When is the last time you saw a teardown of a Zenith CH 650 aircraft? Unfortunately, the iFixit teardown room isn’t large enough to accommodate a small plane (yet…), but that’s where Todd McLellan’s book Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual For Modern Living comes in handy.
Don’t be fooled by the title—the book isn’t a step-by-step manual on how to disassemble objects. Instead, it’s literally an inside look at what McLellan calls “fifty design classics,” ranging from the everyday (mechanical pencil) to the forgotten (push lawnmower).
McLellan painstakingly photographs an orderly mess of internal components—each piece arranged and displayed like some new form of object archeology. Add five essays on repair and disassembly from various voices in the repair world, and you have a book that finds a unique way to advocate for the importance of disassembly, investigation, and reuse. Read the rest of this article »
We do our best to get new hardware the moment it hits the market, and trying to figure out where to get the S4 this week has been a headache — to say the least. We’ve never seen this many flip-flopping announcements (outside of the US Senate, of course).
But good news! The Galaxy S4 is here… and we’re glad the wait is finally over.
The reports are true. Samsung didn’t go to great lengths to reinvent the wheel with regard to the S4’s internal construction. The design is very similar, if not identical, to the Galaxy S III — which is a good thing, since the S III is a pretty fixable device. The Galaxy S4 receives an interstellar 8 out of 10 repairability score for its replaceable battery and straightforward disassembly.
The Gaia Foundation released a new report yesterday on electronics and the environment. The report, Short Circuit, was funded by the European Union—a sign that governments are increasingly aware of the environmental ramifications stemming from electronics manufacturing.
First the good news: 90% of the world’s population and 80% of the population living in rural areas currently have access to mobile technology—including half of the population of Africa. These devices are responsible for the huge growth of mobile commerce, governance, and banking in Africa.
Unfortunately, as a global community, we’re pretty bad at managing gadgets. Here’s your mind-blowing tech prediction of the day: By the end of this year, the total number of electronic devices in the world will surpass the number of people on it, The Foundation asserts. Read the rest of this article »
It’s no secret that at iFixit we’re pretty excited about Apple-related news. So when a pair of Apple’s top iPod engineers left the company to follow their product development dreams, our interest was slightly piqued. When they released a refined, second-generation Nest thermostat, we couldn’t resist—it had to be torn down.
Opening the Nest revealed a clutch of pleasant surprises. First moment of joy: the thermostat is held together with Phillips screws, handily removed with the included driver. Next, the rechargeable battery is easy to access and replace, with convenient directions printed inside the device. The icing on the cake: all of this great design is nested in a tough steel case, making for a long-lasting product that’s both repairable and durable. With these considerations in mind, we happily assigned the Nest Learning Thermostat a 9 out of 10 on our repairability scale. Read the rest of this article »
Do Mother Nature a big favor today: don’t recycle your broken electronics.
We all grew up with the old mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—your checklist for sustainable living. But recycling is the final item on that list for a reason. When it comes to electronics, recycling should be the last option. Not the first.
Last year, 1.75 billion phones were sold to consumers around the world. By the end of 2013, another 240 million tablets and 207 million PCs will be produced and shipped globally. Seamless plastic and sleek aluminum covers belie the messy origins of our favorite gizmos.
The laptop on your desk, the cell phone in your back pocket, and the tablet on your nightstand all house within them materials wrested from a reluctant earth—things like cobalt, cadmium, nickel, lead, copper, and gold. A single cell phone, for example, is composed of between 500 to 1,000 different components—some sourced from countries that aren’t particularly well-known for safe mining practices, human rights, or environmental standards.
As the demand for gadgets increases, so do raw material extraction rates. In the last 10 years, iron ore production has increased by 180%, cobalt by 165%, and lithium by 125%. Every year, mining operations have to go deeper into the earth, producing more waste for less raw materials. Copper ore deposits, for example, are only one-tenth the purity of the ore mined 100 years ago. Mining and producing just an ounce of gold creates approximately 80 tons of waste.
No matter what manufacturers try to tell you, there is no such thing as a green electronic. Read the rest of this article »
v. re·paired, re·pair·ing, re·pairs
1. To restore to sound condition after damage or injury; fix
2. To set right; remedy
3. To renew or revitalize.
4. To make up for or compensate for (a loss or wrong, for example).
When I was three, I dropped a penny bank: the ear of my beloved ceramic bear sheared right off. My mother pulled out the glue and we fixed him up together. When I was six, I crashed my bike. My father placed a socket in my bandaged hands and we readjusted the deformed handlebars. When I was eight, I learned how to fix a chipped tile. At 10, I replaced the wheels on my rollerblades. By 15, I could replace the major components of a computer. At 16, I was putting trendy patches on my jeans.
I grew up in a D.I.Y. home. My mother is an amazing seamstress and cook. She made most of my clothes and childhood toys, halloween costumes, and quilts. My father is the handyman. He started remodeling our family home before I was born and he is still putting the “finishing touches” on it. We joke that he has the Winchester curse (keep at it, Dad!). He built us a swing set, a garden, and fixed almost everything we broke. And he insisted that we all helped. Read the rest of this article »