Fixing The Future

[iFixit] (who we’ve posted about many times before) has launched a passionate manifesto promoting the skills and knowledge of repair as a solution to technological consumerism and waste. They use powerful footage of electronic waste dumps in Ghana to make the point that we must collectively change the way we use and relate to our high technology–take a look after the break.

The manifesto rallies against the practice of withholding repair knowledge such as manuals, error codes and schematics–putting responsibility in the hands of manufacturers–but also makes it clear that it is up to every one of us to inform ourselves and to value functionality over novelty.

Considering the many-faceted resource crisis that we are headed towards, any efforts to push our behavior towards a sustainable and considerate way of life should be considered. As hackers we repair, reuse and rethink technology as part of our craft–but we are also privileged by our enthusiasm for technical challenges. The real battle is to disseminate the kind of knowledge and skills we possess into the general population. This is where the heart of [ifixit]’s message comes into play: the creation of an open, editable online repair manual for every electronic device. If you have something to teach, why not pop over and help expand their database?

59 thoughts on “Fixing The Future

  1. @Mic: Read my post again, and drop the condescending “ask your grandparents” bullshit. I come from frugal stock on the farm; we DIY just about everything we can to keep the place running on the cheap.

    I never said that fixing things is automatically a waste of time; I said that for most products, for me, it’s not worth it. I fix stuff all the time, but I don’t try to fix everything all the time. A $200 fix on $1500? Good job brother.

    It totally does depend on your income though; if I was unemployed (underemployed) and had more time than money it would be a very different story, and that’s the position a lot of people are in. It’s not me though. My point was that there *is* a point where the time and effort aren’t worth it; do you spend 5 hours fixing a $2000 gadget? A $200 gadget? $20? I wouldn’t for the $20 unit, and I might for the $200 depending on my proficiency, but that’s me. If I was broke and had lots of time, fixing the $20 unit might be reasonable.

  2. yea you’re right Alchemyguy, I was being a dick. I should have read you’re comment more carefully, I got the wrong impression. Waste just pisses me off a lot is all. The only reason I pulled that “grand parents bullshit” is that many people have no clue at all and think that everything in the world is at their immediate disposal.On the flip side if something can not do it’s old job it can usually do a new one with little effort. I am used to things being passed down the chain of work until they pretty much disintegrate. Sorry about that I try not to be a condescending prick but some times it escapes me.

  3. No worries man. Teh interwebz make dicks of us all sometimes. :D

    I discovered as a lad the attitude you describe; apparently putting up preserves and welding tractor parts back together is apparently not SOP for the average 14 year old. Pity that, I suspect the world (by that, I mean us rich westerners) would be a more…conscious…place if the kids had to build stuff from scratch and/or help fix the family chattels to keep the household economy humming.

  4. To all of you out there who believe that the most modern electronics are too complicated/unfix-able, here’s the cause of the vast majority of electronics failures:

    Electrolytic capacitors

    The only manual you need to replace these things is one on soldering.

  5. @Steven: Oh yeah I agree very much so. Those bastards pop and bam a good device goes into a landfill.

    My Acer AL1916 of 5 years had all the caps on the power supply blow. Xichion or some other chinese crap they were. Radioshack cap’s were horrible 85C rated and I found out the hard way. Bought some polymer electrolytics off Digi-Key and its been solid since. Going on 2 years now.

    On another note what makes electronics repair difficult is SMD components. Either you have to improvise greatly or cash out for some SMD related equipment, which most of us dont have the money or time for. I just started messing with SMD, and man you can never have enough flux and isopropyl alcohol.

  6. If we have a problem with trown away culture. Then, i think, we need to close the circuit, not by slowing down consumism, but by making missing reverse industry. That is, to safely and cheaply dismantle every eletronic device to its small parts and recover the insumes.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.