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Early Adopters Experiencing More Bugs?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the cranky-tech-gremlins dept.

129

As the pressure to push out new technology product continues, early adopters are continuing to experience trouble. A reader wrote to mention a USA Today article about some recent new product problems. From the article: "Philips Electronics revealed Friday that it is recalling 11,800 plasma television sets. The Ambilight TVs were sold in the USA from June 2005 to January 2006 for $3,000 to $5,000. Faulty capacitors inside the sets can spark. Nine incidents have been reported, but retardant material inside the TVs has prevented any fires, spokeswoman Katrina Blauvelt says. The problem is not expected to affect other brands, because it is a part related to Philips' unique Ambilight feature, which casts a colored glow on the wall behind the TV."

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Ambilight! (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956191)

Faulty capacitors inside the sets can spark. Nine incidents have been reported, but retardant material inside the TVs has prevented any fires, spokeswoman Katrina Blauvelt says. The problem is not expected to affect other brands, because it is a part related to Philips' unique Ambilight feature, which casts a colored glow on the wall behind the TV.
I never thought I'd be paying for a multi-thousand dollar TV, but when I picked up the new Philips Ambilight TV and popped in my favorite DVD of Backdraft, I wasn't even aware of the sheer awesomeness that was about to transpire.

This Ambilight technology is off the hook! Look at that red glow and flame effect it has on my wall! Technology is amazing! Now movies look completely real and vivid. This is the full theatre experience--I'm glad I paid $3k-$5k for this. I don't know how Philips does it but only Ambilight TVs give you the authentic feel like you really are trapped inside a burning building. And look, the flame even gives me third degree burns like a real fire ...

Re:Ambilight! (4, Interesting)

camt (162536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956522)

Despite the humor of your post, Ambilight is a very cool technology -- ambient back-lighting significantly reduces eye strain. I was very hopeful that other companies would come out with equivalent alternatives or start licensing it from Philips -- it deserves to be on every TV set sold, wall-mounted or not.

Re:Ambilight! (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956691)

I get the same effect from my plasma TV, it is in the corner of the room surrounded by white walls, the reflected light truly does match the average color of whats on the edges of the TV, with no fire or software on a much cheaper TV.
I see now their adding a white frame behind those TV's for those with dark walls to get better ambilight reflection, I hope it's removeable, it does look nice, sort of framed, if it otherwise matches your interior decor.

Re:Ambilight! (1)

johu (55313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956645)

Couple years ago my previous TV exploded while I was watching some movie from TV. First I thought that whoa this movie has awesome effects and sounds. Pretty soon I realized that sparks and awful smelling mushroom cloud emerging from behind TV-set was not part of movie. :) Luckily it only sparked and smoked but didn't catch fire.

Re:Ambilight! (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956948)

Brings a whole new level of reality when watching Towering Inferno then...?

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956195)

fp

This just in.... (3, Funny)

Wubby (56755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956197)

Water is believed by scientists to be wet... Film at eleven!

Re:This just in.... (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956250)

And yet in the previous story, users are seemingly rushing off to upgrade to Firefox 2.0 alpha. Sometimes you really do need to state the obvious.

At least wait for the .0 versions if you don't want problems, folks. You might want to wait for the .1 or .2 versions. This applies to appliances, cars, software, and even books (I try to wait for the first corrected printing for O'Reilly books).

Re:This just in.... (1)

djonsson (542920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956534)

The questionmark in this headline intrigues me though. It's more like "Coming up next: Is water really wet? Scientist confirm: yes, yes it is." I must say I've never seen /. summed in four words better than the tagging of this article: "dupe, obvious, duh, tech"

No Way (3, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956198)

I'm running the latest and greatest kernel and it is sta$#&*(

@$(*&))@#(
@#)(@$)()@#&(*!*@(!

NO CARRIER

Re:No Way (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956282)

@$(*&))@#(
@#)(@$)()@#&(*!*@(!


Interesting perl script.

Re:No Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956300)

That movie in your .sig has to be the best allegory I have seen so far yet.

Only thing is I wish I could tell it to all the iPod owners. Somehow I don't think they'd listen...

Kudos!
B.

Re:No Way (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956459)

The latest and greatest on a dialup connection, no less...

in other news: (1, Insightful)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956199)

"Rain is wet! details at eleven!"

Some journalist really think they need to state the obvious...

Re:in other news: (1)

G)-(ostly (960826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956251)

The point isn't to inform you that early adopters experience more bugs than people who buy stable technology, it's to question whether or not faster turn-a-around times are increasing the bug incidences of modern adopters over adopters from 10 or 20 years ago.

