« Punctum Def | Main | Ctein on COVID (OT) »

Thursday, 21 March 2024


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You got that appellation half right. It's Faux Noise. No actual news involved, fake or otherwise.

You didn't say what happened to your car. Didn't you just have it fixed?

Re. laundry machines I have had better luck. My first one made it for 14 years, only breaking when my daughter had been born (those are hard years for a machine, esp. with washable diapers.) The last one we replaced was a Samsung (with WiFI and an app, who needs that?), that one sure did not last as long. One look from the repairman and then the remark that we should buy a decent German one. Which we then did, obviously.

I don't like those computercars either. I really prefer my '88 Volkswagen T3 (Vanagon for you). The only smart part in the car is the stereo, the only intelligence (cough) driving it is me.

Re. Ctien: Yeah! Looking forward to that!

40 odd yeras ago my wife and I got fed up with washing machines and their foibles. The last one broke down so much the repaier man claime we nearly had a new machine with the new spare parts, after 12 months.
I bit the bullat and bought a Miele machine. It may have cost twice the price of its brethern but it did last twice as long and even then commanded a reasonable price second hand. But more importantly IT NEVER BROKE DOWN. It was wothe the money for that alone

I know what you mean on both fronts.
I have a Cadillac CTS high performance V model.
Too much horsepower, Doesn't handle great, getting in and ready to drive is like trying to launch a space shuttle. Too many switches, sensors, modes and poor ergonomics. TOO COMPLICATED.
I don't "enjoy" using the car. It's 3 years old and doesn't even have 8k miles on it. Tells you I don't use it much.
I should just sell it but still have not.....

I much prefer driving my 1986 BMW M6. Straight six engine, manual transmission. All simple analog controls, easy to maintain. Well balanced, Sublime....

As for wash machines, here's what I do. It's not for everyone. I gave up on buying new ones.
I go to a guy that refurbishes old washers like old Maytags, Hotpoints, etc.
I usually pay a few hundred bucks and honestly I get usually 7 to 9 years out of them. My current one an old Hotpoint is in use 5-6 years, probably a machine that's 30 years old but still going very strong.

Good luck with all that ails you.

So ... Automobiles are now as complex and hard to use as modern electronic cameras.

Two topics here with little or no linkage to photography but both were of interest to me for much the same reasons:
When we reach a "certain age" we have developed strong preferences re what we like in a daily driver. A few years ago both my wife and I needed to replace our cars but in both cases the newer versions of our beloved "cars" had evolved away from what drew us to them in the first place and what we enjoyed on a daily basis. In her case, she was crazy about her Lexus SUV but Toyota/Lexus had adopted a front end design that she found hideous. Think snow plow. I reminded her that we are not obligated to buy the shiny new models and we decided to look for a CPO (certified pre-owned) of the most recent model year before Lexus lost their way in the design studio. We were able to find one only 2-hours away, 7-years old but with only 15K miles and bought the extended warranty with it. It ain't new but it ain't bad. She couldn't be happier which means I couldn't be happier.
In my case, I clearly was not replacing by SAAB in kind but went with a CPO Volvo in what they consider the smaller size (V60) and again included the extended warrantee. In both cases we got the car we wanted rather than the one the manufacturer thought we should have. I would have preferred a manual transmission but accept that that ship has sailed.
Moral of this story is that you can get exactly the car you want/need to you don't need shiny/new and are willing to do a little looking.
As soon as our old washer started acting up we replaced it. The new machine was a revelation. It is our first machine without a center-mounted agitator and that open up all sorts of opportunities to launder things that you couldn't (or shouldn't) with a traditional design. The cacacity is significantly larger so we are able to use it less frequently, it cleans better, and it's quieter. These machines use a direct-drive motor and typically carry a 10-year warrantee. We went with the LG model and never looked back. Not enough data to recommend this model over, say, the Samsung but I strongly recommend this technology. If mine takes a dump tomorrow, I will replace it with another one. Too bad they don't have CPO washing machines.

Current machine is a Speed Queen top loader. We had good luck with a Whirlpool (25 years and still running when we got rid of it) but that was an very old model. Our Maytag was 20 years old when we moved. Stay away from front loaders. Good luck.

I can't recall what problem you're having with your water system/supply, but is it possible that water issues are causing problems with your washing machine?

RDX obviously stands for "Really Damn eXtra!"

