Fob for Service

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Elon Musk has paved the way for so many things – few of them good.

Like the energy hog electric car – with its emphasis on “ludicrous” speed and “cool” technology rather than affordability or practicality, which has been emulated by practically every other company making electric cars.

Another – subtler – example comes in the form of charging customers for what they already paid for.

By charging them a subscription to use it.

You buy a Tesla. You buy it with certain options, which you pay for. Later on, you sell your Tesla, which you presumably own – including the options you paid for. The person who buys your Tesla assumes he’s buying the car you paid for, along with the options you paid for. He pays, accordingly – just as in the past if you bought a car with say the upgraded stereo or some other extra-cost option, you paid a bit more for it because it was equipped with that option – which added value to the car.

Tesla’s trick – and it’s a dirty one – is to turn off options, post-purchase, if the new owner doesn’t pay to renew the subscription.

There was a quiet uproar when this was found out – by people who bought second-hand Teslas. The uproar not generally reported, for the same underlying reason that the Shill Press doesn’t report cases of adverse events, including death, resulting from the “vaccines” – while it endlessly-hysterically reported “cases” of people  . . . testing positive on dodgy tests we now know were jiggered to make it appear that practically everyone who got tested was reported as being “sick.”

Including those sans any symptoms of it.

Now other car companies are emulating Musk’s pay-as-you-go (for as long as you go) business model. They will charge you serially for options and features – which will only work so long as you continue to pay for them. Instead of checking the option for heated seats, say, you agree to license the software that runs the heated seats. They work – so long as you pay. If you stop making your serial payments, the seats no longer heat.

Your car’s engine doesn’t make the same horsepower the day after your subscription to the “performance app” lapses.

If it’s electric, the car’s range is decreased – or the time it takes to recharge it is increased – because you didn’t keep up with your payments.

That “cool” LCD digital dash goes dark. The stereo goes silent.

Anything that is controlled by programming – in a “connected” car – can be controlled by the programmers. It works exactly like your sail fawn, which you retain physical possession of but which the true owner – who isn’t you – retains virtual possession of. Your phone receives “updates” – whether you want them or not. If you do not want them, or don’t pay for them, the phone’s functions may no longer function. Your choice is to accept the updates – or accept that “your” phone may no longer work the way it did.

Eventually, even if you do keep on paying, your current phone will no longer be supported – which means it will no longer work, period. Your choice is to keep a rendered useless phone or buy a new one, probably even more “connected.”

And – of course – pay serially for the service.

Take note of the fact that the car companies are using precisely that word to describe what they intend to sell you in the future – as opposed to the car, itself.

You will buy transportation as a service – serially.

To be fair to Musk, it was actually Bill Gates who pioneered this mechanism of virtual enserfment. It occurred to him that it would be far more profitable to sell licenses to use his software than to sell the software, itself. Some will recall the days when you went to the store and bought the business or tax or graphic design software you wanted and – having bought it – you owned it, to use for as long as you liked. It maybe got outdated, eventually. But that was ok, in the same way that an old car is outdated – but still works as it did when you bought it.

You could even sell or give it to someone else – in exactly the same way you could sell or give someone else the car you bought. Which still worked for them as it worked for you – assuming it wasn’t broken.

And even if it was, it could be fixed.

But Gates – whose genius is evil – decided to turn the buyer into a user; someone who held a temporary and condition license to use the software. And just like that, you no longer got what you paid for – unless you paid, again.

And, again.

Teslas – being software on wheels – were (and are) ideally suited to this You Will Own Nothing and Be Happy business model, which Musk seized on as a way to make money in the same general way and on the same general principle. Tesla buyers bought the right to use various features/capabilities – but did not own them.

Tesla did. The buyer licensed temporary and conditional use of them.

And now the rest of them – the other car companies – are looking to cash in. Audi is peddling LED headlights that only LED as long as you continue to pay for them. Volvo’s Polestar electric energy hog division offers over-the-air increased performance – for a fee.

BMW is reportedly considering putting heated seats on a subscription basis.   

Toyota is charging “owners” a monthly $8 subscription to keep their fobs – which are no longer keys – operational. 

