Disturbing Trend, advanced machining skills disappearing from USA


that must have happened quite some time ago :slight_smile:

I’ve “discovered” LG for myself, bought phone to get “in between”, waiting for another model, 2.5 year later and 2 “user-serviceable” batteries later, it still kicks strong


It’s not only machining. I have been under the impression that nearly all American skilled trades workers have had declining numbers.

Come to think of it, I’m also under the impression that fewer people now know how to properly maintain/repair or even drive cars. I get that from comments made by folks coming here for information that was given them with their vehicles.

Correct me if I’m incorrect on this impression.


I don’t think the reason Apple chooses to use it’s own custom parts is all that benevolent. Apple really gets off on using proprietary hardware and software. They know they have the end user in their ecosystem and they have made billions in not allowing the end user much (if any) freedom when using their products. Apple has never allowed sd cards in their phones, their reasoning is that it could compromise security and that it would introduce an element that could possibly detract from the Apple uers’ experience. I think it’s just that would rather sell you another 16,32,or 64GB of storage for another $100 or $200. Their profit margins on that extra storage must be amazing. Likewise, the rest of the industry has settled on USB cables as being the preferred means to connect you phone to your computer and/or charge your phone. Apple decided it needed a proprietary charging cable. For no other reason other than they can charge an extra $3-$5 per cable (even 3rd party lightning cables have the Apple tax as they have to pay royalties for MFi certification). It’s a total racket. And Apple’s justifications don’t hold water in my book.

Then we get into the software side of things. With Android, anyone can make and distribute their own apps. With Apple, in order to get your app available for the masses. You need to submit it to apple, then they will decide if they’ll allow it, and if they allow it, they’ll tell you how much they plan on selling the app for, and how much money your cut will be. If you don’t like their proposition, then you’re screwed. Also Apple requires that you use their software and nobody else’s to obtain software for your Apple devices. Another annoying “feature” is that should itunes become outdated, and you attempt to plug your ipad/iphone into a Window’s computer. The data will not be accessible via File Explorer until you update itunes. At which point it will suddenly start working again.

Needless to say, I’ve never bought an Apple product. For my phones, I’ve always gone with Samsung. At least they listen when consumers tell them they messed up (the SD card feature was removed on the S6, but after an uproar it was quickly reinstated on the S7 and subsequent models). Now Apple won’t even sell you replacement parts so that you can repair YOUR OWN device unless you are a certified Apple repair center. And since Apple loves making things proprietary, you can’t get parts anywhere else. It’s disgusting, Apple is the epitome of corporate greed in the realm of consumer electronics IMHO.


If it’s Apple, because a friend has asked me to help; if it’s something else (custom fasteners are common) it’s because it broke or rattled off.


That hasn’t been my experience.

Then waiting for shipment, for a part I should be able to buy for 10¢ in town. I rarely need even to go to the hardware store. I didn’t say it was impossible, but unnecessary.

I didn’t mess up.

In the good old days employers trained workers themselves.

Or grow their own food, butcher their own livestock, bake their own bread, brew their own beer, sew their own clothes… stuff my grandparents had to do. Cars have gotten more reliable, harder to self-repair, making DIY repair less valuable.


To go off topic, I soured on Apple years ago when they were hustling the schools with their products. Then just about everyone got exposed to computers that were not compatible with anything else in the business world. True they were easy to use and the graphics folks needed them, but they were not compatible for Email or anything else with the IBM type equipment. Fought more than one fight against Apple devotes that wanted to put equipment in that couldn’t talk to everyone else and that had minimal software not compatible. Of course all that has changed now but it still seems to be more of a cult following. Some battles I won and some I lost and we even had a couple Apples at home.


I am using an iPad, but that was a reward from work for a suggestion.
However I did purchase this other Apple Product image


Apple’s very proprietary hardware and software issues remind me strongly of IBM’s in the mainframe era.


I watched a very skilled gent disassemble an iPhone to de-water it. The tiny screws were amazing to me. I have a bit of a background in this area and what surprised me was that the phone could actually come apart and that screws of any kind were used. The repair guy told me that with each new generation the phones become less repairable. My guess is that adhesive will replace a lot of those screws as time goes on. Apple does not want the phones to be serviceable (and I don’t mean that in any negative way).


You’re not wrong. But I would argue that Apple is much more ubiquitous on a global/social scale than IBM was. People aren’t making clones of macs or iphones hardware like hobbyists did with IBM hardware in the early mid-80s (Though making a hackintosh isn’t a partricularly daunting tasking these days given that macs use off-the-self hardware). On a side note I still have a retail boxed copy of IBM DOS 3.0 around here somewhere. It’s a neat conversation piece.


