You can still buy really, truly excellent toasters made for industrial/commercial use, or for the homes of the very rich, and they're quite a lot better than the trash people keep in their houses. And they cost a lot more, too. Last time I checked, a commercial 2-slice toaster was in the $300-$400 range.
This is true for lots of home appliances. My favorite example is the Kitchenaid mixer. The modern mixers are very thoroughly "value engineered" to keep the price down. If you want to buy an original "Kitchenaid," like they made in the 1930s, you can call up Hobart and buy a miniature mixer. And it will cost you ~$2,000 in 2021, just as it did in 1935.
You can have the good toaster, the good mixer, etc, but it sure looks like people don't actually want that. The pattern of product offerings in your average store suggests people want something affordable, and it doesn't particularly matter whether it is good at its job.
From the article it seemed that it's better because it has a radiant temperature sensor rather than a simple timer. Unless you're disputing that and saying it's good for some other reason that would cost a lot of money, a temperature sensor and little control system for it would not cost hundreds of dollars to make today.
EDIT: The problem seems to be that regular consumer appliances seem to have raced to the bottom in the past 30 years or so. It's not that a significantly better toaster would cost hundreds of dollars more, it's that it would cost a few dollars more. The high end things that are 10x the price seem to be priced that way mostly because there is not a strong mid range market, or maybe they compete on gimmicks rather than basics. Because you don't need a $300 powder coated steel toaster with an a glass oven door and 5 cooking regimes including steaming that was mentioned in the article (https://us.balmuda.com/collections/toaster) to get the functionality and robustness of their simple 1940s sunbeam toaster.
I actually looked for a timer based toaster for ages and couldn't find one.
From the article: and it’s got a mechanical thermostat inside that stops your bread toasting when it’s toasted and ready, NOT after some arbitrary amount of time.
From the video: Modern toasters operate based on a timer...
The cheapest toasters apply current to a bimetallic strip that heats up and bends away from the contact causing the heating to stop and the toast to pop up. These are variable due to ambient temperature and because the bimetallic strip is still warm if you do a second batch of toast and will trigger too soon.
These are both indirect proxies for doneness of the toast, not a direct measure like the toaster featured in the article.
I would amend that to: "it doesn't matter whether it excels at its job, as long as it's good enough." And those modern, cheap toasters are good enough.
I've always wondered if we could fix this through legislation that forces manufacturers of consumer goods to provide an estimate of product lifetime according to some agreed standard - the same way that manufacturers of large appliances have to provide information about energy and water use.
As it stands, it's really hard for the consumer to know whether or not the $1000 coffee machine is actually better quality than the $500 one, or whether they're just milking a fancy brand name and relying on FUD.
In my experience, the more expensive washers/driers (e.g. >$1000) are actually higher quality and last 5 times longer than the cheap, or even mid range ones.
We can, but again, I feel like a lot of customers don't want that. Even here on HN I hear people saying that well, if I want to buy a $200 washing machine that falls apart in 3 years, then it should be my god given right to do so. If consumers want better appliances then they can just buy them without the need for regulation.
I don't really agree with that mindset, but I think it's common enough to prevent the change you're talking about.
The $200 unrepairable washing machine has a massive negative externality for the planet. Most people don't think in those terms (especially when the budget is tight, or they are landlords and just need to put checkmark items in the apartment), that's why we should have strong regulations to prevent mass-creation of electro crap.
Regulation is good, because it sets a baseline. W/o regulation it's race to the bottom so if company X does something better but it's $50 more expensive, the cheaper company Y. If you have baseline, they both will figure out a $250 machine which is better. Companies who can't create durable items do not have god given right to exist and sell crap which harms the planet.
Thankfully EU has been working on this recently, and will require the vendors to offer N years of spare parts availability.
> If consumers want better appliances then they can just buy them without the need for regulation.
See above. I have a low-repairability fridge whose rubber-magnet got old. Fix? Replace whole door, which costs as much as the new fridge. I don't think my landlord was taking weeks to research repairability and warranty rules for the fridge, because why would they? The law should provide reasonable defaults.
I do hope we'll move towards fewer long-lived models with good repairability, even if it costs more short-term, than 7 new fridge model each years with half-life of 2 years. It's nuts.
Another thing we have in EU is power-hungriness of devices (they get labeled prominently A, B, C, D, E). IMO should be the same with warranty / spare parts availability length: One year = E, ten years = A etc.
isn't this exactly what a guarantee or warranty is? we have this now, where the manufacturer is legally obligated to provide a device that performs/operates/works according to the published specification for at least that long. of course, it doesn't work since consumers will then complain about 'planned obsolescence' when products actually live up to these estimates...
