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My old boiler may not have been very energy-efficient but it was easy to use. It had a mechanical programmer like a kitchen timer; you just rotated it to the ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    The old ways are better


    My old boiler may not have been very energy-efficient but it was easy to use. It had a mechanical programmer like a kitchen timer; you just rotated it to the correct time. But it was old and creaky, so a few years ago I bought a new condensing boiler.

    This came with a remote programmer cum thermostat which ran off a battery and communicated wirelessly with the hardwired controller. For a couple of years it worked very well. Then I had to replace the batteries and after that it was downhill all the way. It kept losing contact either with the controller or with its own batteries (sometimes with both at once). Every time the latter happened, it reset the time and programming to the factory defaults. Result: the boiler came on at the weirdest hours, sometimes in the middle of the night.

    Finally it broke down altogether and I was greatly relieved because it gave me back control over my heating. I just used the "override" switch to switch on the boiler when I wanted heat and to switch it off when the house had warmed up. The only disadvantage was that I had to go downstairs in an ice-cold house early in the morning to work the switch.

    This month I had the usual annual service and I asked for a mechanical programmer to replace the defunct electronic one. Now it is in place. It cost 60.00 pounds whereas a new electronic one would have cost 125.00. There is no wireless connection to get lost, no batteries, nothing that needs looking after. So much for progress!
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  2. #2
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    I gotta admit. Everything today is buillt like a Bic Lighter instead of a Zippo Lighter.

    One you can keep forever as long as you maintain it.
    The other is great when it works. When it quits. Buy a new one and throw the old one away.

    New Furnace, A/C unit (more important here. Furnace is siamesed into A/C via plumbing and condensor) at my place in pecos.
    Lot's of mu.llah (dollars) for those. Still paying.

    My ranch house is wood burning stove only and a fiberglass swamp cooler. Needless to say. Never needs changing.
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  3. #3
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    I love all the new fangled garbage that's supposed to make life "easier". I was just watching some day time TV on the idiot box. The talking head had a bunch of kitchen gizmos to "make your kitchen time more productive". One of them was a doodad to core and slice a pineapple. They gave that to one of the folks on the panel and gave the other one a knife. The knife took 30 seconds and did a good job. The doodad took 3 minutes and did a crummy job.

    Now that's progress!

  4. #4
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    I get the feeling that new stuff is designed to break down one month after the warranty expires. Seems to happen to me all too often for it to be coincidence.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
    I gotta admit. Everything today is buillt like a Bic Lighter instead of a Zippo Lighter.
    The problem here is that Zippos are useless - I mean _completely_ crap. You put some fuel in them and it evaporates whether the lid is shut or not. They're great for the first couple of hours after filling, then they don't work any more. And the wadding compresses itself over time. And the wick is a rubbish way of transferring the fuel. Bic lighters are a much better design, and there are some that can be refilled.

    The point I'm making is that there is stuff around today that is MUCH BETTER than the old stuff we used to have. My smartphone is a much better computer than the Sinclair Spectrum I used when I was at school.

    Ibuprofen is MUCH BETTER than using asprin when I got a headache.

    My washing machine is much easier to use than the one my mum used to put the clothes in the top of - and I don't have to stir them with wooden tongs.

    I'd much sooner have a modern lightweight flat screen telly than than the old black and white cathode-ray-tubed monstrosity we had when I was a young.

    When I was a kid, we had to use washing up liquid and the sink to get the dishes clean. Now we got a spiffy machine to do it (and kids of our own).

    My car is actually quite comfy, and will do over 50 mpg. My first car was quite old - and it was a nail and it was uncomfortable and it was a Vauxhall. I'd much sooner have my current one.

    What I'm saying here is that _not everything_ is worse than it used to be. Not everything electronic introduces more crapness to make things harder to use. Modern stuff is better, lighter, cheaper to buy, and cheaper to run. It generally just doesn't last as long - which can also be good, because then you get to have new stuff which is even better than the stuff its replacing.
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  6. #6
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    There are different horses for for different races. Poetry and prose differences. For easy reliability chose a simple mechanical repairable device, especially of you are in remote or difficult to reach situation (e.g remote croft on an island , sailing boat etc) This is why non electric sewing machines sell second hand for a goodly price to sailors. why non electric machinery is installed in critical places (loss of electricity does not effect operation) good sailors carry hand compasses , slide rules and charts as well as 'convenient when working' satellite navigation devices. why in a remote factory in Africa I install Linux systems ( with ability locally to reboot, reset, or use a live Linux etc without needing to check with MS Mother (old ex MS XP machines reused) to get operational. In my house i prefer reliability to 'ease of use'.

