Teardown Introduction Guide

July 6, 2009 Events, Teardowns — Miro

We gave our technical writers free rein and told them to “come up with something funny” as an introduction to our new teardown system. Their training at the German School of Technical Writing* did not help at all (as the trainers managed to take out all the funny bones out our writers’ bodies). Yet we managed, through various iterations, to have them write a guide that is somewhat-hilarious. We linked to this guide when we announced our new teardown platform, but we felt it deserved its own post.

The teardown introduction guide points out the most effective method known to man for obtaining a gadget: camping in front of the store.**  It also goes through the intricacies of purchasing the gadget and opening the box. Very exciting stuff.

The guys also managed to spend almost six hours taking photos for the final picture, and another four hours editing them in PhotoShop.*** It turns out it’s super hard to impose a green background and black out the people, all the while keeping the iPod headphones white. Eventually they figured out a suitable technique and succeeded in their endeavors.

We applaud them for their efforts, and hope they enjoy being unemployed.****

The fine print:

*No such school exists, to the best of our knowledge. We apologize in advance if there actually is a German School of Technical Writing.

**That may or may not be the most effective method.

***Total time was closer to four hours.

****No tech writers were fired or harmed while making this guide.

Kyle’s Interview with Macworld UK

June 29, 2009 Events — Miro

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit

We mentioned in our iPhone 3GS post that Kyle went all the way to London to obtain the new iPhone. He was, in fact, doing the teardown in the Macworld UK offices!

The great folks at Macworld UK lent us a table and lights, not to mention a portion of their office, for our teardown. Knowing prices in London, just renting the space alone would have cost several thousand dollars, which they provided for no charge!

As part of tearing down the iPhone 3GS, MacVideo’s (Macworld’s sister site) Rick Young recorded a video interview with Kyle. During the interview, they show snippets of how we perform our teardown from the other side of the camera. Viewers are able to get a good idea on the inner workings of iFixit, all the while listening to Rick’s and Kyle’s great chat about several topics.

Posting Your First Teardown

June 5, 2009 Events — Miro

Our teardown platform has been a huge hit, and we wanted to take a break from reading all the wonderful stories about it to tell you a bit about how it actually works. We realized that although we’ve used the system internally for years (and have gotten to know the ins and outs of using it), it may be a bit daunting the first time you use our tools to write a teardown.

Each teardown starts with an introduction, where you enter basic information about the device: its name, an introductory paragraph discussing what you’re going to do, and tools required for the job (if any). Two additional options allow you to mark a teardown as “In Progress,” which you should uncheck once you’re done with the whole teardown, and “Unpublished,” which essentially hides the teardown from public view until it is complete. Once you’ve written your introduction, save it and start adding steps! You can always go back and change the introduction later.

A teardown step is just a photo and a few text bullets. You can batch upload images and then modify them in our image editor, which allows you to crop the image to 4:3 aspect ratio (if the image is not already the correct ratio) as well as add markers. We use circles and rectangles to highlight certain areas of the image (like a relevant screw or connector). The markers are usually related to a written bullet point. For example, if you circle a Phillips screw with a red circle on the picture, then you should use a red X bullet for your text instructing the user to remove a Phillips screw.

Show off your writing skills by writing concisely and clearly explaining what you find inside the device. Once the step is finished, save it and start writing the next one!

Publishing a teardown on our platform is actually quite easy. The hardest thing is often disassembling the device itself, but we’ll leave that part to you. For more information, we’ve also put online some guidelines for creating a teardown, a teardown FAQ, and a fun look at what writing a teardown entails. If you get stuck, feel free to email us or leave a note!

Site Launch: User-Submitted Teardowns!

June 4, 2009 Events, Site News — Miro

We are launching a new user-driven teardown platform today. Our new online teardown creation tools allow anyone to easily author and publish teardown guides, complete with disassembly photos and technical details.

www.iFixit.com/Teardown

iFixit uses a powerful home-grown documentation tool to write our repair manuals. Over the years that software has developed into a fast and efficient way to publish the Mac teardowns that we create. Our hardware teardowns and analysis have become world-renowned for providing a first look inside new hardware.

