A tinkerer, a security researcher, and a digital rights watchdog just filed a lawsuit against the United States government, challenging the country’s most embattled copyright law: the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Passed nearly two decades ago, the law governs the space where traditional copyright and modern technology collide. The lawsuit, filed today, contends that Section 1201 of the DMCA violates free speech under the First Amendment.Section 1201 has become practically infamous over the last half-decade. Known as the ‘anti-circumvention’ clause, Section 1201 prohibits users from breaking technological locks, like DRM or encryption, over copyrighted content. Intended as a way to stop users from pirating things like movies and music, Section 1201 creeped beyond its original scope as copyrighted software creeped into more everyday products. Since its inception, Section 1201 has been used as justification to prevent owners from unlocking their cell phones, researchers from investigating security flaws in devices, and even farmers from repairing their tractors.
As a teardown engineer at iFixit, it's my job to be prepared for whatever Apple’s cooking up in Cupertino. So I've kept an eye on all those headphone jack rumors. Of course, we’ll know for sure if the headphone jack is gone when we get our hands on the iPhone 7 this fall. But for right now, everybody has an opinion. So here's mine: Removing the headphone jack and consolidating its function into the Lightning port will lead to more broken Lightning ports.
At Fixit Clinic, we celebrate successful repairs by ringing a bell and shouting “Fixxxxed!” It may seem campy to celebrate each successful repair in this way—and with a 70% success rate on repairs, we do a lot of celebrating. But after over 170 Fixit Clinics across the US—in the San Francisco Bay Area, Minneapolis, Boulder, Austin, San Diego, and Orange County—we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all part of creating a participatory and festive atmosphere around repair.
Want to make sure you get the most out of your sewing machine as it ages? Then keeping it regularly maintained is crucial. Sewing machines are delicate, complicated creatures—but with a little TLC, your machine will last longer, sew better, and require fewer repairs. We asked sewing machine repair exert Rob Appell what owners can do to keep their sewing machines in tip-top shape.
We talk a lot about why it’s getting harder to fix electronics. Not just because of how those devices are designed, but also because a lot manufacturers don’t want anyone to know how to fix them. And those companies can issue legal threats to keep repair information out of public view. It looks like Louis Rossmann, an independent Apple repair tech from NYC, is fending off a legal attack from one of those companies.
Like almost everything else we’ve seen at iFixit, sewing machines aren’t really designed to last very long these days. Rob broke down the difference between the behemoths of yore and today's sleek modern machines. Old machines were made of high quality metal parts and can live a very long life. New machines are made of plastic parts and tend to last five to ten years at most. Here are a few things you should look out for when buying a machine—new or used.
Grieving is a weird process, and part of mine involved spending time with my dad's old bike. The thing was a mess. The tires were brittle and crumbling, spokes askew, rims warped. All the shiny bits were coated in rust. The headset was seized as the packing grease had petrified into a crust. Spiderwebs shrouded every nook and cranny. It looked ready for the junk heap; it hadn’t been touched in nearly 30 years. Fixing it meant the world to me.
Nest Labs, pioneering overlords of our smarthome future, is about to do something pretty inhospitable to customers. On Sunday, they will pull the plug on Revolv—a home automation hub that Nest acquired almost two years ago. If you own a Revolv, your home will shut off. Your lights will turn off. Your doors will stay locked—or unlocked. All that automation that you painstakingly set up? It's quitting. On Sunday, Nest will brick people’s smart homes—and owners can't do a thing to stop it.
People don’t want to own anything anymore. They much prefer licenses that let them use it. At least that’s what lawyers from The Software Alliance and the Motion Picture Association of America told the Copyright Office. Through an unlikely sequence of events, I found myself sitting across the table from them late last month at a series of “roundtables” on copyright law. Unlikely, because I’m a repairman. Copyright law should have nothing to do with me. But it does.
Big Bird and the gang instantly transport me back to my childhood—in footie pajamas, singing along to Sesame Street’s familiar theme song. Since its premiere in 1969, Sesame Street has taught millions of kids around the globe to count, read, and sing. But Sesame Street also teaches kids something that can’t be taught in schoolbooks—the value of caring for themselves, their community, and the world. What better way to teach some of life’s greatest lessons than through repair?
This week, we got a little treat from HP—a tablet that they actually want you to fix yourself. HP is billing the Elite x2 1012 G1 as a tablet designed for serviceability—complete with online repair documentation and readily available parts. Naturally, our interest was piqued. So, we did a quick teardown in the name of repairability. Spoiler alert: we were impressed.
iFixit is known for fixing electronics, but we want to help people fix everything—whether or not it has a motherboard. After all, everything breaks eventually. Recently, we challenged folks to fix their camping and outdoor gear at a pop-up repair clinic we hosted with our good friends from The Mountain Air and Patagonia. Check out the pictures on our blog.
Google’s Pixel C launch received such a resounding “meh” that we initially skipped a teardown. But the Pixel C returned to headlines once Google dropped the price, offering the Pixel C as an Android N developer machine.The Android/Chrome convergence is coming, so maybe we should take a peek at that hardware after all.
It will soon be harder to install third-party firmware on Wi-Fi routers—thanks to new FCC rules. But even as some manufacturers—like TP-Link—have started locking down devices in order to comply, Linksys announced it will continue to support alternative firmware on new WRT routers. The FCC rules, which were written to prevent RF-modded devices from interfering with FAA Doppler weather radar systems, have met with much public criticism.
Last week, we told you about how we found Apple’s nasty tamper-resistant screw—better known as the pentalobe—somewhere we never expected: on the Huawei P9. Before the P9, we’d never seen a pentalobe outside of Apple’s ecosystem. But, apparently, when it rains pentalobes, it pours pentalobes. Because we’ve just had another reported pentalobe sighting in the wild—this time on the new Meizu Pro 6.
We tinker with computers for a living—which means, we’ve seen more circuit boards and electronics kits than you can shake a spudger at. But we’ve never seen a printed circuit board quite like this before. Delightfully old school by design, Circuit Classics was engineered by Star Simpson and inspired by the work of tinkering legend and author Forrest M. Mims, III. Circuit Classics brings Mims' beginning electronics projects off the page and into a real-life electronics kit.
We don’t want to compare apples to oranges here, but this P9 feels very iPhone. From the opening procedure to the battery adhesive strips, right down to the pentalobe screws on either side of the charging port. Yeah, you read that correctly—Huawei is using the worst screw ever, patterned after Apple’s five-pointed screw. It has a shallow draft and rounded lobes, making it easy to strip.
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in an HTC Vive—join us as we escape into virtual reality. Excuse us for being a little rhapsodic, we just really like VR technology. Which means it’s our lucky day: Hot on the heels of the Oculus Rift launch, HTC answers back with their first-gen VR headset, the Vive. We see your Vive, HTC—and we raise you a teardown!
Here’s the sitch: Apple just offered up their first update to the 12” Retina MacBook—and it’s pretty much identical to their 2015 model. Except for the pretty pink color, because Apple’s new mantra seems to be go rose gold or go home! With an identical form factor, we’re crossing our fingers that parts will be interchangeable across the line like we saw in the iPhone SE and 5S. Let’s get right to the teardown and find out, shall we? Check it out on iFixit.
If you want to start mastering the basics, look no further than our ongoing YouTube series on repair skills. In our most recent installment, iFixit’s resident tinkerer—Gwendolyn Gay—teaches you how to use a multimeter, which has a million uses for testing electronics and circuits (seriously, keep one in your work bag at all times). Here’s Gwendolyn’s multimeter 101 lesson—which goes over testing continuity, voltage, and resistance.