These are all things that most people never notice because they just work. It doesn't even occur to people day-to-day that these things can fail.
This is why I never select cutting edge tech for our company - unless it's part of our area of expertise/innovation.
As for expense, the reliability of the filesystem is free up to a certain point. There are system failure modes that have to be covered by hardware and admin expenses, such as decentralized backups (just one example off the top of my head).
The blender I bought second hand, and it came with a box of original replacement parts and specifications so detailed that I believe I could probably replace the motor if it ever fails (almost 6hp! Take that, Vitamix!). It makes nut butter in no time.
The trimmer could probably be used to cut down trees.
I love these machines, and if they ever fail I don't thing I could ever replace them with anything of similar quality. They are 35 years old. The electronics in the kitchen machine still look pristine. I keep all bearings well lubed. It runs like a Swiss watch. Only very loud.
I have things from the 80s that, obviously, have lasted a long time. But I have owned things from that era that have failed and been forgotten about.
Incidentally I bought some boots this year that are expected to last (at a minimum) 10 years, and I suspect they would, but I can't know that until 10 years from now.
Heirloom quality is probably still a thing, but only discoverable when an item actually becomes an heirloom.
Funfact: Those type of regulations are heavily discussed even these times again, when I look at EU right to be repair, or the discussions specifically around John Deere and the right to be repair.
Link = https://youtu.be/4TqJu0RS32w?t=1674
It broke within 2 years..
I took it apart and discovered it was full of plastic gears on load bearing components which predictably got annihilated by wear and tear. The old one had metal ones.
I echo the article's sentiment that while cheap usually means bad, expensive stuff is usually indistinguishable in quality from mass-market stuff nowadays.
I mostly meant it as a comment on what the parent said; I could pay four times the price for something and have it last 35 years (which is 15x longer than the blender I had before it) I gladly would.
The fact that I can repair most of it is also a thing I miss in the things I buy today.
Not necessarily; it's also sufficient to consider the overall distribution of blenders and hair trimmers from the 80s that are still working compared to the distribution of items sold, which means it's also fairly easy to spot because people use their kitchen/bathroom appliances frequently and notice when exceptionally old ones still work.
Lots of products have more expensive buy-in buy are cheaper in the long run.
I change the oil about twice a year. Over the past eight years, that has cost me about $480.
I have changed the transmission fluid three times. That has cost me about $140.
I've changed the air filter a couple times...not very often. Let's be generous and call it $40.
Around 120k I replaced the spark plugs. They were weirdly expensive, costing about $100.
I have performed no other maintenance.
I have filled it with gas about once a week. It's a pretty small tank. I'd estimate about $6000-$8000.
Add all that up, pretend electricity is free, and I have still come out way, way, way ahead versus buying a Model 3. I've still spent less than half of what I would have on a Model 3.
The current cost-over-time of my (and apparently your) ICE car is not meaningfully high enough to want to 'upgrade' to an all-electric. Plus, when mechanical problems eventually arise, there's already a somewhat-independent parts and labor infrastructure to lean on to get it back on the road.
On a personal level, I'm also opposed to giving Elon more money, and opposed to the idea that my car may brick itself with an auto-update. I also got a promotional 0% loan on my car, have zero intention of paying that off early, and can see this car lasting until 2028 or 2030. Unless I have kids, this car should be fine for my needs until then.
(They are legitimately cool though!)
Modern engines & oils don't need the oil changing every 3000 miles, but the folklore belief in the necessity of doing so rolls on unstoppably in the USA.
Another upshot of this is that with rarely driven vehicles, you might as well use the cheapest oil which meets appropriate specs, because your oil changes are driven by additive depletion and oil contamination rather than breakdown of the oil itself.
> Another upshot of this is that with rarely driven vehicles, you might as well use
> the cheapest oil which meets appropriate specs, because your oil changes are driven
> by additive depletion and oil contamination rather than breakdown of the oil itself.
I just ordered an oil testing kit from Blackstone. Thank you for the idea.
The very same cars in Europe will have an oil change every 2 years or so. My Volvo S60 Model 2000 has an oil change every 3 years.
There must be something that you get sold on by marketing that is so wrong. BTW. Also a Tesla has oil in their gearbox, even if it is just a single gear integrated into the single unit combined with motor and inverter. For a Model S it is recommend to replace it every 12.5k miles, which is exactly the very same recommendation as with other car model.
The "as indicated" ends up being around 8-10k miles in practice, with start/stop cycles, short trips, and other factors swinging it higher/lower.
These days, we average <4k miles year per car, so use the annual interval.
There was a recommendation to change the gear oil previously, but newer versions of the S removed those. Even then I seem to recall it was way longer than 12,500 miles.
