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Op Ed

Wired.com - Forget the Cellphone Fight ó We Should Be Allowed to Unlock Everything We Own. Thanks Ant.
It hasnít always been that way. Copyright laws were originally designed to protect creativity and promote innovation. But now, they are doing exactly the opposite: Theyíre being used to keep independent shops from fixing new cars. Theyíre making it almost impossible for farmers to maintain their equipment. And, as weíve seen in the past few weeks, theyíre preventing regular people from unlocking their own cellphones.

This isnít an issue that only affects the digerati; farmers are bearing the brunt as well. Kerry Adams, a family farmer in Santa Maria, California, recently bought two transplanter machines for north of $100,000 apiece. They broke down soon afterward, and he had to fly a factory technician out to fix them.

Because manufacturers have copyrighted the service manuals, local mechanics canít fix modern equipment. And todayís equipment ó packed with sensors and electronics ó is too complex to repair without them. Thatís a problem for farmers, who canít afford to pay the dealerís high maintenance fees for fickle equipment.

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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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29. Re: Op Ed Mar 21, 2013, 07:35 Beamer
 
TurdFergasun wrote on Mar 21, 2013, 06:19:
Nexus phones don't put up the numbers because they're not manufactured in large enough batches. The nexus 4 is sold out mostly everywhere, and was $400. The nexus 5 coming out soon looks to be another piece of excellent hardware not subsidized through convoluted, and obtuse contract schemes as well.

beamer you don't just pump the status quo. Hell the status quo wouldn't even consent to what you're trying to do to it.

What am I trying to do?
Get people to understand there are multiple sides to any story and that immediately jumping to one without considering the other often has consequences?

I haven't taken a side here. Fuck, it's hard to talk to some of you because you always think anyone not in full agreement must be on the other side of the wall. I've repeatedly said cellphones aren't a good example of where consumers win via a locked device, but they still get SOME benefit from it. I've also repeatedly said that they would probably get MORE benefit without it.
And I've said that, with other devices, they definitely get LOTS of benefit out of it. Take printers. As someone that prints maybe twice a year, I would definitely get HUGE benefit out of the locked model. Yes, my printer is tied to stupid expensive ink. But as I'd use a cartidge every two years, I'd benefit enormously from the cheaper device prices.

Some people here just assume everything fucks them. Well, that's probably true, but everything fucks them in different degrees. Changing something so it fucks you less just means that you'll be fucked in new ways.
If you're going to be cynical about how much corporations hate you at least do so in a way that understands how they operate.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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28. Re: Op Ed Mar 21, 2013, 06:19 TurdFergasun
 
Nexus phones don't put up the numbers because they're not manufactured in large enough batches. The nexus 4 is sold out mostly everywhere, and was $400. The nexus 5 coming out soon looks to be another piece of excellent hardware not subsidized through convoluted, and obtuse contract schemes as well.

beamer you don't just pump the status quo. Hell the status quo wouldn't even consent to what you're trying to do to it.
 
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27. Re: Op Ed Mar 20, 2013, 06:50 Beamer
 
InBlack wrote on Mar 20, 2013, 04:50:
Beamer, you have gone on a tangent. The real question is why you or I as a consumer arent allowed to unlock our celphones/cars/farm equipment/tablets/etc?

I mean since we signed on for a plan, we arent violating the plan are we? We still have to pay our rates so its not like we are defaulting or refusing to pay the contract price.

Again, like I said, cellphones are a weaker argument to the "locked for pricing" piece. It's not a tangent, though. Note that the article isn't "we should be able to unlock cellphones" it's "we should be allowed to unlock everything." He spends a significant part of that article discussing, well, everything, not just cellphones.

And I'm saying it isn't just that easy. Bad things would come with good. Do the good outweigh the bad? In many cases. But most people don't think about the bad, they just think "it should be my right!" without thinking past that. Like the guy below that brought up the Nexus 5 as some kind of magical proof of what life would be like if companies had to unlock cellphones.

Corporations aren't Mumbly and The Dread Baron. They aren't locking phones for no reason. They're locking them because they think it will break their business model. Which means that, to unlock them, they would change that business model. This isn't a hard realization to come to. How would that business model change? Well, if they think they'd be getting less money over the long term they'd look for more money up front.

