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Right to Repair off to the races in 2021 with 14 active states (uspirg.org)
313 points by CharlesW 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 98 comments

While following the same goal, France's trying a different approach: a repair score [1] that will be stamped on products:

Concretely, a grade out of 10 will be added to the labels of washing machines, laptops, smartphones, TVs and lawn mowers. This score will be calculated based on criteria such as: ease of disassembly, price and availability of spare parts and access to repair information.

No new market rule but a more informed consumer. I thought you guys would like this "free-market makes-best-decisions" gov lobbying.

Hope it won't end as the precedent: we got a "healthy-score" on most food products -which is great- but the cheese lobby put much effort to gets special rules as salt and fat would give them an awful grade [2]

1: https://repair.eu/fr/news/french-repairability-index-what-to...

2: https://www.santepubliquefrance.fr/content/download/150263/f...

You're assuming the average consumer thinks far enough ahead to care about a repairability score. The average American has become conditioned to their electronic devices being disposable. Most wouldn't even know where to go if they did have something repairable if the original manufacturer won't fix it.

We absolutely need BOTH to bring back small electronics repair shops (yes I know you can still find them but they're exceedingly rare compared to 30 years ago).

Cost of quality labor in the US where I live is more than $100 per hour. Probably even more for specialized electronics requiring academic knowledge.

It doesn’t behoove me to care about repairing any electronic worth less than $5k probably. Any decent brand lasts so long and the ratio of probability of failure to cost to replace is so low that it’s just not worth it.

When something breaks, the decision is to spend $x to fix versus $x+$y to buy new. I’m not buying electronics to last more than 10 years, the protocols and everything are going to change anyway. I might as well buy new and get an update rather than fix old and be stuck with old tech.

High value purchases on the other hand make sense, since a few thousand dollar fix for a $30k to $50k car might be worth it compared to buying another $30k to $50k car.

Consider the farmer with a combine or 4 wheel drive tractor at $250K..$350K per unit.

And the crops need to come off this week or we loose $2.5M but the company says ship it to Kansas city for repair so we can upload the new software...

Yes, that clearly needs to be addressed.

That calculation is definitely an important consideration but "reparability" does not have to mean "keep an outdated machine running indefinitely".

Reparability includes design that enables troubleshooting.

For example: Run the "$x to fix versus $x+$y" on a non-functional fridge. A fridge designed for repair might have a thumb-screw panel for access to the logic board with clearly labeled test pads for fuse continuity. This (or other, similar repair-friendly designs) would allow you to more easily determine the value of "x" and more accurately assess whether "x" is small enough to make repair the more viable option.

My assumption would be if manufacturers are forced into making things more repairable, it would by virtue make them easier to recycle.

When things are glued together, you generally have to break them apart, which contaminates different types of materials making recycling significantly more difficult.

Maybe I'm just being too optimistic but I don't know how human society continues down the path of pulling raw materials out of the ground, turning it into a "device" which is then just thrown away. There is a finite amount of material on the planet, and most of the things we're throwing away end up quite toxic when buried indefinitely. I won't have to worry about it, or my grandchildren, or maybe even 5 generations from now, but it's a question of when, not if.

What if right to repair lowers the barrier to entry so much that low cost labor can do the repair instead?

Yeah I know it is overused but it is not difficult to imagine a "Uber for repairs".

Maybe they don't care about repairability that much, but I DO think people compare labels and specs and other things to death when shopping. (but yeah, the pricetag might rule)

It's a shame this trade is dying. Electronic repairs is such a fun job, but most new equipment is designed as disposable.

I fear that that will be "Californiaed" like with the prop 65 label. The intention was to inform the consumer if a product was dangerous, but due to California being California, that label is on basically every product and that label has now lost its meaning.

The equivalent for the california labels of "this might give you cancer" would be something like "you might be able to replace the battery"

At least I would hope the french scores / standards would be objective enough to be useful.

if california had a "cancer scale" or something it would be more useful than it is today. Maybe that lead paint is "grade a cancer" but your bed sheets are only a "grade d cancer" i dunno.

I think a repairability label is less likely to get bucketed into yes or no. A score might be manipulated or skewed.

That said, something like a nutrition or privacy label might be a better fit. For example, if something has a battery, can it be replaced by the user or even replaced at all.

