I really like technology, but one thing I hate about the tech industry is planned obsolescence. It used to be that things were purposely designed to be maintainable, and to last as long as possible. Companies prided themselves on the longevity of their products. Engineers designed things to last as long as was reasonably possible.

Now, things are designed in such an integrated fashion that they become functionally useless almost the instant the manufacturer decides to stop supporting them.

I don’t expect manufacturers to fully support things forever. I understand why it’s not reasonable to expect to buy a new CRT from the manufacturer for my Apple III.

HOWEVER, I do firmly believe manufacturers should be required by law to pass on the information needed for me to support myself, once they decide to drop support! They should open-source any firmware or drivers they won’t provide any longer. They should electronically publish the schematics and repair manuals they already have.

I know they don’t have any business incentive to do these things. It would cost them slightly more money to organize the "sunsetting" of a product like that, but that cost would pretty marginal. The real cost would come in the form of reduced sales; some people would elect to keep using their things until they naturally wore out, instead of just throwing them in the garbage because the latest firmware update won’t install.

I am one of those people. I keep things until they break. I keep things until I can’t fix them. I acquire things that are already broken, then fix them, and then keep them until I can’t fix them. Capitalism doesn’t encourage behavior like mine, but behavior like mine is the best chance we have to conserve the resources available on this planet. Recycling is all fine and dandy, but reducing and reusing are far more effective. I’m not against Capitalism, but there are some problems The Market just can’t adequately solve, and this is one of them. That’s when regulation needs to step in.