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There's a Sucker Converted Every Minute

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-probably-more-than-that dept.

Television 395

Ponca City, We love you writes "Once the US converts from analog to digital broadcasting next February, those who receive their signals over the air will need a converter box for older, non-digital models. Government-approved converter boxes sell for $60 or less and a government-issued $40 rebate coupon is available for the asking but that hasn't stopped companies like the Ohio-based Universal TechTronics from offering supposedly free converter boxes. The gimmick: the box is free, as long as you pay $88 for a five-year warranty, plus $9.30 shipping. Universal TechTronics seems to specialize in 'high-tech' products of questionable value, marketing the Cool Surge portable air cooler, 'a work of engineering genius from the China coast so advanced that no windows, vents, or freon are needed' that uses the same energy as a 60-watt light bulb. It works by blowing a stream of air over two ice packs that you have previously frozen in your freezer. What's the best tech scam you've heard of lately?"

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Tech scam? (5, Funny)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068715)

"We have to filter P2P to solve network congestion"--Bell Canada.

Re:Tech scam? (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068931)

Mod parent insightful, instead of funny. Various people and some papers have suggested that upgrading network capacity is a better [oreillynet.com] way [internet2.edu] to handle high traffic than trying to mess with QoS, because 1. it's cheaper 2. it actually works, which isn't really proven to be the case for QoS on a large ISP level network.

Re:Tech scam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069131)

Thank you - you made my day.

-Bhell vicitm

In former free Canada,people want to throttle ISP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069217)

And government who is working for MaFIAA, too!

Maybe the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068729)

Electric Universe?

Re:Maybe the (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068879)

The real tech scam: you have to upgrade your PC every two years to run the latest and greatest versions of Windows and Office.

Re:Maybe the (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069183)

Check this out: when I was working as a film-developing monkey for a large drugstore chain, we had a computer dedicated to downloading pictures from a VERY well-known maker of disposable cameras. One day, the tech had to come in to upgrade the computer so that it could dowload pictures from bluetooth devices. The tech opened up the computer and explained to me that he had to remove a piece of "epoxy"(which was a small blob of harmless rubber cement on the mainboard) which clearly obstructed nothing ad served no purpose whatsoever. Then, he put in a driver CD to enable bluetooth functionality. It was absurd! Why crack the box open at all? My guess was to rationalize an obscene price by making a simple driver install an illusion of a "ZOMG hardware surgery performed by a engineer".

Absurd.

Tech Scam (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068739)

DVD rewinders.

Re:Tech Scam (1)

RattFink (93631) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069055)

Scam? As I recall they were a gag gift and were never meant to be taken seriously nor marketed as anything but a gag gift.

Re:Tech Scam (4, Funny)

AngryUndead (733008) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069399)

o ye of too much faith [in humanity].

Microsoft Windows Vista (-1, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068747)

enough said.

LoB

I like Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068811)

I just got a new Laptop with it installed. The laptop is just used for web, email, and MS Office type of stuff. It's not bad. It's not as big a pig as everyone states. The networking seams to be a little better. The only thing I can complain about is things that I don't like about Windows in general. I don't understand why everyone hates it so much.

But hey, I'm an AC - a Slashdot Dreg.

Re:I like Vista (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068865)

It could be the fact you need a dual core machine with 2 gigs to browse the web now.

2 GHZ with 1 GB of Ram. No problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069027)

It could be the fact you need a dual core machine with 2 gigs to browse the web now.

It's a Lenovo 3000 with 2GHz Celeron and with 1 GB of RAM.

Works FAST.

Vista is working quite fine for me. I guess other brands don't know how to install Vista correctly or something.

Re:2 GHZ with 1 GB of Ram. No problem. (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069245)

But, which Vista? There are many, and the baseline versions don't run Aero. Got Aero?

Another irrational MS Hater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069385)

But, which Vista? There are many, and the baseline versions don't run Aero. Got Aero?

Vista Home Basic. So, no Aero. But so what? I said it's running fine with what I'm using it for. Regardless if it's Vista or not, if you're running intensive stuff and your hardware isn't up for it, it's going to be slow.

I mean, if I were running Fedora 9 on a PII/500MB with Apache, MySQL, and GNOME, and then complained about how slow and sluggish it was, everyone would be up my ass.

So, I guess if Windows Vista is too slow, shut some unneeded shit off. Geeze! Get a life!

Re:2 GHZ with 1 GB of Ram. No problem. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069251)

Just imagine how much FASTER it would be with XP or Linux...

Web browsing... (0)

kmkznobeikoku (1319847) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069203)

...doesn't require a dual-core, 2Gb setup, I find I can browse just fine with my Athlon XP w/ 700Mb RAM. But then, I'm running a Linux distro, and NOT Vista. Suppose that makes a difference? :)

Re:Web browsing... (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069479)

I'm doing the same thing running XP, and even office 2007 - runs just fine. But I wouldn't even try to put vista on it.

Re:I like Vista (0, Offtopic)

ThatFunkyMunki (908716) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068887)

I disagree, I just got a new Dell XPS M1530 with Vista preinstalled, and I genuinely tried to get it to work for me, got all the applications i use in windows normally, etc. I used it for about 4 hours, after which i noticed my computer was not nearly as fast as the one it was replacing (aging pentium 4 system), and decided to install XP. Now, it runs great, and uses about 2/3 the ram that was being consumed by Vista. Oh, and now I have the ability to play games without the horrible FPS that came with Vista.

Re:I like Vista (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068969)

and now I have the ability to play games without the horrible FPS that came with Vista.

Vista comes with a First Person Shooter?

