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Restarter profile: Meet Steve

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a lifelong tinkerer and hacker, and have always been curious about electronics and gadgets. I’ve been volunteering with the Restart Project since 2016 as a Restarter. I also worked with the Restart team for 6 months during an elective career break last year, contributing to the Fixometer and developing data analysis capabilities. [Read more about Steve’s contributions here.]

When did you start repairing electronics and electricals?

Well I’ve been taking things apart since before I was even 5 years old! It took a while longer before I figured out how to reassemble them. My first memorable repair was on a walkman when I was 10. I’d dropped it and smashed the headphone socket, so I rigged up a new external socket on the end of some bits of wire. And then got a LOT of questions about it at airport security a few weeks later when going on a family holiday.

Why do you attend Restart Parties (or Repair Cafes)?

I enjoy helping others and problem solving, and repair events bring the two together. They’re a great way of getting involved in your local community, and there’s often an interesting personal story behind each broken device so it’s not just about the technical aspect. I’m appalled at the wastefulness of our short-lived devices and the environmental impact this has. Empowering people to repair is a positive way to tackle this.

What is your favourite kind of repair?

Anything that returns a device to good as new or better. Especially if the device has potential for much longer life. Anything that sparks joy for the owner of the device.

What do you do when you are not Restarting?

My profession is Financial Services technology, but I’d say being a parent of two children is also a full-time occupation, not least because of all the toys I need to repair. I especially like finding ways to reuse old tech that my kids enjoy, for example I gave my daughter an old hifi and now she loves it when we make music CDs together at the weekend. I’m always looking out for the reusable electronics that others throw out, these can be like treasure to me. I also enjoy running and cycling (my bike is 25 years old and still going strong).

What frustrates you (in life)?

Unnecessary or deliberate inefficiency. Bad design, for example that creates barriers to repair. Waste, especially electronic.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The desire to do something practical and constructive – making, mending or modifying. And failing that, a Sony alarm clock from the 1980’s that I’ve mended twice.

What’s the first thing – one material thing – that you could not live without? (besides oxygen, food, water, and shelter and medical care)

While I could no doubt survive without it, a smartphone is pretty much indispensable. Mine has lasted 4 years so far, does everything I want, works just fine and I plan to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Share something cool with us [can be a link]

Floppotron – the Floppy Drive orchestra, lots of repurposed obsolete disk drives hacked to play music!


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