Maybe they do need to state the obvious, since you couldn't pick it up on your own...

why rtfa? (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956284)

You wrongly assumed I would read such an article. If you already have made your mind up you don't want to read something that contradicts that, do you?

Re:why rtfa? (1)

G)-(ostly (960826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956903)

This is slashdot. The article usually has nothing to do with the title. In fact, on Slashdot, you might as well not read the title, much less come to any conclusions based on it, because 90% of the time it's sensationlist garbage that's merely attempting to get click-throughs to the comments so OSTG can churn out more ad placement.

Re:in other news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956296)

Some journalist really think they need to state the obvious...
Why not, you just did

What? How can this be?! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956205)

Are they seriously suggesting that the people who are first to experience a new product or service may be statistically more likely to experience unintended side effects or consequences of a system which has only had limited & focused testing prior to it's release? Say it ain't so!

Here I was thinking that everything that has ever been done is tested, 100%, with every single possible scenario covered. Even ones the testers didn't think of. You've shattered my perfect world view!

Like a hole in my head (1, Flamebait)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956206)

If I were watching the wall behind my TV, I'm sure I'd like there to be something colorful and attractive there.

BUT I'M USUALLY WATCHING THE TV SCREEN!

You're risking starting a fire so that there's an attractive and colorful pattern on the wall BEHIND the TV???

Beam me up! I yield back the remainder of my post to click knobs and rabbit ears.

Re:Like a hole in my head (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956241)

Obviously, the plan wasn't to set fire to the TV as part of the lighting run. But when this works properly, it's rather good. The idea is that the light in your peripheral vision both helps reduce eyestrain, and it subjectively enhances image quality by helping to compensate for the contrast limitations of some displays. As such it's of rather more use on LCD than Plasma however.

Re:Like a hole in my head (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956399)

You're risking starting a fire so that there's an attractive and colorful pattern on the wall BEHIND the TV???

No, it case of a fire, there will be a VERY insteresting thing to watch. Fire looks cool, no? Just think of it catching fire as winning the lottery then... in that case, it enhances your entertainment experience.

Re:Like a hole in my head (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956507)

Fire looks cool, no?

<joke type="obvious">
No, it looks hot.
</joke type="obvious">

Re:Like a hole in my head (1)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956792)

If I were watching the wall behind my TV, I'm sure I'd like there to be something colorful and attractive there. BUT I'M USUALLY WATCHING THE TV SCREEN!

Most people will utilize their peripheral vision. Just because you're staring at the center of the TV doesn't mean you won't see things out of the corner of your vision. And your eyes move around a lot on their own to scan images, so it's really not all that ridiculous to assume that you will catch the edge of the screen in your vision while watching.

Re:Like a hole in my head (1)

pwroberts (600985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956952)

You're risking starting a fire so that there's an attractive and colorful pattern on the wall BEHIND the TV???

Score:1, Flamebait - nicely done, moderator!

I'm on fire.

Ambilight? (3, Funny)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956207)

The problem is not expected to affect other brands, because it is a part related to Philips' unique Ambilight feature, which casts a colored glow on the wall behind the TV.

Is that colored glow before or after the capacitors blow?

"It's not a flaw - its a feature!"

Great timing (1)

ClimbNorth (531511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956215)

This right after firefox 2.0 alpha is released. Some sort of joke?

Re:Great timing (1)

reklusband (862215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956236)

In related news...Tech junkies agree that paying more for earlier, more unstable versions of hardware makes them cooler, except when the tech overheats, then they're HOT HOT HOT!

Yes, it's another dupe. (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956217)

Of this story [slashdot.org] , to be precise. To repeat what was said there, this has nothing to do with the actual plasma TV tech, and is purely a problem with the multicoloured lights they have round the back of the TV. Which can be turned off until you get a chance to send it off for the fix.

Re:Yes, it's another dupe. (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956592)

No, it's not a dupe, it's the second version. The first one was found to be too buggy.

The problem (3, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956219)

It seems to me that early adopters will continue to have problems as long as consumers keep their memories short. There is undeniable pressure to get new products to market fast. This leads to shoddy engineering. Thing is, generally companies do not feel many repercussions when they screw up, because consumers do not avaoid other products from that company. Phillips will take a hit in this recall, but six months from now, it will be forgotten by the world at large and Phillips will maintain the status quo: get new shinies in the store as fast as possible.

Remember that the XBox 360 had a duff power supply? That has hardly hurt the sales of that product and you can bet nobody will associate that debacle with the upcoming release of Vista.

