My boyfriend Andy and I are hiking, camping, and backpacking enthusiasts. But if there’s one thing we love as much as outdoor adventures—it’s literary ones. We both own Kindle Paperwhites full of stories about other adventurers. Kindles are simple, light, and portable. Which makes them convenient companions for backpackers who love to read. The thing is—Kindles aren’t completely outdoor-proof. So when Andy’s Kindle broke, I decided to fix it for him.
A group of young female students sit around a table, laughing and talking. But they’re not discussing school, boys, or music. Instead, they’re talking how to replace a dead hard drive, how to install a case fan, and how to salvage a water-damaged motherboard. This isn’t a new topic of conversation for the young women of St. Joseph’s Academy. These young women are computer repair experts—and they’ll run IT circles right around you.
Drones lined with rainbow LED lights zoom pass. Children on steel, mechanical crustaceans charge through packed crowds. A giant metal octopus, named El Pulpo Mecanico, shoots bursts of fire into the sky. We’re on the grounds of the San Mateo Event Center—and it’s Bay Area Maker Faire 2014. Check out some of our favorite Maker Faire moments on the blog.
There are a lot of reasons why I’m involved in repair culture. Repair makes me feel empowered, it helps me learn engineering, and it connects me to my things. But one of the best parts about being a participant in repair culture is getting to talk to fantastic people all over the world. You may be amazed at how vast and diverse repair culture is. You may be amazed at how many hackers, tinkers, reusers, and recyclers there are—people who are interested in making the world a better place. And in my job, I’m lucky enough to connect with all of them.
Confidence comes from the comfort. But that comes with years and years of experience. I think that a lot of people who are new to the idea of repair have a little bit of fear—as opposed to calmly saying, “okay let me sit down and try to learn it.” I would say to those people: Repair is really not as intimidating as you might think. If you sat down and just took apart one piece today, then maybe you can move on to the next piece tomorrow—then the next and the next.
I’m in the heart of Big Sur—a massive region of mountain and forest in Central California—and it’s my first time backpacking. And I’m prepared. I have a hodgepodge of belongings including a tent, a water filter, and an extra pair of socks. But also strapped to my back are three packs of sugru. Despite my novice efforts to trim every unnecessary ounce off my pack, I brought the self-setting rubber for two reasons: A) I wanted to put some of sugru’s wilderness hacks to the test, and B) working at iFixit has taught me that when things break—which they inevitably do—it’s best to have a tool around. Here’s the tale of my 20-mile, weekend backpacking trip—and why sugru made me a backpacking boss.
During one of the most anticipated evenings of (male-centric) American sports, little girls everywhere stood up and demanded attention. GoldieBlox—a start-up company that designs engineering toys for girls—won Intuit’s Small Business, Big Game challenge. After beating out the large pool of 1,500 contestants, they received a coveted 30-second-spot during the Super Bowl XLVIII (a reported $4.5 million PR value).
“Girls—to build a spaceship. Girls—to code the new app. Girls—to grow up knowing that they can engineer that.” And thus, came the new feminist anthem that rang across the internet. Over the last several months, a whole ‘lotta fuss has been circling around a viral commercial from GoldieBlox—a startup toy company with a line of products designed to encourage female engineers.
Since I announced to the world that I’m a Female Fixoholic back in September, my inbox has been pretty full. Apparently, people think I’m a repair expert. I don’t know how to fix everything, but I don’t think that makes or breaks me as a fixoholic. I’m a fixoholic because I learned not be afraid of fixing. I’m a fixoholic because—even when I fail—I’m not afraid to try, try again. Judging by the anxious emails in my inbox, I think that lack of fear is something most people, well, lack.
This year, the iFixit team has launched the repair pledge. Thousands across the globe have already taken the pledge. They’ve committed to foster repair education, combat throw away culture, and stand up for our right to repair. Now, if adding another resolution to your list sounds a bit daunting—that’s alright. Diving into a repair can be daunting if you don’t know where to start. So I’m going to help you out: Here’s a list of 5 easy repairs to help you keep your repair resolution.
Hot on the coattails of yesterday’s Xbox One comes America’s favorite surveillance system — the second-generation Kinect! Good news, tin-hat wearers: the Kinect *does not* have any NSA-grade hardware inside. Instead, we found tons of interesting IR/camera technology, including one “regular” camera, one IR camera, and three IR emitters. The second-generation Kinect earned a respectable, if not stellar, 6 out of 10 repairability score.
We teamed up with our pals at Chipworks to get our hands on (and in) the all-new Sony PlayStation 4. And the PS4 did not disappoint. This modern gaming machine has its feet firmly rooted in hardware land, and its head off in the cloud. While the console is not backwards compatible, cloud gaming could resurrect the games you stand to lose. Your newest zombie-slaying game additions, on the other hand, will find a secure home on the PS4’s user-replaceable hard drive.