A right to repair

 One of the funny obsessions I have right now is the YouTuber Hugh Jeffreys. I have been a casual watcher for a while but recently I have been getting more and more satisfaction out of his videos.

His premise is simple. He gets an old bit of technology, a PC, Mac, phone or something else that has been damaged. Sometimes its not even that old. Then he repairs it on camera. 

My interest comes from building PCs. There was a time when the only way to afford a PC was to build it from parts. Buy an empty case, a motherboard, a cpu and out it together. You could save a lot money and you got to understand how they worked. The economic case for building PCs declined but gamers still build their own PCs. Over time PCs just worked and dramatic changes were less. Applications no longer needed a better processor every six months. 

The new fashion is repair. Instead of throwing away a broken device, why not repair it?

There is a good reason. Manufacturers would like you to upgrade. They would like you to throw away your old device and buy new. If you really want something repaired then the parts are not readily available and often you need to use the manufacturers repair services. Those thin and light devices are held together with complex brackets, screws, security features and glue. All of which make repair more difficult and more expensive. 

Manufacturers claim that opening up products to repair makes them less secure and there are poor unqualified repairers out there who rip off customers. True, to a certain extent. However, there is a way more important reason to make devices repairable. The future of the planet and e-waste. 

Today I am typing on a 2009 MacBook. Its not great but for a blog page is works fine. The keyboard is decent too. I bought it from ebay and discussed upgrading it previously. Its been a cheap alternative to my regular PC. 

Not everyone will want to repair their own tech. Not everyone has the skills. However, I think it is the responsibility of governments to regulate the tech industry. The act of cutting down e-waste by not including a charger seems to be promotion of environmental concerns without substance. The real action should be to allow people to easily repair old tech.  Tech companies are putting barriers in their products to prevent repair and reuse. It should be stopped. 


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