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So I've been ranting on and off about the commoditization of engineers, and the suffering of the job market, but I've been neglecting one of the consumer areas.

As much as it makes consumers happy to be able to purchase products on the cheap (aren't you glad you don't have to pay $10,000 for winzip?), it has bridged into the field of hardware.

It used to be that consumer products were made to last for a while. I know guys that still have working stereo equipment built in the late 1960's, and I myself have some studio equipment from the '70s that is still in fine shape.

But show me a cell phone designed to last more than three years.

Or how about a kitchen mixer? My mom still has one of WWII vintage that she still uses on a regular basis. You would be hard-pressed to find something of that ilk today.

Everything is becoming temporary. The computer that I'm writing this on has become obsolete in the matter of four years. It can't be upgraded. It's gone from a couple thousand dollars to zero, and it's completely expected.

And look at buildings. Remember the Perkins on Lake Street just off of Uptown? That building was there for maybe five years before it was bulldozed so someone could put up a bigger building.

We have become eminently discardable. Even to the level of people.

I am not a piece of trash to be used up and thrown away. I don't want to make things that are thrown away after a few weeks/months/years of use.

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