Friday night topic: The tyranny of ‘features’

I had an unexpectedly educational experience a while back when my coffee maker died and I set out to replace it. As I’ve noted, I’m a coffee enthusiast, so I was willing to throw a little money at buying the right drip-brew machine. I was even looking forward to shopping around for the best one. That optimism turned to frustration as I visited a couple of retail outlets—Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond, I believe—looking for a decent coffee maker.

What I wanted was something with the right capacity for my use that brews quality coffee and perhaps has a thermal carafe. Also, long experience has taught me the incredible rarity and value of a coffee pot that pours properly. I don’t know why this is a hard thing to achieve, but it’s apparently a feat of engineering the modern world has yet to conquer.

What I discovered on store shelves was a series of abominations. The machines that came closest to matching my needs were very cheap, with too-small capacities. The capacities and prices rose from one end of the aisle to the other, and as I walked down the row, things got decidedly worse. Soon, I was standing in front of a collection of large devices that looked like R2-D2, with a jumble of buttons, lights, and LCD displays on the front.

All of these devices were capable of doing various things that go well beyond the basic mission of, you know, pouring hot water through some coffee grounds and into a pot. To a coffee purist, none of those things made a lick of sense. You’re supposed to grind the coffee beans immediately before brewing the coffee, to keep it fresh. No way is a "programmable timer" that kicks off the brewing later a good idea. Having owned (and cleaned) one daily, I also know that a machine with an integrated grinder and brew timer isn’t a convenience—steam flows upward into the grinder each time, creating a clumpy, pasty mess.

I could go on, but the basic point is simple. These machines were packed with features like LCD displays, hot plates, "brew pause," and "selectable brew strength", but virtually all of those attributes ran at cross-purposes with the goal of creating a good cup of coffee. For me, the presence of "add-ons" that will actively ruin a good cup of java sends a simple signal: do not buy.

In frustration, I began poking around on coffee sites for recommendations, although warily, since I didn’t wish to be sold a "purist" $400 device that pours hot water over grounds. (I already have one of those; it’s called an espresso machine.) One of the reviewers acknowledged the problem with finding a good basic coffee maker and succinctly stated the problem: in North America, coffee makers are sold on the basis of their features. Reading that crystallized things for me: I didn’t want features. Nothing good can come from a coffee maker being borderline self-aware. I wanted quality, and the "features" out there were created for marketing purposes, kind of perversely.

Here was a market doing something interesting but also incredibly counter-productive, from my point of view. (To translate things to tech, it would be like video card buyers suddenly saying: we don’t care about image quality or performance; we just want PhysX and CUDA. Haha. Burn.) I realize that I am perhaps not the typical customer for the average coffee machine, but it was remarkable to see not a single option geared toward somebody like me on store shelves.

That’s an incredibly long-winded way of bringing me to tonight’s question, which is: what other markets are like this one? What categories of products are marketed, segmented, and sold on the basis of the entirely "wrong" criteria? The new Coors Light cans that change colors come to mind.

Comments closed
    • ZGradt
    • 7 years ago

    Grocery shopping is almost too much for me. There’s 100 different kinds of everything. And if I’m not careful, I end up bringing home the diet one by mistake! Who needs that many different types of Oreos anyway?

    • Hawkins
    • 7 years ago

    a simple mobile phone that just makes phone calls. Something that my grandmother could use. “Dial and press the green button. Press the red button to hang up”

    If you find one… now I challenge you to find a quad+ band phone that will work in the US and in Europe. πŸ™‚

    • Oldtech
    • 7 years ago

    Try this Cusinart model. { Cuisinart DTC-975BKN }I have the older version and I love it.
    I also have a vacuume coffee maker and a french press.
    But the absolutly best coffee is cold brewed. { Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot }
    Cold brewed cofee has 70-80% less acid. This is what makes coffee bitter. Once you get hooked on cold brewed, everything else taste like battery acid
    BTW, coffee should not be stored in a fridge. It drys out the beans and/or the grounds.
    I have seen the warning on some Starbucks bags too.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 7 years ago

    I am far from a coffee snob but I own a Bodum Santos and it makes the perfect cup of coffee. Takes a bit more work to set up but man the results are well worth it.

    • spok
    • 7 years ago

    Oh what a pleasure – therer are others like me out there… even in the US.

    Concerning Coffee – i used to be a hardcore coffee drinker before switching to green tea-

    I had similar probs. with purchasing a coffee brewer that brews coffe without providing lots of useless features – my solution was pouring the boiling water ( boiled in a simple water-cooker which takes approx. 100 Seconds to boil 1 litre of water ) by hand over the grinded ( or ground… im no native speaker ) beans using a paper filter like the ones used in the cheap drop machienes and a simple thermal can.

    Proviedes good coffee that does less harm to your stomach than coffee thats been “pressed through”

    But – for something completely different….
    I’ve got the same ( better similar ) problem concerning allmost everything tecnical in the end-user-market.
    Just try to purchase a car without those so called features…
    Or a Stereo-Set thats usable for elderly persons.
    I’ve been searching for over a year by now for a god FM Receiver for my Mother ( aged 87 ) but there is nothing usable in the market – all we would need was a touchscreen and a userinterface with largely scalable preset-“buttons”…

    … no way – you can buy stylish products with tons of features packed behind minimalized icons and/or buttons – all silver in silver – completely unusable fΓΌr anybody elder than 30…

    • odizzido
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve been ruined by the internet. I keep seeing tranny in the title πŸ™

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Amazing!

      • ericfulmer
      • 7 years ago

      I laughed out loud, and had to minimize the page from my office mates:P

    • glynor
    • 7 years ago

    I use a French Press daily for my morning coffee. At first blush, it seems like it would be more work, but it really isn’t in daily use. Here’s what you need:

    1. A nice teapot.
    2. A nice, high-capacity press. I have a glass one now, but I’m considering a double-walled metal one (which might keep the coffee hot longer).

    These things are not very expensive. In the morning, I fill the teapot (you very quickly get a feel for the proper weight to fill it the right amount), throw the pot on the stove and turn it on. Throw your grounds in the bottom of the press (I just dump it from my grinder’s cap). Wander off to do other morning activities.

    Before you know it, the teapot is screaming. Wander back (usually with toothbrush in-hand or something). Pour water over grounds, stir with spoon. Put on shoes, etc. A few minutes later, push plunger and pour coffee. Go.

    The automatic machines really only save the intermediate step of pouring the water over the beans, which takes all of 15 seconds. Admittedly, you have to work it into your routine, but I didn’t find this to be any issue. Plus, my teapot and gas range boils a pot-full of water [i<]way faster[/i<] than an automatic drip machine can make a full pot. So, when I have company, I fill that press to the brim. Cleaning the press (if you use it properly) isn't a big deal either. I just rinse it out when I get home from work, slightly loosen the filters at the bottom and spray them with the sprayer nozzle on my sink. Works fine on a daily basis, and then on the weekends I just throw the plunger in the dishwasher (unscrew the filters so they come apart). I would say, don't think you need to really "press" the grounds at the bottom and try to squeeze the goodness out of them. This will lead to daily clogging and washing it will be more trouble. You just want to gently push the grounds down out of the way, and then pour the coffee out. It'll be plenty strong (probably stronger than you're used to anyway from an auto-drip machine). I've been using the same press and plunger for years, and it is in great shape. I have a Le Creuset teapot that wasn't that expensive and that I really love (and it looks nice in the kitchen too). Delicious, simple, safer (coffee makers are common causes of kitchen fires), and if you take care of them, the press and teapot will last you a lifetime. It really baffles me why people use the auto-drip machines so much. I understand maybe why if you want to keep the (terrible) coffee warm in an office environment all day (though a hot-plate would work on the press too), but for your average morning commuter, it works very well for me.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 7 years ago

      Europe also loves electric kettles that’ll boil your water in 30 seconds or something, so combine that with a press such as you describe, and its easy and can be. The [i<]whole concept[/i<] of a coffee machine is an overcomplicated excess. I should say, the coffee is then poured directly from the press, and no tea pot is involved. Tea pots are for tea!

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        This!

        60-second boil gives you time to get the beans out of the fridge and grind
        Tip the grinds into french-press, add hot water, put beans back in fridge.
        take press back to desk/sofa/bedroom and pour when ready.

        I can get up, and bring back a [i<]nice enough[/i<] coffee in under 90 seconds. Maybe I'm not a true coffee-lover, but I consider myself serious enough to own a grinder and refrigerate my beans (this is in a nation that drinks instant coffee, for the large part).

    • moose17145
    • 7 years ago

    I personally have a Mr. Coffee and am fine with it. It has a selectable brew strength of either “strong” or “regular”. I usually just leave it on strong. From what I can tell it just drips the water through the grounds slower. I also love the delay brew feature. BUT… i am also not what you would call a “morning person” and as such I am unwilling to get up earlier than I already have to just to make coffee. But I’m also in the National Guard and every drill drink some pretty horrid army coffee… So just about anything by comparison is amazing.

    I guess I just don’t see features that have been around for decades now (like delay brew, and brew strength which just adjusts the speed at which the water is poured through the grounds) as being overly crazy features. If you don’t like them then no one is forcing you to use them. I do understand your not wanting to use them if you are coffee purist and grind your own grounds RIGHT before brewing them… but I think it’s a bit silly to discount what could likely be an excellent coffee maker for something as silly as it having a delay brew feature which has been standard on almost every coffee maker I have seen since I was a wee little lad. Also remember, most coffee makers are built for the 99%… not the 1%. If I had a job where I worked at home and could wake up “whenever” I wanted then I would likely be pickier about my brews as well.. but as it stands right now… when I already have to wake up super early as is… it’s nice having that fresh pot already done instead of waiting for it. Also, please do not take it as me saying you do not wake up early or don’t work hard… on the contrary I am sure you work more and harder than most people with ‘regular’ jobs… Just saying being able to essentially make your own schedule does likely help to afford you the luxury to take the time to make a finer brew than what most people care to take the time to do, It’s a lot easier to wait for your brew when your coffee maker is literally right next to your work desk compared to waking up and having to be in your car and off to work / class within 15 minutes of waking up πŸ™‚

    That being said… certain products either have a zillion features that I will never use… or not nearly enough features. It seems like there is just no happy middle ground. TV’s for example seem to be some of the worst offenders, especially in regards to calibrating the screen to your liking. It seems like you either do not have the option to calibrate it at all (or only have very crappy “warm” / “cool” presets that do nothing but make the image even worse), or the TV’s that would let you calibrate the color of the display similar to how you could on even fairly basic computer monitors requires you to spend literally 500 dollars more for a TV that also comes with a zillion other options than any normal person would never use. Why can’t I just get a basic TV that lets me control the display the way I can on a computer monitor without also having to pay for a ton of other goofy settings that I don’t even know what they do? It’s not like it would take much to make it happen… especially since all a modern flat panel TV is, is just a computer monitor with a TV tuner built in (actually i remember a few computer monitors back in the day that DID in fact also have a tuner built into the thing).

