Never before, has breaking an electronic gadget been like breaking my own shackles.
On Christmas of 2009, I played with my new iPod Touch for the whole day. A full year later, after the warranty expired, the headphone jack became faulty. I could only hear my music out of the right side of my earbuds and bought several new pairs of earbuds before I figured out the problem. It was too late before I realized that I was just stuck.
But it was my iPod Touch, a brilliant little machine that I wasn’t prepared to forsake! I could look at the internet, check my email, download all of these cute little apps and games. . . it was the best toy an adult could have. And if it was a small matter of an earphone jack gone awry, I could deal with it. I could jiggle the damn thing until it worked in both ears and not jog anymore. (Ha! Like this was the one thing that stopped me from jogging!)
I did that for the next two years until it finally became a damn nuisance. A couple weeks ago, I read an article in Mother Jones called “These Guys Can Make Your iPhone Last Forever,” and I was very much inspired to fix my iPod myself.
What I took from the article was that we’ve lost our power as consumers. When we break something, we have to go out and buy the replacement or something newer. It is not in my budget to buy something better than the current iPod Touch Gen 2. When Noah got it for me in 2009, I expected to have it until it fell apart (literally.)
The guys of iFixit.com ask us, as consumers, not be so afraid of falling behind on getting the greatest and latest gadget. Fix your own stuff. I was sold. This was going to be the biggest middle finger to Apple that I could think of. So I watched a few YouTube videos and thought I was ready to get inside of my machine.
I got inside all right.
I BROKE the player to the point it refused to play at all. So yeah, I fucked up. That’s what happens when you try to take your power back as a consumer; Apple always wins!
I was very upset with myself for not leaving well enough alone. I was angry for thinking that I was smart enough to poke around in a machine without any real authority. When I told various friends about what I did, they weren’t surprised at all.
“You know Apple does that on purpose, right?”
“You can’t pry those things apart without breaking something and screwing up your warranty.”
“They want you to just go ahead and buy the Generation 3.”
“My god, why don’t you have an iPhone yet??”
I know that iFixit.com still offers a brilliant service to consumers. For those who actually know their way around appliances and gadgets, this is their website. It has easy to follow manuals that are written by regular people. If you have a good idea of what you’re doing, visit this site before you throw something away and buy something new.
Now there is a silver lining to this story. After being upset about losing my mobile music source, I cried a little and then sprang into action. I tore up my entire house to find the tiny “no-frills” mp3 player I used before Noah bought me the iPod Touch.
When I found it, I felt hopeful. Finally, this was the only way I could be released from Apple’s stranglehold. This cheap little machine that held only 43 songs (anymore and you have to put in a SD memory card.), it didn’t light up or allow me to play games and check my mail. . . it just played music.
Isn’t that all I needed from the beginning? Something to listen to while I walked or jogged? I found the arm-strap carrier and the USB cord it came with and started loading it up. I found a 2 gb memory card that I could use for more music and podcasts. Because the mp3 files I have are universal, I don’t need an iPod to play them. Imagine that!
And now, as I listen to 197 songs, I’m excited about finally hearing music in both ears but more importantly, I no longer have the moral conflict of supporting mega giant Apple. Let’s not forget what Apple is responsible for:
- Sweatshop factory conditions where Chinese people are so overworked they’re killing themselves. But don’t worry (I guess) instead of creating better working conditions for humans, Foxconn is thinking about replacing humans all together in favor for robots.
- Apple and many other smart phone makers are tilling the earth for rare-earth minerals. When they mine and refine them, guess where the waste goes? (Hint: developing nations are a good start)
- Creating a new generation of obnoxious pseudo-liberal consumers. (This is more my problem and less the world’s problem.)
I think my plan will be to sell my broken iPod to a more responsible person on Ebay. Apparently that’s a thing, people sell broken things on Ebay all the time. And this might be a better option than me throwing the thing away, adding more to the radioactive trash we already have.
And now I’m off to jog, without fear of stopping every five yards to jiggle my earbud jack!