Do You Have the Right to Repair Your Appliances?

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Right to Repair legislation to combat monopolies has appeared in 11 states. Credit: @HacksterPro

Anyone who has broken an electronic device and brought it to a repair shop may have encountered the phrase “This may void your warranty.”

Some companies state in their policies that outside repair shops are not licensed to fix their electronics. An example of a company that has a policy such as this is Apple. The act of a separate repair shop simply opening a phone and fixing it may void the warranty on a device.

But why is this? Why would Apple or other similar companies want their devices to be kept shut and only repaired by people that the company allows?

There’s also the issue of whether or not they’re even allowed to do this. In recent years, several bills and acts have been brought up by states that would require manufacturers to supply the same information and manuals that they give to licensed shops to independent retailers. With this legislation, several companies have come out in opposition against these efforts, such as Apple and John Deere.

The right to repair is generally seen as the right you have to open and repair your device or vehicle. This basic right has been a problem with devices such as electronics and vehicles, namely with John Deere farming equipment.

The fight for the right to repair began in 2001 and focused mainly on vehicles, but in more recent years with the advent of smartphones has begun to stretch to phones and home computers. Apple famously makes their devices difficult to repair, by ways such as including screws requiring uncommon screwdrivers, adding unnecessary glue, or making parts incredibly expensive.

At a local electronics repair shop in Dade City, the difference between the repair for an Apple phone versus a repair for a non-Apple phone is apparent. The repair of an Apple phone screen costs more and takes longer in almost every comparable situation.

The primary argument for the right to repair is the idea that you should own anything you buy. People want to be able to fix the phone they have themselves when something fails or to have it repaired for cheap at an independent store. They don’t want to have to purchase a new device or exchange an arm and a leg for a simple fix at an official, licensed store. Supporters believe that they have the right to fix their own items, to have manuals to be able to fix things, and to even be able to get into the code and software of the device.

One of the most common arguments against the right to repair is the idea of intellectual property rights. Apple and other companies against repair legislation want their intellectual property, or IP, to be kept their own. In the company’s opinion, if people are fully allowed to take apart and snoop around in their products, they may be attempting to make a superior or at least similar product by copying their schematics.

A different argument that has been brought up by lobbyists and other spokespeople against the right to repair is that the repair may be dangerous. For example, a lobbyist famously claimed that consumers could possibly cut their fingers on the broken glass from a screen repair. While this claim got a lot of criticism and jokes made about it, the argument is valid when dealing with batteries. The batteries in electronics are known to possibly be volatile, such as in the recent fiasco with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

One organization fighting for the right to repair is the website iFixit. iFixit is an independent repair company that believes that every consumer has the right to repair anything they own. On their website, they have a page dedicated to the issue, stating “Would you buy a car if it were illegal to replace the tires? Or a bike if it were illegal to fix the chain?” iFixit supplies consumers with guides on how to repair problems with electronics, as well as parts.

For example, when a new Apple device comes out, iFixit will quickly tear it down to be able to create guides on how to replace the screen or the home button. Due to the lack of official repair manuals or documents, many independent repair shops use iFixit religiously, using tools, parts, and guides all supplied by the website.

This problem stretches far beyond electronics, as it affects vehicles and farming equipment as well. For example, Apple is planning to make a smart car. When the car comes out, what will happen if one needs an oil change or windshield wiper fluid? Without right to repair legislation, it is possible that simple fixes and maintenance like this could be highly overcharged and companies may even void your warranty if done at home. This possibility leads to a worrisome future that lawmakers are trying to get ahead of before we truly approach a monopoly.

In the End: The Shocking Death of Chester Bennington

Fans of the popular rap metal group Linkin Park were in for a horrific surprise on July 19. The band’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, was found dead in his home from an apparent suicide. He was 41.

Linkin Park was formed in 1996 and quickly rose to fame after their debut album, “Hybrid Theory,” was released in 2000. Since then, the band has produced numerous chart topping singles and six more albums, including their latest entitled “One More Light,” which was released in May.