The key to prevent that is to make it something like the IoT label [1] that has been proposed for several years

That was more around security of the devices, but I would like to see a label that covered 4 parameters

1. Security

2. Repariblity

3. Openness / Cloud Dependency / etc

4. Privacy


It seems much easier to demonstrate repariability over "we are 100% sure that nothing in this product causes cancer or increases its risk".

I view this as more similar to energystar in the us, where I can see efficiency of appliances. Or mandatory fuel economy labeling.

>No new market rule but a more informed consumer. I thought you guys would like this "free-market makes-best-decisions" gov lobbying.

I love "give the consumer the tools to make their own decision" solution.

The little bit of .gov lobbying that inevitably sneaks in anyway will create an opening for savvy consumers to save money by buying things that punch above their score (we already have this kind of thing for appliance energy ratings) or by researching scores and figuring out that something is actually highly repairable if you don't mind buying the service literature off some sketchy site you had to use Google Translate on.

The only problem is, this only works if there's enough competition for consumers to have a real choice. If Apple and the 4 (?) largest Android manufacturers all decide they're content with a repairability score of 2, there isn't a whole lot consumers could do, regardless of whether they'd like more repairable devices.

That state is not stable (in game theory sense) though.

At least on Android there's no real vendor lock-in so defecting from "unrepairable" phones will let you eat some portion of competition sales.

And since that doesn’t happen, it means the economics of a repairable phone don’t make any sense.

Another (unlikely, but possible) market exploit is that a large enough supplier could intentionally encourage the existence of lower-quality manufacturers, allowing them to gain trust from consumers who wish to buy (what they believe should be) quality, durable products.

I like the new phones, they pack more tech/power/screen into a nicer package every year. Remember when phones weren't water proof?

Yeah because the majority today isn't.

Considering Apple got a very good score for their newest laptop, this is index is broken my design.

As others commenters point you as a source, we'd love to know your original source ? The ones I found seems to refer to rumors.

> Considering Apple got a very good score for their newest laptop…

Just curious, from who?

iFixIt scored the current MacBook Pro design a "1", and the current MacBook Air design a "3".

The French repair score system mentioned by OP gave the latest Macbook 16" a repair-ability score of 7/10. This unfortunately makes the French approach pretty much useless.

Do you have a source? This could be a mistake. I hope it is a mistake

EDIT: by instead of my

Any scoring system will be aggressively manipulated by billion-dollar corporations, so I'm not sure how effective it will be in the long run. Apparently Apple's laptops already score well, which is a point against the system.

> Concretely, a grade out of 10 will be added to the labels of washing machines, laptops, smartphones, TVs and lawn mowers. This score will be calculated based on criteria such as: ease of disassembly, price and availability of spare parts and access to repair information.

The problem I foresee with this is that the label can only capture information accurate at the time of purchase. By the time you need to repair, probably a few years down the line, and possibly with a different owner, how accurate would that information be? How useful is it to consumers in this case?

Unfortunately this is one of those vanity projects, considering that Apple got a very good repairability score. It's likely a mean to get extra money under the table for assessing the score that could be then used in marketing. I am not saying this is actually happening, but in my opinion it looks like designed for this purpose and it has nothing to do with helping consumers.

Who exactly makes these review score?

I think food grades would be tricky. Just about anything in moderation can be healthy.

If moderation is key then grade them based on how much you can eat without side effects. Bad food would get a low score because it is easy to overeat.

That is highly dependent on the individual (lifestyle, health conditions, family history, etc).

Here in the US, it's sad that this 'campaign' is even necessary. Plenty of people used to make a living doing repairs to TVs, radios, tape and CD players ...

"Our new report finds massive cost savings from repair."

No shit. That's why that used to be the norm. Until some predators-in-training paid Congress to destroy those businesses. And now we need to struggle? to get back what was once obvious and common sense?? Throw-away culture is a disease.

I used to hang out in the back of one of those repair shops, so I remember what they were repairing. There were through-hole components and chips with pin mounts, most armatures were pot metal.

If you looked inside a TV now, you'd see mostly surface mount components, and molded plastic armatures.

