Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jun 2012 02:49 UTC
Apple After a proper teardown, iFixit concludes that the new MacBook Pro has no user-serviceable parts at all, which some think is a really bad thing. I honestly don't know - I mean, my ZenBook isn't particularly user-serviceable either, and my smartphones, tablets, and whatnot are pretty much entirely soldered together as well. What do you guys make of this?
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RE[3]: Sounds like a challenge.
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 01:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sounds like a challenge."
Member since:

Why can't we build a car or computer that is user-serviceable while still making use of the modern engineering that gave us these benefits?

Because we don't want to pay for it. Such "simple" things as reliable (non-trained-user-reliable) connectors maintaining size, or withstanding environmental (as in, in the engine compartment) conditions would add up. Plus there's the reliability of computerised control in safety-critical road conditions.

You most likely wouldn't pay for it:

A modern car with user serviceability in mind may not be quite as fast or efficient or even as cheap, but I wonder if there wouldn't be a market for it...

You wonder, not declare you would buy it? Plus, really, there is a market for it - notably in the form of military-oriented vehicles (but it's easy to get civilian versions), which are roughly that.
Oh yeah, and they tend to be quite expensive (well, unless you're willing to settle for something not very modern and without many comforts, like Niva or UAZ-452; closest outside such heritage is possibly Dacia Logan or Tata Nano, even quite cheap, but many people simply laugh at them...)

And really, keep things in perspective - yes, sure, it was a good thing that you were able to repair a car yourself back in the day, but mostly because they broke much more often in the first place (and actually, one has to wonder if a major cause of that were sub-standard repairs)

Edited 2012-06-15 02:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:


I try to fix simple things like replacing a battery and lamps on the car myself. This is because the car mechanic is able to charge more for his time than I can charge for mine. I might not think about self-serviceability when buying a car, but I'd certainly be annoyed if I learned that I couldn't self service it due to manufacture locks.

I think the same applies to laptops, it's truly pathetic that batteries and ram can't be self serviced, although I understand the manufacturer's motivation for doing it when they can get away with it.

I may not be representative, but then again I don't think self-servicing is as niche as some people are making it out to be.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Sounds like a challenge.
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 04:37 in reply to "RE[4]: Sounds like a challenge."
zima Member since:

People, it's not about all or nothing.

This was about "don't look at the past through too rosy glasses" and directed at the quote here
I don't pine for the old days, those are largely myths (and sense/feelings - while, as I pointed just above, perhaps those self-repairs contributed to poor reliability).
Maybe it's something about me being from a place where the automotive state-of-the-art was basically frozen for ~2 decades (70s-90s), with most people self-servicing, so I remember quite well the "virtues" of that style of doing things... to which nobody really wants to return.
Most people don't want total serviceability; don't expect them to pay for that (how it will add up) in mass-market cars, that's all.

My father-in-law of sorts had 2x Nissan Navara and a Lada Niva at his disposal. Navaras were great, doing their job without objection, and pleasant to drive. As for the Niva... every time I visited, it happened to be broken.

Also, past computers were generally quite a bit more expensive, denying all but the very few access to them - or leaving us to use 8bit micros well into the 90s.
(oh sure, not like MBP is cheap :p - but I'm talking in general; and yes, MBP seems to go a bit too far ...but, perhaps it's partly "too soon" - again in larger picture - with the hardware becoming ever more "good enough" & inexpensive (RPi?) and the number of chips ever decreasing: not a long time ago a separate FPU was a good idea)

And the benefits of modern cars, mentioned in few places above, have hardly anything to do with batteries or lamps, Alfman ;P (more with ECUs, where you don't mess; NVM sensitive safety systems) - you mostly don't self-service it, anyway, just rare little things (BTW, I'm quite regularly blinded by misaligned headlamps, don't tell me you aren't - I wonder why they are so poorly adjusted...)

Ultimately, it's progress. We gradually cast aside "solved" issues so we can focus on new ones.
You likely don't really grow your food, bake your bread, manually set fire to coal furnace (one per room), make your clothes, have a sewing machine (most of those largely the rule here less than 2 decades ago BTW)
It often seems like cars and computers are the popular "manly" or "geeky" field to praise tradition ...while ignoring it in most other areas, anyway.

Edited 2012-06-15 04:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

rexstuff Member since:

If my glasses are too rose-coloured, mehtinks yours are maybe too tinged with cynicism.

It is certainly doable, and I think not as difficult as you imagine it. I think there are some people who would see the value of a self-serviceable car; perhaps not enough to make it marketably viable, but there are people who would pay for the ability to repair and *tinker* with their vehicles. If there weren't people like that, things like Linux and Arduinos and Raspberry Pis wouldn't exist at all.

So yes, I might buy it, if it could be made at not a significant premium, which I think it could be, if there was sufficient demand.

And I don't think that the old self-serviceable cars were really THAT unreliable. In fact, I tend to think that when the trend toward non-user-servicable vehicles took off in the 80s is when we really started to see a decline in quality and reliability. Don't make the mistake of comparing a 2010s vehicle with one from the 60s and concluding that user serviceability makes cars unreliable. That's hardly a fair comparison.

Nor am I suggesting to get rid of things like computerized safety controls, only to make them accessible to the amateur technician. Many modern cars are basically designed to lock out all but the dealer-certified mechanics; not even that modern, I remember I had a 94 Sable that required special, impossible to find tools to do even the most basic maintainance tasks.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Sounds like a challenge.
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 07:08 in reply to "RE[4]: Sounds like a challenge."
zima Member since:

I didn't say it's not doable.* Just... who's going to pay for it? (while there are cars roughly following the priorities you cherish; just often markedly more expensive due to being built very solidly; or clearly targeting, like that Dacia, more ~impoverished areas - hence laughed at in "developed" places; why not get such?)

And, well, I do think they were THAT unreliable. Perhaps because I was really surrounded by such cars much longer ( ), and even more user-maintained, *tinkered* with ...probably often more unreliable because of it.
Now I ride a 13+ years old C-segment car: virtually flawless, just scheduled maintenance and more recently one small hiccup with the engine (resolved within an hour in the service) - which seems to be more or less the rule nowadays. 2-3 decades ago it would be an exception.

Call it cynicism if you like ...but may I just point out that ~"old times were better, new things are destroying proper order" examples are known since the beginning of written word.
Human memory is generally very poor, despite our beliefs to the contrary (in controlled experiments, eyewitness identification is basically no better than chance ...and yet, look how frighteningly often we believe in it and with serious consequences; also, go through a list of cognitive biases)

computerized safety controls, only to make them accessible to the amateur technician.

Seriously? Anything but those.

*Note: I'm also not saying we're doing things in the most optimal way now - I actually think something very far from it. But it's better.

Edited 2012-06-15 07:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

clasqm Member since:

... closest outside such heritage is possibly Dacia Logan ..., even quite cheap, but many people simply laugh at them...)

Got one, actually (called a Renault where I live). It's got EFI, electric windows, ABS ... Not particularly user-servicable.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Sounds like a challenge.
by zima on Fri 15th Jun 2012 09:08 in reply to "RE[4]: Sounds like a challenge."
zima Member since:

Well you don't have "modern" without such (it's not about absolutes one way or the other). Still, Logan is quite crude (in a good sense) and seems tougher like that, not loaded with gadgets - plus, doesn't it use more mature among Renault platforms? (so well known, issues worked out; even a bit flat rated engines?)
Felt right to include it, from the contact I had.

Reply Parent Score: 2