Laptop PCs, bicycles, and clothing: bring these items in to our walk-in repair clinics and we'll do our best to arm you with the knowledge you need to repair the thing for yourself and feel handy and useful rather than discard the old one and buy something new. Our volunteers will teach this free for you (you can throw wads of cash at us if you like, though). If our advice and hands-on walkthroughs aren't enough, we'll tell you where to go instead. Come in and plop your item-to-be-repaired in front of our teachers and see for yourself what to do.
1-5pm, Squirrel Hill Library, Rm B. Note that the bike clinic will accept new bikes only until 4:15pm, and will be near the Forbes entrance of the library if it's nice out!
Things to bring in and their common issues we can look at:
Laptop PCs (this clinic will be in the Squirrel Hill Library, Room B):
+Cleaning dust inside, including fans clogged with dust and lint +Diagnose software & hardware issues +Install replacement parts (which you'll have to buy & bring) +General maintenance, including security, virus/malware/spyware removal
Bicycles (this clinic will likely take place on the corner of Forbes and Murray, outside the Squirrel Hill Library, as long as it's nice out, and will accept new bikes from 1 till 4:15pm!):
+Brake adjustment +Cable, gear, and shifter adjustments +Clean & lube chain +Tightening loose parts like handlebars, wheels, seat +Tire and tube replacement, as long as you've bought and brought the parts (BikeTek's right across the street: you can buy a new tube at least for around $10, and a new tire might run you $30)
Clothing (this clinic will be in the Squirrel Hill Library, Room B):
(You're probably going to want to bring patches, a needle, and thread!) +Iron-on patches +Patches to be sewn on +Rips and tears on seam and elsewhere +Broken off zippers
Come on in and learn something new, or simply chat with a bunch of people who like learning about learning new things and care about having useful skills.
Shop Class as Soulcraft and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance are two books good at describing why working with your hands feels good, feels concrete, and office work not so much. The Transition Movement internationally recommends spreading more useful skills in your neighborhood or town because it preps for hard economic times, and helps rejuvenate that entrepreneurial spirit we've lost. All this isn't too far removed from Natural Capitalism, Reinventing Fire, Cradle to Cradle, and The Upcycle, books full of practical examples of ordinary and/or well-established people engineering ways of living, working, producing, and manufacturing and industrializing that work well, regenerate the resources they use, and don't keep using resources we don't have, often just through applying the mindsets of those in manual trades to a larger picture.