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Restart Radio Takeover: “Repair on the edge”

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In this month’s radio takeover, Restart volunteers Ben Skidmore and Dave Lukes talk about “repair on the edge”: how to deal with unusual fixes when one lacks the necessary skills or tools.

First, Ben and Dave introduce us to some tech news. We discuss the enforcement of GDPR with its ubiquitous pop-ups. Is it necessary for all companies to ask for your consent again? Are we giving consent when coerced or persuaded? We also talk about a new malware scare and security issues with our devices.

Next, Ugo calls in to update us on two issues:

– A few weeks ago we interviewed Tarek Loubani, who works to provide 3d-printed medical devices to areas like Gaza, where there is a lack of resources due to its blockade. Ugo tells us that Tarek got shot while providing emergency care in uniform at recent protests in Gaza. He will recover, but many of his medical colleagues were not so fortunate.

– Also, Ugo tells us about his recent visit to Brussels. He says that the EU is starting to prioritise repair-related measures, like ensuring provision of spare parts and repair information. Member states are likely to vote for a package of measures for some appliances before Brexit, and hence the UK will have to take action on these matters. Ugo tells us about the influence of the pioneering US Right to Repair movement on these EU initiatives.

Ben and Dave then focus on “repair on the edge”, discussing the excitement and fears when faced with unusual repairs. They tell us about their most dangerous repairs, including smartphones. They also discuss risks when fixing electronic devices, like lithium batteries, capacitors, or the glass on our phone screens.

We also discuss the importance of improvisation when repairing, and of making the most out of commonplace objects that can be reused for marvellous hacks. Ben tells us about guitar player (and hacker!) Eddie Van Halen and about Tom Fox, who creates unique instruments out of recycled electronics. Then Ben himself, who used to be a professional guitar maker and repairer, shares his experience repairing a friend’s cello.

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