The Family Smartphone: A Look at Planned Obsolescence and Durapoly
Just Because You’re Paranoid...
Buddy: “I know for a fact that [device company] is going to destroy my [device] with this new update. This always happens two years after I buy one of these [expletive deleted] things!”
Friendo #1: I know, right! So it’s not just me? That’s why I never do the updates. That’s my way of stickin’ it to the man.”
Friendo #2 (mutters): That’s probably why your [device] stops working after two years.”
Buddy, Friendo #1 (in unison): “[expletive deleted], man! What do you know?”
End scene. Pure Shakespeare, I know. But they bring up a good point. What do we know?
The Shadowy Puppeteers of Minor Inconveniences
Let’s take a look at a couple of important definitions:
“Planned obsolescence, or built-in obsolescence, in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time. The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle").” SOURCE
“In industrial organization and in particular monopoly theory, a durapolist or durable-good monopolist is a producer that manipulates the durability of its product.” SOURCE
Basically, we’re going to quickly examine the paranoia you experience when you think that Apple put a gremlin in your smartphone that will awaken and wreak havoc the second the next generation is released.
Nobody Is To Blame
There is a spectrum of reasons why durable products fail and must be replaced, and a spectrum of spectrums within that spectrum, so try to take everything into consideration before you freak out and go Luddite.
On one end, technology has moved on and the product is just plain antiquated. It happens.
The other end is the dark side; someone or a group of someones hit a wall, did the research (see Coase Conjecture and Pacman Conjecture), and made the decision to implement some sort of timed fault in an otherwise perfectly functioning product. As malicious as this may seem, it is a logical solution to a very real problem. The bicycle industry was one of the earliest culprits, and the automobile industry integrated and perfected the practice of artificially manipulating the durability of their products. Look up Edward Bernays. He thinks that we are cattle. I think that we are smart, if not misguided at times.
At certain moments in history, the ugly end of the planned obsolescence spectrum has been proposed as an altruistic implementation; in 1932, Bernard London suggested that regulatory forced obsolescence could end the Great Depression.
It’s also important to consider the product itself, specifically its value. We expect both the Toyota and the wingnut to work for 20 years, but we don’t have a mental breakdown when we lose a wingnut in the garage, we buy a new one and move on with our lives. Again, see those two conjectures above.
Apples to Apples to Apples to...
These days, planned obsolescence complaints are almost always related to electronics, and more specifically, computers and smartphones, and even more specifically, Apple products.
They are incredibly expensive
They are incredibly trendy
They are incredibly reliable (when they work)
They are incredibly user-friendly (when they work)
They are incredibly impossible to fix yourself (especially newer models)
They are incredibly self-contained (I’m not 100% sure what I mean by that, but I think you know what I’m talking about)
They brand themselves as incredibly humanistic, but being a massive corporation, rarely live up to it...incredibly
Easy target. Apple spends a lot of money on out-upgrading the competition, so the consumer reaps the technological benefits of having the latest/greatest, and is in turn reaped by the profit-locomotive hand that feeds them. Technology moves fast, so if you want to hold the future in your hand, you have to pay to keep up.
Admit It, You Wanted A New Phone Anyways
So, what do we do about it?
In the end, it’s just a machine and it’s up to you to purchase machines that you can keep running. As far as computers and phones go, stay on top of updates and try to keep around 25% of your memory free for processing. Get rid of most of your apps and take advantage of cloud storage for music and photos. Computers are for processing, not storage. Keep your desktop tidy and keep opened documents and tabs to a minimum. I’ll include some helpful blog links.
If you really want to protest something, protest our throw-away culture. Don’t buy things that you can’t fix yourself and most importantly, don’t buy into the trend!
And if you do happen to lose your Corolla in the garage, check under the wingnut.
Coding bootcamps are a great place to learn about everything technology and get into the profitable, steadily expanding, and incredibly interesting field of software development (Friendo #2 went to one, I can tell)!
My favorite coding bootcamp is, of course, the Tech Academy. The Tech Academy offers a paced, but relaxed, learning experience online or locally in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. Log into the future at www.learncodinganywhere.com.
Some helpful links:
It’s estimated that 80% of junior level positions are not posted. So how do companies fill these positions? Every introverts worst dream: Networking.
Networking is an important part of any career. It can present you with opportunities to learn from experts and your peers, present you with an opportunity to work on side projects that align with your interests, give you a sense of community in your field of work, and most notably networking can greatly improve your chances of landing a great job.