The RDX mirrors fold for self-preservation in tight parking spots, which is at least slightly useful. All the safety warning lights you're experiencing have a place in increasing safety if you pay attention to them. But, IMHO, they barely offset the decreased visibility from most new vehicles. Then you add the decreased attention spans of many drivers and it seems like road safety is on a downward spiral.

As a 2010 Honda Fit driver, every other vehicle on the road seems oversized and a hazard to me. We also have a 2014 Nissan Leaf, which is high-tech in the sense that it's an EV, but still relatively low-tech in the sense that it's too old for most of the extra gizmos found on current vehicles. I do despise the infotainment/navigation screen on the Leaf for the very reason you gave - it's too bright at night and there's no way to shut it off. I keep a thick hand towel in the car to drape over the screen for night drives. Maybe the dark cloth would come standard in the top trim level of the Leaf...

I know how you feel. Our long time repair man for appliances had also disappeared during the pandemic. We figured he passed away. So sad and missed greatly.

Here's a nice portrait of a car repairman; and many more fine pictures in the whole album. Something for your "Random Excellence" theme, maybe?
The photographer is from Ukraine; let's hope he and his beloved are alive & well.

B.t.w. that little Rollei-Planar really is a jewel. Highly recommended to all olde glass aficionados (I own 3).

About 25 years ago we bought a used Maytag washer. Five years ago the master control timer broke. I bought a used one on Ebay for $85 and swapped it out for the broken one. Took about a half hour. Been working fine ever since. I'll be keeping this U.S.-made machine going for the rest of my life. So much less complicated electronics than the new ones.

When we built our house in 1994 we put in a Maytag washer and dryer.
The washer is still going strong. We had to replace the dryer when bearing failures made repair costs prohibitive. Its replacement is about 15 years old and is still working although I really need to pull the back off and give it a good cleaning.
You can spend a fortune on computerized front loading washers but that just feels like a lot of doodads that don't wash clothes but do break down. I'll pass.
I share your lack of enthusiasm for contemporary cars electronics. Sat radio and cruise control are all I need.
I have a neighbor who has taken your automotive ethos about as far as possible. He is a full on Land Rover nut.
He has a yard full of lovely series II and series III landies, all in good driver condition.
I would make him an offer on one but they are just too slow for Mrs Plews (AKA rapid transit Jacquie). Glorious blunt transport instruments but too pokey for I80.
And finally on the matter of slush boxes. I am OK with the tranny on our Passat. In manual mode it is rather fun but I do miss the third pedal. I get the impression it was designed by people who like to drive.
Not so with the last two news units I drove before I retired. Both had CVT transmissions. Driving them was like shoving your right foot into a bucket of mud. No thanks.

I hear you on crossovers. I'd maybe consider a Mazda CX 5 or 50, but in the meantime I'll keep the 3er wagon going as long as possible. Very nice to live in an area where a stick is fun to drive.

I see a Speed Queen in your future. The only washing machine brand I'd consider.

Sounds like you should get out your Franken-camera and go take pictures.

Your experience with the RDX reminds me of a Volvo my wife and I rented one time. The car's design approach seemed to embrace Apple's "think different" slogan, which may be fine for a computer, but is less good for a 3000 lb. car.

While we were new to push-to-start ignitions, we quickly grasped that feature, but it set the tone for much of the rest of the car's operation – it may be different from what you'd expect, but it's highly intuitive once you know how it works. For example, setting the parking brake worked as expected, pulling the lever between the two front seats. But the brake didn't release like every other parking brake of that kind. I had to get the owner's manual out to learn that there was a button completely separate from the brake lever which electronically released the brake.

There were enough other operational surprises that I figured I better understand how the headlights worked before it turned dark. I got the manual out and discovered that the headlight instructions took 15 pages, which in my mind is about 14.5 pages too complicated.

Our last morning was rather cool, and the rear window was covered with dew. I fumbled around in the dark for several minutes looking for the rear defroster, finally finding a likely candidate. As the seat warmer kicked in, though, I realized that I would have to settle for defrosting my butt instead of the rear window.

To add insult to injury, several days after we returned the car I received a call from the rental company asking if we needed a few more days with it. There weren't many experiences I'd like less than additional days with that Volvo, but hearing that the company had misplaced it didn't thrill me much either. They called again 10 days later with the same inquiry. I wished them well finding their misplaced car, and fortunately never heard from them again.