There's just not as much to repair anymore, things either work or they don't. I'm not saying it's good or bad, I'm saying there was no conspiracy to drive repair shops out of business, just a general switch to more reliable (yes, more reliable) electronics, which happen to also be less repairable.

White goods are a different story, things like washing machines have been built in an increasingly cynical fashion.

You'd be surprised, I think, just how much can be fixed by indie shops still... Louis Rossmann [1] is pretty well-known around here since he documents everything, but if you watch, he's replacing capacitors that are fractions of the size of a grain of rice on Macbooks all day long.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBAZCUShuU4

> reliable (yes, more reliable) electronics, which happen to also be less repairable.

Why not both?

Who paid congress to destroy TV repair businesses? What did congress do to destroy them?

I don't think it's the throwaway culture; it's amazing to me that we have a society that doesn't see a problem with not understanding the concept of "repair" in general.

People legitimately think that repairing something means to just replace it. People think this.

Glad to see my state (Maryland) on the list. But what does this mean for me if the Bill passes? That Apple can't sell iPhones in Maryland without providing access to schematics and parts needed to perform repairs? Surprised California is not on the list, but makes sense if all the big tech companies are heavily opposed.

Some of the arguments against say “Apple will never make truly repairable phones! If we let these laws pass, they’ll just take those sweet sweet phones away and we won’t be able to buy them anymore!”

But, realistically it will probably mean that Apple gets some sort of “temporary” thing in place that lets them circumvent the law until such point that they do the bare minimum to be able to convince lawmakers that “See? We’re doing good. Certainly you can change the law just a little so that we’re allowed to do that. Right?”

Could it be that Apple's latest "repair support" effort was a way to get ahead of these rulings?

I wouldn't be surprised if the laws couldn't be adhered by Apple by simply enhancing their repair certification/support process.

That or, possibly more ominous, if John Deere/Apple could simply make a brute force effort to have judiciary overturn the laws when they're challenged in court.

I am very confident that Apple would rather make repair schematics available than halt iPhone sales in 14 states.

What's not repairable about a modern phone?

Anything is repairable if you've got the tools and the know-how, but things like glue instead of screws are hostile to user repairs.

I've had to open a Surface that wasn't booting to recover data from the SSD and the adhesive on the screen was so strong I had to snap pieces of glass off with a screwdriver to get to it. Even the photos in the iFixit guide showed fractures in the screen. Heat guns only get you so far with some of these glues, and solvents can damage the plastics.

The glue probably saves so many phones from water damage.

A lot of electronics are potted in epoxy or something similar, true, but things like conformal coatings and/or rubber seals are actually much more common. Industrial equipment often needs to be both repairable and water/dustproof and uses these methods.

Screen assemblies, circuitry, batteries, etc. Both Apple and Samsung have moved to serialized chips/circuits to lock out 3rd party replacement (even if the part is identical). Folks have done swaps of OEM components to different iPhones and they don't just fail - they sporadically glitch. [1] It's categorically anti-consumer behavior.

They also often buy up proprietary access to caps, ICs, and other mainboard components so none are available to the 3rd party market. Independent computer repair shops have to tear down old (non-serialized) machines or rely on parts from questionable origin to even be able to attempt repair.

[1] https://www.ifixit.com/News/45921/is-this-the-end-of-the-rep...

Lots of phones have:

* designs that have to be cracked open with a significant chance of damage

* glue or seals that can't easily be undone/redone

* hard to get replacement parts

* software lockouts

* permanently locked bootloaders even when they stop getting security patches

Aside from the last two points, aren't a lot of these the result of progressing the state of the art? To get a fast SOC that has all the gizmos and gadgets and fits in a small, waterproof container you have to make some unsavory design decisions.

Schematics, availability of parts.

This is what I can’t figure out.

My understanding is that DMCA precludes cracking DRM or even sharing information on how to do the same, so in the case of digital repairs, does that mean DMCA takes precedence over right-to-repair if a particularly stubborn OEM applies DRM to their digital systems?