The band has been numerously praised as one of the greatest of the past decade and Bennington’s voice has been celebrated as one of the most unique set of pipes to ever grace the music industry. His talent will be hard to replace and fans everywhere have been shaken by the loss of this versatile icon. Sam Stokes, a student of Saint Leo University, was deeply impacted by Bennington’s demise.

“I felt dizzy and numb when I first heard about his death,” Stokes said.

For Stokes and many others, Bennington and Linkin Park were more than mere music makers.

“I’ve been a fan for over a decade,” said Stokes. “Their songs always have powerful meanings, which have personally helped me through my own troubling times.”

Crystal Swank, a Dade City resident, expressed similar feelings.

“It’s very sad that [Bennington] felt that he had to do that,” Swank said of his suicide. “He sang about a lot of things that people feel, things that we all think about. Like in the song ‘Numb.’ We think about being what everyone wants us to be, and we don’t want to, but still we worry about what society wants us to be.”

Remaining members of Linkin Park recently released a moving statement for their fallen comrade on the band’s official Facebook page. It can be found in its entirety on their Facebook. The reasons behind Bennington’s tragic death are yet to be known and the fate of Linkin Park remains uncertain.

“I hope the band continues on, since [Mike] Shinoda and the others are still living,” sad Stokes. “Their new songs can honor Chester and help deter others from suicide.”

On this matter, Swank felt differently.

“I don’t think there can be a band without [Bennington],” she said. “They can go on to do other things, but I don’t think they can be Linkin Park without him.”

Bennington is survived by his wife, six children, and countless fans. If you are a fan, share your favorite Linkin Park song on Twitter or on Facebook.

“Girls Trip” is Unexpected Hilarious Comedy

“Girls Trip” is a comedy that premiered July 21st, which stars Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish. The film centers on the four long-time friends – Ryan (Hall), Sasha (Latifah), Lisa (Pinkett Smith) and Dina (Haddish) – who go on a weekend trip to The Essence Festival in New Orleans to reconnect after not seeing one another for five years.

This raunchy comedy excels in many aspects. The film takes advantage of the R rating, as there are a lot of raunchy gags and over the top jokes. Typically, the raunchy comedies that are more critically appraised stars male leads, but this film excels with these leading ladies. The ladies in “Girls Trip” shine and offer many funny and clever jokes. In fact, there are many moments that cause a crowd to erupt in in laughter and it jokes seem to never stop. The movie also offers heartfelt moments that evoke the crowd’s shock or applause; these moments help to create a fun atmosphere.

The movie is a great experience and this is in part due to the great characters. The characters are not static as they all are going their particular journeys and have their own struggles. Coming into a raunchy comedy, one may think that the characters would be one dimensional or caricatures, but these ladies aren’t so simple. The movie manages to present the four leading ladies as dynamic characters with their own unique quirks and demons. This allows the audience to follow along with these ladies and connect and relate with them. The characters are fleshed out more than expected and this can this can be attributed to the women playing the roles. The actors bring the characters to life and makes the characters even personable and relatable.

The casting of the lead ladies is great for the movie. One of the leads, Haddish, who is relatively unknown, stands out in this movie; she shines in the movie and offers the most laughs. Haddish play a typical party girl, which may seem like an archetype in this type of movie but she plays the role with a bit more depth and causes the audience to erupt on laughter time and time again. The other ladies, who big stars in Hollywood, Pinkett Smith, Hall, and Latifah, play more restrained characters, but they deliver great performances and find a way to offer great humor as well.

A problem with the film would be that the other characters who appears on screen is rather one-dimensional and lacks depth. And this causes the problem where some character’s motivations are not known and this creates some plot holes; and some of the supporting character’s gags does not hit as well as the four leads but nevertheless the supporting cast does a good enough job supporting the leading ladies to hold audience’s interest. Also, these faults are minor because the supporting cast doesn’t need to be overshadow the leads any way. In fact, the four leads command the audience’s attention and turning the audience focus from the other characters.

