Modern manufacturing: brandless products

The tutor asks: Is this a modern phenomenon?

During 2005-2010, I’d occasionally go to Future Shop just to see what was new. Ironically, I’d usually end up buying something “old” – aka, outdated – that was offered for cheap because it would soon be obsolete.

Back then, my kids were young. I hadn’t time to research new trends or products, so didn’t know when something sitting new on the shelf was already passé. Technology was improving so quickly, things that seemed hard for me to imagine were already on the bargain table. When I saw such a thing there that seemed useful to me, I bought it.

One such purchase was a 60gb (I know: you’re laughing) usb external hard drive. It’s not a pen drive; rather, it’s about 8″ by 5″ by 1″ and probably weighs over a pound. I’d estimate I bought it around 2009, long before a 64gb pen drive seemed a consideration. For the capacity, the drive seemed cheap; it might have been 50$. Thinking I might need the storage someday, I picked it up.

At home, I got the drive working and got familiar with it. It’s as simple to use as a pen drive anyway; not much to learn. I didn’t need it just then, so in a corner it went, and collected dust for about six years.

Recently I retrieved the drive in order to back up some files. I was immediately very pleased with its speed: since it’s formatted ntfs, moving stuff from Windows onto it is very convenient. I don’t know whether, when I got it, I formatted it ntfs, or it just came that way. Whichever the case, it works great for me.

I’d planned to write this post about what a great little rig that external hard drive is. Surprisingly, I can’t identify it to you; the drive has absolutely no brand markings on it anywhere. When, under Properties, I search its manufacturer, Windows classifies it as Standard disk drives. Years ago I threw out the product documentation. I have no way of identifying this external drive that sits on my desktop.

Before the new millennium, manufacturers all seemed to want us to know, without any doubt, who they where. Electronics manufacturers seemed especially proud. After all, the new products they made were often so impressive. The companies didn’t just make those products for profit; perhaps more importantly, they made them to impress us.

Nowadays, apparently, we have factories making quite good products anonymously. I wonder why they didn’t put a brand name on the drive. Possibly, the factory only produced it for a few months before switching to a different product. They likely knew the drive itself would be obsolete in a short time, with new technology soon to arrive. Why put your name on something that will just be “old” in a few months?

Whoever made the external drive, I’m happy with it. I trust that, whatever that factory is making now, it’s likely worth buying. I wonder how many workers who helped produce my drive, are still there today?

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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