“I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, it’s true
can happen to you.” (Dr. Seuss, 1990)
- Trouble-shooting is often applied to repair failed products or processes on a machine or a system.
- It is a logical, systematic search for the source of a problem in order to solve it and make the product or process operational again.
- Frequently the symptom is a failure of the product or process to produce any results.
- Corrective action can then be taken to prevent further failures of a similar kind.
- Finally troubleshooting requires confirmation that the solution restores the product or process to its working state.
A Process Failure
Last week we got the truck stuck in two feet of ice and snow while attempting to drive to the woodpile. Our four-wheel-drive Toyota Tundra fails us just when winter hits its stride up here? Paul shoveled and dug around the tires. He rocked in forward and reverse. The tires whirled in place. No results. We have a process failure. Time for corrective action: Call AAA.
The tow-truck driver scoffed at this minor incident. He winched the truck out of a solid snow pack in less than five minutes. We confirmed the solution by driving straight to J.K.’s Roadhouse for beer and sandwiches, with a stop by the Big M for bundles of firewood. Aren’t we clever?
A Product Malfunction
Not so fast. The next morning my Subaru engine refused to turn over. A product malfunction this time. The sub-zero nights had been too much for the eight-year-old battery. Paul pulled out the jumper cables and made the proper connections to the Toyota Tundra, which now proved exceedingly reliable. Corrective action: Drive to Fucillo Subaru for a replacement battery.
Troubleshooters eliminate potential causes of a problem, so I approve replacement spark plugs, new brake pads, flushing of the transmission fluid, plus installation of a new passenger-side airbag so that metal fragments will not pose a “threat of injury or death.” Two problems solved in two days.
A Systematic Search
These successes spur me on to tackle another problem, the loss of our NETFLIX connection. Until last week, NETFLIX worked perfectly. Streaming I think it is called. One evening a price increase notice popped up on the screen. Now hooked on NETFLIX, we clicked Accept.
The next day…no NETFLIX. Large white font announces: Connection Failure. Four error codes follow. We select the Try Again option. Nothing. We hit the Cancel message and restart. Nothing. From past glitches we know to turn off all power and reboot the whole system, TV, Internet, cable box. Still no go.
I set up our NETFLIX account a year ago, and have no recollection how I did it or why I used HDMI 2 through our DVD player. My technology skills are scant, so my success was pure accident. Granted, my method requires bothersome steps. Turn on the TV, then the cable, switch the source, power on the DVD player, at last the NETFLIX box usually appears. Not this time.
Where in the heck is McCandless TV from the old days? One call and the friendly neighborhood man who knows my parents shows up to jiggle the antennae or replace the old tube. For two days we revert to network television.
Today I dedicate the afternoon to troubleshooting. First, I log on to the computer and access my NETFLIX account…everything checks out, password, billing, etc. I find a help line and punch in the numbers on my phone. A melodic voice, Mary, answers the call. I concisely describe the problem. She checks for my account and says I don’t have one. I succinctly repeat the spelling of my e-mail.
“There it is,” she says.
I volunteer the error-code. She patiently explains that the code indicates a problem at my end. Of course. I detect a bit of patronizing in her tone, as if she thinks I am a senior who forgot to turn on the power button. Okay, so I am a senior.
Her tone turns a bit superior. “I am going to ask you to switch off the power to your device and restart it.” There it is. I told her I had tried that, but I would try again just for her.
I switched all the circuit breakers to off. The screen shut down, so did the cable box, as well as Mary. Oops. I forgot the house line was part of the TV bundled to Spectrum Internet. I dialed the help line once again from my cell phone. A polite, perky Nate answers. He cannot reconnect me to Mary, but we will start where Mary left off. Even better.
Nate must have grandparents, because he could not have been more sensitive. In the final analysis, he insisted the problem was at my end with the Internet connection. He so kindly provided the number I should call for a Spectrum expert and clicked off. Well!
Using the confidence gained from the truck rescue and the battery jump, I carry on by myself. Our Internet works perfectly fine to power our television, phone, I-Pad, and I-phone. Wikipedia says that “even in simple systems the troubleshooter must always consider the possibility that there is more than one fault.”
I open a drawer and pull out a slim controller that came with our television, one we seldom use. I press the home symbol and a menu magically pops up along the bottom of the television screen. Among other apps, is the familiar NETFLIX icon. I toggle over to it, press enter.
Our emojis pop up. Who’s watching NETFLIX?
Presto! Just like that I fix NETFLIX.
“Despite wisdom or age
You cannot dispute
Call for trouble-shoot.” (Dr. Findlan, 2019)