Owner Resistant?

Note that I did not type “owner proof.” Depending on the owner, nothing can be made owner proof. I went through five different styles and materials of eyeglasses frames before I found some that were Alma resistant. I’ve been using those same frames for *coughcough* years now, and I weep for the day when it finally becomes impossible to find parts or fit lenses into them. Partly because the newest versions cost over $500/pair, plus lenses. Owch!

You’d think that eyeglasses frames would not get that much wear and tear, especially on adults. Oh yeah? Hold my diet soda and watch this!

The point is, finding a balance in technology and materials between “latest, lightest, slices, dices, and takes out the cat box!” and “stainless steel ball bearing, 1, solid.” I tend to favor things with fewer moving parts, and parts that are relatively easy to remove/repair/replace. This inclines me toward air-cooled engines on my aircraft, and revolvers. I have higher tech stuff, I use a lot of higher tech stuff, but there’s a reason the new phone now installed in my office is a Bakelite™ monster with an attached handset that rings with a real bell, and plugs into the wall. When the power goes out, I’ll still be able to call for help if needed. That’s not true with cordless phones. If cell service goes out, the old-style phone will still work.

Sib, who rides the leading edge of technology and has a few scars from the bleeding edge of technology, used to call me a Luddite when it came to computers-n-such. Sib’s got a point. My every-day laptop is old enough that it’s no longer supported. It won’t take the new Apple OS. It has a mechanical hard drive. It’s not featherweight. Since I don’t take it places, it doesn’t have to be. It even has full-sized USB ports, unlike the latest and far from greatest MacBooks.*

Several readers pointed out that if a semi-automatic handgun can’t be reassembled easily, something’s wrong. Well, having watched people struggle with older Glocks, and a few other makes and models, it’s not the owner. It’s the stiffness in the springs, and the mechanics of the firearm design. I was cleaning revolvers recently, and had to stop and remember how to remove the cylinders from a single-action revolver. Slide a lever, remove a long rod, and open the feeding/ejection cover. Out comes the cylinder, and now the cleaning rod and bore patch can come all the way down the barrel. That’s three pieces. The double action revolvers don’t even need that level of take-down. Slide cylinder to side, clean. Even I can’t lose parts from that!

It’s all in how the designer answers a few questions. What is it supposed to do? Where is it supposed to do it? How skilled will the operator be? As a result, we get everything from geologist-resistant armored laptops and data pads to super twitchy work-stations designed for people who know computers better than Carter knows liver pills.** Ditto vehicles, washing machines (get a Speed Queen if you want a user resistant model, get one of the super-duper European or Asian even dry and steam-cleans if you want the latest and greatest), to sewing kits to quilt patterns to hand planes to almost all-in-one power tools to . . .

My personal default assumption is “It’s going to break. I need a back up. It’s going to fail at an awkward moment. I need a low/no tech backup.” Two is one is none. This applies to electronic charts and navigation equipment as well as other things. I carry paper maps in my vehicle. I carry multiple spare pens in my work bag, along with notepads, books, other book, keys, snack, water, more water, spare hair tie (failures do happen, usually when you can’t leave work to get a new one and no one has string), and so on. I wear shoes I can walk or run in.

So when it comes to “things upon which my life may depend,” I’m not going to be first in line for the newest tool. I’m one of the ones hanging out at the back of the store, watching to see what the failure rate is and just how hard it is to reassemble. Yes, I’m tech averse. I know what I can do to eyeglasses frames, and they only have two moving parts!

*I hatessss the microUSB ports. They won’t power a DVD drive, I have to have an adapter for my back-up hard drive and my keyboard, I can’t plug in certain other devices . . . Naughty Apple, bad, bad.

**Carter’s Little Liver Pills were a staple in pharmacies back in the day. When someone had more than enough of something, it was said that “He’s got more of those than Carter’s has liver pills!”

38 thoughts on “Owner Resistant?

  1. I’ve been wearing memory-metal frames for at least 20 years now. Thay stopped making the ones I like, for picture-window lenses, but every so often a few come out of someone’s warehouse at deep discount and I scarf some up. I generally get four years out of a set, though the finish has little scratches long before that.

