Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Rapid Response Repair

Calling all Fixit Coaches (and other Community Repairers): can we stand ready to fix shared public property and community-held property during this pandemic?

For example, critical medical equipment, laboratory equipment or emergency service equipment might break with manufacturers' service unavailable. Or it might be as mundane as the toaster in the hospital break room or the local animal shelter's floor polisher (pictured below.)


If you're willing to be "on call" to respond to a community repair request please sign up at http://bit.ly/fixitcoachsignup, indicate where you're located in the "Anything special about your participation?" field.

We'll try to combine this with the newly minted Virtual Fixit Clinics, hopefully we can effect repair remotely or do some sort of online triage to set up ideal conditions for a successful in-person repair visit.

Virtual Fixit Clinics

"Mythbusters meets Antiques Road Show, Top Gear meets Car Talk"


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2020-04-01 Update: We're joining iFixit's Fix At Home Challenge https://www.ifixit.com/News/36647/join-the-fixathome-challenge: here's your chance to show us that big thing you can't carry in to a Fixit Clinic(!)
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2020-03-23 Update: As COVID-19 unfolds we're extending the vision of "virtual" Fixit Clinics to offer “rapid response repair” for medical equipment and laboratory research and/or diagnostic equipment. It doesn't have to be critical care equipment: it might be as mundane as the toaster oven in the hospital staff break room or the hospital’s floor polisher.
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No community repair event near you? Repair event cancelled due to Coronavirus? Can't get your Fixit Clinic fix?

Well we can certainly fix that!

Announcing Virtual Fixit Clinics: the world's greatest troubleshooting talent converging to address whatever's presented; we'll leverage the wonderful magic that is the global internet to hold "virtual" Fixit Clinics using teleconferencing software.

Fixit Coaches: Any community repairers (or wannabe repairers, "fixing families," etc.) in the world are heartily welcome (e.g.: Fixit Clinic, Restart Party, Repair Café, Anstiftung Foundation, etc.). You don't have to participate you can just stay on mute. You're also welcome to present things from your local community or your own broken stuff.
Register at http://bit.ly/fixitcoachsignup and we'll send details on joining the teleconferences.

Have Something Broken? Answer these questions:
- Do you have a computer and internet connection that will support video teleconferencing?
- Can you show and describe the problem / recreate the problem in under five minutes?
- (Optional: Can you have some rudimentary disassembly tools at the ready?)
- Can you fill out http://bit.ly/brokenitemreport afterwards?
If yes, register at http://bit.ly/fixitcheckin (select the "Virtual Fixit Clinic") and we'll reach out about scheduling you for an upcoming Virtual Fixit Clinic.

Looking forward to meeting in cyberspace!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

New Fixit Clinic Video

Heartfelt thanks to San Mateo County Office of Sustainability for producing this wonderful video on Fixit Clinic: https://youtu.be/qJtNrsgtAs0


Friday, January 10, 2020

Four Recent Articles

Is repair going mainstream? Here are four recent articles:

1) The New York Times on how our military can't repair its own stuff:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/opinion/military-right-to-repair.html
We've been framing Right to Repair as a sustainability and resiliency issue for communities and individuals; this op-ed in the New York Times frames it as a military readiness and national security issue.
In reality: any community — domestic, military, etc.— that moves away from understanding the things it uses and relies on is at systemic risk. And you have to wonder what it takes for the military to go public with an issue like this. This isn't a rogue captain posting an op ed in the NY Times. It's clearly sanctioned.

2) The Wall Street Journal encouraging buying long-lived and repairable goods:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-umbrella-that-lasts-forever-how-much-would-you-pay-11578078532?emailToken=81eb8c25ff23701c740f9eb16d38fced/wUyOiLhOkNfpIEY91+Pu5uOp+9iKSiklT/aC9ju8KRrQDMBaEnf2qTipMqBRLEQa3RQMo/bYO6ZcI0yxaMqOiRD91zioaTtDC9liVy9JRPc5dPRHvJtl/jkzroWbVIW&reflink=article_email_share
Good to have this article in the conservative mainstream press. Our variation on this message is: once you learn to repair something you own you essentially bestow it with a lifetime warranty.

3) The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes old non-computerized tractors are now a hot commodity:
http://www.startribune.com/for-tech-weary-midwest-farmers-40-year-old-tractors-now-a-hot-commodity/566737082/
John Deere has long been an opponent of Right-to-Repair, they've gone as far as arguing in court that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows them to assert that when you buy a modern tractor from them you're no longer purchasing a tractor, you're only purchasing a license to operate the tractor. (Interestingly: Canadian farmers are not subject to the DMCA and are still allowed to repair their own John Deere farm equipment.)

4) Forbes on how subsidized phones for low-income people are infected with malware:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/01/09/us-funds-free-android-phones-for-the-poor---but-with-permanent-chinese-malware/
We've seen these symptoms at Fixit Clinic but weren't sure it was built-in malware, it's reassuring to get independent verification. As software and hardware merge we're seeing more issues around digital inclusion, digital literacy, digital equity. Should low-income people have to accept less privacy?