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Why Johnny Won't Upgrade (jacquesmattheij.com)
537 points by janvdberg on Aug 26, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 571 comments

Don't forget: "Never slow down the user interface".

I have a 4K Sony television that was their flagship model when it was new, but a couple of years ago they "updated" it with a new version of its OS that looks identical but is incredibly sluggish. Not technically broken, but frustrating to use. Moving around between menu items is a good 2-3 seconds, up to 10 in some cases.

There is literally nothing I can do about this. The display panel is perfectly fine. The tuner works. The streaming works. It's not broken. It's out of warrant, so I can't evne return it.

But it feels like I've been downgraded from "flagship" to "off-brand budget TV" without any physical component ever changing.

I didn't consent to this. I didn't expect the automatic upgrade to nearly, but not quite, break my TV.

I own a LG smart TV. Wary of those and other problems I never connected it to the net. I bought it because it cost only 50 Euros more than the dumb model and the display looked much better, which should be the main point of a TV.

If I really want to do smart things with my TV I attach something I control to one of its HDMI ports (phone, tablet, laptop, Raspberry.)

I'm not thrilled about the idea of TV sets with an embedded 5G SIM that I can't disable. Worse if they'll only work if online.

Edit: example of 5G and TV https://5g.co.uk/guides/5g-tv/

I needed an all-in-one solution for streaming (Netflix, Prime, Spotify, Jellyfin, ...) so I went with an Nvidia Shield Pro on the HDMI port. Any smart TV is a dumb TV for me. I'll make it "smart" myself, the old fashioned way, as you described. One downside of HDMI is max 60 FPS, so its limited for gaming and OKish for interactive (such as navigation through menu or simple browsing) yet should be adequate for any viewing.

60fps is not a limitation of HDMI.

I have an LG OLED that has HDMI 2.1, which can do 4k120fps (at least). Unfortunately current-gen GPUs only support HDMI 2.0, so I am limited to 1440p120fps or 4k60fps for the time being.

OK, it was a limitation of HDMI, and most devices still use that old HDMI standard, so practically it still is a limitation until the new HDMI versions are more common. On my monitors, I use DP whenever I can.

The main disadvantage of DP over HDMI is that if you switch off a monitor that is connected to the computer via DP, then the computer thinks the monitor has been disconnected, and rearranges all your windows for you, so when you come back to the computer and switch the monitor back on it's all messed up. With HDMI, that doesn't happen.

This has nothing to do with DisplayPort itself and everything to do with a bad implementation in the monitor.

The DisplayPort spec actually explicitly says to not do what these defective monitors are doing.

Only on Windows. This isn't an issue with macOS.

Also some people have pointed out a few displayport edid emulators keep the appropriate signals up to prevent Windows from thinking the monitor is off. I haven't tested it yet as when I first ran into this problem I just switched back to DVI, but a recent Windows or nVidia update (ha - timely with the article) caused my GPU driver to constantly crash with DVI, but when I switched back to DP it now works just fine. Sigh. I guess I do need to see if I can find the right kind of EDID emulator after all.

In my case this was an advantage because my previous GPU had a bug where presence detection for HDMI was only done on boot. So if I forgot to switch my display on before UEFI or before Windows boot manager started, it would boot headless. With DisplayPort you have to unplug & replug at best (though on/off should work because of what you described, not to mention detecting a new display when it powers on).

True, that can be a disadvantage (can also be an advantage though).

No it’s not. HDMI can do it, it’s the device that you pick that decided it won’t, by picking an older standard.

Apparently HDMI 2.1 which specification is from November 2017 can do it.

My TV itself is even older than that, and a dumb TV doesn't need to be upgraded often. That's part of the purpose of a dumb TV; longevity.

My MBPs from 2015 also don't support it, and Apple only recently released a decent replacement for these MBPs (given the keyboard issues in previous).

My old monitor from ~2014, a BenQ, also does not support it. While I recently replaced it, it still works perfectly fine (it doesn't have FreeSync though), and achieves 144 Hz over DP.

You can use a Club3D CAC-1085 DP1.4-to-HDMI2.1 adapter to get 4k120 with current GPUs with LG 2019 OLED TVs.

No VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) though, so I'm just waiting for new GPUs myself.

The shield will happily push 4K@120hz at 4:2:0 subsampling if your display supports it. The shield supports hdmi 2.0b.

I did the same with my Samsungs... no internet/network. But in the new one, I can't even use it in a private LAN (for DLNA, ...)... without connecting online. Doesn't bother me too much (HDMI from PC is superior anyway), but it would be interesting to have a solution for occasional uses (like streaming from laptop, maybe phone).

Any TV that won't work offline I'd consider defective and I'd send it back.

It works, until I attempt to use "network" when it asks me to register online. Haven't done it, if it was mandatory it would go back as non-functional... Not sure what problems occur if you do it once but then disconnect from internet.

You can give it a shot and then do a factory reset if anything stops working.

My TV has a PC on one HDMI input, and a Chromecast on another.

Yeah I made this same call. My LG Smart TV has advertisements in the menus and doesn’t have a particularly wide range of apps. So I got an Apple TV and disconnected the internet from the TV. Much better experience overall.

What can you even do with an Apple TV without internet? Did you jailbreak it?

I think they meant to say the TV is disconnected from the internet, but the Apple TV is connected.

You can stream to it over Airplay.

I own a LG smart TV. Wary of those and other problems I never connected it to the net

I own an LG TV and stopped installing updates for the same reason - each update seemed to make it slower.

But the nags get increasingly urgent and my wife eventually installed it.

So now I disconnected it entirely from the network and use a Roku for smart features.

There will be websites that describe how to disable 5G in TVs. In some cases this will be as easy as putting strips of metal tape on the back of the case. In others you'll have to open the case to remove the 5G module or antenna.

I'm not holding my breath about the TV use-case of 5G. The ISPs will just make it too expensive to allow you to watch as much TV as you like.

The embedded 5G won't be for movies, but for ads, telemetry and forced updates.

Well, it looks like enough of us either can't figure out how to attach the TV to the internet, or just don't bother (like me) to the point that -- like with ad blockers -- TV manufacturers are routing around the problem. That they would subsidize a 5G cell connection in order to get direct access to your TV should be seriously concerning. But it won't be, and cries to Congress to block this sort of thing will be met with a big infusion of campaign contributions, and we'll just all have to live with it.

Ok, so if they are going to force upon us a subsidized 5G connection, what can we do to to hijack that connection & redirect it to some more useful - to the user - application?

(Also good to know that the big telcos will be rolling out 5G universally so all those 5G-connected TVs will work in every rural location, even those with coverage from only obscure CLECs /sarc )

The number of users who don't set up WiFi for their TV is not enough to warrant this.

The part that surprises me the most with "Smart TVs", is how bad the non-smart functionality can be. It's like the 'smarter' the TV is, the slower the TV guide is.

Burn out the 5g sim or chip

Maybe it's because I've never owned a dedicated TV and used a lot of computer monitors, but I've always treated TV as just another kind of output device, not independent system.

They try to use "smart" features to promote their products, but instead what they do with them shortly after the purchase has exactly opposite effect.

Also some of them (Samsung) intentionally break some (or all) smart features in some cases [0]. Even if they are legally allowed to do so (And of course they do. Who reads TOS...), it makes me really uncomfortable to buy any "smart" TV. It's a pity one cannot buy a dumb TV with quality picture and sound today.

[0]: https://www.archyde.com/samsung-blocks-the-tvs-of-russian-us...

In fact, when my old TV broke down a couple of years ago (dead pixel columns), I replaced it with a 34" PC monitor. I actually paid through the nose to get less features (and more reliability).

It's a good thing that I'm blessed with a small living room, and I don't need 50" monstrosities ;)

A smart TV is dumb as long as it never sees an internet connection.

It could encode signal in inaudible high frequency audio that the Facebook app passively listens for.

I'm sure it does not because modern mobile OSes would alert the user to it, but even if it did, there's an easy fix: don't install the app. For when you do need Facebook, use the mobile website.

Currently you MUST install Messenger (or use Facebook's retro mobile site for old Windows Mobile phones) to send/receive messages.

Eventually, their mobile site will be nerfed and a popup will appear saying "Facebook is best experienced with the app".

Well, okay, I do have messenger lite on my phone and use it like two times a year. It doesn't have nearly as much crap in it as the full version, and doesn't relentlessly run in the background. Also doesn't spam me with notifications about things that aren't actual messages actually sent by actual people (looking at you, "you're celebrating %d years of friendship with %s").

It's cool to live in a place where Facebook never took off, I guess?

> Currently you MUST install Messenger (or use Facebook's retro mobile site for old Windows Mobile phones) to send/receive messages.

Are you sure? Their light website works just fine for me [1]

[1] https://mbasic.facebook.com/messages/

That's the retro mobile site, which may be in danger of deprecation and removal.

Facebook can only listen to audio if you give it microphone permission, and even then the iOS 14 beta would have made it visible if they were turning the mic on when they shouldn't be. Even if they make you install the app they aren't using it to passively listen for ultrasonic signals from your television.

There are encoded signals used by these things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_People_Meter

Such BS, Facebook does not listen to audio passively. If it did, iOS 14 would have highlighted it.

Stop spreading fake news.

Also just because “Facebook” can listen, the TV still can’t receive updates and ads.

Owner of a 4K Sharp "smart" TV here. Menu is indeed incredibly sluggish. My old Zenith from the 90s has better response time, _and_ an integrated VHS player. Can't beat it.

The Sharp was the first smart TV I ever purchased. Heavily discounted at a holiday sale some years ago.

When I brought it home, I connected it to the Internet to see what all the fuss was about. They're nothing special -- you can launch your typical streaming, news, and weather apps, all from the same terrifyingly-slow UI.

A few weeks later, the TV forced an update on me. A pop-up appeared _on top of_ another (external) video source, interrupting what I was doing. There was no option to decline the update, not even "remind me later".

I decided to turn the TV off rather than be strong-armed into the update. But when I turned it back on, the update popped right up again. I tried blocking the TV's Internet access using my router, but this had no effect either. At this point I felt mostly defeated, and assumed I wouldn't be able to use the TV until I "consented" to the update.

Needless to say, the TV is not allowed to connect to the Internet anymore.

Another complaint about modern smart TVs: the remotes are horrible. I don't know if they're IR, Bluetooth, 2.4GHz radio or what, but not only must you have line-of-sight to the receiver, you must point _directly_ at it, or some inputs will be dropped.