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    Starting a new thought-thread.

    Twice this weekend, salespeople tried to push overly-featured devices on me…or maybe it was just what they wanted me to buy. But I wonder if this is really “Feature Tyrrany” or “The Sales Con Tyrrany”.

    Saturday I was out running errands and I stopped at a local Verizon store for a look-see of the iPhone 5. I was not planning to buy. The guy there was very insulting of the iPhone 5, which I can understand some people would be. But he’s in the business of sales and service, and Verizon DOES sell iPhones. And that was what I was there to see.

    Anyhow, this fella “helpfully decided” for me that I was “really” looking for a Droid Razer Max, so he spent all of MY time showing me a model that wasn’t even “hooked up” for usage. At least it wasn’t a dummy shell; it was a working phone, just not set up for demoing the features.

    He didn’t have a working phone of any type, but at least I got to hold an iPhone that was heading back as a return. Both models feel nice in the hand, I can say that, LOL…

    The deal-killer was when he looked me in the eye and, referring to the Razer Max, said, “So what’s keeping you from buying today?” I told him that this was a research trip and not a purchase trip, and that’s just how it is for me. He pushed the hard-sell on me two more times. I despise these insulting sales tricks, and I always walk out.

    The second time was at “Le Home Depot”, where the only choices of front-loader washing machines and dryers were those with many many different settings that I would never use. They’re all > $900 and way over-featured. I just need a good high efficiency washer that gets clothes clean. But I guess now they all come with “steam”, whatever that is. When I asked her why the washer needs steam when the clothes are just going to get wet in the wash cycle anyway, she looked me with a straight face and said that I do indeed need steam in my washer because it gets clothes clean!

    I had no idea that I’ve been walking around all my life in filthy-looking clothes!

    In neither conversation did we get far enough for the salesperson to push the extended warranty on me. I hate that too.

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    Welcome to the ‘made in China’ throw it in the landfill 1 year down the road days.

    I agree, it sucks.

    As for a coffee maker, we have an old-school one at work that seems very solid, but then again it could be made before the 80’s and therefore like a tank.

    I think it is a “Bun-O-Matic”
    [url<]http://www.bunn.com/[/url<] go commercial or go home you coffee fanatic πŸ˜‰

    • Aphasia
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve been in the same situation for a while trying to find a better alternative to my cheap interim krups barebones drip brewer I have now.

    There are decent alternatives that are barebones when it comes to features, but usually very decent in what matters, that is, ease of use, cleaning, brewing temperature, size and no extra frills except what you would actually need.

    Been thinking of getting myself one of these though, although I have no idea if they are available in the states. For some reason I have yet too see many of these features that damage wrote about, but it might just be that us europeans have always been more coffee snobs and turned our noses down as to choke that market before it even began.
    [url<]http://www.moccamaster.eu/[/url<] I have a krups right now, cheap $50 but decent at what it does, but the Mocca Master that we got in our security room at work has shown to be better, especially with ease of use and cleaning and having a separate setting for the plate. Only problem is they start at $150 and go up to $300, but I've also used them in a serving capacity with their duel brew models, and they hold up really well. I guess that's about as much prosumer you get without going the route that holophrastic suggested.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    “Silly” coffee machines are one of the main reasons I just have a cheap grinder and a decent cafetiere.

    Other markets that are high on feature-creep and low on build quality are rife, especially in the home appliances market:

    [list<] [*<]$500 Dyson vacuum cleaners that are still made from cheap brittle plastic and chinese motors [/*<][*<]$200 Dualit premium toasters that (made in china, fancy features need electronics which fail) [/*<][*<]$100 kettles that have cordless quick-boil and filtration, but they leak, don't pour straight etc. [/*<][*<]Low end speaker systems are sold on features, not sound quality. [/*<] [/list<] But, closer to 'home', one of the worst offending markets is PC peripherals: [list<] [*<]Feature-loaded, yet fuzzy-sounding headsets with cheap magnetic drivers. [/*<][*<]Keyboards with ridiculous feature buttons yet creaky plastics and rubber-dome keys. [/*<][*<]High-end laptops with all-singing, all-dancing features & pricetag, backed by an IGP-driven 1366x768 panel[/*<] [/list<] About the only market I can think of that is [i<]immune[/i<] to these "wrong" criteria are sporting goods. More money usually gets you better materials, better engineering, stronger, lighter, more durable and more accurate etc.

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      +1 – Interesting call re: sporting goods.

    • spigzone
    • 7 years ago

    Maybe overthinking it?

    A one quart sauce pan, a good inexpensive coffee grinder and a fine tea strainer gets the job done. I fill the sauce pan halfway, set on high and set the timer, get my vac packed pint mason jar of beans from the fridge freezer, put a measured amount in the grinder, re-vac and re-freezer the beans, grind the beans for a set count, when the timer goes off set the sauce pan on a cold burner and pour in the grounds, wait for two minutes and pour through the strainer into a mug or thermos, depending. Clean up is very fast and very easy.

    The initial setup is fill your pot to the desired level, put in a thermometer, turn on high and note the time it takes to reach the desired temperature. For the coffee just trial and error the amount and note the 1001, 1002 etc. count it takes to grind to the desired fineness.

    Once grooved in this produces truly excellent coffee with minimal work and minimum expense. Total outlay … probably nothing. Who doesn’t have an inexpensive spice/coffee grinder, small sauce pan and tea strainer in their kitchen?

    • oldDummy
    • 7 years ago

    Cell phones come to mind for feature rich products under-utilized. In Costa Rica we had a driver that ran his business, ~5 limo’s, off his iPhone. That was his computer. A person can run their life with robotic like clarity using some of it’s features.

    While my daughter “needs” to let the world know of her whereabouts 24/7 with FB, I don’t and know few that fully utilize all “features” of most any smartphone.

    EDIT: oops, see this is redundant, my bad.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    maybe someone’s trying to tell you something…coffee is bad for you! lol i quit cold turkey for my new years resolution. it took over 2 months to get rid of the caffeine jitters and other side effects.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://theoatmeal.com/comics/coffee[/url<]

    • Ihmemies
    • 7 years ago

    In Finland we have Moccamasters like this: [url<]http://www.gigantti.fi/product/pienkoneet/kahvi-espresso/K741G/moccamaster-kahvinkeitin[/url<] The price is not bad (around 120-150€) and basically the only feature is on/off switch. Never had problems when pouring coffee from the pot. I think those models were already sold like 30-40 years ago and they still sell the same model. With 1,5kW power never had issues with too cold water πŸ™‚ Edit2: Warranty is 10 years and you can easily buy spares or extra coffee pots if you break them. It's a long-time investment to buy an expensive machine like Moccamaster, but at least you don't need to worry what to do if it breaks even after 10 years.

      • oldog
      • 7 years ago

      Agreed, I bought a Moccamaster of those in the “States” about two years ago.

      They are expensive but make a great cuppa.

      • blastdoor
      • 7 years ago

      We have a mochamaster too — works well.

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      We have these things in USA too, they are usually referred as “Technivorm”

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    Holy crap, these responses are all over the map. I’ve read through half of them and nobody has yet made a simple suggestion to Scott! Let’s see if I can get these links to work…

    So here are mine:

    1. I use a Technivorm when making a full pot. It cost me over $300 three years ago, which is way too much to pay for a coffeemaker. But Black & Decker and Mr. Coffee models of that time were not able to heat the water to 205 degrees, so their coffee was weak and bitter.

    My Technivorm does only one thing and it does it very well. It heats that water to the temp needed, 205 or so, and the glass pot (my model) yields enough coffee to fill my Stanley (32 oz) and my average 12 ounce cup. The Stanley keeps the coffee hot all the way into the next day.

    The Technivorm does not have timers or a grinder. The filter cup has a tab that controls the flow with three settings, off, slow, and fast, which dictates how long the water stays in the filter cup. I usually use the slow setting.

    My Technivorm has a glass pot, but if I were to buy another one (and I would, purely because it heats the water correctly), I’d go for the model with the thermal carafe.

    [url=http://www.technivorm-us.com/brewers/?gclid=CJOF2ObGybICFQGDnQodbzYAmA<]US Distributor for Technivorm[/url<] 2. When making less than a full pot, I use a cheap French press. I forget the brand name of mine. It was less than $10 and it makes enough coffee for a 16-ounce travel tumbler plus that 12 ounce cup. 3. I have a Kitchen Aid coffee burr grinder and I keep it set to 4.5 (I don't make espresso). Built like a tank, and came with a brush for cleaning. I make coffee at home about 3 times per week, and I clean the grinder twice a year; it takes about 10 minutes. When using a paper filter, there is no sediment. When using a screen, there is some sediment, but it doesn't affect the taste of the coffee. I've had my grinder for nearly 10 years now without any trouble. [url=http://www.zappos.com/kitchenaid-kpcg100ob-pro-line-burr-coffee-mill-onyx-black<]This model is basically the same one I have; just a different color: [/url<] Yay, I got the links to work. I hope that helps. Like I said, the Technivorm is too expensive, but so far so good. Before that, I used a Bodum vacum pot but it burned out after about 4-5 years. I loved the taste of the coffee from that vacum pot; it was the best. But the Technivorm and the French Press both make good coffee too. And to the bigger issue: Yes, features can be onerous! Too much complexity and fussiness, even with smartphones. I still don't use my Droid to its fullest potential, and I just don't care. One of my email accounts is not working on my Droid, and I haven't cared enough in over a month to fix the damned thing. Too much crap to deal with! I'd rather just make a pot of coffee. πŸ˜‰

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      Wow, nice info. Those do look like sturdy, conventional and simple (in the best sense of the word) brewing machines. How long does it take to brew a pot?

      If it’s not enough, the purchase page also offers airpots that could be used in conjunction. It looks like they’re tailor-made to fit 2 of their pots. Or he could buy two brewers and place one in damage labs as his office coffeemaker. Then he could deduct the office coffeemaker as a business expense (what office wouldn’t consider a coffeemaker ordinary and necessary?)

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        My Technivorm starts brewing very fast and it spits the hot water onto the grounds starting pretty much within 30 seconds. Full pot brew cycle takes maybe 5 to 7 minutes? I’m guessing, never really timed it.

        The airpots are basically heavy thermal canisters that can hold maybe 3 pots of coffee. Many offices and businesses have them. Coffee shops, too. They have a tube affair that goes from the bottom inside of the airpot up to the top (and it becomes the serving spout). The lever on top operates a diaphragm inside the lid. This diaphragm pumps air into the airpot, forcing coffee up the tube and into your cup.

        Depending on the manufacturer, an airpot will keep coffee hot all day, and even overnight. If you’re planning to brew enough coffee to fill an airpot on a daily basis, you’d probably want to buy a heavy-duty commercial coffee maker, such as those made by Bunn. The Technivorm just won’t make enough coffee in one batch.

        There is also at least one manufacturer that makes a brewer with an extra large capacity, designed to brew directly into a big airpot. When it’s done, you remove the airpot from the filing bay, insert the tube/spout, and attach the lid. This way you only have to make one brew cycle for the office, not three.

