We stopped by the European Parliament in Brussels to show some folks there how to fix their phones. The repair-focused showcase was part of massive effort to put Europe on the path to a circular economy—an economic system where materials are designed to recirculate back into the marketplace at the end of their lives. In fact, the European Parliament is considering taking some legislative measures that would reduce waste—including e-waste.
As part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act review process, the Copyright Office recently asked the public to weigh in on which devices should be legal to tinker with, hack, and repair. Well, they got what they asked for. In a big way. On Friday, iFixit sent its own statements in support of reform to the Copyright Office. And with our comments, we all also sent yours. All 40,755 of them. Those comments will help the Librarian of Congress decide what you have the right to modify and repair.
If my phone were a person, it would be the Bionic Woman. Its body has been broken and rebuilt more times than I can count. Its brain has been modified, tinkered with, and improved. It is the phone that will not die—at least not if I have anything to say about it.
A year and a half ago, a man in Washington made a bad decision that screwed over thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands more consumers. He made it illegal for Americans to “unlock” their cell phones. We cried foul, and 114,000 netizens joined us in demanding that unlocking be re-legalized. Normally, petition-signing is the flash in the pan of Internet activism. But this time was different. A bill that the Internet demanded 17 months ago is now on its way to a Senate vote.
Repair is better than recycling. This Earth Day, add “repair” back into your sustainability checklist. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a few smartphone repairs you can do at home. (Most of these repairs require specialty electronics tools like plastic opening tools and a set of precision screwdrivers.) For our repair list, we’ve focused on Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S line, because they are the most popular phones in the US, Find many more phone repair guides on iFixit.
We support your bill, SB 994, which will give consumers the right to access and share the information from their cars. Who owns our vehicles? The answer used to be obvious. Now, with electronics integrated into just about everything we buy, the answer has changed. Copyright is impacting more people than ever before because the line between hardware and software, physical and digital has blurred. SB 994 is a property rights issue. Who has the right to the data from our vehicles?
It’s been nearly three months since Apple released iOS 7 to the public, and a jailbreak still isn’t available. Well, accessibility advocate Chris Maury just sweetened the pot a little bit. Yesterday, Maury launched the Device Freedom Prize, a crowd funded reward for the first developers to release an open source jailbreak for iOS 7. “We strongly believe that users should have the freedom to control their devices,” the contest details explain. We agree. Time to stage a jailbreak.
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. 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” expands on ideas introduced in the first book. Find out what they had to say about electronics manufacturing on iFixit.org.
The Gaia Foundation released a new report yesterday on electronics and the environment. 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. As part of the solution, The Foundation is calling on manufacturers to drastically rethink design—to make devices easy to disassemble, easy to reuse, easy to recycle, and easy to repair.
What’s the oldest piece of technology that you own? That’s the question radio host Nora Young asked listeners on the CBC program Spark. Callers waxed poetic about everything from old MP3 players to ancient typewriters. Mindful gadget consumerism was the show’s topic. It’s no secret that upgrade cycles have gotten quicker: the allure of newer and faster is hard to resist, especially if you love electronics. But if we really love our gadgets, why are we in such a rush to get rid of them?