Tag: Technology

Why does turning a device off and on again fix most technical problems?

This is possibly the best answer to this question I’ve ever seen. Found via @SaraBWarf on twitter via the excellent Labnotes newsletter. Embedding the Reddit response below and the plain text in the event it disappears in the future below.

Imagine you live in a huge, ancient city with winding streets that have many twists and turns. You want to get from your house to the grocery store. Somewhere along the way, you aren’t paying attention, and take a wrong turn.

Now you’re lost. You don’t recognize any buildings. What do you think is more likely to help you — going around and around in circles, or magically teleporting back to your house and starting again from the beginning of the route you already know?

That’s what power cycling does. It takes a device that’s trapped in some kind of problem, picks it up, and puts it back down at the starting line again.

“Ah, the starting line,” it says. “I know what to do from here.”

KDY_ISD on Reddit

Did you try turning it off and on again?

Today has been a good lesson in complexity. I self-host a number of things. I really enjoy the ability to have things running at home I can play with and not pay a monthly fee to sit idle as I lose time or interest in that particular item.

But tonight, I was reminded how irritating it can be. We had a series of severe thunderstorms and lost power for a moment. And I mean the blink of an eye. My NAS and desktop computer rebooted. The laptops (obviously were ok) but not even the monitors flickered nor did the router notice anything.

But it was enough to knock the NAS and Proxmox server out of whack. I tried to pull up something to listen to on Plex and it dutifully told me there was no media. As it lives on the NAS and the multimedia NFS share was currently unavailable.

So I rebooted the NAS and the proxmox host since I didn’t feel like getting into a troubleshooting session tonight. And that didn’t work.

So I went looking for how to simply reconnect the NFS share I was sure was available from the NAS. And… got lost in a hole of promox forums and people talking around each other’s questions.

I got as far as being able to see which shares the proxmox server knew about, but not how to actually get them reconnected. This is something I would still like to know. I’m sure there’s a pvesm incantation I can chant to make it all work. But I’ve not been able to find it.

Eventually after the third (fourth?) reboot, all was well and my multimedia, backup and other shares are back online and all is well in the world But it’s still an irritating diversion and reminder that I don’t know as much as I think I do. I know just enough to be dangerous and then run to the hive mind when there’s trouble. 

The season of perpetual hope

It doesn’t matter what phone you use. Nor do I care what operating system you run or if you even know. I don’t care what you’re into. Just like you don’t care what I’m into. We’re all into what makes us happy.

And I try to celebrate that. I am not the best at it. I still fall into the trap of dismissing things I don’t care for. But I am aware of it and I try to get better at it. I try not to be a jerk and to genuinely be helpful.

Yesterday, as I was sitting at a Thanksgiving dinner, surrounded my families visiting their mothers and fathers with dementia, one of the daughters pushed an Android tablet towards me and asked if I could get Netflix on it. She didn’t know how.

I said sure and went to work relearning how Android has changed since I used it years ago. I found the Play Store and updated the app. I didn’t enter any payment information, skipping the step to avoid unwanted charges. I located Netflix and downloaded it on to the tablet.

I then showed the daughter where the Netflix app icon was and how to get other applications in the future. I did mention some of them may require a payment and I skipped the payment step when I downloaded Netflix. I mentioned to her it would not require payment for anything free, so if she didn’t want to add a credit card to it, she wouldn’t have to immediately.

I love technology because of what it allows us to do. I haven’t lost my sense of wonder at how I can see friends in far away states, or talk to complete strangers across time zones and continents. I still marvel at the libraries of knowledge and entertainment a single click away.

Technology is my life. But it shouldn’t have to be everyone’s. I had no idea what I was doing with the Android tablet when she handed it over to me. But I figured it out and didn’t ask a thousand questions. I chose some sensible defaults and explained what I had done.

Better living through technology

As I was returning from my lunch-time walk, I saw a woman walking towards me gesturing strangely at me. I was confused at first as she was far away.

She continued gesturing as she got closer. Still confused, I continued to watch her, and as she drew near, I realized she wasn’t gesturing at me at all.

She was talking to someone on the phone in sign language using video chat.

There it was, the promise of technology, being used to actually make someone’s life better. A deaf person able to hold a conversation over the phone, in her native language.

Technology Temptation

I love computers. I often prefer their company to people. Before I got married, I had close to a dozen computers in my life. They all worked. Or mostly worked. And when the ding or a NewEgg or TigerDirect email would appear in my mailbox, I would look through it. The same for the paper catalogs. What was on sale? What did I need to complete a machine? What upgrade could I buy?

I threw a lot of money into hardware that I rarely did anything with. Hard drive. Enclosures. Cords. Adapters. I had a mountain of junk that I thought was important.

It wasn’t. I had big plans for what I bought. But I never followed through with much of it. So I bought more and more. I kept looking to see what I could buy. Because it was a deal.

Now, I don’t receive any of their mailings. I’ve long since removed their temptation from my life. I can’t remember the last time I visited either site. I no longer lust for technology.

I’ve done the same with app deals and sales. I don’t get notified. If something goes on sale, it’s usually something I already own. And if it’s not. I don’t need it.

If I did, I would have already bought it.