The remotes also often have dedicated buttons for proprietary streaming services which I've carefully removed with a razor knife. There is absolutely no reason for the remote sitting on my coffee table to function as free advertisement for Netflix/Amazon/Hulu.

I understand these buttons on the TV UI, but branded buttons on the remote control? Come now. That's going to look quite silly in 15 years when some of these services are defunct, or when the TV's OS is out of support and the apps won't run anymore (like what happened to Netflix on the Wii, or YouTube on the PS3).

This is assuming the panel even lasts that long... given all the R&D that manufacturers must be pouring into unnecessary software, I can't imagine the longevity of these devices has done anything but shorten.

I continue to search for large, high-quality "dumb" panels that I can purchase, but it seems like these are mostly nonexistent in the consumer/retail space. Any dumb TVs I find are usually very small. Everything over 35" or so seems to always be a smart TV.

I do not understand why people use internal "smarts" on so-called SmartTVs at all. These companies are not software companies. They are not trustworthy, either.

I have a nice "smart" Samsung. But it's never even been on my network. I get streaming from an AppleTV, but insert your favorite flavor.

I have a Samsung smart TV, and it's really convenient to watch Netflix, Disney+ or Youtube straight on the TV. (We don't really watch regular TV anymore.)

Problem is: we are dependent on Samsung. If they don't support a particular streaming service, we're out of luck. And I have no doubt they have the ability to cripple our experience.

I mean, exactly. Why let them have that control?

My TV is also an output device only in my A/V stack. My receiver handles all the switching duties from the various sources. I have no signal path back to the receiver from the TV, which would be necessary to get audio from any on-board streaming apps.

But that's really just a side issue, because using a well-made streaming box provides a drastically better experience than using whatever garbage $TV_Co put in.

It's convenient. No extra configuration, additional devices, cables, remotes, doubled Settings menus, and so on...

When I bought my first Samsung Smart TV, it was on sale. It was slow as molasses, so I got an Apple TV in order to watch Netflix.

Then my TV broke down, I got a newer Samsung, and its speed runs circles around my Apple TV (2nd gen I think). The Apple TV seems painfully slow next to the Samsung Smart TV.

That's one reason :)

I wouldn’t buy a smart TV for the smart parts except for those with built in Roku support. Roku is a software company that has been making streaming devices for close to a decade.

The downside of Roku is that it is an ad infested platform from the interface to the remote. They also have a “walled garden” that would make the Apple Haters cry. They won’t allow streaming apps on their platform unless you make a deal with them. Roku has blocked many third party streaming apps on their platform.

I still prefer my AppleTV4Ks that I got free via an offer for signing up with DirecTVNow, but not enough to give up the convenience of just using the Roku for the most part.

I use a roku TV, because I already liked the roku interface, and would have bought one anyway. If something change that I don't like, I figure I could always go back to just connecting a computer to an hdmi port.

     delay := 0
     (*make customer by new TV*)
     delay := 10

Careful! Apple might sue you for IP theft.


Apple is one of the few coMpanies you should trust for this.

I’m sure AppleTV’s will slow down when the batteries get older and they won’t tell you to replace the battery,..

It's just proof of planned obsolescence. For phones it happens one way, for TVs another way.

It‘s not. Instead it‘s the only reasonable way to deal with degrading batteries - a limitation all manufacturers have to deal with. Apple opted to prevent unexpected shutdowns by slightly throttling performance - the correct decision for most users, but they didn‘t tell the user about it, which of course serves as a great excuse for colorful, exaggerated headlines like the one in your linked article.

So do you have a magically solution to keep rechargeable batteries from degrading over time?


a replacement battery.

And you can get a replacement battery for $70. I got one for my 6s after two years before the whole batterygate thing started because it wasn’t holding a charge. Between my son and I, we kept it for four years. The only reason I didn’t keep it for another year was because I wanted a larger phone with a larger battery.

Once the battery is changed they are not slow any more. So not a valid point really.

I literally linked an article that says they've had to settle for half a billion (!) because Apple did this without informing the users they were doing it. And Apple had an obvious financial incentive to not mention it to users. People found out almost by accident that their phones were still working well, except for a part that is replaceable (and much cheaper than a new phone).

In what world is this not a valid example of planned obsolescence?

So you'd rather the phone die and be unusable rather than slow and useable?

Apple's only mistake was not proving the opportunity for people to choose from the start.

Mistake? They made the decision to slow down devices without telling users and profited from that decision.

My iPhone 5 became slower after 1-2 years. If the battery was bad, I never noticed it (no shutdowns or anything like that). It coincided with a new iPhone and iOS version... I tried every trick, from formatting the phone to reducing animations. Then I found a thread on Apple forums about this and someone was suggesting getting a new phone!

I did buy a new phone (OnePlus One) and it's still working after ~5 years. The battery doesn't last as long, but it doesn't die when I receive a call or play a game.

Because of this, that iPhone 5 was my first and last iPhone.

> My iPhone 5 became slower after 1-2 years. If the battery was bad, I never noticed it (no shutdowns or anything like that).

So...it worked as expected? Slightly slowing the phone down is exactly what prevented your phone from potentially and unexpectedly shutting down.

It slowed down the phone a lot, not "slightly". I wasn't asked if I wanted the slow down, there was no way of disabling it, Apple didn't acknowledge it, and I had no reason to believe the battery was in a bad state.

Last year I upgraded from a mid-range phone which was almost 4 years old. It didn't have any "slow down" feature and it never shutdown, so as you can imagine, I'm not willing to give Apple a pass here.

They settled a lawsuit in order to not lose it... how is that a "mistake"? They paid $500 million to settle it.

The iOS 14 runs great on my iPhone 7. it will also run on the 6S, or the 2016 iPhone SE. The new SE will probably get OS updates for around 5 years or so.

From the article, "It said the lithium-ion batteries in the devices became less capable of supplying peak current demands, as they aged over time. That could result in an iPhone unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components. So, it released a software update for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE which "smoothed out" battery performance."

The alternative is that your phone shuts down

The alternative is that Apple could tell the user the phone battery was going bad, so they'd buy a new battery rather than a new iPhone. The other alternative is that Apple could test the battery and apply the throttling only when appropriate (rather than generically over entire models). Weirdly, both decisions contributed to Apple's bottom line. What an odd coincidence.

All apple devices I’ve used in the past years tell you when the battery is degraded to the point it needs replacement. However, especially iPhones can be in situations where the battery may still be fine for most usage, but still not be good enough to support the required power draw - for example when it’s cold outside (aka winter). I much prefer my phone to slow down in these situations over shutting down as earlier versions did.

Apple denied for years there was a slowdown of old devices under any circumstances. By not telling users, Apple encouraged users to buy new devices rather than new batteries, fraud in the moral sense (if maybe technically not in the legal sense).

They did not slow down the battery “generically over entire models”. They slowed it down when the battery was degraded. Wouldn’t it be much easier for Apple just not to issue OS updates for older phones if they wanted to encourage users to get new phones?

Making units more disposable makes perfect commercial sense. Making them overtly more disposable might figure out into customer decisions which would be bad for profits. Better be subtle about it.

In that regard, not slowing down the devices with degraded batteries would have been substantially better. The behavior before was substantially more annoying: The phone would just shut down.

That would have led to bad publicity. Worse, people could have figured out by themselves the batteries were the problem. The trick is to annoy users, not make their workflow entirely impossible, and than to give them misleading advice so they'd buy a new phone.

I still remember when phones had replaceable batteries.

For non-coders, this video by Steve Cutts shows excellently how the concept works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jid2A7ldc_8

Guess what? The new TV uses that software too, so it’s about as slow.

Maybe it's got a faster CPU/GPU. Saw that happen with computers and then phones for some 40 years.

It's much better with computers, though. I am able to decently run modern games on 2015 gaming PC.

My 2015 flagman phone from meizu seems to have the same processing power as potato. And I don't even play games on it.

> It's much better with computers, though. I am able to decently run modern games on 2015 gaming PC.

Linus Torvalds and Bill Gates were and are obsessed with backwards compatibility, and _not_ breaking user programmes.

I am not sure how much the Great Man Theory applies here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_man_theory) or whether personal computers would have a culture of backwards compatibility without those two?

Intel also seems to care about backwards compatibility. (Though they needed a nudge from AMD when transitioning to 64 bit.)

In contrast, Apple and ARM seem more eager to start from a clean slate. So I can perfectly imagine a personal computer industry in an alternate universe that's happy to force people to recompile their programmes every few years; and otherwise to just abandon old binary-only software.

The winners in the competitive struggle are going to be people who don't break things. People who routinely reset their ecosystem tend to lose then get forgotten.

It isn't so much their influence as much as there is a community that is constantly searching for reliable platforms to build on.

"The winners in the competitive struggle are going to be people who don't break things."

Search for developer comments about their experiences with Rosetta 2.

Maybe Apple isn't so dumb after all, eh?

What makes the comments on speed even more impressive to me - note that the developer test machines are using a two year old CPU. Originally designed for a battery operated mobile device.

A12Z has hardware support for accelerating Rosetta 2 that is unused on iOS, so its use as the core of a developer transition kit was clearly decided well in advance.

> People who routinely reset their ecosystem tend to lose then get forgotten.

ARM seems to be doing well and they release binary incompatible chips every so often. And resetting had long been the norm in the world of games consoles.

So I wouldn't take what we observed in the personal computer industry as a universal truth. It's probably rather contingent.

When did ARM ever release a binary incompatible CPU?

For the application space they have the old armv7 and the new armv8. The latter can actually run armv7 in aarch32 mode.

Cortex-M only runs Thumb instructions, not the original instruction set.

But Cortex-M is not an application CPU, it was specifically designed for embedded systems (hence the M in the name).

If I recall correctly, it runs a subset/superset of thumbs2 which standard armv7-8 also can execute.

Maybe the quality of the software makes that point fairly moot.

I have a year-old TV from LG. Changing channels with the numeric buttons take around 4 seconds, while using the increment/decrement buttons I have to wait only one second. Strange!

Is is because it is waiting for a multi digit input? You can try to enter 01 for preset 1 or 001 depending on how many presets your TV has.

Ah, of course! That must be the reason.

You might be able to hit the OK/Confirm button to switch faster.

There needs to be some sort of warranty on these kind of updates on devices like there. It's similar to when Google remote-bricked old Nest devices. They should be required to take responsibility for actively breaking our devices. It's a loophole in the law that this is legal.

