Technology became complicated lately.

February 21st, 2008 Comments Off on Technology became complicated lately.

Source: WikipediaMy skills with technology were seriously tested twice lately. I’ve won one and lost one. But both problems were amazingly complex by nature and made me think of technology in a new way.
A friend asked me to fix the internet connection in a newly decorated flat. Before it worked, after new cables were laid it didn’t. Sounds simple right?
I’ve checked the cable distribution box and sure enough, the wires were done all wrong. Fixed it, didn’t help.
So I’ve checked the wall jack, and sure enough, that was wired wrongly also. Fixed it, didn’t help.
I called support line, they assured everything was ok, but left a note to the technicians to see what was going on. I went back to the wires and rewired them a couple more times, just to be sure. You know how tricky those ethernet cables can get.
So eventually, the third evening I found myself standing on a closet, holding the laptop in one hand, plugged directly into the short line that came out of the wall, pinging the world. And guess what, it worked!
So I’ve wired the stuff back, and it still worked! And the next day, the support called me to let me know “they’ve fixed it”. Yeah right, _they_’ve fixed it.
Every single point from that laptop to the internet was wrong, making it impossible to do an exact diagnosis at once, without lots of trial end error.

Now, another day, shortly after, we went for a ride, when the car started doing strage buzzy sounds at speed above 50 km/h. After a while it became quite annoying and we became nervous. I was checking the car internals in my mind to infer what might be the issue, if the buzz only appeared at particular speed.
It can’t be the gears, can’t be the engine, and it definitely came from outside the cabin, so the usual interference theory wouldn’t hold. It must be the the wheel axis we concluded and drove slower until we came home.
We took the car to the mechanic, who took it for a ride to see for himself. He came back half an hour later, not sure what to think about it. After another half an hour of trial and error it hit him to check the roof antenna. Sure enough, that was it, it was laid too low and was hitting the roof. So it was the interference after all…
So I’ve recognized how annoyingly complex everyday technological system became to be. Not even engineer’s logical mind, that designed them, is good enough to resolve technological issues nowadays. It is evolving…

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