It would depend on the wording of the Right to Repair law

Most of them are placing a burdern on the Manufacturer of the products to release tools, documentations, parts, etc that allow independent repair, this type of right to repair would not in anyway be in conflict with DMCA, as DMCA allows manufacturers to release tools to "circumvent" their own production, what is illegal is a 3rd party releasing a tool with out manufacture/copyright holder agreement

Most state level right to repair laws say "Fine if you want to sell a device that does not allow for independent repair you product is not welcome in this state"

Thus no conflict with DMCA

> "Fine if you want to sell a device that does not allow for independent repair you product is not welcome in this state"

There's still a lot of wiggle-room in there - Apple, for example, could argue that they're fine with "repair" being for things like replacing "dumb" iPhone components like the display and battery, but because the T2 security chip is an encapsulated, irreducible, atomic, component of the phone that being non-repairable is a design feature as that's how it protects the user's private data (and Apple's DRM...) they shouldn't be legally compelled to release the details of the T2 chip.

...or something.

I think most people would be fine with having a certain set of parts that could be repaired. I'm not sure how many people need to have their T2 security chip replaced as opposed to say their microphone, display, rear camera, battery etc.

You could probably cover a big chunk of the most common repairs without having to crack open or tamper with Apple's proprietary software like the T2.

That alone would be a huge win for the right to repair movement.

Yeah, plus if apple or other companies with secret security chips gave repair shops a way to buy these chips from apple or a module that would come from apple that is easily replaceable but tamper proof. That would be cool. We don't need to have all the details on the T2 chip just make it modular and easily replaceable. Loss of data is OK but if I can take my T2 chip to a different phone with a different screen that would be good.

I think this is more of an issue of sustainability. I wish that there would be some system where each product that is put on the market would have to provide a sustainability analysis, and pay more/less taxes depending on this rating. This analysis could be something like "what happens to the materials after it becomes obsolete?", "how long is it going to last under normal usage?", "How biodegradable is the packaging?", etc.. This would force companies to actively look for ways to improve this rating, and hopefully lead to better practices overall.

Some products are just too difficult to repair, or just pointless to repair past a certain age as they become obsolete (like a phone). But they can be safely and cost effectively be recycled in bulk.

Glad to see New York here. Hasn’t been the best year in NY, but the state does largely seem to have its act together.

I think you can thank Louis Rossmann for that - he spent a good amount of time traveling around the NE US actively arguing for RtR in front of governments (local and larger)

Louis is an OG in that regard. He's been lobbying for this for a long time. I'm glad to see all of his hard work has not been in vein and progress is finally being made.

People just can't get their heads wrapped around the efficiency of industrialization.

Repairing stuff is an expert dedicating 30 minutes or more (often more) to your gadget. (sometimes that expert might be you yourself - it still remains true).

In the same time, factory drones can produce hundreds of the same gadget.

Naturally, the time of the expert is much more expensive than simply buying a new gadget.

This "right to repair" is romanticized nonsense, like the idea of everybody growing their own food.

Not that I don't like the idea of being able to repair my own things. I even think one should try occasionally, just so that one doesn't become totally stupid.

But to claim it is somehow a common good and betterment of society is nonsense. The opposite is true. Devices will now become more expensive for everybody, because companies have to jump through hoops to make them repairable, even though hardly anybody will actually repair them.

If you want to tinker, or grow your own food, get a Raspberry Pi or a little tomato plant for your balcony

Also, if you are worried about the environment, perhaps recycling laws make more sense, or more specifically, producers being responsible for the proper disposal of their devices. Would have to consider the upsides and downsides, though.

I understand the efficiency of industrialization.

The problem is that the manufacturing of electronic devices has a lot of impact on our planet because of the required resources both in terms of energy and precious metals, and because of the growing pile of e-waste, and none of this is priced into our cheap gadgets.

Repairable devices means devices that live longer, which means less environmental impact, there’s nothing romantic about that.

From an environmental perspective, repair is also preferable to recycling, because reuse tends to be much less resource intensive than recycling.

It doesn't mean devices live longer. Only a fraction of them break, and especially with electronics never versions are strictly better than older versions. Most people buy newer iPhone because their old ones have become too slow, not because they are broken.

And I think you are wrong about the economics of repairing vs recycling.

In both cases, it also depends on the market demand.

If people want to repair their stuff so much, why don't any companies come forward with repairable products? Some do (Fairphone, I guess), but it doesn't seem to be a huge success.

In any case, anybody who really wanted to could see to buying only repairable things. What is the point in offering people who don't want to to do the same?

