Delia, along with her team—that she lovingly dubbed her “adopted aunts”—repaired thousands of garments every single year. Delia believed in repair. She saw the value in each piece of clothing that she touched, because it was a part of someone’s life. Delia didn’t just see a jacket. She saw a story. An adventure. A person.
The other day, I came home, walked through the door, and found my cat sleeping on my couch. He yawned and sat up—and underneath him I spotted a vinyl record. And not just any vinyl. My Fleetwood Mac Rumors album. The album that I listened to over and over again as a teen. The album that sang me through countless hours of physics homework and hopeless teen love. My cat’s butt warped my favorite album. But I’m a fixer in spirit—so I learned how to repair it, and I’m teaching you how, too.
Out in the wild, it’s our gear that we depend on most. And since my gear has always been there to support me during those grueling hikes and long backpacking trips, I decided iFixit should be there for it, too. In partnership with Patagonia, iFixit is now launching new guides on how to repair your outdoor gear and tactical equipment. Learn how to repair your tent, use your emergency sewing kit, and more on iFixit.com.
When there’s a laptop on every desk and a smartphone in every pocket, it’s easy to forget that about one-third of the world’s population doesn’t have access to the internet. About 1.2 billion people around the globe don’t even have access to reliable electricity. So, the amazing educational resources that come hand-in-hand with technology are cut off from many of the world’s children. OLPC makes a rugged laptop that gets these kids online and learning; we are helping them repair it.
In college, I was a nanny. The six children I watched had their own stuffed best friends: a bear, a bunny, a dinosaur, a kitty, an elephant, and (another) bear, respectively. Each one of the well-loved plushies had accidents. Bunny’s ear needed surgery. Elephant’s nose got a busted seam. Dinosaur suffered from some loose scales. Replacement wouldn’t do. They had to be repaired.
Dropping a tiny screw into the carpet can be a headache when working on a repair. Dropping a screw while working on a repair in space can be deadly. But these repairs, while amazing, aren’t really exceptional. Repair happens in space all the time. And while every repair has its challenges, in space those challenges are amplified a thousandfold. There are a lot of reasons we should be at least a little impressed with out-of-this-world repair technicians.
I’m a technical writer, a solar physicist, a masseuse. But I never thought I’d be a teacher until I came to iFixit. I direct iFixit’s technical writing service learning project. I help students write real repair manuals so they can learn technical communication. A thousand thoughts raced through my head during my first day in front of a classroom. I was 90% deer-in-the-headlights and 10% panic. I’m not a math teacher, but I’ll tell ya, that equals 100% terrified.
We ripped into Fitbit’s newest pedometer/heart rate monitor/sleep tracker wristband to answer an all-important question: What kind of a diet helped this thing fit into its tiny jacket? Don’t expect to repair your Flex anytime soon… or anytime at all. The device was designed for action, not repair. It’s well-nigh impossible to open the wristband without destroying it—so once the battery dies, so will the device. Consequently, the Fitbit Flex earned a 2 out of 10 on our repairability scale.
People are quick to point out the shortcomings of a beleaguered public education system. But after spending a week at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Kansas City, I am hard-pressed to come up with criticism. Amidst slashing budgets and the ever-changing demands of the 21st century, there is still a beacon of hope for our students: SkillsUSA, a program that teaches career, technical, and life skills to students—everything from commercial baking to automotive repair to computer maintenance.
I grew up in a D.I.Y. home. My mother is an amazing seamstress and cook. My father is the handyman. As a kid, I didn’t exactly enjoy spending the weekends laying tile and fixing the rototiller. Now that I’m thinking about having children of my own (someday), I’ve realized what an important legacy repair is for a child. More than just fixing things, repair encompasses restoration, renewal, and revitalization. It means that you are setting things right. And that’s important.
Considered the first airplane, the Wright Flyer III—built by Orville and Wilbur Wright—was a huge step towards modern flight. Of course, the Wright brothers were not the only ones to tackle early aeronautics, but their innovative techniques in engineering—including the Flyer III and first wind tunnel—came from their hands-on experience in repair. Check out the story on iFixit.org.