Nothing Runs You Like a Deere. . .

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How long before they bring back prima nocta?

It’s a serious question.

Other aspects of feudalism have been part of everyday life for so long now we hardly notice them – and even consider it normal – just as the peasants of 500 years ago probably did. For instance, just like the kings of 500 years ago, Uncle claims ownership of all land under his jurisdiction; we are merely tenants who are suffered to rent the land for as long as we continue to pay the annual tributum.

We are allowed to use the land as the sovereign sees fit – and not otherwise. If we use it in ways forbidden, the king – whoops, Uncle – will punish us. He can also just take it from us via another noxious doctrine – that of eminent domain.

But until recently, we at least owned our incidentals – the small-potatoes stuff, like the clothes on our backs. Our cars.

Our tractors, certainly.

Not anymore.

Not if it’s a John Deere tractor.

When you buy one, you’re actually purchasing an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.“ Basically, a rental contract. With the difference being that even when the rental is paid off, you are still bound by the contract.

Yes, really.

It has to do with two things – the code that runs the tractor (yes, them too) and the ownership claims to that code asserted under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

You may recall the ruckus that erupted about a year ago when the car companies floated the idea that even though you bought their car, it was still their code that ran the thing – and this code remained proprietary. That is, their property. To “tamper” with anything that could conceivably affect the code, their lawyers proposed, would violate both the warranty and copyright laws. Effectively making the car not your property, no matter the name on the title.   

A DMCA exception was granted for cars – but probably only because of the rictus of outrage that erupted; rightly so.

Tractors, on the other hand. . .

Probably because there are fewer farmers – and most of them are wholly owned subsidiaries of massive Big Ag cartels, working the fields on behalf of Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland, et al.

But not just them, either.

When you buy a Deere, you must sign a licensing agreement (see here) that contains what amounts to the rental agreement. It basically says that you – the “owner” – will not perform unauthorized repairs or modifications; that you will only permit an authorized Deere technician to touch “your” tractor. This comes in mighty handy when you are out in the field cutting hay and something breaks and you need to get the thing running again right now . . . not next Thursday, when the Deere dude can schedule you an authorized appointment.

Naturally, this is all about the money. That – and the control.

The money part is objectionable – but at least it is just the normal human lust for gain.

The car companies have been trying for years to force you to spend money at the dealership by making cars so complicated that almost no one without a mechanical and electrical engineering degree and some very righteous tools can successfully perform anything more involved than an oil change  – and they are working on that.

The next step was to not use open source code to run the computer (ECU) that runs the car and then restrict access to this “proprietary” code by making it readable only by one of their diagnostic machines. Without the ability to read the code, figuring out what ails a computer-controlled car is almost impossible. Independent shops now often have to spend huge sums to buy the authorized diagnostic equipment and that cost often exceeds what they can make performing repairs. Hence it’s not worth buying the machine. Hence, they cannot repair that particular brand of car.

Off to the dealership you go.

The third step was to use legal threats and mumbo-jumbo – the DMCA – to make it illegal to even try to repair the car yourself, unauthorized.

Touch the car and you void the warranty. And if that’s not enough to dissuade you, then maybe they’ll sic the cops on you or “copyright” violation.

It’s what they had in mind, certainly. And Deere – and makers of other non-DCMA-exempted things with computers and code – which is becoming just about everything, down to toothbrushes, too – surely intends the same.

The better to mulct you with, my pretty.

But the control part is the most loathsome. It is part of the synergistic bum’s rush – you can almost feel the walls closing in – toward a neo-feudal, company town kind of life in which you never own anything, control almost nothing and spend your days toeing the line and doing as you are told.

Even if you avoid debt, you still must constantly pay eternal rent to remain on “your” land, in “your” home. If you have kids, you will be instructed how they’ll be raised; your job is to serve as kind of wet nurse/chauffeur. Your car will soon drive itself – according to programming imparted by others – your owners. And forget about having a peek under the hood. An alarm will probably be triggered, an environmental or saaaaaaaaaaafety SWAT team summoned.

Short of Going Amish, I see no way out.

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  1. A deere in the six gorillion headlights of the Hannukahcaust!!! Freeeeeee Fallinnnnnn!!!!