I think people just want the same iPhone they have now, with additional "repairale" property. That is not going to happen. The repairable iPhone will be thicker and less elegant than the non-repairable iPhone (compare iPhone to Fiarphone). And suddenly people are not buying it anymore.

> I think people just want the same iPhone they have now, with additional "repairale" property. That is not going to happen. The repairable iPhone will be thicker and less elegant than the non-repairable iPhone (compare iPhone to Fiarphone). And suddenly people are not buying it anymore.

You're going from one extreme to the other. You could for example require Apple to provide access to their spare parts supply chain (replacement batteries, screens, maybe some key ICs that regularly fail, etc.) to independent repair shops. This would greatly increase the repairability and decrease electronics waste. Right now, many repairs aren't possible simply because you can't find parts, or because customs will block your parts from entering the US, or even because Apple has decided that only they can have the tools to pair a new home button with your current device.

If the goal is to reduce consumption in order to reduce pollution, then simply raise taxes. No need to make it more complicated. Keep raising the tax until consumption is reduced to desired levels.

> Repairable devices means devices that live longer,

Is there proof of this for tiny devices with tons of integrated chips and processors requiring specialized equipment and knowledge to fix?

I think there is an unspoken part to "reduce consumption", "without decreasing the comfort of living". Decreasing individuals' buying power is about as good a solution to consumption as "don't give people enough food to feed their kids" is to overpopulation.

> Is there proof of this for tiny devices with tons of integrated chips and processors requiring specialized equipment and knowledge to fix?

Well, you could say that when a device breaks, it will either get discarded or repaired, so repairability can only be a net positive. It's debatable whether repairability will actually prolong the lifespan for things like headphones, where everything is tiny and will wear down eventually, and monitors, where most of the money goes into an irreparable LCD panel anyway.

I'm convinced, though, that phones and notebooks are expensive and "modular" enough that repairs with proper replacement part availability would be cost-effective.

>I think there is an unspoken part to "reduce consumption", "without decreasing the comfort of living". Decreasing individuals' buying power is about as good a solution to consumption as "don't give people enough food to feed their kids" is to overpopulation.

Attaching a fantasy requirement to real world constraints serves no purpose.

Reducing population does attain the goal of reducing consumption. Reducing people’s ability to take honeymoons to Tahiti reduces consumption. Reducing people’s ability to drive large vehicles to take the kids to school and go shopping for groceries reduces consumption. Reducing people’s ability to live far away from everything, which in turn reduces the amount of energy needed to push all the mass around needed to live far away from everything also reduces consumption.

There is no free lunch.

> I'm convinced, though, that phones and notebooks are expensive and "modular" enough that repairs with proper replacement part availability would be cost-effective.

Are they modular? As far as I understand, everything is getting more and more integrated. Also, compared to the cost of buying new, the cost of labor to fix my MacBook Air or iPhone is far too high where I live. Perhaps if taxes were sufficiently high to make a new laptop or phone more costly to purchase to offset the pollution, then it would make sense.

My point is that reducing how many neat gadgets people can buy will never get anyone's support apart from a few weirdos.

Making products last longer, maybe by forcing repairability, is a more constructive solution that would allow people to have their gadgets while lessening the negative effects of manufacturing them/disposing of them.

I think I understand where you are coming from, I have never changed a laptop's battery even when it was common for them to be replaceable. I have never upgraded a computer component. I have never flashed custom OS to my old smartphone. Mostly because by the time the need arises, the device is too old/slow, etc.

Though the problem is that the issues of unrepairability are moving into high cost professional equipment. Consumers maybe are not willing to repair themselves or pay for repair, because indeed the consumer level devices are relatively cheap and labour is expensive, though it may not be the case on professional equipment or devices.

Your 1000$ professional printer's head dried with ink? Buy whole new printer.

Error from your's 500 000$ tractor's ECU - only a dealer can fix this, which may take months, but you have a one week window for harvesting.

A <cheap device> broke on your car. It costs 50$ in your nearest salvage yard, but you __must__ flash a firmware to match your exact car at dealer for 500$, because only dealers can do it.

This whole "efficiency of industralization" will start to fall apart when industries will start blocking other industries. Farming is super efficient these days - couple of guys with couple of tractors or other farming equipment, will harvest enough food in a week that will eventually feed hundreds of thousands of people. If their super efficient tractor equipment will fail during tight windows of harvest and their equipment provider will say "fuck you" - that whole harvest can be spoiled.