The problem-Gotta Catch'em all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956332)

"It seems to me that early adopters will continue to have problems as long as consumers keep their memories short."

It's not so much forgetfulness, as it is materialism. People have to have the latest technology. Keeping up with the joneses, as it were.

"Remember that the XBox 360 had a duff power supply? That has hardly hurt the sales of that product and you can bet nobody will associate that debacle with the upcoming release of Vista."

No the Xbox 360 power supply was fine. You simply needed to give it adequate cooling. You may be thinking about the Xbox power supply?

Re:The problem-Gotta Catch'em all. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956413)

Keeping up with the joneses, as it were.

Of course the joneses are about $10k in credit card debt.

I use to wonder how these people are able to aford such expensive things, I know my salary is above average but I can't afford them. Then I learned that the Average American is $10k in debt (Bad dept not good dept like home mortgages) then I feel better knowing that they couldn't afford it either, I was just smart enough to not keep up with the joneses and have no Bad Dept and an Excelent Credit Rating. Living humbly has it advantages too.

Duff power supply? The jury's still out.. (2, Insightful)

Channard (693317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956373)

The duff power supply thing was never really pegged down. There are apparently two different types of power supply, but Microsoft never really went around replacing power supplies, more the whole console. I believe one cause of the issue was that people were shoving the 360s in cabinets with little ventilation when in fact the console, essentially a squished down PC, generates a lot of heat and needs open air ventilation. I know some 360s had reported problems, but you don't hear from people who've had no problems. My own 360 has been going since December, and it's crashed about three times since then, which I'd actually put down to issues on the software, not hardware. The real issue is that Microsoft is now allowing games companies to release patches via Live, something that was a no-no for the X-Box 1. *That's* what's annoying me, the idea that it'll make games companies more likely to release games that haven't been properly tested.

As for Ambilight - just what is the point of that feature? It makes your wall glow? I've seen the adverts for it and it just screams gimmick. If you really want that kind of feature, hook up your own lights behind a non-Phillips plasma TV and you're done. I think more damage is done by companies denying there's a fault and being found out.. to quote Fight Club..


'If a new car built by my company leaves Chicago traveling west at 60 miles per hour, and the rear differential locks up, and the car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside, does my company initiate a recall?
You take the population of vehicles in the field (A) and multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B), then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court settlement (C).
A times B times C equals X. This is what it will cost if we don't initiate a recall.
If X is greater than the cost of a recall, we recall the cars and no one gets hurt.
If X is less than the cost of a recall, then we don't recall.'

Less headaches (2, Interesting)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956473)

As for Ambilight - just what is the point of that feature? It makes your wall glow? I've seen the adverts for it and it just screams gimmick.
IIR, the whole point of this is that there have been studies which show that when one lights the wall behind a projection screen or TV, especially in a darkened room, it is supposed to lead to less eyestrain and headaches.

Of course you are correct that just setting a light behind the TV is not terribly difficult, however some people do like to have nice clean rooms without a lot of cables and or extra equipment floating around, thus their tendancy to buy one of these TVs.

Re:The problem (2, Insightful)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957322)

That's why I'm scared to buy the next Dodge Challenger or Chevy Camaro in a couple years.

Not to mention that automakers intentionally dumb-down first-year models just to have something better to sell the following years...

The problem is not expected to affect other brands (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956224)

Maybe not *this* problem, but more and more software, hardware and services seem to be a lot of rubbish, as proper testing gets neglected in the rush to market. (Not that testing was ever that big a deal, especially in the software industry, which deosn't have quite the same problems with fire/electrical shock hazards as hardware).

Early Adopters Experiencing More Bugs (0, Redundant)

Dainutehvs (936606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956226)

in other news : the world is round .. i mean flat .. i mean .. whatever

Product design incomplete (4, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956229)

It seems that we just accept these things now as inevitable. When products were produced, even as little as 10-20 years ago, I think they went through a much more thorough testing cycle before they were released to the public. With the advent of the Internet, expecially with software products, this idea of "release broken, patch later" just became the normal way of doing things. Since everyone running a business uses computers, this idea started creeping into products that couldn't be patched over the Internet. Of course, when companies start getting hit with the massive bills for these kinds of failures, I think we'll see the pendulum swing the other way. It's not even about massive consumer backlash anymore. (Which used to be the only motovating factor) It's simply that if Phillips has to pay a technician $30 - $50 (or more) to go onsite and replace a cheap defective part for 12,000 TV sets, they will start paying more attention to testing.

