[talk] NYS Right to Repair Bill

George Rosamond george at ceetonetechnology.com
Tue Feb 16 15:29:56 EST 2016

On 02/16/16 14:53, Justin Sherrill wrote:
> I saw this a little while ago and sent the (autogenerated through that
> site) note to my local representative, which is Rich Funke.  He is all
> in favor of the bill, which is good to hear, though now I get all
> sorts of emails from his organization (annoying).
> The old saw about a physical letter or a visit being 10x as effective
> as an email probably applies, but it definitely works to send a
> message through it.
> It's worth following up on, since there's a lot of organizations that
> really want to turn our devices into solid-state rented miniature TVs
> - and the usage pattern of most people out there supports that.

The surveillance issue is certainly important, and horrifying.

I'm sure at some point TWC will admit digitizing cable boxes meant they
could begin behavioral studies at residences for advertisers and their
own purposes.

But the other angle is the loss of tinkering in advanced industrialized
economies, meaning everything from replacing a ceiling fan to getting
replacement parts.

A bunch of us have had this discussion over a long period of time. 1975:
schematics for your TV were part of the purchase, and parts could be
ordered easily.

Today: throw your TV out since it only has a planned lifespan of three
years, and buy a new one.  And it's not that people are wealthier, IMHO,
but rather the 'right to repair' has been subsumed by those who'd prefer
we just buy new ones.

And into the trash also goes the ability to creatively fix devices.

One of the ironies is that lots of WWII documentaries referred to this
huge advantage the US was purported to have since tinkering was such a
central skill, particularly out of the 1930s, prompted hacking some cool
solutions to various military problems. Of course, that advantage went
beyond the US....

What about today? It seems that less developed economies tend to have
people skilled at tinkering.  And our systems are extremely brittle
today.  They don't fail gracefully, and failures cascade (er, sounding
Unix enough? :)

Meanwhile in less-developed economies failure is expected, and don't
cascade since systems are less interconnected.  And people regularly fix
a broken knob with little flash.

Now we have a society of elementary school kids who can't tie their
shoelaces and can't write a legible sentence with a pencil.



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