(A longer version of this post is at my blog)
Think about your microwave or mobile phone. How easy would they be for an average consumer (or perhaps even you), to repair? Very difficult – in fact, stickers on many appliances note that there are “no user-serviceable parts inside”. If you have an iPhone, you’ll notice that it uses special, rare screws that it’s difficult to find a screwdriver for. Even the battery is encased within the phone and impossible to replace without serious intervention.
There are some legitimate reasons for this. Microwaves, for example, probably discourage users from fiddling around with them for product liability reasons – if a user tries to repair their microwave and injures themselves, a small appliance manufacturer wants to be able to say that they told you not to mess with it. But there are also lots of reasons why you should be able to take apart, and perhaps then modify, the things you buy. (more…)