Reliable and Simple: A ‘Right to Repair’ Ode and Kitchen Story

| 2/11/2019 1:29:00 PM

Recently when I was at my dentist and while vulnerably perched in the operational chair, the hygienist pitched me the opportunity to purchase an electric toothbrush. Not just any high-performance aid to prophylaxis, mind you, but one that was also Bluetooth-connected to your smart phone to record your personal bests in competitive brushing.

A few notions crossed my mind, to wit: Why would anyone want such a thing? and How long will that baby last? and Can it be fixed? (Probably not.)

Questioning Hyper-Connected Smart Appliances

It truly is a wonder how we got here. Why would anyone think that putting sophisticated electronics and an Internet-connected computer into a damp and vibrating environment like a washing machine is a good idea? Or how about the non-repairable $1,000 cell phone in which the manufacturer intentionally downgrades its previous product’s capability to force owners to buy newer models?

And do we really need a refrigerator with a “smart device” implanted that will provide the user with remote alerts if the fridge door is open or the temperature drops or lets the user engage the "SuperCool" function from the grocery store to rapidly chill the freezer in preparation for storing frozen foods? Or how about contact services if any diagnostic codes pop up due to product failure or user error? How did we ever get by?

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