    He’s a good goy, loves his mama
    Loves Jesus and Israel too
    He’s a good goy, wants to bomb Arabs
    Joined the army, just waiting for his cue

    It’s a long day living in America
    There’s illegals runnin’ through his yard
    And he’s a bad goy ‘cos he tries to shoot ’em
    We’s a bad goy ‘cos we aims for their hearts

    And now we’re bad, bad goyim
    Yeah we’re bad, bad goyim

    She’s a liberal, wants free healthcare
    Down at Wall Street, she’s holding up a sign
    And she’s a good goy, voted twice for Obama
    But she’s a bad goy, for saying ‘Free Palestine’

    Now we’re bad, bad goyim
    Yeah we’re bad, bad goyim

    Bad goyim, now we’re, bad goyim, now we’re
    Bad goyim, now we’re, bad goyim, now we’re

    I want freedom, and to cut all the taxes
    I think abortion, is every girl’s right
    I wanna end the, Mossad war on drugs
    But I don’t hate that, my skin is white

    Now we’re bad, bad goyim
    Trying to stop their money train
    Yeah we’re bad, bad goyim

    Now we’re bad, bad goyim oh
    Bad goyim
    Yeah we’re bad, oh bad goyim

  2. Pacifism is not an evolutionarily successful strategy. At what point will you stop paying “taxes” to the “government”? Once you are put on the boxcars it’s too late.

  3. For what it’s worth, Back in the late eighties or so, The Air Conditioning Contractors of America filed a class action suit and won relating to the dissemination of the heavy chiller information so independent service shops would have the same service information as the Carrier, Trane and York factory service groups……Amazing, it was, the flood of information that was released, including the never ending ‘revised service bulletins’ merely by being an account holder for the manufacturer’s service parts and then subscribing for the info. The info was very reasonably priced and well worth the minor hassle……. seems the battle may have previously fought……soapweed

  4. My 1948 Farmall Cub is still running. She don’t like ethanol though.
    Pretty much explains why the replacement parts are so expensive.

  5. The concept of “ownership” includes the right to sell the object, whether it’s land or personal property. I have not read the document but licensing agreements are between the product developer and the end user, not subsequent transferees.

    As for land, our governments make sure that nobody really owns it. Sure, you pay off your mortgage and you have the bank out of the picture, but miss a few years of ad valorem taxes and the tax assessor/collector in your county/parish will be selling it on the courthouse steps.

  6. Eric,

    Is a “farmer” allowed to sell “his/her” tractor to a second “owner”, and is the second “owner” subject to the license, with or without their knowledge? Would a standard Bill of Sale mean that the first owner is selling something that they don’t really “own”?

    Could be a interesting minefield for lawyers. Curious minds want to know…

  7. Tractors????Dont forget that a lot of the dumb farmers here in Idaho have gotten low interest
    Gov-Co money loans for Irrigation pivots that are totaly automated too.

    Even Mexicans are going to be out of job.
    But they still tale you how hard they work.Slave driving around in those new air-conditioned
    cab pickups.While watching Juan and Jose do all the work.

    There all getting sucked in and don’t see it.
    They don’t care though…….as long as dinner is served, and the satellite works to show afternoon baseball.

    Life is good

  8. John Deere tractors are the fortune-buster of choice around here, and it’s a standing joke with those farmers who drive something else that everything about Deeres, all the way down to their nuts and bolts, is grossly overpriced.

    Geez, even many years ago the tide was turning. I rode in the cab of a Deere and everything, but everything in it, was digital. I asked the hired hand driving it how expensive it was to repair and he just laughed–that was the owner-farmer’s problem.

    • I have an ancient, Japanese gray market Satoh Beaver (Mitsubishi) tractor (diesel/4WD) and I love it. No electronic anything; mechanical injection. Indestructible,virtually maintenance-free.

      Buy Old.

      • A friend sent me this after I sent him a link to this article. Son of a rice farmer in Mississippi, who’s dad was bankrupted (long story) by treachery by the USDA. His dad lived long, essentially broke, and the only thing keeping him alive was fighting the USDA. Old, good, forgotten-American stock…..

        It is interesting to hear this fellows comments on how diesel is just a no-no here, which fit several other threads on your site. Also his comments on “opening up” Cuba. Just like all the “free trade” deals, which are a total hoax.

  9. Yup, the car guys are working hard to make their stuff impossible to repair outside their own dealer network.

    Customer asked me to replace the thermostate on his 2000 year model Audi A6 with 2.8 litre V 6. Fine… except that the T State lives under the extension casting on the water pump, so the water pump is out in my hands before long. BUT, to get THAT out, the monster long cam belt is also in my hands, well before one can even get TO the fixings for the water pump. That means the cam belt would precede the water pump into my hands(I told the customer no way would I re-fit the old belt. He had no idea when it had been changed anyway. BUT… that meant getting special tools to retime the two cams to the crank. Not the simple job of lining up a pair of marks on the timing gears….I found a tech bulletin on how to use the special Audi’VW cam timing tool, and a cartoon of what one looks like. Once I understood what had to happen, it was a simple, if tedious, matter of llining up the camshafts just so, then taking up the slack on the belt and rechecking. I spent an hour just on lining the cams up and making certain they stayed that way. No marks on the cams or gears…. the gears are fitted to the cams via a tapered end on the cam, and accompanying tapered hole on the gears…,once everything is line up by using the tool, or not, then simply tighten the gears onto the cam again. INfinite adjustment, no steps, for gear to cam fit.

    I barred it through a couple times, if felt right, so I finished the rest and took it out. Ran really well. Costomer later relates the car has more power than ever before. He had it in to an independent Audi specialist for something not related to my work, the guy asked HOW in the world I was able to time the cams so perfectly with no tool….. customer did not know what to say.. “why, is that some sort of big deal?” Well, YEAH, NO ONE works on those cams without the tools… impossible…….

    Once ya know what has to happen, there is almost always a way to make it so. Porsche dealer also told me no way could I doi a 928 cambelt without the requisite thousand bucks worth of special Porsche tools… well, I’d already taken the front end down, and the belt with two ends fell out when I removed the covers. That one was easy as there ARE marks on the toothed cam wheels……. that one ran fine, too.

    Computer diagnostics is not too hard when one understands what the various sensors do, and how their input modifies the fuel feed and timing advance curve. Once you’ve got that in your head, symptom sets can suggest which units are bad, and a test protocol for specific units is not too hard to find… or guess. Hall effect switches all work the same, testing them is easy. Anbd definitive. Most other coils spec resistance to be within a range.. put the ohm meter on the outputs and read it. Find the one outside the specified range, replace it… and voila…. il marche…..

    • I agree, It’s always about understanding what the special tool is supposed to do. Then you can make your own, use a generic one, or figure out a way around it.

      A big problem I’ve seen in engineering is people who have knack but never worked on anything. It results in some boneheaded things. Things that drive service and manufacturing crazy. Another issue is automation. Some things are designed for the machines to do not the humans. Also another driver is being pinned in on design or needing to go to the edge of what will work. A keyway will weaken a part but you can’t compensate for it with more metal so instead you learn how to live with the taper. Or you need to reduce machining time so the spline goes away and a taper and fixtured or automated assembly is done to avoid the problems of not setting it correctly.

      Serviceability is one of the easy things to compromise on too. There aren’t many voices in a lot of corporate structures fighting for it in some companies.

  10. One cure for cars and EPA is to simply live in an area that has exempted from smog inspections, I live in the capitol city of my state…. do you REALLY think all the lawmakers want to be subject to the rules they impose on we mundanes? Of COURSE not. So they exempt this county, and they all register THEIR cars here, as is legal,. No smog checks for them. The ONE benefit of having the state government where I live.

  11. The impression among many on the left, as well as many libertarians, that American agriculture is completely dominated by massive corporations and so-called “factory farms” is a myth. The most frightening specter facing the industry is neither technology nor the growth in scale of enterprise that the constant advance in efficiency tends to produce. It is an unrelenting growth in the expenditures and encroachments of the USDA-Land Grant complex – in lockstep with other federal agencies such as Homeland Security. We are seeing new research institutions at state universities all over the country in the name of “bio-security,” one more protection against global threats that only governments are capable of handling. Farmers and ranchers, most of which are still operating independently – albeit larger – tend to accept and even welcome all such new expansions of ‘Leviathan’ just as long as they are couched in the traditional agrarian language; namely, “caring deeply about rural America,” which the USDA-Land Grant complex has perfected, along with all its supportive allies, such as Farm Credit, RECs, 4-H, FFA, and so forth.