This sort of thing is rapidly becoming another New Abnormal – enabled by turning everything we used to own into a “connected” device, with someone else on the other end of that “connection.” Someone who can assert their ownership over what we thought we bought – whenever they like.

Read your EULA.

As with the Face Speedo’ing of the population – and now the Jabbing – the only way this ends is if enough of us decide not to be enserfed by refusing to comply. Or to “buy” anything we don’t own after having paid for it.

It’s not that hard to install heated seats in an unconnected car. Or up the horsepower of a non-electric car. And after you paid for those upgrades, you control them. They are yours – to use for as long as you like – and to sell, if you like.

It’s a better business model.

For us.

. . .

Got a question about cars, bikes, or Sickness Psychosis? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at [email protected] if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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49 COMMENTS

  1. If anything people need to get out of “paying” for things monthly. The only one that may have some value for a normal person is a mortgage for a house. And even then you should try to pay it down faster.

    I used to be a graphic designer (late 90-early 00’s). I generally used Adobe software, which was expensive to buy, but it was ok to continue to use the same version for a decade. Which I imagine most designers and production houses did, at least the ones I knew did. So Adobe put a stop to that. You can’t buy a version of their software and disappear for ten years anymore. It’s monthly or nothing. I think they offered both for a while, but I imagine most still went with the pay once method. I am guessing it doesn’t work if your internet isn’t working either.

    I would love to use photoshop for my (hobby) photography, but the monthly cost is too high for how often I would use it. So I don’t have it anymore, the last version I had is 20 years old and won’t run on a modern mac or pc. They could have had 600 bucks at once from me. The monthly fees would add up to 600 pretty fast so that is why I can’t do that model. So **** you Adobe.

  2. man i dont know about musk… hes starting to grow on me…. saw his thing on Senator Karen ?? I think now that they’ve kicked trump off, he may be going for the king of trolls….

  3. Some ransomware hacker will brick the entire software program and nobody will be able to drive their car unless they pay a hefty ransom, it will be a double whammy, the auto company and the driver will both be victims.

    Then there will be a heavy cost to bear. It’s extortion, but that will be too bad.

    Pharma is doing the same damn thing with the vaccine/booster shtik. Can’t be any more obvious, obscene, even. Pfizer will be charging your credit/debit card monthly for their vaccine service contract. It is happening anyway.

    Young people are jonesin’ for vaccines, boosters, the whole nine yards. The propaganda does work, can’t be denied. I don’t want to believe it, but it is true.

    The younger generation is all for it, all for wearing masks while at work or wherever they might be. They do the same thing over and over again then achieve the result, insanity. Just another consequence of Covid madness, and it is madness in the real world, no doubt.

    It is a freak show out there on the business front, Covid has become a horrific joke on humanity, criminal, malicious intent, beyond comprehension, but I don’t care. There will be hell to pay.

    Color me insouciant.

    • I can also see where-if you are a bad citizen by (God forbid) having the wrong opinion, not getting your latest vaccine jab, etc.-they will simply turn off your FOB. Just like that, you go nowhere. Between that, and going digital where money is concerned, it makes me wish we should ship these insane fools to the moon. Hell, it is only -150 F below zero up here. At least on the moon, they could truly say hell has frozen over.

      • It wouldn’t even need State actors. These peoples security is so bad, that even mid level talented hackers get through it. But that’s hardly surprising, given that the best they can hire are third and 4th string techs to start with (the best simply will not work for them). Then they meddle in the project and don’t listen to what they are told. Which is why so many of these projects out right fail.

    • Life as a “service.”
      You don’t pay your “vaccine service contract,” you time out.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-18tkr36TbY

      Oh, and the “basic service contract” includes only “at rest” respiration, CO2 being a “pollutant.” “Athletic respiration” is an upgrade, at extra cost. So is “manual labor capability.” Enjoy your “life,” livestock.

  4. When all you end up buying is a license, the cost can increase, it can be not renewed at the end of the term, etc. which can be used as a method of punishment & control.

    If one owns their property, even bad luck like job loss or illness does not deprive you of your property and can be an asset to sell if needed.
    If everything you have is licensed (rented) and you can’t pay, you may be sitting in an empty house with no clothes left and no way to get anywhere.