The story is compelling on its own merit. R-rated comedies normally showcase gag after gag without presenting a cohesive plot, but “Girls Night” manages to construct a compelling and solid story with universal messages and themes. The story excels in how it highlights the believability and complexity of the relationship between the girls. As the movie goes on, the plot allows for interesting revelations and gives intriguing tidbits about each characters, their

struggles, and their relationship with one another. Overall, the story offers heartfelt, relatable, and entertaining moments.

Also, the movie does throw in a lot of cameos, Neyo, Ava Duvernay, Mariah Carey, P-Diddy and Common, and movie showcase a lot of familiar music; some may feel that it may not be thrown in; however, it is warranted as the plot revolves around the characters being at the Essence Festival. It is a nice touch to have celebrities and popular music as these make the audience feel that they are at the festival themselves.

Regardless of minor issues, the movie still surpasses expectations. The movie is a hilarious and fun ride and a great experience. It is more than just a raunchy comedy; the film is a rather compelling story with likeable and fully-realized lead characters. Watching the movie in the theater enhances the experience as the audience gets to share in the laughs as a community. “Girls Trip” gets 4 out 5 paws.

A ‘Welcome Back’ Bash

On July 15, Saint Leo welcomed incoming students and their families to the University with a campus-wide blowout. From 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., guests of all ages partied down at Saint Leo’s annual Summer Fest.

This year, to avoid the brutal Florida heat, Summer Fest consisted of several indoor activities in cooler locations around campus, such as a party at the Marion Bowman pool, kayaking in the lake, and a painting class in the fine arts building. A video game extravaganza took place in the lobby of apartment five and seemed to be the most popular activity among students, including Kira Parisi, a student and summer staff member for First Year Experience.

“All the games were so cool,” Parisi said. “They had different games and systems like Atari to some as new as the Nintendo Switch.”

All of the events culminated with one final bash in the SCC Bowl at 5 p.m. Guests could chow down on complimentary meals from several food trucks, cool down on an inflatable water slide, or try their luck at winning some nifty raffle prizes, such as tickets to the upcoming Rays vs. Yankees game, all while grooving to a live DJ.

After seeing the fun activities and friendly atmosphere the University has to offer, many incoming freshmen are looking forward to the start of their first semester. Steven Grant, who hails from Orlando, was attracted to Saint Leo’s computer science program.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to achieve as much as I can in as little time as possible,” said Grant. “I’m also eager to participate in some intramural volleyball.”

Just like those in the past, this year’s Summer Fest received a spectacular turn out. It proved to be the perfect way for students, both new and returning, to beat the summer and get back into the school spirit.

Welcome Home, Web Slinger

Since he first crawled his way onto the big screen in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” fans have been eagerly anticipating the return of one of Marvel Comics most notable heroes, Spider-Man. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” recently hit the theaters on July 7 and is already becoming one of the best superhero films of the summer. The film stars Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., and Michael Keaton.

Set immediately after the events of “Civil War,” the film follows young Peter Parker (Holland) as he struggles with the mounting pressures of high school and potential superhero stardom. Wanting nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of his idol Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr.), and achieve official Avengers status, Peter dons his new Spidey suit and attempts to clean up crime on the streets of New York, often with disastrous consequences. Peter quickly learns that being a hero is a dangerous job when he encounters a dangerous enemy called Vulture (Keaton), a high-flying villain who plans to sell deadly alien weaponry to criminals for profit. To defeat his avian foe, Peter will have to rely on something stronger than his Spidey sense and learn that, sometimes, even heroes need a little help.

Unlike the Spider-Man films of years past, “Homecoming” focuses less on the heroics and more on the coming of age story behind them. Unlike Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of the wall crawler, who took to their super powers like the proverbial duck to water, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is still coming into his own as Spider-Man and is in the midst of navigating his new powers and suit. The film also focuses more on Peter Parker and how his role as a budding hero affects those around him, a refreshing view of life beyond the web slinging. Holland shines far brighter than his predecessors before him. The newcomer achieves the perfect blend of the shy and awkward Peter Parker and his strong and snarky alter ego, Spider-Man.

In true Marvel cinematic fashion, the story is well written, the film is well cast, and the graphics and special effects are stunning. The most eye-catching feature of the film is Spidey’s new and improved suit. It’s vibrant, sleek and smooth design looks as though it leapt directly from the pages of a 1960s comic book. But despite its many great aspects, “Homecoming” did have a few minor flaws.

