Meet The Machinists Who Keep the New York Times Running is a short video from Motherboard. The video initiates a new series, State of Repair, which will look at the work involved in keeping legacy industrial infrastructure functioning.
Australian luthier Stephen Gilchrist explains how he went about restoring Gibson F5 Mandolin #70281, the first such Gibson instrument to be signed by Lloyd Loar on June 1, 1922. [more inside]
Bikepedia contains detailed bicycle specifications dating back to 1993, for all your bicycle building and selecting purposes. The site also has a broader catalog of related gear, and a stolen bike registry. But if you want a ton of information about bikes, which parts to pick and how to maintain them, Sheldon Brown's (memorial*) website is still a key resource, and it's being updated all the time. [more inside]
Manufacturers have made it increasingly difficult for individuals or independent repair people to fix electronics. A growing movement is fighting back. -- The Fight for the "Right to Repair"
"The most unappreciated and undervalued forms of technological labour are also the most ordinary: those who repair and maintain technologies that already exist, that were ‘innovated’ long ago....We can think of labour that goes into maintenance and repair as the work of the maintainers, those individuals whose work keeps ordinary existence going rather than introducing novel things." Innovation is overrated: "Hail the Maintainers," an essay by Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell.
The Last of the Typewriter Men: “Years ago, if you looked at the yellow pages, there were six pages of typewriter companies in Manhattan. Now, there’s us.” [more inside]
Master Technician Service Conference Films - Chrysler's Training for Mechanics. These materials were sent to each MoPar (Chrysler Products) dealer's repair department every month from 1948 through at least the late 1970's. They covered a different topic each month, and they were written to educate the simplest of minds. Now they are an invaluable resource for people wanting to maintain their classic Chrysler car. [more inside]
"Re-Do Studio is a design studio founded by two friends Gaspard Tine-Beres and Tristan Kopp. They are dedicated to investigating alternative ways of production with the aim of shortening the cycle between the final consumer and the manufacturer." [more inside]
When the painting of an Old Master starts cracking and flaking off, what is the best way to make it good? Should we reverently pick up the flakes of paint and surreptitiously glue them back on again? Is it honest to display a Raphael held together with PVA glue? When Renaissance paint fades or discolours, should we touch it up to retain at least a semblance of what the artist intended, or surrender to wabi-sabi?
The Verge talks with current and former Comcast employees about life as a Comcast repair/install technician. [more inside]
For more than half a century, pallet futurists have announced the next big thing, only to see the basic wooden variety remain the workhorse of global logistics. Pallets, previously.
The Restart Project encourages community engagement in repairing broken electronic equipment. This one year old charity enables "restart parties" which bring together consumers with broken electronic equipment and volunteer repairers, in an attempt to address our modern culture of "passive, flabby consumers of technology". When recycling is the second best option.
Major bicycle tools manufacturer Park Tool maintains a neatly sorted bevy of repair, maintenance and technical information articles. Their lead mechanic Calvin runs a video channel that includes -- among many other things -- on-the-road bicycle repair tips. Even more bike info (new bike assembly procedures, road and mountain bike positioning charts, thread concepts, drive train troubleshooting, etc.) is available on the miscellaneous topics page. Don't forget to check out the bicycle mechanics language spreadsheet!
"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
'Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the alternative “better than new” aesthetic—that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value' - on kintsugi, the art of beautiful repair. [more inside]
This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. - Wired.com "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground"
Holey sweater? Fixed! Use a piece of foam, some wool and a felt needle. No knitting skills required.
During the second quarter of fiscal 2009, NVIDIA recorded a $196 million charge against cost of revenue to cover anticipated customer warranty, repair, return, replacement and associated costs arising from a weak die/packaging material set in certain versions of our previous generation MCP and GPU products used in notebook systems. "The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status and want the graphics firm to pay “unspecified damages” as well as replace the faulty chips. Interestingly, those behind the lawsuit all had an HP, Dell, or Apple laptop". Mar 1, 2007 this problem was made known.
