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cnet.com: Farmers are hacking their tractors so they can actually fix them


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Farmers are hacking their tractors so they can actually fix them

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/farmers-using-hacked-firmware-to-bypass-john-deeres-software-stranglehold/?hl=1&noRedirect=1

 

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You wouldn't think that farm equipment would turn into a battlefield for right-to-repair laws, but in 2017, anything is possible.

American farmers are increasingly turning to hacked firmware in order to repair their John Deere tractors, Motherboard reports. The reason they're doing so is because John Deere has a license agreement wherein only Deere dealers and "authorized" shops can perform work on tractors.

That may seem fine at a glance -- John Deere built the tractor, so it knows the best way to fix it, right? That's just one part of it, though. According to the farmers Vice talked to, John Deere charges out the wazoo for its work, and technicians might not arrive to a broken tractor with sufficient haste, which can affect a farmer's bottom line in a big way.

Right to repair is an issue that extends far beyond farm equipment. John Deere t, Deere's license agreement specific forbids farmers from suing for "crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment ... arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software."

Thus, farmers are turning to shady online forums where hackers are peddling cracked versions of John Deere software that bypasses required authorization, allowing farmers to once again work on their own tractors.

 

In order to combat this issue, farmers have been quick to endorse right-to-repair legislation, which would force manufacturers to make it so that independent repair shops and consumers have access to the tools required to work on a vehicle, whether it's a tractor or a phone or a car.

These issues aren't limited to farm equipment, either. Right to repair has been a hot topic in the automotive industry, especially as computers play an ever-increasing role. For the longest time, tinkering with a car's software was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. ...

 

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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