For many beginners networking can be an intimidating task, so we’ve put together 5 tips to help you blossom into a networking pro:
1. Attend meetups
The hardest part of networking is often knowing where to go. One of the best places to start is finding groups with similar interests on Meetup.com or similar websites. While the idea of walking into a room with strangers can seem intimidating, most of these meetups are a casual setting of people networking and sharing ideas.
Meetups can be a great way to get your foot in the door at many companies, they offer opportunities to interact with professionals you might not otherwise have access to, and most of all give a face and personality to what otherwise is just a name on a paper.
2. Learn how to network a room
As an introvert myself, learning this skill was an uphill battle sprinkled with awkward encounters. There are countless books and resources online that can provide a great plan and starting point, but the best way to improve your networking skills is to put yourself out there and get some practice.
Find similar interests by asking open ended questions. Asking about projects that they’re working on or how they got started in tech or at their company are good ways to get the ball rolling.
3. Have business cards
What might seem like an outdated practice in the days of LinkedIn, Business cards make it easy for someone you meet to follow up with you, while showing a level of professionalism and preparation. They can be
4. Don’t be “bad at names”
Keeping track of who’s who can be difficult after leaving an event multiple business cards. A good practice is to write a note about your exchange with someone on their business card on in a notebook to help remember who you meet.
5. Follow Up
You won’t need to follow up with everyone you meet, but it’s important to know how to effectively do so when you’re interested in building a professional relationship. It’s nice to add a personal touch, so when following up (via email or LinkedIn) try to circle back to something you were discussing. For example, you can send them an interesting link relevant to your conversation or let them know how a piece of advice they gave you helped you out. Just mentioning what you were discussing could be helpful to jog the recipients memory, but try to contribute something to the conversation.
6. Quality is better than quantity
When building a network focus on having more meaningful interactions than trying to speak to single person in the room. The ‘quality over quantity’ rule also applies to following up with people you meet. People are busy, and their time is valuable. Following up is a good practice, but make sure you have something of value to say or to contribute.
Tech Talk: Caitlin Loos and Christopher Bloom from Phase2
Check out our Tech Talk with Caitlin Loos and Christopher Bloom from Phase2!
Phase2 is "a digital agency moving industry leading organizations forward with powerful ideas and executable digital strategies built on open technology."
Temple is an enthusiastic and inspiring young graduate of The Tech Academy's Software Developer Boot Camp.
After completing the program, Temple went on to begin his successful technology career in Portland. In this talk he shares his personal insight into both the mindset and sales aspect relating to finding a job.
Education is a huge investment of both time and money. While there is typically a high return on this investment, especially with coding bootcamps (because of their lower cost and a shorter duration), it is still important for potential students to be able to make informed decisions on where to invest in their education.
In order to make informed decisions students need accurate information on graduate outcomes, that is easily comparable from boot camp to boot camp. The Tech Academy is committed to transparency, and to providing potential students with accurate, verified, and easy-to-understand reports on our outcomes. That is why we have joined the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting.
The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) is a non-profit that aims to help provide potential students with accurate, transparent, and complete student outcome reports for participating bootcamps. What CIRR does is provide “a standardized system for measuring and reporting outcomes that all of its schools use.” (cirr.org) The reports are easy for students to understand, ensuring they can make informed decisions about where to invest their time and money.
Another benefit of CIRR is that the information is verified and up-to-date. Participating bootcamps must report their graduate outcomes every six months, with documentation to back up the data. Documentation includes offer letters, written confirmation letters by employers, etc. This information is then verified by a third party.
So, you are probably asking yourself what information you can find on CIRR. Here are some important questions that CIRR reports can answer:
- How many students graduated on time?
- Within six months, how many accepted a full-time position in their field of study?
- How many are in part-time positions?
- Did the school hire on any graduates to its staff?
- How many are in jobs in a different field of study?
- What are the salaries for graduates with positions in their field of study?
The Tech Academy currently has graduate reports posted for our online program and Portland program from January to July 2017. As CIRR continues to post updated reports every six months, you will have access to the most current graduate data.
Here is some of the information you can find on The Tech Academy’s graduate report:
- Within 90 days of completing the course, the percentage of online students employed in full-time paid positions in their field of study was 79.2%, with the number rising to 87.5% after 180 days.
- The median annual base salary for both Portland and online students was $60,000.
- 40.9% of graduates report their job title as “Developer”.
To read The Tech Academy’s CIRR reports in-full visit: https://cirr.org/data, or copy and paste the following links into your browser.