The Senate has made a strong positive step towards making sure that people have the right to unlock their cell phones.
The other day, I came home, walked through the door, and found my cat sleeping on my couch. He yawned and sat up—and underneath him I spotted a vinyl record. And not just any vinyl. My Fleetwood Mac Rumors album. The album that I listened to over and over again as a teen. The album that sang me through countless hours of physics homework and hopeless teen love. My cat’s butt warped my favorite album. But I’m a fixer in spirit—so I learned how to repair it, and I’m teaching you how, too.
Outside a grocery store in Zurich, Roland Roos is fixing a broken sign. The cracked sign that once said “Denner” now reads just “Denne.” Roland gets up on a ladder and replaces the cracked plate with a fixed one. An employee steps out of the store and nods approvingly: “Oh, finally there’s someone here to repair it! It’s about time.” But Roland doesn’t work for Denner. He isn’t a repairman, just an artist. He isn’t getting paid. He hasn’t even asked for permission to fix the sign—he just did it.
On the teardown table today is the $350, top-of-the line, 64 GB One-chilada. The OnePlus One scored a mid-pack 5 out of 10 on repairability. There’s definitely some finagling that has to occur in order to get the repair must-haves—the battery and the display—out of the phone. Thankfully the battery isn’t terribly difficult to remove (although harder than necessary), and if the display glass ever meets its concrete-laden demise, the repair is still not insurmountable.
I watch as workers at BMW’s Recycling and Dismantling Centre fish around for an alternator under the hood of what must have been a mid-sized sedan—except this car doesn’t have a hood anymore. In fact, this car doesn’t have much of anything anymore. Its skeletal remains picked clean of most detachable components, this car is one of about 6,000 BMWs recycled at the centre every year—just a tiny fraction of what BMW actually manufactures every single year. So why isn’t BMW recycling more?
If you haven’t picked up the new copy of Popular Mechanics, here’s another reason to do so: our co-founder Kyle Wiens contributed an article to the print edition! The article, “Why We Fix,” is a dyed-in-the-wool tinkerer’s explanation of why we do what we do—why repair, for us, isn’t just an action: it’s a state of mind and an amazing challenge. Pick up the magazine on any newsstand.
Drones lined with rainbow LED lights zoom pass. Children on steel, mechanical crustaceans charge through packed crowds. A giant metal octopus, named El Pulpo Mecanico, shoots bursts of fire into the sky. We’re on the grounds of the San Mateo Event Center—and it’s Bay Area Maker Faire 2014. Check out some of our favorite Maker Faire moments on the blog.
When something breaks, most people run through the usual gamut of emotions—disappointment, frustration, a feeling of helplessness. But over at the Fixers Collective in Brooklyn, they’re teaching people to approach broken stuff a little differently: with curiosity. For the master techs that make up the Fixers Collective, repair is the new Rubik’s Cube. It’s a puzzle that must be teased out by trial and error—a Sherlockian game of wits that pits man against machine. Can you outsmart entropy?
Back in October, we told you about maker and friend-of-iFixit, David Lang. At the time, David had just written a book for novice makers called Zero to Maker. In the book, David writes about trying to fix a Magic Bullet, a handheld blender with spotty repair documentation. Well, one of our favorite community members read about David’s struggles, found a Magic Bullet, took it apart, and posted a teardown on iFixit. Just because he wanted to help. Gotta love fixers.
Hey, so guess what? We took apart the new-for-2014, $100-cheaper MacBook Airs, and found almost nothing new inside. Our spudgers get misty anytime a new device ends up on the teardown table, but this Air iteration was too uninteresting to warrant a full-blown (or even a half-blown) teardown. The sole change between last year’s and this year’s models: the 100MHz-faster processors—lovely Haswell units labeled SRT16T. We wrote a full set of repair guides for both new models anyway.
Repair is better than recycling. This Earth Day, add “repair” back into your sustainability checklist. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a few smartphone repairs you can do at home. (Most of these repairs require specialty electronics tools like plastic opening tools and a set of precision screwdrivers.) For our repair list, we’ve focused on Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S line, because they are the most popular phones in the US, Find many more phone repair guides on iFixit.