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?

Is Microsoft Office 2016 worth it?

First look: Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac doesn’t feel like an afterthought | Macworld. This is a pretty good review of what it is like. If you ever have to use Outlook in an office setting you probably welcome that it looks and acts like its windows counterpart. It still doesn’t have full feature parity with Windows, but they are doing better.

First look: Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac doesn't feel like an afterthought | MacworldIt is really unacceptable that Microsoft has taken so long to standardize their interface between Windows and Mac. Too many users have to use a Windows computer at work, and prefer a Mac at home. For them to offer Mac users a second class experience for so long, that is something that was customer hostile. For this reason, I can’t suggest that you buy or support Microsoft on this program. If you want exchange functionality I would suggest Fastmail which has an iOS app and the ability to sync contacts and calender easily. It can also hold files much like Gmail’s Google Drive.

Is this a worthwhile upgrade if you need it? Sure, it works for the most part. I was able to set up an Exchange account. I wouldn’t personally buy it. I think that 2016 is ugly, and 2011 looks nicer. I have worked with the PC version of office and the interface is boring and basic. I don’t think it helps anyone. It is a return to the early days like WordPerfect where the style is minimal and they try to avoid icons. Icons are crucial for casual computer users. There should be an option in programs to allow the different interfaces for programs. For example, the upgrade to Ribbon was so hard for most people. When corporations randomly change interfaces and require users to relearn their program that is the biggest problem that people don’t upgrade. People don’t have infinite time/ability to spend learning. Is it so hard to consider the customer first?