Let me guess - you score points by killing penguins with thrown chairs, you buy armour by making campaign contributions, and you power up by eating up all the ram chips lying around.

Re:I like Vista (2, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069297)

I think I hear coders working on that right now in flash just because.

Re:I like Vista (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069395)

Pretty sure they meant frames per second.

Re:I like Vista (0, Redundant)

Iceykitsune (1059892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069401)

FPS=Frames per second

Re:I like Vista (1)

AngryLlama (611814) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069445)

woosh

Re:I like Vista (2, Interesting)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069187)

My laptop with vista is noticeably faster than my desktop with XP (with the exception of network transfer speed), even though they have the same specs (2.1ghz core 2 duo, 2gb ram. The desktop has a better videocard).

For me at least XP seems to get much slower with age while vista does not do so. Yah, a fresh install of XP is blinding fast, even more so than Ubuntu IMO, but after several weeks just slows to a crawl (yah I scandisk, reg clean, defrag, spyware/virus check, etc) while Vista takes a couple days to get fast (due to indexing and prefetching, or whatever they call it).

Re:I like Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069283)

I love XP. Right now I am running it on an old laptop with a 1.8Ghz Pentium with 256MB of RAM and a 40GB HDD.

I wanted to run Ubuntu, but it would not install. The Live CD took about a day to finally boot up. Attempting to install gave me various errors: from inside Windows I got "you need at least 256MB of memory"; from the CD menu the partitioner ran but the system became unresponsive after that and nothing ever happened; from booted as a Live CD the screen went garbled and stupid and Ubuntu locked up.

And I did get Xubuntu installed but it sucks.

So XP all the way.

Re:I like Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068991)

you bought into those networking seams? are they what hold the intertubes together?

Careful with the word "scam" (4, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068821)

The "free" digital TV box gimmick is not necessarily a scam. Comparing a box with a 5 year warranty to one with a 1 year warranty is not a fair comparison. It's gimmicky pricing to make people think they're getting a great deal. A scam, on the other hand, requires deception to secure an unfair or unlawful gain. In this case, the user is getting a 5 year warranty rather than the typical 1 year warranty, so it is understandable the overall cost should be higher, meaning it's not an unfair or unlawful gain.

(It could be argued that warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. If a warranty is not workable, that's the part you can call a scam, not the gimmicky pricing.)

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068873)

The "free" digital TV box gimmick is not necessarily a scam. Comparing a box with a 5 year warranty to one with a 1 year warranty is not a fair comparison. It's gimmicky pricing to make people think they're getting a great deal. A scam, on the other hand, requires deception to secure an unfair or unlawful gain. In this case, the user is getting a 5 year warranty rather than the typical 1 year warranty, so it is understandable the overall cost should be higher, meaning it's not an unfair or unlawful gain.

(It could be argued that warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. If a warranty is not workable, that's the part you can call a scam, not the gimmicky pricing.)

I agree it's not a scam, but a 5 year warranty on an item with no moving parts?

One is born every minute, especially since you could buy 2 for less than this one and have a spare if teh first ever fails after a year.

Bathtub Curve (5, Interesting)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069063)

Retailers love to offer 5 year extended warranty because of the Bathtub Curve [wikipedia.org] .

Basically if a product does n't fail within one year then the probability it failing within five year years is very very low.

This curve applies very well to consumer electronics with the added advantage that they depreciate in value quickly too.

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (1)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069103)

(It could be argued that warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. If a warranty is not workable, that's the part you can call a scam, not the gimmicky pricing.)

It could also be argued that the real beauty of this (from the vendor's perspective) is the low probability that anyone who can't watch TV will send the box in and wait for more than a week for the repairs/replacement. It's far more likely that the entire household panics and someone is send to the next shop to buy a new box. If I was the vendor I wouldn't even bother to hire technicians for repairs - just replace the few damaged ones that make it back.

This is almost like a victimless crime, but legal. I like the idea ;)

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069139)

Where is the -1 Evil moderation option?!

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069287)

If I was the vendor I wouldn't even bother to hire technicians for repairs - just replace the few damaged ones that make it back.

Nothing special about that...it's the preferred method of warranty service for any number of perfectly legitimate mass-produced products that don't have many modular subassemblies. The cost of disassembling, troubleshooting, repairing, reassembling and testing is generally way more than the incremental manufacturing cost of a new box.

rj

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (1)

RattFink (93631) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069135)

The "free" digital TV box gimmick is not necessarily a scam.

That is all fine and good if they are up-front with it, however if they deliberately hide the $88 dollar charge things start heading toward sleaze. When they advertise something as free (or real cheap) and then start stacking on charges after the fact without the ability to opt out in my opinion and likely many others it becomes a scam.

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069329)

In some countries, it's illegal to use the word "free" if it is contingent on making a payment, for anything, at any time.

It's a neat idea called "consumer protection", and I hope we'll get it here in the US too.

Re:Careful with the word "scam" (3, Informative)

Junior Samples (550792) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069261)

(It could be argued that warranties aren't worth the paper they're written on. If a warranty is not workable, that's the part you can call a scam, not the gimmicky pricing.)

I bought a pair of Zenith DTT901 converters with my government coupons after researching the experiences of other users on AVSForums. The Zenith DTT901 only comes with a 90 day warranty. Considering the out of pocket cost of $10 to $20 with the government coupon ($49 - $59 retail), and the reputation of the manufacturer, does the warranty really matter?

