Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's why I work in IT

Have you ever had your computer go wrong at work and have to call IT to fix it ?

Did they cycle the power – I mean switch it off and back on again. And did that work ?

Cycling the power is no trivial thing. It requires the ability of a trained and skilled operative.

Many many years ago I was sent to London to attend a computer operators course and most of the first day was spent learning just that, the right way to cycle the power. How to hold the breaker, how to move it, what to do if it resists when resetting, and what to do if it jumps back out again. The answer to the last part is that during the day you summon an engineer and if it’s night shift you go home.

Armed with this highly specialised knowledge I knew exactly what to do on Monday night when the television in the BOGOF household misbehaved.

It was, though a strange problem. We were watching a documentary about space flight and the loss of the shuttle Columbia. At the point where the Flight Director realised something terrible had happened the picture changed to black and white – for dramatic effect we thought. Not so. Come the ad break and it was still in black and white. So were all the other channels. The teletext was still in colour as were all the on screen displays. Most odd. Loss of chrominance or something similar.

But I’m a computer specialist, not a television repair man so I set to work. Power off, count to ten, power on. No change. Time for a switch to a mode two methodology. Power off, disconnect from mains, count twenty, reconnect to mains, power on. Success. Colour was restored.

I wouldn’t like to guess how long it will last though. The set is twelve years old so we may need to replace it soon. Looks like we’ll have to move into the 21st century with a silver grey flat screen model or something.

More BOGOF news later.


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