Your vehicle should generally be serviced on an as-needed basis. However, Tesla recommends the following maintenance items and intervals, as applicable to your vehicle, to ensure continued reliability and efficiency of your Model S.
Brake fluid health check every 2 years (replace if necessary).
A/C desiccant bag replacement every 3 years.
Cabin air filter replacement every 3 years.
Clean and lubricate brake calipers every year or 12,500 miles (20,000 km) if in an area where roads are salted during winter
Rotate tires every 6,250 miles (10,000 km) or if tread depth difference is 2/32 in (1.5 mm) or greater, whichever comes first
Seeing as how the recommended cleaning and lubrication of the brakes is 12,500mi, I'm wondering if you heard that and got confused about the lubrication needs. As mentioned in their manual, this is really only recommended for places where they salt the roads in the winter. Since the brakes don't get used as much its even worse than a regular car with the corrosion. If you're not in a high road salt area, its not a problem.
The recommended service interval on other EVs also have extremely extended oil change intervals. The service life of the Mach E's gear oil is 150,000mi and the coolant change is at 200,000mi.
(warning: PDF document)
If you're changing your EV's oil every 12,500 miles you're either doing it way too often, you bought a defective EV, or you should repair the leaks.
As for the Model S fluid change, thank you for mentioning it, I did not know that. I believe that there is no fluid change interval defined on the Model 3, which I just recently bought.
Thank you for the advice, I will research the service intervals on the Tesla.
Because everybody drives differently, mileage and time based recommendations aren't the best. Some places will offer to test your used motor oil during a change and will tell you if you waited too long or changed it to early.
The price difference buys lot of maintenance. And gas...
Not that electricity is free or that we have long term cost data, but I suspect the EV / plug in hybrid premium is a very easy choice in Finland.
The average car life in Finland seems to be 15.6 years (let's round that to 16, helping the case for EVs).
The average distance traveled by Finnish cars, based on 2018 data, is about 13600km per year (let's make that 14000km per year, also helping the case for EVs).
That works out to 224k km over the lifetime of a car. That's only 140k miles.
Regarding your 35mpg (was 30mpg before the edit), that's 6.7l per 100km (7.8 before edit), let's make that 7l per 100km (and 8 before edit), further helping the case for EVs.
But in reality a small car such as the i10 probably uses more like 5-5.5l per 100km (40-45mpg).
Then the gas price is super high due to the Covid economic bounceback coupled with the supply chain issues plus the latest conflict.
I'd say your numbers are too optimistic plus they're for the entire lifetime of the car. The average owner probably has the car for half that duration, at best. So they don't really care about the entire lifetime.
Still, things seem to be getting closer than 10 years ago, for example.
The really bad thing is the upfront price. There's no comparable EV in the i10 price range, which is a very cheap car (we're talking about a car around €12k).
Finland imports a lot of used cars but: “An average car in the fleet 12.6 years of age” that suggest the car actually lasts to ~25.2 years. It’s not that simple because again they are importing and exporting used cars.
there is now! I'm seeing the Dacia Spring appear everywhere - probably because it starts at only 13k in France including the ecobonus (I think base price is 16-17k). This is an absolute game-changer
Where are you located?
Given the GP's
>> it starts at only 13k in France including the ecobonus (I think base price is 16-17k).
I'd guess France.
Servicing is fully covered and the garage keeps track of when things need changing.
It wasn't so long ago that leasing was actually cheaper option than buying (on credit).
In any case, the wife's 1996 Hyundai was worth more to the breaking yard than it was to the second hand market when it's transmission failed in summer of 1997. So even if the battery pack fails immediately after the warranty period and that totals the car, I've still come out ahead in total cost of ownership.
B) There are regulations almost everywhere (especially, almost everywhere that has a profitable market to sell into), so it's probably easiest to just sell regulation-compliant equipment in the rest of them, too.
So it's not at all "preposterous" that the regulations actually work even in most places where they're not legally in force, and that you've just not noticed the few where they don't.
Wow, imagine that radical concept--a society that functions well without government goons breathing down everyone's neck! Maybe we could even come up with a word to describe this amazing new idea. "Freedom" maybe? "Liberty"?
Enjoy your slavery, serf.
Enjoy your working non-lethal infrastructure, parasite.
Taking the example of grocery store logistics, the number of times products are unavailable in my local store makes me thing that's a thing that doesn't "just work". It's something that breaks down regularly, and possibly has lots of people working hard to keep it from breaking even more often.
The same is true for lots of things. Stuff like water delivery and silicon manufacturing doesn't break all the time because lots of people are fighting to make it work, and are actively maintaining it all the time.
I think it's possible that most things don't "just work", and we're just fortunate that there are teams of people out there stopping us seeing the effects of all the failures.
> And it also pretty much sums up how most people in Tech have minimal understanding of Supply Chains and logistics works. Even distribution alone, within a single country ( ignoring the cross border logistics ) is complex enough.