And yes, this is coming from someone that has all his phones unlocked because he travels. Someone that refused to buy an Android phone in the early years because he can't stand TouchWiz and Sense and no phone company would allow him to easily get rid of it in favor of vanilla Android (2010 era TouchWiz and Sense suuuuucked.)
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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26. Re: Op Ed Mar 20, 2013, 04:50 InBlack
 
Beamer, you have gone on a tangent. The real question is why you or I as a consumer arent allowed to unlock our celphones/cars/farm equipment/tablets/etc?

I mean since we signed on for a plan, we arent violating the plan are we? We still have to pay our rates so its not like we are defaulting or refusing to pay the contract price.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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25. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 21:40 Beamer
 
TurdFergasun wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 20:19:
Beamer wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 15:19:
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:29:
Thats got nothing to do with production costs though, we are talking about costs right?

From what youve said you are talking about plans which are offered to large carriers because of the large number of phones that they order for their plans. Its a simple bulk discount for large carriers who lower the inital costs of the phone for their end user, but the user ends up paying all of it (depending on the model, sometimes even over the cost of the phone) anyway over the course of the 2-year (or whatever) plan.

Its a ploy, the consumer ends up paying full price for the phone anyway alebeit at a rate like you said.

The phones cost the same to manunfacture, regardless of what the consumer ends up paying.

So why wouldnt consumers be allowed to unlock their phones if they wish to do so??

What the hell does cost to a manufacturer matter? We're talking price to consumer.

Regardless, do you know how much Samsung makes for that Galaxy S3 someone just got on AT&T for $199? Helpful hint: more than $199. They get a chunk of that $100 a month service plan.

And for fuck's sake, I'm not saying that this is the only way to do things or the right way, I'm saying that it's the way we do it for reasons that benefit more than just the person selling the product. Consumers derive benefit, too. Whether that benefit is greater than the benefit they get without it is up for debate.

so why are nexus phones the same price? boom crappy 5 post argument debunked in 1 crappy sentance. back to being a glad handing yes man for you.

You're an idiot. Seeing things as not black and white makes you a yes man?

Idiot. Brainwashed into thinking everything is about screwing you. Seriously, shut up.

Nexus phones don't sell well and aren't sold by providers. BOOM crappy argument debunked. Why are some people so damn stupid when it comes to these things?

Very little in this world screws you 100%. Some things benefit you. Some things don't but benefit other people similar to you. Nothing is a 100% screw. Fuck, how is it SO hard for you to see that.

Further debunking your asinine Nexus 5 argument, it's 100% subsidized by Google, who then makes their money off of you from the app store.

Christ, your argument is moronic. Ban list. I can't deal with any more people that fail to think hard just running around screaming stupid shit nonstop. "Yes man." Saying that locked down products result in cheaper up-front pricing isn't being a "yes man" you tool, it's in every goddamn Harvard Business Case on this. Jesus. It's so mind-boggling that you fight this. And call me a yes-man. Even after I said cellphones are a weak example but you're still deriving benefit from it being locked down, in that the phone is cheaper up front, even if you pay more over time. For some people that's a much better situation.

I can't even imagine how dumb... it's like, RollinThundr dumb. Your argument is so nonsensical, your view so narrow, your conspiracies running so wild.
For the record, I think the telecom system in the US is pretty screwed up. I don't think it's terribly consumer friendly. As a guy that wants the best phone at every possible moment I wish it was much easier to buy a phone every 6 months and sell the old one on eBay. But most of our nation couldn't afford that. Most can't take high up front costs. This system is good for them. It's not great for anyone, but everyone gets some benefit from it. Saying that moving to a new system would be inherently better is false. If Verizon wants to fuck you Verizon will find a way to fuck you. But they have limits. It becomes a question of where those are.
But the people that think "unlocking everything solves everything" are shortsighted idiots. It isn't that easy. It isn't that black and white. You're a moron, seriously, MORON, for thinking it is. Every company will suddenly fear for lost profits and overcompensate. Heavily overcompensate. And, in the short term, we'll be way more screwed because the companies will be scared. And, given that this is telecoms, it isn't as if the barriers to entry are low and some startup will figure it out and knock Verizon and AT&T out. No, prices will get jacked up immediately.

Hell, the most likely occurence is that cellphones stop being subsidized so their prices skyrocket but plans fall minimally. So now we're paying more for the same thing. Sure, you can jump from AT&T to TMobile. Wooooo. The cell phone carriers in the US don't compete on price, anyway (which is why you can stack the providers from most expensive to cheapest and also get both their user base and their revenue. Sprint and TMobile are much cheaper. Sprint and TMobile are dying.)
So yes, you get some benefit from the current locked systems leading to stable pricing. Does it outweigh the benefit of an unlocked phone? I already said probably not, but to claim there is no benefit, seriously, you're stupid.