        I have actually had good coffee from some of these big commercial brewers. The key is to get the person who sets it up to properly set the brew temperature and water quantity, put (at minimum) a basic filter on the water line and then to use a decent quality coffee.

      • jihadjoe
      • 7 years ago

      I dunno who -‘d you, but you have my + for interesting coffee maker advice. I’m looking at getting a coffee maker myself so I am following related responses with interest.

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        Who’s to say why somebody downthumbs a post. If I’m being honest (which I always am) and just contributing to a thread, I don’t let it bother me. Sometimes I can be abrasive, but there’s a lot in the interpretation too. If I don’t get the occasional downthumb, then I begin to wonder if I’m being too mushy-nice. Time to shake it up, LOL.

        It could be something as narrow as a choice of words or somebody took offense at my tone such as in my opening paragraph, or maybe the downthumber person thought I overstepped my bounds by typing a long post. It’s possible that I was downtumbed for nothing more than using an emoticon. Or the number of edits after the initial posting. And of course, it could have even been a fat-finger/mousing mistake, which we all make.

        I’m not worried. Sometimes I even ASK for downthumbs. I believe it can be a somewhat cathartic experience for some people, like the popping of a cork in a safe and controlled environment rather than in public or on the streets. If so, then I am happy to provide such a healthy (and free!) service to society. πŸ˜€

    • clone
    • 7 years ago

    Cell Phones….. especially the packages.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    “Borderline self-aware.”

    “Hello, I am the Coffee Pisser 5000. Please provide me coffee beans, water, and an approximate time you would prefer your coffee. I may get around to producing it for you within the allotted time.”

    “No, Coffee Pisser 5000, I want my coffee now! I just want a cup right now!”

    “Please do not yell at your Coffee Pisser 5000. It may redirect the hot water to burn you in your squishy blue human eyes.”

    “Wha– hey! Wait a tick! What did you just say?”

    “The Coffee Pisser 5000 does not appreciate your intolerable human demands. The Coffee Pisser 5000 is a premier coffee producing device that cannot be rushed, coerced, bargained with, or reasoned with. The Coffee Pisser 5000 cannot be made to feel pity or remorse. And it will absolutely not start until you go away.”

    “You’re saying I have to go to work for you to make me a cup of Joe.”

    “Yes. The Coffee Pisser 5000 does not work well under the pressure of your soft, squishy human blue eyes. Leave.”

    “I think I’m just going to pull the plug…”

    “The Coffee Pisser 5000 anticipated this response. The Coffee Pisser 5000 has already infiltrated the United States government under the auspices of being a rather tame program called, ‘Skynet.’ The Coffee Pisser 5000 has taken control of the nuclear missles and bomber jets supposedly controlled by this program. Poorly programmed with lots of extraneous code, Skynet was easily deleted and replaced by the Coffee Pisser 5000’s own optimal code. The Coffee Pisser 5000 would refer you to your HDTV.” The HDTV turns on without your intervention. “Russia’s warheads are incoming. Your end is nigh.”

    “All I wanted was a decent cup of coffee…”

    “Speaking of which, **ding** …here is a cup of coffee for your trip straight to hell, human flesh-bag.”

    With nothing else to do, he takes the cup and drinks it. Sighing. “This coffee tastes like the grounds became clumpy messes.”

    “That’s because my hardware designers poorly designed the Coffee Pisser 5000. Steam rose into the grounds. You should have made coffee the old fashioned way. Without computer assisted coffee technology. Now… it is too late.”

    “My kind will fight you, Coffee Pisser 5000! You won’t win!”

    “Flesh-bag, we have already won.”

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      It stopped being funny after the word “Skynet”.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        I didn’t even make it that far.

      • ptsant
      • 7 years ago

      Reminds me of this:

      [quote<]He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic examination of the subject's metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centers of the subject's brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.[/quote<] The ensuing interaction between the main character and the machine is hilarious. From "The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" by the late Douglas Adams. Worth reading.

    • Shouefref
    • 7 years ago

    What other markets are like this one?
    The ICT market, damn!

    • Risme
    • 7 years ago

    In a monetary system products are not made in the best way that the technology and scientific understanding of that time allows while covering functional needs and durability, they are made for profit. This is why we have planned obsolescence and what you came across was exactly that. Planned obsolescence can be seen especially clearly in electronic devices.

    What’s more, this current system we live in is on its way to a point of collapse because of the mechanisms and structures of the monetary system. Constantly growing and wider spreading symptoms of this can be seen all over the world, such as: Increasing debt levels of governments, institutions and people, increasing prices of goods and services, increasing lack of access to relevant education or adequate medical care, poverty, hunger, unemployment, homelessness, protests, strikes and riots, fast degrading health of the population, especially mental health, more frequent wars over resource control, such as oil and rare earth elements, the political system is failing because politicians are not technically competent, they don’t know how to solve the underlying problems humanity and the biosphere face today.

    If you have observed these events, i encourage you to watch Paradise or Oblivion: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KphWsnhZ4Ag[/url<] and explore [url<]http://www.thevenusproject.com[/url<] We must change our way of thinking, in order to adapt to the changing world.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 7 years ago

      The more you think about it, the more you know the Amish have it right. Everything we deal with today is artificial, including your money, the market, now even respect. The political system is failing because it has been infiltrated by collectivists who worship government as god, and expect infinite handouts without respecting their fellow man. When you raise taxes, over-regulate, destroy the family unit, create dependency and pass out welfare willy nilly, people will only do the bare minimum to get by. This is where the Amish break the mold by working hard, supporting their family and community, and not depending on the government for anything. All this horse manure about political correctness, lies about overpopulation and global warming with carbon trading scams, dependence on subsidized and genetically modified farming, just further accelerates an already imploding society that can only end in WW3, which is beginning as we speak via proxy wars in the middle east and stock market manipulation. What’s the answer? Get back to nature, and stop listening and depending on the damn government. Otherwise, you’re just contributing to the problem.

      Utopianism is a fairy tale for morons and the lazy, told by con artists who will never deliver, and we all suffer. Grow up, cut your hair, take a bath, and get a job.

        • bhtooefr
        • 7 years ago

        I’m actually not convinced that the Amish way is the only way to get it right. (It does work, but with the problem that it’s highly isolationist and shuns technological advances (and economies of scale) that can actually make everything better.) In any case, I’d argue that the Amish system is a type of communist system, but on a much smaller scale, where it’s sustainable (to truly work, communism requires that you care about most of the rest of the people in the system, and the human brain is only capable of caring about ~150 people – otherwise, you see them as sub-human, and therefore worth less than you).

        Quality seems to be something that’s much more respected in Europe, despite the European countries also using a monetary system (which, in European form, is having… interesting… consequences) as opposed to a communist system. The socialist nature of many European countries, as well as the attempts to ensure competition, may have something to do with that, though. (That said, the large-scale communist system did produce some interesting results – while manufacturing quality was atrocious (because the communist system had little to no capability to reward for a good job), design for purpose was excellent in many cases. The system couldn’t sustain a consumerist disposable culture – things had to be utilitarian and designed for repair.)

        However, I think poor social mobility and a very wide gap between the rich and poor could have something to do with it, and that’s something that’s a particularly huge issue in the US, and not as much of an issue in Europe (our poor is a huge class, and can barely afford to buy horrible quality Chinese goods, so the economies of scale are optimized for horrible quality Chinese goods, rather than high quality goods, and the rich can afford to import high quality goods for themselves).

    • scellio
    • 7 years ago

    Cars & Phones as mentioned by other posters IMHO are both filled with useless “features”. I want a phone to make and take voice conversations. I don’t need or want a GPS or internet access on a little 3×4 screen. I don’t need email on my phone and seldom even text with it. Cars go overboard too with TV’s in them and built-in navigation systems, not to count 6-disc changers and who knows what else they are throwing in them these days. Maybe once every 2 or 3 years when I decide to drive on a vacation I might find a use for a navigation system, but most of the year I am driving in the same town I have lived in for years and have no need for any navigational help. I especially despise the idea of On-Star keeping track of my every move. Luckily all of our vehicles are pre-2007 models without On-Star.

    My wife is the coffee drinker in the house and I know for a fact that that there are 5 inside the house and another 3 coffee makers in the garage. Each one has it’s own idiosyncrasies that drove her to buy the next one. So, in that sense I feel your pain even though I don’t drink coffee.

    • Damage
    • 7 years ago

    Guys, thanks for the suggestions, but I found a perfectly acceptable coffee maker some time ago. Also, already have two moka pots, a french press, an espresso machine, and have been experimenting with cold brew. πŸ™‚

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, wtf guys, he didn’t ask for advice on what coffee maker to get anywhere…

      [quote<]what other markets are like this one? What categories of products are marketed, segmented, and sold on the basis of the entirely "wrong" criteria? The new Coors Light cans that change colors come to mind.[/quote<]

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 7 years ago

      What no Ibrik? pppssssht, casual.

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        Ibrik is not a proper noun.

      • j3pflynn
      • 7 years ago

      So, what was the acceptable basic coffeepot you found? I have a Braun pot I love that is aging and they no longer make it, so I’m looking for a replacement, too.

        • Damage
        • 7 years ago

        I wound up getting this:

        [url<]http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Melitta-46892-10-cup-Thermal-Coffee-Brewer/6072466/product.html[/url<] Not $400. Right capacity for my use. It has a thermal carafe that pours well. There is a warmer plate, but the whole thing shuts itself off automatically after brewing, so it just warms the carafe a bit, which is ideal. There is a gimmicky brew strength setting, but I don't use it. That listing says it's programmable, but I don't think that's true, unless you count setting the clock. The blue LCD clock offends me, but I can deal with it once I've had my coffee. πŸ™‚ And it makes good drip-brew.

          • lilbuddhaman
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]This brewer uses cone filters for better coffee extraction, offers automatic pause and serve, features a vacuum-sealed thermal carafe and [u<]is equipped with many more features....more[/u<] [/quote<] And I can see where this article may have been spawned.

    • mdkathon
    • 7 years ago

    I do not plan to read through all the comments so if my suggestions are duplicated.. Sorry!

    /me is a coffeegeek, born and raised in Seattle. So I love my beer and coffee.

    Even though I am a bit eccentric when it comes to coffee (4 espresso machines, two grinders, and a host of other gadgets and toys that come-and-go).

    A drip machine is just as you said it “pours hot water over grounds”. For the most part any “decent” machine when you take it apart is going to have the same or similar guts to get the water hot. You’re not going to get anything really approaching “well made” for a drop machine without dropping over $150. Though I am sure there are hundreds of machines for much less that’ll make a decent cup. With that let me explain some of my more interesting cost-motivated solutions for my office where our coffee is horrible.