What does it say about that?
To me, this really shows the sad direction smart appliances have gone in. I would love to see that smart appliances would have continued to evolve in this direction. I don't like the current state of smart appliances, but going back to the absolute basic seems like an over-reaction to me.
The only smart devices left are some smart bulbs, and I'm waiting for them to fail before replacing them with regular LEDs. Nothing beats the reliability and energy/resource savings of plain locks and buttons.
If you look beyond the consumer-grade trash, you can get somewhere nice with $500 if you go the DIY route with modules/relays supporting open protocols and Home Assistant, or if you have several thousands to spare check out higher-end solutions such as Crestron.
Any good system will be completely self-contained, not rely on the internet, and provided the hardware is maintained should last essentially forever.
Unless you have free spare electricity, I think it’s very difficult for smart electric lighting to be environmentally friendly. The controllers simply need too much standby power.
For example, https://eprel.ec.europa.eu/screen/product/lightsources/84743... is a 5W IKEA lamp that uses 0,3W when powered off. So, the lamp itself uses 4,7W, and you can leave that light on for about 1½ hour every day for the power that the controller uses. Said otherwise, you currently have to have such a light on longer than needed for 1½ hour every day to make up for the energy use of the controller. Add in energy used to make the controller and it gets worse.
There are days where I accidentally leave on a light for 1½ hours, but that’s nowhere near the average over all my lamps over a year.
Smart lights give you convenience. They won’t help saving the environment.
Edit: to clarify, this article is based on an old Technology Connections video, and the creator of that video has lots more!
Another guy worth mentioning that tickles the brain cells in a similar way is Isaac Arthur: a guy that breaks down science fiction into science fact, and explores what we could actually do someday in the future, and pokes fun at the stuff that will probably never happen but has become familiar tropes anyways.
If you want another down to earth (ahem) channel that also explores tech, there's Tech Ingredients who has done crazy things like build the ultimate (and certainly weirdest) speakers, his own epoxy, his own thermal paste, his own whiskey with his own still, his own compressorless fridge and AC, his own rocket motors....
Riffing on those, I can also recommend DIY Perks. He makes pretty stunning electronics projects. https://www.youtube.com/c/DIYPerks
I can also recommend Applied Science. He explains the concepts behind numerous concepts and applies them to a home project in his garage. Such project include:
Home made electron microscope
Chemical glass strengthening
Robotic cookie maker
Messing around with supercritical CO2
He does all sorts of random shit and it is absolutely wonderful
His whole channel is great, though there's not a ton there, it makes sense given the staggering amount of work that goes into the visualizations of each one.
I do really enjoy his presentation style, and the technical content is well-written and fascinating.
The Classic Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster (2006) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23723112 - July 2020 (47 comments)
How to design a good toaster with lessons from the 1940s [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23363646 - May 2020 (17 comments)
An Antique Toaster That's Better Than Today’s [video] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21164014 - Oct 2019 (232 comments)
Also slightly related:
Toaster Central: Antique and Vintage Toasters and Waffle Irons - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21432144 - Nov 2019 (7 comments)
I suppose as induction slowly wins over resistive heating this will become a non issue once again.
And on the switching behavior, I believe that is more related to just how induction cooking works rather than the way you control it. The values on the control panel are not exact anyway, you are always going to have to get a feel for how they work for your setup.
I moved from a house with an induction stove to a classic gas stove and its an absolute nightmare. Cooks slower and takes 50x the effort to clean.
Even his grandparents didn’t clean the stove after each use. They lined the burner area with foil instead.
Because that literally isn't a concern for almost everyone who has one? I clean mine once a week.
Inductive stoves are vastly more efficient than the old fashioned resistive coil stoves, so your 3000W of input power can yield cooking heat similar to a 40,000 or 50,000 btu gas stove.
They also reach temp much, much more quickly than the old style. You can vary the output as quickly as a gas stove.
I could believe that the power transfers more efficiently on an induction stove as the pot itself heats up. Maybe it's enough to balance out to roughly equivalent to gas, and a 12kW induction range sounds like a nice convenience. I would bet that you aren't boiling your water as fast as you think you are relative to a gas burner though. :-)
I just switched from gas to induction, and am consistently surprised at how cool the area around the pan stays vs. with natural gas. I’d guess the gas burner is wasting at least half the heat it puts off. A 5kW gas burner is definitely delivering less heat to the pan than a 4 kW induction burner.
