As a preface, I like the idea of Speed Queen's approach to make a simple machine with durable components and (I assume) making it easy to maintain and repair. I especially agree with the author that user interface design should not make the machine the boss. It should be obvious how and easy to change settings, regardless of whether it is with knobs, buttons, or even a touch screen (I'm generally partially to knobs and feature-specific buttons for this type of application).
And if a manufacturer is going to switch from discrete electro-mechanical components to glossy electronic control panels, make them comparably robust for crying out loud! There's no excuse for the absurd percentage of washing machine user reviews that complain about spending hundreds of dollars replacing control panels.
That said, despite my generally cynical view of such regulations, this part is simply wrong:
Moreover, the regulations imposed by the federal government in the past decade to make many of our appliances “more efficient” and “environmentally friendly” has only served to make them useless.
The large majority of users, in addition to third party reviewers who conduct controlled tests, report that most modern appliances perform their basic functions like washing laundry just fine. Like many people, I've used a variety of machines over the years, including several agitators, and found that high efficiency clothes washers, both top and front-loading, clean just fine, and cause less wear on fabrics. They actually do surprisingly well at removing ground in dirt, food stains, etc. If there is a consistent short-coming related to efficiency standards, it's insufficient rinsing of really dirty clothes with the regular cycles. Hence why the extra rinse feature exists.
The author got a defective unit. I'm certain of that because we have the next model up in the same series - I think the only difference is adding a steam cycle, and the sales price at the time (I don't remember exactly, but less than $800) was close enough we decided to give it a try. I get fairly dirty working on the house or in the yard, and although sometimes we use the heavy wash cycle and extra rinse, on the whole it cleans at least as well as the unit it replaced, which in turn cleaned probably better than the agitator we used before that one.
He is also incorrect about the cycles not allowing flexibility. I seem to recall during initial testing identifying a couple combination of settings it wouldn't allow that I thought it should, but haven't found a clear need to use those combinations in practice. The interface could make those settings easier to understand, however.
I guess buying a used machine was one way to address all this. Personally, I read the manual to understand the settings, and would have held LG to their warranty and demanded a refund or replacement if they could not fix a problem found during the warranty period like the author says was the case here.
The real problem is that defects like this seem to be absurdly common in clothes washers.
I'm also one of those dissatisfied with short design lives. Unfortunately, the overall market seems to have found an intersection between a manufacturer interest in planned obsolescence and a consumer tendency to experience upgraditis or at least accept failures on roughly a 10 year time frame for major appliances.