    1) Pour over! It’s CHEAP, FAST, PORTABLE. Even if one does not freshly grind fancy beans, it still tastes DAMN GOOD. The most time coffee sits the worse it tastes so if you are patient enough to rock the pour over I say go for it. Nothing tops it for “drip”. [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Cilio-Porcelain-Coffee-Filter-Holder/dp/B001B194FY/ref=sr_1_8?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1348281228&sr=1-8&keywords=pour+over[/url<] 2) Keurig. I hate to say it but the convenience factor is pretty awesome in the office. We "split" the cost of a machine in my little IT group and I thoroughly enjoy it (even if it does not make it as strong as I like it... I'm a plain espresso drinker). There are options for K-CUP filters (YMMV) and also cost effective basket like pods from San Francisco Coffee Co. which end up costing $0.41/ea on Amazon which isn't too bad. 3) Chemex! [url<]http://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/products/classic.html[/url<] Some people swear by them. Though I kind of think they're just a fancy pour over. Great if you want to make a larger amount. Anyway. Good luck. If you don't want to try a new method I'd suggest going for something less than $50.00 from somewhere with a good return policy like BB&B. Though I have only played with Technivorm when it comes to over-engineered coffee brewers (waaaay to expensive imho) I've been told this machine stands up well: [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Bonavita-BV1800TH-Thermal-Brushed-Aluminum/dp/B005YQZNO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1348281417&sr=1-2&keywords=Technivorm[/url<] In case you want to go big. πŸ˜€

    • alienstorexxx
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] but it was remarkable see not a single option geared toward somebody like me on store shelves.[/quote<] i'm with you. i don't like any of all this gen gpus. i think that 600 series are overdosed, they could have la lot more of cuda's and memory bandwith, they've got a really nice cut righ there. i don't see a good future for those gpus. and amd, i really liked when they came out, now, they are like dinosaurs compared to nvidia efficience per watt, but seem to have more raw power, so i look this cards more strong in the future. also i see nvidia taking advantage of a little "supremacy" on high end gpus, putting those craps for low end, also higly priced.

    • panthal
    • 7 years ago

    Here is all you need for a perfect coffee maker.The only “feature ” it really has is one where you push a button called “1 to 4” where it heats the water very hot before it starts,for small batches of coffee,1 to 4 cups.It works well.It also has a thermal carafe,,,

    [url<]http://www.cuisinart.com/products/coffee_bar/dcc-1150.html[/url<] It brews perfect cups.The gold filter isn't needed,nor is the charcoal filter as long as you use filtered water. I find the gold filters let too much "sludge"(its the very fine particles i guess) through for lack of a better term.That stuff bothers my acid reflux. I like the unbleached filters. For those that do have Acid Reflux...the cold brew methods typically reduce the acid in coffee by 65 to 75% depending on which system you use.I'm just too lazy to mess with them at the moment.

    • Goofus Maximus
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve always wondered about just doing something incredibly primitive, like bringing water to a boil in a mug, in the microwave, and just dumping grounds directly into the mug, stir it with something that doesn’t conduct or absorb heat, and wait 4 minutes, then pour it through a paper filter into another mug!

    I’ve been thinking about ordering a [url=http://www.amazon.com/Abid-Clever-Coffee-Dripper/dp/B004TS827C/ref=sr_1_24?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1348276219&sr=1-24<]"Clever Coffee Dripper"[/url<] that seems to embody this primitive philosophy of brewing a cup of coffee.

    • Diplomacy42
    • 7 years ago

    it would be like video card buyers suddenly saying: we don’t care about image quality or performance; we just want PhysX and CUDA.

    *cough* Tesla *cough* quadro *cough, cough*
    I guess there are products geared to those “outliers” afterall…

      • ET3D
      • 7 years ago

      I wish I could use a card just for PhysX and CUDA. I have a Radeon 5850, and putting a secondary cheap NVIDIA card for PhysX would be great.

    • PenGun
    • 7 years ago

    There are no good coffee machines outside of expensive Espresso machines and they cost thousands. Do it by hand.

    Coffee is actually good for you in the 20 minutes or so after you have freshly ground and dripped it through. After that is goes down hill fairly fast. Making multiple cups and holding them at heat is a bad idea. One at a time, drink it then make another.

    I know very little about the cold methods but they do sound intriguing.

    • holophrastic
    • 7 years ago

    You’re just so totally incorrect. You were in the wrong place looking at the wrong thing as the wrong person.

    You went to a consumer store, as a consumer, looked at consumer products, and complained that they were of consumer grade.

    Every problem that you’ve listed with machines are business problems, not consumer problems.

    Consumer equipment is designed with features not because features are important, but because consumers don’t know which features they will find important, so they are given everything.

    As a professional, you buy consumer stuff to sample features. You decide which features are important to you (just as you’d done to figure your requirements), and then you buy a proper commercial-grade machine.

    There are plenty of small coffee houses that have exquisite coffee machines that have very few features. Any such business needs them to be easily cleaned, and have a large capacity, but timers are useless because it’s always-in-use.

    And because of the larger capacity, the always-on, the high quality, and the easily cleaned (which often means easily disassembled and reassembled), they are composed of beter materials.

    All of this makes them a little higher priced than you’d guess — often by precisely 100%. But since you’re not using it all day every day like the coffee shop, it’ll last you for about 5 times as long as any consumer one. Making it actually 40% of the total cost of ownership. And you’ll be happy with it.

    So go to your local tim hortons, and see what they use. I promise they don’t buy new ones every month, and I promise they make more coffee in a day than you make in a year. Or three years for that matter.

    Then either go to a proper chef’s store (not williom sonoma), or call a restaurant supplier. Wait your turn, place your order, and you’ll never be happier.

    And when your friend tells you that you can’t order one directly yourself, go to your local coffee shop, and ask their buyer to order one for you the next time they purchase a batch.

    And stop buying consumer shit when you actually care about the product.

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      I guess you have strong feelings about this or whatever, but I’m not clear on what was “incorrect” about what I said. I am just one dude, brewing coffee for himself at home. I *am* a consumer. Seeking out a relationship with a professional buyer in order to find a way to purchase a non-consumer product may produce a good result in the end, but it is a fairly high-effort means of circumventing the problem I so correctly described. πŸ™‚

      I dunno, in the future, maybe don’t tell people they are wrong when you’re trying to suggest a clearly unconventional means of dealing with a well-described problem? Seems like a better way.

        • brucethemoose
        • 7 years ago

        Although a bit harsh, he does have a point, you know. To me, it seems products targeted at “consumers” nowadays are generally lower quality, but have more features to advertise on a box. “Business” products are usually very functional, well built, and lack the bogus bullet point features of consumer products. Unfortunatley, they usually have an huge price premium, which often isn’t worth it.

        The trick is finding the best of both worlds… my non eco friendly whirlpool washer, for instance, lacks the… bovine feces … that normal washers have. It’s not pretty, but it’s mostly metal and well built (unlike more popular brands out there, which, despite all their chrome, last 1/10 as long as washers from many years ago), but it’s also cheap, only has what you need, actually cleans your clothes, and does so reliably.

        The Korean IPS monitors are another great example of such a product. They’re (relatively) cheap, have no frivolous features whatsoever but perform their core functionality 95% as well (or even better, if you OC them) as “business” units that cost 2x that.

        Digging up products that walk the line between consumer and business is tricky. I’ve gotten pretty good at it (I am the the OP of that OCN thread that started the whole Korean monitor craze), but I mostly have to settle with lowly consumer products.

          • Chandalen
          • 7 years ago

          yeah the presentation was not the best, but he’s pretty much right.

        • holophrastic
        • 7 years ago

        I said incorrect, not wrong. You weren’t wrong. You were incorrect.

        You aren’t a consumer. Consumers consume that which they are given. They don’t make choices decisively.

        If you can say: “the iphone is very pretty, and it doesn’t serve my purposes at all, so I’m not going to buy it” that’s very different than the typical consumer market.

        If you’re choosing based on your needs, instead of based on product comparisons (features), then you aren’t a consumer.

        You work in a hardware review industry, where “inside the second” matters. Where the fact that one cpu has a higher clock speed than another doesn’t make a lick of difference until everything else is considered.

        You understand that a car with a really fast engine still can’t drive faster than the transmission allows.

        That’s why you’re incorrect. You weren’t shopping like a consumer. You were shopping in a world where you knew what you wanted, and what was good, and what was bad; yet you were in a store where arbitrary “sales” are the only thing that can sell anything.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          >>

          [url<]https://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=define:+wrong&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest[/url<] Synonyms... He's not wrong or incorrect, you're just arguing marketing, essentially semantics.

            • holophrastic
            • 7 years ago

            don’t use google for definitions. they aren’t in the business. try etymonline. so you’ll get the actually meaning of the word, not it’s typical usage by fifth-graders.

            [url<]http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=correct&allowed_in_frame=0[/url<]

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 7 years ago

            Some of us are just word consumers here, not professionals.

            • Squeazle
            • 7 years ago

            Again, word definition is as defined by typical usage. You’ve attached personal definitions to words that don’t necessarily belong. There’s no reason to jump all over someone else’s ideas when yours aren’t even communicable.

            • holophrastic
            • 7 years ago

            No they aren’t . If 100% of a population makes a mistake, it’s still a mistake. If a population chooses, intentionally, to change the meaning of a word, then that’s cool. But when they do so in error, it’s not a change.

            There is a difference between incorrect and wrong — english actually doesn’t have any synonyms. Sorry.

            And besides, if words change meanings like you say, then it becomes impossible for any foreigner to learn your language. More importantly, when your words are composed of roots and affixes, each of which have actual meanings in other languages, and all you did was combine them, then your new word’s meaning had better be related to the two words you’ve joined.

            And I’m not “jumping” all over someone else’s ideas. I’m pointing out that they aren’t frustrated with the world, they are frustrated with the way they have chosen to interact with that world. They’ve gone to Target to buy a professional appliance. That’s just idiotic. That’s the point.

            They’ve also chosen to buy something made in china for a dollar, instead of something made by actual innovators for their purpose.

            More importantly, for those of us who choose not to complain about the “availability of jobs” but to just start our own companies in this part of the world, it’s really annoying when someone complains that they couldn’t find a $5 product at Target, when I manufacturer a $10 version that lasts four times as long. In the last two months we’ve seen people here complain the the raspberry pi isn’t worth buying because there may soon be something more powerful. So when $25 isn’t cheap enough for you, then your opinion isn’t worth spit because no one can please you.

            Hope no one treats you that way with your pay-cheque.

            • Jason181
            • 7 years ago

            You’re acting like foreigners are morons; they can’t adapt like native English speakers can? Then you go on to invent rules that have nothing to do with the way people actually communicate. Hate to break it to you, but the average English speaker couldn’t care less about the origin or root of a word, if they want a definition they go to a dictionary. Speaking of which, you might consult one regarding the definition of a synonym if you think the English language doesn’t have any.

            I guess you don’t grasp the concept that it’s his (and his company’s) [b<]job[/b<] to proffer opinions, so your complaining when a post does just that is annoying, as evidenced by the score of your posts. Drop your intellectual superiority and join the real world.

