iFixit CEO launches open Toshiba service guide scheme

If you use lawyers to hide your manuals, we'll write our own


Kyle Wiens, head of gadget repair service iFixit - an operation best known for its device disassembly efforts - has called on owners of Toshiba laptops to help pen open source repair manuals to make good the computer makers’ closure of an independent Toshiba documentation archive.

Launching Operation Fix Toshiba, Wiens promised to connect owners of unwanted Toshiba kit with folk willing to take it apart and write repair manuals. iFixit staff will work on extending the site’s existing array of Toshiba repair guides too.

The move comes after Toshiba’s Australian wing used lawyers to force blogger Tim Hicks’ to remove Toshiba manuals from his site, Future Proof, which archives documentation for kit to ensure it’s available even after machines have reached the end of their life as products.

Toshiba’s argument is that this violates its copyright. True, of course, but when such documentation no longer has a commercial value companies like Toshiba should become less defensive, just as many games developers, for instance, turn a blind eye to making games long past their sell-by date available to fans.

Hicks’ site does more than keep computer buffs happy. To Wiens, it enables owners of old computers to keep their machines running, ensuring that equipment takes longer to become obsolete and that less of it gets chucked into landfill. Recycling is all well and good, but a lot of computer kit is disposed of sooner than necessary, when all it needs is some extra memory, a bigger hard drive or a new cooling fan.

As Hicks told The Register yesterday: “It has been argued that I am doing a public service. It is better for those manuals to be out there. If the laptop is out of warranty, what does the vendor care?”

Some might say it's yet another desperate act by an industry in decline. Toshiba's operating profit was down 23 per cent in its most recent quarter thanks to falling sales and profits at its semiconductor, TV and home appliance operations.

“Manufacturers always say that providing repair documentation will lead users to hurt themselves, and that’s what Toshiba told Tim,” said Wiens. “But when people do attempt repair, they are far more likely to damage themselves or their equipment if they don’t have a good manual with appropriate safety warnings.”

There are more details about how to participate in Operation Fix Toshiba on its Indiegogo site. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021