A 5 year warranty doesn't mean anything if the product is a piece of crap. Universal Techtronics brand isn't even on the CECB approved list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CECB [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CECB_units [wikipedia.org]

Kinoki Foot Pads (5, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068829)

I've seem some scams recently, but the most amazing has to be Kinoki Foot Pads [youtube.com] . Let's ignore the fact that my understanding is the word "kinoki" is meaningless and the characters they use in the ad don't even read "kinoki".

I'm used to all sorts of pseudo science in TV ads, but this one is downright amazing. Did you know tree roots are used to dispose of chemicals, and that my feet are actually tree roots? I'm so glad someone told me. I especially love the list of conditions that these things can cure. Even if they weren't fake and actually would detoxify you, I seriously doubt it would even touch many of those conditions. I seem to remember reading someone wrapped carrots with the pads just to prove that anything will make them blacken from "toxins".

The ad id just amazing. I was dumbfounded the first time I saw it. Diet pill ads look like something out of the Mayo Clinic in comparison.

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069065)

The issue there is that you can have a disclaimer which says that none of these claims have been evaluated, even if it's not actually legible due the the TV screen resolution.

The ad agency in general should never have been freed from the earlier regulations. Thanks to the Reagan administration, IIRC, advertising for medications is OK. You can also say whatever you want, as long as there's technically a disclaimer included, even if it's too long or small to be read.

Advertisers are liars, that's basically their job, and it always has been. The problem is that the watchers would rather watch TV and the cash flow into their bank accounts than actually regulate the industry.

The infinity razer springs to mind. It supposedly never requires a change of blades ever. Unfortunately, it doesn't break the laws of physics and as such the friction causes the blades to deteriorate. But the company is happy to sell you new blades. A cost which isn't disclosed in the ad, implying that it's free or of minimal cost.

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (4, Informative)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069069)

Well, (in Japanese, as that pronunciation makes little sense in Chinese), the characters shown on their advertisement read "Tree tree sap", and it makes about as much sense to write it that way in English as it does Japanese. That alone should tell you it's bullshit.

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (3, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069171)

Let's ignore the fact that my understanding is the word "kinoki" is meaningless and the characters they use in the ad don't even read "kinoki".

I think they are going for "ki no ki" (the first "ki" being "tree" and the second "spirit"; US Slashdot doesn't do Kanji, sorry) as in "spirit of trees" or some such. The word on the screen reads "kijoueki" which is "tree sap" (a bit redundant).

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069253)

I seem to remember reading someone wrapped carrots with the pads just to prove that anything will make them blacken from "toxins".

Little known fact: carrots were originally a super-dark purple that is effectively described as black. It wasn't until selective breeding in the 15-th or 16-th century that we got orange carrots.

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069427)

I've read that before. I think it was the Dutch that breed the modern carrot.

The point of the article was that those pads would do that up against anything organic (although I wouldn't be too surprised if a dirty coke can did the same thing).

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069417)

my absolute favorite is the extra "kitchen sink" inclusion of "ions" to purify your body.

I would love to see them somehow manage to get loads of unbonded ions onto those pads. They tend not to be very picky about what they chemically bond with. I'd laugh so hard at the number of people whose feet have been eaten away.

Re:Kinoki Foot Pads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069459)

IANJ (I am not Japanese) but... yeah, 'kinoki' is meaningless and wrong.

for the kanji shown in the commercial:
1. ki = ki (tree). they got one right!
2. no = jyu (wood). there are no readings (that i can find) that read the 2nd chracter as 'no' (although alternative readings do exist).
3. ki = eki (liquid). this cannot be read as 'ki', but must be read as 'eki'.

proper reading would be 'ki jyueki', which i suspect most japanese speakers could decypher to mean 'tree sap' (although 'ki no jyueki', with the insertion of a hiragana 'no' between 'ki' and 'jyueki', would be much better). Japanese is pretty good with dropping particles, so maybe they were trying to drop 'no' while preserving the intent of the name... unfortunately for them, they chose the wrong part of the phrase.

Carbon credits (0)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068835)

that when you buy them, automagically remove all of the CO2 you contributed to global warming out of the atmosphere and make you carbon neutral.

It seems to violate the law of thermodynamics in that CO2 molecules are destroyed somehow, and proves itself to be very unscientific.

Re:Carbon credits (5, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068899)

no. CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere without "destroying" anything. plant a tree, that tree takes in CO2, water, nutrients and with light can synthesize organic compounds locked up in the tree its self. no magical violations of laws of physics required.

Re:Carbon credits (0)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069155)

I think (hope) what the OP is referring to is the fact that plants remove CO2 from the air by converting it into plant mass. Once the tree dies, its carbon goes right back into the air.

Re:Carbon credits (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069225)

Well some types of trees last hundreds of years without any attention. I'm wondering if a massive tree planting drive would make any difference or would it bearly scratch the surface?

Re:Carbon credits (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069351)

Hard to say as people cut down trees quicker than they can plant them.

It seems like folly to use carbon credits to plant trees that will be cut down as soon as someone has a need for paper or wood or some other product they use trees for.

Common sense says don't drive short distances to get that $5 cup of coffee and instead invest in a Mr. Coffee machine and brew your own coffee or just quit drinking coffee and drink water instead.

It would actually make more sense to just build canals and use them to transport food and products than using trucks that burn gas and contribute to the CO2 levels in global warming. Many people forget that it was George Washington who was one of the founding fathers for building canals in the colonies before the USA was formed. That the USA got rid of canals as soon as the coal burning railroads got started.

I mean it would make better common sense to just stop using technology that puts CO2 in the atmosphere, than to keep using technology that puts CO2 in the atmosphere and then buy carbon credits and hope it just goes away magically because Al Gore said so.

Re:Carbon credits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069247)

Once the tree dies, its carbon goes right back into the air.

