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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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  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:11PM (#46789161) Homepage Journal

    Still works as does my IBM PS2 Model 95. There are still DEC PDP-11s in daily use as well.

  • MacBook Air 13 Inch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MuChild ( 656741 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:12PM (#46789177)
    I have had my MacBook Air running almost continuously for three years. Almost no hiccups. That's about it!
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:20PM (#46789271)

    I always like to point to one of my fave brands of TM gear (test and measurement): power designs.

    go to ebay and search for these 3 words 'power designs precision'. see the metal concentric dials? those are not to be seen in today's gear; unless its a photo of one on a touch screen somewhere (sigh).

    I have at least 4 of these models and they date from the late 50's to early 60's. some caps might need changing (not need but suggested) and some deoxit-d5 cleaner on the switches and that's that! 100uV dial-in resolution, microvolt level noise and hum, current load at full rated cap for 7x24 duty cycle and the PSU can be thrown off a truck and still work to factory specs.

    they tend to be $100 or so, used. if you built that today using those specs, it would be 10x to 50x the price, if you could even GET it built today (no, china could not even build this if they tried).

    old tektronix and HP gear still works great after 30+ yrs. lots of old US designed and BUILT gear is still fully reasonable to use today. its repairable and the user guides, back then, actually had circuit descriptions, schematics and even names/addresses of companies that make the parts that go into the box! you NEVER see anything like that today. you can't even get schematics from agilent or fluke or keithley or tek anymore, on their current gear.

    I like to point to power designs (precision) line of gear as stuff that was built to last 50+ yrs and I have actual proof that this is not a dream. I'm over 50 and I'm not doing as well as some of the gear in my tech shop.... ;)

  • Teletype machines (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:22PM (#46789303) Homepage

    I have several Teletype machines from the 1926 to 1940 period. [] All are in good working order. They're completely repairable; it's possible to take one apart down to the individual parts and put it back together. But they're high-maintenance. There are several hundred oiling points on a Model 15 Teletype. There are things that have to be adjusted occasionally, and manuals and tools for doing that. Every few years, the entire machine has to be soaked in solvent to clean off excess oil, then relubricated and adjusted. This is the price of building a complex machine good for a century or more.

    (The Model 33 of the minicomputer era is not one of the long-lived machines. This was by design. The Model 35 was the equivalent long-lived, high-maintenance product; the 33 required little mainenance but had a llimited life.)

  • Alarm clock???? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:27PM (#46789363)

    Alarm Clock? Really?

    I used to live across the street from police & fire stations. I can sleep through anything. A few years ago, searching for ever louder and more earth-shaking alarm clocks, I got to thinking about that. For tens of thousands of years mankind has not had alarm clocks. We relied on the Sun and Daylight to wake us up. So I went down to the local megamart and bought a digital outlet timer. You know, the sort of thing you use to turn your lights on automatically while you're out of town. Hooked up a power strip to it, and plugged in a bunch of $5 floor lamps. Nothing like a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Lamps.

    Every morning at exactly 6:55 the digital timer turns on and my room is brightened by 5,000+ lumens of light. It's a nice way to wake up. Very gentle. You come out of sleep slowly rather than abruptly.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:28PM (#46789379)

    There were junk devices back then too.
    I got a $15.00 mouse that worked for 2 month and failed.
    Laptop Drives were notoriously bad. Memory could fail on you...
    I needed to get a new internal modem every few months.

    The real difference before 2001 we were expected to pay a couple of grand on your PC. and a lot more for a workstation. Because these things were so expensive they made sure they used quality parts. Post Tech Bubble pop. We started to opt for cheaper/faster/lighter So cheaper and Lighter means more flimsy plastic, where metal was used, but we wanted faster too so they had to cut costs in more areas of quality. Having it last 4 now is considered a good run.

  • by brokenin2 ( 103006 ) * on Friday April 18, 2014 @02:41PM (#46789575) Homepage

    I used to work there (on that line for a while), and one of the jobs was to beat them up a bit before they went out the door, just to make sure they could take it.. (We were careful not to scuff them up, but did need to subject them to a couple of impacts in each direction as part of the final testing).

    Note, when he took it apart in the video, he very likely *did* make it go out of spec at that point.. It's normally just the high voltage that goes out of spec, but would normally only mean that you got a reading of 1007 VAC instead of 1000 VAC.. Still somewhat close..

    He should send it back for recalibration after his adventure..

  • IBM ThinkPad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sepodati ( 746220 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @05:27PM (#46791253) Homepage

    I was going to say the IBM Thinkpads, too. Like any computer, they eventually get old and underpowered compared to the new stuff, but they keep chugging. Mine is from 05, I think right after Lenovo bought 'em, but it's still the IBM version. One key is missing, case is cracked and there are a few grey pixels, but it still works (typing this on it now). Made it through deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, too.

    Is that "long lasting" or is it sad that 9-10 years out of a laptop is considered long?

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault