allowed to admit you made a mistake.


What was the mistake? There are no options here anymore. You want an OLED? You're getting a smart OLED.


Just dont connect it to the internet. If it doesnt work, return it.


Well, there is this OLED option. Bring money.

https://www.lg.com/us/business/oled-displays/lg-55EW5F-A


> NVidia Shield

Have you seen all the ads on an Nvidia Shield? So now I have to also install LineageOS?


I suspect there's two parts:

1. GE can only count the dollars it makes from this little scam, not the dollars it lost. It doesn't see the fact that I now resent them (I discovered this "feature" a month ago) and will likely avoid even buying lightbulbs with their logo on them can't factor into their model.

2. These aren't items you replace often, so it will take years for any negative effect to set in, unless the reviews tank.


Good news for you about buying their light bulbs ... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23324898


It almost feels like slowly but almost surely those lcd refrigerators will turn into “gas station tv” but for pantry items and people will accept it.


I decided that one criteria for expensive things I buy from now on is that unless it is inherent to the function of the object, I will not buy things that depend on the maker as an ongoing operation for functions I care about[1].

Cell phones are the hardest case there, and I'll probably break my rule in that case. But in general, I'm not paying rent on things I already bought, even if that tax is in the form of stupid ads.

[1] I'm also not going to play what-about-this-edge-case with quibblers.


This should come down to profit margins. If TVs are sold for production costs or at a loss, then all profits come from advertising.

If buyers go for sticker prices and $10 make or break a deal, then it doesn't matter if the product costs $1000. If somebody can offer a similar product for $990, people will buy that. With all the features and options, what else but price is relevant unless you have time to study the subject?


That’s nieve.

Does it match your decor?

I think you’d be surprised by the number of people who buy something that’s in their price range but also matches their idea of what that thing should look like.

Style.


At the $1000 point, most buyers are definitely focused on the price. Buyers who care about style are spending $2000+ on their fridge, and that's just for the low level stuff you find at a big box store.


Waddayamean?

From my perspective, a $1000 screen is a significant purchase.

Hell, spending $500 on an appliance gives me pause.

Mind you, you’d probably laugh out loud if you saw what us locally employed (ie, not FIFO) tradespeople get paid.


I'm sure it varies, of course, but where I live a thousand bucks will get you a bog standard side-by-side fridge of middling quality. Functional, but not the least bit exciting. Everyone seems to want french door models these days, and that pretty much instantly pushes you to the $2000 range.

We have a french door fridge and I loathe it. Someone told me to skip that and get a bottom freezer single-door, but my wife really wanted the french door. We regret it. The recommendation to avoid was spot-on.


I wonder how much a refrigerator costs to design and manufacture that just keeps things cold. That might help with margins.


Bare-bones refrigerators are available: https://products.geappliances.com/appliance/hotpoint/top-fre...

The margins for appliance manufacturers are tight. 3-5% is not uncommon.

Features like wifi connectivity and premium finish are how you start increasing profitability but even then you aren't making significant profit per unit until you hit the very top product lines – think Samsung's Dacor or GE's Monogram.

Any proposed change to the appliance goes through a cost/benefit analysis that is more rigorous than anything I've seen in a software company: if your BOM or cost to assemble go up by pennies you have to convince executives that either cost of quality goes down to compensate, OR that it will drive sales.

Water filters, on the other hand, have margins that have 2 or even 3 zeros at the end.


Fridges are one of those product categories for which the magic of the free market misses completely for me.

I want a basic fridge with maybe $200, tops (manufacturing & material cost) of improvements to things that actually matter (castors on drawers make a huge difference for the feel of fridge drawers, for example) + non-ugly exterior. Counter depth (so less material!). No ice maker, no water integrated, none of that stuff. Certainly no damn screens. Just a compressor with a cabinet. A good and useful layout, or "UX" if you prefer (this adds no cost, or very little, past the initial design, which can be re-used indefinitely). I will pay a $600-800 premium over the most basic model for this, retail. Call it $1500.

... but in fact the nice parts I want aren't available except on very "high-end" models that start at like $2.5k from a dent-n-ding outlet (let alone full retail) with tons of extra crap, and you pay significantly more for counter depth in most cases (I guess economies of scale make them solidly 10% more expensive, despite the savings in materials?). It sucks, I just want a basic fridge that looks & feels nice and doesn't stick out into my kitchen like some kind of menacing mechanical monster, but is not a rip-off. Pretty much doesn't exist.

[EDIT] actually it's fair to say that "nice, simple, and reasonably priced for the extras it takes to achieve 'nice'" is a category markets often fail to deliver for me. They seem to be great at delivering cheap and crappy, cheap and kinda OK (think: all non-Ikea flat-pack furniture for the former, Ikea for the latter), expensive and crappy, and expensive and actually good. There's a middle-market that seemingly never gets served and sends me looking for antiques, when possible. I suspect the reason for these outcomes boil down to information asymmetry, like lots of problems with markets.