Let me tell you supply chain and product availability in store ( especially grocery ) is still an unsolved problem. For a lot of different reasons and market dynamics. But mostly because grocery stores also have their own brand which compete with other products, and sharing sales data for better forecast is still a big no no. Compare to let say Smartphone, your average retail store will have zero chance completing with Apple or Samsung. So every time an iPhone is sold Apple knew instantly and can better manage their supply chain. Both domestic and international.
If we didn't had COVID and Chip Shortage, most of the world still doesn't give any credit or importance to Supply Chain management. Even though it is the basic fabric of our society. And that is speaking with experience working with Fortune Global 500.
For some products like pasta and canned tomatoes, you can hold enough stock to deal with a 99th-percentile day without any wastage at all; if it doesn't sell today, it'll sell tomorrow.
But for those little packaged sushi snacks with a one-day shelf life? Any overstock is going in the trash at the end of the day.
And sushi snacks mostly sell to workers on their lunch breaks. You'll see big fluctuations in demand if a nearby office changes their work-from-home policy, or has a big all-hands meeting that gets everyone in. Even the greatest demand modelling can't predict such things, as nearby office meetings aren't available as a model input.
Some products are also easily more easily substitutable than others: If the 1kg pack of mid-priced spaghetti is out of stock, maybe I buy the low-priced brand, the premium brand, the 500g packet, the wholewheat version and so on.
For many people, price is almost certainly at least as big a factor. Many, perhaps even most, people are willing to accept things being out of stock now and then for 10% lower prices.
For some of these foundations to still be standing and building occupants not to notice anything's wrong ... I can't even imagine how much safety factor is built-in. If we built software with those margins, nothing would ever ship.
Here's a few:
Sometimes they share pictures of foundations completely detached from anything. And it keeps working!
These things did cost a lot to develop, but for the consumer it’s quite inexpensive. As GP said, we just take these things for granted and don’t notice them.
No woo woo necessary. You may be interested in checking this (and related citations) about research on gratitude and psychological well being:
One thing we can do is keep a gratitude journal where we write down things we're grateful for. Can literally be grateful for the sun shining, or not experiencing an earthquake, for having the ability to write in a journal in the first place, etc.
It's so, so powerful.
Grocery stores are a marvel for sure. It's a miracle that we can get a season fruit like grapes 365 days a year.
I guess because there isn't enough time and money to assess the quality and optimize them.
Even light switches are pretty cheap. You can get a basic single light switch for around $2. Sure there's decora switches, dimmer switches, and all kinds of other great things for $50+ but the basic $2 ones will still last decades.
I’ve had 2 switches fail over the last 2 years out of the ~40 switches installed in the house. One failed by welding itself closed and another failed by caving into the electrical box when I hit it too hard. Even though the 40 year life expectancy of a single switch sounds good, the reality is that one fails catastrophically every year. I’d love to get more reliable switches that last well over a century, but I’m not aware of anyone that measures this sort of thing.
And for kitchenware and dinningware, we still get decent quality for a still rather cheap price. Of course as the article stated it's not easy to determine which one with decent quality, however if customers only aim for the cheapest one of course it won't be good.
They're pretty good examples of things that are cheap and don't work very well, if your goal is health and not distraction/entertainment.
The easy industrial design exercise seems to be luxurious looking materials paired with cheap electronics. Amazon is full of this. Oddly, the thing I end up trusting these days are in-house brands because the store has some responsibility to make sure their own brand's reputation doesn't get too tarnished.
I decided to try paying much more for a Fellow Stagg EKG, and it was a great decision. It’s lasted over 3 years and has been an absolute joy to use compared to the prior mass market garbage.
I often wish for a Wirecutter-like site that prioritizes quality and especially longevity above all else. Wirecutter always focused too much on cost, and even their “upgrade picks” tend to suffer awful quality issues. For years their top blender pick was an Oster that had hundreds of angry reviews about dying within months. Wirecutter ignored the feedback for years despite so many people streaming into their own comments section to vent about it.
When I bought my house I finally said "screw it, let's see what decent appliances look like".
Japanese rice cooker set me back $95 and I thought I would never hear the end of it, and after 4 years, it had already paid itself off (we were doing $14 rice cookers every 6 months). Air fryer was $70 but the previous $40 only lasted 13 months. Basic coffee maker was like $60 but made non-burnt coffee. A little combo oven/toaster is what I ended up on since we had one in the last apartment since we never used a full oven.
The ones that are honestly pretty difficult to find were dishwasher but one of our friends suggested bosch because we wanted a quiet appliance.
When I was young, almost everything I owned was the cheapest possible version of that thing. Everything just kind of sucked, brutally cost-optimized to the point of being somewhat nasty to use and barely functional.