And anyone that thinks cellphone rates would magically fall is even dumber. Again, if cellphone users cared about pricing Sprint wouldn't be hemorraghing customers and TMobile wouldn't be desperately trying to sell itself.

This comment was edited on Mar 19, 2013, 21:47.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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24. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 20:32 Prez
 
I'd stop short of saying that locked phones, tablets, game systems and now very soon even PC's (thanks for that, Microsoft you morons) are abuses of outdated and ambiguous copyright laws but I still find them to be egregiously anti-consumer, despite the inherent benefits. The problem is of course that mass acceptance by the market has made it standard practice.  
Avatar 17185
 
Goodbye my Monte boy. May you rest in the peace you never knew in life.
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23. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 20:19 TurdFergasun
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 15:19:
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:29:
Thats got nothing to do with production costs though, we are talking about costs right?

From what youve said you are talking about plans which are offered to large carriers because of the large number of phones that they order for their plans. Its a simple bulk discount for large carriers who lower the inital costs of the phone for their end user, but the user ends up paying all of it (depending on the model, sometimes even over the cost of the phone) anyway over the course of the 2-year (or whatever) plan.

Its a ploy, the consumer ends up paying full price for the phone anyway alebeit at a rate like you said.

The phones cost the same to manunfacture, regardless of what the consumer ends up paying.

So why wouldnt consumers be allowed to unlock their phones if they wish to do so??

What the hell does cost to a manufacturer matter? We're talking price to consumer.

Regardless, do you know how much Samsung makes for that Galaxy S3 someone just got on AT&T for $199? Helpful hint: more than $199. They get a chunk of that $100 a month service plan.

And for fuck's sake, I'm not saying that this is the only way to do things or the right way, I'm saying that it's the way we do it for reasons that benefit more than just the person selling the product. Consumers derive benefit, too. Whether that benefit is greater than the benefit they get without it is up for debate.

so why are nexus phones the same price? boom crappy 5 post argument debunked in 1 crappy sentance. back to being a glad handing yes man for you.
 
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22. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 19, 2013, 20:16 HorrorScope
 
Ozmodan wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 13:08:
Read the article, it is not just about farmers it is about everyone. If you buy anything, copyright law can prevent you from touching it. -1 for reading comprehension!.

What do you want from me? I told you I just read the blurb and commented. It's not a life's work of mine or anything.
 
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21. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 17:53 SimplyMonk
 
Since I accidently made a double post, let me just use this space to say upfront that I've owned multiple locked iPhones and an Xbox 360 so the hypocrisy of what I said isn't lost on me.

Just saying that I don't think it is the right way to do things, despite how effective it is in driving profits. Humans are dumb.

This comment was edited on Mar 19, 2013, 17:59.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 17:52 SimplyMonk
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 15:19:
And for fuck's sake, I'm not saying that this is the only way to do things or the right way, I'm saying that it's the way we do it for reasons that benefit more than just the person selling the product. Consumers derive benefit, too.

I'm willing to say that it is actually the wrong way to do things and its builds up customer resentment, artificial price fixing and encourages manufacturers to be lazy when they look to increase profits. Most may not do it consciously but if it comes down to a design decision in the product between a low complexity solution with low maintenance costs that the manufacturer might not see a cut of, or high complexity with proprietary/obscure components... the manufacturer will most likely go with the second solution.

They can justify it all they want, but at the end of the day a company will have an incentive to build products that have higher lifetime maintenance costs as it may hurt them in reviews, but they will win out in the long run on repairs.

You are right that in exchange for such limiting legislation we'd see a raise in the upfront price in many products, but then the manufacturer is at the whim of the market and if they are in a competitive field that high upfront price may actually end up costing them.

Given the two alternatives, in my head at least, I much rather go with the high upfront price that is easy to fix than the overly complex-proprietary gadget that ends up costing me more in the long run. If you want higher profits, make a better product. Don't undercut the competition and then recoup on maintenance charges for the crap you sell.
 
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19. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 16:21 Beamer
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 16:20:
Beamer wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:18:
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:08:
Huh? I agree with the article and Im trying to make sense of what Beamer said, locked crap makes devices cheaper?

So a cellphone that is locked to a single carrier (or account, person) is somehow magically cheaper than one thats unlocked (something that in most cases can be done with a software hack alone)....

Yes. Yes it does.

