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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last? 702

itwbennett writes: "When you think about tech products these days, you probably think 'refresh cycle' more than 'built to last.' But there are plenty of tech products that put up with hard, daily use year after year. Here's a few to get you started: Logitech MX510 mouse, Brother black & white laser printer, Casio G-Shock watch, Alvin Draf-Tec Retrac mechanical pencil, Sony Dream Machine alarm clock. What's your longest-lasting, hardest-working device?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

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  • HP Calculators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:14PM (#46789199)

    I still use my HP-11C and HP-32S calculators at least weekly. They're now 25+ years old, and I've changed the batteries maybe twice.

    Enter > Equal ..... Yeah!

  • by TimeZone ( 658837 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:14PM (#46789201)
    These things are awesome. The ones I've got were built in the mid 90s and still clicking.
  • HP LaserJet 4M+ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jakedata ( 585566 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:15PM (#46789211)

    It sits there in standby waiting for print jobs that almost never come, then with a wheeze the top fan blows out the accumulated dust, the lights dim briefly and I get my printout like it was 1999.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:17PM (#46789245) Homepage

    The quality difference between pre 2001 electronics and now is astounding. Current products are all utter junk compared to earlier stuff.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:20PM (#46789283) Homepage

    Fluke multimeters...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • HP48g (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:28PM (#46789377)

    Still works like a charm (and still a bit slow, hehehe).

  • by egarland ( 120202 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:38PM (#46789525)

    We always get a false impression of the reliability and quality of old stuff, because the stuff that sucked and broke got thrown out years ago, and the only things that we still encounter are the ones that were well made. It's true with old houses, old cars, old furniture, pretty much everything. I'm sure there's a law for this phenomenon with some pompous dude's name on it but it's a well established and discussed phenomenon.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:41PM (#46789567) Homepage
    If youre trying to find tech products crafted with longevity in mind, you're going to have a bad time. The entire technology industry is built around intentional, and unintentional, Planned obsolescence. Connectors are intentionally standardized then customized slightly to stymy interoperability and in turn drive sales of every other accessory they use. cellphones are made from thermoplastic and glass, and come with a multi billion dollar advertising industry to ensure you buy new ones every year or two. And if that doesnt work, Software is simply bloated up until you're forced to buy a new one. everything from laptops to food processors have replacement parts, but those parts are often at the economic disadvantage of the buyer in that they cost upwards of 50% or more of the original purchase cost. this is to induce you to consume more. Proprietary operating systems like windows, and applications like crysis or autocad will intentionally fail to function if you dont have a machine of a particular newness. The data transfer standards themselves are also wildly flexible in that for example what once was an open USB standard for most handheld electronics has become a confounding vortex of shit called MTP or media transfer protocol with limited support in open operating systems and wildly different/broken implementations across devices that do claim to support it.. Video game consoles are rarely backwards compatible. and arguably the digitization of over the air television was a pointless subsidy from congress to force consumers to buy a new TV so they could turn around and gift companies like AT&T with practically free spectrum. tablets are routinely locked down with UEFI to ensure once its not supported by the vendor anymore, you cant do something insane like install your own OS and continue to use it. No, you'll rent your technology and open your purse when you're told to.

    devices will never be built to last because our society is predicated upon an open market and endless consumption in which we never question the longevity or practicality of the devices we're told to purchase. The best you can do is mitigate your participation in this endless moebius strip by championing open standards and solutions. build your own pc and replace components as necessary. stop buying a phone every two years. Pick up a book at the library instead of renting text on a device you never actually own.
  • Re:My toilet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:59PM (#46789809)

    Toilets really are one of the best tech inventions of all time. And I do mean tech in every sense of the word. Porcelain is the best material for it, and while the chinese had it for a long time, when the west (Kingdom of Saxony) got it/discovered it, it gaurded the secret closely. Thankfully it got out, are it would be relegated to fancy sculptures and plates.

    This isn't to mention all the requirements like running water and sewer system... but a lot of tech resembles Maslow's hierarchy of needs, as in the oldest stuff is generally the most essential, and as time goes on, the newer stuff is icing on the cake.

  • Voyager 1 & 2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @03:09PM (#46789891)

    Roughly 40 years old and still doing science.

  • Nokia 5110 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Onuma ( 947856 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @05:17PM (#46791165)
    My old Nokia candybar phone (c. 2000) is practically indestructible. To this day I can still charge it up and play "nibbles" in all its LCD monochrome glory. Too bad the cell towers don't support its signal anymore...

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman