Stories from my Past: Disconnected from Server

One of the downsides of knowing something is that you often feel the burden to do something about a situation you know you can help with. I walk into a store and the clerk behind the counter is trying to get a payment from a woman. The woman gives him her information three times, so its clear it’s not a problem with the lady but with the computer.

I interject myself into this situation when he says that the cash register/computer terminal says it is “disconnected from server”. I suggest he reboot the terminal. He does that and it solves the issue. The lady is thrilled and she pays and leaves. I get my food and he gives me a cookie as a thank you.

So one of the neat things about knowing things is that you can help solve what would have been a very difficult situation. The lady didn’t have cash, and the clerk was clearly not capable of thinking of this solution on himself. Since it was a Sunday, it was unlikely that he had tech support, and even if you get an IT person, it doesn’t mean that know what they are doing. It is frustrating when you have some knowledge to have to deal with someone in your profession who doesn’t seem to have the same experience/background.

The best part of this was that this situation was fixed quickly. There are always going to be problems, but the first thing that someone should do when faced with a weird computer problem is to reboot the system. One day the system will detect these problems and reboot itself, but until that happens, that is always the #1 solution people. It is funny. People need to take breaks, naps and rest. Yet they think that technology doesn’t need it. Technology seems to need the same things that humans do. It needs to rest, be in a comfortable temperature, and not be abused. If you do this, then 90% things should work fine. If not, then motivate the IT guy with a sandwich.

Big Trak programming toys in the 80’s

Source: Big Trak – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did you have ever a Big Trak programming toys in the 80’s? As a kid I was given this gift and loved it. You could program it and do all kinds of things. I always wondered why more toys like this weren’t popular.

What was so wonderful about this toy is that you could also give it voice commands. Imagine that in the 80’s! It really chewed up the D batteries that it required, but it was worth it. I wish that they had allowed it to plug into popular game consoles so you could program it easier but it was still fun.

What was neat about the 80’s is that there were toys that don’t really exist now. This and other science toys have been dumbed down to protect the children. I also had a chemistry set that I really did all kinds of experiments with. Very dangerous of course but I survived. Sometimes you had to do things the hard way to find out the truth in life. That is another post however.

As I write this I can remember how loud this thing was when it moved. It was a grinding sound that really made you wonder if it was breaking. It couldn’t carry much weight either. I think what finally broke it is when I put heavy things on top of it to carry it to me. Of course as a kid you try to make things easier on yourself. If they had a more powerful model that had a wagon or carrying capability, this thing would have flown off the shelves. It is the extensible and ability to work with other things that make something popular.

What would have been perfect is if you could have customized the body or design of it. If it was a motor, pad and then spaces where it could hold things. If it was modular like the other toys of the type like Lego, or even supported Lego exterior that would have been amazing. If toy manufactures would just work together, they could make some amazing things that would benefit everyone. Why don’t they do this?