Warranty expired? If you're a modder, you don't care

I've just read a fascinating piece on Salon.com by BoingBoing co-editor David Peskovitz.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor
I've just read a fascinating piece on Salon.com by BoingBoing co-editor David Peskovitz.

The final piece in a three-part Salon series called "The Big Idea," David's piece examines what Salon's editors call  "important and mind-blowing developments in the world of technology."

David cites six of these developments. One of these, entitled "Maker mind-set: DIY technology," really fired up the ol' "H-m-m" neurons twixt me ears.

His premise is that there's a new generation of modders out there who are not going to embrace consumer electronics manufacturer's planned obsolesence models. Nor will these modders meekly take their gear to the service desk, and worry about whether their warranties will be honored.

Nor are these modders content with the existing feature sets that come with their devices. As David writes:

From modded TiVos to pimped-out Toyota Priuses, these individuals are boldly voiding warranties to tweak, hack and customize the products they buy. It's a duct tape and soldering iron cultural movement that can be summed up as Martha Stewart meets 1950s-era Popular Mechanics magazines. These are tech heads who aren't satisfied with the functionality of the standard-issue iPod so they've figured out how to install iPod Linux on it, thereby opening up the ubiquitous device to dozens of new features, from line-in recording of audio to playing video, long before the video-enabled iPod. They're homebrew roboticists who transformed old computer mice into the likes of Mousey the Junkbot. They're hardware hackers who sussed out a method to download the video off a "disposable" drugstore digital camcorder and reuse it.

And you don't necessarilyhave to be an expert to do this. User-generated online repair and modder docs - rather than the carefully vetted, vendor-issued yada yada, is your ticket.

...the fun is in the fix. Broken gear is revived with the help of online repair guides. If there's irreparable damage, the product is cannibalized. No user serviceable parts inside? Who says? Vintage PDAs become robot brains, the LCD display in a cheap child's toy is reborn as a digital picture frame.

David identifies publications such as O'Reilly's MAKE as a central resource for the new modder crowd. I read the print and online edition regularly, and maybe you should as well.  




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