Ah, the free market...

Many manufacturers sell to retailers under a unilateral minimum price policy. You can buy from the manufacturer and stock your showroom, but you are not allowed to mark it below a certain price. You'll also see payments from the manufacturer to the retailer in the form of "advertising support" to drive certain models. So you'll end up with a retailer:

* Paying $500 per unit (A) which they cannot mark below $399, but buying a certain amount at a loss to receive a payment from the manufacturer for paper/web/TV advertisements contingent on including A in the advertisement and possibly even presenting it in a certain way on the sales floor (endcap, front display, etc.)

* Paying $450 per unit for unit (B) which they cannot mark below $599

The goal for the retailer is then obviously to buy as few of the first unit as possible to get the manufacturer payment and then push as many customers as possible to buy the second. The manufacturer is happy because unit A was last year's model rebadged and they could clear inventory and move towards retiring it.

The real top end items are sold under unilateral fixed pricing: you pay $X and must retail it for $Y. Manufacturers have people employed to mystery shop and look for violations. If a retailer marks up or marks down, they are blacklisted. Possibly for all lines, not just the marquee brand - depends on your sales.


So what you really want is what Speed Queen would make if they made refrigerators. I am 100% with you.


Unfortunately, it's my understanding that Speed Queen has also succumbed to the cost-cutting measures of plastic parts and things that can't be replaced / repaired easily.


Having worked briefly at a major appliance company, I can say that refrigerator design is not simple. Refrigerators aren't made to just cool things down, the entire interior is expected to stay at a uniform temperature. As a result, many refrigerators have more heating elements than ovens. There's a ton of testing that needs to happen to determine hot spots, cold spot, poorly insulated areas, etc. and that's just for the cooling. Also the current refrigerant used in refrigerators (driven by regulation) is very close to propane, it has an explosion risk, so that mandates tons of specific testing. The real issue is that the release cycles of appliances are so much shorter than the expected life cycles. There are life tests for appliances, but they have to be accelerated massively, so it's not a great representation of the lifetime use of the appliances. All of that to say the data collected by an internet connected appliance is of huge value to the manufacturer. They can get data from the appliance for it's entire life, usage and performance of specific components, etc. Manufacturers are going to find as many cheap ways as possible to tempt consumers to connecting their products to the internet so they can get that data back. It's unlikely the trend is going to slow down.


> the entire interior is expected to stay at a uniform temperature.

Surely this is as simple as adding a small fan so that air circulates inside?


I'm not an expert in the field of refrigeration so I'm speculating a bit, but I believe the won't work because the cause of inconsistency of temperature is that the insulation isn't as effective at every part of the cabinet (probably due to shape, what components are packed around the cabinet, etc.) so moving air over those areas would cause heat to enter the cabinet faster, requiring more cooling power. That might be effective, but I think the approach that's taken is more efficient, and that's what refrigerators are all about (They move like 2-3x more heat energy out of the cabinet that is put into the compressor, fans, etc.). The less movement of the air inside the more effective the insulation will be.

It's also worth noting that just insulating better isn't really an option (without developing better insulation) because refrigerators need to have as large as possible interior volume compared to exterior volume to be competitive, what can be fit inside is a definite selling point.


I believe that won't work for the same reason that I can't cool my house with one A/C window unit and a big fan


Game consoles? They aren't cheap and I can't think off the top of my head what the consumables are for a game console. Certainly not the games any more than blurays are for bluray players. Switch uses standard USB-C etc. You can use 3rd party network adaptors, micro-sd cards, etc. PS4 takes standard 3rd party hard drives, usb-sticks, ...

I guess I'm not saying how this fits


Console makers tend to lose money on console sales [0], but they then are able to make it up in selling things like (but not limited to): Online Access (Nintendo Online, PSPlus, Xbox gold), Games, and possibly ads, should they choose to display any,

[0]: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/080515/econo...


Console manufacturers make money through licensing fees paid by game developers. The consoles themselves are usually sold at or below cost.


Games

Controllers (Licensed accessories)

Services (online)


I figure the reasoning is this:

soon everyone will do this, by the time someone who had this happen to them and got mad gets around to buying another fridge it will be industry wide procedure - therefore they will accept it (or do without a fridge) and then they will buy our product based on some other calculation than if it has the mal-feature that every other fridge will have.


A lot of electronics sell for less than cost and break even/profit based on consumables. PS4s made a loss when they came out and Sony relied on games sales to correct that. The same was true of safety razors and blades 100 years ago and electric razors today.

Sadly this means products often arnt designed for you or me (I hate the idea of advertising built into Samsungs TV). But those are the economics in this situation...


I was talking to a friend who had worked an a PC oem.

People would ask him why they wouldn't offer a linux version.

The answer was - it would cost more because their monetization strategy netted something like $60 per machine - which actually made the linux machine more expensive.

(this was a couple of years ago, numbers might be different)


>Do the vast majority of people just not care?