Can you downgrade the firmware?

I feel like I am at the whim of anti social behavior and conspiracies at some anonymous office with auto updates enabled. The Scrum Agile morning standups at Toaster Corp. could just as well be in my kitchen pushing user hostile features for "business reasons" or enforcing ideologically pure ways to use their toaster.

Latest-generation devices contain hardware fuses purposely designed to make prevent downgrading. I think that tells you all you need to know about the position the industry has towards downgrades and whether updates are in the interest of the user or not.

I hate DRM, and I’m a free software advocate. However, if I were in the shoes of a TV content provider who relies on DRM, I would seriously consider lobbying system designers to prevent firmware downgrades.

I wouldn’t want consumers to downgrade their systems and exploit already-patched vulnerabilities in order to circumvent DRM.

One could argue that DRM is evil and wrong, too. But then again, it enables subscriptions and renting and there’s arguably a market for both.

The problem I see is that this is a very slippery slope. There is a lot of money to be made and a lot of innovative business models to find on top of hardware that can be arbitrarily restricted. I'm not convinced at all this would stop with copy protection.

In fact, we can already see things like unskippable commercials, apps with dark patterns and deliberate anti-features, smart TVs that suddenly gain banner ads, and political conflicts being played out in app stores.

All of that stuff is only possible because consumer devices are locked down and answer first to the vendor, then to the user.

You can say that all if this is an exciting new market that unlocks enormous amounts of innovation - I just don't think this is the kind of innovation that we should want.

The DRM module could be on a separate bit of memory from the actual OS, meaning that it would stay upgraded even if the rest was downgraded. It doesn't use fuses (AFAIK anyway), but f.e. the baseband on your phone works like this.

Isn't this effectively what a TPM is?

But I think this only works to an extent as, if you want your DRM not be trivially circumventable, it will be a cross-cutting concern and not easily restricted to a module.

E.g., the most secure TPM is useless if the OS simply ignores any responses and shows the movie anyway.

What you could do is to close off the whole media path: The OS only sees the encrypted media, which it sends to some combined TPM/decoding hardware, which more or less sends it directly to the screen. I believe to some extent this is what is done in practice.

You could technically see the TPM/graphics card/screen assembly as a "module" and can keep the OS separate of it - but this risks your "module" becoming so essentiall that it'll be unclear what is the dog and what is the tail.

Wouldn’t the decrypted stream still have to go through the actual OS’s main memory?

Do you have anything you can cite in support of that, please? I've been planning to raise some of these issues with my representatives, so any solid evidence I could include might be helpful.

The Xbox 360 for example used these fuses in the CPU to prevent downgrades [1].

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

How the Nintendo Switch prevents downgrades by irreparably blowing its own fuses: https://hackernoon.com/how-the-nintendo-switch-prevents-down...

Didn't know that. That is just sick.

Clarification: some latest-generation devices contain hardware fuses. I was specifically thinking about the Switch.

However I think there is absolutely a general trend in the industry to see downgrades as a risk that must be protected against.

Downgrading might also break apps and streaming services.

If you're in the EU you should have a right to send it back.

Failing that, if you have a blog, publicise that so others get put off buying that brand. Complain to them (edit: sony) directly also. Don't just sit there are take it, it's what they're relying on.

Does it really matter? If not one brand, you get screwed by another.

What we need is a push for free software in consumer electronics. Get any major manufacturer to realize that they can not differentiate on software and stick to making good hardware. The sooner they accept that Google is eating their lunch on the value-add anyway and that the best way to counter them is by commoditizing the software stack.

Were I an executive of LG or Samsung, I would just make sure that any TV could boot a custom OS and I would get it shipped with Kodi. Get whatever resources on R&D you want to keep and make sure they work on top of Kodi. Show a big fat finger to Android and let Google being forced to make their own TVs if they really want the market.

With TVs specifically, this could be a tough sell for manufacturers, because of all the hardware-enabled rights protection that is needed to watch content in certain formats now. There will be some level of exclusive access/control involved as long as those schemes are operating, and that gives them power.

Sorry, I am failing to understand you. "Gives them power", who?

Unfortunately, even if you have a right to send something back, it's not always practical.

Typically those consumer rights only protect individuals, leaving businesses (even small ones, who are at a similar disadvantage to consumers in not being able to negotiate anything with huge manufacturers/suppliers) with little if any protection.

One key difference from days gone by is that modern devices often contain large amounts of private data, which you might not be willing to hand over.

And it's all rather academic anyway if competition in that market has failed and all the major products are doing to same user-hostile things. This is normally the point where government intervention would be required, for example through legislation or regulatory action, but governments have been unwilling or unable to keep up with the pace of technological advancement.

I believe this is, at least in part, because representatives usually aren't technical experts and so may not understand the implications of modern technologies or the potential alternatives to current practice. I have reached the conclusion that until we educate those representatives and show them that people do care about these issues, the tide of increasingly user-hostile actions will only continue to rise. But of course that means people have to care enough themselves to get involved in contacting their reps or at least supporting organised campaigns, and sadly, it seems a lot of people either don't care enough to do that instead of moaning on Twitter of Facebook and then accepting their fate.

> it's not always practical

Any reason why not here?

> consumer rights only protect individuals

he's an individual. It was not apparently a business expense

> with little if any protection

If you're in the EU you've got protection.

> that modern devices often contain large amounts of private data

It's a TV so in this case so what (in general, perhaps, but don't most devices have encryption?)

> And it's all rather academic anyway if competition in that market has failed and all the major products are doing to same user-hostile things

And you're rolling over hopelessly as if you can't do anything. Fair enough, you get (nothing) what you give (nothing).

> because representatives usually aren't technical experts and so may not understand the implications of modern technologies or the potential alternatives to current practice

IT'S A TV! WITH CRAPPY UI RESPONSE! Stop making excuses for bad practice. Do something.

> the tide of increasingly user-hostile actions will only continue to rise

OK, let's stop here. I complain when necessary & shit gets fixed quite often. You clearly can't be bothered to fight back so you're rationalising that it's not worth it. I'm not wasting time on this.

The way you address it is unfortunate, but I think you make a salient point about the learned helplessness of a lot of people. That's what's moving companies to do ever more evil things, they're not some unstoppable force - they're just being enabled.

Thank you. And you're surely right about the way I say it - I just don't know how to put it more politely. Tips welcome on how I might not be a git! (seriously).

It is learned helplessness, or "I can't be bothered so it must be not worth trying because I'll fail anyway". I can get stuff done but I fear the worst for humanity if it just does what's easiest. And I don't mean about TVs, I mean about the future of our species and the planet.

This is a much bigger issue than just TVs.

And you seem to have ignored my entire final paragraph, which was about what I think we need to do to improve the situation. I am doing my part; I contact my representatives to draw tech issues to their attention, for example, and I donate to various relevant campaign groups. But I am only one person, and it will take more than just me and a few people like me to effect change on the required scale.

> This is a much bigger issue than just TVs.

You start somewhere

> And you seem to have ignored my entire final paragraph

which culminated in

>> sadly, it seems a lot of people either don't care enough to do that instead of moaning on Twitter of Facebook and then accepting their fate.

which is you accepting your fate, it seems. You suggested nothing useful, only moaned that others couldn't be bothered.

In summary you built up a case of hopelessness and accused others of it.

How come I often get results when I bug manufacturers? Your apathy superpower is painful to see. Thank you but that's quite enough, I prefer to get results instead.

You are getting "results" in a Sisyphean task. The one you are responding to is talking about the larger issue.

Sure, do exercise your right as a consumer and do more than just complaining. If I ever bought something that started performing this badly I would return it as well. Problem is, what do you trade it for? I'd like to find a 50" TV with no smart TV features. Will your complaining and nagging on review sites going to make this a reality?

As long as we keep accepting only the choices provided by the status quo all you are getting is a slightly more comfortable golden cage. This is what makes GP feel powerless.

Sisyphus didn't get results, that was the point of his fate. I get results.

OK, nitpick over, I have trouble disagreeing with you. Let's try to answer that.

> what do you trade it for?

Perhaps if companies had to deal with a load of complaints, losing cash at each one, they might start to care? I can tell you that companies hate being embarrassed in public so complain loudly.

But otherwise, on another hn thread a while ago some guy said he'd bought, or would buy, a dumb monitor and link that up.

There's 2 solutions (if the latter works). Don't complain they don't solve everything instantly, they won't.

> Will your complaining and nagging on review sites going to make this a reality?

You'll never know if you don't try.

> This is what makes GP feel powerless.

I know the feeling! But I keep fighting back and I get results. Read that as you will.

Many of you US guys died to separate yourselves from the rule of us brits. Now for domestic goods you can't be bothered to rage. Doesn't seem right...

Like your post though!

> I get results.

For a very low bar of "results", sure. But unless you are getting electronics with special features or without artificial restrictions imposed by the companies, I wouldn't count I managed to return a shitty TV that got shittier for another baseline shitty TV as "getting results".

> Perhaps if companies had to deal with a load of complaints, losing cash at each one, they might start to care?

They won't "lose cash". If consumers on aggregate started demanding more quality and better support from their companies, it would translate into increased costs and consequently increased prices. Business as a whole can sustain the occasional annoying customer like you, but only when you are the exception and not the rule.

> But otherwise, on another hn thread a while ago some guy said he'd bought, or would buy, a dumb monitor and link that up.

Find the price of a 40"+ monitor that can do 4k and compare with the price of TVs, see how even high-end TVs cost less than the monitors. As an exercise to the reader, correlate that with the point above.

> You'll never know if you don't try.

I won't know because I don't want to know. I simply refuse to buy the shitty crippled electronics in the first place.

> Many of you US guys

I'm not American, but I lived there long enough to understand that most people live by the "Give me convenience or give me death" mentality. I also lived there long enough to realize that money is the only thing they understand. Put these two together, and it gets really hard to expect the average consumer to work to get anything better when they have something convenient for cheap.

>> I get results.

> For a very low bar of "results", sure.

I'm curious, what are these results I'm getting that you judge as low-bar? I mean, specifically what?

Like I said. "I returned a TV that was broken after a bad upgrade" does not count as an amazing feat if that is followed by "and then I got another TV that still updates itself at the mercy of the manufacturer"

You seem determined that any victory should be no victory, however you're wrong anyway as I never said I'd returned a TV.

