Sneaky, sneaky Apple. Thought you could pull a fast one on us by releasing a new, stripped-down version of the current iPod Touch without your customary fanfare? Not on our watch: It’s teardown time.
Of course, this new iPod is less revolutionary and more iterative than most Apple releases. Aside from the lack of a 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera, there isn’t much that distinguishes the iPod Touch 5th Generation 16 GB from its (slightly older) forebear. So, for this teardown, we played a game of spot the differences. Here’s what we found: there’s a gap on the logic board where the camera cable used to connect, the microphone moved from the back of the iPod to the top, and the baffling post for “the loop” has been nixed.
Given the lack of major changes between permutations, the iPod Touch 5th Generation 16 GB received a 3 out of 10 on our repairability scale—the same as its higher capacity counterparts. Read the rest of this article »
My dad has always been a homestead hero: When I outgrew my beloved purple jeans, he dyed some denim from an old pair and lengthened them. When I outgrew my bike, he turned it into a boy’s racing bike that my little brother rode for years.
I guess you could call him a bit of a modern MacGyver: My dad has never made a rocket-powered harpoon gun out of toilet paper and gum wrappers, but he does know how to turn various odds-and-ends into the perfect part for any project.
Of course, it helped that we saved almost everything (we were the family that washed and reused Ziploc bags, after all). But, apparently, hoarding pays off for repair. During a family visit last Sunday, my Dad told me, “Well, it’s official, holding on to everything is completely justified. We just fixed the truck with the old basketball hoop.” Read the rest of this article »
Warning: There are three weeks left until Father’s Day. So, you have another two weeks before you really need to start panicking over what gift to give ye olde pater familias. We, of course, we suggest tools. Fathers love tools.
For our part, we’re planning to do an iFixit-style tribute to fathers. Many of us around here have fond memories of learning to use table saws, fixing bikes, and working on cars with our dads. After all, we firmly believe that repair is more than just an action—it’s a legacy.
So, if the weeks before Father’s Day make you feel as nostalgic as us, please share your memories.
Make a 30-second video recounting your favorite memory with your father. Tell us about what you and your Dad fixed together. Tell us what you learned from him. Tell us how repair is a legacy in your family.
Send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of iFixit’s Community Survey, we collected some amazing stories about how you use, break, and fix your stuff. The stories were too good not to share. So, we started a series of blog posts—The Amazing Break—to document your collective awesomeness.
Of course, Memorial Day is just around the corner. To mark the day, we’ve compiled all the best stories we got from the servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans in our community.
Thanks for doing what you do, fellows. Read the rest of this article »
Yesterday, TechNews Daily ran an article insisting “you don’t need Congress to unlock your phone.” Their reasoning: “You can unlock your phone today, illegally, and feel confident you won’t end up in jail.”
It’s true. If you have the audacity to unlock your phone, the unlocking cops won’t drag you and your phone off to jail. TechNews is right. In all likelihood, nothing will happen. At least, not to you.
But the engineers and software developers who write the unlocking programs that you download can face some pretty serious ramifications: up to 5 years in jail and $500,000 in fines. Just the threat of prosecution has historically been enough to persuade developers to shutter their sites and kill the program.
It happened to Sina Khanifar. Back when he was a college student, he wrote and sold unlocking software. In 2005, he received a cease and desist letter from Motorola informing him that he was in breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—a massive copyright law written in 1998. “At the time, I was an undergraduate student studying Physics. The prospect of 5 years or more in prison was devastating,” he writes of the experience.
Still, Sina didn’t cave to Motorola’s demands. He fought them. Now, he’s the most vocal DMCA-reform activist on the web.
But even if you’re not interested in unlocking, there’s a better reason to support reform. The DMCA is a hugely complicated law, and it has had a lot of really bad unanticipated consequences. The anti-circumvention provision in the DMCA that makes unlocking illegal also makes a slew of other things illegal: it has hindered academic researchers, made it difficult to repair and modify hardware, and even hampered voice-to-text programs that help the blind read ebooks.
So sure, you won’t be arrested for unlocking your phone—but cell phone unlocking is a symptom of a much larger problem. The anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA is poorly written; it doesn’t reflect how we use technology today. And the law has been manipulated by corporations to limit your right to do what you need with the things that you own.
Explore the helpful primer above for more reasons why fixing the DMCA is necessary, then go to FixtheDMCA.org and demand Congress take action.
Around here, we’re big fans of William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s 2002 book Cradle to Cradle. McDonough (an architect) and Braungart (a chemist) completely re-imagine the manufacturing process—from design to end-of-life.
The book espouses smart design, without the use of materials that are harmful to environment or to living creatures. After that, re-manufacturing, recycling, and re-using continually reintroduce materials back into the resource stream.
Here’s the best part: when you read it, you get the feeling that McDonough and Braungart are onto something. That this crazy idea could actually work.
And we’re not the only ones who think so; Cradle to Cradle is up there with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in terms of influence. Concepts from Cradle to Cradle have found their way into think tanks, like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and into EU government policy.
Naturally, when Braungart and McDonough published a follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainbility—Designing for Abundance expands on ideas introduced in the first book. Braungart and McDonough even address electronics manufacturing—something we are particularly interested in.
Here’s a much-abridged version of what they had to say on the topic: Read the rest of this article »