Monday, 28 September 2015

Switch it off and on again

Or ‘switch it on and off again’, as my colleague Neil used to say – but he was Australian, so fair dinkum.*

As befits people who, over time, have communicated more by computer than by those old-fashioned vocal cords, Z and I spent a bit of time (not much, I hasten to add) discussing computers.  In particular, how scared some folks, especially neophytes, can be of the things, perhaps naturally assuming that if they do something wrong, they’ll break it.  She came up with a good analogy – if you stall your car, all you need to do is restart the engine, the car’s not broken.  I followed through by comparing, say, reformatting the hard disk with crashing the car into a brick wall; which, on reflection, I don’t think was exact – the computer is still doing exactly what it’s told, isn’t it?  Taking a box cutter to the motherboard would be a closer equivalent to the brick wall.

 Anyway, Z’s visit here naturally gave rise to a veritable tsunami of Facebook feedback, as such momentous occurrences always do.  (Well, at least a dozen comments, which is high-end by my usual standards.)  I got some email notifications, so I logged on to see them.  Or rather, tried to – because of course, as you know Facebook had chosen this moment to crash, properly.  (Z and I take no credit or blame for this, incidentally.)

Now the analogies, erm, break down at this point.  I can restart my computer, but I can’t restart Facebook.  To stretch it to snapping point, even the best car in the world will fail to function if it runs out of petrol, or someone else puts diesel in by mistake.

In other words, we are actually at the mercy of powers beyond our control.  Still, I expect they’ll apologise eventually.  Whether they’ll offer the advertisers a refund is an entirely different matter.

*I think I’ve mentioned this in a post before, but the old ones are the best ones, aren’t they?

1 comment:

  1. People do quite often think they've done something wrong or that their computer has gone wrong, when it's just that Facebook itself has crashed.