iFixit – DIY Electronic Gadget Repair is Green

iFixit is an apt name for a company making do-it-yourself electronic gadget repair accessible, cool, and maybe even fun. Repairing stuff is green.

iFixit Fist Holding WrenchElectronic gadgets like computers, e-readers, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles often appear to be mysterious devices that cannot be opened to replace a battery or taken apart and repaired. Manufacturers seem to make non-battery replacement and non-repair friendly devices on purpose and then encourage us to buy “new and improved” versions even before the old ones wear out or break.

iFixit is out to change the paradigm by empowering people to fix their own electronic gadgets and other equipment.

iFixit Background

It all started back in 2003, in a dorm room at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. With no repair manual available, iFixit founders Luke Soules and Kyle Wiens used the trial and error method to fix an iBook.

They moved on to other computers and bought broken computers to use for parts. iFixit was launched when they decided to sell parts themselves.

Next, they started writing repair guides for electronic gadgets and posting them online for free. People started using the guides and saving money.

The business grew and their mission expanded.

iFixit Self-Repair Manifesto

  • http://www.ifixit.com/ManifestoRepair is Better than Recycling
  • Repair Saves the Planet
  • Repair Saves You Money
  • Repair Teaches Engineering
  • If You Can’t Fix It, You Don’t Own It

What Does iFixit Do?

“We think it should be easy for people to learn how to fix things”.

iFixit is like Wikipedia for the repair world. iFixit provides a platform and website to make it easy for people to share and collaborate. Users can create a teardown or repair guide, ask or answer a troubleshooting question, submit a story, edit content, earn badges, or join a team. The information is available to everyone, for free.

  • Solving the Red-Ring-of-Death Problem on an XBox 360 - Photo: iFixitRepair Manuals – provide step-by-step instructions and photos on how to install, replace, and repair components and devices.
  • Teardowns – show and explain the process of disassembling a device or piece of equipment.
  • Troubleshooting – people share knowledge by asking and answering questions.
  • Parts & Tools – Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and game console parts provide an income stream. As do repair tools. My favorite is the spudger, a pencil-like, antistatic tool, used for tinkering around inside electronic components.
  • Services – for a fee, iFixit will assist companies with teardowns, technical documentation, and converting existing documentation.
  • Blog – DIY repair and related topics at iFixit.org.

Orange Teardown

Geeks and non-geeks alike will enjoy the easy-to-read Orange Teardown complete with photos. I challenge you to not laugh.

Fix the Planet

For iFixit, do-it-yourself repair is more than just a business.

“Repair is recycling! The best way to keep hardware out of landfills is to keep it working longer. Toxic electronic waste is a global problem that we all need to pitch in to solve. Self repair saves you money and helps the environment!”

In the short video below Kyle Wiens explains what e-waste is and shows us that there is no “away”.

Non-Geeky Repair

As kids, my children liked to take stuff apart. My spouse is good at repair. I am mechanical ability challenged. However, I have been known to fix things. For instance, apparently, I am the only person in the family able to sew a button on a pair of shorts or a shirt.

For fun, I searched the iFixit website for “how to sew on a button.” The list of results mostly referred to electronic gadget buttons. However, I did run across “How do I patch a hole in a pair of jeans?” and a sewing glossary.

Perhaps I will create a “Sewing on a Button” repair guide.

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Greed To Green — Book Review

Greed to GreenMy interest in green building and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) led me to read Greed to Green: The Transformation of an Industry and a Life, by David Gottfried.

It is an apt title for a book about a Washington, D.C. real estate developer turned green building pioneer and co-founder of the USGBC and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system.

 Book Review

In Greed to Green, readers learn about the history of the green building movement and David Gottfried’s part in building it.

Part One: Greed

In part one, Gottfried describes his work as a commercial real estate developer in Washington, D.C. over the course of a decade during the 1980s and how he became interested in green building. Amusingly, Gottfried’s wardrobe seems to mirror his greed to green journey; from Versace and Ferragamo to a forest green suit he bought to symbolize his emerging green beliefs.

Part Two: Green

Part two opens with Gottfried moving to San Francisco to start a green building consultancy and further develop a green building standard initiated while he was the chair of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Green Building Subcommittee.

Greed to Green covers events that led to Gottfried co-founding the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with Mike Italiano and Rick Fedrizzi. Stories follow the development of the organization comprised of diverse stakeholders including architects, real estate developers, manufacturers, contractors, property managers, and non-governmental organizations.

The book wraps up with the founding of the World Green Building Council and a segue into Gottfried’s next book, Greening My Life: A Green Building Pioneer Takes on His Most Challenging Project.

The Bottom Line

David Gottfried co-founded the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993 and the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) in 1998. He is the CEO of Regenerative Ventures.

Although Gottfried’s privileged background and connections probably helped him along his journey, it is his commitment, passion, and sheer perseverance that make him a truly green building visionary.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Greed to Green and recommend it to anyone interested in green building and the USGBC.

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