DIY

Reading the road ahead


This piece was posted late be cause I went on holiday!  Don't worry, it doesn't happen often.  why I should think of this whilst basking in the midday heat of Greece nobody knows.

When you are driving you don’t just stare at the back of the car in front, you scan the road ahead for as far as you can so that you can anticipate the actions of the traffic you are going to meet.  When I learned to drive some thirty years ago my instructor’s favourite litany was just this: “Read the road ahead” He didn’t just mean watching the car in front to see if it braked, but the car in front of that one, and the one on front of that, and so on, as far ahead as possible.

When a car half a mile slams on its brakes you have plenty of time to just ease off the gas and decelerate slowly.

The same model can be applied to support.

If you just follow the immediate problem in front of you, your life will consist of nothing but fire fighting problems.  It is important to put your head up over the parapet and scan the horizon for the bad guys.

A case in point was the roll out of Vista.  We did not have any plans to upgrade in the near future but it is inevitable that we will have to start supporting it sometime soon, so although there is no presence now I felt it was important that we got some exposure to it so that we could have some of the answers before they were asked.

As we all know, our helpdesks are perfect.  I was actually working for a couple of days at our European corporate headquarters when my laptop developed a strange fault.

I got back to the hotel room, switched it on and waited for a front screen.  It got as far as a login screen, then blue screened, rebooted and repeated the process ad finitum.

I called our helpdesk to log a call.  I was issued with a log number and we arranged for me to take the the offending article into the IT centre for a check up.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in the field that the tech concerned could not find anything wrong with the machine.  He did a few updates and left it running until I got back at the end of the day.

“Great,” I thought, now I can watch a couple of DVDs tonight instead of pretending to be sociable in the bar.

I went back to my room, turned the laptop on and guess what? It blue screened and re-booted.  I took it down to th reception area, there it worked perfectly. It worked in the car park, but it would not work in my room.

Then I looked round.  My room was directly over the machine room for the pool and leisure suite.

In that room were several large motors and pumps that must have been producing electromagnetic interference.  I noticed that my mobile phone didn’t work very well, nor did the TV.

As I write the laptop in question is having a bit of a holiday. It recovered from its trauma in Essex and is now recuperating in its bag home in Dorset

Why?  Because I am sitting beside an olive grove in the Peloponnese region of Greece, the birds are singing lustily, insects are droning lazily through the flowers, the cicadas are chattering away unseen in the olive trees.

The Aegean Sea is sparkling an impossible shade of blue and I am wondering just how long I can sit here typing whilst the beach and the snorkelling equipment beckons.

Sorry, you just lost.

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