The right to repair is the right to screw up

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Ah - I remember replacing my laptop keyboard. Like a fucking moron I snapped off the little plastic tab that holds the ribbon to the mother board. I took the god damn thing apart like 20 times before finding a way to get consistent contacts.

Then a year later the video card died, I think.


Nice perspective; I was holding out for it to not bring demerit that you typed in accidental languages, but I can be happy there’s a Pomero for starters and later remember whether RTL/LTR battles are my thing or not.

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Time to read (or reread) Pirsig’s take on “stuckness”. As an aging mechanic I am constantly brought back to this notion of this is why you wanted to be a mechanic and why you enjoy it, but not while it is happening.

You even mentioned how easy the other tasks were, and by that nature you got little out of them. When you fix this you will feel more pleasure about this fix than the other jobs put together. If you fail to fix it it will still have learned more from it than the others.

Here is a link to the passage. It is too long to copy.

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I’ve been trying to teach our children that “The best time to fix it is when it’s already broke!” That they should be afraid to at least TRY to repair something.


I’m about where you are, and my average is about 50%. MacBook - fixed. Oven igniter - fixed. Flat panel TV - fail, MacMini - fail. All items were bound for the recycling bin, so I consider it a win overall. The other part of it is I learn. The next time I try to replace the LEDs in a flat panel tv I think I will succeed, because I pay attention to my failures. I will say that computer parts are too damn small and fragile!


I have no problem with users repairing their own shit. On the other hand, once you’ve done some clever fix or customization, you shouldn’t expect the manufacturer to honor their warranty and bail you out. There’s a conflict there. There’s also the issue of regulation. If you “fix” your car for better performance and increase its emissions, you may no longer be street legal, and that should be your problem, not the manufacturers.

Yes, in those situations that no one was talking about, you’re right.


I’ve had the most fun replacing screens on old iphones, a screen on an ipad, fixing and just general tinkering with an old dell laptop, etc. Doing this led me to the confidence that I could buy the parts and make a computer. Now my desktops are all custom built, with knowledge from the internet.

Same with fixing the car - the only thing you really need is another car. It is a certainty that you will need something from NAPA or the hardware store right in the middle of the project.

My underlying suspicion is that a lot of tinkerers like us are just really curious. I remember getting my automatic transmission fixed - this was something that was clearly out of my league. In the process I asked the mechanics if they could show me how it worked and they were happy to oblige - seemed happy that someone cared. Absolutely fascinating!

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