Considering they have the most market share, people do not care enough about the malware they install versus the lower price offered on the malware ridden TVs.


Use whitelists.


I think we're supposed to call them "allowlists" now.


Eyeroll.


Good point. Did not find a synonym.


This is one of those ‘features’ you’ll never discover on the showroom floor, only after 6 months when it decides to rear its ugly head and the return policy is long expired. It’s among the most disgusting money grabs I’ve ever seen in a product.

I ran into this when I bought a set of GE appliances and was furious. I was happy to find the bypass method after some googling but I’m still holding out hope that someone hacks the board and just disables the check all together.

When my friend bought his house he was lucky enough to have a refrigerator with the same ‘feature’. Luckily I was able to warn him right away so he could gather supplies for the bypass.

Never again will I ever consider GE Appliances and I’m always sure to warn people.


Wow this is timely for me. Just ran into this issue a few weeks ago when my mother's refrigerator needed a filter. I bought the bypass kit and figured I'd switch the RFID chips in eventually, but I haven't had a chance to due to everything going on at the moment.

Stuff like this is trash. So often you only find out you have this technology after it's too late and own an appliance with it.

I am not a fan of more regulations, but if large companies are going to insist on acting like unprincipled jerk-ass immature children about things, more regulation is exactly what they're going to get. And I'll gladly vote for them. If companies show again and again they can not act responsibly without regulation, I don't have time to listen to them whine about it any longer.


The worst part is often people don't buy their refrigerator, it comes with their house/apartment as a package deal. So you would literally have no clue that this is a thing until it happens. And in the case of an apartment, you literally have no choice in the matter (cant use your own refrigerator) if the apartment maintenance wont replace the filter.


Check out Cory Doctorow's novella "Unauthorized Bread". It's about _exactly_ this problem.


Where is this? I've been in > 25 apartments. Only once did it come with a fridge. It was easily 20yrs old, still worked, but 100% sure the landlord would have let me replace it with my own


I've never lived in an apartment in the US that didn't have a fridge. The only time I have needed to buy appliances was my apartment in Tokyo and luckily I had a roommate that supplied most of them from their old place.


The only place I've lived where refrigerators weren't the norm in a unit was Los Angeles.


Very rare in Australia for the fridge to be in a rental property unless it's furnished.


The majority of apartments in the US come with appliances, as do many rental houses.


They should be forced to show the filter cost on the “it costs x per year” to run this device sticker, (which usually is for electricity)


As the author suggests, please support anti-DRM [0] and right-to-repair [1] movements!

[0] https://www.defectivebydesign.org/

[1] https://www.ifixit.com/Right-to-Repair/Intro


Just refuse to buy anything from GE and make sure you tell everyone why. Sony lost me as a customer when they tried to install a rootkit on my computer. Now that I know about this sort of thing happening at GE I can cross them off my list of potential suppliers too (not a big deal of course because GE don't sell much, perhaps nothing at all, here in Norway).


I will throw my hat in with you, I have never, ever, ever bought a Sony product after that incident. Had you or I done the same thing (hacking and exploiting that many computers) we would probably just be seeing the light of day now from our stint in prison. They got what amounted to a slap on the wrist and no one was criminally prosecuted. Therefore I will never purchase another of their products so long as I live.

As far as the main point of the thread, honestly, the older I get, the more of a Luddite I become when it comes to home electronics and appliances. I purchased and restored an older model Viking range due to it being mostly straight electronics, mechanics and pneumatic. I was able to rebuild the whole thing in 2 days. Anymore the appliance repair guys don't want to deal with repairs, unless the appliance is throwing a code and all they have to do is replace a logic board. Usually they just come out and tell you to buy a new one from them. So I have gotten to the point where, I just want simple stuff that I can repair myself. I have a commercial refrigerator and a commercial stand up freezer for this reason, they are built with repair in mind and generally use stock interchangeable parts that are simple and durable. If a person really wants to opt out of this appliance DRM game, buy used commercial equipment or boutique semi-pro home appliances. They really are better quality and most are built to be repaired and last a lifetime.


So sony lost 2 customers. And won the recent console generation.

If you play games are you now boycotting pubg (battleye), riot (valorant denuvo), Bethesda (doom denuvo), blizzard (warden), or many many other rootkit anticheats/antipiracy?


These anticheat systems are not root kits, they do not attempt to conceal their presence from you nor attempt to prevent their removal.

Are they potential security and stability headaches? Yes, as with anything you load into your OS kernel. But rootkits they are not.

Valorant’s Vanguard sucks because the thing insists on running 24/7 and requires a reboot to disable or re-enable. During operation it causes a whole host of issues from blocking programs to causing BSODs - but it sits there in plain sight.

Denuvo anti-cheat’s major issue is for whatever godforsaken reason they decided to bypass ntdll to make some syscalls breaking WINE. Presumably they did this because ntdll can be hooked like anything else, but this speaks of poor design more than anything as the kernel-mode driver should be more than capable of detecting this.