Welcome to modern automobiles, Mike. It’s only going to get worse. Right now, I am contemplating whether to trade in my 2016 Subaru Forester this year or just to drive the wheels off of it.

My particular Forester is blessedly free of most electronic nannies and 24/7 monitoring. That’s the argument for keeping it. On the other hand, the nannies and monitoring are going to get worse. Current law already calls for more of it.

So, do I swap cars now while I can still get some money for my Forester, thus paying less out if pocket while I can still disable some of the worst nannies and the new vehicle’s cellular connection? That’s likely to become more difficult going forward as these systems are more tightly integrated.

Re: your washing machine… I hope you have learned your lesson thus time. It’s no longer the 1960s, 70s, 80s or 90s, when a good washing machine would reliably give you 20-25 years of service. It’s 8-12 years at most. The first time your machine stops working, get rid of it. Especially if it’s more than two or three years old.

And, when you buy a new one, go out of your way to find one without electronic controls. Look for the old-fashioned electro-mechanical dials and switches.

Mike: consider that your problem may be your electricity, not the washer per se. We had the same problem -- circuit boards kept burning out. We installed a Tesla Powerwall in the basement to act as an emergency "generator" when the power was out. Bonus mode: it also acts like a giant capacitor/line conditioner. Since we installed it: no more "blinkies" from appliances when the power dips below the operating voltage (brown outs) and no more fried circuit boards. Just something to keep in mind.

Now the rental of the Powerwall costs about 1/2 a washing machine per year, so there's that. But I feel like there are other benefits, and I have no regrets about having chosen our poison.

As for the driver's mirror resetting, my guess is that the mirror is returning to the memory setting associated with the key fob (driver 1, driver2 etc). If you're going to have the vehicle for a few days, you might research memory settings for the vehicle. I know my 2006 TSX would do that, which is useful when two people share a car each with their own fob.


[You are correct Sir. With the added complication that the side mirror changes its position automatically when the car is in reverse. So I was adjusting the mirror before backing out of a parking spot, then having the mirror go wonky again as soon as I put the car in drive. Sorted now, although I am still wary. --Mike]

We just replaced our second front-loading washer since, oh, 2006 or something? The previous washer dated from 1982, 2 houses and 1 state ago. (The new washer is a modern high-efficiency high-capacity top-loader.)

The current dryer is the mate of that old washer, still running, since 1982. Not looking forward to replacing it!

I think the problem you're complaining about with the seat and mirror positions is the single most brilliant convenience feature I have ever heard of in a car—I think you can tell it where to position things for one particular key, and it will then automatically reset to that whenever that key is what opens the door. I literally cannot get into Lydy's car without adjusting the seat first, the distance from the dash to the seat back is shorter than my upper legs and ass. So I have to sit in it half-way sideways, make preliminary adjustments, get in properly, and make real adjustments, before I can drive the thing at all. (Obviously, it's not of much use for a car that only one person ever drives!)

Perhaps if you stopped trying to grill meat on top of your washing machine it wouldn't need such frequent repair!

Seriously tho', appliance repairs are the worst. A few years back I couldn't find a replacement controller board for our oven, so I installed an old fashioned mechanical thermostat (the kind with a long mercury-filled copper tube as its sensor) instead. I just wasn't going to junk the oven when all of its fundamentals (heating elements, knobs, racks, and enameled surfaces) worked just fine.

The oven works fine now despite not being able to enter a digital temperature. The biggest inconvenience is that Frankenstove now lacks a timer. Luckily the microwave oven stationed above it has one!

We live under the tyranny of the microchip. Automobiles especially :-(

I miss my Milano Red 1994 Acura Integra GS-R. The 1.8L VTEC five-speed manual was a right-hand and right-foot orgasmic joy to drive, especially on wheels off the ground, up-and-down, twisty-turny country roads.

It was so unlike the neutered Integra in name only that Acura currently offers.

Don't know about Locusts but you will most likely have a great show of Cicadas in a month or so.

I sympathize wth your torturous experience with the many-added-points-of-failure electrono-software car. They're pathetic. Sometimes at work, I'll be stuck with a rental unit of this modern breed, and it gives me a small but significant pleasure to take my suction cup GPS unit and attach it directly to the middle of the infotainment screen. Abject non-respect feels good.

Once my wife and I spent as much money on repairs as we did on the original washer and dryer, we decided to get a new W/D pair - LG. That was almost eight years ago. Whirlpool/Maytag was our second choice. We have been quite happy with our purchase.

