I had an issue with my computer this morning.  Nothing major.  Just one program that seemed to be hung and I needed it working.  I fixed it with the ubiquitous reboot but it got me to thinking about the relative troubleshooting procedure.

Here’s the way I think it works (this really is the procedure I followed):

The Geek Method:

  • Realize that there’s a problem.
  • Restart application and realize that the error still exists
  • Open server application and check configuration options.
  • Set “DEBUG” level in the server application as high as possible
  • Set “DEBUG” level in the client application as high as possible
  • Connect and catch the error message in the DEBUG log that relates to problem.
  • Search Google for the error message to see if anyone else has had this problem and get a resolution.
  • Realize that no one has had this problem before. 
  • Search Google and find the source code for the application.
  • Find the error message in the source code to see what’s generating it.
  • Follow the program logic until you find the bug in the program.
  • Fire off a quick note to the application developers with a description of the problem.  The Location of the bug in the source and a “recommended” fix.
  • Reboot
  • Write Blog post about it.

The Elderly Relative Method (female):

  • Realize that there’s a problem.
  • Install Yahoo and look for Geek nephew.
  • Install MSN and look for Geek nephew.
  • Call Geek nephew and tell him he should be  on the Internet so you can chat.
  • Ask what Gchat is.
  • Ask what “Google” is.
  • Explain that you are really sure there’s a problem with your printer.
  • Agree with Geek nephew that since you’re not trying to use the printer it’s probably not related.
  • Explain that it’s probably another virus because that Norton thing is always popping up on you.
  • While Geek nephew tries to fix problem from 900 miles away (see Geek Method) click randomly on the screen to take control of the remote desktop session.
  • Apologize repeatedly for bothering Geek Nephew who is really busy. (at least 27 times)
  • Disconnect remote desktop session while Geek Nephew is working because, “it’s not that important and I know you’re really busy”.
  • At recommendation of Geek Nephew reboot
  • Call friends to tell them that your Geek Nephew is smarter than their Geek Nephew.

The Elderly Relative Method (male):

  • Explain to Geek Nephew that this used to work but stopped.
  • Turn off computer.
  • Go hoe beans.

The Non-Geek Brother Method:

  • Explain to Geek Brother that this used to work but stopped so you unplugged the thing.
  • Go work on truck.

The Wife Method:

  • Explain to Geek Husband that you tried to get him to fix it for three weeks and that you finally just gave up…
  • Reboot.
  • Call sister to tell her that your Geek Husband is smarter than her Geek Husband anyway.
It’s only a problem if…

3 thoughts on “It’s only a problem if…

  • January 28, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Then there’s the Mac user solution:

    People make fun of Mac fans being so hard on Windows and too kind to Mac. If you use a Mac for a month, you’ll be stunned at just how much junk you simply put up with on Windows without realizing it – reboots, hung apps, inconsistent interfaces, unresponsive machine, complete lack of built-in integrated search, slow boot and shutdown. Those things don’t bother non-Mac users simply because they don’t know there’s something better. Like CS Lewis said: they’re like kids content to make mud pies in the slum simply because they don’t know what it is to have a holiday at sea.

  • January 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Now I hate wordpress, too. My previous post had less than and greater than signs in it. Rather than encode on output, they decided to reject the symbols and everything between the two. What dimwits.

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