What I did say was a response to this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24292859

And you seem determined to establish that you deserve some credit for playing the game according to the rules of the puppet masters. What OP and I are saying is that the game is rigged and that we should either (a) fight to change it altogether or (b) not play it at all.

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

How do you get results, and what kind of results have you got from bugging manufacturers? Genuinely curious.

Hard to make a list, and it's more general than just products, but taking a company to court after it screwed me over (I won which started a stream of other complainants against them once they saw it was possible), opening a machine I'd bought and finding it messed up inside and taking that back to the shop in person and telling them I wasn't going away until they fixed it (self-entitled boss was angry but they did), getting a misbehaving server from rackspace and despite their stonewalling got enough info to prove it defective so they finally replaced it (my boss was willing to live with clear performance problems out of apathy; I wasn't). There's more, some involving products rather than services but can't dig them up ATM. Helpful?

Key is persistence.

I've noticed that public feedback of this sort doesn't cross cultural boundaries.

YC News and Reddit are perfect examples. You'll regularly see NetFlix, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon staff directly responding to customer complaints on these forums. In the past, Slashdot would similarly have people in the industry commenting.

These are all US-based and predominately English-speaking organisations responding on a US-based news site in English.

Sony is headquartered in Japan. Their TV division is in Japan. They speak Japanese. They don't frequent YC News or Reddit. They don't read English-language tweets or blogs.

Similarly, it's borderline impossible to provide constructive feedback to laptop companies, because most are either headquartered in Taiwan, or constrained by the capabilities of manufacturers in Taiwan.

Oh, did you get the ads yet? My Sony TV randomly started showing sponsored content on the Home Screen.

This has been the biggest transgression I've had to deal with from my TV. I've absolutely decided I will never purchase a Sony TV ever again and would actively recommend that others avoid them as well. It's absolutely ridiculous that such an expensive device that I've purchased is being used as billboard.

Also own a Sony TV. I forget the app I needed to disable but you can turn off many of the parts of the "home screen" if you are willing to dig through their annoying menus and scroll through long lists of apps.

The way I look at these things is like a really cheap smartphone with a really great screen. Sometimes you have to search around online to find the best way to turn on/off certain "features".

I'll soon be in the market for a new home theater TV and would prefer a high quality display with no "smart" features at all. It seems like this is now impossible to find.

Is anyone aware of a digital signage screen, or something similar, that will do 4k (preferable 120Hz) and has no network interface? Should I look into projectors instead?

I have a Sony TV, one thing I've learned with them is that you have to wipe your tv after each upgrade... I do agree with you tough, it's still really sluggish, full of things I never asked for (icons of netflix, hulu and other stuff that I don't use) and I definitely don't feel that this TV is smart at all. My next tv will definitely be as dumb as possible. If I needed anything smart, it will be via a pi or a similar board connected to it.

I bought a dumb Samsung in like 2006 as a display model that still works and you have a presumably newer smart TV that is basically broken because of a software update. Ridiculous.

Part of the issue is really economics. As things trend to widespread, the televisions don't compete on anything other than price. Ultimately, a panel is manufactured and they'll trend to more-or-less the same, within certain levels. What's left - ecosystem and software. The problem is that those things just don't have value for people who get it. Now, we select devices to push content, our AppleTV/Roku/Chromecast/whatever. Those have value. They have so much value that whilst moving countries during the pandemic, I literally experience zero differences content-wise, in spite of buying a new TV. My device uses my proxy, my VPNs, and thus I have my content, worldwide. It's a much better, and more flexible system, but unfortunately it involves more work that zero.

A good reason to not connect your "smart" tv to the net. using another device, xbox or ps4 seems safer. Even though the HDMI spec allows for pass-through network connectivity, it can be disabled on ps4/xbox.

I think the general consensus is that unless you own an OLED (in which case you want to stay in the native environment for the features that will help preserve the display's longevity), it's better to grab an Android TV box and run everything through that. If you have a Z9D, I'd say it's getting old enough that that would be a decent route to take (since otherwise it's still a better TV than pretty much anything out today).

Just buy a Roku TV. Those things are the cheapest in the market but their Easy to use UI beats everyone else.

Well Roku/NowTv did the same to me - "upgraded" my box to remove functionality, namely side-loading an app, which was the only reason I bought it. We were paying for a monthly subscription and I used the box for viewing photos from my PC and format-shifted movies (which was lawful in UK at the time AFAIAA; but isn't now).

I'm not buying hardware from them if they countenance unlawfully (contravenes UK Computer Misuse Act) accessing my device and removing functionality.

Buyer beware.

Anyway, we switched to FireTv - the same app I was side-loading was in the app store, tried Netflix, it's good enough.

Honestly I don't know how much Roku were involved in the process of crippling my STB, but there are other companies so I'm just going to avoid them.

There is no way I’m ever buying a TV.

maybe take a look at projectors. they have their downsides, mine is a bit noisy, but I got me a cheap one for less than $200, just to see if its a good idea. Covers half the living room wall with a screen. Is connected to a PC, I can use my bluetooth mouse and keyboard from the tv couch, which means i can surf, download stuff or watch streams without getting up. And, of course, no ads and no bullshit udates

YES! I have exactly this set up! It's so nice I decided to buy a couch to put in my (formerly empty) living room.

Plus Xscreensaver on a projector can at least partially make up for the lack of interior decoration.

Start a class action lawsuit! Teach them a lesson somehow. They know what they did.

I had been using a great app that’s been around since before the iPhone came out (PocketMoney on Palm). They rewrote it for IOS, and it was able to import the database from the Palm version. Really great.

Then sadly the author died, and it languished for a while until it was sold to someone else. The new owner seemed to try to keep it going, but then finally gave up last year and crammed an absolutely awful “update” that was actually a totally different software via the automatic update process. Everyone’s financial data got locked up in this new version that is almost useless. ~20 years of financial tracking just gone. To make it worse, they did it in December, just before people would need to pull reports for tax season.

I like to swing by it on the App Store every once in a while just to drop a one star rating. That’s about the only recourse you have.

This is a real 'Stallman moment'. The issue there is less about updates, than about non-Free software (the thing the FSF talk about), and data silos (the thing the IndieWeb folks talk about).

You committed to a non-Free software solution, the maintainers of which held all the power over the software, denying you the freedom to have the software do as you wish. When they make a decision, it's to maximise their benefit, not yours. (They might also do so incompetently.) When they make a decision against your interests, unfortunately you have little recourse.

The standard story in the computer folklore was Movable Type [0], a blogging platform. In the early 2000s when blogosphere was at its height, Movable Type was used by numerous authors. It was freeware, source code available, and had a big collection of plugins and extensions. It was not Free and Open Source, with restrictions on use and redistribution, but most thought it was good enough.

As time went by, its shortcomings and limitations became obvious and a new version was needed. But the development has already stagnated because the publisher's interests shifted. And finally when the new version was released, it contained numerous bugs, and many bloggers suddenly found they needed to pay several hundreds dollars of licensing fee under the new license.

Matthew Thomas, a blogosphere personality, wrote an outline for anyone who wants to create an ultimate blogging platform [2] that can stand the test of time and prevent similar incidents from happening again. Requirements included free database backend, open archive formats, and free software.

His article was also the source of a famous remark,

> In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero.


[0] https://www.gwern.net/docs/technology/2004-pilgrim-freedom0....

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20051107103030/http://mpt.phrasew...

[2] The Movable Type Incident was a major event responsible for the rise of WordPress, which was a new project at that time. Even the name "WordPress" refers to the printing press, in analogue to Movable Type.

"In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero."

But to be fair, that is allmost true of any software, with changing archtectures programming languages etc. but a thousands times yes! With free software you have at least the option of doing the work of migrating.

Well, depends on what you mean by "long term".

BSD-licensed low-level unix programs are still quite useful today and are likely to continue to be very useful in coming decades.

And I am sure there are still comercial modules around, from the 70s or earlier, as well..

If they're BSD-licensed, that means they're Free Software.

Nobody said it isn't. You misunderstood the discussion here.

I quoted "In the long run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero."

hutzlibu said the same problem affects all software, not just non-Free software. In a constantly changing computing environment, even free software is affected. Nevertheless, hutzlibu was in agreement with the "spirit" of the quote, because at least the user still controls the software, and it's possible to migrate.

einpoklum disagreed, using BSD utilities as an example - showing how free software can be unaffected.

Disclaimer: I didn't downvote the parent post - Why is my parent post downvoted? There's really no disagreement here.

Right, gotcha.

> Why is my parent post downvoted? There's really no disagreement here.

I appreciate it, but even if I'd disagreed, that's no reason to downvote.

Honestly, a blog should just generate itself from plaintext, like Markdown, so that you can always keep the data, and even put it in version control and diff it easily.

Having committed to free software to solve a few problems, I'd say it's not all that rosy either.

I wouldn't say I have much more control over the open source software I use. I spent more time fighting desktop Linux than I did fighting Mac OS. I spent hours setting up self-hosted software that's more often than not just passable. Now I control the data, but I'm also responsible for it. I have to worry about updates, backups, migrations and so on.

If I measure how much effort I put into maintaining open source systems vs how many times I've been screwed by commercial software, I'd say both sides are worth considering.

You have ultimate control over free software, but the costs of maintenance become yours. Take some of the money you're saving from not purchasing proprietary software licenses and pay whoever you want to manage the complexity for you.

I will concede that in the context of personal-use software this is less applicable than, say, in a business context, but it's still applicable.

To preface this, I'm writing this in Firefox on my Ubuntu laptop with Emacs running in the background. I am onboard for free software.

But I also cannot let perfect be the enemy of good. There are closed source products I use simply because nothing else does the job and the alternative is the job not getting done. I do not know the solution to this problem, but I want there to be an answer to anti-consumer practices in software design (such as not allowing users to downgrade). I realize this creates all sorts of other issues: security, competitive disadvantage for existing products, difficulty complying with new regulation, etc. so perhaps open source is the only true option, but that locks out a lot of users.

But the economics don't seem to work out for a free-as-in-freedom model for consumer apps. Chiding people for using proprietary software when it's very, very often the only viable option feels very out of touch. I'd like to have a free accounting solution that covers all my needs, is easy to use, well-maintained, available on my mobile device, up-to-date, fully internationalized, but there doesn't seem to be one, but there are numerous affordable proprietary options. Which I totally get – I wouldn't want to build high-quality, well-maintained, fully localized, etc. accounting apps for free, either.

The modern problem of having your data locked up is a much bigger one than the old arguments about Free Software. Data portability would be a good solution to a lot of the problems with user-hostile technologies.

The trouble is, given the vast range of things we do with technology, it may be unreasonable or impractical to create a universal obligation for software developers to provide export facilities that allow transfer of the data in a standard format. For example, what if there is no standard format, perhaps because your software genuinely does something new or in a different way?

Going after hardware developers who try to contain data within their walled gardens isn't a bad idea, though. For example, the GDPR imposes certain requirements on data controllers to provide for data portability, and imposing similar measures on the makers of devices could both solve immediate problems for some users and provide for much more competition in the marketplace.

Is it so hard to just give the user a sql dump of all of their data? (or a json blob if it’s some nosql thing.) If it’s not in a db then just give them the files. None of that seems complicated.

Surely this will depend on what your software does and the data it works with.

Huge amounts of software, particularly embedded software, doesn't have any sort of single structured database or a simple set of data files that you could just dump. Even where you do have these things, the dump won't be worth much unless the DB schema or file structure can be successfully interpreted in order to reconstruct the meaning of the underlying data within some other system.

That might or might not be easy, depending on how complicated the original data formats were. If it's something common and widely understood, perhaps some text a user wrote or a photo they saved, that's one thing. But what about something more specialised? Suppose you're moving to a new home. How do you export the training data from the AI in your old smart front door lock, which now recognises your friends and family's faces, so you can set up the smart locks on your new home to recognise the same people?

Unless there are industry standards for representing whatever data you're working with, providing portability between applications or devices that offer similar functionality from different manufacturers/developers is always going to be a problem. Encouraging standardisation is certainly beneficial here, but imposing some sort of blanket obligation on the manufacturers/developers to provide import/export functionality in the absence of any relevant format probably isn't.

Yeah, for embedded devices I think most people would be happy with an eeprom/flash image.

I'd imagine it could be hard if a company folds. No money to pay to keep servers running. No money to pay employees who know SQL to keep working.

Possibly, you could mandate that all software include a working self service data retrieval feature and fine the trust if they shut it off before a certain point in bankruptcy, but that seems heavy- handed and still won't work if there's no money in the accounts.

This is why the export mechanism should be available before hand.

Navionics had a variety of bathymetric charts in the app store that underwent a similar fate when they were bought by Garmin. It didn't matter that I'd paid $20-$30 (forget the exact value) for a lifetime license on a piece of software; they felt the need to shove a crippling update onto the version I'd paid for before releasing a new product line.

On the bright side, in the years since I bought their app a free, better competitor was released, but I still don't think that absolves them of their responsibility.

Off-topic, but what is the Navionics free, better competitor? Thanks.

Polaris Navigation GPS.

It was hyperbolic of me to say that they're "better" in every way, but they cover all my personal marine use cases and several others, so I was excited when I found their app.

> Then sadly the author died, and it languished for a while until it was sold to someone else. The new owner seemed to try to keep it going, but then finally gave up last year and crammed an absolutely awful “update” that was actually a totally different software via the automatic update process. Everyone’s financial data got locked up in this new version that is almost useless. ~20 years of financial tracking just gone. To make it worse, they did it in December, just before people would need to pull reports for tax season.

It's usually better to design your (critical) data around formats that can be shared across a multitude of applications than on the bet than a single app will forever exist. Of course, it's a trade-off between convenience and flexibility.

Is there an open format for bookkeeping data? I suppose you have ledger-cli but that's hardly useful for normal people.

CSV file(s)? It's not like the underlying data is in any way complicated. A lot of software can export and import these.

Those that can't export to CSV have usually another way of getting that data into a spreadsheet application, from where you can export it as CSV...

And yes I know CSV technically sucks (varying encoding, lax standards, etc.), but it's the lowest common denominator for a lot of software.

SqLite is the solution to all our CSV problems.

Or as someone posted here on HN a while ago - sqlite?

Too far down the stack. It may be the OP's data was already in sqlite but that doesn't help even if the next application uses sqlite because the schema will be different.

Gnu cash

Not even that is risk-free. I was doxxed by a developer after Google's idiotic real-name policy put me in his crosshairs for my one-star review.

I had an extension installed that would pop up a PayPal donation page whenever it updated, (I think it may have been a JSON pretty printer? Don't entirely remember). Whatever, it was a good extension and I can understand that.

One week it updated basically every day, and so every morning at work I was greeted with a PayPal donation page for this extension author. After the 4th update I uninstalled it and left a 1-star review saying an otherwise good extension had now gotten far too spammy.

The developer actually emailed me asking me to take down the review, and tried making the case that it wasn't spam, they just had a reason to update it so many times.

I updated my review to say the extension author is emailing anyone leaving a one star review.

Tip/suggestion: Make a separate Google account with fake name/suername for reviews on Google.

I have a few Google accounts. Only one is my actual name. Especially for games and reviews I use an aliased account (just like I use an alias here). Google can still track me I guess (IP) but a single dev will never find who UnrealName UnrealSurname is. And I do tend to leave brutally honest and detailed feedbacks whether positive or negative.

Let us hope this little trick will not get all of your accounts suspended without recourse.

You can't create a Google account these days without a phone number, and you can't reuse phone numbers. Worse, in my country, you need to register to get a phone number (anonymous /unregistered sims were outlawed a few years ago).

I was just able to create a new google account with no phone number.

Interesting. Must be a geographic restriction.

You don't need a phone number. But it is not obvious how you can get an account without one.

You can get digital disposable phone numbers online

Google/Facebook block those.

This is understandable, though it then creates a new challenge: problems that have always existed with hearsay and rumour are greatly exaggerated by the speed and reach of modern technology, and now we have reviews that come from unverifiable sources, which can cause real damage to a person or business, who in turn may have no way to defend themselves even if the review is malicious or inaccurate.

I'm aware that I will sound condescending but... that's exactly why people "invented" opensource (and/or free software if you prefer). I'm sorry for your problem nonetheless.

You mean opensource has the same problem with updates, but you can always fork (which helps indeed).

Or stick to the same old version. Or know how your data is written and read and create a parser for it to migrate it to another program, even if the original author dies.

Except on iOS devices, you can't really install anything you built without Apple having a say. And I'm not quite sure jailbreak is still a thing.

App stores and SaaS do an end run around open source.

Isn't that a false dichotomy? The package repos from Linux distros are basically open-source app stores (in the full sense, only those that support payment are).

With regards to SaaS, nothing prevents open source SaaS software that can be set up for multiple small to middle-sized-user bases. One could argue that things like phpBB is exactly that. They might even connect to each other to form a larger network... I'm still hoping for a major breakthrough in this area.

You may be right. You can not even usually go back to an older version of an application if you want undo some bad decision by the developer. Source code is spotty if you can get at it. Your data is locked in by them on some server you do not control. In some cases they do not even really control it.

I would add the other anti pattern companies use is opensource vendor lock in. They take what would basically be a 'meh' product and put good stuff ontop of it. But to get that 'good stuff' you have to buy their service contract. Sure you are using some open source. But the key bits are still proprietary.

SaaS does an end run around GPL in particular. Unless it is Affero GPL.

And to be frank, a lot of it at the application level is mediocre.

Yes and no. At least in this case the OP could have installed a different version of the app (older or customized), and kept the 20 years of data usable.

The app I used was "gas cubby" recommended by a friend to keep track of my car. You could record your fillups and compute gas mileage and lots of other statistics. You could keep track of the vin, the insurance policy number, part numbers and service intervals.

I slowly put all my data into it and...

The app was sold, and one day they changed it and uploaded all my data to the cloud.

I deleted the app (and apparently all my data). what jerks.

There are very convoluted ways to backup and restore apps and data on iOS, even to go back to an older version of an app, but they require a lot of fiddling (literally, with fiddler), and if the app has changed its data format you need to have a backup of the old data in a format that can be restored. It would be nice if apple added time machine to iOS and iPadOS and let you restore any previous version of an app and its data.

This example demonstrates that the walled garden is not as safe as people think it is. Granted, reviewing every update in detail is a monumental task. Then again, this is why apple takes the 30%. I don't believe apple can catch all bad updates before they get sent out. An easy ability to revert to an older version of an app and its data would be very useful. Given how an iCloud-powered time machine for iOS would slurp up iCloud storage and push people to higher paid tiers I'm amazed they haven't done it before.

Not only does Apple not care, they themselves have pushed updates to iTunes to remove this functionality…

If it's an option for you, it is possible to downgrade most apps if you jailbreak your phone and install a downgrade tweak.

Some apps are growing wise to holdout users, and force you to update to continue using services. That's ultimately been the death knell in every jailbreak effort I try, some essential app will eventually force me off the jailbroken iOS version.

That’s not necessarily out of malice, though. Quite possibly the older version is using some server endpoint or format that the developer has deprecated and they want to reduce their maintenance burden.

> That’s not necessarily out of malice

It is not malice, it's laziness and stupidity. Most apps are so trivial it is absolutely not necessary to break compatibility when you release a new version.

Depending on the app, it's just sound security. On a jailbroken device, you cannot assume any of the OS safeguards are still in place. On a stock iOS device, there's pretty much no relevant malware that could be on that device. On a jailbroken device, all bets are off.

I find myself in kind of the same case as you. I use a personal finance app on Android that I chose because it wasn't connected, so my data stays on the phone if I don't manually save it elsewhere.

2 years ago I looked at the SqLite db with the project to build a desktop app that would use this db, but I didn't commit to it.

Last week I wanted to finally build the app but I discovered that the developer had encrypted the db with AES256 in one of the previous updates.

I plan on contacting him to see if I can convince him to give me a way to read my data but I'm afraid that if he won't do that or I would potentially have the key to all his users db.

If it ain't broken, don't fix it... Updates on phones: I had been blessed (?) with having a few iPhones in my life. After getting burned from a crappy update I changed my tactics. I have switched off the "automatic updates". I manually updated on iphone5 and if the update was good I'd proceed to update

When I switched to android I do the same with a phone and a tablet. I only update 'blindly' my e-banking apps. Everything else (e.g. I frequently used CamScanner) does not get updated. Ever

For the PC, I use WFC and I block all apps that don't meet internet connection to work. VLC? Excel? Your use may be different of course. You may need the autonatic translation features of Word. I don't. Outlook only speaks to my email server, not MS. winRAR? Why? V5 is good enough. And so on..

I too have been burned by Devs removing features from the "current" version and pushing them to a paid one, or removing them altogether because of maintenance,shifting them to other products they run, and many many other reasons.

