What I Think Wednesday – Stuff I Don’t Like

First, let me apologize for no posts the past couple of days. Partly, I was recovering from an incredibly hectic couple of weeks (explaining some of the posting issues last week). Secondly, I was desperately trying to restore my iPod Touch which had started to act wonky.  So, if you’ll indulge me in a bit of “Stuff I Don’t Like” first, I’ll finish today’s posting with some plans for the future for the blog (don’t worry, they’re good!)

I purchased a refurbished iPod Touch about 14 months ago in anticipation to a trip overseas. Based on the reviews, it seemed to make the most sense for my three main requirements (1. It play music; 2. It have other ‘time wasters’ for the plane; 3. It allow me to communicate back home). The fact it was a small package made me even happier. I got it back April or May of ’09 to “play” with it and get comfortable with it prior to the trip (actually, it might have even been earlier).

Despite my dislike for the Apple “fanboy” out there, the unit was very nice and performed nicely. It was invaluable on the trip and I was even able to share with a couple of my fellow travelers so they too could communicate back home (the Skype app was phenomenal!) Everything was fine until last November when I updated both Windows and iTunes on the same day. Then, it went downhill.

Suddenly, the iPod wouldn’t talk to my laptop. I spent the better part of the next four months trying to come up with a solution. Finally, I read that if I ran iTunes as an administrator it would work (not from an Apple site, mind you, it was a fan site). It worked and I was a happy camper again. In June, however, something even weirder started to happen.

I got up early one morning to work at my part time job and before leaving, I took a quick peek at Twitter. I put the iTouch in sleep mode as I always did. As I was heading out the door, I tried to check the time on it and it wouldn’t power on. Weird, I thought, especially since I had charged it all night. I came home between jobs and hooked it up to my laptop and it went into recovery mode.  So, I went ahead and did a full recovery and thought things would be swell. Until that night, while camping, I went to put on Pandora (so, I camp where there is wifi, so sue me) and it was dead again.

Over the last month, I discovered all about recalibrating your battery and also discovered that if I had left the unit “running” (namely playing a shuffle behind the scenes), the battery would work as normal. So, I figured it was a quirk and decided to live with it. On Sunday, however, things changed. Permanently.

The unit wouldn’t power on, so I stuck it into itunes and it said “recovery mode” so I started the process and then an error came up. I tried everything on the Apple support page and even a few tricks I read on the web, but still nothing. I even went into the Apple Store (where they compared my iPod to a child – actually, no, I have two boys and they are far more valuable to me than my iPod – I mean, get real). There they pronounced it DOA and suggested I buy a shiny new toy. I passed for now.

Now, I’m not upset that it died. It’s just a tool, and tools wear out over time, but what frustrates me is the length of time it lasted (about 14 months after a supposed “rigorous refurbishment process” that is the same as new) and the fact that it is impossible to repair. I spent $250 on something that I can’t get fixed. Heck, I can’t even swap out the battery (which may have caused any hardware issues) easily enough to actually test that theory. And that is my gripe. It’s not leveled solely at Apple, but it’s at all electronics manufacturers who insist that the solution to my problems is a new unit.

Back in the day, you could repair your television, microwave, stereo and so on. Now, we live in a disposable world full of disposable items. It would make sense to me that if we want to really get serious about being “green” (and I’m not some tree hugger, but I love the outdoors and don’t want to see us destroy what God has given us just because we’re stupid) we’d start making items that actually last and are repairable. I would gladly pay a bit more for something if I knew that it would last and that I could take it in for repairs.

With all that said, I will close the “soapbox” portion of today’s posting with a statement to manufacturers and a challenge to consumers. Let’s start holding manufacturers accountable when they make something that if one part of it fails, the whole unit doesn’t. Let’s start challenging people to make stuff that lasts and that we can repair or replace parts of when they naturally die. And let’s challenge manufacturers to stop going the “cheap and disposable” route and start going the “quality and long lasting” route.

All that said, we’ve got some great stuff on the blog coming up. In two weeks, we’re going to have our first themed week honoring one of my favorite football players of all time – Emmitt Smith. Then, later in August, we’ll have a football themed week in honor of the new football season along with a week long look at what is geocaching. Also, sometime in September, we’ll take a look at Walt Disney World for a week and then in October, we’ll probably do an entire week on games as the weather starts to cool. In between those topics, we’ll have a lot more of the craziness you’ve come to expect from “Stuff I Like”.

Thanks for hanging in there with me ~ Thomas

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3 comments on “What I Think Wednesday – Stuff I Don’t Like
  1. Margaret says:

    Saw your posting thanks to the link on the Chewy Granola Family blog. I couldn’t agree more and feel compelled to comment. I get discouraged living in this disposable world, too! A couple examples:

    Not long ago, I took my cell phone in because the screen didn’t work. After the diagnosis, I was told, “You could buy a new phone…long pause…or repair it.” Turns out the repair was only $20 so the insinuation/assumption that I’d throw out the whole phone instead was appalling.

    I’ve heard the same about washing machines. My parents’ first machine lasted almost 30 years. On washers you get now (which only last a fraction of that time), if something breaks, it is frequently cheaper to buy a new one than for a repair.

    I really appreciate your challenge and try to keep this in mind when making purchases.

  2. Angel says:

    Nice article I really enjoy it! I think the same about being green and I’m not a tree hugger neither. If we don’t start to take action now, we won’t have a place to live in the future.

    As for your iPod Touch, my condolences. I don’t have one but as you know I have an iPhone, iPod classic, iMac and a MacBook (will replace it for a MacBook Pro in a few months). As my friend you know I really like Apple products and so far I haven’t had any problems with neither of them. I think your experience with the iPod touch is just a matter of bad luck and you should give it another try.

  3. tdcackler says:

    Margaret – Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed today’s post and hope you’ll come back around. Honestly, I tend to be kinda green when it comes to recycling games (if I don’t play it, I trade it rather than just letting it collect dust.) Glad you stopped by.

    Angel – I was tempted to just replace it until I got a call from the Apple store wanting me to review my visit. I was polite and such, but when I mentioned that I was frustrated it couldn’t be fixed, I was told “Well, it’s pretty technical.” Huh? Not too technical to make but too technical to fix? So, I’m pretty firm in my resolve – I will not buy anything new that I can’t fix, replace parts or repair. I will, however, recycle an old piece of equipment (like an old iPhone I’m buying from Daniel). That’s me just doing my part to be green.

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