It was Black Friday. A day of crowds. A day of clearances. A day of consumerism.
But I was not in a line. And I would not be grabbing any door-busting deals or fighting through crowds for a big screen television. In fact, I didn’t spend a dime. Instead, I spent my day at a Patagonia store—not to buy, but to fix.
Recently, my company iFixit—a free, online repair manual for everything—launched a partnership with sustainable apparel company Patagonia. Our shared goal: teach people how to fix their stuff. Usually at iFixit, we fix electronics. This time, we fixed clothing.
My local Patagonia store in Santa Monica was one of the dozen or so stores that hosted a Worn Wear party on Black Friday to teach people how to patch up their battered-down gear. The event was awesome: we had great beer, live music, and showed Patagonia’s new Worn Wear film, a documentary about the joy of well-loved clothing. We met dozens of people, talking with them about everything from sewing to shoe repair, tools to tech. And we fixed things—a book bag, two backpacks, three pairs of shorts, pants, two jackets, an iPhone (we are iFixit, after all), a sneaker, and a sweatshirt.
Your phone wants to be free. Time to stage a jailbreak.
It’s been nearly three months since Apple released iOS 7 to the public, and—despite a 70% adoption rate amongst users—a jailbreak still isn’t available for Apple’s newest mobile operating system. Well, accessibility advocate Chris Maury and activist Elizabeth Stark just sweetened the pot a little bit.
Yesterday, Maury launched the Device Freedom Prize, a crowdfunded reward for the first developers to release an open source jailbreak for iOS 7.
“We strongly believe that users should have the freedom to control their devices,” the contest details explain. “We wanted an open source jailbreak for iOS 7, giving users the capability to install what they want on their own devices and the ability to audit the code they’re using to do so.”
Jailbreaking removes the limitations that Apple places on its operating system—and, by extension, on its users. Even though Apple frowns on the practice, jailbreaking is a popular hack. The most successful jailbreak package for iOS 6.1, evasi0n, was downloaded onto 7 million devices just four days after its release earlier this year.
For some users, a jailbreak is absolutely essential to get what they need from their iPhones, iPods, and iPads. As Maury points out, jailbreaking has been critical to ensuring that those with disabilities are able to use their mobile devices as easily as possible. Read the rest of this article »
…the 5th of November.
Well, the Fifth of November isn’t just for the rebels anymore. This British holiday has been adopted by activists, hacktivists, and ordinary joes who want to remind the government that it serves the people—not itself. It’s a rallying cry for the underdog. A reminder that if we stand together, there is no force in the world powerful enough to push us back down.
This 5th of November, iFixit is teaming up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to empower technology users (AKA everyone) to take their digital stuff back from government interlopers and corporate money mongers.
What are we reclaiming? Common sense and fair use. iFixit is fighting for your right to repair your stuff. And the EFF is fighting to protect your right to use that stuff without the NSA—or anyone else—peeking over your shoulder.
If you’re not familiar with the EFF, they’re the do-gooders who protect your online free speech, digital privacy, and fair use. They even give report cards for internet companies, so you know who has your back.
“EFF’s mission is to protect your digital freedom, including your right to repair and tinker. But the freedom to tinker doesn’t mean much if you can’t exercise it, and that’s where iFixit comes in. iFixit knows that if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it. We are proud to work together as guardians of fair use and common sense,” said Corynne McSherry, IP Director, EFF.
This 5th of November, we’re holding a fundraiser for the EFF. Support the EFF to keep the internet free and open, and get the tools to keep your hardware working. Now through Friday, purchase a Pro Tech Toolkit for $59.95 and $10 of your purchase will go directly to the EFF. They’re even throwing in some stickers.
I knew little about the “Maker” movement when I first stepped into the World Maker Faire in New York last month. It felt kinda like going to Disneyland and not knowing about Mickey Mouse. From the first moment I walked into this celebration of creative tinkering, I was awed and overwhelmed by wandering robots, a life sized game of mousetrap, and machines I couldn’t even begin to describe or comprehend.
Suddenly, I spied a banner that read: “Zero to Maker.” I knew where I needed to start.
A neophyte maker, I met a new hero. David Lang, author of Zero to Maker, was giving out his introduction to the Maker movement—a crash course Maker ideology, jargon, and (most importantly) enthusiasm. Best of all, the book is David’s story of going from zero to maker.
Being a fixer at heart, I was amused by David’s experience trying to fix his Magic Bullet blender. Enjoy the excerpt below—it mentions iFixit, so I was morally obliged to share. And check out David’s book on Amazon: Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything. Read the rest of this article »
Our society is really good at building stuff. We’ve proven that we can build just about anything and everything—from large structures to small devices to entire communities. But why stop there? What happens when we challenge ourselves to build something even greater? What if we tried to build a whole new world? Literally.
Sustainia is an innovation platform in Copenhagen that celebrates today’s top visionaries. These are people who are chipping away at the world’s biggest problems using tangible solutions—all in the pursuit of a sustainable future.
Want to travel without harming the planet? Want to know how to salvage the mass amounts of food thrown away every year? Want to sport fashion that is ethically sound for the workers producing it? These are the tricky, uncomfortable, fear-inducing questions of our generation—but Sustainia is finding and celebrating the folks with the best answers to date.
When the iPhone 5 was released, Apple dubbed it the “biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone.” A mere year after the fanfare, Apple has moved on to bigger “biggest things.” As of last week, the iPhone 5 is obsolete—replaced by two new, highly anticipated versions of the iPhone.
And, if public fervor is any indication, there is a lot to be excited about. The new phones come in a whirligig of color choices, from Playdough green to a luxurious gold. And the iPhone 5s features a lot of really interesting new features. Everything from a new 64-bit A7 processor and a fingerprint unlocking system to an improved camera. (We will investigate all these features in our forthcoming teardown.)
Consumers seem to be itching to get their hands on the two new models. In Tokyo, a handful of hardcore iPhone fans sat through a monsoon to keep their place in line for an iPhone 5s. In China, where consumers can reserve their new iPhone 5s, the demand was so high that stock dried up within minutes. Pre-sales of the new, colorful iPhone 5c are reportedly outpacing that of the iPhone 5 when it was released last year.
So, with the fervor, the fanfare, and the hoopla, you may find that your iPhone 4S or your iPhone 5 looks just a little less shiny these days. And while there will always be reasons to upgrade, Australia’s The Checkout, a consumer affairs investigation show, offers a few reasons why you shouldn’t: namely, you probably don’t need to. After all, your iPhone 5 is just as good now as it was before Apple pulled it off the shelves last week.
The Checkout’s brilliant satirical take on Apple’s release announcements also raises some important questions: Why do we buy incredibly expensive electronics that we only love until the next product release? And why do we continue to support companies that design hardware to be hard-to-fix? Especially when 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are thrown away worldwide each year.
Once those devices wind up in the landfill, it doesn’t really matter how fast the processor was, how good it felt in the hand, or how intuitive it was to use. As host Julian Morrow of The Checkout puts it, “We are building the most stylish, easy-to-use mountain of landfill ever.”
Watch the whole episode above.