Consider John Deere tractors or other automobiles, to start. Also $500+ phones and computers.

Also, right to repair generally includes right to modify and customize, e.g. flash your own firmware or so on.

If industrialization is so great it obsoletes repair, why is it cheaper for me to buy a new laptop battery and replace it or even take it to a repair shop, who will replace it for a small fee? Why did my parents have a repairman over multiple times to fix their washing machine instead of buying a new one? And just a few years back, replacing a phone battery was a routine task, not an hour-long specialist job, and phones haven't gotten cheaper.

It seems to me that the things you consider facts don't actually line up with real-world evidence.

Your notebook with replaceable battery is fatter and heavier than the notebook without the replacable battery, and uses more resources, too (additional shell for the battery, cables, connectors...). Also more expensive to built, as it is more complicated (again, connectors, casing... that need to be assembled). Same for your phone.

I have nothing against people buying such things, if that property is important to them. Just don't force it on everybody.

Actually I was talking about an internal battery that's just sold by the manufacturer, hence the reference to a repair shop. Of course, I don't want to dictate to manufacturers that they have to make everything swappable without tools, but just having access schematics, existing repair guides and spare parts would go a long way.

I mostly agree, but I do think more could be done for maintainability and repair-ability.

I used to work in an automobile assembly plant, and even in the plant it is much better to build the vehicle correctly the first time than it is to repair it. On the assembly line, every thing takes one minute or less (ish, depending on line rate). The alternator is bolted to the engine in a minute [0]. The transmission is bolted to the engine in a minute. The doors go on the car in a minute. etc etc. Very few things take longer than a minute. Meanwhile, if you have to change an engine, the first time you know you will have to change it is at the end of the line, when the vehicle is completely assembled, and it takes several hours to remove and replace the engine. In fact, often times the engine is removed at the end of the line, then the vehicle is sent back down the line to meet up with a freshly assembled engine!

So yes, first time production is much, much more time efficient than repair - BUT - Repair and maintenance is a design goal just like any other design goal. Manufacturers care about it some because of warranty costs and resale value and reputation.

Consumers asking for more attention to be paid to those design goals is completely reasonable to me. Unfortunately there is no strong signal of repairability at the time of purchase; whereas there is a strong signal of cost, feature set, and initial quality; thus manufacturers concentrate on those design features (among others, like safety and other legal requirements)

0. The alternator person will also have some other tasks like starting some bolts for the next person down the line. The point is that no single step takes longer than a minute. The very few steps that do take longer than a minute are remarkable and you will see things like the line splitting into two, or the 4 of the same process cell working round robin on cars as they go down the line.

> Unfortunately there is no strong signal of repairability at the time of purchase;

This signal need not exist, because the superseding signal of “is this device worth fixing” precludes it. For some things, the cost to fix is not low enough compared to the cost to buy new.

For a car, the cost to fix is low enough compared to the cost to buy new. For a a household electronic device, the cost to fix is not low enough.

There's some meta-analysis, perspective, that I think Cory Doctorow captured very well on this topic, broadly, recently. "Descartes' God has failed and Thompson's Satan rules our computers"[1] is the true fact of the day, describes the hell-hole shit-crap reality we have been forced into via extremely aggressive IP rules & enforcement. Corporatism pushing ever-diminishing legal & ethos-based respect for humanity keeps making victory after victory, against humankind's ability not (just) to repair, but to understand, to be in contact with, to learn about the world about them. Corporate machinehood has permission to dictate that the user know nothing, learn nothing, understand nothing, be merely reduced to an end-user. This is poison, at the deepest level an abject violation of the spirit & virtue of the fundamental birthright of man- the tool maker- to learn & develop & improve their environment. The new equation of computing turns us into animals, mere users of what is. It is vile. A right to repair is such a basic, fundamental expression, of our right to continue, to avoid loss, but the real battle is so much larger, so much about whether corporations are allowed to control & own understanding, or whether mankind is permitted an ongoing say & understanding of the artifacts that fill our world. Man became great upon a backbone of natural science, but science of the artificial is prevented by law.