I don't get why it's a hard argument for you to comprehend, but then I remember all the stuff you couldn't comprehend in the atheism discussion and wonder why I didn't block you during that massive bout of failure-to-read.

Really struggling with you here. Look at how much it costs to buy a smartphone in Europe. Look how much it costs to buy one here. Do you see a huge difference? Yes, yes you do. The phone is cheaper. The plans cost more. You're saving on one very large upfront fee and instead getting it broken down over time. The phone is cheaper. The plan is not. Like with printers: the printer is cheaper, the ink is not.

Some people benefit from this. Some people do not. It depends on the buyer you are.

Can you link me the atheism thread? That sounds fun!

You can search my history.
I was accused of trying to indoctrinate people into christianity, which is really, really funny considering I'm agnostic/atheist.

Which may be why I have a chip on my shoulder about it, haha.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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18. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 16:20 Fibrocyte
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:18:
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:08:
Huh? I agree with the article and Im trying to make sense of what Beamer said, locked crap makes devices cheaper?

So a cellphone that is locked to a single carrier (or account, person) is somehow magically cheaper than one thats unlocked (something that in most cases can be done with a software hack alone)....

Yes. Yes it does.

I don't get why it's a hard argument for you to comprehend, but then I remember all the stuff you couldn't comprehend in the atheism discussion and wonder why I didn't block you during that massive bout of failure-to-read.

Really struggling with you here. Look at how much it costs to buy a smartphone in Europe. Look how much it costs to buy one here. Do you see a huge difference? Yes, yes you do. The phone is cheaper. The plans cost more. You're saving on one very large upfront fee and instead getting it broken down over time. The phone is cheaper. The plan is not. Like with printers: the printer is cheaper, the ink is not.

Some people benefit from this. Some people do not. It depends on the buyer you are.

Can you link me the atheism thread? That sounds fun!
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 15:24 Beamer
 
Quboid wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 12:00:
Beamer's talking about the cost for us to buy the phone from the retailer, not what the manufacturer pays.

I'm not sure he's right. If I sign up for a 2 year contract, what difference does it make if the phone is unlocked? I'm still either hooked for 2 years, or I cancel the contract by paying the 2 year cost in one go. Whether the phone is locked doesn't matter.

Besides, I think there's a more important things than price; protecting creativity and promoting innovation. I'll not shed many tears for farmers but current copyright laws don't work.

That's a valid argument. Typically in countries without locked phones you can do pay-as-you-go pretty easily and it's often a preferred way to do mobile, so people do jump pretty quickly.
And many companies allow you to upgrade early, getting a cheaper phone quicker. It's a way for them to tie you into the system that would potentially disappear.

I think cell phones are a weaker argument for not allowing unlocking. Other products less so. Personally? My cellphones have always been unlocked. I travel internationally and need the damn things unlocked. And I think we're probably moving towards that happening for everyone, anyway.

But there are products out there that you can make a stronger argument. Monsanto is a very interesting case. They can make a pretty strong argument for how useful their seeds are. But, I mean, they're plants. And, at this point, they're like 90% of the market so avoiding them is nearly impossible.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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16. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 15:19 Beamer
 
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 10:29:
Thats got nothing to do with production costs though, we are talking about costs right?

From what youve said you are talking about plans which are offered to large carriers because of the large number of phones that they order for their plans. Its a simple bulk discount for large carriers who lower the inital costs of the phone for their end user, but the user ends up paying all of it (depending on the model, sometimes even over the cost of the phone) anyway over the course of the 2-year (or whatever) plan.

Its a ploy, the consumer ends up paying full price for the phone anyway alebeit at a rate like you said.

The phones cost the same to manunfacture, regardless of what the consumer ends up paying.

So why wouldnt consumers be allowed to unlock their phones if they wish to do so??

What the hell does cost to a manufacturer matter? We're talking price to consumer.

Regardless, do you know how much Samsung makes for that Galaxy S3 someone just got on AT&T for $199? Helpful hint: more than $199. They get a chunk of that $100 a month service plan.

And for fuck's sake, I'm not saying that this is the only way to do things or the right way, I'm saying that it's the way we do it for reasons that benefit more than just the person selling the product. Consumers derive benefit, too. Whether that benefit is greater than the benefit they get without it is up for debate.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
15. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 15:15 Scud
 
wallace321 wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 14:40:
What makes no sense at all is why is the gov't 'protecting' corporations in such specific ways like this? Who exactly is in charge here? This should be front and center in the interests of the "limited government" party but they've had their constituents too stuck on guns and gays for the last 50 years to care enough about anything else.