Induction has other disadvantages though. The most obvious is that the bottom of the pan has to be perfectly flat, and match the burner size (at least for most burners). Lots of specialty cookware fails that requirement (magnetic or not).
I moved recently to somewhere that has gas and noticed its is quite a lot slower than the induction stove I was using. The gas one seems worse in every way but initial cost.
Is your gas stove in your new place nice or is it kinda cheap? I've certainly used plenty of mediocre gas burners. I would expect a high end induction stove to be a better experience than a low end gas burner. I think we can all agree that electric coil burners are terrible.
Appliance makers do a ton of reliability engineering to deliver predictable failure rates. Barring atypical screwups and bad design, major appliances tend to fall off a cliff about a year after the expiry of their extended warranty (usually 4-6 years)
So anyway I bought a slightly above medium priced one a few years ago, and it has failed about 5 times. When we had the guy out to fix it he said that it was a common problem that the part where you have to push to start a particular plate cooking can fail to register a push anymore and as a general rule if one of the 'buttons' couldn't be pushed none of them could be pushed because after all they aren't really buttons.
I asked why is it continually failing he said oh sometimes there is some underlying electrical issue, but I think we have everything fixed now.
Anyway after the fifth breakdown in a couple years it has been going pretty good for a year now.
Now of course since an induction stovetop is one big piece, there are fewer parts that can fail. So maybe there actually is a higher failure on analog stoves, but I remember every time I had a failure on my analog stoves it was only one piece that failed, and sometimes it was easy to make it work again, like a broken knob, or it was only a partial failure like that cooking plate doesn't get as hot as it used to. When my current stovetop fails, it is all failed.
A case in point I bought a small portable two cooking plate analog stove at the same time I bought the more modern induction one. One of the cooking plates got broken some years back but the other still works. We also need it to make espresso as the pot is too light to register on the induction stovetop.
on edit: must be tired, changed in case of point to a case in point.
$300 for a toaster seems insane, but it honestly is worth it. You fill the little 5cc "cup" with water and pour it in, and it uses steam to lock in moisture and then toast. Toast (and honestly everything else) comes out perfectly crisp all over and the inside stays moist.
I grew up with one of these and was going to get an old one and refurbish it, but I live with too many hairless apes that would stick a fork or knife in to retrieve their undersized bread. Maybe if I put on a polarized plug, and check all the outlets in the kitchen to make sure they are wired correctly…
1. Power switch that's prone to unintentional activation.
2. Poor grounding and a single pole switch with no polarization.
3. Radiant control without any upper time limit.
(Before giving them, I opened them up and replaced their aging power cords with modern grounded three-prong ones, as many of these predate even polarized plugs and are not remotely safe by modern electrocution prevention standards.)
A polarized plug prevents the elements from being a live wire.
suspect making it compliant with modern electrical standards would be cost prohibitive
Only problem is they've been sold out for a while now in a lot of places
This should be super cheap and ubiquitous tech but apparently it isn't. Most of the other stuff uses electronics and does more but is actually dumber as an overall device.
For example many can set a target duration or target temperature but because they don't take into account the bread temperature they don't defrost as well.
If cooking a lot of toast for a get together or really large meal, just throw them in the oven.
I haven't owned a toaster as an adult, so I'm really curious how popular they are these days.
The post made me reflect on the fact that I have a toaster at all; I've used it vanishingly few times, and I only really own one because my parents have one.
Questions are seeds of a discussion; it's better to nurture them than to stomp them out.
The no name toaster I own falls into the good-enough category where I have never considered that an alternative technology could offer X% improvement that it would make transitioning worthwhile. Toaster oven could potentially provide more utility (pizzas, garlic bread, etc) at a higher initial investment, more counter space, and potentially less good at toasting bagels.
 Wirecutter review:
Except, originally, I didn’t get anything else that could make toast, so if I wanted toast, I used a dry frying pan. And, probably because I didn’t have a toaster, I wanted toast a lot more often than I expected I would.
I eventually got a toaster oven, but I almost never used it for anything other than toast. I have a toaster now, twenty years later, and while I realize it’s silly from one point of view, I know it’s not the silliest thing I own.
This made me laugh out loud. Ever so often my wife decides to reorganize and put everything away, and me being too lazy to dig everything out, resort to making toast that way in a dry cast iron skillet. Not sure about yours, but mine rarely turned out right. Usually burned the raised edges and left the middle underdone.