    • I once worked for the USDA as a TASS inspector. They have several in-depth inspections of farmers mainly with ranching not understood or scrutinized too closely. What I finally “got” was everything they collected, even to the last cent in a bank account on one inspection(really pissed me off, they have no need of that…..legally), was done for big pharm/big ag. Monsanto, once of the largest, most evil corporations on earth, benefits greatly from this information. They use it to target the very farmers who must use their seed to be in compliance. The crop insurance crowd is also part of this thievery and works hand in hand with the other corporate thieves. The USDA simply collates all this information for them at the barrel of a gun. Most of these things have a $100 fine, something many farmers are glad to pay not to have their time wasted but so far, no one ever gets charged that fine. They don’t see what’s coming or very few do. One day it won’t be a fine but a criminal offense and inspection carried out at the end of a gun.

      This is what those corporations and bankers(crop insurance) call “making the govt. work for you”. The FSA office which controls the subsidy these guys get is part and parcel of the evil cabal and a very much effective “local” tool to effectively deny anyone any part of their “service”.

      I know some farmers have to be catching on but what to do? Give up that subsidy? It’s not as if there’s infrastructure to simply farm other crops. And companies like JD are complicit in pushing the limit of equipment costs. Now, a new $3M cotton stripper strips the cotton, cleans it and bales it and cuts the stalks which saves a lot of fuel and time but that’s 6 times the cost of a tractor. While chemical farming is bad for everything but Bayer/Monsanto/etc. etc. profits, even crop insurance is tied in with FSA to keep everyone using the patented seed and the chemicals to go along with it.
      I knew 32 cotton farmers who got hit hard by Monsanto for selling seed they bought. Huge contracts with huge amounts of tiny print but one thing that tiny prints says is the original purchaser cannot sell his seed to anyone else and this included selling seed to someone who didn’t get theirs one year and letting them pay them back in kind the next year. Monsanto sent around a couple guys who purported to be people they weren’t and had enough background and used enough names of people farmers knew to procure seed from 32 of those guys. It was a heart-breaking sob story they told but the court justice was swift and hard and the fines were staggering prompting a couple to get out of the business and probably more to get out not because they wanted to but because they had to via FSA and even local banks. One guy I knew did a lot of custom farming and Monsanto got him for custom spraying after the first judgement against him because in that judgement, he was banned from setting foot in other Monsanto’s customers(farmers)fields. They took him to court and stuck it up his ass for that too. He wasn’t even aware of that part of the judgement but he is now.

      I got an understanding of just how insidious the corporate/bankster/govt. entity really is. No doubt that’s in my file too.

      • Dear 8,

        Mang, what a horror story. I knew in general principle that corporations like Monsanto were like the cronyists in “Atlas Shrugged”. But I really didn’t know a lot of the shocking and disgusting details.

        That’s what kills me. Left socialist advocates of the Nanny State long for a government that will “protect the little guy” against the evil corporations.

        They can’t seem to get it through their thick skulls that governments will invariably collude with the corporations to rip off the little guy!

        Government is a fox, yet naive rank and file left socialists keep dreaming that it will help guard the hen house.

          • I once worked for the USDA. I saw into many things they did and what they did with the information they collected. It was obvious they intend to control everyone in the world at some point. It’s so bad in the US I can’t even get started on it. Already, I need a drink just thinking about it.

          • Dear Bill, 8,

            Wow. You’re right. I had no idea how evil they are. They really do seek to control everyone in the world.

            But I do now. The comments section included the followihg:

            “The ultimate carpet baggers.”

            “The US government corporation, and its collection of corporations, are DISGUSTING, and need to be wiped off the global map. The corporate enslavement of humanity must end in the near future, the sooner the better.”

            Well said indeed.