Battleye is...fine. As is Easy Anti-Cheat.

Blizzard’s warden has been a privacy mess over the years with it scanning window titles and reporting them back. But AFAIK it does all of its work usermode.

I’m not a huge fan of the level of access modern anticheat packages have on my system - but with the widely open platform that is PC gaming it’s no surprise that gamers and developers alike want cheaters to be dealt with. Valorant can kiss my ass right now though, at least everything else has the decency to only run when I’m playing a game.


The point is not that I am hurting Sony with my protest of their actions. The point is I am not compromising my values on what I think is right and wrong.

The difference between them and anti-cheats in games are that they installed it without your permission, Sony took existing open source tools (violating the GPL in the process), that while legitimate where often used by black hats to invade and exploit systems and made it into a tool to spy on users, placing a Sony audio cd into your computer would put a rootkit onto your computer. It evaded detention and resisted removal, it would report to them any suspicious activity that they deemed piracy, which they would then turn over to the RIAA to sue you. Their root kit did not protect the single album you put into your computer it spied on all your activity to report back any activity Sony deemed suspicious and again once it was there, you where spied on until you reformatted you drive and installed a clean OS. It was by every definition an intrusion virus and a rootkit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_BMG_copy_protection_rootk...


Luckily for me I don't need to consider those things because I don't play games.

But if what you are hinting at is that one should be consistent and refrain from buying not just Sony products but also any others that perform similar stunts then yes I do try to be consistent. However I'm not about to do myself serious harm in the process precisely because I know that I am just one customer out of millions. So I put up with Microsoft because I need Visual Studio for work, I put up with Android because there really is no other alternative ecosystem that supports the applications that I need in the society in which I live.

I rationalize my way out of the problem by buying less of everything on the grounds that I am then simply less likely to have to make such a decision


And they brought their unwelcome tactics into that industry as well. Sony lost me as customer with the PS3 console. The removal of the Other OS feature greatly impacted me. After that I boycott them for 10 years. That time had since passed and I still avoid them whenever possible. They completely lost my trust.


I wonder if it is actually made by GE or just rebranded? It's a shame they could have been the USA Miele but they didn't think it was worth it I guess. Do you think they ever go to bid for a nucleur power station and the guy goes "nah, not after that fridge you sold me"?


GE Appliances is no longer part of General Electric Company. It’s 90% owned by the Chinese company Haier and 10% owned by the US-based PE company KKR. According to Wikipedia [1], they have the right to use the GE branding until 2056.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GE_Appliances

[Edit: typo]


In my opinion what is going to kill GE appliance sales more than DRM water filters is the fact that GE appliance repair is going away.

GE repair workers were GE employees that knew how to fix GE appliances. They really knew what they were doing and were helpful and resourceful with the goal of repairing things instead of replacing things. A service call was expensive but absolutely worth the money.

I don't think most people care too much about paying $20 every six months for a "genuine" replacement water filter (especially when we all know the health risks of counterfeit garbage) for their $2000 refrigerator.

When the repair guy comes and tells you that your 10-year old fridge doesn't need to be replaced, it just needs a $200 circuit board and does the job in 10 minutes, you develop some brand loyalty. But that's all gone now because the new company got rid of it.


You think that should make a difference? You sell someone the right to use your name on their products, you suffer the reputation damage when they misuse it. If they wanted to preserve the value of their brand then they should have insisted that the buyer use their own name on all future products.


Yes, I agree. My response was more of a response to "they could have been the USA Miele", which I assume was based on the thought that GE Appliances is an American company.


GE Appliances is wholly owned by a Chinese company, Haier.


GE sold the appliance brand to Haier a few years back.


Absolutely losing my shit at "General Electric's Integrated Führer Board(IFB)"


I make it a point to always expand DRM as digital restrictions management. The world hardly needs more doublespeak.

> This website is best viewed with proper web browsers such as Lynx or Elinks.

I love it!


One of the few achievements of which I am proud from my time with ${BIGCORP} was getting 'digital restrictions management' into a C-level deck.


I personally find it hypocritical that they say it works best in "proper web browsers", yet the page has some pretty basic HTML errors in it:

https://validator.w3.org/nu/?doc=https%3A%2F%2Fgefiltergate....


Yay, lynx!


Does Consumer Reports not shame them and reject their refrigerators for this?


Serious question: does anyone here know specifically what data is transmitted such that the filter authenticates correctly to the refrigerator? Guessing it can't some kind of challenge-response (no processing element on filter)?

I know a little bit about RFID and know a decent amount about DRM in general, but I'm specifically wondering what type of cryptography (presumably?) is used here.

I've got to imagine the RFID tag provides some kind of signed data (e.g. serial number) that can be verified by the fridge's "Führer board" (poster's term, not mine).

BTW this kind of stuff is everywhere, not just water filters and Keurig coffee. IMO sometimes perhaps it's justified for safety reasons (consumable parts of medical devices, laptop batteries[fires], etc.). Not so much maybe for inkjet/laser printer cartridges, coffee refills, etc.