    Behave citizen.

  5. I think there will be a market for those who are willing to hack these cars, remove the connection features and enable the items already paid for. Of course this runs afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but so? They can’t arrest everyone.

    • Back in ancient times things like remote door unlocking and remote start and so on were available to add on to your car in the aftermarket.

      It can merely go back to that. Some of these aftermarket systems for remote start would include making an extra chipped key defeating the anti-theft but allowing the aftermarket remote start to work.

      Thus automakers will simply aim to keep the monthly nut under the pain threshold of buying an aftermarket system.

  6. Every company out there wants YOU to provide them with a monthly stipend, so much more rewarding than actually selling you stuff you want. I saw that coming when TiVo began replacing VCR’s – you had to pay a monthly subscription to record the shows you wanted. Was it really that hard to program a timer? Maybe for the average dumbshit it was, like P.T. Barnum said, “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average American”.

  7. I read that as “fib for service” at first.

    I suppose that is slightly apt, as well.

    The “service” is a fib… unless you pay more.

    I’m going to play devils advocate for a minute, and suggest that maybe higher prices would result from avoiding this.

    Having said this, why not offer the two side by side and see what the market wants? Or allow people to pay the difference and get the service in perpetuity (kind of like how you can pay extra to get rid of the ads on your Kindle). Since when are more options a bad thing?

  8. Sounds like Apple’s business model is creeping into everything else. And I HATE, LOATHE, and DESPISE that model! Even John Deere is going that way these days.

    No. When I buy something, stay the fuck out of it!

  9. Here’s an article from 2017 about “Transportation as a Service”:
    https://www.freightwaves.com/news/transportation-as-a-service-revolution

    A few excerpts:

    “We’re in this world of horses and somebody is standing here and telling you that within a few years this whole horse thing is going to go away for solid economic reasons”

    “shift away from personally owned modes of transportation and towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service”

    “by 2030, 95% of all passed miles will be driven by electric and autonomous vehicles… which means this, we will need 80% fewer cars on the road to go the same number of miles”

    I’ve been hearing these predictions for a while now, and I think it’s fairly safe to say that the “predictions” such as these are way off, especially reading this now in 2021. I have hope that enough people realize that these awful propositions don’t make economic or practical sense, and that they are not improvements at all, unlike the transition from horses to automobiles which was indeed a vast improvement in transportation.

    • “by 2030, 95% of all passed miles will be driven by electric and autonomous vehicles” — dood’

      YEAH, RIGHT … like them flying cars, which I was promised as a child would be ubiquitous in … 1985.

      I’ll believe it when I see it
      And I haven’t seen it yet
      Don’t mind me, just keep on talking
      I’m just looking for my hat

      — Waylon Jennings, Ain’t No God in Mexico

    • You know the best part about owning my own car?

      It’s always in the last place I parked it, and I can hop in and drive it whenever I want. And I don’t have to wait at all, ever. And I can also go wherever I want to. Because it’s mine.

      The only reason to switch to “transportation as a service” is because you are too broke to use a car, it’s called the bus. And I did that for several years (actually mostly I rode a bike everywhere). The bike is better, for all of the reasons I cited above.

      • Precisely!

        If this were 100 years ago, and my only source of transportation was a horse, and someone showed me all the virtues of owning my own car, I’d be on it! Vast improvement!

        If someone today came to me and said “You know, those cars you own (already paid for), that you keep in your own garage and driveway, that you maintain yourself, have customized yourself, and keep your own stuff in… wouldn’t you like to just abandon all that and switch to having to what amounts to public transportation and pay a hefty monthly fee”?, I’d LMAO! What are people like this thinking???

  10. Over the past 6 months I received surveys from Toyota “Owner’s intersection” surveying people on this very thing. Subscriptions. I did really like their idea of offering the “safety suite” as a subscription. Keep all of the safety shit on my car off for non payment. Problem is that it would only be the most worthless safety stuff……but still.

    They did have options questions about whether you would want to pay for them up front or on a subscription basis. Probably fishing for information on whether people that don’t want a subscription would be willing to pay at all. If not just put options that are valuable in a package with the ones that you don’t want. Then it’s an upsell.

