Percussive Maintenance from WoodCentral
"Yesterday, my wife's iPod gets this weird noise and it won't do anything. For the uninformed, the Mini still has a hard drive inside. The new Nanos have a solid-state memory with no moving parts. She figures that we just puked a $200 iPod until she goes back to her favorite haunts on the web. There were a number of people that had similar problems. All of them said they dropped it on the floor or threw it against the wall a number of times and, in most cases, it solved the problem. I can hear you laughing now. Well, don't laugh. She said 'What the heck, I can't make it any worse than it already is.' So she drops it on the bathroom floor from about five feet up. First drop -- no dice. But after the 10th repeat of this truly scientific exercise, it came back to life. I swear to god, I'm not lying. It works just like new again. So now, if any of my tools ever stops working, I'm gonna just fling it against the wall or run into it with my truck. I'm sure the neighbors will think I've taken leave of my senses, but after this iPod thing, I think I can believe anything." – Tim
"My two favorite repair methods for things that stop working are: leave them alone for just the right interval and they'll fix themselves, or smack them and scare them into working. Glad your wife proved me right." – Tony
"Percussive maintenance used to work on my family's old DuMont television, too." – Don
"We used to have a 1971 VW beetle that had a capacitor on the starter that would frequently stick and prevent the car from starting. This was in our 'just married and poor' days, so we had no money to have it fixed. My wife and I carried a hammer in the car so that when it stuck, one of us would get out and tap the starter motor with the hammer while the other cranked the engine. The car would start right up every time. The best part, though, was when my wife was driving alone and the capacitor would stick when she stopped for gas. Since I wasn't there to handle the hammer duty, she would ask the attendant (this was in the days before self-service gas stations) for help because her car wouldn't start. She would then hand him the hammer, and ask him to please hit the starter motor with a hammer. He'd invariably look at her like she was nuts and then tap the starter just to humor the crazy lady. She would crank the engine and the car would start right up. She would take the hammer back, smile and thank him for his help, and drive off leaving the attendant shaking his head in disbelief." – Jim
This Looks Familiar from Sawmill Creek
This thread started with a photo of the new JET wet sharpener that looks remarkably like the Tormek, and wondering whether it was the same tool with a new label, a knockoff or something else entirely. The first few responses commented on that, explaining, as in the one below, that since the Tormek patents have expired, the design is fair game. – Editor
"There have been discussions about this on other forums. Patents have expired, and it is fair game now for all but some of the accessories, which are still covered in newer patents. It was only a matter of time, obviously. This is actually good for the consumer. It may end up that Tormek updates and/or changes significantly its machine so new patents would apply. This is a common scenario." – Mike
Next came talk of price comparison. – Editor
"The price, as of now anyway, is very close to the Tormek." – Allen
"I think the price will come down on the JET. I'm surprised they are coming out at the same price, to be honest. I'll make a prediction that they will drop to somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent lower in order to sell them. At the same price, I don't see any reason to try the Chinese knockoff, but at $329 they will get quite a few buyers. I think the Tormek is overpriced, so I hope they decide to compete in the market." – Frank
At it turns out, although it is made in China, it is not an exact knockoff. According to JET , there are several new patented features that they have added to the machine. In addition, they upgraded the drive train and added variable speed, better water management and a few other things. Meanwhile, the tenor of the discussion changed somewhat when someone made a comment about such competition being to everyone's advantage. – Editor
"Competition drives prices lower and quality higher. If a manufacturer builds in China to get lower wage costs (for example), can produce a product with an acceptable quality level, and sells the product for much less than the original manufacturer, that benefits all of the people who buy the product. It's the Wal-Mart® effect." – Mike H.
That comment elicited a much more emotional response and sent the thread in quite a different direction. – Editor
"I had to walk around the room a few times after I read this: 'Competition drives prices lower and quality higher,' and the kicker, 'that benefits all of the people who buy the product. It's the Wal-Mart effect.' In my opinion: sadly, no. Competition drives the prices lower, but not the quality higher when it is unfair competition, as is in the case of China's manufacturing. You cannot compete in labor costs, so the product and services suffer, or you do compete by manufacturing in China and lowering your quality standards. Wal-Mart is the downfall of Western civilization. There is no upside to Wal-Mart." – Per
"I agree with Per. There is no real upside in today's economy for farming our jobs overseas. The effect is a cheapening of products. We are continuing a throwaway society, and it's getting worse." – Mike W.
But not everyone agreed. – Editor
"Just because something is made in China does not make it a lower quality product. Forty or so years ago, the same thing was said about products from Japan. Back then, many Japanese products were cheap and shoddy. But now, many Japanese products are better than those made in the U.S. I certainly understand your frustration, but I hold to my statement. Competition does drive prices lower and quality higher. Earlier in our country's history, the competition was from domestic companies. Today, it's from global companies. But the basic truth of free enterprise still holds. The consumer benefits from competition." – Mike H.