Before you wake me up, reboot.

In the early 1980s I was writing Pulmonary Function measurement software for an HP 85x computer. I don’t remember the exact model. But I wrote the code for my own use as a Respiratory Therapist. Eventually other people started using it, and by late 1982 (or so) I had customers paying me to support my programs.

These programs were complex only in the way they connected the measuring equipment (pulmonary function machine) to the calculating/reporting equipment (HP 85x).

So it was fairly rare that I had a problem call from a user that wasn’t covered in the manual. When they did have a problem it was generally cause by a lack of communication – the computer couldn’t “see” the pulmonary gear. Since the pulmonary gear had no idea that the computer existed, the problems was rarely with the pulmonary gear. The computer would just “get in a funk”. So I would always have people unplug the computer and plug it back in. I don’t think we even called it “rebooting” back then. But it solved 85% of my support calls.

So I added the text to my manual that included, “Before you wake me up, remove power to the computer and then plug it back in”.

So it was with much joy tonight that I worked with two people trying to solve one person’s problem on a Macintosh. I suggested a reboot would fix the issue. Others thought a Mac didn’t need a reboot to just get software to run.

So I bet $5.00 that a reboot would fix it. It did.

I suggest rebooting a computer for the same reason the cable company asks me to reboot my cable modem – it’s just the easiest thing to do, and it costs virtually nothing.

Why NOT try the simplest thing first, if the cost is so low? And I don’t care if it is Windows, DOS, Linux, MAC or an HP 85x.

Sometimes you just need to purge yourself of old experiences before you can embrace new ones. See – computers aren’t all that different than people.