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An interesting article about hacking McDonalds ice cream machines and the right to repair

Discussion in 'Political Debates' started by Stevicus, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    They Hacked McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines—and Started a Cold War | WIRED

    This is a long article, too long to quote, so I'll just give a brief summary.

    Apparently, this enterprising young couple, after attempting to start their own frozen yogurt concession, learned quite a bit about Taylor ice cream machines and how unreliable they are. They also were able to figure out that there was a secret menu accessible by a code, which had many features and information which is not available to the end user. Apparently, only authorized service personnel were allowed to know this, but somehow this couple was able to find out.

    They were able to learn more about the operations of these Taylor machines, and in the process, they developed a product called "Kytch," which was a device which could be used to override the secret code and access the secret menu for the user. They did this with Taylor's apparent knowledge and consent, at least according to one of the developers of Kytch.

    They started selling these devices to McDonalds franchise owners, who apparently have been frustrated by their ice cream machines constantly breaking down. Apparently it's become a national meme, about McDonalds ice cream machines breaking down. The problem is that the machines, described as "overengineered," are very finicky and fragile, where the slightest thing could cause it to stop working. Further compounding the problem is that Taylor has a select group of repair people authorized to work on the machines. The end user isn't allowed to call anyone else, other than the approved repair people. Some of the repairs could have been easily made by the end user if they had access to the "secret menu" on the machine which is only available to the authorized repair people.

    This device overrode all of that, but upon learning that franchisee operators were using it, McDonald's put out an email ordering them to cease-and-desist, warning that it would void the warranty on the machine and could cause human injury (although that claim is disputed by the makers of Kytch). Now, the company owners are suing both McDonalds and Taylor. (The article mentioned that Taylor also supplies the grills for McDonalds.)

    But it's hard to say what a lawsuit would do, as noted in the final paragraphs:

    I never realized there could be so much intrigue in the ice cream machine business.

    But it does seem that there's a larger issue about the right to repair. Does the end user have a right to repair something he/she bought from a company? Shouldn't they at least have access to the information that the machine is ostensibly designed to convey? What's with the secret passcode and menu that no one is allowed to see and doesn't appear in any of the service manuals?

    I remember when my check engine light was on, I took it to a mechanic I knew. He hooked it up to his computer, and the code said "see dealer." I took it to the dealer, and they said I needed a new fuel pump. But what was this "see dealer" nonsense? The mechanic I knew could have changed out the fuel pump.

    Then they wonder why people don't trust capitalists and turn to socialism.
     
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  2. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    It's sorta Ike that with my ONN TV. They (UbreakWefix)will refuse to repair it unless it's registered with the manufacturer.
     
  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    That's not why they become socialists.
     
  4. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Why do you think they become socialists?
     
  5. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    They want.
    But others have.
    They imagine that a powerful government
    has the power to do everything that's right.
    Government & people will be good & fair.

    It's never because they can't fix machines.
     
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  6. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I think you may be misreading them.

    I wasn't saying it was because they can't fix machines. It's because of the underhanded shenanigans they're able to get away with.
     
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  7. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Hey, I'm just going by what they post here.
    They know what they hate about capitalism.
    But I recommend applying more thought than
    just ditching it for a dream that's faired so
    poorly when tried. Things to hate there too.
     
    #7 Revoltingest, Apr 22, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
  8. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Still, it sounds like a good way of dealing with these dishonest companies and their slipshod operations.
     
  9. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    My approach is to deal with companies who offer better products.
    Note that under socialism, such a choice is less available.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I think its not a matter of socialism versus capitalism.

    Interchangeable parts are one of the few things that help to civilize any economic system. They're installing punishment software that punishes you for using a competing repair service. When I buy something I never manifest assent to punishment and assume the right to repair. I expect to own the product unless the product is leased.
     
  11. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    You could still have choice under socialism. I'm just advocating that private companies be placed under greater scrutiny and control. Especially since they seem to have a need to expend some of their profits on lawyers, because they end up having to go to court. Because they can't settle their own problems by themselves. They need the government to interfere and deal with their corporate messes.
     
  12. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Government does so love to interfere.
    And they're so wise.
     
  13. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I can see where, if one has a warranty, they might want to deal only with some repair services. That is, assuming that the end user doesn't have to pay anything for the repair, if it's still under warranty.

    But in the case of these franchise owners, apparently these machines were breaking down constantly, and the time to wait for repair was cutting into their sales. (Apparently, it's a disaster when it happens during Shamrock Season, as that's the time they sell their green Shamrock Shakes.)

    The article mentioned that this even led to violence at one McDonald's, where three women attacked a McDonald's employee because the ice cream machine was broken.
     
  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Government only does what its capitalist overlords want it to do.
     
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  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    So the impending tax increase is what the
    overlords demand, eh. Sorta ruins your theory.
     
  16. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    "Tax increase" is just for the sake of political expediency, just to trick the masses into thinking the politicians are on their side. The overlords know that the politicians have to feed so much bunkum to the masses, but they also know that they'll put in so many riders and loopholes that they can find ways around any impending tax increases.
     
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  17. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Technically, probably not. Many agreements forbid tampering and altering the device in any way.
    They also have clauses giving them permission to pursue legal action against the user for violating any part of the agreement.
    Sony is having a similar thing over the PS5.
    Most companies will not sell or otherwise make available the tools, information, and parts for users to do their own repairs.
    Electric cars are notorious for having to go to the dealership.
    We own fewer of our things (legally so), and have less control over them. I think this system must die.
     
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  18. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    20210422_202634.jpg
     
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  19. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Its not just this particular manufacturer. There are Samsung phones and Apple phones which now will disable themselves if you replace the screen or some other parts that otherwise should work. I don't mean copycat parts but say a used part from an identical phone. What happens is the software in the phone checks to make sure it was repaired in an authorized manner and punishes you if it isn't. You are punished for not using their repair services, and many times they refuse to repair things. Batteries are being made with device ID's etc. That is currently legal racketeering.
     
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  20. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    A lot of electrical items end up in the trash heap because it's just not worth it to spend money on repair. Buying a new device is oftentimes not that much more expensive than repairing an older device.

    In most cases, the end user probably wouldn't know how to repair any of these things anyway. Still, you'd think that they would try to make it a little more user friendly, rather than just leave people in the lurch with broken machines.
     
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