You can’t miss the engineering marvels when you walk into the hangar at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. When I was at the facility, I saw various vintages of aircraft scattered throughout the hangar. Cranes scuttled about. Staff hustled along marked walkways, running tests and preparing instruments—a beehive of activity. What you can’t tell at first glance, though, is that these beautiful machines—new and old—aren’t just marvels of engineering. They are also masterpieces of repurposing.
Today, my friends, is a holiday. A holiday for you. A holiday for me. A holiday for people who need to take a little mental breather. Today is No Brainer Day. No, seriously, it’s a real holiday—or at least that is what the internet says. And you can’t lie on the internet. How does iFixit plan on celebrating the day? With some no-brainer repairs. These fixes are so simple, anyone can do them. Check them out on the blog.
To get started, we invited our friend David Hoyt—Cal Poly Computer Engineering graduate and our local drone expert—to kick-start our Drone Repair section. David has built heavy lift octocopters to film with the RED Epic camera, autonomous drones, a rainbow drone, and on top of all that has built and flown drones for Hollywood shows. With his help, we made a full set of repair manuals for two of the more popular consumer drones out there—the original DJI Phantom, and the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+.
Jason Kingsnorth does a bus-load of repairs. Like, a school bus-load. He’s a Technology Aide/Coordinator at Bradley Schools in Bradley, Illinois—and half of the IT team that manages maintenance of the district’s technology fleet. All told, Jason helps keep 300 MacBook Pros, 250 iMacs, 150 PCs, and over 300 iOS devices running under what you might call … challenging circumstances (school kids, after all, can turn iPads into juice boxes before you can say “recess”). Read his story on our blog!
There’s a lot of fruit at iFixit. We have Apple repair guides, Apple teardowns, and Apple parts. We’ve even invented Apple tools. But there’s more to life than just Apples. Way more. So, we’ve been diversifying our diet: iFixit has gone Android—in a big way. We’ve just launched the first phase of Project: Android—and, going forward, we’re working to make sure that iFixit has the Android parts, guides, and tools that you’re looking for. (See what we did there?)
My name is Mem. And I’m a gamer. Over the years, I have collected a dragon’s hoard of games and consoles. Amongst the collection: a much-beloved Xbox 360. But after years of gaming sessions, our old Xbox overheated and stopped working. Ah, the Red Ring of Death—the scourge of the Xbox 360, destroyer of gaming dreams. We exiled our console to the closet, and that’s probably where it would have stayed. But then I came to work at iFixit. And I learned that I could fix my game console myself.
If you think about it, the newest of the new Nintendo 3DS XL is basically a small laptop — one outfitted with a 3D screen, a touch screen, three cameras, a “floppy drive,” and the trifecta of CPU/RAM/Flash that seemingly makes up every electronic gadget nowadays. Well, we wanted to see exactly what makes this little laptop-ito tick. And the innards did not disappoint.
In terms of slim, manufacturers are having a tough time beating Apple’s MacBook Air. Dell’s new Air competitor, the XPS 13, may have missed the mark by a whole millimeter—but we weren’t too put off. Especially since the XPS is considerably smaller otherwise, and still manages to include a 13.3 inch high definition display that looks like it’s floating in midair. The insides definitely aren’t as polished or streamlined as in a MacBook Air, but you could convince us the XPS was an Air prototype.
As part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act review process, the Copyright Office recently asked the public to weigh in on which devices should be legal to tinker with, hack, and repair. Well, they got what they asked for. In a big way. On Friday, iFixit sent its own statements in support of reform to the Copyright Office. And with our comments, we all also sent yours. All 40,755 of them. Those comments will help the Librarian of Congress decide what you have the right to modify and repair.
I squatted down in the dirt and took stock of my inadequate tools. Over my left shoulder a massive John Deere tractor loomed. I came here to fix that tractor. So far, things weren’t going as planned. One hour later, I hopped back out of the cab of the tractor. Defeated. I was unable to breach the wall of proprietary defenses that protected the tECU like a fortress. I couldn’t even connect to the computer. Because John Deere says I can’t.
A couple days ago, my boss, Kyle, handed me a plain brown box and asked if I knew Bunnie. You know, the guy who (literally) wrote the book on hacking the Xbox. Apparently, Bunnie Huang started a Crowd Supply-funded project to make an entirely open source computer—and iFixit backed the campaign. “And here’s the computer,” my boss said to me, “so go do something cool with it.” All right, then: Challenge accepted.
Under the pretense of enforcing copyright law, manufacturers have been systematically chipping away at our ownership rights. That’s not acceptable. And iFixit isn’t just going to stand by and watch it happen. Today, we draw a line in the sand. iFixit is proud to announce the Digital Right to Repair Coalition—a united front of consumers, environmental organizations, the aftermarket, and digital rights advocacy groups. Together, we are fighting to take back control of the things we own.