  7. #7
    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    The problem here is that Zippos are useless - I mean _completely_ crap.
    Hope you have a sense of humor. Not according to this guy.

    or these guys

    They're great for the first couple of hours after filling, then they don't work any more
    Mine lasts for a week in 100 + F temps in my pocket, day to day use when I smoked cigs, in the desert. I don't do nicotine any more but I keep the lighter. Maybe you got one of those cheap chinese knockoffs that are useless.

    Ibuprofen is MUCH BETTER than using aspirin when I got a headache.
    I caught hepatitis while in the USMC so tylenol, ibuprofen, any of those liver killer pills are off the menu. But then. Weed cures all ills for me. Whether Brownies, cookies, you get the idea.

    Granted. Older wash machines and fridges and such are harder to operate and less energy efficient. Funny thing is Roxoff. If you ever make it down to Mexico
    where folks live in the boon docks. You'll see old cars, wash machines, and refrigerators. Cherried out (Spiffy I guess for you guys from the Isles).
    Repainted, Rebuilt, chugging along nicely.

    I am just playing Roxoff. We Southerners like joking around and laughing.

    But you hafta admit (or not). We live in a disposable age more now than in the past.
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  8. #8
    Linux User Steven_G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxoff View Post
    ...My washing machine is much easier to use than the one my mum used to put the clothes in the top of - and I don't have to stir them with wooden tongs...
    WOOOOOOOOOOOOW, and I thought I was ancient.

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    Arthur C. Clarke


  9. #9
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
    Hope you have a sense of humor. Not according to this guy.

    or these guys



    Mine lasts for a week in 100 + F temps in my pocket, day to day use when I smoked cigs, in the desert. I don't do nicotine any more but I keep the lighter. Maybe you got one of those cheap chinese knockoffs that are useless.
    I've used the real mccoy and the cheap knockoffs with pretty much the same result. The image of them, in my experience, is much better than their actual value. Odd that you've picked a a 1940's wartime image and a picture of Indiana Jones (set in the 1930's) to demonstrate that zippos are as good as modern-day stuff. How odd

    Perhaps my problem was that I never smoked very much. But if you drop a zippo out your pocket and falls into the laundry basket and you don't find it for two months, and then pick it up, it won't work. We've found Bic lighters in coat pockets from years ago that still worked and fired up first time.

    And rebuilt old stuff is about style, not about the quality of it. Rebuilding quite often improves the original quality with modern materials and processes. I got a 1991 Rover Mini in the garage, and its nowhere near as comfy as a modern car. If I could afford to fix it, I'd drive it every day regardless...
    Linux user #126863 - see http://linuxcounter.net/

  10. #10
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I think that most new things are an improvement over the old with the caveat that things are not built to last any more. This is our own fault.

    In the "first world" countries we have become consumer economies and we don't like paying too much for what we buy and consume. In such an environment quality is the first thing to suffer. Why make an expensive and very high quality product that would last for ten or more years when you can make one that is good enough to last up to three years and sell it for half the price? A tactic that will ensure you make more money overall and keep the cycle of consumption alive.

    To a degree I think this is why our economies are not really recovering; enough of us have realised that we have enough crap. We don't need that new flashy gizmo that doesn't really do any more than the last flashy gizmo we bought. This will only get more common as more people come to the same realisation.

    Over the last couple of years I have gone through one of the hardest things I have ever done. I have been spring cleaning my life and getting rid of possessions that I don't need or use. I estimate that I have half the stuff that I did. If I look around me with a cold heart and completely honest eye, I think I don't need nearly half of what I still have. I'll be keeping most of it for the time being though.

    Take a look around you today. Use a completely dispassionate eye and then tell me I'm completely wrong.
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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