    I don’t think any of them listed for more than about $360, so I’m guessing you got the kind designed to survive an adverse meeting with a pavement roller?

    • Titanium. They might not even make them now. The last time I priced them was at least five years ago, which is why I’m still using these.

      • My sixteen year old is waiting for frames #2 of the year to come in.

        He snaps the ear peice just before the hinge. I think that should be replaceable, pop the pin out, drop a new ear price in, put the pin in, but apparently that’s not in the eye doctor’s ability. I assume it’s intended to be a money making thing for the company making the frames. They replace them under warranty, though, so we don’t get to keep the old frames.

        Yeah, he breaks glasses frames about every eight months.

      • Fellow I went to school with had an eye doc/optician parent and the joke went (DATED!)…

        “That’ll be $100 for the lenses.”
        *no reaction*
        *no reaction*
        “Not including coatings”
        *no reaction*
        “And the NEW frame will be…”

        “No, they don’t make the old anymore, and we can’t get lenses to fit.’ (NONSENSE! They can be ANY DAMN SHAPE!)
        and so on, until there was a reaction that indicated “I can’t steal any more from this one.”

        I might have it out of order. As you can tell by the pricing, it’s been Some Considerable Time.

  2. Spare cables and replacement ports or connectors – after repeated use, I break things at the supposed “stress relief” molding or the weak recessed pins. Neither is engineered or built right. Replace, or use silicone and gaff/rigger tape to make the relief curvature in inches, not mm.

  3. I love wheelguns, but I don’t think it’s quite accurate to call them less complex or possessing fewer moving parts than auto pistols.
    Especially if they’ve got a cross bolt safety (because nothing adds complexity quite like lawyers).
    Heck, for simplicity, nothing beats an open bolt design. If it weren’t for that whole “felony” thing, I daresay most of us could cobble together an M3 knockoff with tools we already own, and parts we already have laying around. (We’d burn through a ton of ammo tweaking it to run reliably if we didn’t start with the tried and tested schematics, but the actual basic construction? Elegant in its simplicity.)
    I’ve come to regard glasses as disposable. Through the wonder of the internet and economies of scale (not to mention bypassing an effective monopoly on distribution that’s deliberately distorting the market) a new pair costs me about $30, with all the coatings and options that drive the cost well over $150 in local shops. It often takes a month to get them, but if you have a spare or two… (I generally use Payne, but I’ve had good experiences with Zenni as well.)
    What used to give me fits were watchbands, and the pins holding them on often being of stronger material than the watch they were connected to. For a while, I took to using a pocket watch. (Or often using a Timex with half a band as a pocket watch, since the ones readily available were more decorative than durable.)
    I was very impressed with a Timex special edition that lasted me five years of manual labor. Unfortunately, it used an oddball battery that stopped being made.
    I now use a Citizen my wife got me for an anniversary present. (She is horrified that I wear it all the time, instead of “for special occasions”. But you don’t buy expensive tools to gather dust.) It’s built like a tank, and had held up to everything I’ve thrown at it (minus a few scratches and a bit of paint off the bezel).

    • Actually, if you go over to ATF.gov and look at the actual documents, they only moved certain specific commercially-made open-bolt guns into the NFA category. Any open-bolt arms not on the list, or homebuilts, are still OK.

      BTW, the Casio F-91W is the official watch of the Taliban and most other middle eastern terrorist groups. They’re cheap ($10-$15), reliable, and easily disassembled to make timers for bombs. My ancient Timex isn’t *quite* dead yet, but it looks like its replacement is going to be an F-91W.

      • Lest somebody without much idea of what we’re taking about read this and misunderstand…
        DO NOT TRY THAT.
        You can, theoretically, make a legal open bolt firearm at home.
        The point of the design is that the trigger acts as a sear. Pulling the trigger releases the bolt, and the gun works like a machine until the trigger is released to re-engage the sear.
        I can see a couple different ways to attack the problem, but no benefit to doing so. Not to mention a heck of a lot of legal jeopardy if the first tests aren’t flawless.