Heres a test for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956262)

11,800 televisions have been sold to date. Out of these 11,800 units, 9 experiences a problem.

1. Work out the incident rate at which this faults occured.
2. Calculate how many sets Phillips would have to test before they were statistically likely to encounter this fault, prior to release.

Once you've done that, you might understand why this problem wasn't found earlier.

Re:Product design incomplete (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956316)

I am a Philips technician in Argentina. I do not do house calls, but if I did I would be paid the same: FIVE DOLLARS.

Re:Product design incomplete (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957227)

I am a Philips technician in Argentina. I do not do house calls, but if I did I would be paid the same: FIVE DOLLARS.

The cost of Philips sending you to do a house call is probably rather more. They have to get you there and whilst you are travelling you typically can't do much in the way of useful work.
N.B. The cost of employing someone is always greater than what that employee is paid.

It's not just early adopters. (2, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956234)

Anyone who buys a complex product that's not in very wide circulation runs the risk of getting more bugs in the system. Take kitchen appliances for example. That $6000 refridgerator that's even been in production for a few years is a lot more likely to have bugs in its operation than the $1200 one that's been around for the same amount of time. Why? Because hundreds of thousands of people buy the $1200 compared to the few thousand who bought the $6000 one. That $1200 unit has been in a lot more homes so the company has had time to better refine the product. Granted if you buy the top shelf item I imagine the manufacturer will jump through as many hoops as possible to keep your business since they did make a tidy profit off of you and want to keep you around as a future sucker... I mean customer.

Bad Caps Abound (4, Informative)

No Salvation (914727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956240)

Yeah, Philips is known for having products with bad caps. I've had a couple Philips DVD players stop working for this very reason. There are whole forums devoted to the issue, you think they would have found a new supplier of low ESR caps by now. In any case no more Philips for me.

Re:Bad Caps Abound (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956863)

Every company runs the risk of bad source components and/or bad design. I used to work at my parents electronics shop and I remember replacing caps in many GE and Zenith equipment as well.
In the last few years, there was an issue with bad caps in a variety of motherboards and power supplies.
Bad or improper design should be more of a worry then faulty components for early adopters. A faulty product can be introduced at any point in a products run as suppliers change, a design failure issue will always be there until the design is changed. The two issues can be confused easily as well. If a 50volt cap is a common failure in a certain product, is it the cap that is faulty or should the circuit design have called for a 100v or a different type of cap instead?

This has been known for a while (2, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956248)

This has been known for a long time now. Apple afficionado's call it the "Revision A Syndrome" where nobody who knows their stuff will buy a revision A. Look at the first iMacs and their hard drive and processor problems, the first iMac flat panels and their arms collapsing or the first imac G5 and their capacitors and overheating and fan noise problems. The first eMacs and their analog board problems making for half a display or the revision A G5 with their PCI and fan noise problems. Revision A 15" powerbooks had screen white blotch problems. Revision A white iBooks had some of the worst screen and logic board problems of any macbook.

But it is fixed in the end and progress continues and there are then models that are gems that are known never to give the owners any problems at all and have few issues to ever have warranty fixes. that is what early adopters are for.

watch it continue with the new revision B iMacs when they fix the intel screen problems plaguing them, or revision B macbook pros fixing the dull flickery screen and keyboard brightness problems and dying magsafe connectors and the revision B intel mac mini when they fix its overheating, DVI flickering and dying hard disc problems.

early adopters pay a price but they get what is coming before anybody else so in that case they are getting an advantage by six months and they know they are sometimes willing to pay for something not as good as later.

Well DUR? (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956253)

Hum, im wondering what fact we have discovered here?

I'm thinking someone brought one of these and is now pissed off because its got to go back. Sounds about right really as if you do buy something where the technology is so new and untested then yes, it WILL Have bugs.

My dad always used to wait awhile before buying a new vcr/hifi/dvd player, so that they could fix bugs.

Anyone want to think about all those gen1 ipods which expanded/blewup/died/lostbatterycharge/got robbed.... ?

1st rule of new cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956880)

Never buy a car in the first three years of that model's production.

The Chevy Vega was so bad that by the time they worked the design flaws out (too small a crankcase coupled with a leaky headgasket and too small a radiator) they couldn't sell them any more.

The "1st 3 years of production" rule has been around as long as I remember, and I'm over 50.

It only makes sense that it would apply to other machines as well.