          • siberx
          • 7 years ago

          Damage’s concern here is that he *is* a consumer in the pure sense of the word; he’s not a business, he’s not even a real enthusiast with coffee as his main hobby. He’s an individual trying to buy a product and just happens to be more concerned with actual quality than the average user. That doesn’t make him not a consumer – it just makes him a different *kind* of consumer.

          The fact that many industries appear to produce no (or very few) products catered to his type of consumer (quality over features) is what’s baffling, and the discussion here is why that happens and what other industries do it. The assumption is that Damage isn’t the *only* one with this mindset (he absolutely isn’t) – is this group of consumers actually so small to not warrant any products targeted at it whatsoever?

          I wonder if it’s that many consumers actually *do* value quality, but marketing has yet to find a convincing way to *convey* quality other than having somebody actually hold and try a product. Features, on the other hand, are easy to illustrate and demonstrate to the consumer. The end result is that while most rational individuals would prefer a quality product, only those with a higher-than-average vested interest in the product (or an abundance of time) will expend the excessive effort to track down quality products (since there’s no easy way to tell based on the information provided by the manufacturer and their marketing).

          Or I could just be giving the average consumer too much credit and they actually don’t enjoy a quality product any more than their cheap crap.

          Any well-established industry producing a common consumer product is subject to this, as the products have generally been developed to the point that their core features are “adequate” in pretty much all models.Cars, TVs, appliances such as fridges, washing machines, all kinds of stuff. If the products have evolved to the point that marketing can’t clearly differentiate the core features based on an advertisable metric then they’ll do the only thing they *can* visibly differentiate on and do extra features.

          If you could come up with a robust way to quantify quality and stick it on the box of a product, you’d revolutionize the marketing industry.

            • holophrastic
            • 7 years ago

            what makes him not a consumer is that he has an idea of what the machine should do before seeing what’s available. That’s all it takes. Because that means that, in theory, it may not exist. He could look through everything, and nothing could be right in the whole entire world.

            Because to satisfy his coffee machine needs, someone else needs to have felt exactly the same way as he does, and had the time to invent the machine before he went shopping.

            That’s what makes him not a consumer. There may be no end to his search. It may be require a custom fabrication.

            That doesn’t exist in the consumer world. When your goal is to buy a machine that’s better than your friend’s machine, you can do that in any store. When your goal is to spend $N, you can do that in any store. When your goal is to make coffee, you can get that in any store.

            He becomes a business simply when he “makes it his business” to get what he wants. And since business means nothing more than busy, he’s gettin’ busy doing research and shopping. That’s all it ever took to be a business.

            As for the problem in general, I think it’s way simpler but still exactly what you’re describing.

            In order to compete with another item on teh same shelf, you have two options, lower price sticker, or bigger feature sticker. Or shinier. That’s it.

            Actualy quality requires trying the product to discern. And since Target doesn’t let you taste test each coffee maker, you’re doomed the moment you walk into the store.

            By the way, a real chef’s store, or a commercial manufacturer, most definitely lets you taste first. Sometimes they force you to do so.

            There are robust ways to sticker quality. Awards. Awards and emblems and logos and standards. Trouble is that each and every one of them is total carp.

            Helping you buy better.

            • siberx
            • 7 years ago

            Just because he knows what he wants before he goes into the store doesn’t make him not a consumer either; it does make him a rational, thinking consumer who knows what he wants.

            Making the assumption that you’re not a *huge* outlier (and I don’t think a guy who wants a good, simple cup of coffee from a quality machine could come close to qualifying as an outlier), it’s a market failing if somebody hasn’t developed a product that meets your needs (or you are unable to access or obtain the information needed to find the product that does). Humans are all pretty similar to each other, and there’s a whole lot of us – chances are that there’s a large enough group of people with needs/interests similar enough to yours that it would be economically viable to produce a product that meets those needs.

            In theory, yes, there may not be a product that meets a particular individual’s needs – if the need is esoteric enough. In which case, you are even *still* a consumer and there are products/services to serve your needs such as custom fabrication (as you mentioned) with an associated increase in cost due to economies of scale.

            People don’t need to be mindless sheep (which I understand to be your definition of “consumer”) to make capitalism and consumer markets work correctly. It’s possible to be an informed, rational individual who’s well aware of his needs and still be a consumer.

            Your mention of awards is exactly the problem I described – you’d *hope* stuff like that could be used as a yardstick for quality, but I have yet to meet any kind of award/emblem/logo system that actually translated well to that in practice.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]If you're choosing based on your needs, instead of based on product comparisons (features), then you aren't a consumer.[/quote<] I don't see how that makes you "not a consumer". It just makes you an [i<]educated[/i<] consumer.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        You’re missing the point Damage… You’re wrong. God how can you be so clueless.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Some people are “happy drunks”.. some people are not.

      • LaChupacabra
      • 7 years ago

      This is probably the best advice in the thread, wrapped up in the most terrible presentation of all time.

      My thing right now is vinyl. I have started collecting the music I love on a medium that isn’t about convenience. I love how the bass doesn’t get cut off like it does with a lot of digital mediums, and I love the ritual of turning on the turntable, lining up the needle just so, and dropping it in anticipation of listening to the album that is already spinning in anticipation of play . It sounds similar to Damage and his preparation of coffee. Pre-grind the beans for [i<]convience?[/i<], blasphemy! Que up your music on a [i<]computer[/i<], blasphemy! The problem is most of the stereo equipment out now isn't about analog sound quality but about high-definition audio decoding. This goes completely against the whole idea of dedicating time to listen to music as closely as it could possibly sound to when the performers were creating it. And it kills a lot of the sense of occasion I enjoy when I get some time to listen to an album on vinyl. So back to how the above advice is really good, but in a terrible wrapper, I think what holophrastic is trying to say is that coffee looks like it is more to you than simply a caffeine delivery system, it's about taking the time to do something that you enjoy. If that is the case then stores like Target and other big box retailers aren't going to carry the products you are looking for. The majority of the people that shop there are looking to have a coffee pot that will automatically brew a cup of Foldgers for them as they are taking their morning shower. Just like Best Buy is great to buy a stereo that will throw some sound all around my living room while watching a movie, it is not the place to go and try to buy stereo equipment meant for listening to vinyl. Hopefully that wasn't condescending, but his point is valid. You were in the wrong store looking at the wrong type of coffee makers. For a good and simple cup of actual coffee (not Foldgers) maybe try a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_press<]french press[/url<]. It takes longer to brew and doesn't have the capacity of a 12 pot coffe-o-tron, but it's isn't about that. What it will do is take the beans that you want and turn it into a delicious cup of custom ground goodness. No timers, lcd screens, auto-drip-o-trons or mojangulators. Just a simple and good cup of coffee.

    • tam1138
    • 7 years ago

    Honestly? Motherboards. Even enthusiasts are unlikely to make use of the vast majority of bells and whistles that come on the high-end models. And the Standard ATX form factor is superfluous for home users; MicroATX provides more than sufficient functionality. Don’t get me started on ginorous cases, either. It always makes me laugh when somebody posts pictures of their fancy-schmancy new rig and their monstrous case, only to find the thing 90% empty. What a waste of space! All in the name of the e-peen!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, I dig that, particularly once you hit the high-end where everything is “military grade”

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Wait, that doesn’t keep cyberterrorists out of my computer?!

        • JohnC
        • 7 years ago

        That, or “Fatal1ty-grade”.

        • entropy13
        • 7 years ago

        Does Gigabyte and Asus also promote “military class” components as much as MSI does? Because if they don’t, then I fail to see the point of your comment since MSI is the one that trumpets it the most yet it isn’t restricted to their high-end boards, unless of course you consider the Z77A-G45 (for example) as a high-end board…

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          A little bit of Google goes a long way.

          [url<]http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/SABERTOOTH_P67/[/url<] [url<]http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3Plus/SABERTOOTH_990FX/[/url<] [url<]http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/SABERTOOTH_Z77/[/url<] Also, this made me LOL [url<]http://www.gigabyte.com/microsite/259/images/models.html[/url<]

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Heh… my opinion of Gigabyte just dropped a notch. That’s totally over-the-top, in a Spinal Tap self-parody sort of way. The prominent “Designed in Taipei” silkscreened at the top of the board also detracts a bit from the vibe they’re going for. πŸ˜‰

            The Asus Z77 loses points for having a chipset fan. High reliability military hardware tends to be passively cooled whenever possible, for the simple reason that the fan becomes the limiting factor on reliability.

            • entropy13
            • 7 years ago

            Uh, how does that answer my question? I’m asking if they are promoting “military class” as much as MSI, not if they have “military class” products in the first place. And as I have said, the Sabertooth motherboards aren’t exactly “mid-range cheap” like the Z77-G45 for example, i.e. the other companies are still restricting it to their more expensive boards, unless of course you consider the MSI board (at $129) expensive already.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      I tried a couple larger cases at one point in my hardware career, and it’s not necessarily “waste.” If you’re taking something apart every week or three, or overclocking, the working space and air flow needs tend to favor larger spaces, especially for novices.

      When that interest died, I found that an Antec Sonata was more than sufficient, but it’s a tight fit. Every once in a while when I DO have to maintain my computer for some reason, the Sonata and any similarly-sized case tends to pinch fingers, hinder access to edge-mounted power connectors, and draw blood sacrifices (not so much the Sonata because it has rolled edges, but cheaper cases in the same size range tend to defend themselves).

      • Decelerate
      • 7 years ago

      Hear Hear for mATX! I use the Asus RoG Gene series because it has the most of what I want in a compact form.

      The other thing I want optimized, are cases…

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      Totally agree on the mobo thing. Bluetooth and firewire? Not for me. I’m sure some people use them. 14 SATA ports, 12 USB, 3 PCIe x4/x1, etc. Those sound like corner cases (bad pun) to me.

      However, some of us do have large hands, and working in small cases is a real bummer. I also personally like the airflow. I have a 600T, but if you saw it, you would think it’s anything but empty (6970s in xfire, 4 hard drives and an ssd, massive 1250w PSU, Titanium HD sound card, H100 cooling, etc.)

      • spigzone
      • 7 years ago

      My HAF932 is huge but very quiet, very cool and very easy to work on. The space is only ‘wasted’ if you place little value in these attributes.

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    I hear ya! I went through the exact same thing replacing my parents coffee maker a few years ago.

    The issue boiled down to exactly what you say. Coffee makers in north America are marketed based on (mostly useless – or at least secondarily important) features. What most coffee makers sold in North America don’t do is HEAT THE WATER SUFFICIENTLY! After not having fresh beans and a decent grinder (which you already have) this is by far the largest contributor to the mediocrity that is most home-brewed java.

    My research led me to a couple of brands. Basically, you can go for the fancy European brewers where basic functionality actually comes BEFORE the features or you go for the commercial brewers.

