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Sunday, May 26, 2019

I Can't Overstate How Easy It Was

The screws were seen by repair experts...as a way to prevent users from repairing their own devices.
 - "Screw Standards: Why We Aren't Happy" by Ernie Smith, Tedium.co

Take a second to look around you and consider the various gadgets within eyeshot. How many of them, if they broke, could you reasonably fix right now?
 - "Right to Repair Laws" by Catie Keck, Gizmodo.com

I built my own computer. It was actually really easy. Really, really easy.

Seriously easy.

It's like a 3D jigsaw puzzle that comes with instructions. And many of the connections are color-coded. And most of the plugs only go in the hole one way. And the holes the plugs belong in is obvious. And when there are multiple holes the same size, it doesn't matter which one you connect it to; it will work the same.

If something breaks, yes, I can fix it, or easily replace the offending piece. I even have a piece that's wearing down right now; I know what the problem is, and it's not something that can be fixed, the part must be replaced, but I'm working around the issue until I have the urgency and money to fix it.

(I'm not just putting it off out of procrastination. I'm also putting it off because (it's the motherboard) I'll upgrade some other pieces at the same time (like the CPU) and I'm not ready to do that yet.)

I don't expect anybody to be technically gifted enough to do that. Yes, it's something of a "notch on my bedpost" to be able to say I built my own machine. And I stopped at my desktop; I've seen instructions to build my own laptop (more of a puzzle due to space constraints), my own smart home controller (more programming required), even my own smartwatch (more of both).

But I've also owned devices that have that infernal sticker that say "removing [this] or opening [device] invalidate [device] warranty." I've read that those stickers are more fear tactics than truth, but I've never tested it out.

We live in a world where corporations want to own us. They like to think they own our data, they try to sell us licenses instead of products (licenses expire, and then they can sue you), they try to pressure you... it's fearmongering, and it's not okay.

There's hope, but it's few and far between. It's only there for people who are willing to go out of their way to look for it; for people who are willing to pay a little more, either in time, knowledge, or money. It's only there for people who think to look for it, because even the economics of advertising are inundated with unethical practices, violations of what we're searching for...

I thought to look, and I've tried to share, but...

It's only there for people who want to change.

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