Steve Gibson says: if you didn't go looking for it, so not install it. My XYZ app works just find on its current version. Do I want an update? No thank you.

A tax software could be different though, tax code changes every now and then and you can't escape the updates.

I'll check if I am able to extract the data.

It’s in an SQLite file, and I just happen to be the type of person who made backups of the actual files every few months. I’m sure I could probably figure it out, but I’m just annoyed that something that just worked is now a big project.

As a user of software, I couldn't agree more with the OP that automatic updates:

> should always keep the user centric

> should be incremental and security or bug fixes only

> should never update a user interface without allowing the previous one to be used as the default

> should never be used to install telemetry or spyware or to re-enable it if it was previously switched off

> should never be used to install other software packages without the users explicit consent and knowledge

> should never change the format of data already stored on the system

> should never cause a system to become unusable or unstable

> must allow a revert to the previous situation

> must be disablable, in an easy and consistent manner for instance on mobile devices

> should never cause the system to become inaccessible or restarted without user consent

> should always be signed by the vendor to ensure that the update mechanism does not become a malware vector

> should never cause commercial messages or other fluff to be included

> should never cause configuration details to be lost

> should always be backwards compatible with previous plug-ins or other third party add ons

I agree: Software vendors "should" and "must" do all these things when updating software on my computer without my permission.

But often they will NOT, because their economic incentives are frequently stacked AGAINST it.

For them, it's often cheaper or more profitable in the short run not to do any of these things.

> Should not use features like "e-fuses" to make irreversible modifications to my hardware

I am very reticent to update some embedded devices because not only to I risk losing functionality, losing my preferred UI, etc, but the update may also make irreversible changes to my hardware. Even if I am able to wrest control away from the manufacturer (e.g. "jailbreak" the device) I may not be able to revert to a prior version because the hardware identifies itself as being physically unable to run the old software.

> Even if I am able to wrest control away from the manufacturer (e.g. "jailbreak" the device) I may not be able to revert to a prior version because the hardware identifies itself as being physically unable to run the old software.

coughs in Nintendo Switch

It seems the Switch has 64 burnable fuses. What will they do after the 64th update?

For anyone else who had never heard this and wants some background: https://hackernoon.com/how-the-nintendo-switch-prevents-down...

Make a new console. The Wii doesn't get updates anymore.

But does the Wii need updates? I mean we still play every once in a while and have never updated it.

Right now they're at 36 releases, gonna get interesting for sure

Does every update require a fuse to be blown?

No. They can choose if it's a minor-enough update and not blow a fuse

I'm a somewhat sophisticated user and have come to loathe upgrading: I never know what's going to break. Apple keeps nagging me to update to Catalina, and that I know is going to break the last freestanding version of Lightroom. What else will it break? I don't know for sure yet.

I update machines less quickly than I used to: Migration Assistant is finicky and has cost me at least a day, if not more, of various kinds of work in the past.

I’m not sure it’s even to do with economics. Certain people just like to mess about with UI because changes excite them.

Slack recently moved the profile settings from the left of the screen to the right.

It hasn’t been replaced by anything on the left.

Someone just decided to move it, they probably have some pseudo science about “design weight balance” to justify moving it.

Really it’s change for change’s sake.

This! I came here to post something about Slack and their forced update. Click on a notification by accident and BOOM you have a new version with a new layout, even without shutting the software down. With every update they shuffle stuff around without adding much functionality. I guess the designers need to keep themselves busy or something. I hate forced updates like this

It is not just phone apps that do this. Web apps do this too. My bank has pretty much rearranged all of its GUI. Big giant buttons everywhere. Yet the one thing I go on there to do is at least 10-20 clicks to do now.

So to sum that up, Johnny Won't Upgrade because like as not, the writers of the updates are The Enemy.

That's why its best to find free software solutions for your computing needs where possible. The options a user has on free software solutions discourage that behaviour.

Free software has the same problem. I know people who have switched off Firefox updates because an update changed something in a way they didn't like.

In order to fix their issue with the new version, they worked out how to roll-back by one version and disable future updates.

That is the modern tech business model. Rope in naive people with excellent services offered at a loss or at cost, wait for them to develop dependence, use nazi cult-think psychology to inculcate irrational loyalty to the platform, then take everything away in a major software update and sell it back to the poor fools for big profits.

It's possible for developers to think they are shipping must-have features _and_ for users to see that as "messing up all my menus" and "disrupting my workflow".

Inevitably some users will complain about changes in every new update while others complain about a lack of eagerly awaited new features and bug fixes. You cannot make everyone happy :/

I'm sympathetic to the idea that workflow/ui changes should be explicit updates (or on beta opt-ins) with security/crash fixes being automatic. This model makes the most sense for professional tools that people make a living from (e.g. CAD). To be sustainable, software with multiple supported major versions will cost more.

Don't force updates on people. For the ones who want to update asap they should be able to do so. I prefer to make sure a major update is not going to fuck my system then I will update as well, it's happened to me before multiple times and I am forever hesitant about this. It's also happened to me to get featured removed when updating so if something is working allright I will hesitate updating for a while.

Context matters. So 3d sculpting software or CAD do not deeply need automatic updates, although it can greatly reduce support requests (e.g. something in the OS changed, software is now crashing, need to install update).

The state of play in 2020 however is that operating systems and browsers 100% need automatic updates for security issues. The reason we have them is because of all the bad things that happened when we didn't.

There should then be a very small switch hidden somewhere deep in the system where people like you who know what they are doing can turn them off. For the people who are using the software to say, run the electrical grid and a) care more about stability than security and b) pay people to write scathing reports about all the patches they're not installing.

IMHO there is a sticky middle ground with respect to office suites and email clients where the software is widespread enough that bugs are wormable.

Updates as a whole are inter-twingled with the developer's support and release model, how they a/b test and general maturity in terms of managing change. I feel like we're often complaining about different aspects of this when we talk about "updates".

I have been in IT for over 20 years now.

I have had orders of magnitude more problem with updates than with malware/viruses/hackers.

The thing is with malware/viruses/hackers sooner or later something will get through any defences, so you need robust recovery system anyway.

And most updates that brake systems are not even security updates. I wouldn't mind automated security updates, but many many many maybe most vendors pile whatever happens to compile to their updates so that they customers can test it for them.

Firefox on mobile just fucked us in the ass (extension we developed for client doesn't work anymore and we can't fix it. And since we have support contract we will probably have to eat the cost of whatever alternative we have to build.).

> I have had orders of magnitude more problem with updates than with malware/viruses/hackers.

Maybe that's precisely because the updates are preventing you from being owned?

The % of security fixes vs speed ui improvements is 100 to 1. Very rarely do we get issues that require forced updates that a once a year limit on these types of updates would be ideal.

I have been in IT for over 20 years now. I have had orders of magnitude more problem with updates than with malware/viruses/hackers.

Until you get hit by this....


It was the first widespread IIS vulnerability that almost hit me. The tl;dr version: All you had to do was encode a shell command in the url bar if the site was running IIS and it would execute it on the server.

Oh we(organizations I have worked for) have been hit several times (not IIS, but once it was several wordpress sites we used, once it was outlook, once we never figured out - probably inside job, ... ). But that was 3, 4 times in 20 years.

Updates its 3,4 times per year. Like I said order of magnitude difference

The article specifically states

> should be incremental and security or bug fixes only

There's a big difference between that and, for example, constantly pushing UI changes that nobody asked for and for no other reason than that some designer somewhere decided that "A/B testing" would look good on their resumé.

CAD software like AutoCAD or Microstation is the worst for this. Before I was a developer, I was a land surveyor, and I used to have so many updates bite me in the ass in exactly the way the author describes. Honestly, open source has made things a lot better since I don't have to deal with enterprise type shrink-wrapped software anymore.

I literally only update apps on my phone when the old version becomes unusable [1] or when the new version actually provides something of worth.

For desktop software, most seem to, sadly, be self updating or a website.

For example, youtube now has a miniplayer when playing a playlist on desktop. I find that "feature" to be absolutely atrocious and would rather do without it. But due to it being a website they changed it to make it impossible to turn it off.

[1] Whatsapp

Btw, desktop youtube redesign is atrocious: it's slow and wastes a lot of screen space. People have to work on browser plugins that use hacks to redirect to the old page. The old design page is thankfully still served, but it can't be accessed without magic and constant breakage.

Also: reddit redesign is godawful. I HATE that designers think that unifying the look and feel of a website for desktop(horizontal screen) and phones (vertical acreen) is a good idea. For example: twitter has practically no difference between mobile and desktop view. And it wastes so much screenspace.

Altough, the reddit redesign sucks on mobile too.

I do the same thing and I get an unbelievable amount of salt about it from my colleagues (most of them programmers), even though they have the same issues I do and complain about the same things. It's just not understandable at all.

Updates are really important in terms of security.

The problem here is the hostile relationship from the companies to their customers.

Most updates seem to eschew security in favor of new "features" or "improvements".

And even if they say security they usually bundle it with other changes, along with not even saying what kind of security change.

Give me a vulnerability tracker and what has been fixed, and I'll actually update your app.

For me, the "added security" is just not worth it MOST of the time. Partially due to actually only installing apps that don't even have the capability to do much/any damage, due to it only having permission to access parts I don't deem dangerous.

I would buy the "updates are important because security" line of reasoning if software developers would bother to release security-only patches to old software, but most don't. Unfortunately, you need to take the bad (UI re-designs, unwanted features, changed file formats) with the good (securest fixes), so I unfortunately often decide to keep the old, slightly more vulnerable software.

> Updates are really important in terms of security.

We're talking about phone apps. 99% of the time this just isn't the case and the remaining 1% is for issues so widely broadcast you would absolutely know.

If you have to do all that, it costs a lot more to develop updates. I think most developers mean well but just can't afford to do it all.

For example:

> should be incremental and security or bug fixes only

That means maintaining multiple releases of the app, and porting fixes between those versions, while also maintaining data migration logic when fixes affect data formats. I've maintained an enterprise software suite before where we did it like that, and it added a double digit percentage to the cost of development. You also get drawn into a discussion of what exactly constitutes a fix. Some users consider a missing feature a bug, sometimes they're right.

> should never update a user interface without allowing the previous one to be used as the default

I hope you've maintained a very clean separation between view an controller layers, because otherwise you'll have duplicate business logic and tons of bugs. Again, been there, done that, was not a happy camper.

