Technology

Checking the basics

Patrick Stafford /

Earlier this week, my home internet connection dropped out. Annoying, right?

It happens from time to time, but it’s always frustrating when it seemingly happens for no reason. So I check what I’m supposed to check. Is the cable connected to the wall? Is a cable missing on the back of my computer? Has something gone wrong with my router settings? Has my provider’s service gone down?

Usually, it’s a simple problem. But after about half an hour of searching, I couldn’t find the problem.

Until I did.

The cable connecting my computer to the router was out by a millimetre or two. The connection was severed, and so obviously, I had no internet.

Duh.

The stereotype of “have you turned it off and on again” is funny, but it’s more applicable than you might think. Too often we don’t have a clue of what’s happening with our tech and we just end up thinking something is broken when, really, it just needs a tweak.

Or a cable that needs to be plugged in.

But here’s the point – at least I wasn’t helpless. When I noticed my connection was gone, I worked down a mental checklist of what was likely to have happened. Slowly, I was able to narrow the problem down.

This is easy for me because I love technology and I’ve been using gadgets for years. But many aren’t as confident – and so a small problem becomes an insurmountable disaster.

Someone told me once they thought their iPhone was broken – when all it needed was a full battery charge.

All this is to say having a basic understanding of how your technology works goes a long way in helping you resolve problems that don’t need more than a few moments of notice. But that goes far beyond technology, too – it’s just good practice for everything in your business.

So many business owners have the mentality that they don’t need to know about a certain area of the business, and that they’ll just hire someone to take care of it.

But why shouldn’t you learn some HTML? Why shouldn’t you learn the basics of web design, and why shouldn’t you get your hands dirty with a little code every now and then? Why shouldn’t you know how your server rack works?

You don’t need a degree in anything. But a few minutes here and there can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

And, like me, you’ll be thankful you did when the internet goes down.

Advertisement
Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

We Recommend

FROM AROUND THE WEB