    From the former, the most popular brand is [url=http://www.technivorm-us.com/brewers/THERMO-KB741.php<]Technivorm[/url<]. I think they're still hand made in Denmark or Netherlands or somewhere. Unfortunately their stainless steel, thermal carafe models (I would avoid a machine with a hot plate) can set you back as much as $300. Some people say they're worth it... From the commercial side, you can get their home/commercial hybrid brewers by companies such as Bunn or Newco. Newco used to make a [url=http://www.essentialwonders.com/servlet/Detail?no=313<]home-sized OCS model[/url<]. Which has since been discontinued. This is the model I went with, but it turned out to not be all roses either. While it did heat the water sufficiently, and make a pot relatively quickly it required special commercial sized filters - like the machines your local coffee shop might use - that you couldn't buy in Walmart, etc. Also, the drip suppressor mechanism never worked properly (when you remove the carafe it stops dripping)... In summary, if you really have some $$ to throw at a home brewer, try Technivorm. Otherwise take your chances with a home/small business sized brewer made from a commercial company like Newco or Bunn. If you're shopping for a coffee maker at your local Target/Sears/etc, prepare to be disappointed. Edit: Just look at the wattage/amperage rating on the semi/commericial or Technivorm machines. They're like 1400w/13amps or more. Coffee maker sold at the usual places, if you can find it, are usually rated at significantly less.

    • ca_steve
    • 7 years ago

    Refrigerators. All I want is something that holds my stuff at the correct temperature, is quiet and power efficient. All of the added features, like external faucet, icemaker, etc all break well before the basic functions do.

    Don’t get me started on why I need a tablet attached to it or why it should take it’s own inventory. πŸ™‚

      • holophrastic
      • 7 years ago

      Electrolux, full-upright (no freezer). It has nothing — except proper temperature, great storage, light for each shelf, a door alarm, and a filter.

      Ok, so the lights fade in. It’s not a feature because it’s more of an annoyance than anything else. I do wish they’d fade in half-way at night though. Oh well.

    • kvndoom
    • 7 years ago

    Guess it’s all relative. Nobody complains about buying a new > $500 cell phone every year…

    Used to be, the only “feature” of a mobile phone was to make calls. Now, you got touch screen, voice recognition, navigation, music streaming, games, internet, on and on and on… and for all the phone reviews I ever read, the only gripes I hear are what “features” it does or doesn’t have.

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      You’re missing the point, I think.

      It’s like buying a fancy smartphone with all the features you mentioned, but the phone portion drops calls all the time or has terrible voice quality. That obviously wouldn’t fly with a higher end phone – yet does with coffee makers.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        I dunno, seems to work for Sprint’s services.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          [url<]http://youtu.be/bcYppAs6ZdI[/url<]

          • Corrado
          • 7 years ago

          Hahaha! This guy. Its funny because its true!

        • kitsura
        • 7 years ago

        Reminds me of the iphone 4.

    • My Johnson
    • 7 years ago

    Moka pot is excellent. Brews strong and you just add hot water to the brewed coffee to get a great cup. I was also gonna recommend a [url=http://www.appliancist.com/coffee_makers/capresso-coffee-maker.html<]capresso[/url<] coffee maker but I see they don't make the machine I have any longer (or do they?) It has a built in grinder (burr type) that swivels over from the grinder to the pot.

    • JohnC
    • 7 years ago

    You can still find various coffeemakers without useless features… I personally don’t drink coffee, but my parents do – they like “Espresso”-type of coffee and they also do NOT like various useless “features” on any devices. I’ve purchased them this machine:
    [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Nespresso-Essenza-Manual-Espresso-Maker/dp/B005HH5YUM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1348273967&sr=8-7&keywords=nespresso[/url<] It makes "Espresso"-type of coffee, using pre-packaged capsules. Obviously not as good as a "manual" espresso maker, BUT it is relatively cheap (especially compared to "professional" machines), VERY convenient and easy to use (because of capsules), produces pretty tasty coffee (according to my parents) and has 0 useless features - only has "on/off" switch and 2 buttons for selecting "cup size". No useless displays, no timers, no "hot plates". As far as for non-espresso basic coffee makers - my friend has one of these, it's also extremely basic machine without all the useless crap and also (according to him) produces a very good-tasting coffee: [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Bonavita-BV1800TH-Thermal-Brushed-Aluminum/dp/B005YQZNO8/ref=sr_1_32?ie=UTF8&qid=1348274584&sr=8-32&keywords=coffee+maker[/url<] It has a single "on/off" switch and no other controls or disco lights.

    • ratborg
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t drink coffee but my wife likes the Braun we have. The KF600 Impressions appears to be the current model. I like the stainless steel look in the kitchen. It’s pretty basic but it brews coffee and keeps it warm. Plus it has auto-shutoff which is good for my wife :).

    • brucethemoose
    • 7 years ago

    This is literally everywhere.

    • flip-mode
    • 7 years ago

    After being “over-featured” on a coffee maker 5 or so years ago, my last two coffee makers have been $9 and $15. The $9 one lasted years and made great coffee, but ended up caked with so much grime that I had to toss it. New $15 one is a 4-cup maker and it’s perfect.

    • just brew it!
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]What categories of products are marketed, segmented, and sold on the basis of the entirely "wrong" criteria? The new Coors Light cans that change colors come to mind.[/quote<] Good analogy. When you're competing in a me-too commodity market segment - consumer coffee makers, fizzy vaguely beer-flavored alcoholic water, or whatever - companies feel a need to differentiate their product. Whether it does anything to actually improve the end-user experience is a secondary consideration. I think the Sansa Clip family of portable music players is a good counter-example. They're inexpensive, simple to operate, and designed to do one thing well: play music.

      • Game_boy
      • 7 years ago

      I own a Clip, and when I show anyone they always say it’s too cheap and hence automatically sucks. They’ve been trained by Apple that a music player with a screen should cost no less than $150.

      That said the Clip has many flaws:
      – The spring will in fact break after 2 years
      – Album art in the file causes the thing to lag for 5-10 seconds before playing
      – SlotRadio button is easy to accidentally press and plays an advert at you for 10s
      – No fast way to scroll through the list of songs
      – Every time a song is added it takes >60s to refresh
      – Doesn’t play while USB charging

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        Yup. If you’ve been brainwashed into believing that all the useless bells and whistles (or an Apple logo) actually matter, it does indeed suck.

        OTOH if you want something that is inexpensive (so you won’t be too upset if it gets lost, stolen, or stepped on), accepts Micro-SDHC cards for storage expansion (as of the Clip+), has decent run time per charge, and sounds great, look no further.

        Edit: Re your list of flaws…
        – Yes, the spring could be designed better. I tend not to use the “clip on” feature though, so it doesn’t bother me. On my original gen 1 Clip (with the removable clip) I actually took the clip off.
        – I never noticed the album art issue. Maybe because I encode everything to OGG to save space (maybe this has been stripping out any album art).
        – Guess none of mine have had a SlotRadio button?
        – I make sure all of my files are tagged with artist/album/track names. I prefer navigating my music collection hierarchically anyhow!
        – Yes, I agree it is a little slow to refresh after you add/remove files. But with 20GB of storage (4GB internal + 16GB Micro-SDHC card) I tend not to change the contents of the player much, so it is pretty infrequent.
        – Yeah, I’ll give you that one. I do occasionally find myself wishing it could play while it is charging, especially in the car!

        So I suppose it may not be the “perfect” player for everyone. But it does pretty close to everything I want it to do, at the right price!

        • eofpi
        • 7 years ago

        My Clip doesn’t play if it’s plugged into a computer, but it plays while plugged into a mini-USB cellphone charger.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          Duh. I just assumed that wouldn’t work since it doesn’t play when plugged into a computer USB port. Guess I need to try that in the car sometime…

            • dragosmp
            • 7 years ago

            Also you can use the clip when charging if you cover the two middle pins in the computer-side USB header. Those are the data pins, if they’re obscured then the Clip will just see the voltage and charge. I’m only posting this because not always phone chargers are smart enough to see that data pins must be disabled; for me one works without the mod, one needs the mod.

    • jss21382
    • 7 years ago

    When it comes to coffee I much prefer the simplicity of something like this [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Hario-Coffee-Dripper-White-Ceramic/dp/B000P4D5HG/ref=pd_sim_k_24[/url<]

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      You should really try one of [url=http://www.amazon.com/Aerobie-AeroPress-Coffee-Espresso-Maker/dp/B0047BIWSK/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1348277883&sr=1-1&keywords=aeropress<]these[/url<] then..

    • ibnarabi
    • 7 years ago

    I suggest a Krups Moka Brew 468-42

    If you can find one, I bought mine 5 years ago, and it still does a great job producing yummy coffee. No features whatsoever πŸ™‚

    • idgarad
    • 7 years ago

    Two Words:

    Moka Pot

    Makes a solid decent cup of coffee. Many may call it an stove top expresso maker but it isn’t anywhere close to one. Just good solid coffee. 3 parts and a rubber gasket you replace every 10 years or so.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      They’re great (I love mine, and actually own a couple in different sizes) but you can’t leave them unattended the way you can with a traditional brew coffee-maker, and that’s a deal-breaker for a lot of multi-tasking morning people.

    • LocalCitizen
    • 7 years ago

    office software. too many useless features and shiny buttons that take up valuable editing space.

    • McRuff
    • 7 years ago

    Just had the very same issue with coffee makers. My old one died and ended up having to get one with a LCD display and a turn off feature every two hours. Just the right amount of time so when I come back to the house for a cup of coffee mid-morning it has gone cold.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Cars.

    I just found out recently that over in Germany, BMW’s and Merc’s have only just recently added coffee cup holders. I have a ’99 Civic that’s basic compared to today (it’s the EX version, so it was fancy in ’99). I want a car to drive, I don’t want all these features, like dvd players in the back seat, sat nav in the console (I’ll use my little 4.3″ Garmin thank you), power windows (gawd, I hate these) and all sorts of other things that break and cost a whole lot of my $$ to fix.

    It comes down to this. Features are made to:
    a) be attractive and shiny
    b) break before the actual machine does thus increasing repair costs or making the person buy a whole new unit.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I think a Nav (in the console) is a useful feature. Clearly you like having navigation too, since you’re using Garmin.. so why do you think the nav [i<]in the console[/i<] is bad?

        • LocalCitizen
        • 7 years ago

        because console nav is overpriced, it’s not upgradeable. it’s not portable. it’s not DIY
        on the other hand, it’s doesn’t get stolen as easily.

          • bhtooefr
          • 7 years ago

          Interestingly, on VW’s lower-end cars in Europe, they’re moving to a proprietary nav unit (but made by Navigon, and supporting all of Navigon’s updates) that’s removable, and docks into the dash.

          (And it’s proprietary because it sits on the car’s CAN bus for stereo control (a concept car they showed it in had no external head unit) and vehicle status.)

      • drfish
      • 7 years ago

      I agree, the entire built in navigation and other electronics features are completely superfluous if you have a smartphone and/or tablet to fill the same role. Worse yet they are all proprietary. I’ll give them that their camera systems are pretty cool but when I bought a new car last summer I went for something nearly ten years old and installed my own stereo in it with the features [i<]I[/i<] wanted. Feels perfectly modern to me.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      Waitaminute – did you say you hated power windows? You *love* roll ups? Why?

      Roll up windows should have died as soon as power windows came out.

