Apple itself

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tony
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:27 pm Post

Have had Macs for fifteen years. Anyone else starting to get a nasty taste?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/14/apple-foxconn-china-workers

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Jaysen
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:33 pm Post

Not so much for political reasons. I don't like the "we own your content" model that they are pushing. Take the new ATV. Why can't I have a system that allows me to turn off all the systems in my house including the wifi?
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:58 pm Post

While I suspect Apple is far perfect in this matter, I would also imagine that this is pretty much par for the course for all the suppliers we use. The components in your TV, your new hi-fi, your phone, microwave, embedded control circuitry in your dishwasher etc.

Many of these products and subsystem are probably 'off the shelf' to some extent and originate from a manufacturing chain based in China, Taiwan or any other number of similar locations. If you really achieved getting away from consuming this altogether then you'd probably be living in a windmill hewn from logs you cut down yourself and tilling the ground with a horse and a pointy stick.

Unfortunately, the stupendous appetite we have for electronics (a field which has the most trickle-down advances to the masses from humankind's technological advances in general) is inevitably going to taint pretty much anyone who deals in such goods with the dirty truth that sweatshops out there are producing this stuff.

Look at the massive strides forward in the technology in only the last 15 years. Does anyone still use CRT monitors? Remember floppies? serial or parallel port devices? Video cards with 2Mb or less of RAM on them? All perfectly normal very recently, now superceded by new generations of hardware orders of magnitude bigger/better/faster/clearer/shinier.

In a world where the laws of physics dictate raw materials need to be dug up, refined, processed, shaped, manufactured, combined and so forth to produce this stuff, who is likely to end up doing the hard/boring work?

I don't like it, but it's the ugly truth.

The solution is going to be political, if it comes at all. We as a species need to stop giving so much power to the minority who are content to sit back and let this thing happen. I would submit that the majority of individuals are against it. Yet, en-masse, we permit it to happen through our support, indirect or otherwise, of leadership that permits it, possibly even condones it for their own ends.

Eddy
"Writerʼs block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something." - Hugh MacLeod

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howardtheduck
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:20 am Post

I guess I agree with everything said; I think the production of the machines (something we've long known about) is obviously realized under horrifying and unjust conditions (as is the production of many things.) But I'm also increasingly annoying by the computing ethos of the company. For the last few year I've thought a lot about going Linux, but things like Scrivener sort of keep me here. What should we do?

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Jaysen
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:21 am Post

Linux does not solve the problem but perpetuates it. On what system will you run Linux? Is that system any less tainted than your Apple?

As a guy to "does this crap for a living" there is only one way to free yourself from the taint and that is to go find that windmill that Eddy was talking about.

If you do want to run Linux (I came to mac from linux and manage approximately 137 Linux machines now) let me know. I can help point you to viable solution.

A last thought on this. Given that the average Apple device last over 5 years (10 for systems) aren't they "less tainted" through longevity? Compared to say the average dell life cycle of 3-5 years max on a system.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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tony
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:11 am Post

I just feel, with their size, their obsessive control, and the whole yumminess thing, that somewhere at sometime the dark-side has flipped, and I'm now in the woods amid owls hooting.

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Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:39 am Post

But they are a US corporation. That means there is a [b]legal[/i] responsibility to ensure profitability. They have to look to the most profitable sources for production to avoid stockholder lawsuits. And Jobs likes to have lots a spare mock turtle necks.

I think that if you step back for a minute to do a TOC comparison and a full industry manufacturing overview, you will find that Apple is actually one of the better companies. They are just getting more publicity than the others.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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tony
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:02 pm Post

Your ardent defence suggests continued romance. For myself, I am coming to realise that I am shacked up with someone that I really don't much like anymore, and divorce looking every day more likely. But oh, so many memories, and so much invested in our shared home. But, a new firm of solicitors is starting, specialising in such divorce cases: Scrivener and Windows. Maybe I should struggle on for the sake of the children. Or maybe give this new firm a call . . .

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kirkesque
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:37 pm Post

Interesting thread.

I've been playing around (read as: writing with, since I haven't played video games since Tempest was in the arcade) with home computers since the Commodore Pet. I've have a hand-me-down Apple IIe, the C64, several horrid Windows-systems, and back to Apple in `99 with the fruit-flavored iMacs. The best system for use was, I think, was back with the Amiga. That computer kicked ass.

My brother and sister-in-law have both worked in securities systems for more than a decade, directing code projects to secure Airline information, the US Navy, and a Really Big Religion's genealogical records database. With their use and knowledge, they don't agree on "the best system" as far as performance/longevity/corporate ethics goes. He's got a self-built Linux server that he tinkers with once or twice a week and loves it. She got sick of the continual self-repair & upgrades and migrated to a Mac server a few years ago. Granted she did a little hack and re-wrote the securities code for their house, but other than that sticks with off-the-shelf components.

US companies (or EU) are going to build the most competitive product for the least amount of money they can. Which means using cheap labor in Taiwan and China. All the companies building computers do that. And the hard drive one person has in their Dell or Mac is not necessarily the same hard drive another person has in the exact same model. Depends on which one is grabbed from the factory shelf on what day. The bids and buying procedures change weekly in some cases. When I had the HD and motherboard changed in my iMac last month, the initial ones sent didn't play nice with each other so two more were sent. Five days later, they were the same design (size, capacity, performance) but different brands. The tech and I spoke of this very subject.