Um... no.

Not until you burn it.

Are you really that stupid, or are you just toying with the other morons posting here?

Re:Carbon credits (5, Funny)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069291)

Once the tree dies, its carbon goes right back into the air.

Is spontaneous combustion a big problem for trees in you area?

Re:Carbon credits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069305)

Yes, but generally not in the form of CO2.

Other scams (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068917)

You don't need techobabble to put one over on people ...

Just look at the erpackaging of crap loans and blessing them with AAA ratings, and the proposal to bail out those who participated in the scam.

Time was, the three biggest lies were "The check is in the mail", "I'll still love you in the morning", and "I won't come in your mouth."

Now its "Mission Accomplished!", "Housing prices never go down," and "Jebus loves you- gimme money!"

Re:Other scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069273)

Time was, the three biggest lies were "The check is in the mail", "I'll still love you in the morning", and "I won't come in your mouth."

Once you start having wanting to have real sex, you'll discover that "just the tip, I won't do anything else" becomes the #1 biggest lie a man will tell.
 
/Promptly followed by the #2 lie: "I promise I'll pull out"

Water-free water, pay only $9.99 shipping! (4, Funny)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068867)

"It works by blowing a stream of air over two ice packs that you have previously frozen in your freezer." means = "no freon"?

Well, then I'm also selling water-free water for places that have water shortages. Just add 1 cup of water to the device and you will have an entire cup of water that you can drink!

Re:Water-free water, pay only $9.99 shipping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069161)

Just so we're clear on this: Blowing air over ice will cool that air. The energy removed from the air over time will be exactly the energy needed for melting that ice, which is substantial. That process moves heat, from the air to the back of your refrigerator. It may not be the most efficient or adequately powerful way to cool air, but it's only nonsense if the fridge is in the same room that you want to cool down.

Re:Water-free water, pay only $9.99 shipping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069413)

One time I told my boss we should sell re-hydrated water. His response was that partially reconstituted water would probably be a better product.

Re:Water-free water, pay only $9.99 shipping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069461)

"It works by blowing a stream of air over two ice packs that you have previously frozen in your freezer." means = "no freon"?

I live in Antarctica you insensitive clod!

Another scam (2, Informative)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068869)

The 'coupon' you can get that covers 40 bucks of the price expires. Sometimes before people can actally find a converter box.

Re:Another scam (1)

Zen (8377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068945)

Citation please? I might need to get one for my 90 year old grandma. I've read that requesting a coupon does not mean it is sent to you immediately - they supposedly send the coupons only after the boxes are available from multiple retailers in the area the coupon was requested from. Mistakes happen, sure - a human wrote the software and runs the program. But is expiration of the coupons without valid retailers in the area rampant? I think they're supposed to be 90 day coupons. I'd love to see a citation that references what areas actually have them available for purchase today.

Re:Another scam (2, Informative)

wtfispcloadletter (1303253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069053)

Space punk is speaking out of his ass.

The coupons last for 90 days

You can get another one if you let it expire and only got 1 the first time around (you can get 2 per household)

The coupon lists several places locally where you can get a converter box. My listed 8, 4 Radio Shacks, 2 Wal-Marts, Camping World and a local shop (and a partridge in a pear tree).

I know for a fact Radio Shack and Wal-Mart have and have had them for awhile now.

https://www.dtv2009.gov/FAQ.aspx

Radio Shack [radioshack.com] also has a friendly page with info. They also have several models [radioshack.com] in stock online right now and did 4 months ago when I got my coupon.

Re:Another scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069361)

Not everyone has the abundance of stores in their area as you do. Reading the letter that came with my converter box, the coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed. Some of the wal-marts near my mom in Florida have been out of stock more often than not. As for Radio Shack, I always thought us geeks made it a point to keep people out of there?

Re:Another scam (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069195)

The 'coupon' you can get that covers 40 bucks of the price expires. Sometimes before people can actally find a converter box.

I listened to the Congressional hearing on the coupons.

The coupons expire because they want you to get your converter box *now*.
No expiration date = procrastination till the last minute.

They do not want to reissue expired coupons because, in addition to the procrastination issue, it costs money to send issue new coupons.

And as a side note, from the hearing, I got the impression that the government might be willing to reissue coupons and/or add a slight extension to the coupon deadline, but were worried that if they publicly come out and said so, everyone would wait till the last minute.

Re:Another scam (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069243)

There is only so much money alloted to pay for the converter box "coupons", and when it runs out, there will be no more coupons offered. That is the real, hard, limit. I could understand the expire date issue to motivate requestors to actually move on the offer, so that they can assess what coupons are "abandoned" and can be, in effect, re-issued to a new requestor.

I seriously doubt that the government only sends coupons when there is a sufficient inventory to satisfy demand - that assumes a level of Gov't involvement I can't see (managing/tracking shipments and sales of "low-cost" converter boxes).

I got my requested two coupons quite quickly...

Ken

Why I wish I knew more science (1)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068913)

So, if I have spare room in my freezer and it's already running 24/7, does it take more energy if there's more items in it?

I assume freezers operate based on cooling the air to, say, -5C. If that's the case, if something has a high specific heat (like water) it doesn't take more energy for it to cool it, it just takes longer for it to cool.

So, that ice-pack AC-like machine would use less electricity (if you don't use your freezer for food)?

Not that it's so practical since you'd constantly need to be changing and refreezing the packs, but it might be greener in that respect. Of course, getting a smaller freezer would probably be even greener.

Am I completely off base?