Planned obsolescence is in nobody's best interest except the people who sell new crap to replace old crap that can't be fixed; and people who run landfills. Copywriting service manuals!? Insanity. Mark my words - the internet as we have known it is doomed when we allow things like this to continue.
It makes perfect sense when you realize that those corporations make absurd amounts of profit off of planned obsolescence and locking people into insane service contracts. The "limited government" party are mostly hypocrites who are really only concerned with the limitations that the government places on them. As for service manuals, I bought a used 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse, it's manual was missing but I figured I'd just be able to go download one from Mitsubishi or somewhere else, noooope!
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 14:40 wallace321
 
What makes no sense at all is why is the gov't 'protecting' corporations in such specific ways like this? Who exactly is in charge here? This should be front and center in the interests of the "limited government" party but they've had their constituents too stuck on guns and gays for the last 50 years to care enough about anything else.

Planned obsolescence is in nobody's best interest except the people who sell new crap to replace old crap that can't be fixed; and people who run landfills. Copywriting service manuals!? Insanity. Mark my words - the internet as we have known it is doomed when we allow things like this to continue.
 
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13. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 19, 2013, 14:39 Quboid
 
PHJF wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 13:38:
If I sign up for a 2 year contract, what difference does it make if the phone is unlocked?

Because at the end of two years you either renew your contract or you get a new carrier... which forces you to get a new phone because your locked phone is a worthless fucking brick.

Telecoms are the worst-for-consumers businesses in the fucking history of space and time.

Ah I see. I was thinking it got unlocked after the contract was up which is the law here.

Edit: you have Beamer on ignore because you disagree with him? That's shitty.
 
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- Quboid
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12. Re: Op Ed Mar 19, 2013, 14:01 Cutter
 
You know, it really wasn't all that long ago when people spoke about "the land of the free" they actually did so unironically. Excellent article and spot on. And for god sake, don't listen to Beamer, he has no clue what he's talking about as usual. It's why I keep him on ignore.

 
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James Woods: Oh that's fun. That sounds like you had a fun time. Where would I fit in with the fun time, huh? Where does James Woods fit into the fun?
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11. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 19, 2013, 13:38 PHJF
 
If I sign up for a 2 year contract, what difference does it make if the phone is unlocked?

Because at the end of two years you either renew your contract or you get a new carrier... which forces you to get a new phone because your locked phone is a worthless fucking brick.

Telecoms are the worst-for-consumers businesses in the fucking history of space and time.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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10. Re: More Big Picture Details Mar 19, 2013, 13:08 Ozmodan
 
Read the article, it is not just about farmers it is about everyone. If you buy anything, copyright law can prevent you from touching it. -1 for reading comprehension!.

HorrorScope wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 12:23:
InBlack wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 11:59:
HorrorScope wrote on Mar 19, 2013, 11:51:
"Kerry Adams, a family farmer in Santa Maria, California, recently bought two transplanter machines for north of $100,000 apiece. They broke down soon afterward, and he had to fly a factory technician out to fix them.

Thatís a problem for farmers, who canít afford to pay the dealerís high maintenance fees for fickle equipment."

First farmers and crying woe is me is a lifestyle, they are some of the richest people in my part of the world, their daughters have the best of everything and look like Hollywood models on top of riches. But that is the secondary point.

This is an exaggeration as "soon afterward" those machines would still be under warranty and those techs flew and fixed on their own dime. Now down the road...

As we say around here, "I guess the farmer should have researched their purchase more before buying, now they are stuck with Sim City."

However, overall to the point, yeah it sucks, but it also is a cost of high-tech.


Just like Beamer, you are missing the point. Point being, the equipment/tech is locked down ARTIFICIALLY. Its not something that is necessary for the tech, or something that brings down costs. Thats all bullshit, its locked down so that the consumer ends up being beholden to the carrier/dealership/manufacturer. That is the MAIN reason the consumer gets it cheaper or at rates.

Did you guys get the point of the comic at the beginning of the article or did the humour escape you?

I just went off the blurb here. My point is farmers cry, farmers rich, farmer had warranty anyway, still bitches. Farmer should have researched better.

I get that people don't like being locked down, but it's yet just another part of our lives closing in and being more controlled. I'm not happy about the gov't can secretly put a GPS device on your car without court order. I'm unhappy about a lot of things, whiny farmers is one to. One side wants to reduce gov't so there is no reigns on what business can impose on us, I am against that, f this is part of that, then burnt it down to the ground.
 
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