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Fix Your Stuff With iFixit

Posted by Chris Hall on December 29th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

So you've finally got that iPhone 4 that you've been wanting since launch day, and like so many iPhones out there, it's now broken. Sure, you could go to the Apple Store like the rest of the suckers out there and pay a ton of money for a new screen, or you could be a burly man and fix it yourself (note: opening up the iPhone voids the warranty, so future repairs/issues are all on you) (note 2: if the repair backfires, I'll still think you are awesome). Like most electronic repairs, installing the replacement screen isn't all that complicated, but without a solid repair manual you might as well be trying to fix the Hubble telescope.

Fortunately for you there is an app for that (which you'd have to use on your unbroken iPad) called iFixit. The app comes with thousands of step by step guides for all sorts of things with parts, from cars to Macbook Pro's to your poor iPhone screen. The guides all include high resolution photos, color coated bullets, and an easy to follow, step by step instruction list. Best of all, the app is completely free to use and is funded by the iFixit part store which offers the parts needed for all your repair projects.

Again, fixing most electronic equipment completely voids your warranty and leaves you completely open to dirty looks at your local Genius Bar, but it'll make you feel really really good about yourself. If anything, you could quickly and easily become one of those guys on eBay that buys broken units and fixes them up like new. Discount electronics are awesome electronics, and that is the truth.

Happy fixing y'all! I think I'm going to go find myself a new (broken) computer to fix up with iFixit.

Steps Makes Directions Easy on the iPhone

Posted by Zach Sims on June 21st, 2010

I met Tarikh of Uncommon Projects a couple of weeks ago and got a preview of Steps, a cool new project designed to help users publish instructions or directions from their iPhone to the web. Uncommon Projects, based in Brooklyn, is a hardware and software design firm that has done projects like a cool series of photo bikes for Yahoo. One of the sample Steps they've put together online is a great introduction to the service's potential.

[caption id="attachment_39682" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="List of Created Stpes"]

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Creating Steps
At the moment, creating Steps requires the Steps iPhone application. Users start projects and add steps, with a wide variety of different types of information to include. Images and text are the two most important, but Steps also gives users the opportunity to add directional arrows that translucently sit on top of the photos. Location can also be added via GPS and seen on an included map. This allows for breadcrumb navigation using just a map in case pictures or text aren't necessary.

[caption id="attachment_39683" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Editing Steps"]

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The application also allows you to preview the steps before uploading them to the web. Once shared, the app can send the steps out in a tweet or an email.

Steps Online
The Steps app makes it incredibly simple to create instructions and the web app that Uncommon Projects has created is a perfect companion. The iPhone view feels just like the application itself, allowing users to look at maps or see the text and pictures along with every step. Viewing the Steps site from a desktop provides an equally informative view.

[caption id="attachment_39686" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Viewing Steps\' Directions Online"]

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A Lesson in Simplicity
Steps is just the kind of application I love. It's easy to use, simple, and beautifully designed. When the app is released, it'll make it easier for everyone, be they chefs sharing recipes or relatives giving directions to their homes, to make easy to understand walkthroughs.