DO YOU OWN YOUR GADGETS

You Don’t Really Own Your Own Gadgets

DO YOU OWN YOUR GADGETS OR RENT AT LEAST PART OF IT

DO YOU OWN YOUR GADGETS

The water filter inside a household refrigerator is a simple device: a plastic tube packed with activated carbon.

Nonetheless, replacement filters for certain GE refrigerators cost a stiff $55.

And they need to be replaced every six months.

So, it’s no surprise that many GE fridge owners seek cheaper generic filters. These fit just fine.

But when the owner presses the button to dispense water or ice, nothing comes out.

The culprit is a bit of engineering almost as ingenious as it is infuriating.

It seems that official GE replacement filters include a small RFID chip whose only purpose is to tell the refrigerator that an up-to-date GE-brand filter has been installed.

If a customer installs a generic filter, the water system shuts off.

As tech writer Jack Bush puts it, the fridge echoes the computer in 2001: “‘I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t dispense any water for you right now.'”

Those frustrated fridge owners have encountered a troubling quirk of our digital age:

We don’t really own the products we buy anymore (at least not any product more complex than a shovel). Instead, manufacturers effectively license them to us under terms of their choosing.

While you might possess a piece of digitally enabled hardware, the manufacturer ultimately controls how—or even whether—it works.

DAWG SAYS: I HAVE A NEW GE AND WHAT THEY SAY IS TRUE AND I HAVE THE EXACT PROBLEM

DESCRIBED IN THE ARTICLE.


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