The big question on many a Marvel fans mind is this: why is aunt May getting younger? The role was originated in 2002 by Rosemary Harris and has since been filled by Sally Field in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and now by Marisa Tomei in both “Civil War” and “Homecoming.” As the Spider-Man movie franchise has progressed with sequels and reboots, Peter Parker’s beloved guardian has regressed from the snowy haired, doting senior citizen to a middle aged, snarky “cool aunt.” The reason behind this is unclear and has many fans perturbed. And it isn’t just aunt May, Peter’s circle of friends and enemies have undergone some serious changes with

“Homecoming” as well. The film boasts a couple of hefty plot twists that, while they are quite clever and surprising, deviate far from the original comic book universe and will leave audiences scratching their heads and wondering “how is that even possible?”

But despite some befuddling surprises and the ever-changing characters, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” proves to be what audiences already suspected: the best Spider-Man movie yet!

Shaping the Leaders of Tomorrow

Though the start of the fall semester is still more than a month away,  Saint Leo is already seeing a sea of new faces across its campus. On June 28, the National Hispanic Institute kicked off its International Collegiate World Series Conference. For five days, a slew of promising students will eat, sleep, and learn on the University campus and get a taste of the college lifestyle that awaits them.

The event officially began with a welcoming ceremony held in the SCC boardrooms at 3:30 p.m. President William Lennox and other members of Saint Leo faculty addressed the students, explaining what they could expect living on the campus for the next few days. Students then participated in a brief ice-breaker before heading to the dining hall for dinner.

The National Hispanic Institute is the nation’s largest Latino youth organization based out of Texas and the Collegiate World Series Conference is an annual event that has been hosted in various parts of the U.S. Saint Leo University has become the NHI’s latest partner in the almost 40-year-old program and John Lopez, the vice chair of the NHI’s board of directors, was thrilled to be bringing the event to the campus for the first time.

“We had previously reached out to Saint Leo and it just seemed like a good fit,” said Lopez. “Any time we can partner with a university and help provide programming to kids, then that allows us to keep our tuition rates affordable.”

Through July 2, promising Latino high school seniors will compete as teams in a series of events and workshops designed to prepare them for college and life beyond. Such activities include learning to write essays and résumés, how to fill out college and job applications, understanding the college admissions process and financial aid, and more. The workshops are primarily meant to be educational, but are designed with fun in mind.

As its name suggests, the program follows a baseball theme. Each workshop becomes a game in the world series. Participating teams of students are coached through each lesson by admissions counselors from the NHI, who will help bring each student one step closer to winning the event and acquiring successful leadership skills.

“The first part of the program is to teach kids a little bit about the college admissions process, and we do that using a game model. Tonight, there will be a short college fair where the kids will get to go around and meet the different college representatives who are here. Those representatives are actually going to be the coaches for the different teams,” explained Lopez. “After the college fair, the coaches are going to meet and they’re going to hold a draft.

For the kids, part of the college fair is going to be to make sure that the coaches remember them. We call this the first-round draft choice.”

When all is said and done, students are expected to leave with a better understanding of the different processes they will be faced with when applying for and attending a university, as well as useful skills needed for life beyond that. Many of these students may choose to apply what they’ve learned at the conference by enrolling at Saint Leo in future semesters.

To learn more about the National Hispanic Institute and all that it has to offer, visit their official website at http://www.nationalhispanicinstitute.org.

The Coolest Bands You’ve Never Heard (Or Have Forgotten)

Today, it seems like all the same artists are debuting hit after hit on almost every radio station, and each one of those top forty tracks is being played back to back several times in a day. Unbeknownst to all but those die-hard music lovers, some of the best songs are those that are rarely heard by artists who are often unheard of. As the summer begins to wind down, try chilling by the pool or busting a move to some tunes by these five bands you’ve never heard of. You may even be surprised to know that might have heard some of their hits before.

