I always assumed Element 14 was just another Chinese disposable manufacturing brand that coopted a couple english words and made Raspberry Pis. Turns out ... it's a spinoff of the original Acorn. And, uh, the 14th element on the periodic table is Silicon. Smartass middle school me is so annoyed with slow adult me right now.


Also, only semi-related, but how does one talk about the preponderance of short lived, low quality Chinese brands without being super racist? Like ... it *is* kinda racist, right?

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@ironiridis This is a really excellent question, one that I've thought about a lot. When I consider this, I tend to direct my ire towards the governmental and economic situations that allow (and perhaps even incentivize) these types of poor-quality goods.

Also, retailers like Amazon and Alibaba/AliExpress are great enablers as well, as is the global appetite for cheap, poor-quality things.

@ironiridis ...and when I say "governmental and economic", I'm not referring solely to the China (though that government is certainly not without blame here), but also, global governments that have done little or nothing to prevent this.

@iamdoon That's very well put. Though I'm hard pressed to imagine what kind of governmental action would be effective here, without *also* rigging the market so only large established players are able to sell. My best idea over the years was to limit the number of brands one entity can have over time, in order to incentivize building reputation, but that just feels unenforceable.

@ironiridis That would help, for sure. And also, fairly simple things like: require companies to have real, working contact info for humans that respond in a reasonable time, and maybe requiring companies to stand behind their products for a reasonable time frame warranty-wise.

@iamdoon Warranties are such a trap, though, because customers are terrible. Not that we need to dive into that rabbit warren.

@ironiridis tricky, I think we are also reaching the point where a lot of our nice things are made in China and when we talk about cheap Chinese goods what we increasingly mean is actually other low-wage southeast asia locations outside China

@kacey I agree in part, but the low quality things I've seen shipped via China Post certainly implies they are at least passing through. Then again, plenty of stuff is "assembled" in a different place than it is "made". I guess I just wish we had a way of talking about a place without also implying we're talking about the people who live there. I doubt anyone on an assembly line making future e-waste got up this morning thinking "can't wait to work on garbage today!"

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