I am a technologist. That doesn’t mean that the only thing I do is technology. I simply look, if possible for ways to solve problems with technology. I do not try to force technology into places it will not fit. That said, I do also spend a lot of time thinking about problems and as shared yesterday troubleshooting problems. I have a rule about the length of time I will spend troubleshooting an issue before I put down the device and ask for help. Normally if it is my problem, it is about an hour. I will spend an hour chasing every possible solution I know; if that doesn’t work, then I will reach out for help. If it is a customer’s issue I don’t have the one hour rule. Then I will continue to work on the problem until we figure out how to solve it. But when it is an issue I am dealing with, at home, then I only work on them for an hour. The rule is so that I don’t get to the point where when I do call, I snap at the person tyring to help. When you have an issue, it is important to remember sometimes, the problem is on your end.
Starting on Saturday, I spent about a ½ hour trying to troubleshoot an issue on the site where I blog (virily). I cannot say that I solved the problem, or that the admin team reset the Cloudflare connection. But one of the two solved the problem. If it happens again, now I can cut my troubleshooting steps down considerable. That is the value of troubleshooting. You can reduce the number of steps required because you’ve removed some of the variables. The thing that I try to convey to people when I help them. Get rid of as many variables in your environment as you can. The more you get rid of, the more likely you are to be able to solve your problem.
Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it, over and over.
It is funny to me sometimes. The reality of troubleshooting technology is something most people don’t do. I cannot tell you how many conversations and threads I’ve been a part of trying to troubleshoot issues, where the person on the other end didn’t understand the need to get to simple. The simpler your overall solution is, the easier it is to see the moving pieces that may be contributing to the problem. It is like the old cartoon of an all you can eat Ice Cream Sundae bar. You are limited to what fits in the bowl. It is really hard to transport ice cream when you don’t have a bowl! The reality of the lack of bowl impacts your ability to enjoy the ice cream. Plus the resulting sticky mess is really hard to clean up! When having an issue get yourself simple first, (have a bowl) that way you won’t have Ice Cream all over you!