Side note: I consulted with a printer company maybe 5-6 years ago, and they pretty much convinced me (brainwashed me?) that their big concern wasn't revenue stream, but customer experience / damage to the printer. The one and only time I've owned an inkjet, I bought a cheap ink refill and it printed like shit and eventually ruptured and damaged the printer, so perhaps I was pre-disposed to believing the printer company.


Product as a Service at its finest

You buy a thing, but still don't own it after the purchase.

Think of having to pay rent to live in your own house.


Let's not forget to shame software companies that have shifted to this evil revenue model too. No longer can I expect to buy and download software I'd have a right to use for life. Now I have to subscribe to everything, not only to receive future updates, but even just to fucking use it in perpetuity.


That's why I use Free Software exclusively.


I'd be happy to pay for software, if it's worth it. I just want to buy a perpetual license, not a token for a 5 minute ride.

(These days, however, I'm hesitant to pay for anything that isn't open source. I just don't trust any of you.)


Yep. And I will go commercial if there is a good reason for it, or the free stuff sucks. For personal use there really isnt a good reason and most commercial software seems to expire in some way eventually.


> Think of having to pay rent to live in your own house.

So land taxes?


1. Land is inherently finite, so you owning some necessarily means everyone else can have less. There is no way to compare that to a mass-produced product.

2. Taxes fund a big part of what gives land more value. If you own the land, that means you're getting a part of that value, meaning you should be paying for it.


Anything composed of matter is by definition finite from an economic standpoint. Even if you assume an infinite amount of something in an infinitely large universe, you still at minimum have a cost of transport, and likely a wide variety of other costs including manufacturing. There is nothing special about land in this regard.


I'm not saying things other than land have no value/costs (I think that's what you were implying?). Setting aside the long-term "everything on this planet is finite" and the even less useful "the universe is infinite" arguments, as none of them operate on a time scale that's relevant to an individual today, land is finite in a way that very few things are.

All the land there is already belongs to someone. The only way to get land, is to buy/take it from someone else. We can't make more, even with immense resources (no, artificial islands and reclaiming oceans aren't viable enough to matter yet). Someone can single-handedly destroy the supply with a one-time cost.

Fridges aren't finite in the same way, as we can always make more, as long as we have the resources. If we run out of resources, we may be able to figure out how to make them out of different resources. If we run out of those, we have a much bigger problem than fridges and no time to talk about economics. As it stands now, if someone wants to destroy the supply of fridges, they would have to keep buying them as they are made almost indefinitely (i.e. NOT a one-time cost).

Once we run out of all the base materials to construct fridges with and the "fridge economy" is based entirely on trading working fridges and recycling old ones for material to make more, then you can start to compare the two.


> I'm not saying things other than land have no value/costs (I think that's what you were implying?)

The single argument I made was quite clear and unambiguous. Everything composed of matter is finite in nature, and that fact contradicts your previous suggestion that land is somehow special in this regard.

> Setting aside the long-term "everything on this planet is finite" and the even less useful "the universe is infinite" arguments

I think you may be using a different definition of "argument" than me. Feel free to elaborate.

> none of them operate on a time scale that's relevant to an individual today

Quite to the contrary. Scarcity is the basis of the entire field of economics.

> land is finite in a way that very few things are

Land is more finite compared to what? Land and refrigerators are apples and oranges. Land is also as hypothetically infinitely divisible beyond practicality as any number of other things including refrigerators.

> All the land there is already belongs to someone. The only way to get land, is to buy/take it from someone else.

Does this not also apply to all raw materials which a refrigerator is composed of?

> Fridges aren't finite in the same way, as we can always make more, as long as we have the resources.

See above

> If we run out of resources, we may be able to figure out how to make them out of different resources.

Changing which finite resource you are using does not change the fact that those resources are still finite.

> no, artificial islands and reclaiming oceans aren't viable enough to matter yet

Somehow, you claim that these are not viable options, yet offer the possibility of making refrigerators with different resources. If land costed enough to make artificial islands a good investment, they would exist. Similarly, if refrigerators could be produced and sold using different raw materials, we would see that reflected in refrigerators currently available for sale.

> If we run out of those, we have a much bigger problem than fridges and no time to talk about economics

It is an established fact in economics that (at least privately owned) resources generally never run out. The less that is available, the more expensive resources are to extract, and the harder it is to maintain economies of scale. These and other factors contribute to higher costs of the raw goods themselves and products produced with them, driving demand to the use of other raw materials to achieve similar ends. For example, we are not going to ever run out of oil. It will simply increase in price until electronic vehicles or other options will become dominant, and the use of oil will become more confined to niche products.

> As it stands now, if someone wants to destroy the supply of fridges, they would have to keep buying them as they are made almost indefinitely (i.e. NOT a one-time cost).