New gen TV's are not perfect (1)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956256)

Read AVS Forum [avsforum.com] , and hear about some of the problems people are having with their TVs. There are tons of issues out there. Plasma TVs degrade over time (years), for example. Another serious problem (in my opinion) seems to be the rear projection tv's (RPTV's) that have bulb issues (such as dlp tv). $250-$400 per bulb, and some consumers are getting blown bulbs after less than $1000 hours of use (the manufacturer specifically says something ridiculous like 6k+ hours). I want a new TV, but I'm not going to spend $3k on something than needs to be worked on or replaced within years. Also, it is ridiculous that 1080p tv's can only accept a 1080i signal through HDMI (If they say it is an 1080p tv it should take a 1080p signal).

Just remember: "The pioneers take all the arrows"

Interesting article, but a bit dramatic (2, Interesting)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956259)

FTA: The problems don't necessarily mean tech firms are suddenly designing shoddy products, NPD's Baker says. But they are outsourcing more to save money..

I'm not an overly-critical person, but I think the article is FULL of juicy, one-sentence generalizations like the above.

I'd be more interested in knowing the frequency of this type of issues, the actual brand to which these things have happened (beyond Phillips' issue), and the nature of the issues.

By the way, getting service on a TV, VCR, CD, or DVD machine is interesting. Contrary to the article's statment, you'd be surprised at how many brands are actually in the food chain of a very few companies.

Re:Interesting article, but a bit dramatic (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956357)

I'm not an overly-critical person, but I think the article is FULL of juicy, one-sentence generalizations like the above.

You must not be a USA Today subscriber. This "newspaper" was specifically designed to dumb it down. It should thought of as news for kids who want to prentend they are reading a paper just like dad.

Umm.. (0, Redundant)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956270)

Early adopters experiece bugs...?

Things released from hand fall towards the ground...?
 

Re:Umm.. (1)

akeyes (720106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956360)

Things released from hand fall towards the ground...?

Not if it is lighter than the air around it...

Re:Umm.. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956654)

I just tested with a bottle of water, clearly heavier than air. The bottle was standing on the table, I gripped it (didn't bother to lift it, though), and then released it from hand again. Nothing happened. The bottle wasn't making even the slightest movement towards the ground.

Re:Umm.. (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956748)

Your bottle of water was probably lighter than all the air on the room you were at.

I, on the other hand, tried with an object heavier than all the air in the room but less dense, and it didn't fall towards the ground either ;)

Oops, no I didn't, that object wouldn't fit in the room :P Or maybe it would, since air doesn't necessarily fill all (or even a big part) of a room.

OK, that was enough, back to work now ;)

Big surprise.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956288)

I remember my uncle once told me to never buy revision 1 versions of motherboards because they may often have issues. With the complexity other devices are taking now, it appears that this word of advice may go beyond typical computer hardware.

Not 1st revision (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956301)

Ambilight was in many products before, this probably just was a fluke.
If you would see the original request (check DUPE), you would see the problem only relates to a limited set of production dates (uptil week 34 '05).

O RLY? (-1, Redundant)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956295)

As the pressure to push out new technology product continues, early adopters are continuing to experience trouble.

This just in - two plus two equals four.

Breaking news - fish lack opposable thumbs, and thus cannot take up quilting.

Hot off the wire - water is wet.

Why such a general headline?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956297)

Stupid sensationalist headline.

There is a reference to ONE product and that is generalized to EARLY adopters in general. This one product recall has moreover already been discussed on /.

Moreover Zonk, you fail to make a point how this is related to being "early adopters". It's not like capacitors are new technology, now is it?!

Early Adoptors buy 1st generation of product (1)

amcdiarmid (856796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956303)

Then find bugs, that get fixed in later revisions of product - that later purchasers buy. So Use product first, find first bugs... what a suprise.

Re:Early Adoptors buy 1st generation of product (1)

MyNameIsEarl (917015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956369)

It's all about getting to market as soon as possible now, quality assurance testing be damned!

Um, duh (3, Insightful)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956306)

OK, first, of course this is the case. That's why many of you recommend that nobody adopt any .0 release, but instead wait until AT LEAST six months until after a .2 release is out. You also experience the same thing with TV shows if you watch every new series from the first episode instead of catching the first season on DVD and coming in at season 2 - you tend to only watch shows that are hits then, but you are a bit behind for a season.

However, as we all know, early adopters get a huge head start on everybody else in terms of being able to use a new technology months or years in advance. As an example, I'm an alpha tester on a new development tool that I'm convinced is going to be a smash hit. It won't even be available for a public BETA for another month, and by that time I'll have been using it for six months, banging my head against the wall on some things, but learning a lot in the process.