      • They’re selling pairs of glasses for $5.50, and they’re still making a profit. They’re surprisingly good for the price.
        I tend to “splurge” and go up to the $10-$15 range. Those compare favorably to the ones I’ve gotten for 10x that much at various shops. Without being charged extra for anti glare and anti scratch coatings. Upgrading to progressive and paying for shipping normally brings it up to about $30. Premium options are likewise about 1/10th of “normal”.

        (Um, the youngest has psych issues, and likes to break glasses when enraged. She gets the basic $5.50 with entirely too much frequency. They’re surprisingly good.)

        • This is really interesting to me — I’ve looked at those sites before, but getting a frame with a suitable fit seemed to require a lot of information I wasn’t sure how to obtain. (Granted, last time I bought glasses at the eye doctor, getting the frame to fit was a massive hassle.) Do you have any advice, or am I just overcomplicating it?

  4. Off Topic from “Owner Resistant” but on topic for “not designed for easy repair”.

    Right now my car is broke. What’s broke is minor (dead battery & leaky radiator) but the car designers made it extremely labor-intensive to fix the problem. [Crazy Grin]

    Oh, this apparently was a problem with the model year of the car and the following model year didn’t have that problem. 😡

    • That’s pretty common with cars nowadays. When mine threw a serpentine a few months back, I had a mechanic replace it because I didn’t have the time to take off the bumper, grille, right headlight etc. that I’d need to remove to access the bloody thing.
      I was a wee bit irritated.

      • The ancient (now..) Corolla the serpentine belt is no big deal. Nor is the battery (the mount assembly for it, however…) but changing headlights? Why, who would EVER need to change a FILAMENT that gets BOUNCED AROUND ALL THE TIME? Sheer madness! Argh!

        Yeah, I know, is all LED… *now*. Ancient thing is NOT set up for such – not that I haven’t swapped out wherever I could, mind. If you have an older car and make only ONE change: LED lamp for the trunk light. Suddenly you can SEE the stuff in the trunk at night instead of turning night into “night, plus very dim yellow.” This is true even on things such as Mercedes-Benz!

  5. Rule 12: Nothing can be made foolproof. Fool-resistant is the best you can do.

    About guns and the disassembly thereof: when I selected a semiauto pistol last year (I’m a new shooter), ease of disassembly was high on the list of criteria. I took one look at a video of “how to disassemble a 1911” and said no. At least one other model, all I had to do was read a description of the disassembly process and I said no. Eventually I chose a Sig P320, mainly because I liked its feel in my hand but also partly because its disassembly is about as simple as it gets.

    Spares and backups — yup. I have two full backups of all my important files, including the three terabytes of pictures. I carry spare charger cords for all my electronics in my laptop bag, and have another set in my car. I have four working camera bodies and lots of overlap in my lens collection. I have enough pens lying around to confine a herd of cattle – most of them Bic 4-colors because I enjoy having all four colors handy. I have a self-contained GPS in my car, plus the regular internet-required Maps app and an offline-capable map program on my smartphone. I keep my old smartphones and use them as music players/game machines/backup platforms for stuff that doesn’t require a cell connection. And so on.

    • > backups

      TRX’ Third Law of System Administration: Backups are nice, but only restores count.

      (the First Law is, “Uptime is like air; nobody notices until it’s gone.”)

      • I use eternal USB drives as backup on my main computer. Two drives. I was using one, when something went sour, and because I missed something in the configuration, the backup program tried to write the backup (because it was “new”), a few hundred gigaBytes onto the 50 gB main partition. Trying to unscrew the problem, I lost the data on the backup drive, but the main drive was intact after the root partition was rebuilt. (I keep user files on a different partition). Yeah, Linux and very tweakable. Backup configuration is now fixed.

        After that kerfuffle, I a) bought a few spare USB drives, and b) added a monthly backup that goes on a separate USB drive. I haven’t needed backup #2 yet, but backup #1 gets used occasionally.

        When I get the round tuit, the offline shop computer will pay a visit to the house and get synced. That one uses a SD card for backup because I don’t trust external rotating drives at 38F, the default shop temp in winter…

        I’m a couple years on my Seiko frames. I tend to be rough on lenses (and usually do computer stuff without glasses), but I’ve trained myself to case the glasses Because of surgical procedures (making the dominant eye very nearsighted means you need a fix *fast*), I’ve had multiple glasses. The locals are wary of relensing plastic frames, but it can be done. FWIW, Hoya safety glasses are good and affordable.