If enough fridges are purchased, the finite nature of which is represented by raw materials required, then the exact same thing will happen as in the case where enough land is purchased. The prices will increase until it becomes impossible to keep making purchases.

> Once we run out of all the base materials to construct fridges with and the "fridge economy" is based entirely on trading working fridges and recycling old ones for material to make more, then you can start to compare the two.

Again, this is impossible, and if you read and understand everything else I have said above then it will be quite clear that you can in fact compare the two, which was my (actual, not "implied") original argument


The single argument I made was quite clear and unambiguous. Everything composed of matter is finite in nature, and that fact contradicts your previous suggestion that land is somehow special in this regard.

I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it really feels like you're just being deliberately obtuse. This is a discussion about the practical real-world economics of the situation, not a treatise on the nature of physical reality.


I hope you enjoy roads leading up to your house, and schooling for your children because that's what your land tax is paying for.

This is more like "protection" racket


Well to be fair that's not the only thing land tax is paying for and it's in dispute whether the allocation is "correct."

And people would still like roads and schooling for their children whether the government provides it or not. It's interesting how even under our current system people still build these things privately.


I'm in the UK, which doesn't have land taxes. Stamp duty is one time payment.


So you pay Council Tax then, which is pretty much the equivalent.


So, if I stop paying my landtax, they take away the roads and schools, or take away my home?


3) they take away you.


Not for land taxes at least not in the US, if you do not pay your land taxes, the bill goes up for auction, someone pays it and you owe that person interest and principle. If you do not pay it for a certain amount of years, they can call for an auction of the asset and they are the first guarantee of settlement for their principle and interest. Then mortgage, then mechanics lien, etc. etc.


That definitely varies. In my area the city just takes your house, evicts you, and auctions the property.


Yes in some municipalities, they do not create a security out of the debt, but I believe the majority of municipalities do.


> So land taxes?

It's entirely different, because those are under the control of the people. You (presumably) have a lot of protections when it comes to speaking your mind regarding those, and voting rights when it comes to electing the people who set those taxes.

Your fridge maker has no obligation to listen to you.


Poor analogy. You vote with your dollars and it's a lot more direct than government. You can vote out you fridge today.


> Poor analogy. You vote with your dollars and it's a lot more direct than government. You can vote out you fridge today.

My ability to "vote" out my fridge is directly correlated with the thickness of my wallet. I, for one, would be disgusted to live in a society where that's equated with voting power.


If you don't personally have the ability to veto an expense you disagree with then your "voting power" is essentially nil. You are under no obligation to buy a refrigerator, no matter what anyone else thinks. You are forced to pay taxes, even when they are spent on things that are directly harmful to you, never mind things you merely have no interest in purchasing.


To live a reasonable modern life you are in practice forced to buy a fridge.

You are not forced to pay taxes. Owning property and earning money are choices, if you wanna take it to this ridiculous extreme.


> To live a reasonable modern life you are in practice forced to buy a fridge.

There are plenty of other options besides standard residential refrigerators. To start with you can avoid refrigerated goods altogether, or buy them as needed for each meal. You can use an icebox or one of the small portable fridges sold for camping and travel. You can buy a commercial model rather than something aimed at residential users. Or, finally, you can make your own—the basic principles of thermoelectric or compressor-driven refrigeration are very well-known and instructions are available online.

If you limit yourself to the most popular solutions right out of the gate, don't complain about your lack of choices. The prison you live in is of your own making; you have no one to blame but yourself.

Even if we were talking about something more basic, however, such as food in general rather than merely convenient cold food, there is a very big difference between being "forced" to provide something for yourself due to the nature of the universe and being forced to do something by the deliberate action (or threatened action) of another human being.

> Owning property and earning money are choices, if you wanna take it to this ridiculous extreme.

Nothing about owning property or earning money entitles anyone else to take a portion of your wealth or profits. Force is force, even if you might have avoided being victimized by acting differently. You have a right to do these things without asking anyone else's permission. If they step in afterward and demand that you pay them in response, they are forcing you to pay. As in: making unilateral demands and threatening the use of force against you if you don't comply.


Haha, the Swap-a-roo method used to work with some old HP inkjets. You needed 3 old cartridges iirc, install one, power on, install the second, install the third.

That's it, the next one you install would be considered "new" and would work. Apparently the printers kept track of the cartridge IDs but had a short memory.

Refill all of them and use until they start leaking (so, years of constant refills). Simpler times.


Love the low tech method of taping the RFID to the sensor.

My whirlpool fridge just makes an annoying high pitched beep when the filter’s been there for ~3 months. I get used it the noise but my wife hates it. It’s been beeping for 3 months now.


Cant you like disconnect the buzzer?


This kind of stuff is really FU to customer's face. Phones with apps you can't delete even if you just paid $1K for it. laptops with soldiered RAM so you won't buy more. TVs with some useless preinstalled junk nobody needs.

I could understand when they do it on so called loss leaders,where money comes from support or refills ( e.g printer), but when you pay a premium for what you think would be a high quality product and you get some weird crap,it just makes you hate brands.