Our first brand new vehicle was a 2006 Honda Odyssey. We went for the lowest trim. The benefit was simple, easy-to-use dashboard controls. You sometimes gain more by spending less. I probably would dislike that RDX as much as you do.

Ok. Put the Acura away, stroll down to your local Honda dealer and take a look at a Civic Sport Touring Hatchback ... 180 HP, Six Speed Manual, Boost Blue Pearl and a few nice touches for about $32,000 (sticker). Reliable as a piano and more fun to drive.

Assuming of course that you aren't in the market for a Civic type R ...

Best to find an old, second hand washer designed and built before appliances were loaded down with so-called amenities, e.g. the internet and before planned failure became a design feature. I have a 35-year old Kenmore that continues to rock even as I dread its eventual demise. I recently had a crazy notion of finding a used commercial unit when that day comes.

>> I am seriously star-crossed with laundry machines…

Out of curiosity, what has been the failure mode(s) of the machines?

Much like eating, never loading a washing machine past about 75-80% may help in some cases. Mechanics equations will show that the loading and wear rise disproportionately with the clothes load, which tend to be overstated to compete for paper specs.

[I never load the machine more than about 1/3 full. As to failure modes, well, it's mostly probably not what you'd think. At school the machines were outside my door which was a constant bother. In my first apartment, in Georgetown DC, I unthinkingly paid to use the communal machines for years, little realizing that the amount I eventually spent amounted to 2.5X what a brand new W/D set would have cost. Then I finally got a nice place and my own set, but then Xander was born and I had to move to an apartment shortly thereafter where private washer/dryers were not allowed in the units; I paid to move my still-new W/D from Maryland to Illinois so they could go into a storage area, from whence they were stolen. During that time, as a single parent with a baby, I had to use a retail laundromat. Then I bought a house with no machines, and bought used ones from a dealer who promised he would buy them back from me for half the price if I moved within five years. Two years later I did move, and was counting on that money, and he refused to buy them back for any amount. Then I bought a loft with a tiny over/under set which washed about a handful of clothing at a time so I had to run it many times every week. Next came my great good experience--my house in Wisconsin came with a 23-year-old Newton, Iowa, Maytag top-loader which worked like a charm for the next 14 years, never a moment's trouble! Well, I guess it did have to be serviced once, but I didn't hold that against it. It was 37 years old when I left it behind, and I thought hard about maybe taking it with me, let me tell you. (The new owners replaced it before they moved in. They remodeled the whole house, actually.)

Then I moved to a new house in Waukesha, which came with no W/D, so I bought an expensive new Samsung set which I hoped would last me a long time. A year later I moved to join Sarah in the Finger Lakes and left those machines behind as there was no room for them in the new house here in New York. A present to the young couple who bought the house. The set that came with the house here, dryer on top of the washer, has had to be repaired multiple times, each time at a cost of about 2/3 the price of a replacement washing machine.

Despite knowing that this washer most likely can't be fixed, I have a repairman coming tomorrow. It's probably money down the drain, but if it's just an electrical short or something I feel I need to know. In the insult-to-injury column, meanwhile, the mounting hardware that connects the washer to the dryer on top of it is no longer common or standard, so it's likely that if I do have to replace this washer, I will have to buy a new dryer to replace the perfectly good dryer I already have. (There's no other place in the house for a washer/dryer). There is a whole shameful saga that I could tell you about this washing machine, but perhaps it's enough to mention that the rehabber bought the Sears' house brand in 2015 because he thought it was a well-supported mainstream brand would be easily serviceable. Sears declared bankruptcy in 2018 and the Sears appliance store in the next town over went out of business a year or two later. Hence the mounting hardware being difficult to replicate now.

And I'm thinking of moving within a year or two, as soon as Xander feels like they might stay put long enough for me to know my grandson. So when I buy a new set, it will probably just be a present to the new owners. Who, the way things are going around here, will probably tear this 1888 Gothic-revival-style farmhouse down and build a McMansion on the site.

Sorry this b*tch-fest is so long! I'm only feeling resigned, not mad or annoyed. Also, like I say, star-crossed. --Mike]

Ouch! On both counts: the $$$ and the new technology.

I recently went $1500 too far into repairing a 2006 Honda Accord, which I dearly loved, and ultimately purchased a 2013 Honda Accord with 92K miles. It took me two weeks before I even got to looking at the various tabs on the steering wheel, with keyless entry, push button starting, smart phone linkage to the infotainment system, rear view camera, the handling, etc.etc. to get used to. And that’s a 2013!

