Another Unfortunate Trend

3.9.09 by Cypy

I have always been fascinated with the way things around me worked. As a child, I wanted to take everything apart and look inside to see the gears. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of broken appliances around our house that I could peer inside. Our piano was old and falling apart, so I was able to open the front and play with the mallets and strings. I replaced a nightlight bulb twice: first by unscrewing the lamp and taking the cover off, and second (years later) by cutting the metal cover that encased the bulb, and bending it out of place. Apparently I forgot there were screws on the side. Just recently I disassembled an old printer and several old telephones. I also remember taking apart a stuffed animal (carefully, with a seam-ripper) removing his stuffing, and re-filling him with other things.

In the “good old days” (cliche alert!), everything was made to be taken apart and fixed. Now, more and more products adopt circuit boards, batteries, and seal their insides with glue instead of screws. Even computers, which have always had circuit boards with tiny chips, have become more difficult to disassemble as they have gradually shrunk in size. I’d be a fool to attempt to take apart my laptop without breaking it.

I am concerned that the more “advanced” our products become, the less we will understand them, because if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.


  1. Tim 3.11.09

    Its ridiculous! and all the new toasters have buttons and lights and bells and whistles, and then when they break down (which they invariably do) its almost impossible to take them apart without cracking the surprisingly solid plastic cover. how difficult can it be to make something that runs electricity through coils to warm up bread?

  2. Deus 3.30.09

    I agree fully. I have this fancy Logitech speakerphone on my computer table that keeps disconnecting on its own accord, and I can’t take it apart and maybe fix the wiring because even the “screwdriver, brute force, and patience” approach hasn’t yielded results seeing as I can’t figure out how they closed it in the first place.

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