The other thing that EARLY adopters get out of the deal is...input, and access to the designers. The customers who adopted the new Phillips units will have much more say in future product innovation than people who come later, because the cutsomer base is smaller at the beginning, and the team is more willing to listen to the people who give them the first feedback.

RAZR and SLVR users have the coolest phones (if a bit wide), and will be the ones who experience the early product problems. SO? They're still the coolest phones.

Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956307)

If I am the first to buy a product that's never been released before, there's a chance it may have more failures then someone that buys it 3 years later at half the cost? NO WAY.... What next, the sky isn't pink?

Way things work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956311)

However wrong this seems, it's the way things work - the impatient ones take the blunt of bugs, issues, and difficulties in new products, allowing the version 2, 3 and 4 people to enjoy a more stable product.

I really wish it didn't have to work that way.

OT: Brilliant slashdot Tagging feature! :) (0, Offtopic)

Rogue Pat (749565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956312)

Gotta love that new slashdot tagging feature [that's still in beta].

Upon opening Slashdot this morning i see it's business as usual:
  • Tags for the first topic "dupe, obvious"
  • Tags for the second topic "wrong, incorrect"
;)

Rampant Early Adoption (1)

cei (107343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956313)

Has early adoption gotten out of control? (Was it ever more controlled / less risky?) I don't know. I realize the article is particular to hardware, but I'm seeing the early adopter phenomenon taking on even larger scale in the form of companies like Google who release software and services in a public beta that may last for years. The eagerness of the consumer to latch on to the new and shiny is allowing the manufacturer to become lax in its R&D and internal testing. We're so ready to try out anything they can give us, there's the incentive for them to get it out the door to us as soon as they can. Both sides could be faulted equally, and there's not a clear solution to the problem.

Um... naturally... (2, Interesting)

borgheron (172546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956343)

It stands to reason that a new product hasn't quite gotten all of the kinks out yet. With years of experience as an engineer this comes as no suprise.

GJC

Um... naturally...Refined obsolesense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956475)

Well as an engineer, I'm certain you're aware that as our design and manufacturing technology has improved. The degree of overengineering has decreased markedly. New technology has also allowed for smaller designs. All fine and good, but it also means that our products are less tolerant of deviations, and overall have a shorter lifetime. For example back in the day a plastic part may be thicker and heavier to compensate for various factors, while the same part now can be made thinner, lighter, and out of a different material, but be less tolerant of lifes little "trials".

--
The "are you a script" word for today is cheaper.

More bugs, maybe, but in what context? (1)

jabber (13196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956346)

Ambilight is a stupid gimick. We're seeing more buggy stupid gimicks. Core products actually seem more reliable.

That's why we have early adopters! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956353)

That's what early adopters are there for. Since actual miners' canaries in rusty cages aren't all that common nowadays, we use the world's growing supply of indiscriminate purchasers of new tech to get hit with all the fires, explosions, and genetic mutations they haven't quite worked out in the product testing labs.

Wait a year... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956354)

...see how things turn out, that way you won't be the sucker that bought the faulty product.

ricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956376)

Philips' unique Ambilight feature, which casts a colored glow on the wall behind the TV.
oh god, now they're ricing the tvs as well.

Mature products have bugs too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956396)

It's not just early adopters. mature products also feature their share of bugs. Frex, the code that runs one very popular news site has no mechanism in place to see whether an article posting is a duplicate of an article that was posted days or even hours earlier.

bkd

You can only test so much... (1)

solarbob (959948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956398)

...end users will always find a new and exciting way of breaking your product or using it in a way that is wasn't designed for so these issues have to be engineered out. Now if only it would be possible to do over the air upgrades of capacitors etc :)

adopt early...DO IT!!!!! (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956404)

You should NEVER be an early adopter of anything... technology has shown that enough over the years. Look at the first TV's, there were two standards and eventually the BBC stopped showing the standard which used hundereds of lenses, so people who went for that lost out... now the same thing is happening again with the HD-DVD/blu ray thing ... and even if you do get past that then you have to deal with bugs which haven't been worked out yet. So never adopt early, but convince others to do because early adopters are the drivers of technology and push for better products which work well... so tell your friends and family, ADOPT EARLY!

adopt early...DO IT!!!!!-Screwing around. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956870)

"You should NEVER be an early adopter of anything..."

Guess all those early adopters of the Trojan Condom with ribbed ESP are now screwed.