            • bevin, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. Before chemical farming nobody was hungry in most of Tx. where agriculture was king. Farmers nearly always(esp. the old school people)planted huge gardens. They weren’t for themselves alone but for others they knew hadn’t the land or time but wanted or needed what they could grow.

              Now everything is banded(pre-emergent herbicide put down before planting or along with planting with Roundup Ready seed)and then later sprayed with Roundup so that everything is killed but the patented crop. Even at that, how many want to eat that? But that’s just part of it. The whole damned country gets sprayed, sometimes more than once, and all those old homesteads that had trees, shrubs, etc. growing around them now have dead sticks standing there.

              Nobody grows vegetable gardens since Roundup would kill them right off. Now here’s the insidious part. The scum who spray with planes seemingly go out of their way or it’s just the makeup of the chemical itself that it blows around everywhere and kills gardens not near a field. My neighbor is/was a truck farmer as I used to be. His garden was over-sprayed a few years back and he sued. This was about a 2 acre garden, worth a lot of money. He won the suit but they pissed down his back and told him it was raining with a $3000 settlement. All that time and money and then having chemicals injected into his soil and killed his livelyhood and he got royally screwed. This is an epidemic now and once again, no matter how chickenshit the little court is, the judge is “one of them”. He should have demanded a jury trial but he had them dead to rights… he thought. This is what the whole world will eventually be facing.

              The wife and I were about to get 13 acres of new ground declared “oraganic” and we got oversprayed with 2,4 Dt which screws the ground for a long time. It destroyed thousands of starts we had. We got what everyone at the bottom of the hill gets. I have plenty more true stories just like this. It makes people who are good stewards of the earth sick…..and not just emotionally.

            • Dear 8,

              You know what really scares me?

              The fact that much of the harm that the Big Agra has inflicted upon Nature may well be irrevocable. Millions of years of natural evolution, damaged beyond repair by myopic genetic engineering that clearly violates other peoples’ private property rights.

              Yet the green on the outside, red on the inside watermelons, insist that private individuals are at fault for damaging the environment, when it is obvious that the real culprit is Big Government, in league with Big Agra.

              • The left is very much in favor of GMO. Say that GMO has risks or makes food corporate intellectual property or that massive spraying of roundup might not be a good idea and they will attack you as “anti-science”. They will insult your intelligence for not going along with what authority and experts say.

                Whatever furthers leftist control of everyone is all that is cared about.

    • You might want to check the average age of those in Ag today and compare it to what the average age was 20 years ago. Corporations don’t have that problem. That being said, the greatest threat to family farms is government.

      • Government is the greatest threat to family.

        Every year it’s more laws and programs that attack family businesses, family cohesion, family homes, family wealth, etc and so forth.

        • Dear Brent,

          That is not a side effect. That is among the key goals of government, to replace the family with the state.

          One highly instructive example that many here have mentioned in the past, is “Child Protective Services”, and their flagrant abuse of power, often involving the brazen kidnapping of peoples’ children.

          Another is “public skools”. The very fact that the “land of the free, home of the brave” has “truancy laws” is mind-boggling. Just as the IRC considers taxes “their money”, so the educrats consider children “their children”.

          But hey, aren’t you glad you don’t live in “Communist China”?

          • Good morning, Bevin!

            If, by chance, I ever re-marry and decide to have kids, I would do whatever it took to keep them away from government “schools.” From my own childhood, I know that simply providing a kid with as many books on as many topics as possible – and having intelligent, caring adults around to answer the child’s questions – is the best education possible as it develops the child’s capacity to reason.

            And once a child achieves that, the rest – anything – becomes possible.

          • Communist China is the model for the world.

            There’s a reason it’s a cesspool of pollution, it’s because it’s a collective and the people running it exploit it. Just as they did in the USA in that regard until the pitchforks and torches came out. Then the control was retooled.

  12. This ‘Rent for life’ society will also be used to keep the people in line.
    Protest too much, and you will suddenly find your insurance rates skyrocketing, or a payment will mysteriously be delayed, and ‘your’ car or house will be taken away. Powerful disincentive to stick ones neck out.

    • That’s one of the major reasons it is being done. Troublemakers will lose their employment and if a person loses his employment he can’t make the monthly nut and since people own nothing their entire life collapses when they can’t make the monthly payment and they are homeless.