Other toasting methods work, but they could take longer to set up and you have to monitor the progress along the way.
With a toaster, it is set it and forget with a single button press.
On the other hand, today it is hard to buy simple things of good quality on Amazon - example 100% cotton or 100% woolen clothes. And it would be harder in a physical superstore like Target or Walmart.
They're dead simple, and work excellently. The bars you're mentioning are single, wide and flat, so they'd support thin slices well.
Also I wish I could get a narrow-slot toaster. I never toast bagels, and I feel like a the ubiquitous wide-slot designs waste energy and take longer because there's so much unnecessary room for air to convection-cool the bread.
But probably not worth the space.
Which is to say when the toaster is plugged in but off, the heating coils could still be live, and touching them would shock you.
I'd pay more for a toaster that was smart like this one. I wonder why that's not a thing, we have smart everything else...
Is their toasting a bit hit or miss?
I've picked up these from hard rubbish a couple of times, but they did tend to burn the toast a bit; kind of wishing I had tried to re-furbish them, now knowing how the mechanism works.
When there are a lot of food particles at the bottom that detritus can increase the heat from the heating elements. So, the best way to avoid this is to clean the appliance.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"
One advisor, an Electrical Engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" The advisor: "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantifies its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype."
The second advisor, an IT consultant, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years."
"With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various omelette classes."
"The ham and cheese omelette class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs."
"Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too."
"We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX v.8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook."
"Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. An Intel Pentium with 48MB of memory, a 1.2GB hard disk, and a SVGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap."
The king wisely had the IT consultant beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.
An Electrical Engineer might possibly say do it without a digital embedded computer, and instead just use analog components. Like add the resistance of a thermistor touching the toast plus the resistance of a control knob potentiometer to trigger a poweroff which ejects the toast.
I remember one model from a few decades ago where you could just put one slice in and push down one button to toast that. If you put in 2 slices, the other button would push both sides down to toast. I haven’t seen that feature in a long time.
It's repairable (it's held together with simple screws, and you can order all the parts), it has a mechanical timer, and a simple lever to raise/lower the toast. There's also a knob to switch between left slot/both slots. No electronics, no indicator lights.
I think these things are targeted at commercial outlets (hotels, cafes and so on). I bought it because I imagined it would be ultra-reliable, and five years in I've had no problems. They cost about 3x as much as cheap toasters.
It's a design classic. 4 slots. A wonderfully boring device that just works with no fuss.
My hope and expectation for society is to balance experimentation and criticism. We need both in equal amounts. A good analogy that I keep is gradient descend algorithm - if we get stuck in a local optima, unless we undo things, there is no way to improve (This is criticism). At the same time, if we don't allow picking new directions, improvement is hopeless (This is experimentation).
I have also replaced the power cord.
Sunbeam should literally do a Kickstarter to get the marketing going.
Sunbeam products are now Chinesium trash, the brand was sold off long ago.
At my last startup we learned this the hard way after buying a Sunbeam set of knives in a butcher block for the office kitchen. Every single knife was dull and serrated identically, despite presenting in the Amazon ad as a comprehensive set of knives.
"Allegheny's four principal divisions, including Sunbeam, went into decline through the late-1980s. Since Sunbeam-Oster was one of the most important divisions, responsible for nearly half of all sales, the stockholders were very concerned about the leadership. In 1986, the stockholders accused the Chairman and CEO, Robert Buckley of mis-appropriating funds. Buckley's successor, Oliver Travers, downsized considerably and by 1988, the company was essentially just Sunbeam and Oster. The decline continued aided by the stock market crash of October 1987 and Allegheny filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the fall of 1989 an investment group called Japonica Partners purchased the remains of Allegheny for $250 million ($521.9 million today) in a hostile takeover. The company was renamed Sunbeam-Oster Company, Inc. At this point the business was then divided into four divisions: Outdoor Products, Household Products, Specialty Products, and International Sales. The company headquarters were moved again from Pittsburgh to Providence, Rhode Island and then finally to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. By late 1991, Sunbeam-Oster's sales had increased 7% enabling it to make the Fortune 500 list." 
It sounds to me like he was brought in to be the axe man, and he obliged, while adding some fraudulent flair to the mix. One could argue the fraud was just a best-effort attempt to turn the sinking ship around, with flagrant disregard for the law.