How long before the fridge will "protect" us from "choice of milk".

I'm sorry Dave, I cannot refrigerate unauthorized milk for you.


See Cory Doctorow's story "Unauthorized Bread".


Only our water filters are made to xyz magical standards with pure unicorn piss and rainbows.


Cheeky post. We decided to bypass our fridge filter entirely, and instead run water from our under-sink 3M filtrate filter directly to the filters output. We just change that every six months or so and it’s used for tap water.


>From the patents it looks like I can thank inventors Mr. Krause and Mr. Chernov for their freedom sucking, major appliance disabling, communist, 1984-esque idea.

GE is, historically, among the most anti-communist of all American companies. Its role in breaking and/or corrupting major unions and collective bargaining rights in the post-war era had few equivalents. GE, as well as the US patent system, exists in absolute service of the capitalist system.


The author throwing all sorts of names (Hitler was mentioned too) made me think he's quite childish and immature..


I thought you could avoid having a filter by using the bypass plug you get with the fridge. "If you do not want to use a water filter in the refrigerator, the filter can be replaced by the filter bypass plug that came with the refrigerator."


It's the solution mentioned in the article, lifting the RFID from the bypass cartridge to install it directly on the receiver circuit board. It allows you to keep using an "expired" filter rather than no filter at all.


But why would I filter potable tap water?

If it really tastes that bad in a particular region, central filters that you install where the pipe enters the house are cheap. Just make sure to get one that you can use generic filter media with (ie it's basically just a tube of some standard size).


People figure that they don't need to filter the water for showering, doing the dishes, flushing toilets, laundry, shaving, etc. Just drinking and ice. Both of those are at the fridge, so might as well put the filter there.

But, even with all that extra volume, is a central filter still cheaper? I'm thinking about a water softener soon, might as well throw that in.


If you do not have a well you most likely do not need a softener and it will just be another maintenance item and expense. If you have city water you would be better off with an activated charcoal filter or a RO unit.


My motivation for it is to eliminate all the calcium buildup on faucets, showerheads, etc. My water is very hard, and the constant cleaning I have to do is annoying. My cheapo TDS meter shows > 300ppm. I can't air dry my dishes without them coming out spotted and hazy.

As far as maintenance goes, my understanding is that the salt is dirt cheap. The new hassle I'm adding to avoid cleaning is lugging 40-lb. bags down to the basement, right?

I've never dealt with one before, so appreciate any insight there.


You have to back flush them and (at least for the two I have had in my life) tend to break a lot needing plumbing and electrical repair. Also the salt is corrosive so you need to be diligent as to where it is installed. The installers installed one of mine in the garage, near the air handler and I ended up replacing the air handler due to the location of the softener. I moved it outside while the handler was being replaced. They are of benefit in certain instances, such as yours and I would certainly buy another one if I where on a well again, but they come with their own set of headaches.


Even if you wanted to filter potable tap water, I am under the impression anything less than reverse osmosis is just a placebo.


Depends on what you want to filter. I used to have unsafe water from my well, and only reverse osmosis could make it safe. However safety isn't the only reason to filter water. If it is safe to drink but looks dirty a cheaper partical filter removes mud. If it is safe but tastes bad an activated charcoal filter will often be a cheap cure. If it is hard a water softener will fix that, but you want to drink the hard water instead of the softened water (though sodium content doesn't seem to be as much of a worry as it was 30 years ago. I'm note sure that it is science changing or not). I've also seen Iron filters.

Depending on the problem you need a different filter. Fridge filters only solve the simple problems where the water isn't too bad in the first place.


That would require modifying the plumbing system of the house, which would require to own the house or have the landlord's permission.


We're taught since childhood that one should only drink filtered or boiled water. It's not a matter of taste, it's a matter of pathogenic microorganisms. I would feel very uncomfortable drinking water directly from the plumbing without it going through a filter.


Most people in western countries drink straight tap water without filtering and certainly not boiling it.

Those things are absolutely not needed in countries with a modern water distribution network, they just bring added comfort.


I live in a large city in a major western country (Brazil), and I don't know anybody who drinks straight tap water without filtering. Every house or workplace has one or more water filters, normally connected to the plumbing (that is, there's a separate filtered tap for you to drink from), though there are also standalone filters (which are filled manually). Water for cooking is usually boiled (as a normal part of the cooking). We certainly learn in school that, to prevent diseases, water must be filtered or boiled (or bottled mineral water).


Brazil doesn't have effectively universally safe to drink tap water like the US and most western countries have.


Where do you live? That's certainly not the case everywhere. I drink water straight out of the well, and so does everyone else. It's normal to get a well tested when you buy a house, but unless you live near a swamp with a shallow well or something weird, you're unlikely to have any problems. There might be a pre-strain filter at the bottom of my well, but that's it.