      I think the fed induced real estate prices are part of it as well. Companies set up in places where the cost of living is very high and then pay a rate just high enough to pay the interest on the mortgage. So here people are seven figures in debt and if the company says work 80 hours a week they have to work 80 hours a week. Just like with the monthly payments people agree to it because of we are conditioned to have this social competition with each other instead of seeing how we are being put into bondage.

  13. This whole thing is all about the modern era unleashing of the Golem of Copyright law, “intellectual property rights” law run amuck.
    We now have virtually perpetual, inheritable copyright. Whereas patents expire, we now have “intellectual property” to which in reality, patent laws are more appropriate.
    The sum of human knowledge requires that ideas be fungible and freely incorporated into derivative new ideas. Modern American copyright laws now mean things that are “similar to” are now viewed as “the same as” and this inhibits cross pollenization in the intellectual realm and leads to unjust enrichment to the holders of copyrights for ideas that were, from their inception, largely derivative of ideas passed on from others who came before.
    Ironically, this country largely invented “intellectual piracy” in the 19th century. The holders of patents and copyrights (mostly British and German) vainly sought recourse against American patent thieves in American courts and got no relief. Now we inveigh against the Chinese for doing the same thing.
    Nobody who buys either a car or a tractor should ever have to pay a thin dime for access to information needed for repair other than what they would have paid in the past for a service manual. Every owner should have a perpetual user license available for a one time fee built into the purchase price and should have access to that software until he sells the machine. After that, the rights should inure to the subsequent owner. The software, like any other parts of the mechanism should be the property of the purchaser. We could use a “Wikileaks” for car owners.
    Speaking of IBM, one of the great acts that eventually spelled doom for IBM’s monopoly, was the decision by AT&T researchers back in the 1970, to release into the public domain the Unix operating system which they developed. Unix and its numerous derivatives formed the core of competing products such as DEC computers and today’s MAC and Apple products, all of which employed various derivatives of Unix. The Douches of Microsoft have spent billions over the years trying to reverse engineer Unix functionality so they can come up with proprietary operating systems, with mixed results.

    • The software is proprietary and thus private. The vehicle owner has no more right to it than he does to the technical processes that went into making the engine’s alloys. Being forced to go the dealer is irritating, but you know what? The consumer doesn’t care. A great deal of the monkey business we see going on around us is simply because people don’t care enough to protest. Body control modules? Great, how convenient to have this and its attendant gadgets. Heated seats and now cooled seats? Wow, can’t live without them. Back-up cameras, lane change alarms, automatic braking for anything ahead of you, why, how did we ever get along without them?

      A servile public will always be treated as servants.

  14. Prima nocta was introduced to the lexicon during the French revolution to bash the king and the court and later (at least according to Reddit) by the Victorians to make fun of the feudal era. But point taken.

    As with most bad/evil things in tech, this concept was introduced early on by IBM. Your company didn’t actually purchase an IBM mainframe, you leased it. Other manufacturers like Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) would sell you a machine. Along with the machine came schematics and manuals (I used to own a PDP-8e with all the docs but got tired of hauling it around). IBM would build their computers with the same tech as everyone else, but do it their own way. They introduced multi-level PC boards to obscure the circuit layouts. And, no one was permitted to be in the room when the IBM tech was on site, ‘lest your eye were to gaze on the wondrous interior of the machine. Of course the reality was they were merely OK machines from a hardware perspective. The only thing they really didn’t want the customer to see was the “upgrade” that involved moving a jumper on a board from “slower” to “faster.” They also introduced the concept of licensing operating systems and compilers instead of including them with the purchase or just giving them away.

    But ultimately this will hurt everyone. As we see with Microsoft, discovering bugs and security problems in a closed system takes much longer and is much more difficult. In an open world, in theory someone discovers a bug and fixes it, then tells everyone else about it. Software gets better sooner. Products get better over time. They are much less likely to be abandoned too. If only businesses who’s product isn’t a computer would figure this out.

  15. Farmers are not working on their $150,000 tractors. They have a fleet of them and I’m certain they get them serviced at the dealer.

    These are not tractors nor farmers.