My grandparents gave me one of these and I used it for a decade or so before it stopped working. I considered trying to fix it, but with little kids on the horizon, I was concerned about the safety issues (unlike new toasters, these old ones can electrocute you). If I'd known I could have had my old one retrofitted and made safer, as other oommenters have pointed out, I'd have done that instead. At least I got 50 bucks for it on ebay though!
The other problem is distribution.
These things are about channel power, which is >50% of the story on both sides: manufacturing, distribution, sales, etc..
'The Product' is actually less important than the system in place that makes all of this work, at least at scale.
Ideally, this would be a subdivision of a 'well run company' with operational resources and distribution power.
They certainly don't need the money to kickstart a campaign, but it would be interesting to know if Kickstarter would entertain the idea of a subsidiary of Newell Brands running a marketing campaign on its platform.
Are there other large corporate brands that you know of that have launched marketing campaigns on KS?
Why would KS have any problem with that?
But I've always had the impression Kickstarter was about small business entrepreneurs/solopreneurs unable or unwilling to raise capital through traditional means.
Per the KS Mission Statement, "It’s where creators share new visions for creative work with the communities that will come together to fund them."
It just seems unusual to me that a multi-billion dollar global corporation would decide after 60+ years to go back to building high-quality versions of their products, perhaps considering it to be a "new vision for creative work," not really need a community to come together to fund it, and not have KS pause to think about whether it fits with their mission.
Unfortunately, I think they'd cost 6-10x going rate as modern "smart" appliances, and also the market for them would be restricted to HN commenters.
If you have an electric motor that's supposed to speed up, slow down, reverse, spin fast etc., all on a schedule, it's a no-brainer (pun intended). It's usually the pump that fails, but the controller-cards often fail too. Pumps and controller cards are, of course, outrageously expensive.
These things are supposed to fail. Back in the day, they were much more reliable. I don't think it's "smart" tech that has made them less reliable; I think they've optimised their designs over the years, so that they nowadays fail just after the warranty ends.
So what I want is kitchen equipment that is designed to last. For example, I bet they could build a washing machine that works perfectly for 30 years, for under £1,000. If they wanted to. It might not have 24 different program settings, but I only ever use one setting.
Yeah, reliable equipment probably is a bit of a nerdy preoccupation; but you'd think at least someone would have a product to appeal to that niche. But nobody seems to want to compete on reliability. That makes me wonder if there is a cartel at work.
[Edit] I actually don't mean to include Bosch in my comments about manufacturers; Bosch equipment I've had has been more reliable than other brands. But they still fail and need repairs much too often.
Re. 30 years: that's how long my mother's Hoover twin-tub continued to provide service.
The big problem is that on the consumer side, it's pretty much impossible to evaluate durability of goods. Is the $80 toaster much more durable and better built than the $40 one, or is it just a "premium" offering that has the same internals but with a fancier appearance.
For me, it's less about cost and more about not leaving a pile of cheap toasters in a landfill for future generations.
Maybe it's a cultural thing? My extended family (both biological and in-laws) across my two countries (AU/NZ) frequently discuss what items lasted and what did not. This has led to a surprising commonality in the brands we all end up buying, and it's usually because someone bought something and it lasted, so others have bought similar, and when something isn't as good as expected, that gets mentioned as well.
There's a pretty wide range of age, political opinions and incomes as well - but caring more about reliability and long term value for money over shiny features is pretty consistent.
Efficient market hypothesis summed up in once sentence
I don't see what my remark has to do with the EMH; perhaps you could explain.
All my white goods are several decades old and still work well with occasional periodic maintenance. That's the other thing: back then, they were designed to last with maintenance; now, they're designed to be "maintenance-free" until they break completely and in a very cost-prohibitive-to-repair way.
Is there a market for ‘buy it for life’ toaster. The question is will people pay 2-4X as much as cheap china toaster? Would you pay $150 for a lifetime toaster with replaceable parts? Would you pay $200? Or just 20% more than the next model? Would the retro angle get people to do it? Would the eco angle? Or the ‘right to repair’ angle? Or is it just easier to toss the thing and get another from our friends in Seattle?
work required: completely dismantle.
soak return coil spring assembly in mineral oil.
make a new carbon contact by cutting down a motor brush
replace cord with new cloth 3 conductor (plastic didn't look right)
10 years later and still works perfectly.
Mine is from about 1987, and I got it about 10 years ago on eBay. I've replaced one element card, as a result of a previous owner's dodgy repair causing arcing that eventually burned out a connector. The others look very old and are still fully functional.
