How iFixit is Building an iPhone Repair Counterculture [Video]

iFixit is more than just an iPhone repair company. A Mother Jones feature story in the latest issue highlights iFixit’s culture of sustainability, and how fundamentally, they are changing the way people think about waste and the iPhone.

iFixit’s repair manifesto, available as a poster, holds several truths to be self-evident–some practical (“Repair saves you money”), some principled (“Repair saves the planet”), and some profound (“If you can’t fix it, you don’t own it”). – “These Guys Can Make Your iPhone Last Forever” (Mother Jones)

It’s troubling to think about the electronic waste involved in our rampantly growing smartphone culture. Every part wasted means more junk waste in landfills, more toxic chemicals in the environment, and more harm to humans and the world.

I applaud a company that can make a profit while teaching people about fixing iPhones rather than ditching them. iFixit has an extensive crowd-sourced tabernacle of tutorials to teach you how to diagnose and repair your troubled device.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Directs ACLU Clip Defending the Right to Video Police

The American Civil Liberties Union has collaborated on a short film called Know Your Rights created by actor and HitRecord director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, upholds the right of people to take iPhone videos of on-duty police officers.

At one point a caricature of Ben Franklin issues this decree:

… You see kids, even cops make mistakes, and it’s our job to keep an eye on them. And it’s easy with your modern technology and crazy iPhones…

Amazingly, the animation components were crowdsourced by up to 163 people who contributed images in the six days leading up to the festival.

Do You Have the Right to Record iPhone Video of Police Encounters?

Record Video of Police With iPhone

As iPhones and smartphones with video cameras are more widely adopted, clashes between citizens and police over video recording of police encounters have become increasingly common.

The question of whether it is appropriate, both legally and ethically, to record a police officer on duty remains a topic of debate.

Many cases involve a citizen recording a situation where police are publicly performing their duties, followed by an altercation between the camera-wielding citizen and the police officer who is uncomfortable being recorded.

Recent cases in the United States where citizens have gotten into trouble for recording police include:

  1. When a woman in Rochester, New York this June used her iPod to record a traffic stop while standing on her own property, the police officer making the stop arrested her and charged her with obstruction of governmental administration.
  2. When a Newark, New Jersey teenager recorded video of police coming to the aid of a man who collapsed on a bus, she was handcuffed by officers and charged with obstruction of justice.
  3. When Miami Beach Police surrounded an unarmed reckless driver this June and shot him to death, a citizen who recorded the incident had his cellphone allegedly smashed by police.
  4. When a speeding motorcyclist’s helmet camera captured a traffic stop by an undercover police officer brandishing a gun and failing to promptly identify himself, the Maryland State Police Department showed up at the man’s house days later, seizing several laptops and cameras and slapping him with a “wiretapping” charge that could have resulted in a 16 year prison sentence.

Is It Legal to Record Video of Police Encounters?

Legal Police Video Recording

Most charges against citizens who record police are eventually dropped since there is no law in the United States forbidding the recording of police encounters.

Just as a citizen has no right to privacy in a public setting, neither does a police officer doing their duty in public. As long as you are not interfering with the police, it is generally considered your First Amendment right to record incidents that occur in public.

Nevertheless, because smartphones with cameras are being adopted so rapidly, the technology is outpacing the law and police who seldom used to encounter citizens with video cameras are often taken aback and respond inappropriately.

Citizen as Watchdog: Recording Police is Good for Democracy

While many police are responsible public servants, citizens with smartphones can act as a check on police abuse and misconduct when it occurs.

UF Taser incident on iPhone

My first impression of this “citizen watchdog” phenomenon was in 2007 when a student at my alma mater was tasered at a question-and-answer session with John Kerry for behaving obnoxiously – albeit harmlessly.

Because an audience member recorded the incident and put it on YouTube, the public was able to see the confrontation, and judge for themselves whether the police acted inappropriately.

The iPhone did not have a video camera at the time, but in a post on the taser incident, I anticipated that an iPhone with a video camera could be a powerful tool for democracy because of its ability to record such incidents.

Is It Acceptable to Record Police With Your iPhone?

What do you think? Should the right of a citizen to record a police officer in public be preserved, or is it an obstruction of justice to record an officer on duty? Feel free to share in the comments.

Swype for iPhone: How Cool Would That Be?

Swype iPhone

A Swype iPhone solution is yet to arrive, but after seeing my roommate use Swype on his HTC EVO, I’m eagerly awaiting a similar Swype keyboard for iPhone.

Why Swype for iPhone?

What is Swype? Swype is a modification available on some Android devices that lets you input text by sliding your finger from key to key and lifting it only to begin a new word. Swype is the most efficient way to type. In fact, the technology even earned a Guinness world record for typing speed.

Check out my friend using Swype on his EVO in the video above. This was his first day using Swype, but imagine the potential.

Swype for iPhone is theoretically possible, but would likely be contained within an app, which is less than ideal. For example, the ShapeWriter app, which is no longer available in the App Store, was similar to Swype, but you had to type your text within the app and then copy and paste it into whichever app you wanted to input the text in.

However, a genuine Swype iPhone solution would be easily implemented on jailbroken iPhones. Whether for factory or jailbroken iPhones, I hope to see a Swype iPhone keyboard soon.

iMainGo2 Portable Speakers for iPhone [Video Review]

I have really enjoyed the quality, portability and protection offered by the iMainGo 2 iPhone speakers. Watch this video for my complete review:

iMainGo2 for iPhone

The iMainGo2 case is ultra protective, including a plastic screen that does not hinder use of the iPhone’s touchscreen. The plastic screen suffers from air bubbles, but the protection is invaluable. I love using the iMainGo2 while I cook or garden outdoors, since I can control the music without getting my iPhone dirty.

The speakers offer loud, high fidelity audio, although they sometimes “crunch” a little bit at the highest volume levels. They are definitely loud enough, though.

Overall, I have been happy with the iMainGo2, but I would love to see some controls on the case to allow me to use the iPhone’s volume buttons and the on/off switch. I would also like to be able to receive phone calls while the iPhone is in the case, since the iMainGo2 does not allow access to the microphone.

Update: I’ve realized that I sometimes forget to turn the unit off, and that’s because the on/off button for the iMainGo2 is inside the case. I would really appreciate an LED light on the outside of the case so that I know when it is turned on.


Buy on Amazon: iMainGo 2 Handheld Speaker Case for iPhone (Black)
Shop: Buy iMainGo 2
Manufacturer: Portable Sound Laboratories

Girl Uses 4 iPhones to Perform Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” [Video]

Check out YouTube user AppleGirl’s rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” using three apps running on four iPhones. I don’t know what’s more incredible, the performance or the fact that she has that many iPhones.

The YouTube video has garnered 1,171,558 million views as of this writing. See it for yourself:

Which Apps Does She Use?

According to the video, AppleGirl uses the following music production apps to perform “Poker Face”:

  1. I Am T-Pain

    I Am T-Pain iPhone app

  2. BeatMaker

    BeatMaker iPhone app

  3. NLog Synthesizer

    NLog Synthesizer iPhone app


Like the “Poker Face” performance? Check out her rendition of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” using 3 iPhones:

Via Mashable.