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Comment This can not stand (Score 1) 268

I run iFixit. We started writing our own repair manuals because of this very issue way back in 2003. Slashdot has run stories about us on a number of occasions.

Apple has been very aggressively protecting their copyright on service manuals pretty much since the dawn of the internet. Heres an example of them going after Something Awful. Many of the sites theyve gone after have ceased to exist.

Since then, with the help of tens of thousands of incredible repair technicians around the world (including many redditors), we have built the largest free repair manual. Because we write them ourselves, the manufacturers cant shut us down. The community has written over 6,000 manuals, and you can download and reproduce any of them to your hearts content. We even post all of our manuals on bittorrent and the internet archive so they are guaranteed to be free forever.

Heres our Toshiba laptop service manual. Weve made progress on half a dozen laptops so far, with more on the way. Not nearly as comprehensive as what timix had, but its a start.

Toshiba is not an outlier here--they represent the status quo. Many manufacturers havent gotten around to issuing these C&D letters, but its perfectly within their right. Any site hosting manufacturer service manuals without permission is at risk of a shutdown like this at any time.

Thats why what we do at iFixit is so important. The world needs to know how to fix these products. Repair is critical for the environment. Repair helps bridge the digital divide by keeping the secondhand electronics market alive. And electronics repair represents hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States alone.

We cannot rely on the good will of manufacturers. Yes, many of them have looked the other way and ignored sites like timixs, but that is unlikely to continue. We have three options:

  1. Create a free and open alternative to the manufacturers service manuals (thats what were doing at iFixit).
  2. Pressure the manufacturers to waive copyright to their manuals so that we can reproduce them. Dell, HP, and Lenovo are the best targets for this because they already provide manuals online. (I am involved in discussions with some OEMs to make this happen. The more public support we have, the more success well have.)
  3. Legislate. The auto manufacturers refused to provide independent shops with the information they needed, so they banded together and just passed Right to Repair legislation in Massachusetts last week. There's no reason we can't do the same.

Its easy to say, "shame on Toshiba" and move on with your life. But this is not unique to Toshiba. No cell phone manufacturer makes their service manuals available. In fact, outside of the heavy equipment industry (where customers demand it) and the automotive industry (where legislation requires it), its the rare manufacturer that does not use copyright to prevent publication of their service manuals.

I wrote the Self Repair Manifesto to make the voice of the consumer known. Its time for us to stand up for ourselves. We have the right to repair our things, and to the information required to do it.

We are making some progress. The forthcoming green cell phone standard, UL 110, gives manufacturers environmental points for providing open source service manuals. That gain is tenuous and could be reversed at any time, but its a foothold.

Ive dedicated my life to making this information available, and we cant do it alone. We need to band together as a community and take a stand.

We would love help. Join us over at iFixit! Or, if you want to get involved with advocacy work, email me at kyle at ifixit and Ill point you in the right direction.

Comment Re:Ask iFixit anything (Score 1) 280

Every device manufacturer tears down their competitors products to find out how they're made. Our engineers do the same thing, but release our findings for the benefit of the world. Teardown is a standard industry term. I didn't come up with it, and I don't know why we chop trees up and tear products down. I can say that the things we take apart are generally flatter when we're done!

Comment Ask iFixit anything (Score 5, Informative) 280

I started iFixit, and I wrote today's teardown. I'm also a long-time /. member.

I totally dig the anti-Microsoft sentiment. But just like with the iPad, we've got real innovation here that came out of a closed environment. Microsoft's got hundreds of millions of dollars invested in visual motion recognition and speech recognition technology. The best reaction all of us in the open source community can have is to use this innovation as a call to action, and as building a block to write open tools. Adafruit's contest is a fantastic start, and I'll be supporting that any way I can.

Got any questions about the hardware that I didn't address in the teardown? Fire away.

Kyle Wiens


Submission + - iFixit finds iPod Nano lacking 'True' Multitouch (

kwiens writes: iFixit has finished its third teardown of the new iPod Nano. Our examination of the tiny device has revealed that the Nano has a 220 pixels-per-inch (PPI) screen, the highest pixel density on an Apple device aside from the iPhone 4 / iPod Touch 4th Gen. That's almost double the iPad's paltry 132 PPI density!

However, Apple is making a serious stretch by calling the Nano "multi-touch." 3M's defines multi-touch as the "ability to simultaneously detect and resolve a minimum of 3+ touch points." Meanwhile, The headphone jack, volume buttons, and sleep/wake button are all found on the same ribbon cable that snakes around the inner perimeter of the Nano. Very efficient! The Nano's battery has a capacity of 105 mAh, compared to the Shuffle's 51 mAh.


Submission + - iFixit tears down new iPod Touch, finds 256 MB RAM (

kwiens writes: iFixit has completed their customary teardown of the new iPod Touch. Our examination of the internals has confirmed that it has just 256 MB RAM, half that in the iPhone 4. While double RAM of the previous iPod Touch, continuing to stay within the same RAM envelope as the iPad will present a challenge to game developers.

We were also surprised to find that the iPod Touch does not have a vibrator! Initial reports seemed to have all-but-confirmed the feature, which would have significantly enhanced the tactile gaming experience. Alas, it was not to be. We'll have to console ourselves with the limited gaming experience that the 1 GHz A4 processor, 640x960 retina display and 3.44 watt-hour battery can provide.

Comment Re:But how long will iFix be around? Or ANYONE ?? (Score 1) 75

We are not big and public, and never will be. And if you don't trust us, fork the content and go build your own manual. We need one place for repair information, and it doesn't have to be iFixit. We've chosen to sell parts rather than ask for donations like Wikipedia, but our approach is otherwise quite similar.

Comment Re:Crappy advice (Score 1) 75

You're right, we don't have complete information on how to deal with the drive firmware yet. We would absolutely love help writing up an authoritative document on how to deal with this. The easy approach is to swap in the board from your existing drive, but that only works if you are installing the same (ish) drive. This is a little bit of a tricky area for us (as a legal entity) to document because of the piracy implications, but there is no issue at all with you posting what you know. I don't think it would take too much effort to gather all the drive compatibility / firmware information in one place-- and you clearly know what you're talking about, so we'd appreciate the help!

Comment Re:Great idea (Score 1) 75

We welcome anything on iFixit that enables repair. We define repair as anything that makes something work longer. Useful upgrades certainly fall into that category, and we'd love your contributions!

AC, you're right, Youtube is useful-- but it's not a replacement for a service manual. It would be much better to have one, trusted place to go to learn how to work on something than to search through videos. The other side of this is that this information needs to be easy enough that your mom can follow it. Mumbling videos don't always inspire confidence. :-) The easier we can make it to fix things, the more people will do it.

Comment Re:Pretty cool (Score 2, Interesting) 75

Fantastic question! You own it. This information is *never* going behind a paywall. Everything is CC-licensed, and original authors retain ownership of their own stuff. We are a free, open repair manual wiki. We're finalizing an XML schema for the manuals, and we are going to do regular data dumps to If you want to take all the manuals + PDFs and post them on your site, please do. This is too important to risk someone locking it down-- the world needs an open repair manual. We're doing our darndest to make that happen, but we can't do it alone!

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Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing