Musings on DIY

I've complained enough about my iPod nano (4th gen) to make my lungs gasp in agony if I ever verbalized my digitized ramblings. However, what really bothers me about the device is how little I control, even on a physical level.

I've had dust in the little area between the screen and the glass for years. You would think the design would allow easy access, but no; purposely placed mechanisms make opening the device incompatible with future operation.

I'm fine with making things not obvious in how to open and fix. But outright making it impossible? What makes me think I should place my trust in Apple to fix issues for me? What about trivial issues such as dust in the screen? I am not a baby; I can do things for myself. Besides, my warranty expired years ago, so Apple's benefit is null as well as mine.

Control is longevity. This example is a physical version, but what of software?

Think about some e-reader that is locked down and can only read specific file formats. (The Kindle has the latter issue but its software is not locked down) Eventually the software lock will reduce usefulness, due to changing industry file formats. Look at how quickly the war between ePub and MOBI sprung up, from where we had barely any tussle at all.

From small fixes to the screen to large fixes in what file format a device supports, these are fundamentals in usefulness when problems occur. They do; even on a closed, locked ecosystem like the iPod, problems occur. Advertising will tell you differently. But I've already mentioned trust.

So we ask: how can this be fixed?

On the converse, how rewarding is it to open your computer case and clean it out, insuring proper care and maintenance is rewarded with many years of ceaseless operation? Or being able to clean a screen when it gets dirty? Or being able to install a new operating system on an old computer, so that what was once a useless security breach is suddenly a useful again?

We should not pretend our skills are not formidable. We enjoy computers. We want them to last. The ability to fix one's own device is simply an extension of this principle.

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