I read a good article this morning about Apple and the current recession. Near the end of the article, there was a great point..."To me, it seems that Microsoft still isn't in the game of producing the best damn product out there."
Got me really thinking about product design and purchasing products and kind of an ironic twist. Funny story actually...
I recently made, what I consider a fairly "big ticket item" purchase, which was a new High Energy efficient washing machine and dryer to replace are really aging washer and dryer. The old washing machine made our towels stink, no matter what we tried to do to remedy the situation. Combined with the fact that Betty Flintstone was probably the last person to use this washer, it was time to get a new one.
I had Tweeted several weeks back that I was shopping for a new washer and it was Tweeted back that I should get a Miele washing machine, that they were a beautiful product (I made this Tweet and got a response while at the appliance store). I saw that they had Miele washing machines there, they looked quite nice but Holy $#!!.... they were about $3000 Cdn for just the washer. Other washer and dryer combos were going for $1700 for the pair! (The Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer that Mrs. ehMax had seen on Kate + 8. )
Very curious about this, I used the Google iPhone app, held it to my ear and said something like "Washing Machine Review Miele" or something like that. In a moment of pure delight, that I will never forget, the 3rd link that Google had given me was a thread on ehMac.ca! Here's the thread: Steve Jobs buys a washing machine"
Steve went on, "It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something.... Most people don't take the time to do that." He then proceeded to tell a story that both sheds light on his private life and gives some insight into the decision-making process that often turns life into a hell for people who work with him. Making the point that design isn't just an issue for "fancy new gadgets," he described how his whole family became involved in, of all things, the selection of a new washing machine and dryer. This is a little hard to picture: The billionaire Jobs family didn't have very good machines. Selecting new ones became a project for the whole family. The big decision came down to whether to purchase a European machine or an American-made one. The European machine, according to Steve, does a much better job, uses about one-quarter as much water, and treats the clothes more gently so that they last longer. But the American machines take about half as long to wash the clothes.
"We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We spent about two weeks talking about this. Every night at the dinner table" -- imagine dinner-table conversation about washing machines every night! -- "we'd get around to that old washer-dryer discussion. And the talk was about design." In the end, they opted for European machines, which Steve described as "too expensive, but that's just because nobody buys them in this country."
(That expensive washing machine was a Miele, the American ones he is talking about are Whirlpool / Maytag)
So anyways, fast forward to our washing machine purchase. Which one did I go with? While I don't have the same disposable income as Steve Jobs, I probably could get away with purchasing a $3000 washing machine. You're also talking about a person who owns several Steve Jobs T-Shirts and has a Steve Jobs doll.... er... Action Figure. I really take this guy and what he has to say seriously.
Well, I'd really like to have a different ending to this story, but in the end the picture below says a thousand words. (If you can't see the image, be sure to login or register.
PS... On our first wash, the clothes were cleaned really quickly, our towels didn't smell, Mrs. ehMax was delighted, but the towels did feel a little rough to the touch.
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The difference in water consumption between European and US machines is largely due to the European preference for front-loaders, which use much less water than top loaders. Also, the smaller domestic footprint of Europeans probably means they have smaller machines to begin with.
We've had a modest Kenmore front-load machine for five years. It cleans very well and the spin cycle works almost as well as an extractor, getting the clothing much dryer so we use less natural gas with our dryer. So I'll give Steve Jobs his Miele. But I'll trust Consumer Reports when they recommend a Kenmore. And really, it's a washing machine...could the user interface be any easier?
We are still delighted with the GE we bought several years ago. Somewhat smaller than yours it still handles good sized loads and the dryer can be stacked on top. Big thing with front loaders is to use liquid detergent and less of it. Half of what you are used to is just a starting point. Often you can cut back by another 30%. This reduced detergent usage is what really makes the front end loaders environmental winners.
Use cold rinse cycles. Big loads of jeans may benefit from an extra run through the rinse cycles.
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That would be brutal. It would take five minutes for the machine to start up, the icon for the cycle you would want would be off the screen, and half way through, it would just go BSOD on the clothes. It would take four or five reboots to actually finish the cycle, and performance would slide downhill within the first two months. Oh, and you wouldn't be able to wash clothes between 7-9pm because it will be scanning for spybots and viruses. You'd have to "upgrade" every year to gain 800 more features you would never use, and would need to have "service packs" because they forgot that Spin should come after Rinse...
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Speaking of washers and European machines, does anyone have anything to say about Aristan? I fou d a great deal on one of the compact machines. I do worry about getting the machine serviced in the future after warranty is gone will it be hard to get it fixed being a brand that is primarily sold overseas???
Anyone have any experience with this brand Aristan?