Mountain View, CA
The post seems to be quite unfocused, although I side with some (not all) of the sentiments.
The 1st point relates to the market price of drives going through the roof as a result of Thailand flooding, using (presumably) CamelEgg as evidence, then never coming back down to the price they were originally at. This is a valid point -- the prices on many drives increased by anywhere between 2 and 5x. Within about 6 months the drives had started to come back down to "semi-reasonable" prices, but not all of them (some models like the WD Caviar Black continued to have extremely high prices for no justified reason). I ranted about this here on DSLR/BBR and elsewhere -- because there's really no major difference in those drives (when it comes to parts/platters/etc.) compared to the other models. This was purely WD taking advantage of the flooding to try and fill their coffers. But WD wasn't the only one doing it.
The point to take away from this is not for consumers -- it's for the manufacturers. My advice to them: don't put all your eggs in one basket (in other words, why did you rely so heavily on Thailand for the manufacturing of your products? You've got Malaysia and China and the Philippines and Taiwan available too). Don't make us pay for your mistakes. We didn't make the decision to put all our eggs in one basket -- you did. Or if you didn't, your board of directors did, or your stockholder/shareholders did. We didn't.
The 2nd point pertains to warranty. This is where I disagree with -- and my own stems from actual experience with RMAs done within the past 3-4 months.
People want 5 year warranties because they assume that the manufacturer will have replacements during that entire period. It's often very important that a user get the exact same model of drive (i.e. if they send in a WD1002FAEX, they expect to be sent back a WD1002FAEX). Sadly this is not the case any more, and as said, I base this on my own experience. Most of my RMAs for 1TB and 2TB WD Caviar Black drives have resulted in very long and drawn-out conversations between me and WD reps on the phone trying to "find a suitable replacement" that I'd accept. "Sorry we're out of stock on that model". In some cases I'd be sent an "enterprise-grade" drive (costing 2-3x more than what I have) just to get me off the phone (which doesn't make me happy because the drives I had were 2 or 3-platter, and what I was sent was 4-platter).
So I ask you: what good is a 5 year warranty if the manufacturer does not keep stock of replacement products during that warranty period? The correct answer is: it's not worth jack squat. So instead, a shorter warranty period actually makes more sense given how the manufacturer actually treats their own warranty periods. Three (3) years seems fine. Hell, I would be willing to accept 2 years.
The 3rd point is with regards to reliability. This is mindless blabbing without any actual data to back up the statements (ha, I made an awful pun!). The "data source" seems to be "post reviews talking about dead drives". "Post reviews?" Like what, NewEgg? Yeah, NewEgg reviews are filled with highly accurate and technical information. *blink* Yeaaaahh......
Do you know how often end-users have absolutely no idea what's wrong with their drive? Look at the DSLR/BBR forum here sometime. Look at the past 2 years worth of threads regarding hard disks. Hell, look at my posts to get an idea.
Many times over people claim they have "bad drives" but in fact may have just developed some reallocated LBAs (I've tried to tell people -- we keep shoving more and more data into the same physical form factor/size, thus reliability decreases. We have cases with four (4) 5.25" drive bays, maybe we should go back to half-height 5.25" MHDDs already. Go with single-platter or 2-platter drives -- less parts, fewer heads, run cooler). Furthermore, and quite often, the issues turn out to be completely unrelated to the drive itself -- a PSU problem, shoddy connectors on the SATA power cable, shoddy SATA data cables (I've had a few of those myself), blown power circuitry on the drive PCB (this doesn't mean "the drive is bad" per se!), or broken drivers (such as the Intel MatrixRAID fiasco). The list is endless. It requires someone deeply familiar -- I'm not talking about "PC enthusiasts" -- to determine what's wrong.
The 4th and final point is that the situation is dire/horrible and to combat that, as consumers, you should, quote, "let your favorite platter drive retailer know how you feel about this mess". Retailers are not going to give half a rat's ass about the situation -- they have absolutely zero to do with the manufacturing process, the quality of the plants, Q&A of MHDDs, or any other aspect. They just sell products -- they don't make them. They're not going to stop stocking something unless the failure rate is absurdly high (we're talking 50% or higher), because failure to stock something means customers will spend their money elsewhere, which means they make less money. It's akin to bitching out the milkman when the farmer of the cows used rBST or rBGH.
The bottom line here, in my mind anyway, is that all of this stems from one thing: commercialist (capitalist) focus. Money is the driving force, not actual innovation or improving the situation for humans (think philanthropy involving technology). Money, whether it be to make more of it or spend less of it (in an attempt to make more). That's what it boils down to. Fat cats somewhere within the companies decided to cut corners, made bad decisions, and the solution is "well, uh, err... let's just increase the price of things and make up for the loss".
In case you haven't noticed over the past 30 years, there's a steadily growing number of people who, effectively, want to be able to play roulette but never lose. It's a very self-centred, psychopathic mentality and it's harmful to people who rely on those individuals to make good/sane decisions. Yeah well, that's not what the United States has advocated for the past 70 years. We've only ourselves to blame. See the independent film called Inside Job if you want an idea of the mentality that's propagated, or just feel like having your soul crushed.
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.