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (5, Informative)

MMORG (311325) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069025)

The freezer removes heat from the icepack and dumps it into the room (plus extra, because of the work done). Then you take the icepack out of the freezer, put it in the "room cooling" device, where it takes heat from the room and puts it back into the icepack. Net result, your room is hotter than it was before. In order to get a net cooling effect, you have to dump the heat into a separate system that you don't care about (like outside). That's why air conditioners have vents to the outside.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069137)

And that's why AC's are more expensive and inherently less efficient than heating a house in cooler areas. You can create heat with 100% efficiency, but you can not ever cool with 100% efficiency.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

ckthorp (1255134) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069289)

Actually, that's not true. You can cool well beyond 100% efficiency. You do it because you're not "cooling" anything -- you're moving energy from one place to another. That's why heat pumps can be used to save money over plain electric heat!

Heat pumps work both ways. (2, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069453)

Heat pumps can move far more heat than the energy they consume doing it. So much so, that people are now using them to warm their homes, as well as cool them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_source_heat_pump [wikipedia.org]

AC is expensive because people design houses and offices with giant windows which both let the sunshine in and keep the heat from getting out. And then build them in Texas.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069211)

The benefit is if your fridge is in a different room than the room you want cooled.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069271)

The freezer removes heat from the icepack and dumps it into the room (plus extra, because of the work done). Then you take the icepack out of the freezer, put it in the "room cooling" device...Net result, your room is hotter than it was before.

My house is, on net, hotter than it was before. My bedroom, where I might put this gizmo, can get cooler while my kitchen gets hotter. That may well be acceptable.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (3, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069433)

There's an old unit of measurement for heat transfer called 'tons'. You don't see it around much anymore, due to the switch to units like btu.hr or kWh. But it would be really useful to bring it back for things such as this.

"1 ton" is the amount of heat needed to melt 1 ton of ice in a 24 hour period,or about 3.5kWh.
Your typical car air-conditioner, or big-ish room A/C, has a cooling capacity of about 2.5 tons.

The reason a ton is useful is that people know how fast ice melts. They know (roughly) that a ton is a heckuva lot of ice. When you tell them your A/C is a "2 ton unit" they can then get an idea of how much energy is used - a lot more than just mentioning a figure in kW.

Sooooooo....How much ice is in those cooling blocks? A kilo or two?The only possible real effect is that it might temporarily de-humidify the air in your room a little due to condensation on the ice blocks, giving the impression that it is "somewhat" cooler.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069045)

Your freezer does not really run 24/7. Instead, it operates in two or more modes - one mode involves just using enough energy to keep the device in standby mode and to operate any devices related to checking the temperature. In other modes, energy is being used to cool the freezer or fridge.

If you add a bunch of water to your freezer, the water will give off energy to the cooler freezer surroundings, increasing the temperature - the sensors will detect a rise in temperature and the cooling device, usually a pump that cools by allowing a pressurized gas to expand (connected to a pump that compresses the expanded gas and then cools the now hot, re-compressed gas in a radiator.

So, the short story is this: There is no free lunch. You spend energy cooling anything you put in the fridge - the more you put in there, the more energy you spend. Additionally, all the heat that you extract from items placed in the fridge goes into the radiator on the back of the fridge ... along with some extra heat created by the whole process ... and that heat leaks out into your apartment.

On a related note, that heat that is put out by your fridge is then effectively removed by your AC ... at yet another cost of energy. So if you want to save a little energy on your AC, find a way to get that radiator on the back of your fridge exposed to the outside air but not the inside air (via an enclosure covering the back of the fridge and opening to a vent that leads outside ... a vent with good airflow, of course).

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (4, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069231)

Be carefull about moving the radiator portion of the fidge outside. A heat pump has to work harder the more against the gradient the tempature differential you are tring to create is. The compressor system in your fridge is designed to run lots of short cycles, where as the AC unit on your house is designed for few longer cycles.

If you fridge can't pump much heat because its trying to exhaust the heat into an 90F+ world and its going to be running constantly. It might not last long in that configuration.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069125)

No, you're not. I'm a little bit shocked myself that that product was advanced as a scam. Sure the marketing hype is a bit over the top, but the device is fairly similar to the swamp coolers which many have used for decades in the US. Back when my dad was a kid, movie theaters would use a similar device for cooling.

The main question is whether it's more efficient than AC or not. Lowering the temperature by a given amount requires a certain amount of energy to be removed regardless of how it's done. But the amount of energy it takes to do so can and will vary.

The problem with AC is that it's trying to do so in real time and doesn't get the advantage that a typical stand alone freezer does. You can potentially stock up most of an entire days worth of ice in the evening when things often times cool down and then shift those ice cubes to the part of the day where it's hotter.

The only real question is how much energy is really saved over AC.

It's a bit better than a swamp cooler, because it doesn't depend upon humidity to work.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069303)

It is a scam. You are forgetting one thing about a Swamp Cooler. It just uses water as part of a heat exchanger system, and ALSO pumps the heat outside of the house. This product does not pump the heat outside of the house, therefore it is not actually cooling anything. It is a scam.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069473)

No, you're not. I'm a little bit shocked myself that that product was advanced as a scam. Sure the marketing hype is a bit over the top, but the device is fairly similar to the swamp coolers which many have used for decades in the US. Back when my dad was a kid, movie theaters would use a similar device for cooling.

No, it's not. A swamp cooler works by letting water evaporate and requires no energy expenditure on that water beforehand. This device requires you to freeze the water beforehand which results in a net increase in the room temperature unless you do things creatively.