1.) The Dear Hunter

The Dear Hunter is a progressive rock band that originated in Rhode Island. Lead by front man Casey Crescenzo, the band has released seven full-length albums and several EP’s. The Dear Hunter dos not limit itself to one sound. Their tracks range from soft and sunny lilting serenades to dark and brooding emo rock ballads, making them the perfect band for fans with of varying tastes. Their albums, aptly titled “Acts,” follow a progressive story line with each track adding to the tale. The Dear Hunter is a startlingly unique band and each of their songs is a pleasant surprise, for no two tracks sound alike. Explore their music on iTunes, starting with these recommended tracks: “Whisper,” “This Body,” and “His Hands Matched His Tongue.”

2.) The Crashtones

Few are familiar with actor Sam Witwer, and even fewer know of his band The Crashtones. The band released its first and, as of yet, only album, “Colorful of the Stereo,” in 2006. Witwer recently revealed to fans that a second album is in the works. The Crashtones is primarily an alternative metal band but, one of the benefits of having a Julliard trained actor as the front man, every track is drastically different in mood, tone, and sound. Each of the 14 songs tells an angsty or quirky tale of adolescence and past love, all while alternating between angry and intense grunge, old school record scratching hip hop, and achingly moving melancholy ballads. Witwer’s versatile voice and powerful stories will stay with you long after a song has ended, haunting you in a good way. “Colorful of the Stereo” can be found in its entirety on iTunes. Recommended songs include: “The Date Song,” “Black Dress,” “Reflex,” and “The End.”

3.) Les Friction

Following in the footsteps pf bands such as Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, and Led Zeppelin, Les Friction is a symphonic rock group based out of California. Their self-titled album was released in 2011 and their digital album “Dark Matter” was recently released on Amazon. Led by a singer names Paint, the band produces somber and gothic songs backed by a booming,

riotous and earth-shaking orchestra. Though few may remember, portions of their most popular track, “Louder Than Words,” have been used in past movie trailers, such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part Two.” Some of their best tracks, such as “World on Fire” and “Louder Than Words,” can be found on iTunes, while their most impressive new track, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” is available for download on Amazon.

4.) Mystery Skulls

Don’t let the plural name fool you, Mystery Skulls is only one person. The electronica/dance act was created in 2011 by its sole member, Luis Dubuc, who has since gone on to release several popular singles and four albums. Mystery Skulls’ latest album, “One of Us,” is due August 7. Many first encounter Mystery Skulls by watching their popular animated music videos. In 2012, YouTuber Ben Mangum released an animated music video for the Mystery Skulls track “Money.” Impressed by the video, Mystery Skulls gave Mangum permission to create more videos for their music. Mangum’s most popular is “Ghost,” a brightly colored and pop heavy parody of the classic “Scooby-Doo” cartoon. The video has garnered a huge fanbase and sequels featuring more Mystery Skulls tracks are in the works. Fans of the popular track “Ghost” may also enjoy such singles as “Magic,” “Freaking Out,” and “Paralyzed.”

5.) Jamiroquai

A popular staple of the nineties was the funk/acid jazz movement, which primarily took place in London. Fronted by lead vocalist Jay Kay, Jamiroquai was perhaps the most prominent band in the movement. Their sound is a soulful throwback to the R&B and disco of the 1970s with some modern pop thrown into the mix, a refreshing detour from the typical pop of today. Jamiroquai’s music took America by storm and many of their tracks have been featured in films and other media. Fans of the quirky comedy “Napoleon Dynamite” may remember the film’s titular character awkwardly dancing to Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” at the high school talent show, or gamers may have danced along to “Cosmic Girl,” which was featured in the popular Nintendo Wii game “Just Dance Two.” Fans of these tracks may also enjoy such hits as “Lifeline” and “Virtual Insanity.” Jamiroquai is still going strong with an upcoming European tour and their new album “Automaton” both due this year.

If you’re sick of turning on the radio and hearing the same ten songs back to back, try rocking out to something new. Sometimes the best way to find the most unique bands is to go exploring. Tune into a different radio station, play around on Pandora and Spotify, or just ask some friends. The best songs may have been right under your nose all along.