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.
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 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.
The DisplayPort spec actually explicitly says to not do what these defective monitors are doing.
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.
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.
No VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) though, so I'm just waiting for new GPUs myself.
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.
(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
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 . 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.
It's a good thing that I'm blessed with a small living room, and I don't need 50" monstrosities ;)
Eventually, their mobile site will be nerfed and a popup will appear saying "Facebook is best experienced with the app".
It's cool to live in a place where Facebook never took off, I guess?
Are you sure? Their light website works just fine for me 
Stop spreading fake news.
Also just because “Facebook” can listen, the TV still can’t receive updates and ads.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
IF newTV THEN
delay := 0
(*make customer by new TV*)
delay := 10
a replacement battery.
In what world is this not a valid example of planned obsolescence?
Apple's only mistake was not proving the opportunity for people to choose from the start.
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.
So...it worked as expected? Slightly slowing the phone down is exactly what prevented your phone from potentially and unexpectedly shutting down.
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.
My 2015 flagman phone from meizu seems to have the same processing power as potato. And I don't even play games on it.
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.
It isn't so much their influence as much as there is a community that is constantly searching for reliable platforms to build on.
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.
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.
For the application space they have the old armv7 and the new armv8. The latter can actually run armv7 in aarch32 mode.
If I recall correctly, it runs a subset/superset of thumbs2 which standard armv7-8 also can execute.
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.
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.
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.
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.
However I think there is absolutely a general trend in the industry to see downgrades as a risk that must be protected against.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
> 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?
What I did say was a response to this https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24292859
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
Key is persistence.
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.
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".
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'm not buying hardware from them if they countenance unlawfully (contravenes UK Computer Misuse Act) accessing my device and removing functionality.
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.
Plus Xscreensaver on a projector can at least partially make up for the lack of interior decoration.
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.
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.
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  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.
 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.
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.
BSD-licensed low-level unix programs are still quite useful today and are likely to continue to be very useful in coming decades.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
coughs in Nintendo Switch
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.
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.
In order to fix their issue with the new version, they worked out how to roll-back by one version and disable future updates.
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.
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 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.).
Maybe that's precisely because the updates are preventing you from being owned?
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.
Updates its 3,4 times per year. Like I said order of magnitude difference
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.
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.
Altough, the reddit redesign sucks on mobile too.
The problem here is the hostile relationship from the companies to their customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, maintaining and testing data migration algorithms in both directions then?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a description of updates from June which caused me significant trouble:
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 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
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.
Neither customers nor employees can do that
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Network effects are strong. Too strong.
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.
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.
I have a very light profile up.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
If people really cared (as much as they claim) you will make alternatives work for you.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Also Rome wasn’t built in a day.
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.
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).
In any event you can slowly move away from using a companies products. It isn't a all or nothing proposition.
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.
You can't have the cake and eat it too.
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.