  6. > When the power goes out, I’ll still be able to call for help if needed.

    Wait until the telco upgades your service. (well, it does happen, sometimes)

    Some newer telco installs are VOIP-only; there’s no tip and ring pair to power an old-style phone. And even here in Hooterville, the exchanges quit recognizing rotary dial phones 20 years ago. If you don’t at least have “Touch Tone”, the exchange is deaf to your calls.

    • This one looks rotary but is touch-tone. I’m tempted to scour the antique stores and find an intact rotary so the students can understand why we “dial the number” and hear a “dial tone.”

      • I see your dial and raise you a candlestick phone. Never actually used it, but it got attention.

        • I’ve been tempted, but the “dial” phone has a longer cord on the handset. And it appears to be more cat resistant.

      • Old Bell and Western Electric dial phones are collectible. Apparently anything is collectible if the owner has an eBay account…

        One thing I *still* haven’t come to terms with is the loss of the dial tone. You pick up an old phone, you hear the hum that lets you know the line is available. If you’re somehow disconnected during a call, the hum comes back. Simple. Our VOIP and cellular phones are just silent. And with Verizon’s sorry service, I’ve often had the phone ring at my ear while I was talking to someone. They’d been disconnected and called back, but there was no indication of a problem on my end.

  7. > I carry paper maps in my vehicle.

    I saw a blog post maybe ten years ago, a couple had met up with the in-laws at a vacation place. They decide to visit a nearby place, and Son whips out his phone and the map app plots a course. Dad unfolds his paper map across the hood of the car, and Son (the blogger) is practically dancing in impatience, c’mon, quit farting around with that, let’s GO!

    Dad locates the beginning and end points, looks along the likely routes, and says something like, “We could stop by here on the way back, or visit that if we use this other route…” And Son, who is *writing this*, is so wrapped up in irritation at Dad’s probably-senile adherence to old ways that he doesn’t even notice what he’s writing…

    The app gives you a quick and easy picture. But even playing with zoom, it’s a *little* picture… and the map will still work if you drop it, and it doesn’t have batteries to run down.

    • I recall a time when I was on a “new equipment install” job, and my team had two sites to do in the same night, about 10-12 miles apart. We finished Site A, then started plotting our travel to Site B. Somebody else pulls out their GPS and lets it do its thing. It plots a twisty path through surface streets with about fifteen turns. I look at my paper map and realize that if we go back up the main road a couple of miles we can get on an interstate, drive ten miles, and get off again within a few blocks of Site B – fewer turns, easier to follow, and probably faster. (Boston surface streets are something to be avoided even at the expense of more miles driven.)

      I never entirely trust map programs, even now. Every now and then they do something incredibly stupid like telling me to get on an interstate using a conventional right-side on-ramp and then take the next exit – less than a mile ahead – which exits on the left side of the highway.

      • Or tell you to use the official-use-only road out of a toll-ticket turnpike service area.

      • Not only do we carry paper Rand-McNally in the car, but when we go on road trips, I navigate while my darling man drives – and it’s a an interesting puzzle to acquire and maintain situational awareness out of the GPS instead of just “blindly follow algorithm-selected route.”

        He’s quite used to me using objectionable language on my magic elf-box.

      • Back before apps were a thing, one of the mapping websites suggested a route to get from home to Medford. OR. There’s various county roads to drive to get to OR 140, then over the Cascades, about 100 miles.

        The insane program wanted me to drive to Weed, California, then take Interstate 5 to Medford. Distance 240 miles. Of course, it let me avoid the tremendously scary cross Cascades trip, going up to 5100 feet. (Siskiyou pass is about 3500 feet.) FWIW, home is at 4300 feet. [Sorry, did my sarcasm drip on the floor?]