Props to Cory, for, as usual, calibrating us & driving us towards some very common very basic sense.

[1] https://pluralistic.net/2020/12/05/trusting-trust/#thompsons...

"the hell-hole shit-crap reality"

Yeah, those iPhones and MacBooks are such shit, really. What a hellish world to live in.

It is dehumanizing to me that we have invented legal & technical systems that reverse the historical trend, of man, the learner, man the toolmaker, man the natural scientist, who understands more & more of the world about them.

We have created proprietary knowledge, proprietary systems, that are massively popular, ubiquotously used, that none of us are allowed to nor can understand or learn about.

I am in awe, have huge respect for the hight heights of this high technology that we have arisen towards. But, for the first time, it feels like it is captivated wonder. And unlike something complex like a train or airplane, this high tech is deeply deeply fundamental to our everyday life, reshapes our reality immensely. And it is a hell, forever boiling & changing around us, that we can not see, can not understand, have no access to, no ability to learn about these deeply propietary bits of tech that are all around us, that we spend so much time enmeshed in.

It is a philosophical violation of the spirit of humankind, of the highest order.

These modern systems are just extremely complex, created by the combined energy of many, many people. But nature around us is still even more complex, and there are many mechanisms in nature we don't understand (like the human brain). Therefore I don't understand why you consider the technical systems to be especially "hellish".

Even if you Mac is somehow "locked", you can still take an electron microscope to its mainboard and try to understand the circuits and so on. (In theory - in practice, I've just read a modern Ryzen chip consists of billions of transistors, so good luck trying to reverse engineer it).

$330 per year in savings sounds a bit low to me. I can save that much (or more) just with car repairs or maintenance. Even basic household stuff will typically cost $50-100 just for "the guy" to show up.

Seriously. I save a grand easy, every year.

Pretty much do not have people show up and a whole lot can be ordered.

Yep. And this doesn't even count things that you build too. Like a motorized #32 meat grinder that would have cost $800 for only $200.

Yeah, in that respect we live in pretty good times.

Basic household stuff doesn't break every year. And not everybody is qualified to repair that stuff (which happens to be plugged into power outlets).

I personally didn't dare to try to repair my washing machine or dishwashers (beyond cleaning clogged pipes), although I know people who do.

I don't think I've ever had a year where something didn't break or need maintenance. Some things are supposed to be done annually, like flushing your hot water heater. And the anode rod should be replaced as needed too (usually 2-4 years). With the number of devices in most homes, I find it unlikely that something doesn't need maintenance or repair in a year. Not to mention the people with cars.

The point of the right to repair bills is that the useful life of products can be extended through repair. So I guess some people who are always buying new replacements and upgrades would be less likely to need those repairs as many repairs happen later in a product's life.

I've fixed my washer and dryer before. Even just simple things like replacing the belts or resetting the thermal OL switch can be done by anyone, no qualification needed.

There are probably lots of families that don't repair at all.

What if just one state signs a law that says that manufacturer must supply schematics and spare parts to third party repair shops? Wouldn't that essentially make them available across the US? The independent stores would need to get everything via that state of cause, but is there something that would prohibit the movement of parts and schematics across the US?

Steve Jobs is rolling in his grave. After working so hard to make repairing Apple devices a pain... and all that work is being undone.

Do these laws take everything repairable into consideration? Last I read, farmers were getting bent over by their farming equipment makers.

The article points out it farmers as some of the loudest proponents of it.

Because John Deere hates RtR, and combines cost over 250k, are a sweet profitable business, and JD wants to control their market

As more and more electronic components are becoming integrated, how does one decide when a right to repair is being honored vs violated? At what level do parts need to be individually replaceable?

And what happens if a company successfully lobbies to exempt themselves from this? This will just become another form of regulatory capture. It’s not clear to me that there’s a market failure of any kind here.

Well, yes. If regulatory capture happens then it means that regulatory capture happened.

Not sure why you think that it is argument against regulation.

I'm not sure this issue matters. Open many devices today, and you've damaged their case and compromised any environment-proofing they may have had. And who has the pots of sealant and gasket treatments necessary to restore that?

So sure, go ahead and repair your pool pump controller yourself. But be prepared to have it get moisture in the case, have all the contacts turn black and become a wad of worthless corrosion.

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