Cars have a profound legacy of tinkering. Hobbyists have always modded them, rearranged their guts, and reframed their exteriors. Which is why it’s mind-boggling to me that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) just had to ask permission from the Copyright Office for tinkerers to modify and repair their own cars.
If you’ve ever been at the tail end of a line full of cranky, frenzied, mashed-potato-fueled Black Friday shoppers, you know: we’re a consumer society. Even after the holidays, exorbitant consumption is a year-round phenomenon—especially when it comes to electronics. But why is the allure of buying so irresistible—even if we don’t really need anything? If money burns a hole in our collective pockets, who exactly is fanning the flames? Meet the men whose job it is to make us spend.
In yet another fascinating episode of “Yeah science, bitch!,” it turns out that salmon semen is good for more than just making more salmon. Aside from being a delicacy in Japan, fish sperm (also known as milt) could just be the future of rare earth element (REE) recycling. Milt might make it possible to recover REEs from discarded electronics. Ain’t life stranger than fiction?
At Pacific Lutheran University, a student-run help desk will service “anything with a current.” David Domask has trained 17 student techs, many of whom arrive with no prior repair experience—and together, they keep the university whirring, buzzing, and ticking.
Baby, it’s cold outside! Well, not for us. We live in California, where it’s a currently hovering at a balmy 60 degrees. But, for the rest of the country, winter has come! So grab your toolkits, roll up your repair sleeves, and get ready to fight the frostbite. We’ve gathered some helpful repairs to keep you warm for the rest of winter.
When Jessa’s kids flushed her iPhone down the toilet, she decided she was going fix it herself. After all, the only thing wrong was a tiny charging coil on the motherboard. Such a little thing. But that process—picking one micro-component off the board and replacing it—requires micro soldering, a skill not widely practiced in the US. So Jessa taught herself to do it. Now, she is now a micro soldering expert, and a proprietress of a thriving board-level repair business: iPad Rehab.
If we could boil iFixit down to one single tenet, it would be this: Repair is noble. To us, repair is more than a transitory act. It has lasting effects. Repair connects us to the stuff we own, it turns consumers into contributors, and it’s the most effective form of recycling there is. Turns out that one of our idols feels exactly the same way.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Fixing things yourself saves you money. But how much money? We heard recently from six fixers who got quotes from repair professionals before deciding to crack open their devices themselves. And together, these six DIY repair folks saved over $4000.
Earlier this year, we told you about Keurig’s attempt to quash off-brand coffee by integrating DRM into its newest model of brewing machine. At the time, we thought that coffee barons locking their customers into name-brand coffee pods was the most boneheaded deployment of DRM we’d ever seen. Turns out, we were wrong. You know what else features DRM these days? Kitty litter. Welcome to the future, people. Now, even your cat’s crap comes with a steaming side of corporate crap.
What do you do when your laptop has persistent heat issues and all the usual fixes fail? iFixit programmer Sterling describes how he fixed his MacBook Pro with a drill and the oven: he reflowed the solder and increased circulation through the case.
Disposable electric toothbrushes have built-in batteries that can’t be replaced. Sometimes stuff that seems convenient is a big pain in the long run—it breaks, and it can’t be fixed. Buy something more durable and repairable instead.
Sometimes, repairing electronics requires more than just swapping out the offending parts. Sometimes batteries are soldered to the motherboard. Other times, the connectors themselves need to be replaced. And that means you’re gonna need to be break out the soldering workstation. Fear not, intrepid repairer! We get it: Waving a molten lava wand over your prized possessions can be intimidating, but soldering is actually pretty easy. And it’s an essential skill to have in your repair toolkit.