How could it be viewed as a “positive” that the end user can’t replace a battery on his own?


There’s problems both ways. Open source systems, like MS-DOS and Windows systems, offer a myriad of options. Unfortunately, they don’t always work with the operating system, especially when the OS updates. I had to replace aftermarket cards in the past or software when the OS no longer supported them. That isn’t a problem with Apple systems. You already outlined the downsides of the Apple systems. We have iPhones and are happy with them. They are well put together and also a long time before they need replacement. I’m not knocking Android or other systems, I just have been pleased with the Apple phones.

BTW, what really frosts me about Apple is the proprietary micro USB ports they use for all inputs. They aren’t even backward compatible with the last MacBook I had. Both the MacBooks were at work.


I have a copy of CP/M, now if I had only saved the Osborne it ran on.


I mean that I don’t think having owners mucking around inside these things is part of any good plan. Screens and batteries could be replaceable with no fasteners and no ungluing. They don’t have to be screwed shut.


Most electronics systems are useful ways to communicate and for convenience providers to make money. Apple is a religion.

100 years ago middle class families employed people to do domestic chores like laundry, housekeeping, and cooking. Many people made livings caring for horses and cleaning up cities’ streets of manure. Shoemakers resoled shoes. Had that done lately? The ice man came by twice a week to put a block of ice in your “icebox”. A guy shoveled coal down a chute into your basement. People everywhere had signs out that they fixed flats. If you had a wristwatch you took it to a watchmaker’s shop to have it cleaned and adjusted. So times have changed and we don’t have the trade of tool and die maker or machinist much anymore. Or shoemaker. Or engine rebuilder. How many 15 year olds know how to build a fire or start a charcoal grille? Can you milk a cow? I can’t.


The 19th century analogy would be if folks in the 1880’s couldn’t purchase a horse-shoe made in the usa. they were all being made in some other country for economic reasons. the problem isn’t so much there’s not enough horse-shoes on the shelves, there’s plenty. the problem is that the know-how to make horse-shoes has left the country.


One of Apple’s most important successes was convincing the IRS to allow them to deduct the retail value of computers donated to schools. Because of the high list price, they could make money on them, as long as there was enough profit to use the deduction.

@old_mopar_guy referred to IBM’s mainframes, which were more dominant than anything since. We used to call the competition (DEC, DG, Sperry, Burroughs, CDC, Prime, ?) the seven dwarfs; IBM had some ⅔ of the total market.

Why shouldn’t people get to choose? The most important things to happen to the personal computer market were Phoenix legally cloning the IBM BIOS then Chips & Technologies making compatible chipsets. Gordon Eubank (C&T) sat next to Jobs at some industry ceremony. He asked Jobs how he’d like a clone; Jobs replied, ‘How’d you like a lawsuit?’ Cheap clones were why IBM had 85% of the market; that anyone could customize them only improved them. A friend bought her first computer cheap. When it booted, it reported a bad 8237 (the DMA chip). She went to Fry’s, bought one, put it in, had a cheap computer.

One of Mother’s uncles had a farm. We got to milk the cows, feed the pigs, take them to the slaughterhouse.


Not just incorrect… massively incorrect.

When shop labor is $160 an hour and the first hour is diagnostics, every little thing I can do myself is worth about $300 an hour. That figures my earnings after taxes just to get to that $160/hr shop time. Every little thing I can do myself instead of taking it to a service shop is at least $160 an hour in my pocket even assuming it takes me twice as long to do the task.

Cars may be more reliable but they still need maintenance and they still break.

Every other DIY project I do pays me nearly as well.


I agree. And DIY doesn’t take twice as long when you add in the time it takes to get the thing to the “expert”, and to pick it up later, and with a car probably that’s for 2 people and 2 vehicles so you get a ride home.


Maybe owning an EXCLUSIVE i-phone makes people feel exclusive. Whatever the appeal is Apple seemed to have pushed beyond their customer ba$e with the latest model as best I can discern from market reports.

All in all I most definitely value practicality and basic value far above exclusivity and image and I suspect I’m not alone in that . But like automobiles cell phones have become trendy status symbols that are beyond the sensible budgets of most who purchase/lease them.


I meant that there’s a lot less one can do oneself in more sophisticated cars. If you can DIY it pays. I have an '87 Toyota pickup and do all the work on it myself; what with a carburetor, longitudinally-mounted engine, no fancy electronics, I can do it all. I don’t know it’s easy for the shade-tree mechanic to fix a 2019.