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Old 02-10-2013, 01:09 AM   #31
GA Russell
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Steeplechase, my first jetBook Lite stopped working a month after I got it. I sent it back to Ectaco, and they sent me a replacement for free. That one has worked fine for three years now.

Because you say that your Kobo stopped working after two years of very light use, it sounds to me like you got a bad one that would have stopped working within the warranty if you had used it more often.

The failure rate of cheap electronics is a soup bowl rather than a bell curve. I think the solution is to use a new one a lot in the beginning, to encourage it to fail before the warranty expires.

I recommend that you get a much less expensive reader that will fit your budget better. Currently, I would recommend the Aluratek Libre Pro which geeks.com has for only $37.99:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=AEBK01FS
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:20 AM   #32
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That is the point... these older calculators are actually way more complex, no single chip with everything on but despite this they just keep working...
I remember my Texas Instruments TI-30 calculator, purchased when I started high school about 33 years ago. It was a good value. It cost about $25 dollars then. However, that was a lot of money. My first job paid something like four bucks an hour. So it cost six hours work. The Sony T1 I got for Chrismas cost 80 dollars, which is far less in terms of hours worked.

That TI-30 could really soak up the abuse, though. I dropped it on many occasions. Pieces would fly apart and I'd have to snap it all back together. By the end of high-school, it was was pretty beat up, but it was still working. If I could still find it, I bet it would still work.

Now, the expensive calculators, which I used to look at covetously, cost two or three hundred dollars 33 years ago. That's more than an e-reader costs NOW! They certainly should be more reliable, considering their prices.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:11 AM   #33
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I don't believe the build quality of e-ink devices will increase much in the future, but I believe they will get less expensive. In my experience, complex electronic devices simply wear out more quickly than less complex devices. The more parts something has, the more likely it is something will go wrong.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:06 AM   #34
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A hope for eReader robustness and even antifragility?

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Originally Posted by SteveEisenberg View Post
A few other comments:

With Kindle eInk readers, I can safely say that the main cause of failure is impact screen damage. If their screen was the same size as your calculator, maybe they would (with battery replacement) last that long. A few of them, anyway.
If the experience of the forum is that failure is primarily due to either the screen being damaged or the battery failing then will the eventual development of plastic e-ink screens solve most of the problems if flexible screens are combined with a user removable/replaceable battery?

No one has mentioned software failures. I don't know for a fact that it is also a problem, but I do know that my KOBO gave odd messages that to a layman, such as myself, would indicate some sort of software issue, as would KOBO's advice to reset the machine in case of trouble.

As a matter of principle it would seem that user controlled software would make a more robust and perhaps even antifragile device (to use Nassim Taleb's term, I hope correctly) . Do any of you see signs of the development of an e-ink eReader with user installable and controllable software?

Is there a Maker's Bill of Rights conforming, Rasberry Pi (or equivalent) based eReader with a tough yet flexible e-ink screen and user removable batteries somewhere in the future? Would that be truly robust and even antifragile (assuming that the flexible screens didn't have other flaws that limited their life)? What else would a robust and antifragile eReader need?
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:27 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Steeplechase View Post
Do any of you see a time when an eReader is reliably manufactured to last 5 or 10 years or do you see them as disposable items intended to last until the warranty runs out?
Probably the latter. But not just ereaders. I don't see a future where any electronic device in what I call the "personal gadget" category is reliably manufactured to last for five to ten years, quite frankly. That's just not the business paradigm the personal gadget industry is predicated upon. Even if the hardware were to last that long and the software didn't glitch, the support framework for its particular feature set would probably be retired/phased out.

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Old 02-10-2013, 08:52 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Probably the latter. But not just ereaders. I don't see a future where any electronic device in what I call the "personal gadget" category is reliably manufactured to last for five to ten years, quite frankly. That's just not the business paradigm the personal gadget industry is predicated upon. Even if the hardware were to last that long and the software didn't glitch, the support framework for its particular feature set would probably be retired/phased out.
Exactly. I mean look at iPhones -- some of the "best" hardware build but they have sealed-in batteries which will fail after some (relatively short) time.

and this is basically true of most products these days. The economists/corporations must keep the river flowing.

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Old 02-10-2013, 11:43 AM   #37
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My Sony 505 still works fine, but the battery is dying so I've switched over to using my Kindle 2 as my primary e-ink (e.g. outside/walking) reader both are just about 5 years old and work fine. I've even dropped each of them a couple of times (small dent in the 505).

