Sunday, November 5, 2023

Supporting Repair through the San Mateo County Library System Makermobile

Now there’s a dedicated “Repair Information Station” on the San Mateo County Library system’s new Makermobile. Coupled with the repair tools resident on the Makermobile, everywhere the Makermobile is deployed people can work on repair using the Makermobile’s tools while getting expert help from community repairers around the world through Discord: Global Fixers.

The Global Fixers appliance laptop is an AUEed Chromebook reconfigured to automatically boot into Discord: Global Fixers where people can start asking questions and get help from expert repairers around the planet.

The back of the laptop has a QR code where anyone who already uses Discord can simply get the invite link:

In addition to the San Mateo County Library Makermobile so far we've deployed Global Fixer appliances at:
○ USA-CA-Hercules Library (Contra Costa County Library system)
○ USA-CA-North Fair Oaks Branch Library (San Mateo County Library system)
○ USA-CA-San Leandro Main Library
- with many, many more to come!

Have a spare Chromebook or laptop? Create a Repair Information Station for your library or makerspace so anyone can walk up and start asking repair questions.

Haven’t joined Discord: Global Fixers yet? Follow the instructions in this Google Doc:

Thursday, October 19, 2023

International Repair Day Combo In-person / Online Repair Event

Discord: Global Fixers is thrilled and honored to be hosting the online component of Cherwell Collective's combination in-person and online International Repair Day Gather-in this Saturday.

“Our vision for this event is for [individuals repairing from home and those gathering at] existing hubs across the UK at places like repair cafes, parish councils, community centres, libraries, and similar to support repair on site at some point on 21 October 2023 from 11am-2pm GMT.”

So it’s scheduled for mid-day in the U.K. but regardless of what time it is for you anyone in the world is welcome to join Discord: Global Fixers and work alongside other repairers world-wide to work on items presented from in-person locations across the U.K.

Join Discord: Global Fixers now to be ready for Saturday: follow the instructions in this Google Doc:

See you there!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Fixit Clinic featured in today's Boston Globe

Fixit Clinic featured in today's Boston Globe: ..."The more I’ve thought about it since, the more I think that confidence is what unites people who fix things. They have faith that there is a way that doesn’t involve the garbage heap."

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

New Battery in Macbook Air

Does this Macbook Air need a new battery? Well, yes: especially when you see swollen Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) pouches like the ones to the right in the photo. Another symptom of a swelling Macbook battery is that the trackpad no longer clicks: the battery is swelling up against the trackpad from underneath.

When I installed the new battery and tightened down the screws on the underside once the new battery fully charged it swelled slightly and the trackpad wouldn't click. I had to loosen the screws slightly to get it to work. I ended up returning that replacement battery as defective, the new, new battery doesn't seem to have the same issue.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Fixit Clinic article in the Harvard Gazette

What better way to teach Design for Manufacturing (DFM) than to interrogate the way things are currently made?

We hold Fixit Clinics in partnership with Colleges and Universities so future practitioners -- engineers and designers -- see how Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is currently practiced and to encourage “Design for Durability” (DFD), i.e. incorporate durability, maintainability, serviceability for the future sustainable circular economy; repair is a cornerstone of our environmental and economic future.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Fixit Clinic mentioned in today’s Washington Post

Fixit Clinic is mentioned in today’s Washington Post: TECH IN YOUR LIFE How to find trustworthy repair help for your busted iPhone or TV set:

Saturday, March 25, 2023

As Featured on Pat Benincasa’s Fill To Capacity! Podcast

 Fixit Clinic founder Peter Mui is this week’s interviewee on Pat Benincasa’s Fill To Capacity! podcast:

It’s on all the major podcast streaming services or listen online at

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Let's Keep Our Chomebooks

Chromebooks have become popular computing devices with school systems and libraries: school system adoption and purchase of Chromebooks rapidly accelerated during the pandemic as school systems needed to support distance learning. However: all Chromebooks have an “Automatic Update Expiry” (AUE) date after which they no longer receive Chrome OS updates. For individual consumers this means that their Chromebook gets less and less useful and less secure over time. However: for organizations with lots of Chromebooks enrolled in Google’s Enterprise Enrollment (e.g. schools and school systems) they have to stop using them immediately.

Message that appears on Chromebooks when they reach their AUE date

Even though they are recent computer hardware (typically under three to five years old) and mechanically and electronically functional they are of little value to computer refurbishers because they have no domestic resale value. My understanding of what is happening at the moment is that computer refurbishers sell Chromebooks to recyclers that send them on to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam where they are being harvested for the one or two computer chips with residual value: the rest is e-wasted locally.  So, sadly, we are exporting our e-waste overseas again from the U.S. Doubly sadly: we are creating e-waste out of items that potentially have lots of useful life remaining.

A school system’s Chromebooks waiting to be e-wasted at a computer refurbisher

It is possible to convert Chromebooks that have reached their AUE date into general purpose computers: usually by removing a “write protect” screw, sometimes simply by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. However, that requires some physical disassembly and modification that computer refurbishers are unwilling to undertake: they can’t justify the labor cost.

Fixit Clinic will assist schools, libraries, and other agencies in keeping Chromebooks in service in our communities – to keep in our schools, to give to students, to give to the local Library, to give to the economically disadvantaged in our communities. We will do this by teaching students, youth, and residents how to convert Chromebooks into general purpose computers, ideally for use by themselves.

Fixit Clinic is partnering with the Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) Engineering Club (San Ramon, California, USA) and seeking donations to help divert and convert expired Chromebooks. We hope that by working together, we can reduce e-waste and help bridge the digital divide in California. Together, let's keep our technology out of landfills and put it to good use in our communities! To learn more about our mission and get involved, please take a moment to fill out this form:

Our team will reach out to you with further information and next steps.

If you have any questions on the donation process and would like to discuss in detail, please reach out to Varun Vaidya (DVHS Engineering Club president):

Monday, March 6, 2023

March 18 2023: Upstream Solutions to Downstream Pollution

 Zero Waste Youth USA is having their annual Convergence March 18: Peter Mui is speaking in Track 2 “Upstream Solutions to Downstream Pollution” at 10:55AM PDT; anyone anywhere in the world can register to attend via Zoom at