The problem with AC is that it's trying to do so in real time and doesn't get the advantage that a typical stand alone freezer does. You can potentially stock up most of an entire days worth of ice in the evening when things often times cool down and then shift those ice cubes to the part of the day where it's hotter.
The only real question is how much energy is really saved over AC.

You may be using more energy in the end depending on the day/night temperature differences of the room in question. Efficiency is dependent on the difference between the hot and cold sides of a room and the temperature you want your cool side to be (and practical losses). An AC only needs to cool things to say 25C while a freezer needs to cool things to 0C.

It's a bit better than a swamp cooler, because it doesn't depend upon humidity to work.

Not really. A swamp cooler requires no heat pump at all and as a result only requires as much energy as it takes to power a fan (and supply the water).

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

KPU (118762) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069179)

This is roughly the same as opening the door to your fridge. In the short term, the local temperature goes down. By the time the fridge has again cooled the air inside, it has emitted more than enough heat to cancel out the initial cooling. All this does is separate the heating and cooling. If the fridge is well ventilated, it might actually cool the place down. However, if you turn an inside fan on, all you're doing is heating the place.

Subject to cooling the same amount of water, the amount of time it takes is irrelevant.

Re:The Science of Refrigeration (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069209)

First, you have to accept that you can't just create "heat" or "cold" from nothing, nor can you destroy it. You can, however, move it from one place to another. As water freezes into ice, it absorbs "cold" from the local environment. Similarly, when it melts, it releases the "cold" into the surroundings. That's how the ice-pack air conditioner works.

"Hot" and "cold" are basically the same thing, only with opposite polarities. The above thermal exchange could be viewed as "melting ice absorbs heat" and "freezing ice releases heat." So the thing you really need to worry about is the ice pack moving heat into your freezer. With more items in the freezer, you have a bigger "cold" buffer which will offset the "heat" dumped into the freezer by the freezing water. Remember, "heat" can't be destroyed, only moved. It's just a matter of time until the "heat" accumulates to a problematic level.

I run a small business on the side, helping people deal with Catastrophic Retention of Accumulated Pthermions in their home refrigeration systems. For a nominal fee, I can have a crew come over and purge the pthermions from your freezer, ensuring years of continued, reliable service.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (2, Informative)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069281)

Am I completely off base?

Yes.

So, if I have spare room in my freezer and it's already running 24/7, does it take more energy if there's more items in it?

Yes it does take more energy.

I assume freezers operate based on cooling the air to, say, -5C. If that's the case, if something has a high specific heat (like water) it doesn't take more energy for it to cool it, it just takes longer for it to cool.

So, that ice-pack AC-like machine would use less electricity (if you don't use your freezer for food)?

The ice-pack AC would take more electricity, not less. You need to add in the electrical usage of the fans on the "super advanced product".

Not that it's so practical since you'd constantly need to be changing and refreezing the packs, but it might be greener in that respect. Of course, getting a smaller freezer would probably be even greener.

It's not greener. Not even close.

Your freezer just exchanges heat. From what I remember about thermodynamics, heat "moves to where it isn't". Basically, what that means is that you if put in one of those billion degree Hot Pockets straight out the microwave into the freezer and wait long enough all the heat energy in the Hot Pocket distributes itself throughout the rest of the freezer. The Hot Pocket reaches equilibrium with the rest of the items in the freezer. Now maybe there is more to it than that, such as specific heats and what not, but like I said these are the basics that I am remembering.

After you put the Hot Pocket into the freezer, the whole freezer might raise a couple degrees over time. Once it raises to a certain temperature, the freezer starts up and starts blowing air around inside of it and starts to "pump" the heat from inside the freezer to the outside. That is why if you feel the back of your refrigerator/freezer at some points it is hot.

In order to "pump" the heat it has to use something like freon, a compressor, electricity, etc. The amount of electricity used depends on how efficient the whole unit is. Guess what the difference is between your house A/C and a refrigerator? There is no difference. Your freezer works exactly the same way your A/C works on your house.

The amount of energy used to "pump" all the heat out of two large ice packs is more than likely where they are trying to get the 60-watt bulb analogy. That is not good at all, considering that we should all be buying the eco-friendly 13-watt equivalents now.

Basically, that "environmentally friendly super advanced tech" is just outsourcing the cooling job to your freezer and then those ice packs are "pulling" the heat out of the air thereby lowering the surrounding temperature for a short period of time. Depending on how good the insulation is for your house, the heat from the outside of your house will work it's way in and raise the temperature back up. What is even more absurd is that your freezer is in your house. So when you put the ice packs back in the freezer, that heat will be "pumped" out of the ice packs back into your kitchen.

Your house A/C actually acts like a relay for your kitchen refrigerator. Your refrigerator has a LOT better insulation on it and will keep heat from getting inside. It also pumps any existing heat (from the items) to the outside of the refrigerator raising the temperature of your house. Your house A/C then pumps that heat outside of your house.

So in this particular instance, that super product is actually passing the heat to your fridge which is then passing the heat to your house A/C. How on earth is that more efficient? It's not.

That was just a very good Marketing/Con job.

Re:Why I wish I knew more science (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069387)

First, as another poster mentions, you have to cool the icepacks repeatedly. Every time you return them to the freezer, you put some heat into it.

Second, you increase the energy expended by the freezer every time you open the door and let warm air in.

rj

Yes, but umm... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068921)

How many watts does a 60 watt lightbulb use?

Re:Yes, but umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069201)

Something like 60 watt-hours per hour...

What's the best tech scam you've heard of lately? (4, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068935)

What's the best tech scam you've heard of lately?

Do you mean other than those $60 converter boxs and $40 Government coupons that expire in less than 80 days after people receive them? The coupons are a great deal for the importers and sellers, but in reality the customer ends up paying about whet they would if there were no coupon program, perhaps more when you realize they pay sales tax on the entire ticket price. In a world where I can buy a DVD player in a local store for $29 or less, these much simpler converter boxes should not be costing $60.

Best Tech Scam (5, Informative)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068985)

Well, the cell phone antenna booster "stickers" were probably the single best tech scam. It combined laughably ineffective "technology" with the always successful price-so-low-it-doesn't-matter-if-they-don't-work.

More recently, I'm still astounded by the number of "BOOST YOUR MPG!" schemes that involve additives or random crap shoved in your air intake. I especially love the accusations from promoters that the auto manufacturers are in it with the oil companies. GM and Ford are both facing a very real possibility of chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the word is that Cerberus is quietly readying a giant hammer of doom over at Chrysler. If all it took was a $2 piece of metal to get 9 more mpg out of a Malibu, don't you think they'd have done it by now? See the cell phone boosters for the basic premise: if you only charge $40 for one of these things, people won't be too pissed when they find out that it doesn't work.

There are many MLM schemes that differentiate themselves from the regular Amway crowd by pitching websites that MAKE YOU MONEY. I was actually approached by two different classmates about five years ago regarding the scheme, and it was so comically bad to anyone with any kind of tech knowledge that you couldn't help but laugh. Picture MLM combined with an Amazon-style referral bonus for online purchases. Now charge someone $400 to participate, and charge extra for adding basic things to their company website. Now make sure the websites resemble GeoCities circa 1997. Now we're talking!

My other favorite is the speaker scam, which someone tried to pull on me about two weeks ago (I hadn't heard of these for years). It's not really a tech scam, just your basic grift that happens to involve technology: an "installer" got an extra set of speakers/surround sound system/plasma TV accidentally loaded in his van for a big install job. Last time this happened, his boss reamed him a new one for not noticing in the first place, then sold them and kept the cash himself. Installer figures he'd "cut out the middleman" and you look like the kind of guy who knows good equipment. Usually they're selling actual speakers or receiver (the plasma scams generally involved an oven door in a box with a window), and they often have some custom-made audio magazine with their brand of speaker on the cover and a great review inside. You end up buying $20 worth of garbage for $200. Dogg Digital and Kirsch were the big names in the white van speaker scam years ago. Google them for an entertaining and depressing look at human nature.

Re:Best Tech Scam (4, Interesting)

Hollinger (16202) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069207)

My other favorite is the speaker scam, which someone tried to pull on me about two weeks ago (I hadn't heard of these for years). It's not really a tech scam, just your basic grift that happens to involve technology: an "installer" got an extra set of speakers/surround sound system/plasma TV accidentally loaded in his van for a big install job. Last time this happened, his boss reamed him a new one for not noticing in the first place, then sold them and kept the cash himself.

They've moved to eBay. A year or two ago, I was trying to find some new speakers. I spent several hours clicking around the various brands and types on eBay, and for kicks (maybe because I'm slightly evil) I'd place a few opening bids on obviously high-end items, knowing I'd lose the auction. The next morning I had "congrats! You've won!" email in my inbox, and an invoice for $78 for a pair of DR-SL-900 [ebay.com] speakers. It took me all of 10 minutes to figure out that these were a scam [google.com] . I offered to pay the relisting fees as a good netizen, expecting something like $5:

Item: DR-SL-900 HOME THEATER SPEAKERS SURROUND SOUND (5836587072)
This message was sent after the listing closed.
ou_mike_hollinger is the winner.

Hello,

I just won this pair of speakers. To be honest, I didn't expect to win a $1500+ dollar pair. I thought my bid would be outbid rather quickly.

Can I just pay your re-listing fees or something? I sell on eBay as well, and hate it when people do this, but someone offered to cover my relisting fees for eBay, which pretty much removed all the expense from my pocket.

How does that sound to you?

Sorry for the inconvenience,
~ Mike

And promptly got this note back:

From: Chrisstfo@aol.com [mailto:Chrisstfo@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2005 8:40 AM
To: mhollinger@ou.edu
Subject: Re: Message from eBay Member Regarding Item #5836587072

Hi, that would be fine. Please pay $45 asap. Thanks, Chris

After replying that that was a ripoff, I got back a note detailing the various fees they paid, which totaled $30. Where'd the extra $15 come from? After that, I told them I'd researched the product, and that they could initiate the dead-beat bidder process, so I could take the negative feedback and be on my merry way.

I got this response:

Hi, yes it does come out of stock as soon as we list the item. The item is taking down and packaged very well. There is nothing wrong with the products that we sell. Please see our feedback everyone loves them. They are great speakers and we stand behind d them 110%. The sites that you mentioned are all bullshit from people that have no idea what they are talking about. If you would like you could pick up a copy of E_GEAR and see that the speakers where tested by pros and the rated them 5 stars. We spent a lot of time listing them and packaging them. We are very easy to deal with. Please pay what you think is fair and we will leave it @ that. If you would like you can contact us @ 201-450-1145. Thank You, Chris

I told them "no deal," and they opened an "unpaid item dispute" against me. I put in the dispute that they were a scam, and about an hour later the dispute was closed for the reason: "payment has been received." Hah. I was actually waiting for them to leave me positive feedback...

So I learned my lesson: Always research before you bid on eBay, even if the bid's not serious. ;-)

Re:Best Tech Scam (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069213)

That's funny, I had someone try to pull that speaker scam on me just a few weeks ago. I had never heard of it before, but the whole thing seemed shady to me, so I told him to take a hike. My initial thought was that the speakers were stolen, but now that you mention it it's probably more likely he was trying to sell me garbage in a box.

