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Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Facebook and technology fixes

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Jamillah Knowles | 10:07 UK time, Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Hello Outriders!

In this edition of the podcast you’ll hear about what’s making Sir Tim Berners-Lee lose sleep, whether Facebook needs to take responsibility for kids online and what you can do to help everyone learn how to fix their technology.

First up, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has strongly criticised the UK government's plans for new powers to monitor our Internet use and has said that people should go out and protest the measures.

Chris Vallance

So what is it that has made the father of the web react in this way? Well, new legislation proposals could always do with a little explaining, so I had a chat with our Chris Vallance about what is afoot.

When it comes to rules and regulations on the Web, it is probably easier to teach a cat to type than it is to get a teenager to confess to what they have been up to.

Luckily some research released during the week takes a look at the behaviours of parents and kids online and may go some way to helping parents and teenagers come to an agreement about their digital footprint.

The Digital Diaries, presented by AVG technologies, has come to digital maturity, looking at the habits of 14 to 17 year olds on the Web.


The new information was presented at an event where Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist for AVG technologies, Steve Kunsvich, media lawyer and head of legal at Boohoo dot com and Simon Milner director of policy for Facebook in the UK gathered to talk through some of the facts and figures.

Now, who among you is prepared to get the screwdrivers out to fix something in your home? Beyond this, would you be happy to replace the glass on your iphone or upgrade the memory in your laptop?

Most of the Outriders audience I have the pleasure of speaking with online are extraordinarily savvy when it comes to making repairs to their machines.

But sadly that’s a minority. On Facebook, Nik Butler says “It amazes me that we are deterred and encouraged sometimes under end user licence agreement to repair our own products.

I think it is the design of many items that discourages people from fixing them. People with broken gadgets are not worried about making things worse.”

Vinoba Vinayagamoorthy agrees “If it’s broken, what more can you do to it?”

Maurice Clarke says, “It always amazes me that most people imagine things are made not to be repaired or programmed to only last so long. I have always liked to take things apart and try and repair them. A little thought and research first does help you not to make things worse.”

On Twitter, Lynne Bruning said, “ I've taken apart my macs. Finding the tiny screwdrivers to open it up was the most pesky. I use plastic jewellery bags for the screws & label the bags.”

Which is very organised! She also says ”I think people will try anything when they can find a solid "How-To" on YouTube to take gizmos apart.”

Clearly Outriders listeners are very smart when it comes to tech but most people find it easier to throw something away and buy a new one when it comes to our gadgets and home computers. Now you may be aware of the almost literally smashing site, ifixit.

It’s a place to go when your technology breaks or you need to repair something or computer tablet battery replacement.

Kyle Wiens who started the website ifixit

The site has been running for a long time and grown to the point where now, using the software designed by ifixit, others can start to create their own repair manual pages on the Web.

Kyle Wiens started ifixit, so I caught up with him to find out more on how we can share our repair knowledge and to remind us where this all started.

That’s all we could fit in for this week but if there is something you think we should know about or maybe you’re working on something we need to share, then drop me a line through the usual methods.

Tweet at me on Twitter or find us on Facebook and Google +

Until next week!



  • Comment number 1.

    Dear friend, you post is provocative and inspiring as always! Nowadays not only the technology reparing is a rare phenomenon. The people are not fixing the relationships with their relatives too. The poor relations with family and friends are compensated with a lot of Facebook connections and likes. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]


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