The march of the black boxes

darth vader by Flickr user trustypics

Used on a CC license by Flickr user trustypics

This post was originally published in Electronics Weekly in our new series called Unscrewed.

No doubt about it, tablets and mobiles are getting thinner and harder to open. More parts are glued, fused and soldered together, all in the pursuit of these sleek sealed gadgets.

We’re reminded of an anecdote about the late Steve Jobs, who supposedly took a poor engineer’s prototype of the first iPod, walked to the aquarium, and dropped it in. Air bubbles floated to the surface, and Jobs said “make it smaller”.

This obsession with sleek, thin, sealed black boxes has spread well beyond Apple, and well beyond handheld data-enabled devices.

Recently we’ve started to wonder: are we facing a whole new generation of electronics which even we cannot save during our three hour, fun and free community events? Continue reading

A repairable, hackable lamp named Clyde

In April, I saw an old friend at the Reclaiming Repair workshop in Paris. After years in quite separate directions, Amanda and I marveled at how our projects are related. Hers: a hackable and repairable lamp. Small projects like this help us envision a different future, where we take back ownership of domestic electricals like the loveable lamp.

Amanda’s lamp, named “Clyde” reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, got some great press, and will go into production soon. It’s not too late to pre-order your own!

We interviewed Amanda to learn more and share her inspiring approach. Continue reading

Make, Do, and Make Do!

good for nothing

We had a great time fixing in the midst of a Good For Nothing event on Saturday.

It was one of the first times we were repairing in the middle of another event – the Good For Nothing network of creatives, strategists and developers was at the Forward Foundation helping three very worthy youth organisations in a 48 hour marathon of “doing, not talking”.

And we were there helping to repair sad gadgets in the middle of the doing. For us, the day was not just “make” and “do”, it was also “make do!”

What was most encouraging was the warm reception we received by the Good for Nothing community. Continue reading

Documentary: The Light Bulb Conspiracy

UPDATE: The film will screen again on September, Thursday 13, 6:30pm at UCL – it is a free event.

Tonight the documentary “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” debuts in London at the Open City Documentary Festival. Watch the trailer here and join us at 6:45pm for the screening, plus discussion with Social Innovation Camp afterwards about combating obsolescence.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy (Trailer) from Hans Fleischer on Vimeo.