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Dropping off my kid at college for the last time and it is time for a little troubleshooting...

firefighting.pngAbout this time of year I do a post that deals with dropping my children off at college. I think this will be the last one though since my daughter is in the last year of her master’s degree at Texas A&M. Every year there seems to be a new technical problem that I end up diagnosing remotely.

 

This year she has an office (since she’s a grad assistant) so I set her up with a 2nd monitor. It was working fine when I left. She calls me about a day later telling me that everything is turned on but the PC doesn’t see the monitor. It was time to talk with her about troubleshooting (I have been doing quite a number of posts on problem response lately).

 

I told her about the first law of trouble shooting -- Jerry Pournelle called it: Pournelle’s law of troubleshooting – “First check the cables”. It turned out that in her efforts to get everything just the way she wanted it, the DVI cable pulled out. She plugged it in and everything started working.

 

If I were to have a 2nd law, it would probably be: “It’s probably the people.” Either miscommunications or misunderstanding… There is also a chance you have one of those people in your area who likes to mess with you. I had a “friend” once who added half a comment into some Pascal code while I was on a two week vacation. I came back and swearing it was working when I left.

 

As I was preparing for this post I came across this article that is focused on techniques to prevent an IT troubleshooting activity from getting too bad.

Labels: troubleshooting
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  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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