    Dirty bastards, all of them.

    • The problem with such a market is that old school farm equipment frequently runs a LONG time without being reconditioned. I have a 60 year old diesel David Brown tractor that still functions well. The only part I’ve replaced on it in the 30 years I’ve owned it is the water pump.

  11. You should see the insane prices and licensing structure for MATLAB! Granted that is something few “retail” buyers are using but YOU are paying for anyway with your tax dollars because the govt. is using it for numerous things.

    I’m not gonna go out on any limbs but think of the neighborhood of at least $10K per user per year and that’s without most of the options.

    There’s no good reason for that. It’s just greed.

    • Yeah, fuck MATLAB, Anon!

      I’d rather write the whole of what I need in Python, which can be capable of anything MATLAB will do, than to pay those thieves a cent.

    • ‘I’m not gonna go out on any limbs but think of the neighborhood of at least $10K per user per year and that’s without most of the options.’ — Anon

      Likewise, if you want access to a full suite of historical financial data, a Bloomberg terminal will run you $2,000 a month.

      Unless you can corrupt a fresh-faced student into sharing his/her biz school access with you.

      Wanted: coed with own fishing boat. Please send photo of boat.

  12. They’re just mimicking what John Deere has been doing for years. Nowadays you buy a software license, not a three quarter million dollar combine, a half million-dollar tractor, or a quarter million-dollar planter. That’s how JD can charge ridiculous shop hour rates for things that farmers could do themselves a generation before.

    • Indeed, Mike –

      And it’s also why this farmer – kinda/sorta – will never sell his 45-year-old Mitsubishi tractor. Which will still be working, probably, 45 years hence.

      • Hmm… I just made a comment and you just made a comment. It says “December 14, 2021 at 9:27 am” on both of them (yours and mine). As I’m typing this, it is currently 8:29 am EST. Just FYSA.

  13. I do a fair amount of book reading on my tablet using the Kindle app. Same deal, you don’t own the book, you’re licensing it, hence the lower price. I cannot resell a “used” book to a third party. If I were to sell my tablet on eBay and leave the files on it, the new owner would only have access if I let them have access to my entire Amazon account. AFAIK the books are in a binary blob file so I can’t easily extract a single book from the tablet. For the most part I’m OK with this arrangement because I get a lot of value from having a portable library on hand, and 90% of the books I read are one-and-done, not referenced ever again.

    Although it is rare, there have been cases of books disappearing. If things continue to go the way they have so far, I could see some of the COVID expose’ books being disappeared, especially if they gain any traction beyond the already converted. It’s one thing to make someone pay again for a warm tushy, another thing entirely to memory-hole “uncomfortable” truths. Maybe we should be building our own Fahrenheit 451 reading club, but instead of memorizing classics, just keep a paper library stashed in the back of the garage.

    • I’ve been buying all of Berenson’s books in “dead tree” format. Also bought physical copies of the COVID Revealed DVD set. Just bought a copy of RFK’s Fauci book. While there is a way to retrieve and store those kindle-format books, they could just change the software to not display things that discuss anything they don’t like. I don’t trust ’em. They’ll likely vaporize it at some point.

      This past weekend, I was doing some home brewery stuff in the garage. Amazon Music would not play one of the albums that I have paid for previously until I connected to the internet. Yes, a phone is connected to the internet via the cellular network already.

      What they really meant was that I had to re-enable WiFi and connect to the internet for whatever undisclosed reasons. I have disabled WiFi on my phone for the past two years because Apple keeps wanting to update iOS and I’m not having it. There is a way to delete the iOS installer currently (and I’ve done it multiple times) but that will likely change as well.

      So I connected my WiFi and after a few minutes I was able to play the music that I paid for long ago. I’m tired of that shit TBH. I’m not buying any additional music via Amazon. Not outside of physical copies anyway.

    • On the other hand, old farts like me, and others who have diminished eyesight, benefit well from Kindle. I hate the fact I’m paying Amazon for the service, but I can’t change the font size on a printed book.

    • One way to deal with that is to keep it in airplane mode (on my kindle its in settings, wireless) all the time. That completely isolates it. I only turn it off when I download a new book. Then I turn it right back on.

