When I was a young lad, you would run across appliance repair shops all over town. These were the places to which you carried your misbehaving toasters and vacuum cleaners and suchlike.
It was also common to see TV/Radio repair shops. Squeezed in the middle of a row of other little stores, such as a newsagent, post office, pharmacist, grocer, butcher, fishmonger, ironmonger, hairdresser, etc., these mysterious workshops were poky little places that were jam-packed with devices awaiting restoration. As I recall, there was a certain musty smell you didn't tend to find anywhere else — sort of an “Eau de dry dust that's been sitting on vacuum tubes for decades” type aroma (a little tear of nostalgia comes to my eye as I pause to reflect on this inimitable bouquet).
If you didn't want to carry your TV to the shop (most people used public transport, like busses, and didn’t own their own cars), then — believe it or not — the repair man would make house calls.
Of course, those were the days when it was much cheaper to repair a product than it was to buy a new one. These days, it's often the other way around. On top of this, some manufacturers go out of their way to make home-repair as hard as possible (well-nigh impossible , in some cases).
Even worse, when you purchase a modern electronic product, its accompanying “End User License Agreement” is likely to restrict on your ability to tinker with the little scamp. There is a school of thought that says: “If you aren’t allowed to fiddle with it, then you don’t really own it.” So many people feel this way that many US states are currently considering so-called “Right to Repair” legislation.
Why am I waffling on about this here? Well, I'm sure we're all familiar with iFixit.com, which bills itself as: “The free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” Sad to relate, fewer people are aware of iFixit.org, which is dedicated to the principle: “We Have the Right to Repair Everything We Own.”
The thing is that I just heard the CEO of iFixit, Kyle Wiens, will be giving one of the keynotes at the forthcoming Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Silicon Valley, which is to be held December 5-8, 2017, at the San Jose Convention Center (check out the full conference schedule).
Ken's keynote presentation is titled Right to Repair Hardware Showdown: iFixit Takes You Inside Apple's iPhone 8 . During his talk, Kyle will discuss the Right to Repair as he tears down Apple's iPhone 8, uncovering its cutting-edge AR (augmented reality) sensor, and comparing it to the competition while discussing the tradeoffs and decisions made by Apple's product designers.
I don’t know about you, but I — for one — cannot wait. Will you be attending ESC Silicon Valley? If so, perhaps I'll see you at Kyle's keynote. Happily, this will be open to anyone to attend so long as they are flaunting a Free Expo Pass, but you do have to register. I'll be the one in the Hawaiian shirt. As always, all you have to do is shout “Max, Beer!” or “Max, Bacon!” to be assured of my undivided attention.