More bugs than we used to, as well... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956426)

Maybe it's just me, but new technology seems to be released with more bugs, than it used to. I bought a DVD player/HDD recorder back when they were just out, and it was something of a pest; the clock randomly reset itself, it decided to come out of standby at random moments, that sort of thing. My XBox 360 sounds like a vacuum cleaner, while more recent models apparently have a quieter drive. More to the point, the only device I've been an early adopter for, and didn't have problems, was my DS.... but it didn't come out here until months after everywhere else, so doesn't really count. Certainly, at this point I'm swearing off being an early adopter; I don't mind a bug here and there, but problems with everything I buy is really getting on my nerves...

The ambilight example seems quite a poor one, though, as it was faulty components rather than design (or so it seems from the article)...

Don't buy any pre 3.0 Microsoft product (2, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956427)

Right? So this is not a new problem.

It's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956431)

Why, when I clicked on this story before there were any comments, it said "Nothing to see here, please move along." Early adopter bug!

i figured this out years ago... (2, Funny)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956444)

...and am now considering buying an XBOX

an original one

not a 360

and playing Halo

I agree with them (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956465)

I'm still debating whether to go for a car with an internal combustion engine. However, now that they've almost ironed all the bugs out do you think I should wait for electric cars 1.10?

The big picture/problem (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956476)

This is all about rush-to-market. Companies don't want to be best, they want to be first. "We need to get it on the market NOW. Who cares about a few bugs? Besides, consumers are used to buying crap, they won't care."

The last part of that statement is true. Most consumers would rather buy a piece of crap for $39.99 than something of high quality for $59.99. Consumers think that a "good" item is one that is cheap and will break in 6 months or a year.

Until people start expecting quality, crap will be the norm and bugs will be rampant.

First to market != most success (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956518)

That's what I don't get, though. How many more examples do we need of companies that innovated something being ground into dust by the Johnny-Come-Latelys? Do they even teach anything in business school anymore, or do the teachers and students just sit around rubbing their hands together in greedy anticipation?

Please become a beta tester ! (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956486)

Early adopters are always unpaid and unsupported beta testers. Any car geek knows that the best time to buy is just before the "new model", as the old one finally has most problems fixed. Electronics are no different. Wait until the new HD/BLU players come out, and a "bug" causes random "player revocation" hahahahahahahahaha!

Re:Please become a beta tester ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956740)

Actually, for some models, the quality goes down for the end of line models if the manufacturer starts to cut corners on materials. Honest John (www.honestjohn.co.uk) said in the Daily Telegraph that the quality of the Peugeot 306 went down (even further) after the 2000 model year, so I'm glad I got a 1998 model.

And the story's a dupe!

Vista anyone? (1)

Malluck (413074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956528)

You need bugs? Just look at any new OS release.

I won't touch Vista until the first service pack has been released.

I'm sure it's been said... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956609)

...but what a fscking Dupe! I am not the most adiment reader of SlashDot, but daym! If even I can tell, something is seriously wrong! :(

Other news: Tall people experiencing more height (3, Insightful)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956611)

WTF? Early adopters see more bugs. I'm stunned. You mean if you buy the very first run of a new product it may not be as good as say, once they've had a few thousand of them on the street and gotten service calls? Really?

Hello? What part of "Bleeding Edge" are they not getting here?

Releases have bugs, no kidding? (1)

dbmasters (796248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956624)

I beta test software and hardware for a few companies, I am continually stunned at the point many manfucaturers say their product is good enough for release. Especially in the realm of PC hardware, sound and video cards for example, often have serious issues..."we'll fix it in driver revisions later"...and in the process piss off loads of customers while they are waiting for it.

it's all about meeting a deadline, very little about product quality. The PM doesn't want a project of his/hers behind schedule, the marketing is ready, and pretty boxes and manuals are all printed..."ya the product has a couple bugs, but so what, look at the cool box, and besides, I met the deadline."

Re:Releases have bugs, no kidding? (2, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956728)

Companies are only fond of statistics that involve dollar amounts. So a dollar amount should be put on first-revision failures.

Whats that? Your product tends to catch fire? There's millions lost in lawsuits, replacement, etc. Something that COULD have been fixed with a few more weeks or days of testing..

Car has a tendency to floor the accelerator, multiple times per day on its own? Billions. SOmething that COULD have been fixed with a few more weeks or days of testing..

A good example is the Sound Blaster Audigy 4 / X-Fi sound cards. There's a horrible problem with crackling/popping/system slowdown when using these cards. It took Creative 6+ months to acknowledge that the problem wasn't with people's machines. I'd say a good 50% or more of the people who bought the card have this problem. I hear there's a class action lawsuit gearing up from people who've replaced everything they own that's near their computers because Creative has blamed the problem on that. There's a story of a man that has tested it on literally 20+ computers and on 15 of the 20, the problem is there. With a fresh install of Windows XP on each machine.

