Stories from my Past: Did you try rebooting it?

Most people who work in an office know the tired refrain from IT people: Did you reboot it? It is really amazing how often that advice works. I will share an example.

I had someone call in for help once and he said his computer couldn’t print. Ok that is a problem. He also shares that his neighbors computers can’t print either. Now it becomes a device or network issue, not a local computer problem. As he is talking I try to find out more details. It used to work on Thursday but it doesn’t work anymore. The printer was just installed a few weeks ago, so he thinks perhaps that has something to do with it. It doesn’t print anything so it’s not application or computer specific. I ask when the last time it was turned off and turned on. He pauses and thinks about it. He says “I didn’t know you had to restart it.” I said just humor me and let’s try restarting it.

So he restarts the printer. It takes a long time to restart which is typical because it is a huge multifunction business copier, scanner, printer machine. Which is probably why it doesn’t get restarted. Then he tries on the first computer to print. Success! He tries on the second. Success! He concludes that it must have needed to be restarted.

I ask him if he got the email I sent with 5 tips to keep computers working efficiently. He said he was out a few days last week. In that email I shared that things should be restarted when they have an issue. Its cheap, easy and might save a phone call to technical support. He promised to read it.

When you deal with computers sometimes the issue is very complex and requires a great deal of understanding to fix. Most of the time it just takes common sense, and a good troubleshooting methodology. As one of my former bosses said when he was hiring me “Can you do the job, it’s not rocket science.” Was that an insult or compliment?

Book Review: Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone: Eric Klinenberg: 9780143122777: Amazon.com: Books. I liked this book. It gave lots of facts and interesting stories. I did feel at times that the approach wasn’t scientific, but it was clear he was trying.

Probably the biggest thing to be gained from this is that you should be aware of the risks of being single. Of course there are risks of being married as well. I find it interesting when in the stories people who had bad experiences allow that fear of loss to stop them from trying again. People are individuals, and what happened to them in the past isn’t a guarantee it will happen again. Hopefully we grow as people and make better choices.

The majority of reviewers rated this book positively, but I also agree with the few who rated it negatively. I can see that his bias of being married affected the way he approached this. I don’t think he had an agenda, but his personal values shined through the work. I am not judging him, but his attempt to be impartial was more imagined than real.

It is great that you acknowledge your bias, but it is better when you find a way to work against it. I like the scientific idea that you try to disprove something. I have found that challenging or disproving beliefs to be incredibly helpful. What seems on the surface to be true, is often not true. Take for example what color the sun is. I just learned recently that the sun isn’t yellow. All of my life I thought it was yellow. Apparently if it were yellow then the clouds would be yellow as well. I didn’t think it through but after reading that scientific explanation it makes sense. The way things appear to be are rarely the way things really are.