Re:Best Tech Scam (1)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069477)

If all it took was a $2 piece of metal to get 9 more mpg out of a Malibu, don't you think they'd have done it by now?

No, why would you think they would? What is their motivation to spend money they don't have to? Americans have proven that they don't care about fuel efficiency (witness the love of SUVs), so a lower MPG wouldn't increase sales - so why on earth would GM increase the cost of their cars when it has no benefit to them?

Please don't read this to mean that I believe the "MPG enhancers" are a scam - it's just that your logic as to *why* it's a scam is entirely flawed.

A story: the 1541 disk drive used software to determine the head position. It would simply step the head back 38 tracks (the largest amount). If the head was somewhere between 38 (as it most probably was), the stepper motor would the head assembly against a physical stopper, making a very loud and disturbing sound, and eventually moved the head slightly out of position (there was an entire industry created around realigning the heads of these drives.)

Now, why didn't Commodore just put a sensor in there, instead of irritating customers? Cost. The cost of a sensor was around $0.04 - against a drive that originally cost $600.

Extended warranties suck except where they dont (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069023)

I have a 20 month old Samsung 46" LCD TV. It now needs over $700 in repairs because of one of two blown video boards. So if had paid for the extended warranty I would already paid in that $700 - so it's a wash either way. If I paid $700 for the TV (e.g a smaller one), with or without any warranty at all, it's actually cheaper to throw the TV off the fucking roof and get a new one.

Re:Extended warranties suck except where they dont (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069115)

Extended warranties make sense in a few situations. Of course, "self-insuring" is a much better idea. If you're tempted to buy the warranty on something, just take the money you would have spent on the warranty and dump it in a high-interest savings or money-market account. It's essentially the same thing the insurer is doing anyway (although, of course, they're spreading it out over many more claims than you will). You also get to make the call to toss it all and get a new one instead of waiting in repair limbo.

My absolute favorite part, though, is that the salesperson is almost always unable to counter it during their warranty pitch. I used to sell the warranties while I worked at Circuit City and Best Buy in college, and banking the warranty cost was one of the few objections that really didn't have any easy, canned reply.

Re:Extended warranties suck except where they dont (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069151)

I guess my basic objection is that the durability of consumer electronics is now INVERSELY related to the price. Seems like you're screwed either way. Get a cheap off brand TV and it breaks and no one can fix it. Get a name brand and they rape you on the repairs until it really makes no sense to bother at all.

Re:Extended warranties suck except where they dont (3, Informative)

philipgar (595691) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069265)

One thing that can make extended warranties worthwhile is that the cost to repair a broken item is much higher to you than it is to the company offering the warranty. For instance, if you have a laptop and something on the logic board breaks, you can easily spend $400 finding a replacement logic board. However the company making the machine really spends less than $200 on it (probably far less than that). The issue is that they are the only source of replacement parts, the whole vendor lock-in problem.

I've learned my lesson, and now buy extended warranties on laptops. The extended warranty on my Macbook has more than paid for itself already, and in the end got me an upgrade to a model released a year and a half after I bought mine. Hopefully I don't need to use the warranty again, but it's very nice knowing I don't have to worry about it. Plus, while it might be cheaper to repair some things on your own, you really need to value your time on getting something fixed. How long does it take to find the parts, a place to fix it etc. How long will your item be out of commission. It's quite convenient to call one number and get a box to return the item in the next day.

Phil

QRay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069067)

Fat Fizz (1)

Rick Genter (315800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069101)

Of course, Made in Eureka... [scifi.com]

Illegal Eavesdropping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069109)

Has the Gov tried to bring charges against terrorists? What's their success rate? 'Nuff said.

The cooler is not a scam (3, Informative)

totalnubee (223194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069163)

That type of cooler is called an evaporative or swamp cooloer [wikipedia.org] . It's no air conditioner, but it can be effective in some cases and is definitely not a tech scam.

Car runs on water (5, Informative)

bsharma (577257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069177)

Frys DVR (1)

mzs (595629) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069337)

I bought a DVD VCR combo from Frys that only recorded to the VHS tape. I only learned this when I took it home and read the manual. The sign on the shelf clearly called it a 'DVR' even said it was 'compatible with DVD+-R' but not that it recorded to DVD. I had to take it back. They said that the sign was not misleading saying that a DVD player was 'digital' and the VCR was the 'video recorder' part. Then I had my wife try to take it back and she had no problems. I wonder if it was a scam or incompetence.

Audiophile Hardware (5, Insightful)

Dr.Pete (1021137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069451)

I'm going to get all the /. audiophiles offside with this, but whatever. Some of the stuff targeted at audio pimpers is truly ridiculous. See http://www.ilikejam.org/blog/audio/audiophile.html [ilikejam.org] For example:
  • The CD stop light pen: A giant disregard of optics leads people to believe that the probe light "goes somewhere in the CD" and needs to be trapped.
  • Audio-pimp cables: Yes, a good cable with decent materials and a well engineered, within spec connector will help with sound. Some of these audiophile connectors, however, provide no discernible or even measurable benefit. Certainly not for the cost required.
  • My favorite, the volume knob: A turned wooden knob. Ha ha, knob. This may be aesthetically pleasing to some, but to claim it has anything to do with audio quality is just wrong.

These audiophile things offend me. I realize some people like to mess with their hardware to make it look pretty in their eyes (ricers, for example) but to claim such "behind-the-scenes" hardware mods do anything except drain the bank accounts of the ignorant is beyond the pale and simply a scam perpetrated by those who know better.

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