Re:Releases have bugs, no kidding? (2, Interesting)

duffstone (946343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957586)

That's not surprising really. One thing you failed to mention though is the difficulties involved in supporting an audio product.

I worked CLI support for 4ish years way back when. I saw a lot of things come and go, and a lot of problems crop up and get resolved over time. The problem with Audio support is that it's very subjective. Yes I saw plenty of hardware issues with CLI's products that eventually got revised or phased out. I also saw a lot of problems that were indeed caused by environment and / or existing dirty hardware.

As a tech, it's very hard to work these issues as you can try everything in the book and not get any results. You can even get creative (no pun intended) and try tons of your own stuff and not get any better results. Noises (popping or otherwise) are very difficult to remove from a digital AND analogue style system that is common with modern computers. Supporting it / trying to fix it is a major PITA for techs especially when they're flying blind most of the time.

I'm not saying that CLI isn't accountable (I'm not fond of the company now days), but it is possible that they simply couldn't figure it out. I saw a TON of problems like this when the ****** came out. For some reason it just didn't like some systems and we never found anything substantially in common between the systems involved. It was very frustrating. Especially given that the issue wasn't device failure, but rather device performance.

-Duff

P.S. From the support side (at least 8 years ago), we did everything we could to provide a solution as a tech. Be that sending data to developers (and working with them) or by doing extensive callbacks or replacements when necessary. If they don't do it now then shame on CLI. I personally haven't owned a CLI product in 6+ years so I couldn't comment on anything during that time period.

News Flash .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956689)

... this just in ... earlier today in yards all across America their were signs of discontent among songbirds of all types. Spoke one red-tipped blackbird - "Geez! You would think that getting up early would entitle me to a nice fresh fat worm ... well I did get that but the dang thing was so dirty I just had to throw it up. Luckily the little ones were around and just gobbled it up after me but still you would think the worms would at least have the courtesy to bathe before I came calling ..."

Isn't this obvious? (3, Funny)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956790)

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Don't buy Philips if you don't like SWpatents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14956894)

I've been present at a meeting where Philips promoted patents on software. The arguments testified tremendous brutality. I'm sorry to say that I wasn't prepared to counter such arguments. I sat opposite to some guy from the University of Eindhoven. After a nod from one of the Philips people, he made a statement to support Philips' position. I was appalled.

As a Dutchman I say: Please don't buy Phiilps.

Marketing to Blame? (1)

cei (107343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14956994)

How much is marketing to blame? Now days with the big hype around new releases (be it hardware or software), the cost of missing a delivery date can be immense. In the Philips case, I know there were both print and TV ads around the launch of the Ambilight technology; ads which were in development months in advance, and specific media buys that had to tie in...

One solution, obviously more easily accomplished in software, is release it broken then have a patch that can live update. In a non-software sense, this was done with the film "The New World" last year. It was released in some theaters to get some of the Christmas movie income, as well as to make it eligible for Oscar nominations, but then the film was pulled and re-released a couple weeks later with 19 minutes cut out by the director. (And someone is bound to bring up the idea of Han shooting first being a "bug" fixed by Lucas in later releases. ;)

May be bad capacitors (2, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957040)

I used to dabble in electronics and from time to time, companies would simply produce a bad batch of capacitors. Unfortunately, you can't really tell if they're bad (unless they simply don't work at all or have the wrong value) until they fail. I don't know that this is the problem, but this can happen in mid-production, just getting a new batch of capacitors that just happen to be bad. It wouldn't matter if it were an early version or late version in that case.

Again, I don't know that that's the case here, and to be sure, bad batches of capacitors, at least in my experience, aren't terribly common...

Early Adoption or late adoption, it doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14957042)

I hate kids.

My first Sony Model DVD player is a workhorse (1)

slagell (959298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957111)

I still have my first DVD player. It was from SOny's first line of players. THere was one for $700 that had a Dolby digital decoder built-in, and a $500 one that just had the digital out with out a built-in decoder to separate the channels.

Anyway, this DVD player plays perfectly still, almost 10 years later. In fact, it will play more scratched disks than any other player I have had. My only complaint is it is a little bulky. I have seen many later models come and go (out to the trash can) since I bought this one. But maybe I shouldn't be that surprised. Paying $500 for a DVD player, I should hope they didn't go cheap on the electrical components.

It's called..... (1)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14957554)

. We are all suckers for junk.
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