I was still very fortunate: I had food to eat, clothes, etc. A lot of kids in the world would have traded places with me.
Now that I'm older, I have no interest in "luxury" goods, but there's that subtle intangible benefit to using e.g. the $95 rice cooker vs. the $14 rice cooker. You feel like somebody who's worth more than the cheapest possible piece of disposable shit, I guess. Or at least I do.
It makes better rice, too, of course. And there's the ecological benefit of not tossing a $14 rice cooker into the landfill every couple of months. But there's also a bit of self worth involved, or something.
It's not super fancy or anything but it fills that rice craving and is a multi-use device.
I make rice in a saucepan on the range top. I have to come back and turn it off when it's done. Otherwise, it is the same. If you care about how good your rice is, you are starting with short-grain rice. Or red, or black, or arborio for risotto.
I grew up with Zojirushi rice cookers. They always worked. The last one I bought sputtered starch water all over the counter. Stuff you can buy in the US today is not the same as what we could buy even 20 years ago.
I bought them off Amazon, do sourcing isn’t difficult, but some research might be in order if you want Japanese manufacturing. You’ll pay more for these models as well — they aren’t the cheap or maybe even middle-priced options... (I believe my rice cooker was nearly $300, 5 or so years ago...)
We've been very happy with our Bosch. Don't ever buy a cheap dishwasher.
The only real difference above $400 is how loud it is. In a silent room you can't tell whether the $1200 dishwasher is running at all.
That does not matter to everybody.
In addition to their testing process itself, they actually dogfood their advice by using their own picks in their test kitchen so they get used by tons of people way more often than any testing process could accomplish so they can get a real sense of how good a recommendation holds up over time.
Of course, the downside is that new ones start at £150 or so. So it's difficult to make a financial case (as opposed to an aesthetic, or a principled one) over a £10 special from Tesco.
When you do buy ‘commercial’ kitchen equipment you’ll notice lots of things that are just downright worse. Energy efficiency, safety features, and noise reduction are all things that are _way_ worse than with their domestic counterparts.
Commercial fridges will stay cool even if their door is opened 20 times an hour. Commercial glass washers take a tenth of the time a home dishwasher takes. And if they're noisy, ugly and they need to be cleaned every day without fail, that's just normal commercial equipment.
I have not discovered a way to find one that is not so designed. Regular reviews are useless.
The issue is then not just with the item, but with societies that are increasingly accepting low quality: this is a horrible trend, and one side of decadence. You get both, flanked: low quality here for the occasion and decadence around for the trend.
The idea you say of some "distracted" ones "not realizing the failure potential" has a legitimate justification, beyond the simple inattentive, in those (inexperienced) that assume, for a number of reasons (especially including an internal healthy "mindset" of good standards), things are done properly. There is a line in a script for Scorsese that goes like: «I'm the guy doing my job, you must be the other one».
things that twenty, ten, five years ago were of high quality - same brand, update of same model - now you buy at a comparatively abysmal quality for a very similar price. It is today easy to find products which are cheap in manufacturing and expensive as a price tag.
This means that, in some way, people in some/many societies are tolerating quality degradation. And a decrease of alternatives is contributing. That, in some areas, it was once not necessary to spend time investigating which product was high or just decent quality (already the price could have been a good indicator), while now it is part of your task, shows that tolerance for low quality has increased. That is not for the 1 dollar item, but for whole range up to many figures.
And, a staggeringly increased inability to perceive degradation in general is evident today visiting some territories (and see what is tolerated now and was not before).
At workplaces this creates a lot of absurd situations that eat up insane amounts of productivity.
Or another example, it's pretty common that water pipes don't work as expected. (Congestion, low pressure, undesired backflow, tricky to get water at body temperature...) Nobody really complains, everybody lives with it and learns to completely ignore it. I'm not saying these problems occur everywhere 100% of the time but often enough to show there's something structurally not working
Really? I've not seen this to be the case unless they are never maintained (ie: a year goes by and ignored dependencies change)
Very little stays consistent…
How long has electrical be 120v AC? How long has auto voltage been 12v vs 5v?
Details, materials, and implementation change (building off of prior versions), concepts and overarching system designs are slow to change.
There are similarities in your example. The fact that Tesla has autopilot and is an EV represent two of the biggest moves away from traditional car concepts. If you used an ICE car I would say the concepts haven't changed much.
Foundations are such, 70s-80s had certain style which now has been found to lead to issues like mold if done even slightly imperfectly.
Or water pipes from certain age that have already in 20-30s have started to leak, these being copper pipes...
After the fall of the Soviet Union, UK experts flew in to help with the transition, and one of the apparatchiks asked: "We are eager to try this capitalism thing; now tell us: who is in charge of the daily delivery of bread to London?"