Chasing Ghosts

March 31, 2018

One of the most annoying type of technology problems to battle are the ghosts. Ghosts are problems that appear, are easily fixed for a specific situation, and then later re-appear. Ghosts are persistent and they haunt you. It is incredibly challenging to debug ghosts because their trigger is usually unknown. My first step to handling ghosts is to list them.

For most of my ghosts I have a formula that fixes them. The majority of the time this formula involves a device reboot. For sufficiently infrequent problems this remedy is not a big deal. Once or twice a week is fine. Some issues recur daily or even multiple times a day. These are the ones that are the most painful.

A few things I try to deduce are whether the issues are related to hardware or software. If I suspect it’s a hardware issue then I try to go through device support to get the unit replaced if it is under warranty, or I give in and purchase a new device. Software is more challenging. A new device is not likely to fix it. I need to report the issue to the manufacturer through their support channel. Sometimes they have ideas on how to fix it. Other times I am just trying to get their engineers enough information about the issue to debug it for a software update.

Unfortunately most of the time I just decide to live with the issue. The time to debug it ends up being longer than the amount of annoyance to deal with each individual occurrence. I wish I had more time to fix some of these issues, but ultimately life is too short to keep chasing ghosts.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.