Google’s ATAP group brings us yet another window into the virtual world, this time in the form of a super-powerful tablet. Much of the same sweet tech from the Tango phone is here, along with additional connectivity and loads more power in a slimmer tin. Unfortunately, these evolutions dropped Tango’s repairability score from a praiseworthy 9-out-of-10 phone to a lackluster 4-out-of-10 tablet.
If you have a hankering to see the folks from iFixit discuss the merits of repair, reuse, and refurbishment, we’ll be at a couple of conferences in the coming months. We’d love to answer all your questions, live and in person. Get the list of conferences we’ll be participating in on our blog.
The thousands of stories our members have told us over the years only confirm, to us, just how powerful repair can be. It’s empowering, explorative, and restorative. In an effort to share more of those stories with you, we’re starting a new series of profiles on fixers on our YouTube channel. Our first profile is on Bonnie Brownstein—owner of Electronics Parts Supermart, a store she’s been operating for the past 35 years. This is her story.
We want to make it easy for people like you to start their own businesses. The Pro Tech Network empowers repair technicians with free online repair guides, business development wikis, marketing tools, and a vibrant community of repair businesses online.
Today, President Obama signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act into law. This signing comes almost two years after the Internet rose up against the archaic process that first made unlocking a cellphone illegal. Since then, iFixit has been working relentlessly with other activists to shepherd a solution through the Senate. The President’s signature is a testament to the collective power of netizens, who stood up to powerful, entrenched corporate interests and won.
When a device like the Oculus Rift DK2 comes through our doors, the folks at iFixit dance around like giddy schoolgirls and schoolboys. We literally have to fight them—sometimes to the death—to keep their grubby hands off it long enough to complete the teardown. The DK2’s excellent 9 out of 10 repairability score meant we didn’t break the device and incite a riot. But truly, we’re more excited about all the fun stuff we found inside, including the 40 infrared LEDs.
It’s like the Galaxy S5, but mini. Quick subtraction shows that the Galaxy S5 Mini shaved off 10.9 mm in height and 7.2 mm in width, but added 1.2 mm in thickness when compared to its larger brother. The Mini wasn’t just scaled down on the outside; the screen resolution, processor, RAM, and battery capacity all take a hit. But the question remains: does this minor change in size make a major difference in repairability?
It’s been nearly two years since the American people demanded that Congress take steps to re-legalize cell phone unlocking. Today, Congress delivered. Earlier this month, the Senate unanimously approved the “Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act” (S.517). This morning, Senators sent the bill back to the House of Representatives, which gave the bill their unanimous seal of approval. The bill nows goes on to the White House.
We had high hopes that Amazon built a solid, repairable Fire Phone. It began with a similar opening procedure to the current crop of iPhones, but with welcome Torx T3 screws instead of Pentalobes. However, all of the fancy tech we found inside made for a veritable mess of cables, connectors, and glue. The tech-laden phone ended up scoring a less-than-stellar 3 out of 10 on our repairability scale, with the only real positive being the opening procedure.
Last week, we wrote in Wired about the Unlocking Bill—a bill that the Internet demanded from Congress 17 months ago. A bill that Sina Khanifar, iFixit, the EFF, Public Knowledge, Derek Khanna, and a small group of other activists all helped to shepherd through Washington. A bill that—after countless hours of debates, rewrites, and haggling—had a shot of becoming a law. Well, that bill has just passed by unanimous consent through Senate.
My grandfather was typical of a generation haunted by the shadow of the Great Depression. Out of necessity, people like my grandfather eked every bit of usefulness from what little they had. They drove their cars into the ground, hitched them back together with baling wire, and kept driving for another 100,000 miles. They taught their children how to patch their tires and patch their jeans. So it makes sense that it’s people like my grandfather who are teaching the world how to repair again.
A year and a half ago, a man in Washington made a bad decision that screwed over thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands more consumers. He made it illegal for Americans to “unlock” their cell phones. We cried foul, and 114,000 netizens joined us in demanding that unlocking be re-legalized. Normally, petition-signing is the flash in the pan of Internet activism. But this time was different. A bill that the Internet demanded 17 months ago is now on its way to a Senate vote.