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Zen and the Art of fixing stuff in general

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop' started by Yellow Fang, 17 Sep 2018.

  1. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Veteran Geek

    Location:
    Reading
    When something won't work, it is very difficult not to get frustrated, I find, which does not help. Frustration clogs up the mind; you can't think straight; your mind gets stuck down a tramlines. So, the idea of this thread is to think of a checklist of practices to get things fixed quicker.

    • Have you worked on that system recently? Whereabouts? You might have broken something while fixing something else.
    • Look for loose wires or cables.
    • Try to isolate the problem.
    • Actually read the error messages
    What else? There must be lots?
     
  2. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Rule no1 always check every fuse you can find.
     
  3. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Another one that is good on a check list is check the time. I used to work on a web server that did not change time with the human clocks. So six months of the year it was an hour out. Which could cause confusion when looking for an error message in a log file from a few hours ago.

    So when checking log files from a remote machine, make sure it is running the same time as you.
     
    Yellow Fang likes this.
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    It sort of depends really on what you are trying to fix.

    If it's a system where you are not sure if it's a software or hardware problem then the last result is probably to copy the hard drive and load it up in a virtual machine. If the same problem exists then it's most likely software, if it goes away there is a good chance it's hardware.

    Another one that caught me out once was admin permissions. I was logged in as an admin user once and did an update which went bad. Took me ages to realise that the update had to be done by the master admin account and not the admin account that had been set up for the webmaster. Not all admin accounts are set up equally.
     
  5. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Veteran Geek

    Location:
    Reading
    Sometimes I find the problem is something I've completely overlooked. I've been too busy exploring another field of possibilities. It would be good to take a step back and think laterally, but it's often not easy to do.

    Get the right diagnostic tools or develop them yourself.

    Work hard at it, but then have another go in the morning when your brain's fresh.
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  6. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Sleeping on it is often a great solution. I've often struggled with something then gone home, thought about it, sleep and come back to solve it in no time the next morning. Even shorter breaks like stopping to grab a cup of coffee, go to the toilet or take a 5 minute break outside can give you the time to step away, collect your thoughts and come up with a plan.
     
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