Returning to the simple architecture movement. Remember those who built what’s there…

I had the original Apple Wireless keyboard for my office mac. I managed to break off five of the keys, so I replaced the original with the new Apple Wireless keyboard. First off, you either like the chicklet keyboard or you hate them. If you hate them, then you won’t like the new Apple Keyboard. But, what you will like is the setup and install. Easy. Simple. No Fuss.

Now, in fairness I can quite quickly pull my Lenovo Helix off its keyboard base, and then reattach it and it works. It remembers what USB devices were connected and reconnects them. So that isn’t an Apple only feature. It is however something that people forget. Forget in that once upon a time your computer wouldn’t boot without a keyboard attached to the keyboard slot. That we had custom keyboard slots. That USB and wireless keyboards didn’t exist.

In fact, before there was USB we had the LPT and Serial ports on everything. In the case of Macs it was the AppleTalk port. All of these custom ports required custom cables and careful planning. You could buy Appletalk switches or LPT switches so you have have multiple printers attached. At work we had network print queues. Not a printer capable of handling remote or network printing (scanning and coping also) but simple a queue. You printed to the Unix based, Novell based or Windows based print queue. Now the printer can handle that.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) has had three distinct iterations since release (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0) each with a different connector. That by the way is a huge contributor to the massive pile of cables I have in my downstairs storage room. The reason I am bringing this up has to do with trouble shooting.

As a long time IT professional (kind of sad actually to say that I don’t feel old) I remember the days of old. When you were troubleshooting a physical box. As we transition to this new world you need to make sure that the overall structure for problem solving captures the old knowledge. While the LPT port is no longer, the concept of how you troubleshooting printing issues is the same. The network printing queue may be on the printer itself now, but trouble shooting issues shouldn’t be forgotten.

My solution sits in a cloud. I can no longer simply reboot the physical hardware. But I can still follow all the traditional troubleshooting steps.

  1. Is your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Cellular connection active and actually connected to a network or device?
  2. Can you ping the IP address (originally it was are all the cables connected)
  3. Can you connect to the IP Address
  4. Can you, after connecting log in with your credentials

The tribal knowledge that we may lose is why the first few steps. That has to do with the days of cables bent and cables knocked out of ports and power failures making it impossible to turn on computers. That knowledge and understanding of the how in the works is critical. Bluetooth is limited to 7 active connections. Interesting so was SCSI. Token rings used to beacon when they hit too many nodes – now the internet just slows down when there is too much traffic. No beaconing but no Netflix Smile.

If you forget history, you are doomed to repeat it.


old technologist