If you don't like your Mac anymore, move on. There is no shortage of choice for brand name models. But if you do so thinking you'll find a more ethically-built computer system, you may be deluding yourself.

Mmm... coffee-fueled posting creates a lot of text.
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It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words.
My language trembles with desire."
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Jaysen
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:27 pm Post

Tony,

You couldn't be further from "correct". I have little "love" for Apple. I their recent gimmicky products, despise their content control, can't believe their myopic "windows compatibility" BS and generally wish someone would run the entire board and product directive team over with several trains. I DON"T LIKE THEM.

But as kirkesque points out, those of us in the "business" have to use something. Much like the sister in law, I am no longer willing to spend my home time put-sing around with systems crop to "keep things working". But I also am unwilling to spend time and money on the maintenance any windows based system requires. What does that leave me? The lessor of all evils happens to be Apple.

I challenge you to actually look at the core components of any system. There is going to be a sweat shop in the chain no matter who you use. I am not defending apple, but pointing out that the ENTIRE INDUSTRY is based on cheap labor (foxcon provides internals for many systems, even ones that are not labeled foxcon). Every one is dirty.

The only thing that apple does that is defensible (and is counter to the business model of every other manufacturer) is ensure longevity of their product. This does not make them less culpable for their actions, but it makes you less of a contributor to the process. If you have to buy a system every 3-5 years to "stay on the current OS" then you are forcing 2-3 extra products through a sweatshop than if you only buy an apple system once every ten years. This is not a justification of apple but a simple fact of planned obsolescence perpetuation reprehensible business practices. You can choose to not participate at all (the windmill option) or reduce your participation as much as possible (the apple hardware option).

Fee free to disagree, but make sure that you really look into all the practices of all the players before you become too entrenched in your view. And I would suggest a different analogy than a mistress. You can always be celibate but I doubt that you could really live in that windmill.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:37 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:You can always be celibate but I doubt that you could really live in that windmill.

What? Nooooo! I'll take the windmill!

Eddy

PS: Can I have Mac too? Just one? Please?
"Writerʼs block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something." - Hugh MacLeod

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Fluff
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:16 pm Post

Eddy wrote:PS: Can I have Mac too? Just one? Please?

You`ll take what you`re given! Whelp!! :shock:
Fluff
Sent from Pangur ban's Astral iPad

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tony
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Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:09 pm Post

Sorry Eddy, already encamped in windmill with collection of specialist magazines

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howardtheduck
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Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:20 am Post

@JAYSEN--I wasn't offering Linux as a way out of sweatshop labor, but as a way out of the weird ethos of Apple these days. But there just might be ethically produced computers that you could run Linux on (or make into a Hackintosh). If there aren't we should begin demanding them, just like we did with running shoes.

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Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:40 am Post

I was going to stay out of this, but, like Kirkesque, fuelled by coffee ... or should I say, "fooled by coffee" ...
Tony, don't just give up your Apple, your PC, your Windows box, your Linux box, your *nix box ... give up your car, your bike, your washing machine, your cooker, your fridge ... they all contain components made in these "sweatshops" you describe! Even if you build them yourself, you'll have to use those components.
Oh and you'd better throw away your magazines you've got in your windmill because they've been produced on equipment built with components produced in these "sweatshops" ... and your windmill had better have been built entirely of hand-sawn planks using saws made no later than the first part of the last century.
And then of course you have to go back to 19th century or earlier medicine, 'cos those components are in all the diagnostic equipment, treatment machines, research equipment, and in the equipment used for producing all modern drugs ...
Seems like you should be going to talk to the Amish.
And as for the use of the word "sweatshop" ... It creates a lovely picture of the mills of the 19th century, of ill-dressed people in huge, dirty, ill-lit, ill-ventilated, insanitary workshops, coughing their lungs out with tuberculosis ... such a good picture of reality. Oh yes, our journalists love to paint a picture of evil, and pressure groups like the one who produced the report are going to look for the point at which they can make the most emotional capital ... and who better than Apple. A lovely report ... The iPhone costs £4.12 to make and sells for £599 ... wow Apple makes 595 quid profit on each iPhone! No wonder they have so many billions!
So 17 people in Foxconn committed suicide — 17 too many, it's true, but of a total workforce of how many? ... 937,000 — 'cos they couldn't stand their life any more ... Of course no-one in the US or the UK ever committed suicide for similar reasons. And of course they themselves had no responsibility for their doing so, their personal psychology was not involved ... it was the fault of Apple, or even Steve Jobs himself, for not forcing the owners of the company to change the way they run their company.
OK, so let's shut down all the "sweatshops" in developing countries around the world; let's throw several billion people out of employment and into abject poverty and starvation, with primitive accommodation with no sanitation, with no health provision, no education for their children and no prospects of any remote kind. Let's move the factories back to America, and produce the components there at such a cost that means we will all be able to lead a modern life-style.
Who is to blame? ... Well, perhaps the blame should rest with that great American Henry Ford, after all it was he who introduced the production-line that created the world's first modern sweatshop.
Don't bother to answer this rant; I'm not going to be reading this thread any more.
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