Tons of people have asked us to publish their teardowns to our audience. This demand helped us realize the importance of releasing this platform for everyone, so we spent the last year polishing our tool and making it robust enough for anyone to create teardowns free of charge.

In the past we’ve focused primarily on Apple devices, but we’ve recently expanded and published a number of non-Apple teardowns. Our recent teardowns of the Nintendo DSi, Amazon Kindle 2, and Dell Adamo were massively popular and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. The deviation from writing Mac teardowns foreshadowed today’s epic announcement. We hope that people use our flexible teardown platform to create teardowns of devices of all kinds, not just Apple products.

We keep our website running fast. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two about handling large spikes in server traffic. Thanks to cloud computing, RightScale, and Amazon EC2, today we’re able to dynamically scale our capacity to meet demand.

Writing a teardown is simple, and we wrote a step-by-step guide to show people how it’s done.

We are also proud to announce our first user-generated teardowns. Using our tool, PhoneWreck.com has republished their detailed cell phone teardowns and circuit analysis.

We are absolutely thrilled to be launching our new site. This platform has been a labor of love for a long time, and we’re excited to see what tinkerers all over the world create with it. Join us, and show the world what’s inside your gadgets!

Bay Area Volunteers Needed

May 5, 2009 Events — Miro

Maker Faire is around the corner, and we’re still in need of volunteers for our repair sections. We’re looking for experts in the automotive, motorcycle, appliance, bicycle, and electronics repair fields!

As a volunteer, you will help people with problems within your area of expertise, but also get a chance to talk to other experts and resolve some problems you might be having!

As mentioned in our earlier blog post, we will provide you with free Maker Faire admission, a pass to the invite-only “Maker to Maker” event on Friday, and other cool perks (such as an iFixit t-shirt!).

Volunteering is easy. Send an email to MakerFaire@iFixit.com and include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Contact info (phone number, address)
  • Area of expertise (cars, computers, etc.)
  • Any specific interests or cool things you’ve fixed
  • Availability for either May 30th, May 31st, or both

All volunteers should receive an email confirming their volunteer status within a week. Volunteers will be assigned one or more shifts depending on their preferences and availability

We are updating our Maker Faire 2009 section with the latest news — check periodically for additional information. Please email us with any questions, and let us know as soon as possible if you can contribute to this awesome event!

New iFixit T-Shirts!

April 29, 2009 Events — Miro

Fix Macs Yourself!

With Maker Faire around the corner, we decided to offer a new t-shirt to the masses. The shirt encourages you to fix Macs yourself with a variety of tools, although we’d prefer you to limit yourself to the screwdriver when doing actual repairs. We’re selling them for $9.95 plus whatever it costs to get the shirt to you. However, the first ten people that send us an email will get an all-expenses-paid trip to their mail box to pick up their free t-shirt! (The shirt is free for everyone in the U.S.; however, anyone outside the U.S. needs to cover the shipping price difference.) This is our small thank-you for reading the blog and being super-awesome by extending the life of your Mac. Note: We’ve now given away all the stirts, thanks for your interest.

Have a cool iFixit t-shirt design in mind? Want to let the world know how much you like repairing Macs? Post a comment and let us know!

iPhone Cake!

April 28, 2009 Events — Miro

Recently two of our team members had birthdays just days apart from one another. We’re not sure how this happened, since last year their birthdays were about four months apart. However, we go by the honor system around here, so who are we to argue? (This has been Dave’s third birthday this year, so we think we know who the culprit is.)

Both Dave and Chris are avid iPhone users, and a staff member’s wife decided to do something super-special for this rare occasion. To fully honor their birthdays, she made a cake that looked like an iPhone! It was a sight to behold, and the highlight of the party. No detail was spared: she expertly drew a frosting battery indicator, Home button, clock, and a green chat box. The only grossly incorrect part of the cake was the number of signal bars. iPhone users were lucky to get a bar, let alone the four bars drawn on the cake, in the particular location where the party was held. But that’s ok, the cake was drawn correctly at its originating location (although some of the staffers felt that the bars should have been erased once the cake arrived to the party). Oh well, perhaps next year — or in a couple of months, when Dave decides it’s his birthday again.

