I remember watching part of a TV series some time ago about the IT department in a big company. The unfortunate individuals working in this small office hidden away in the bowels of an office block had the unenviable task of dealing with any computer faults and problems experienced by the rest of the employees. Whenever they picked up the phone and listened to a complaint, the invariable first response was "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"
The point of this rejoinder is to make the audience laugh. It is a stock phrase that occurs at least once in every episode and is expected and then greeted with applause. I expect this is not a million miles away from what happens in real IT departments (without the applause, of course!).
The other day I discovered online a series of walks around Islington. I can of course walk around Islington without a walk guide in my hand but such guides can be useful as they often tell me things about the buildings and environment that I might not otherwise have known. I downloaded the set and decided to print out the first one.
You’ve seen pictures featuring my desktop before and the above is a quick reminder of one corner of it, the corner occupied by the printer. You will notice that the top of the printer is inhabited. The ladybirds in particular have a habit throwing themselves into the works in a fit of existential despair. When they do that, they tend not to be noticed until the printer is put into use.
This happened again when I tried to print my walk guide. The paper rotated to the right and jammed. I guessed what had happened, pulled out the paper, turned the printer upside down and shook it. Out fell the miscreant ladybird.
It was now that things became interesting. I put the paper back in and gave the print command. Nothing. The printer just sat there. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to print things, all in vain.
I noticed that in the print menu was a help button. This is turn revealed a “troubleshooting” button. I clicked this and started the procdess. You have to answer questions and this takes you through a diagnostic routine. I got some way through this and nothing was helping. Then I can to a full page of instructions. In essence, this boiled down to “Turn the computer off and again again and see if the printer then works.”
“You’re kidding,” I said.
I turned the computer off and on again and gave the print command. The printer worked perfectly. So “Nah” to me.
The only thing that bothers me is: Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