If you want it to be legal to jailbreak or root your iPhone, iPad, or Xbox, you have nine days left to tell the US Copyright Office.
We talk a lot about hardware tinkering and repair here, but that’s only one half of getting to know the insides of your devices. Being able to tinker with your software is just as important. Jailbreaking can help extend and expand the life of your device. Hardware in smart phones and game consoles can last a long time; jailbreaking lets consumers repurpose devices that have outlived their intended usefulness (by enabling multitasking on the iPhone 3G, for example, or adding Netflix support on an outdated smart TV).
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), jailbreaking of smartphones, tablets, and game consoles is currently murky legal territory: Section 1201 has been interpreted to mean that it’s illegal to install third-party software on your devices. In 2010, the US Copyright Office granted an exemption from the DMCA for smartphones only; since then, it’s been legal to jailbreak your phone. Now, that exemption is up for renewal—and tinkerers and hackers around the country, including bunnie Huang and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), are pushing for similar exemptions for game consoles and tablets.
Andrew “bunnie” Huang—author of Hacking the Xbox, Chumby founder, and MIT-educated electrical engineer—is defending users’ right to jailbreak. Go sign his petition at Jailbreaking is Not a Crime. He’ll be taking all the comments he gets to the Copyright Office on February 10th at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Today, we sat down and talked with him (and some EFF representatives) about the campaign:
Our Self-Repair Manifesto is a declaration of rights for users, but it’s also a set guidelines for designers to make responsible devices. We all should hold companies accountable for making repairable and serviceable devices: we need standard screw heads, snaps and screws rather than glues, and readily available parts. And devices should be manufactured so that when they reach the end of their time in use, their component parts can be recycled. Of course, recyclability and repairability often go hand-in-hand, since a device that can’t be opened is a device that’s likely to be shredded at the end of its life.
So Kyle was thrilled to be involved when Autodesk, the 3D design and engineering software company that serves architects and engineers across the globe, wanted to develop a series of videos for product designers. The videos, much like our Manifesto, suggest ways to design for an improved product lifetime and better end-of-life strategies. Autodesk ultimately made three videos: Design for Repair and Upgrade, Design for Disassembly and Recycling, and Design for Durability. Kyle consulted on the scripts for the first two.
This is a small roadside auto repair shop in Kenya.
This is the man who fixes the sewing machines that make your clothes.
India is the second largest producer of textiles in the world, after China; it produces 23% of the world’s textiles, by spindles. Seelampur (also spelled Silampur) in northeast Delhi is one of India’s largest textile manufacturing regions.
Two men sit in a Delhi shop with shiny metal cylinders stacked from floor to ceiling. When I first saw this picture, I couldn’t figure out what they were—not motors, not gears, not wheels. Want to make a guess? I’ll give it away after the break, along with a couple videos of them in action.
Richard Mayer has been answering people’s repair questions on iFixit Answers, our repair question & answer forum, for just over two years now. Answers has a reputation system, designed to help users figure out which answers they can trust. The system awards points for interacting with the site (e.g. asking and answering questions, having your answers upvoted, and publishing or editing repair guides). Last week, Mayer was the first Answers user to hit 100,000 reputation points.