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Benjamin Oakes

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Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Liaison. Previously, I was a Developer at Continuity and Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize TechCorridor.io, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Right to Repair: Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

by Ben

On its face, pirating such software would seem to be illegal. But in 2015, the Librarian of Congress approved an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for land vehicles, which includes tractors. The exemption allows modification of “computer programs that are contained in and control the functioning of a motorized land vehicle such as a personal automobile, commercial motor vehicle or mechanized agricultural vehicle … when circumvention is a necessary step undertaken by the authorized owner of the vehicle to allow the diagnosis, repair, or lawful modification of a vehicle function.”

Source: Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware – Motherboard

Replace Battery in the 1st Edition Barnes and Noble Nook

by Ben

If necessary, the battery can be replaced. A replacement battery must be of the following type:

Barnes & Noble Lithium Polymer battery
Model Number BNRB1530
Rating: 3.7V, 1530mAh, 5.66Wh

You will need a small Phillips head screw driver (size 0 or 00).

Source: NOOK 1st Edition – Replace Battery – Barnes and Noble

I recently picked up a 1st generation Nook for $20. I was a little weary of the age of the battery (6 or so years old?), but it turns out that this Nook is one of the few consumer electronics released in recent memory that was built to be repairable. (The battery was meant to be replaced! There are even official instructions.) This is in stark contrast to my 2nd generation Amazon Kindle which had hardware problems and became unusable right after the warranty period ended. That experience soured me on the Kindle, understandably.

At any rate, the only Nook that has a user-replaceable battery is the 1st generation model. Also, it seems that Barnes and Noble doesn’t seem to sell the replacement anymore. (I could only find one outdated listing). Fortunately, the batteries are easily found online for about $10. The steps are pretty obvious to replace it: pop off the back with your fingers, unscrew a screw, put the new battery in, and then reverse the process.

Between the replaceable battery and the free 3G internet included with the device, hopefully these devices stay in use for quite a long time!