Kyle Wiens of iFixit talks to ArsTechnica about iFixit's history ("my iBook G3...It seemed crazy that I couldn't find any information online on how to get the thing back together"), his goals ("we realized that the world needed free, open source service manuals, and the manufacturers weren't stepping up"), planned obsolescence, the dirty tricks manufacturers pull to make it harder to repair your own stuff ("Torx has a patent...They're using lawyers to prevent people from making their computers last longer than 3-400 battery cycles"), who are the design kings of repair and servicing, who the villains are, and why recycling electronics isn't all you'd probably like it to be.
Feeling nostalgic for all that old, broken "junk" you tossed out? "The wizards of obsolete" can help you to not make the same mistake again.
Hackspaces are open resources for community, group, or solo work on digital media, electronics, robotics, and art installations. Many allow drop-ins, and are run on a voluntary, non-profit basis - there’s likely one near you. Just want to repair something by yourself? iFixit, previously known for their teardowns of Apple products, have launched an open wiki to create manuals on how to repair everything from vehicles to household appliances.
Year: 2025. Mission: Save Moonbase Alpha after critical systems were damaged by a meteor strike. A free Steam-powered 3D-immersive game from NASA. Windows only.
How to Get Rid of Things — a do-it-yourself guide dedicated to helping you prevent, eliminate or remove common annoyances from your life. For example: How to Get Rid of Voles. "Once you have the vole in hand, simply squeeze until you hear the pop." [more inside]
A Real Doll "doctor" gives an interview, describing the art of patching up the dolls and questioning their treatment by their owners.
The Dartmouth College Library hosts a Simple Book Repair Manual, which teaches you how to repair common problems such as torn pages and wet books. For more complicated procedures, the Alaska State Library put together a training manual, with illustrations of repair procedures. (Full PDF here.) There is also a book conservation dictionary hosted by the Stanford conservation department, which explains many of the terms used.
The Bicycle Tutor is a site with lots of video tutorials designed with a sole purpose; to teach you how to fix your own bicycle. [via mefi projects]
Using a computer set to auto-screencast, The Consumerist catches a Geek Squad technician copying porn from a client's computer to a thumbdrive, and they've got video and logfiles (CSV) to prove it. Also, the Geek Squad CEO responds, and an anonymous Geek Squad tech confesses that this is not an uncommon practice: "stealing customers' nudie pics was an easter egg hunt." Consumerist users suggest that this practice might not be limited to Geek Squad. Via.
New Orleans City Ordinance #26031 --...those who have not been able to make the necessary repairs to their battered homes by August 29th risk having their property seized and bulldozed by the city.... Bush says today: Katrina Repair Will Take Time, but time's up for many New Orleans residents. (more here from ACORN, who has been trying to help save homes there)
Bring dead LCD pixels back to life! Did you know you can often fix dead LCD pixels by forcing them to rapidly cycle through red, green, and blue? Neither did I, but the video linked here worked on one of my older screens after a few hours of looped playback. YMMV, but what have you got to lose?
Chicago Rat Patrol. No, not this kind of rat patrol; for this crew, rat spotting is just a sideline. What these guys skulk in alleys for, though, is discarded bike parts to kludge, especially in strange and unexpected proportions. Most of them work. As a result of their experiments, they're attuned to the kitbashed contraptions used by (mostly) economically marginal folk. Additionally, or superfluously, they're sort of anarchist anti-corporate critical-mass types. Updated until almost a year ago. Note: Geocities site. Tread lightly. And stay away from the "Rodeo" link, where there's a quicktime video, until tomorrow.
Toiletology 101. Everything you wanted to know but were too busy to ask.
Why does it take so long to mend an escalator? Incisive article which seems to be metaphorically demonstrating the difficulties in repairing society's ills through the voices of mechanical engineering. "The chinks in an escalator's armour are the spaces between step and step, step and wall, and comb plate and step. That is where a shoelace, a scarf, a child's finger or a foot can get caught - which is bad for travellers - and where small hard objects, dragged along and forced between cleats and comb plate, can chew up the aluminium steps, which is punishing for the machine."
Photographers: Consider do-it-yourself lens repair - but remember those safety glasses.