I'd say they are about as reliable as most calculators. But I do have a TRS 80 Pocket Computer that I bought back in the 80's which is still working despite some liquid leaking flaws (not quite as bad as the one in the wiki pic ) in the display .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80_Pocket_Computer I still use it to balance my checkbook.

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Old 02-10-2013, 12:07 PM   #38
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My K2US is still going strong, too. I've put it out to pasture for the most part, but it's still ready and raring to go whenever I call on it. It's more than worked off it's original $349 indentureship—hell... I owe it money, now.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:06 PM   #39
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As kennyc has mentioned, modern electronics are build upon the model of planned obsolesce. So I really don't expect my Sony PRS-350 or Nook classic (assuming it still works...I gave it away in 2011) to work 30 years from now. Even if they do, they'll be so obsolete, it won't be worth it to use them. Even some of my working gadgets are already becoming obsolete. My iPod Touch 3rd generation can't receive the latest iOS updates. It only has iOS v5.1 (or something like that). However, the iOS is now up to version 6 I think.

In regards to e-ink screens, I think they're pretty robust as long as you don't do anything stupid with them. I hope we didn't give the impression that they're extremely fragile. I keep my Sony PRS-350 in a case and keep it in a compartment in my purse. Same with the Nook. Unless the screen is defective, it should stand up to everyday use.

I don't see new e-Reader models having removable batteries because electronic makers seem to be moving away from that. This is not only an issue with e-Readers but tablets and phones too. I have to agree that it's rather unfortunate but like kennyc said previously, the electronic manufacturers have to keep the river flowing. Still some older models, like the Nook classic, do allow users to replace the battery.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:43 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
Actually neither the OP nor I were talking about "dollar store" calculators... the OP says "stat" calculator which probably means HP and mine certainly says HP which stands for Hewlett Packard and means high end, scientific instrument level calculator... top of the line and state of the art when released... and still working... and almost definitely why they're still working
Hewlett Packard used to mean high end, scientific instrument level calculator. HP calculator quality declined significantly about 10 years ago and nose dived shortly after that. A couple of years later it came back a bit, but it is nowhere near that of 20 to 40 years ago. I bought the top of the line in 2004 and it ate batteries like popcorn and over 1 in 4 key presses did not register. Web searches revealed that it was a general problem.

It is sad, but on the other hand, the HP-42 emulator on my phone works well enough that I have no need to carry a calculator and grpn over linux works well enough at my desk.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:48 PM   #41
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''Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time. Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.''

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:10 PM   #42
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These short device life-spans will play a role in how long some purchased books stay readable without DRM-breaking. When a publisher goes out of business and stops paying Adobe (or whoever) to keep updating keys for new devices, then those DRM-encrypted books will only last as long as the reader they're on.

I've always felt that DRM was another planned obsolescence scheme. Short-lived devices make it even more obnoxious.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:29 PM   #43
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I sympathize with the OP. I have a calculator that is now 28 years old, and still working fine. It was a cheap one, built in the period where there was solar panels to power them (across the top) but no battery for instant on. Because of that, it won't die when the internal battery does. Other early ones that ran off of AA/AAA batteries should still run, if the batteries haven't corroded inside them. (A favorite killer of remote controls). But built-in batteries are guaranteed long term gadget killers.

I use a Hanlin V3+ from 2009. Still going strong, but on it's second battery. (User replaceable, a Nokia form factor). It looks like a brick, ugly as sin, but built like a rock. And nobody make them like that any more for any e-reader. So I bought 3 on close-outs for backups..... I suspect that as long as I can get the batteries, it,'ll keep running...

On the other hand, at $30 dollars or less, a gadget becomes a throwaway to me, as long as it has removable storage. I use Sansa Clip music players like jellybeans. So far I've gotten 2-3 years out of them, but if (when) they croak, I'll just unplug the Micro SD chip from one and plug into another one....

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Old 02-10-2013, 05:34 PM   #44
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Yeah I got a couple of those (casio) light-powered calculators right here on my desk....some of the buttons only work partially...
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:40 PM   #45
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Yeah I got a couple of those (casio) light-powered calculators right here on my desk....some of the buttons only work partially...
They may just have dirty contacts. If you want to take one of the flaky one apart, you can clean the contact with a pencil eraser...
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