    • > I do a fair amount of book reading on my tablet using the Kindle app. Same deal, you don’t own the book, you’re licensing it, hence the lower price. I cannot resell a “used” book to a third party. If I were to sell my tablet on eBay and leave the files on it, the new owner would only have access if I let them have access to my entire Amazon account. AFAIK the books are in a binary blob file so I can’t easily extract a single book from the tablet.

      There’s a fix for that:

      https://apprenticealf.wordpress.com/

      It works best if you have an older Kindle (I bought a used Kindle Touch a while back for maybe $20-$30) that can serve as a “key” for files that you download and decrypt. I then use Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/) to convert from Kindle format to ePub for archival and to read on a Kobo Glo HD.

    • Greetings Mr. Kilowatt,

      “AFAIK the books are in a binary blob file so I can’t easily extract a single book from the tablet.”

      While I haven’t done this in a while (several years), I have “decrypted” (or stripped DRM from) books from a kindle tablet and saved them to other devices. As I recall each “book” on a kindle is an encrypted file. If you know your device serial number you can decrypt them and use them and share them like regular nonencrypted files. I used calibre to do this.

      So, after a couple minutes of interneting, it looks like you can use the “DeDRM Kindle” and “KFX” plugins for calibre and you won’t even need your serial number.

      https://pennbookcenter.com/how-to-strip-drm-from-kindle-books/

  14. ‘Some will recall the days when you went to the store and bought the business or tax or graphic design software you wanted and – having bought it – you owned it, to use for as long as you liked.’ — eric

    Those days are still here, if you’re willing to go vintage. Older outright-owned versions of MS Office are still available.

    Just learnt last week that my favorite word processor from MS-DOS days — WordPerfect — still exists, after falling into obscurity when Billy Gates took over the world with his supremely crapulent kludge called Word, the bane of any writer’s existence.

    Apparently a fanatically loyal user base of lawyers (who need precise, predictable control over document formatting, impossible in Word) kept WordPerfect alive.

    And, best of all, you buy a one-time license and OWN IT. No Office 365 subscription slavery, making a vax-peddling pedo billionaire richer and nastier.

    Vintage vehicles and vintage software keep malicious hands from picking your pocket and messing with your functionality.

    Off to muh Ned Ludd Society meeting, toting a new wrecking bar!

        • Plus, unlike OO, LO is regularly updated! As you know, LO forked from OO when Oracle bought out Sun Microsystems. OO hasn’t been updated or refined much since then, whereas LO has. LO is up to version 7.2, !and it’s quite good! What I really like about it is that, unlike MS Office, you can still use menu commands, whereas MSO has had the ribbon since Office 2007.

      • I would not call them superior, but they are most serviceable. Take care when you download NOT to just accept whatever they offer. You can end up with lots of crap on your computer that you neither need nor want.

        • JK,

          I’d say that LO, in terms of functionality, equal to MS Office 2003 or 2007. WTF needs more than that? I remember thinking that Word 6.0 was good. LO is good, plus it’s free! Even if you donate to LO, which I have, it’s still a better deal that MSO.

    • Jim, the legal community is FANATICAL in their love for WordPerfect! I’d thought about becoming an attorney, but with the glut, I decided against it. Even so, I used to follow the goings on in the legal world, and their devotion and love of WordPerfect is readily apparent.

  15. Well if you can get open source software for a computer. Think Linux and its various forks how long will it take before that option will be available for your car. As for the heated seat wouldn’t
    wiring it through the fuse panel with a rheostat control the heater? Of course after paying upwards of $40,000 this shouldn’t be happening. Maybe it’s time the serfs and peasants start looking at just saying no and not buying them. If these company’s don’t sell anything for a few months maybe they will get the point. As Nancy once said: “Just say no”.

    • It becomes apparently possible they don’t WANT to sell you a car, they prefer to sell the service. It’s possible all such male bovine fecal matter is installed on cars to KEEP you from buying one, and pay a service fee for transportation service instead. If you buy a car, the instant you drive it off the lot, it becomes a liability for them until the warranty expires. With transportation as a service they keep on keeping on collecting profit.

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