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Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 139

If you wanted to really restore the consumer-manufacturer balance the first thing you should do is create a "Digital Sales Act" that basically says if it walks, talks and quacks like a duck it's a duck. Once you start invalidating most shrinkwrap and clickwrap licenses then you can start talking consumer rights.

Microsoft is showing us what that future looks like, though, and it involves ads in your apps whether you paid for them or not. And if you don't own the software, then guess what? You're going to lose any and all rights to modify it. In fact, it might even become a crime to block those advertisements.

Then there's just one small step away to force everyone to use these adware/spyware systems: declare that only approved operating systems will be permitted to connect to the internet for "security" reasons. At first that will include numerous Linux and *BSD distributions, but it's easy enough to manufacture a crisis or simply pass legislation with no basis in reality and plug that hole later.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 139

But if printers were designed to be maintainable, with modular heads that could be snapped out and replaced, this wouldn't be a problem....

They used to be available. I'm blanking on the PN... but one of my housemates used to have a tabloid-format HP deskjet which had ink cartridges which snapped into a head cartridge which snapped into a carrier. It had a little bit of banding so it wasn't exactly spectacular, but it did have a separately replaceable head. You could buy a fully-loaded head package, the head alone, a full ink package, or any ink tank alone.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 139

What printer company sells me a printer and OFFERS me cartridges instead of doing the printer equivalent of a dealer doing his "first one is free" pitch?

Unless things have changed recently, that's Canon. They not only have long been the easiest to refill, but actually are known for working well with third party ink. Continuous inking systems are not very expensive either, and make it trivial to dump in as much third-party ink as you like.

I don't print color, though, so I have an old HP laser, a LJ2300DN with some DIMM upgrades and an additional tray. It has toner cart DRM, but I have a stick-on PCB which you attach with double-sided tape to make a home-refilled toner cart work again. The fix was two bucks. Ethernet, Duplex, feeds 500 sheets before it needs attention. There's even a 500 sheet tray for it which improves that by half again, but I ordered one and they sent me a 250 tray instead so I got that for free and called it good.

Comment Re:If I had my way... (Score 1) 139

Laws got made because of that, and now auto companies must allow those manufactures to make parts right away.

That is a great benefit, but the fight there is not yet over. What's needed now is to make illegal any agreements that the suppliers who actually make these parts won't be able to sell them to consumers directly right away. It's not until that happens that it really becomes affordable to maintain a vehicle, and so there's a period in between the end of the warranty and the time when the suppliers start selling their parts into the non-dealer channels where it's prohibitively expensive to maintain vehicles.

Comment Re:Note to self (Score 1) 139

Well, they are an IBM company.

Yes. I used to work for the MIS department of the Health and Human Services agency at Emeline St. in Santa Cruz, back in the day when it was all PS/2s on star-wired token ring, and we had HPLJ2s and HPLJ3s, and whatever printer was their contemporary from Lexmark. And the Lexmark printers even then caused ten times more problems.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 1) 139

It's a three step problem:

1) Consumer buys patented toner cartridge (probably bogus/obvious patent, but that's not at issue here)
2) Consumer returns toner cartridge to recycler.
3) Recycer refurbishes cartridge and re-sells it to someone else.

Lexmark wants to say that after you've used the toner cartridge, you can't give it to someone else, because they didn't license the patent to someone else. The law isn't clear at all on the topic, so the court could go either way. Even the supreme court seemed a bit confused by the situation (this is based on reading the article, not reading the actual law documents).

Comment Re:It Doesn't Work That Way (Score 1) 145

It's actually heading that direction. It's hard for us as Americans to feel it because we've started getting involved in more wars, but overall the world has been improving and improving.

One way of looking at it is, "rich people aren't willing to risk their lives in war" and as the world gets richer and richer, fewer people are willing to fight in battles.

Comment Re:Fait Acompli? (Score 4, Interesting) 139

Nobody should be surprised by this kind of shit any more; the only surprise is that there seems to be no sign of the bloody revolution that usually follows such ongoing abuse by the rich and powerful.

A revolution never come with a warning
A revolution never sends you an omen
A revolution just arrived like the morning
Ring the alarm we come to wake up the snoring

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