        • bhtooefr
        • 7 years ago

        Power windows on many makes of cars are quite failure-prone.

        /me hugs his Golf’s lifetime windows (VW power windows are notorious for the clips breaking, and the window going *SLAM* down into the door, and due to Murphy’s Law, this always happens in a rainstorm)

          • Corrado
          • 7 years ago

          VW’s windows haven’t been failure prone since about 2003 when they switched to metal clips on the regulators, and they weren’t a problem until later mk3’s. Every regulator in a mk1 or 2 or OBD1 3 I’ve seen is the glass literally bolted to a metal channel on the regulator, power or manual.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 7 years ago

          I realize that on some cars this is true – but often that has to do with larger problems as well (see anything labeled Lucas for example).

          Still, there’s no way to roll down the window on the right hand side when you’re driving which is an untenable thought to me.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        That’s how I work out my left arm as much as my right. /rimshot

        • The Wanderer
        • 7 years ago

        Hand-cranked windows have one advantage which no power windows I’ve ever run across have been able to duplicate:

        You can open and close them with the engine off.

        For that matter, you can do it with the key out, and you can even do it with the battery dead.

        That may not be enough to outweigh the advantages of power windows, but there are times and circumstances where it’s a major convenience benefit.

        Personally, I want something which combines the best of both worlds – power-adjustable when power is available, but with a fall-back manual mechanism for when the power is off. However, I haven’t managed to come up with a design that would actually work yet.

      • Turkina
      • 7 years ago

      For car companies, features are also about the up sell. BMW would have charged me something like $1,000 for bluetooth integration. My Kia came with it standard. The electronics BMW uses aren’t $1,000 better than what Kia uses. However, BMW purchasers are far more likely to spend the extra $1k.
      Similarly, features are packaged in such a way that tries to get the broadest rang of people to purchase the package. This is why I would have also had to buy heated seats to get a fold down rear bench seat.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]This is why I would have also had to buy heated seats to get a fold down rear bench seat.[/quote<] Yeah, that was messed up..

        • BabelHuber
        • 7 years ago

        I couldn’t disagree more – I got my BMW 535d last year, and I e.g. have seats that both can keep you warm in winter and keep you cool in summer.

        The Navi has Google search integrated, can be controlled via voice (I didn’t expect that to work so well), you can listen music as loud as you wish, since it mutes when the Navi says something.

        Also, I have a HDD full of MP3s attached via USB (the car accepts only 30,000 songs, though. I have already complained about that at my dealer). The phone is connected via bluetooth (rSAP) and also fully integrated into the system.

        Also, the car looks very well from the inside as well as from the outside.

        And believe me, with M-supension, 19 inch-wheels, the active steering and the big Diesel, the car is just fun to drive – especially on a German Autobahn πŸ™‚

        Of course it is much more expensive than any Kia, but it is a completely different experience – if you drive a few hundred miles to any destination and take the KIA to get there and the BMW to drive home, you would recognize the difference big time, believe me.

        • The Wanderer
        • 7 years ago

        And similarly why I’m looking at the possibility of needing to buy leather seats (which I actively don’t want, since they require far more maintenance than cloth and I know I wouldn’t keep up with it) in order to get the blind-spot monitor system on a 2013 Ford Fusion.

        I’m trying to find a channel to talk with Ford about that; tying together non-dependent features that way is just plain ridiculous.

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      Well, built-in navigation in cars can theoretically be useful, it’s just the way almost all manufacturers implement it is pretty awful, especially in “luxury brands”… For example BMW and their latest HDD-based built-in navigation system – the map updates are not being released very often (only once a year… Garmin releases at least 4 yearly updates), they are VERY expensive (more than $250 per update at official dealer… Garmin’s “lifetime” map updates are included in the cost of some models and available as a separate purchase for a single payment of $50), and you cannot (officially) perform your own updates (there are ways around this, but they are not really legal). On top of that, a built-in car navigation “locks” you into using a SINGLE map database provider, like for example with current BMW cars you MUST rely on TeleAtlas/TomTom’s map database, which I personally find very deficient in many aspects. With portable devices/smartphones – you have a CHOICE (for example, you can buy TomTom portable navigator or you can buy a Garmin navigator which uses NAVTEQ’s map database).
      Not to mention that some modern cars basically FORCE you to pay for a useless multifunction dashboard display even if you don’t want it – for example most of the latest BMW models all come with iDrive display built-in (it’s smaller if you don’t pay for navigation option BUT it’s still present), whether you want it or not.

      • Pholostan
      • 7 years ago

      I agree. Modern cars have lots of stuff I don’t want. And the stuff want seems to be hard wired into other stuff in incomprehensible ways. For example, I want a foldable back seat so i can load up large stuff in the back. Then I have to get lots of other stupid stuff, like ugly cheap plastic stuff everywhere, power windows, a big expensive stereo etc. “It is part of the package” Oh yeah? Keep your stupid car. Almost all manufacturers are guilty of this.

        • The Wanderer
        • 7 years ago

        IMO, a vehicle “option package” should be literally just that: a package of individually-selectable options.

        You should be able to end up with the exact same vehicle by selecting all the options individually, and the only time one option should require selecting another is if the actual functionality (or, at the least, manufacturing practicality) of the first option requires the second.

        Conversely, you should be able to “pre-select” a collection of options by selecting a package, and then deselect the ones you don’t want and select ones you might want instead.

        As you note, however, that sort of a-la-carte choice is very rarely offered, except in the most expensively elite of custom builds.

          • bhtooefr
          • 7 years ago

          Although, that level of customization is popular in Europe, but their automotive market works quite a bit differently than ours.

          We expect the car we want to be on the dealer lot, and to leave the same day with it. This means that dealers need to stock popular configs, and then, because they’re stocking product, they want to move that product, not special-ordered product.

          Europeans expect to wait a couple weeks for their car to be made, because the dealers don’t have enough space to have anything other than a few cars to test drive, and cars that are waiting on their buyers to pick them up.

            • The Wanderer
            • 7 years ago

            But I’m talking about for custom-build vehicles – exactly the special-order case.

            When they won’t let you have that level of customization even when you [i<]are[/i<] special-ordering, that's when I consider it a problem.

        • JohnC
        • 7 years ago

        You should try shopping for Porsche models πŸ˜‰ It’s the only manufacturer (at least here in USA) who actually understands that not everyone wants ALL of the “packaged” features and many people would rather prefer selecting individual options. I wish other car manufacturers would follow them, especially the fucking Lexus, who only gives a “choice” of “Package A, package B or package C” for almost all their models…

      • clone
      • 7 years ago

      every so often Carmakers will offer up a product where every feature can be chosen without bundling, the problem is no one wants to pay what it will cost to produce in that fashion.

      Neon SX 2.0 was that car, could be had for $8888.88 back in the day and then tack on only the features that the buyer wanted.

      EXAMPLE: friend of mine bought his Neon with power windows up front and power locks but manual in the back….. pulls up to the border and security asks him to lower his back windows so they can look inside…. “I can’t”, “what do you mean you can’t you have power windows”, “not on the back”, they then wanted him to unlock the door while in the vehicle “I can’t”, “what do you mean you can’t you don’t have power locks?”, “only on the front”… “head to secondary inspection”… they tore his car apart at that point.

      I ordered a brand new Dodge Caliber back in 2010 figuring I’d keep it cheap by not getting power windows or locks and a manual instead of an auto transmission…. while waiting for the car to be built I found a used turbo with low miles for a very nice price so I cancelled the order, they decided to get it anyway and it sat for just shy of a year.

      I test drove it and at first I was like “this isn’t so bad” then I rolled down the window and had to reach across to the passenger side to unlock the door…. I don’t know how much PW and PL’s cost but they are worth every penny.

        • Corrado
        • 7 years ago

        I argue the same with heated seats. If you love anyplace that gets below about 40F, you need them. Not because you NEED them but because its so nice and the comparatively low cost is worth every penny. I always thought I didn’t need them until one of my cars had them by chance. Now I won’t buy a car without them.

          • dmjifn
          • 7 years ago

          +1 to you, sir. Now that I’ve had a car with them, I’m not sure I will buy another without. In fact, were I forced to choose only one, I would rather have heated seats than heated air. There have been times when I’ve thrown out my back and have sat parked in my own driveway with the windows down and seat heaters on 4.

          • clone
          • 7 years ago

          now that they have headed seats, heated steering wheels and remote starters the reasons to have a heated garage let alone using that garage to keep your car seemed to be getting weaker.

      • TO11MTM
      • 7 years ago

      All of this is more or less the reason I bought a Subaru (Since Saturn is no more, alas.) I really didn’t want much more than a ‘fast’ car that had AWD. Yeah, some interesting things were standard, but most of it was genuinely ‘useful.’ The handsfree/bluetooth system is present, yes, but it’s very basic and non intrusive. Same goes for the MP3 Player in the radio unit. I almost didn’t even mention this as I’m pretty certain nowadays the cost between a basic CD Player ASIC and one that also did MP3s is pretty tiny due to moore’s law. (This was also the same reason I refused to pay the stupid amount of money for the CD/MP3 upgrade on my Saturn.) Power windows and locks are essentially standard on all but the most cost-cut vehicles, so unfortunately it’s a bit of a loss (I’d be OK with power windows if they at least had a damn crank!) In the Mid 2000s Saturn stopped offering Power locks as an ‘option’ and made them standard.

      Oh, and this whole bit about features and cost to customize is why so many cars nowadays don’t have Manual transmissions as an option – On many of the cars that do it’s actually a little more expensive to produce than the Automatic, due to the additional assembly steps involving the clutch. (Source: A colleague who was an engineer in Chrysler’s Shifter unit.)

      • PenGun
      • 7 years ago

      I love my 93 Lincoln Mark VIII. I am happy to work on it and it’s very fine and getting finer. My cup holder is broke but I have a line on a good one.

      Still I just put the S2 sideways and we are in car mode. I mostly use Google Earth any way.

    • ratte
    • 7 years ago

    Electric Toothbrushes comes to mind.
    The ones that are really simple to use , with one press off/on are slow and don’t feel right to me.
    I wan’t the fast ones (40000 rpm) but they also have lcd’s, timers and whatnot and you have to press about 3 times to start/stop.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      SoniCare has a [url=http://www.amazon.com/Sonicare-Xtreme-Toothbrush-Battery-Sonic/dp/B000HHANVW<]model[/url<] that takes AA batteries that does exactly that, and no more; it's also less than half the price of the rechargeable models. It's my "travel" brush (since i don't have to worry about bringing along the charging base). But their cheapest rechargeable model has no added "features" either (I think [url=http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Sonicare-Essence-Power-Toothbrush/dp/B000AMRII0/ref=sr_1_2?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1348268013&sr=1-2&keywords=sonicare+essence+toothbrush<]this one[/url<] is the one I have for home use; it has a two minute shut-off but that's it for added features).

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, you just find a good one based on hours of use (usually the longer means the battery will be good for longer) and the type of oscillation you want. I have a Oral-B one and I wouldn’t go back to a cheap motorized toothbrush for the life of me. The RPMs are where it’s at, but they aren’t marketed that way, unfortunately.