> must allow a revert to the previous situation

So, maintaining and testing data migration algorithms in both directions then?

> should never change the format of data already stored on the system

Multiple independent read and write paths? How many combinations of UI and data logic do you get? A combinatorial explosion can cause this to become effectively untestable.

Granted, some developers are bad, and abuse automatic updates. I swore off Oracle Java after a security update installed malware on my system (called Norton Antivirus). But most developers are not like that. They mean well, they're doing the best they can given their limited resources.

That's the point. If updates are expensive, you'd think twice about pushing one out every week for no good reason.

As far as file formats go, how often do you need to change these, anyway? I'm fascinated with most of the mainstream file formats (except mp3, mp3 sucks) — they're built with extreme extensibility in mind, and you have to try really hard to make something incompatible with the rest of the world. So, then, what stops you from designing your own file formats to be extensible? You add a new feature, you add a new section to your file. The user downgrades, and the old version skips over that section because it doesn't know about it. It's easy.

And besides, I've seen a lot of software that's able to save files that are 100% compatible with older versions of itself if that's what the user asks for. Microsoft Office is one example.

It doesn't mean any of those things. It just means not making the updates automatic. Make your auto-update just say "hey your version is no longer getting updates, you can get the new version at this link"

I do that kind of maintenance. Sometimes it's reverse migration code. Because CD doesn't fly. Maybe people don't know it doesn't fly and still push it, or they know it doesn't fly and still push it. And there's no asymmetry between user and developer, developers are users too and experience all this first hand from the user side.

> For them, it's often cheaper or more profitable in the short run not to do any of these things.

For free-as-in-beer software? You get what you pay for.

Supporting a full matrix of (security release) * (feature release) combinations isn't cheap.

> Supporting a full matrix of (security release) * (feature release) combinations isn't cheap.

Having paid for something isn't a magical spell that wards this away. Having sunk costs makes it less likely that the users will migrate away after unpleasant, user-hostile changes, not more. Having a budget also allows for enough PR to bury the complaints.

To add to the list: automatic updates should install.

Many many times Windows updates download, try to install, and fail with an "unknown reason" and a useless error code. I disabled them for just this reason. It's completely pointless.

The issue of updates not installing may have saved you from worse issues.

Here is a description of updates from June which caused me significant trouble: https://www.windowslatest.com/2020/04/06/windows-10-update-k... https://www.windowslatest.com/2020/03/17/windows-10-kb455176... (other patch)

From the first article: "Another user also told us that the KB4541335 update crashes the system and later causes 100% disk/CPU usage."

That is pretty much what happened to me, especially the hard drive grinding. Also discovering that I couldn't use F8 to boot to safe mode any more. I discovered I had to wait a very long time to get to the login screen all the time with the HDD grinding and then shift click something to get the menus to be able to do a system restore without loading a user profile.

Note to anyone using Windows, always have a Windows PE environment ready to boot to, even if you are a home user, it may save a lot of trouble.

That will never happen as long as shareholders are the only people that companies are legally beholden to

That will never happen as long as software continues to be regarded as a "cost center"

That will never happen as long as developers insist that their happiness is more immportant than that of their users

That will never happen as long as evangelists keep pushing this doctrine that more updates, more features, more whatever, is better

"shareholders are the only people that companies are legally beholden to"

I don't think that's actual true. As far as I know the only legal obligation a company has is to conduct lawful business.

Shareholders can sue if they do not think their interests are being properly represented/manifested. They can also arbitrarily shuffle senior management as they see fit

Neither customers nor employees can do that

> Shareholders can sue if they do not think their interests are being properly represented/manifested.

In general, shareholder recourse is limited to electing a new board that will do what those shareholders want. The exceptions are cases where the actions of the corporation or board are discriminatory to some shareholders, or where there is fraud or self-dealing by insiders (e.g., shareholder derivative suits).

> They can also arbitrarily shuffle senior management as they see fit

Not directly. Shareholders elect the board, which then chooses the managers (CEO, etc.) who actually run the company. Shareholders usually only elect board members once per year at the annual meeting. So it’s not arbitrary.

> Neither customers nor employees can do that

This is true. Customers and employees don’t direct the corporation the same ways that the owners (shareholders) do. However, customers can boycott and employees can strike. Those can be effective ways to influence the direction of a corporation. Also, customers can sue for other things (e.g., fraud or malpractice), as can employees (e.g., employment discrimination). And any injured third party can sue the corporation.

You are correct, I am getting my wires crossed a bit.

Whilst it may not be technically true, most companies behave as if it is.

No you got it the wrong way around. The power is in the hands of the user.

> That will never happen as long as shareholders are the only people that companies are legally beholden to

The user has a choice not to use products that are made by companies that don't respect them.

> That will never happen as long as developers insist that their happiness is more immportant than that of their users

The user can simply stop using the software if the developer doesn't respect their time (happiness is a completely subjective property dependant on the individual).

So I say this will never happen while people won't actively move for alternatives and put up with crappy products.

I made the effort to stop using products from large companies that don't respect my privacy and don't respect freedom of speech of their users. So whenever possible I don't use any products from the large tech companies.

If people can't be bothered and choose to be ignorant, they deserve what they get.

That only works if the user of the software has freedom of choice over the software they use. For the majority of commercial software sales that is not the case. Commercial software is overwhelmingly brought by companies who dictate to their staff what software they must work with.

And the companies which shell out the big bucks to keep terrible software products shambling along for year after year don't really do it because they hate they staff and want to screw up their happiness and productivity, although it can often seem like that. They do it because either there isn't anything else which does the thing they need to keep doing their business, or becuse they have so much past history and experience of using that product that it would be ridiculously expensive and dangerous to change or because they believe that the pain of supporting fifty different users using thirty different incompatible pieces of software to do the same job is worse than the pain of having all those users screwed up at the same time by an upgrade that goes bad.

None of which are unreasonable positions to take and all of which push the responsibility for improving the situtaion back to where it belongs: the writers and suppliers of the upgrade. Upgrades should adopt a hippocratic principle: the change that YOU make to the system which I have paid for and which I rely on to do my job should not suddenly impossible costs or make it impossible me to use it to do something that I was doing yesterday.

And that, in turn, is not going to happen, unless and until customers (both commercial and private) have the right to compensation for lost time and earning imposed by changes which benefit nobody except the software vendor.

The article is talking about forced updates by vendors of consumer grade software. That is what we are talking about.

Also the same rule still applies. If I had to use some terrible software everyday I would leave a job if it was that bad. I had to develop on a terrible CMS, once I realised it was never going to change, I looked for another job.

Governments are supposed to intervene in markets to keep them stable, functional and ethical. Hand-balling all market regulation to ethical individual consumption isn't workable for many industries where companies can monopolize, capture regulation and sway public opinion with advertising campaigns.

Unfortunately I should have expected a reply such as this. Everything is seen as a all or nothing proposition.

I think it is pretty obvious that if companies are abusing their position to that extent an appropriate governing body should step in. However there are going to be issues that won't fall under such a remit.

Also just because the government/regulator is failing to step in, doesn't mean you can't be doing something yourself. I was getting very frustrated with Google and its products. So I decided to stop using them whenever possible.

As for moving away from industry giants, this works. Firefox (back in the early 2000s) chipped away at IE's monopoly and broke the stagnation.

> The user has a choice not to use products that are made by companies that don't respect them.

Yeah, much like how I get a choice to not use Jira at work, or to not use Facebook Messenger or not use LinkedIn right? The argument that everything ultimately comes down to individual user choice ignore so many externalities that it’s borderline unrealistic.

I have a social life without facebook, and I have a job without linkedin. You don't need them, you choose to use them.

No, you don't need them, but have fun filling in those blanks on your own time for 10x-100x the effort. Hope none of those missed connections are important, and I hope nobody gives you a pregnant pause after you insist, "no, I don't use Linkedin" at your next networking event.

Network effects are strong. Too strong.

You are buying into the hype.

Most people will find work through indeed linkedin may give you a 5% boost. If you say you don't have a resume..

Why would you need facebook messenger installed when you want fb events. Just login to the web version click events.

That’s just it. I don’t have to “find work”. Work finds me. I would have never found my latest job - working for BigTech in the comfort of my own home on the East Coast - if a recruiter hadn’t contacted me out of the blue. Every job I have gotten since 2012 (5) has been through a contact who found me through LinkedIn. Why would I reduce the ways someone contacts me?

Because for some is us the signal to noise ratio was too low (did I get that the right way around?).

For me LinkedIn for me was a total waste of time. Good you find it useful use it, but I don’t and I don’t like the company so I am deleted my account.

Also most of the contacts weren’t other devs or dev companies but recruiters. A lot of those recruiters flooded the feed with bullshit recruitment feel good articles and other trite. That combined with all the estalking and slimes dudes on there it just isn’t somewhere that is worth being around.

It’s just like the general rule of the Internet - Don’t read the comments. The purpose of LinkedIn for me is a Rolodex of former coworkers and a curated list of local recruiters. I have a separate email for LinkedIn. I would go through it once a week to see if there was anything interesting.

I have a very light profile up.

It generally fails at that in my experience.

I literally setup almost everything I personally need in about a day on a VPS. As for services like LinkedIn I almost never got anything of value from it, it is worse than most job board it is filled with slimey recruiters these days and not a lot else.

I bought a NAS for backups with freenas and moving my email to a domain with a provider literally took me a few minutes (plugging DNS entries into my domain provider). It not that hard.

People should be making tools for helping people move away from platforms. I am personally going to write it all up and identify pain points.

I get plenty of business through (gasp) word of mouth and ex-colleagues. So I am fine.

How someone get off GMail if they have already been using it for a decade or quite a few years more than that? Has anyone done this? How do you do that with the fewest issues possible?

Having the most important communications with other people and companies, and the login verification all in the hands of one company which could shaft your access in all sorts of ways (screw up, removing service, ban) is just terrible in the long term. And if someone is using their ISPs email address, that is something that would keep them signed to that ISP even though another may offer a service much better for them.

Anyway, anyone migrated away from their email provider after a long time signed up and could answer some of the questions in the first paragraph? Thanks.

> How do you do that with the fewest issues possible?

You just create another email and register all your new accounts with it. Whenever you get any old notifications to your old email you recofigure them to your new email account, one by one. After about a year you will be practically free. You do not have to delete your Gmail account, you can just forward all its emails.

I've personally never used facebook actively and deleted my account soon after I made it. LinkedIn I have an account but I honestly never find a use for it even though I wouldn't be super against it.