We’re hoping Apple does not own a patent on iPhone cakes. Apple, please don’t sue us, we don’t sell iPhone cakes.

Care to share your Apple-related cake stories? Know for a fact that Apple owns a patent on iPhone cakes? Leave a comment and tell us so we can pull this photo!

Calling All Tinkerers

April 2, 2009 Events, Site News — Kyle Wiens
Maker Faire 2009

Maker Faire is the world's largest DIY festival

iFixit is hosting the brand-new repair section of Maker Faire 2009! We’re going to show the masses how to fix all sorts of things, and we need your help.

The theme of the repair section is going to be “Fix the World.” We’re looking for volunteers to share their repair knowledge. We want to show the world that with the right information, materials, and a little time, you can repair just about anything. Are you an expert in automobile repair? Do you know how to fix a wide variety of washer and dryer problems? Is your gift building bicycles from scratch? Then iFixit wants YOU!

The repair section will feature areas for appliances, computers, automobiles, motorcycles, consumer electronics, bicycles, and other cool stuff we’re working on. If you have experience fixing things and would like free admission to Maker Faire, admission to the invite-only “Maker to Maker” event on Friday, and some other cool perks, please sign up as an iFixit volunteer!

We’re going to schedule volunteers in shifts so you won’t have to help out all weekend. You will definitely have time to see the rest of the Faire! You will be helping people with their problems, showing off cool ways of diagnosing and repairing failed devices, and generally having a good time. The more people we are able to help, the richer the experience will be for everyone.

To volunteer, send an email to MakerFaire@iFixit.com and include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Contact info (phone number, address)
  • Area of expertise (cars, computers, etc.)
  • Any specific interests or cool things you’ve fixed
  • Availability for either May 30th, May 31st, or both

Deadlines:

  • Volunteer registration opened on April 2, 2009. Space is limited, so please send us an email as soon as possible.
  • Volunteer registration closes on May 15th, 2009.

All volunteers should receive an email confirming their volunteer status within a week. Volunteers will be assigned one or more shifts depending on their preferences and availability.

We will be updating our Maker Faire 2009 section with the latest news — check periodically for additional information.  Please email us with any questions, and let us know as soon as possible if you can contribute to this wonderful event!

iFixit Hosts Local Tech Brew

March 23, 2009 Events — Miro

We don’t usually write about local news, but we recently hosted such a fun event that we had to share our experience.

iFixit is proudly based in the Central Coast of California — about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. We’re located here not just because the geography is amazing, but also because of the vibrant (and fun) local business and technology community. One event that we really enjoy attending is the San Luis Obispo Tech Brew, an informal monthly meeting of locals at Mother’s Tavern.

This month we hosted the Tech Brew meeting. We asked everyone to dig their old iPods out of their hiding places in drawers and closet shelves, with the intent of giving them a new life by replacing the battery. We brought a bunch of free iPod batteries and laptops for viewing our online repair guides.

The repair session was a smashing success! Six people successfully repaired their iPods: three iPod Minis, a 3rd Generation, a 4th Generation, and a Photo. The most enthusiastic person at the event was a daughter of one of attendees, who brought her iPod Photo. The iPod had been completely comatose for over a year, and had been stashed in the back of her dresser drawer. We told her that it was easy to repair, but that she’d have to fix it herself. She didn’t hesitate for a moment; she grabbed some iPod opening tools and immediately started cracking open her iPod. Luke helped by pulling up the instructions and pointing out the tricky parts.

Eight-year-old showing off her awesome iPod disassembly skills

Eight-year-old showing off her awesome iPod disassembly skills.

Success! An empowered young lady showing off the iPod she resurrected.

Success! An empowered young lady showing off the iPod she resurrected.

Swapping the battery in these Minis only took these iPod novices about 20 minutes.

Swapping Mini batteries took these novices 20 minutes.

 Kyle talking to Kenny, another local entrepreneur.

Kyle talks to Kenny, another local entrepreneur.