Here’s to the happy return of a functioning car and washing machine!

In some newer cars the Parking Brake is probably automatically applied and/or released when you put the car in "PARK" or "DRIVE/REVERSE".

This is a good feature...If your car does not have this feature and you park on a hill and only engage "PARK" and remove your foot from the brake pedal the car will move towards the downhill direction a very short distance until the parking gear engages. This places the weight of the car on the transmission. If the transmission slipped out of "PARK" the car would be free to roll since the Law of Gravity is strictly enforced. Continuous use of this technique will eventually damage the transmission.

My car doesn't have this feature so I hold my foot on the brake pedal while I place the transmission in "PARK" then engage the Parking Brake then release the foot brake...The car doesn't move.

"The current culture's preferences: Unbalanced, uncomfortable, sluggish because it's too high, outward visibility to the sides and rear is awful."

Yep, that's what the normal driver of today wants !! God knows why, but he ain't telling me. You forgot to mention tippy. Don't throw an SUV into a curve!

". . . and I don't like vehicles that are loaded with electronics."

Get used to it. All the new vehicles are that way now. Best bet is to buy a stiped down entry-level model to minimize the disaster. My father's Honda Insight sports a plethora of nanny-tech that annoys and distracts, conveniently at the worst possible times.

I may take up walking.

You recently wrote, "But I'm pretty sure my next car will be electric, or at least PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)." If you dislike the electronics, the infotainment system, and "nanny" features of the loaner Acura that much, you are probably aware that any EV or PHEV will be worse, right?

[Worse for me, perhaps, but better for emissions. Most of my driving is within the range of electric power in a typical PHEV. And up here where I live, you can sign up for electrical power that comes from solar fields. --Mike]

I’m guessing that you mentioned the hand brake and prefer manual transmissions because you make a lot of bootleg turns in front-wheel drive cars. For now, I’d like to recommend that you switch to the Rockford. No hand brake required. :-)

Wow Mike, your tale of woe with washers and dryers sounds like a real soap opera!

I have an 18 year old turbo Subaru and the manual shift mode with the automatic transmission is well thought out. Keeping rpm’s at the sweet spot for acceleration and deceleration is simple. I once rented a Mazda 6 to drive thru Colorado and the lane departure warning drove me NUTS on the twisty roads even though I was always inside my lane. A loaner new Subaru a couple of years ago had awful outward visibility. The door sill seemed to be at neck level. And the CVT was a total turn off. Ughhh.

I'm like-minded about the nanny control freak and safety features on new vehicles. I acted quickly in late 2023 to purchase a 2023 Subaru Crosstrek Premium (one trim level up from the base model). What's great is that it's a 6-speed manual (I dislike CVT transmissions) and it's devoid of cameras (except for a backup camera), and safety systems. It even sports a manual parking brake whereby you pull up the handle. Another plus, for me anyway, is the old fashioned cruise control, not adaptive cruise control: when I set my speed that's the speed I want and not having a vehicle in front of me slow me down. Maybe the concept of passing a slower vehicle has been lost in the name of safety?

To add, I'm thoroughly enjoying the Subaru four cylinder Boxer engine. Fuel economy is pretty good, around 30 mpg combined, and it's a hoot to drive with the 6-speed manual transmission. This engine loves to be revved with its satisfying, bubbling Boxer exhaust note. It reminds me of a VW Kharmann Ghia I drove back in the Stone Age, only better.

The earliest use of the acronym RDX is for Research Department eXplosive, used during World War II and through the present day. It's a pretty useful military explosive, somewhat more powerful than TNT. Given the origins of this particular TLA, I'm not sure that Honda/Acura thought this quite through.

I am really pushing my luck here, tempting fate, but we have a Maytag “laundry pair”, chosen and purchased by SWMBO several years ago, but less than the warranty period of 10 years I’m pretty sure. Despite having electronic controls and circuit boards, both have been rock solid and even the “water saver” cycles work, getting clothes clean unless there are grass stains that have be set for days. The dryer has a “Steam Refresh” cycle which I’m certain was designed for me since leaving clothes in the dryer to wrinkle seems to be my one superpower.

I wanted a Speed Queen pair because the warranty was actually better (at leas tin print …) and the commentariat for longevity was stronger.

I’m finishing this comment with fingers crossed.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007