Europe's Right to Repair rules have passed, and will take effect in 2021

Last year in the USA, a corporate coalition led by Apple killed 20 state Right to Repair bills (Massachusetts subsequently passed a ballot initiative that accomplished the same rules without having to pass the corruptible legislature), but in the EU, Right to Repair advocates have made enormous strides, and now the European Commission has adopted rules (coming into effect in 2021) that require manufacturers of lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges to make parts available for a minimum of 10 years after the item is manufactured, and to design appliances so that parts can be easily replaced with standard tools. Read the rest

Seize your right to repair by learning a few basic skills

I've been repairing my phones and computers for years—I don't like being at the mercy of hardware vendors, especially when there's a sea of original and gray market replacement parts out there to be had. Upgrades? Same thing. While companies like Microsoft and Apple are making it almost impossible to tinker with the toys they make, it feels good to know that I can still at least install a fresh battery or increase the size of an old laptop's on board storage for hundreds less than it would cost me were I to take it into one of their repair centers. As I plopped a replacement battery into my 2012 11" MacBook Air earlier this week. I found my self feeling a lot of gratitude for the folks who talk me the fundamentals of puttering about with electronics. However, I know that not everyone has access to folks that can help them learn the skills they need in order to diagnose or correct a problem with their laptop, game console or other devices. This can make getting started with repairing you gear feel pretty intimidating.

You can get around this intimidation in a couple of ways. You can, if you're lucky enough to have one where you live visit a repair cafe or other similar business. They have the tools and instructions you'll need in order to learn how to do it yourself. And of course, there's the Interwebz. You'll find no end of videos that suggest how to tinker out a technical problem. Read the rest

Apple led the campaign to kill Right to Repair, now it's supplying parts to (some) independent repair shops

Apple was at the vanguard of the massive corporate spending that killed Right to Repair bills in 20 state legislatures last year, and while the company claims that it wants to protect its users from evil repair dudes who secretly hack their devices while claiming to fix them, Apple's CEO's frank warning to investors that profits are expected to slide if people keep fixing their Iphones instead of replacing them points at a much more likely answer. Read the rest

Small but meaningful progress towards a federal Right to Repair rule

The Right to Repair movement has introduced dozens of state-level laws that would force companies to support independent repairs by making manuals, parts and diagnostic codes available, and by ending the illegal practice of voiding warranties for customers who use independent repair services, but these bills keep getting killed by overwhelming shows of lobbying force from members of the highly concentrated manufacturing sector, particularly Apple, whose CEO, Tim Cook, warned investors in January that the number one threat to Iphone sales is that customers are choosing to repair, rather than replace, their mobile devices. Read the rest

Debunking Microsoft's anti-Right-to-Repair FUD

Microsoft is no stranger to the use of "Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt" in the pursuit of monopolistic goals; the company perfected the tactic in the early 1990s as a way of scaring enterprise customers away from GNU/Linux; today, the company shows off its mastery of FUD in its filings to the Federal Trade Commission condemning proposals for Right-to-Repair rules. Read the rest

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don't

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits -- everything from where you're going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they're connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders announces a farmers' right-to-repair and antitrust proposal similar to Elizabeth Warren's

Bernie Sanders' latest campaign plank is a suite of agricultural reforms similar to the ones proposed by Elizabeth Warren in March, including a national right-to-repair law for agricultural equipment, antitrust breakups of agribusiness seed, meatpacking and fertilizer monopolies, patent law reform to curb abuses of seed patents, reform of US trade agreements to support "domestic food security", rationalized supply management and a grain and feed reserve, national disaster coverage, relief for family farm bankruptcies, pro-diversity policies for 4H and other agricultural pipelines, incentives for regional co-ops, and a suite of climate change remediation measures. Read the rest

Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee. Read the rest

Securepairs.org will send debullshitifying security researchers to Right to Repair hearings to fight industry FUD

Dozens of Right to Repair bills were introduced across the USA last year, only to be defeated by hardcore lobbying led by Apple and backed by a rogue's gallery of giant manufacturers of every description; one of the most effective anti-repair tactics is to spread FUD about the supposed security risks of independent repairs. Read the rest

Most US eighth graders have taken apart a gadget to fix it or see how it works

From the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress: "In 2018, fifty-three percent of eighth-grade students reported that they believed they could perform a variety of technology- and engineering-related tasks such as taking something apart to fix it or see how it works." Read the rest

How to: make a hackintosh

Ernie Smith has produced a spectacularly complete guide to making a "hackintosh" -- that is, a Mac OS computer running on PC hardware, giving users the option of more RAM, different screens and keyboards, and many other axes of freedom otherwise denied to Mac OS users. Apple doesn't make it easy, but the community's extensive work has put the seemingly impossible within your grasp. Read the rest

Not just Apple: Microsoft has been quietly lobbying to kill Right to Repair bills

Apple pioneered the use of dirty tricks and lobbying to kill Right to Repair legislation, but they're not the only tech player who's putting lobbying muscle into ensuring that you can't decide who fixes your stuff (and when it is "unfixable" and must be sent to the landfill). Read the rest

America's best mobile carrier is also the first phone company to back Right to Repair legislation

As I've mentioned every Read the rest

Leaked Apple docs describe support program for 3rd-party repairs, just as right-to-repair bills in 20 states would require

Documents from Apple leaked to reporters describe a program of support for third-party repairs, and the details sound like it was intended to comply with the requirements of a slew of new right-to-repair bills proposed in some 20 U.S. states. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest campaign plank is a national Right-to-Repair law for farm equipment

Senator Elizabeth Warren is hoping to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020; she distinguishes herself from other left-wing Democrats like Bernie Sanders in her belief that capitalism is a force for good, but must be reformed and subjected to democratic control, while Sanders and the DSA are skeptical of capitalism and its long-term future (Disclosure: I donated to both the Sanders and Warren 2020 campaigns). Read the rest

Grandson of legendary John Deere engineer defends right-to-repair and condemns Big Ag for "taxing customers"

Willie Cade's grandfather Theo Cade was one of John Deere's most storied engineers, with 158 patents to his name; he invented the manure spreader and traveled the country investigating stories of how farmers were using, fixing, modifying and upgrading their equipment; today, Willie Cade is the founder of the Electronics Reuse Conference, having spent a quarter-century repairing electronics, diverting e-waste from landfills and rehabilitating it for use by low-income schools and individuals. Read the rest

California's Right to Repair Bill, killed by Big Ag and Apple, has been reintroduced

Last year, California was one of several states to introduce right to repair legislation that would force companies to end practices that discourage the independent repair sector, creating a requirement to sell replacement parts, provide documentation, and supply codes to bypass DRM systems that locked new parts out of devices until the company activated them. Read the rest

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