City water definitely does not need to be filtered. Some people prefer the taste of filtered water, but there's no health reason requiring house filtration.


and then put a cheap inline filter on the water line going to the fridge. Problem solved.


An in-line filter is annoying though, as the replacement light on my non-DRM fridge is actually useful. It lights up when it's time to order a new filter. And then again when it's actually time to replace. And the filter isn't behind the fridge, it's right upfront.


This must be the new way to make fridges go obsolete. The old way is to have some part burried in your fridge which is guaranteed to wear out.

I'm in the middle of fixing my old GE fridge. Buried in it is a condensation trough made out of galvanized steel sheet metal. Eventually it rusts away and fridge will make a puddle. Replacement part is $60. Of all the things that could be made of plastic, this should be it..


At this point lobbying for a set of laws like the car part and repair laws for appliances and electronics probably would be the best. Its a older generation in Congress so they understand those laws. You can also make some damn embarrassing commercials if you frame it that they want to make Jiffy Lube illegal then relate that to your appliances.


This is so funny, the author has a great voice.

It would be even funnier if there was a note at the top that said: "Note: this article was published posthumously by his wife. He died of contaminated water. The fridge tried to warn him."


No dates on the post. Anyone know date range this applies to? Is it still happening today?

And does this happen to other fridges (I see Samsungs in a few stores, for example, are they similarly crippled)?


My GE refrigerator is 2 years old. I’m fairly certain this is still happening as I see it mentioned on various forums related to DIY, home repair, etc pretty frequently.


Imagine posting this article and claiming this is communism.

Another gem from this site:

This website is best viewed with proper web browsers such as Lynx or Elinks.

C'mon. Don't make us Anti-DRM people look like utter lunatics.


The chip on the Filter-bypass simply pops out. You can mark where the filter chip aligns on the refrigerator wall and stick it there with a tape, no need to get to the circuit board.


"Fridge DRM" was never something I thought I would see


Is there a site with a list of hardware that uses DRM like this?


> From the patents it looks like I can thank inventors Mr. Krause and Mr. Chernov for their freedom sucking, major appliance disabling, communist, 1984-esque idea.

I know it’s just a figure of speech. But having DRM on a fucking fridge filter is the most capitalistic idea that I have ever seen. Communists don’t do this.


Indeed, in Eastern Germany most electronic devices even came with a complete circuit diagram to ease self repair.


Sadly, as much as, I too would like to pin every bad thing on communism, I have to agree with you. If anything the economic realities of communism created a mindset of creating things as simple and reliable as possible. The AK 47 probably being the prime example of this mentality and the Mig being another.

DRM is a purely capitalistic endeavor and does show the dark side of unfettered capitalism.


From my childhood memories, appliances requiring payment to work is literally the first example of why capitalism is bad in somewhat propagandist children's book Dunno on the Moon.


Great tip, thanks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunno_on_the_Moon#Lunar_capita...

I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a teenager. Part of the techno-anarchy-libertarian (or whatever we call it) corpus for us nerds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress

Now I want to read both, compare and contrast, against each other, and against the real world.


Why is this comment downvoted.


I'm pretty sure the USSR would have loved to have technical enforcement mechanisms available so that the great unwashed masses could only use "domestic products" anywhere.

Although, to be fair: a capitalist fears nothing more than a truly free market.


'Free' markets are fine there are a multitude of ways to avoid competition without regulatory oversight. From lying about weights & measures to monopolies.

What capitalists fear is a competitive or perfect market. But you'll never see anything close without strict policing of firms.


That is precisely it: for a hardcore capitalist the idea of having to compete only on price and quality is horrifying.

If you can't have maintainable moats, rent-seeking environments, or bought regulators/lawmakers, what's the point?

donw 8 months ago [flagged]

To be fair: communists didn't have refrigerators[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_goods_in_the_Soviet_U...


Well, they did have refrigerators, but they indeed were less widespread. I remember visiting relatives in my childhood and they didn't have a refrigerator sometime in late 1970s. Consumer goods were in short supply, that is true, and they actually never cought up with the West until the fall of the USSR. Not to mention personal cars, that was a real luxury.


I'm actually curious as to how much of that was the overall inefficiency of the Soviet system, and how much was simply due to the lack of industrialization that the Russians had to overcome.

Something a lot of (North) Americans take for granted is that, after WWII, we had the only functioning manufacturing base in the world -- we were China before it was cool.


To be fair: this is not true.

> in 1976, only two thirds of Soviet families had refrigerators https://nintil.com/the-soviet-union-durable-goods/

Surely not as widespread as in the US, but your view of the USSR might not correspond to reality.


This is good info, I have a GE fridge with DRM filters, but the author's anti-communist interjections are really strange.


Right? DRM water filters is about one of the most neoliberal ideas out there.


It looks like GE sells a bypass kit for $20 now: https://www.amazon.com/GENERAL-ELECTRIC-Plug-Bypass-WR17X236...


That bypass kit is a critical part of the work around the whole page is about.


John Deere




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