Hoist your wrenches into the air, folks. As of today, October 28, you can now hack, repair, and conduct security research on your own car—or tractor!—without risking jail time for copyright infringement. Exactly one year ago, the Copyright Office granted exemptions for repairing, modifying, and conducting security research on your own vehicle. And those exemptions go into effect today.
Jamie Frendo-Cumbo lives up in Kuujjuaraapik—a very small, very remote community on the southeastern shore of Hudson Bay in Canada. Kuujjuaraapik is off the beaten path. Literally. As in there are no roads to Kuujjuaraapik. As you can imagine, there’s also not a lot of what you’d call organized entertainment in a town so remote. You’ve got to make your own fun. So Jamie decided to fix 60 devices in 90 days.
I found Dina on Instagram, where she makes teardown videos as part of an ongoing project she calls “Tinker Fridays.” At iFixit, we approach teardowns with a sort of surgical precision. Components are sorted and meticulously re-composed on a table, like a scientist pinning specimens to a board. For Dina, objects are like puzzle boxes—mysteries await just beneath the cover. In her hands, objects dance apart and reveal themselves, like a wonderful secret only you’ve been told.
At Fixit Clinic, we celebrate successful repairs by ringing a bell and shouting “Fixxxxed!” It may seem campy to celebrate each successful repair in this way—and with a 70% success rate on repairs, we do a lot of celebrating. But after over 170 Fixit Clinics across the US—in the San Francisco Bay Area, Minneapolis, Boulder, Austin, San Diego, and Orange County—we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all part of creating a participatory and festive atmosphere around repair.
We talk a lot about why it’s getting harder to fix electronics. Not just because of how those devices are designed, but also because a lot manufacturers don’t want anyone to know how to fix them. And those companies can issue legal threats to keep repair information out of public view. It looks like Louis Rossmann, an independent Apple repair tech from NYC, is fending off a legal attack from one of those companies.
We tinker with computers for a living—which means, we’ve seen more circuit boards and electronics kits than you can shake a spudger at. But we’ve never seen a printed circuit board quite like this before. Delightfully old school by design, Circuit Classics was engineered by Star Simpson and inspired by the work of tinkering legend and author Forrest M. Mims, III. Circuit Classics brings Mims’ beginning electronics projects off the page and into a real-life electronics kit.
If you want to start mastering the basics, look no further than our ongoing YouTube series on repair skills. In our most recent installment, iFixit’s resident tinkerer—Gwendolyn Gay—teaches you how to use a multimeter, which has a million uses for testing electronics and circuits (seriously, keep one in your work bag at all times). Here’s Gwendolyn’s multimeter 101 lesson—which goes over testing continuity, voltage, and resistance.
We take a lot of pictures at iFixit. The place is crawling with camera junkies—including me. I’ve loved taking pictures since I was little, and I’m so grateful it’s part of what I get to do for my job. My skills have definitely improved over the years. But up until recently, one thing had not: my camera. But now that my skills are outpacing my nearly 10-year-old camera—what do I do with something that means so much to me?
We recently went to the Palo Alto Repair Café and spent some time with its founder Peter Skinner. Back in 2012, Peter read an article in the New York Times about Repair Cafés in the the Netherlands. There was nothing similar in United States at the time, and Peter was interested in starting a grassroots organization that addressed the global problem of waste. A local Repair Café was just the fix to facilitate the idea of repair over replacement.
In our ongoing YouTube series Fixers in Focus, our video team profiles very cool, local-to-us repair experts in different fields. In the past, we’ve talked to computer techs, parts experts, and even guitar repair masters. This time, we chatted with Chris Mathis, the lead mechanic for Luna’s pro women mountain bike team. Chris has been fixing bikes for almost 15 years. It’s his job to make sure that team bikes can stand up to a serious beating on the trail. Check out his workshop on our blog.
Just yesterday, The Verge did a great profile on The Fixers’ Collective in New York City. Founded in 2008, the Fixers’ Collective is staffed by volunteers who help members of the local community resurrect all kinds of things. They fix busted phones, sew ripped sweaters, and rewire lamps. With every thing they fix, the group also helps to rewire the relationship patrons have with broken stuff—giving them a more powerful alternative than just the landfill.