    • Hi Todd,

      Actually, they are. Some of them. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a fleet or just one. I live in an agricultural area, by the way, and know several farmers who have just one tractor. I have just one tractor. If you have say 50 or 100 acres, you don’t need a fleet.

      But you still have to sign the agreement, just the same.

      • eric, the tractor is just facet of how the US farmer is being set up with big ag/pharm covering the other end so that subsidy farming is almost like working for Uncle.

        A friend was complaining the other day his new JD that cost $450K lost a third of its value after 400 hours, 2 oil changes. Now he’s considering buying a Fendt due to their much better build and being a better tractor. He showed me a rear drive Fendt pulling a front assist JD around like a step-child.

        I have seen a new surge of IH/Case recently too which are good tractors but without as large a dealer network as JD. Of course, most work on one is now done in the field.

        My main gripe with new tractors is that long climb to the cab. They’re to the point where the cab needs to be an elevator.

      • Eric with 100 acres you only need a tractor from the 50’s, no need at all for any modern tractor. Like 8 said, you want some gps guided monster, those are for those 10,000 acre farms in the mid west.

        I highly doubt if I go down to the local dealer and buy a lawn tractor I’m going to have to have it serviced at the dealer. Even if the form says that they would never enforce it.

        • Hi Todd,

          I’m not saying you can’t use an older tractor; just pointing out that many people only need one tractor!

          PS: We’re not talking about riding mowers… or at least, I’m not! 😉

          • I read the attached document. It looks pretty reasonable. What specifically do you disagree with? All it really says is you’re not to modify or sell the code to anyone.

            • Everything I wrote about in the article!

              They’re attempting to use copyright law to forbid other than “authorized” service. Especially DIY service.

  16. The end of my car hobby is truly near. Maybe I will be allowed to keep some trinket hidden away to gaze upon in the dark corner in my cell/room and remember days past. We really are on a slow boil.

    • I took my orange Barchetta out yesterday to listen to the Quadrajet moan as the secondaries opened… no air bags… no TCS or ABS… not a digital LED light anywhere.


      We had it really good.

      • Did you lose the air car at the old one lane bridge while committing your weekly crime? Probably had a good chuckle sitting by the fire at your Uncles farm later remembering the better times of the past.

    • Log into any modern car forum. The teenagers and such do muck about with the software of their cars. The problem is the number of them that whine when they break their cars by changing parameters to things that just don’t work well in the physical/mechanical world.

      • The non-teenagers can muck with ECU code successfully. I’m a software guy and a car guy, and I’ve found that enthusiast cars have the ECU’s completely reverse-engineered within a couple of years of coming out. ECU code is really tricky embedded realtime code – messing with it takes a lot of skill and experience, but this code usually interprets tuning parameters, which take a bunch of inputs – throttle position, air temp, etc, and produce outputs – the amount of fuel injected, valve timings and such. Those tuning parameters are much easier to tweak and that’s what “tunes” available for cars do, change the mappings of inputs to outputs, not much coding involved.

        EFI will also gladly sell you an ECU which is not locked down which can run any modern fuel injected engine.

        The sad part is that even in cars, despite DMCA exceptions for fixing them yourself, this behavior is still illegal due to the EPA and CARB. See, tuning your car or messing with ECU code changes its emissions behavior, which is always illegal.

        I have a race car where I’ve modified the engine heavily. My ECU is tuned to perfection for this engine – I kept the catalyst, use unleaded gas, and this car will pass any tailpipe sniffer test because it runs super-clean. This car is not street legal anywhere because it’s been modified from its EPA certified ECU code. Emissions tests, at least here in CA, verify that you’ve not modified the ECU at all.

        Competition is the cure for such anti-consumer behavior. If John Deere wants to lock you out, buy a competing product, problem solved. Unfortunately, these rules now transcend individual manufacturers because the whole industry has bought the right people and the right rules over the years. The DMCA is just one straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.

        • I’ve argued here before that 3rd party ECUs are out there to buy and are designed to be customized and even modified. If worse comes worse this is what will be used by restorers and such.

    • You could do like the Lee Majors character in the movie “The Last Chase,” a dystopia in which he hides a race car under his garage and breaks it out to make a run to freedom.


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