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.
When I was little, I had a grey teddy bear. At least, I thought he was grey. One day my mother washed my best bear friend while I wasn’t looking (sneaky grown-ups). And when I found him in my toy box, he had turned white.
I thought he was dead. I cried. I grieved. Between sobs I asked my mother, “What did you do to him?!” The world was ending.
Nothing my mother could say would make me believe that he actually started out white—that the layers of mottled grey had been added by years upon years of tree climbing, hide-and-seek, and bedtime stories. Apparently, my mother had quite the challenge even getting the bear away from me long enough to wash him in the first place. Fortunately, the scorn of a three year old is easily forgiven—but never forgotten. Read the rest of this article »
About a year ago, an iFixit team member found a 3-week-old stray kitten on the side of the road. The little guy was an 11-ounce ball of gray fur with a cocky gibe and an enthusiastic purr.
You may remember him—he’s the MacBook Pro 13” Retina Display Late 2012 Teardown Kitten. Hearty title, for such a tiny thing.
Well, he’s not so tiny now. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to him, well, I have the (repair) story for you. Read the rest of this article »
The sprawling metropolis of Black Rock City doesn’t emerge overnight, but it doesn’t take much longer than that. Built from the ground up every year for Burning Man, a festival celebrating “radical self expression and self reliance,” the city is a hodgepodge of geodesic domes, yurts, and stories-tall steel sculptures. Assembled in a circle, the city is clustered around a 100-foot tall effigy of modern man.
Building a city from scratch is a monumental task, beyond the reach of mere human strength. But that’s what we build machines for—big, honking machines. Burning Man has an entire camp dedicated to housing the metal beasts. But maintaining and operating those machines in the middle of the abrasive Black Rock Desert is something else entirely.
Rick Rea is the mechanic that keeps these big beasts barreling along the desert. He’s been working on heavy machinery as long as he can remember, and he knows his stuff. Exploring the maze of equipment, I found him ambling between two large cranes, tending his herd. Weatherbeaten and grisled with a cigarette dangling between his lips, Rick wears workboots and grease-stained jeans like a badge. He’s not a hippy and he’s not a stoner. He’s not pierced or costumed. Rick’s a local and he stands out in this desert.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s—oh wait. Guys, it’s really a plane this time.
September was a big month in Reno, Nevada. Swarms of people came to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Reno Air Races. During this weekend long affair, aviation enthusiasts ogled races, aerobatics, and vintage machinery while indulging in corn dogs and souvenirs.
But while most of us were on the ground, what really mattered was in the sky.
Huge machines shot through the air, whipping through clouds, flattening the atmosphere with deafening roars—only to disappear miles away in seconds.
Now, as a team member at iFixit—an open-source site for repair manuals—I’m a bit of a hardware aficionado. I appreciate the guts of cellphones. I get excited when I make repairs to my car. But airplanes? I know next to nothing.
What do you get when you combine planes, pilots, and aerobatics? The Reno Air Races! This weekend I took a road-trip up to Reno, Nevada. I brought along 3 friends, 1 camera, and 0 knowledge about planes.
And I learned a lot. I got to spend time with the top pilots in the country and the best pit crews ’round. These folks work with massive pieces of machinery. They tinker, fix, and repair. Naturally, I’m going to tell you all about them. But before you get the full repair story, here are some teaser photographs of this year’s Reno Air Races—just a few of my favorite moments!