A lack of both of these would not inconvenience me in any way personally and I find the claim that going without them being a lot of work questionable. Maybe I've just been lucky in who I work for/with?

I have a social life without Facebook yes, but I have a huge chunk of friends who use it to communicate and organise things. Another example: I go mountain biking - local clubs use fb pages and groups almost exclusively to inform people about trail closures, updates, events, etc.

I used to drink regularly down the pub. After a while I got sick of putting on weight and feeling rubbish and decided to give it up. The people I drank with after a few weeks stopped calling me (because I wasn't interested in going for a drink) and I haven't spoke to them in years. They wasn't such great friends were they?

If I had friends that didn't bother with me because I wasn't on the platform (facebook) they probably wasn't worth bothering with in the first place.

You can always find an excuse as to why you keep on using these services, some odd thing that you claim you need. I just decided I wasn't going to use them anymore and stop making excuses for having to deal with companies that couldn't give a fuck about me.

> They wasn't such great friends were they?

Sounds like acquaintances. You ought to have a bunch of those, they are great to have, very valuable, and lots of fun. All of my close friendships started out as acquaintances. I got my current appartment via an acquaintance – quite nice and below market price. My current job, my partner of many years, lots of great ideas and input, lots of useful advice ... having acquaintances is great. They won't follow you to the end of the world though – they're not that invested in you, by definition, that's why you can have many of them.

> If I had friends that didn't bother with me because I wasn't on the platform (facebook) they probably wasn't worth bothering with in the first place.

If you insist everyone accomodate your communication preferences, but will not accomodate their communication preferences at all, maybe you weren't worth bothering with in the first place. If you trade them for a little bit of moral high ground that easily, that's not exactly great friendship either. If it's just Facebook, but Telegram is fine – I personally could work with that. Some people with old phones can't have all the messengers – might be a problem for them. No Whatsapp? Party planning just got a lot more annoying, because someone will have to play relay for you. Just taking phone calls, nothing else? The 20th century is long past and I'm glad for it, just get some kind of messenger like literally everyone else, even my parents. We still frequently escalate to phone calls, because it's easier for them – but we try to meet each other midway.

> You can always find an excuse as to why you keep on using these services, some odd thing that you claim you need.

Or maybe there are legitimate needs that these apps and platforms fulfill, like making connecting with people and all sorts of communication really, really easy and frictionless, and for them that's worth the – so far – largely theoretical price we all pay; that's my personal stance in this. Maybe the benefits of a one-person-boycott aren't that compelling – it's not going to make a difference at all, unless everyone does so, but they don't, an when they do, they'll all flock to LibreOpenFree Network, so you won't even have to give up your contacts. A one-person boycott isn't going to keep Facebook from assembling a detailed shadow profile on you, unless you go to really great lengths that very, very few people are capable of, and then they still learn what your contacts leak about you.

If you're fine without social media, you got your social circle that agrees with you and sticks to phone calls, or maybe you're fine without lots of people in your life – great for you, you do you. But telling others who are not in that situation in what I read as quite a condescending tone that their social needs are just excuses, odd things they claim they need, that feels rude and not helpful at all.

> Sounds like acquaintances

No. They were drunks (I was becoming one myself). I told you in the sentence before that once I didn't come to the pub they weren't interested in spending any time with me. That what addicts are like.

This really isn't difficult stuff to understand. The acquaintance relationship only existed because of substance abuse basically. There is no friendship of shared interest outside of that.

I was thinking about writing a rebuttal to everything else you said. But there really isn't much point because you can't even understand this part of social interaction.

All my real friends btw, keep in touch via email, text etc. As for me demanding I use a communication medium, everyone has a cell phone with SMS and everyone has an email address. If people can't be bothered to do that ...

> If people can't be bothered and choose to be ignorant, they deserve what they get.

The problem is that those that do care also have to suffer. After a certain point of critical mass, when it comes to tech, oftentimes you can't just take your business elsewhere any more.

This is incorrect. You can almost always take your business elsewhere. It depends whether you think it is worth it, depending on how hard it makes the rest of your life.

If people really cared (as much as they claim) you will make alternatives work for you.

If you've a following on instagram and you decide to leave for whatever reason, you can't take your followers with you. Maybe some will jump over if you link them to other platforms

If you've an iOS app and you've run afoul of the app store, you can't take those iOS users with you without asking them to switch to another platform or asking them to use a web app instead (both of which are forbidden, I think)

If you're on gmail and your account gets suspended, you can't set up a magical redirect that sends all your mail to another address. Can you even use Google Takeout?

These are all extremely popular platforms with strong lock-in effects through various circumstances.

In too many cases, the switching costs are so high as to be destructive. Yes you can technically switch but the price is dire. That doesn't count in my book.

People, who still insist on developing programs for Apple out of greed are in collusion with Apple to strengthen their monopoly and should serve proportional share of Apple's sentence if it's ever to be judged for its anticompetitive business. They can't possibly be ignorant about it today.

How dare people go where 50% of the market is because they care about silly stuff like food and shelter.

The entire point of instagram for businesses is to move followers from instagram to your own controlled platform.

Not sure why using google as your main email makes sense with so many others offering email.

You can take the iOS customer off of iOS to a different platform through ingame awareness.. one you control

> If you've a following on instagram and you decide to leave for whatever reason, you can't take your followers with you. Maybe some will jump over if you link them to other platforms

You should diversify your social media presence then and let your followers know "look if I am not here one day this is my website or you can find me here".

> If you've an iOS app and you've run afoul of the app store, you can't take those iOS users with you without asking them to switch to another platform or asking them to use a web app instead (both of which are forbidden, I think)

This is probably the only valid scenario presented due to there being only two players realistically in the mobile phone space.

> If you're on gmail and your account gets suspended, you can't set up a magical redirect that sends all your mail to another address. Can you even use Google Takeout?

This actually happened to a friend of mine (he got locked out of his account). He ended up learning from the experience and owns his own domain and uses one of the other email providers.

The government might fix these issues in another 10 years ... maybe? You are actually validating my point about people being ignorant of the risks of using services that can suspend you account for any reason at any time. Don't use them, or if you must then mitigate any potential fallout from losing access to that service.

People that have been being censored by large tech companies have already started doing this.

> In too many cases, the switching costs are so high as to be destructive. Yes you can technically switch but the price is dire. That doesn't count in my book.

As we are arbitrarily deciding what counts, I don't think the social media accounts or the gmail issue is a big deal.

They are easily mitigated against as long as you aren't ignorant. Being a smart consumer, smart user will protect you much better than anything else. Which proves my point.

> You are actually validating my point about people being ignorant of the risks of using services that can suspend you account for any reason at any time. Don't use them, or if you must then mitigate any potential fallout from losing access to that service.

I love to trot out the "don't be stupid" argument too, and it never works. If "don't be stupid" was at all an effective mantra, tech would look a whole lot different. But people being stupid is what sustains these practices, and it is what provides the lock-in effect that I'm describing. Plus, someone will argue that it discriminates against unintelligent or mentally handicapped folks (which it does), or underprivileged folks and minorities (which is debatable). And then someone else will argue that people should be able to drive their car without having to know how to repair them (that's what services are for!) or that their specific choice in make/model/whatever shouldn't have a future tragic effect on their life. And those arguments are supported by law and government agencies backing them up.

Making excuses for ignorance is simply promoting learned helplessness.

Yes I appreciate there are edge cases such as the mentally handicapped. However realistic I am talking about the majority of the population which are capable of looking after themselves.

Again this much like another reply I received. You are making it an all or nothing scenario.

Realistically it will be a combination of regulation and people starting to get wise to what these companies are doing. At the moment the regulators don’t have the power or aren’t up to speed. So instead of waiting for the shit to hit the fan you can protect yourself and start mitigating risk.

I really don’t like this attitude of people that you cannot try to protect yourself.

When it comes to technology the majority of the population is not capable of looking after themselves. And it won't be this way for a very, very long time.

Well it will go on longer if people are encouraged by those that are capable to stay ignorant.

Also Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Keep arguing that. You will eventually give up. Stupid does not see reason and you know what they say about the people who fight it.

Remember that "above average" intelligence excludes 50% of the population. So unless you're scheming on ways to raise the tide for all boats, give up.

There are plenty of enablers out there, but there are also plenty of jaded souls who do not see this as a war that they can win.

You don't represent stupid people, you make money on them taking advantage of the monopoly, you don't care about their interests. And they aren't as dysfunctional as you want to make them look like, they don't need to figure out everything by themselves, they can understand what they hear.

Disgusting attitudes like yours is all too common these days. It is anti-freedom, full of snobbery and it is nihilistic.

Well, nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Both you and tomc1985 are correct - it is this weird human thing where most people will continue to do things knowing full well of the consequences. For example we know of N things that cause pollution and global warming, we continue using them anyway.

Maybe there will be a day when the majority of the population will be more conscious of their lifestyle choices (and that technology choices deserve time and effort just like your dietary choices).

what about adobe though? what if you work in a field where you are forced to use a certain proprietary file format or software? this sounds a bit naiive. go talk to real johnnys :-)

The last time I checked there was many competitors to Adobe in almost all the products they offered. You aren't forced to use their software at all.

In any event you can slowly move away from using a companies products. It isn't a all or nothing proposition.

> The last time I checked there was many competitors to Adobe in almost all the products they offered. You aren't forced to use their software at all.

Dude, if you're a professional graphic designer, you're using an Adobe workflow. The amount of friction that you would encounter in your daily work for any other choice is simply too high.

In other words, Adobe products are providing high enough value that people don't find it feasible to move away from it. If it is pure network effect, we should be seeing a regular but increasing decline in their market share.

You can't have the cake and eat it too.

in other words: adobe has a monopoly. they can extract and do whatever they want to their users and nobody can do anything about it. same with apple. same with google. same with many other sv robber barons.

That's only part of it. There are plenty of Photoshop users who would prefer to switch but can't because of project constraints, or because it is a required format for some future step in the chain, or whatever. When you need no-hassle first-class support for PSD, or PDF, or that InDesign project that Mary from marketing sent you... who else can you turn to but Adobe?

It's only for file formats after all? Because those modern flat designs look like they are drawn in paint with bucket fill.

> when updating software on my computer without my permission.

This never happens. No software is ever run on your computer without your permission unless you install it (or willingly buy the computer with that software pre-installed). If you install software that auto-updates, you have it coming.

If you make your own chipsets and processor.

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