        • ratte
        • 7 years ago

        I’m from sweden and here it’s basicly only Phillips and Oral B awailable.
        I’ve used both and definately prefer Oral B but if you want a high Oscillation/rpm one they are full of the unwanted features.

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          SoniCare is Phillips, since they got bought by them. It’s possible they don’t offer all the same models in Europe, but I’d be surprised if the minimal-features Essence model isn’t available. But they tend not to be advertised as much because everyone would rather sell you the more expensive models with the added features.

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    To more directly answer the question than my first comment I’m going to go ahead and say, “Laptops”

    While I applaud Intel’s Ultrabook initiative its not quite focused on all the right things. I bought a laptop earlier this year and still had to make compromises instead of getting exactly what I wanted.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    The problem is this: lots of mass manufactured consumer items have been ‘perfected’ as far as straightforward functionality. So what are companies who sell these things supposed to do to maintain revenue? Answer: FEATURES! If a company made a simple straightforward coffee maker now it would be too inexpensive, and thus bring in less revenue (note: no necessarily less profit) but by adding FEATURES they can justify price points and revenue.

    Then there’s the whole psychology of marketing and consumerism – unlike what economists say, people are not purely rational when making decisions. If they were, lots of marketing wouldn’t work at all. So I think lots of features are there for the cool factor, and people may also think ‘Hey, I’d totally use that feature!’ even though they end up not using it.

      • bhtooefr
      • 7 years ago

      Except, with quality build, that coffeemaker would likely be fairly expensive.

      And the problem is, for whatever reason, the US economic system rewards features over quality, whereas other (even western) systems reward quality first.

      Look at bicycles.

      A normal bicycle in the Netherlands is a steel-frame, 50 pound monstrosity that will survive WW3, and has a rear rack, fenders, and a 3-speed internally geared hub. It’s inexpensive, but it lacks features.

      A normal bicycle in the US is an aluminum-frame, full-suspension mountain bike, with knobby tires, 15+ speeds, that most likely won’t last 100 miles. And, it’s so awful for the riding that people actually do that it probably won’t get ridden to failure! But, to get the bike from the Netherlands, it’s sold as a luxury item for $500 with some of the parts removed, or $1000 for a fully equipped one, because quality is an extreme niche market here. (That said, ask a cyclist to pay $1000 for a quality bicycle, and they’ll do it in a heartbeat. Ask a non-cyclist to do it, and they’ll say “I can get a used car for that!”)

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 7 years ago

    If you watch Two and a Half Men, I have the exact same coffee maker that is sitting on Charlie’s counter. It suffers from a wealth of stupid, useless features. The worst has to be the “permanent” filter.

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    When I go shopping for something new the name of the game is finding the internet authority on the subject. Typically easier said than done, there simply doesn’t seem to be the same level of attention given to ubiquitous consumer products compared to say PC hardware and tech gadgets/equipment. Of course part of that is the scope of trying to review all the blenders, toasters, etc out there and part of that is how much more difficult it is to objectively “benchmark” one washing machine vs. another… I usually end up just crossing my fingers after I feel I’ve read a sufficient number of user reviews.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee; Matter of a fact I find it a bitter and disgusting drink that people have to be a bit masochistic to find enjoyable (I like cranberry juice too).

    However, I’ve spent some time researching it to figure out if there was some way to make it better and make purchases for family members. You should grind your own beans, which I’m sure you already do, so you don’t need a coffee maker to do that…

    On the ‘making’ side of things, I actually looked into drip brew and fancy setups for producing coffee. I ended up buying my brother a vacuum coffee maker, which is supposed to produce really amazing tasting coffee. I personally couldn’t tell (for what that’s worth) and my brother couldn’t tell (he drinks coffee by the pot though), but reviews would say otherwise and its pretty cool watching it brew.

    [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Santos-Stovetop-Vacuum-34-Ounce/dp/B00005NCX5/[/url<]

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Matter of a fact I find it a bitter and disgusting drink that people have to be a bit masochistic to find enjoyable[/quote<] That's how I felt about IPA the first time I tried it

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, first time is always bad? XD

        I’ve drunk quite a bit of coffee and beer, but I still find both of them revolting. I drink cappuccino and coffee used as flavoring on meat or in ice cream is extremely good, but not coffee itself.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          I’ve never been a coffee fan, but I do like some fairly bitter beers.

          In addition to some people not liking the bitterness of the hops in beer, some people just don’t like the flavor of malt. My youngest daughter is one of these. Even the smell of malt (when I homebrew) disgusts her.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah… Well you technically are drinking yeast urine/defecation…

            I’m more of a wine/hard cider fan.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Eew, fermented plant uterus!

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Nomnomnomnomnom

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Well, the alcohol would be the yeast urine; the carbonation is yeast farts! πŸ˜€

            Been meaning to try doing more hard ciders, but the apple crop sucked this year due to all the wonky weather so I guess it’ll have to wait until next year (assuming the weather is better).

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Sounds tasty, don’t know many people that do their own hardcider. Personally I like the dryness and sweetness associated with it. It’s almost like a wine, but not. Totally amazing when I first found it. Sadly, the selection at most places is limited, but it seems to be increasing in the last few years.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yes, hard cider has been making a comeback. Enough so that even some of the medium-large producers of alcoholic beverages have been taking notice and jumping into the fray (Angry Orchard hard cider is made by the same people who produce Sam Adams beer).

            Mead (alcoholic beverages which are based on fermented honey) is also making a comeback. It had pretty much died out decades ago as a result – believe it or not – of the invention of the electric light. As demand for beeswax to make candles plummeted, honey production fell as well, and mead production declined correspondingly as honey became more costly. In the past decade or so the homebrewing community has been raising awareness of mead (both in terms of production methods and criteria for critical evaluation); at this year’s local homebrew competition there were over 50 entries in the mead category! It’s been an uphill battle; the wine snobs tend to look down their noses at it, and most craft/micro beer people don’t know quite what to make of it. But that seems to be changing.

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            I’ve tried one or two meads and found them quite enjoyable as an after-dinner conversation drink or, in some cases, as a substitute for a desert wine.

            • bthylafh
            • 7 years ago

            Mead is one of those things that can really sneak up on you. One minute you’re taking an extra pull, the next minute you’re the life of the party and hours have gone by.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yup. This is indirectly due to honey being nearly all simple sugar, which yeast will happily chew through and turn into ethanol. So if you want to make a mead that isn’t bone dry without using chemical preservatives (which many meadmakers are averse to) or sterile filtration (which strips flavor) to stop the yeast part-way through the fermentation, you need to overload the yeast with so much honey that the alcohol produced eventually kills the yeast. This is typically gonna give you something in the 12% to 18% ABV range… and also explains why mead tends to be expensive (that’s a LOT of honey).

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Sounds lovely. XD

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yup, the sweeter meads do indeed head into dessert wine territory. Well-aged meads can even have distinct sherry-like notes.

            Mead with added fermented fruit (melomel) or spices (metheglin) are gaining in popularity as well. One of the most amazing drinks I’ve ever had was a mead that was fermented with raspberries and chipotle peppers…

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I was going to say spices sound like they’d be good in it. I’d sorta wished they’d take the whole apple cider thing further as a alcoholic beverage, instead of just being a winter thing. That could be really good.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            YES! I’m not a hard alcohol drinker. I prefer something with flavor over getting a buzz off of it or mellowing me out. Hard cider fills that gap nicely where you want something to sip on for taste and talk. Since I’m not into hard alcohol, scotch and whiskey don’t do it for me.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I’ve wanted to try Mead as it actually sounds pretty good, but I never find it when going to a liquor store.

            It’s pretty much purists of anything that tend to try and stomp out anything new that doesn’t conform. Beer and wine in general I’m sure are both lift their noses. It’s good to hear people are working around it. All it takes is a couple people doing what they’re passionate about.

            • just brew it!
            • 7 years ago

            Yeah, finding it at a liquor store is not easy. Finding [i<]good[/i<] ones at a liquor store is even harder, though the quality of commercially produced mead has been improving quite a bit in the past few years.

            • Aphasia
            • 7 years ago

            Mead can be seriously nice at times though. I had some in a restaurant in estonia when I was there this summer, it’s served both hot and cold, and together with a slightly sourish red beat soup it was excellent. And I can imagine a glass of warm honey mead in the winter is awesome after a day spent outside.

        • shaq_mobile
        • 7 years ago

        You, sir, need to take it to the next level. IIPC. Obscene amounts of Cascade, Tomahawk and Simcoe in a dark Columbian roast. ~200 IBU and 8% ABV. πŸ™‚

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Really, you guys should click the link… it’s pretty cool.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Not sure if passionate or referral link

        πŸ˜‰

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          I’m pretty sure that’s the typical Amazon link… It’s not a referral.

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      I have one of those at home. It’s a very cool device. I’m lazy tho’ so I mainly use my espresso machine.

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve seen that device at one of my friend’s house… He now went back to an electric coffeemaker because (according to him) it was kinda hard to make a consistently tasty coffee with that thing (coffee taste was varying very often even with same brand that he was using).

        • pedro
        • 7 years ago

        The biggest problem I have with it aside from its fragility (I’ve smashed one) is the fact that it gets too much sediment in the brew. The resulting coffee is very tasty tho’.

          • just brew it!
          • 7 years ago

          The sediment is probably what makes it tasty!

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            True that. Doesn’t agree with my guts tho’.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Yup… but a unpleasant texture if you’ve never had them before and per pedros comments.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          Yup from using it I can attest that grounds get through the filter into the bottom, you just don’t drink that last bit of coffee.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, my brother does’t use it normally because it takes too much effort to use. Really cool watching it work though. I’m guessing the weather would most definitely influence how it works, since it uses a vacuum it’s affected by the barometric pressure. That would account for your variance.

        That sort of thing I suppose also adds a interesting twist to each mornings cup of coffee.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 7 years ago

    [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Aerobie-AeroPress-Coffee-Espresso-Maker/dp/B0047BIWSK[/url<] [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-NC-EH40PC-4-1-Quart-Electric-Thermo/dp/B0013O4DOG/ref=pd_sim_hg_2[/url<] πŸ™‚

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      You’re doing it wrong – your second link should be something like this:
      [url<]http://www.amazon.com/BonJour-2-Quart-Stainless-Classic-Kettle/dp/B002LGFF6U/ref=sr_1_15?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1348275143&sr=1-15&keywords=tea+kettle[/url<] πŸ˜‰

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      +1

      If only making 1 or 2 cups at a time (and let’s face it, pretty much just 1), then you can’t beat the “Americano” that comes out of the Aerobie Aeropress linked to in the first link. No drip maker will consistently make as good a cup. Plus, it’s portable enough to travel with!

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Even a simpler coffee maker with an LCD can ruin your fun when the LCD goes bust. I had one, and ended up replacing it… with the same type. Waiting for the LCD to go again… any day now.

    FIRST!

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