Having said that, I understand the clockwork timers also fail from time to time, and they aren't especially cheap. And the toast, while very good and continuously adjustable in hue, isn't quite magnificent.
The initial market would definitely be limited to those with an appreciation for the concept and the funds to support it but it seems possible that after establishing a niche brand known for quality and reliability you could expand beyond the early adopters.
It would be an expensive experiment though.
But they don't seem to exist AFAICT...
Seems pretty sturdy but I am not a connoisseur of these things.
We appreciated getting a particular size too.
Hobbyists are able to fix almost anything when they do it for fun in their free time as long as DRM isn't involved. It just isn't something that scales or can make a profit.
Every new dishwasher is assembled the same way; potentially, every broken dishwasher is broken in a different way, and needs some different part and different fix. (I mean, there are probably a handful of problems that account for 90% of the failures of any appliance. But still.)
But it still requires someone to go to your house, pull the thing apart, and put the new one in which costs way more than robots in India putting the thing together almost unassisted.
But then the marketing team wouldn't be able to come up with a new redesign every 6 months.
And there would be less overall profit than building cheaper versions to fill our landfills with.
Which unfortunately means that this won't be realistic.
My Grandparents had a custom camp trailer made in '74. I have it now. Grannie lived the longest and knew I loved it. BTW, she went white water kayaking the year before she died. Lived well, no regrets. I got so much from her, but I digress...
That trailer ran on propane gas. Still does, except for lighting. Originally, it had all gas lights too, but those are just a bit dangerous and I helped them replace those as a teen years ago. The rest runs on gas. Fridge, Stove, Range, Heater.
Just this year, the heater decided it needed a new thermocouple. I'll get one, clean it up a little, and it will run just fine the same way it has for all those years. The fridge works on a simple chemical solution that boils up through restricted openings, and as the material trickles down, it works to carry heat out of the fridge. That fridge does have an AC option. We've only used it once, and it was to see whether it worked, and how well. Basically, it works and isn't any better than the little gas flame needed to make the fridge work. It will run a couple weeks on a few gallons of propane, has a freezer, and works well up to a little under 110 degrees F. (Yeah, rough year)'
Over the years, I've picked up a few of these kinds of devices and I love them. Mixer, toaster, various old clocks, washer, dryer, weather instruments...
And I've had some professional experience. Older industrial machines that rely on springs, relays, R/C circuits, bimetal elements, just work.
The engineering on these is kind of a lost art in some ways. In others, we have such great material science these days! The same kind of approach might actually have serious merit.
Repair can be a challenge, until one has worked on a few. The basic ideas are broadly applicable. Once those are in mind, and a person has some mastery, these devices are like an open book!
Count me a fan. I like simple things that just do that which they are designed for.
One downside can be overall efficiency. While that counts, I can see people just choosing to live a little smaller, leaner and that can largely balance out, or at the least not be terrible. That's basically what we do.
Re: Smart home
There are very compelling possibilities. But, I am just not up for the maintenance and or the work to really hit the upper level of what can be done, not to mention it's either expensive, or takes considerable time, understanding and skill to roll one's own.
In my 30's I was wanting a lot of those things. However, as time has passed and I see the classics just work, and work, and work, and I don't see people struggling with them, odd states, modes, extras that get in the way, or one uses so seldom it's always a bigger time investment than the value derived.
Less is more in my home and life.
Professionally, that's not going to fly most of the time. And the use cases are different, returns different too.
But, there is a whole lot to be said for robust gear for living. It's simple, life can be simple, with few surprises, all of which frees time and energy for doing other things.
One last thing, and that's the idea of buying once and using for a long time, even handing the thing off to someone else to use. I like this and have employed it in my life. Saved a ton. Sure, these kinds of things are expensive, but one can chip away at things and before we know it, are pretty well equipped and it's gonna last. Worth it.
Where one is inclined to fix things up, or buy used, seeking these kinds of devices, there are deals. Many people get caught up in things like "digital toasters", and that's fine. I'm happy to pick up the good stuff while it's an option.
So if the quality of the available resources goes down, that's poverty?
Doesn’t sound like a fair shake to me
That doesn’t change the fact that this website is milking his work for clicks
They're optimized for viewership and revenue.
> They spend more time polishing the video, studio neatness and thumbnails than informing the public.
To be clear I completely agree with you, but I think it's mostly because the public (or a majority of the public) simply don't care about being informed.
Your adjective doesn't fit here.