        At that point, I decided that any internet direction programs needed to be monitored like a hawk. There are still some clinkers in the mix, especially when county roads are a major factor. The GPS in my Honda still wants me to take a route 6 miles longer than necessary to get from the small city to home. No, I do not have to go over that small pass. I have a perfectly good one on my regular route. (The only plausible rationale for the Honda suggestion is that it avoids two 25 mph cliffside turns that will catch the inattentive or drunk driver. I worked EMS for a couple years and that was an interesting stretch of road. FWIW, logging truck drivers seem to have a better skill level than hay truckers.)

        • I recall plotting a trip through the southern Cascades using the aforementioned PC mapping program. For one segment, it told me that the best route from point A to point B was via several wiggly lines identified as “forest roads.” Took me a bit of research to figure out what “forest roads” were. Once I did, I dismissed the suggested route as idiotic and instead hand-plotted a course using Interstate 5 and several state routes and local roads.

  8. > Carter’s Little Liver Pills

    My mother used “Carter Scott Pills!” fairly often. I had no idea what she was talking about; if they advertised where we lived, I never noticed. It wasn’t until long after she’d passed that I saw an ad in a very old magazine and made the connection.

    Same thing with “take a powder”, which in old detective stories meant “get lost!” or “scram!” It was maybe thirty years after I first saw that, that I found out where it came from. Another old magazine ad, in fact…

    Popular culture is popular, then passes into history. Why, I’ve met people who had no idea where “It’s a dessert topping *and* a floor wax!” came from!

  9. > I know what I can do to eyeglasses frames, and they only have two moving parts!

    I *never* fold mine. That eventually makes the hinges loose, and that drives me nuts. Glasses are enough of a hassle that I don’t want to add any more to it.

    • I have prescription dark glasses as well as “indoor glasses,” so mine get folded twice daily, or more if I’m in and out and the in is dark.

  10. Rotary phones will still work in most locations. TRX, I ‘know’ they were still working as late as 2014 in Arkansas and Texas, as relatives still had/used them. DTMF also still works. However, in tiny town Texas I tried to get a POTS line and was told none was available… sigh

    • I was switched over to fiber-to-the-home last year. No central office power. Power backup is a box holding a dozen D cells, good for about 24 hours. It supports DTMF but probably not mechanical dial.

      Even POTS in urban areas was changed about ten or 15 years ago. Your copper went to a box on a pole or pedestal called a SLC (‘SLiK’, Subscriber Loop Carrier). It was powered off the grid, and had storage battery backup. If an outage ran more than an hour or so, the telco sent trucks racing around with gasoline-powered generators. Stealing one is a federal crime, in theory investigated by Treasury (Secret Service). In practice? Well, what do you think?

    • Depends on *where*, NFO. Arkansas is a mishmash of separate telcos. CenturyTel in my area dropped rotary dial service two decades ago. You could receive a call on a rotary dial phone, but you couldn’t call out.

      Likewise, my father-in-law in Tennessee still had a party line long after his telco claimed they were no longer a thing. Didn’t stop them from taking his money every month, or making excuses as to why they couldn’t give him a private line.

  11. Good morning, all. Interesting thread. Well, let’s see… the hinge screws on my glasses back out often enough that I routinely carry a dollar store screwdriver with me, and there’s a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers within easy reach as I type this. I’m considering using Loc-tite on the screws, it’s that annoying.
    Watches: I spent many years wearing a $29 Casio, replacing it only when the band broke. Odd thing, each new watch had more features, still only $29, and still with that crappy band. The old watch got relegated to the bathroom as a stationary clock until the battery died. As for hard to get parts, I offer one word: Accutron. Yeah, the tuning fork watch was cool, but the battery source was lost when Krypton exploded. When I retired,I bought a Seiko 5 self-winding and never looked back.
    Phones: the last time our phones went out, the service guy warned us that they were dropping service on copper soon, and oh, by the way, ours was the last active POTS line on our local segment, so we got fiber. Life goes on.
    Maps: my niece and nephew gave me a sat-nav for the car one Christmas, because I have no sense of direction. The first time I used it, instead of getting me from Philadelphia to Asbury Park, it directed me to the back gate at Fort Dix. Things got better after that.
    Stay safe, everyone.

    • > band

      Probably deliberate. A decent band costs more than the watch, and they’ll happily charge you for installing it, too.

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