Rebooting the Confused

1 Jul

I had to reboot my stove again this morning. Once in a while the digital controls get, as the customer support person told me years ago when it first happened, “confused.” That confusion can only be fixed with a reboot.

Since I no longer use a stereo component system for my music, relying instead on my iTunes collection and some upscale Klipsch speakers, I had to reboot my music once during a social gathering. I’ve also had to reboot my Siemens Gigaset 8825 office phone on occasion as well as my now deceased digital alarm clock.

Being of a certain age, I foolishly think of the functions of a stove, a stereo, a phone, and an alarm clock as being decidedly analog. Certainly analog things themselves break, but from obvious causes, such as from age or abuse (case in point: the alarm clock). They never just stop because they get “confused.”

Alas, confusion reigns among devices in our digital world. For whatever reason, bits and bytes get discombobulated and the fastest, most effective way to set them straight again is to reboot.

Rebooting our tools and toys will become an ever-increasing part of our digitially-ruled lives. I’m betting in the near future cars will come with a “reboot” button to clear their on-board computers and electronics of their confusion. I bet Toyota wished it had already designed and installed them on their increasingly confused Prius and Lexus lines. It might have saved them a few tens of millions of recall dollars. Not to mention an alleged life or two.

Equally troubling is the Pentagon’s flirtation with the digital soldier. Some elements inside the Department of Defense are obviously oblivious to their own experiences rebooting their digital devices that they see no reason not to equip our men and women in the field of battle with confusion-prone electronic gear. Call me old-fashioned, but I am having trouble envisioning John Wayne storming Utah Beach, conquering Pork Chop Hill, or whatever other bit of war-torn real estate Hollywood set before him and having to pause to reboot his weaponry.

Then there’s robotic surgery. That’s where doctors are assisted by or remotely use a robot to perform surgery on a patient. How often do robotic surgeons get confused and need a reboot?

There’s no doubt that the digitalization of devices have complicated as well as enriched our lives. While they may improve how we get things done, they also can make tasks more confusing, too. But I thought most of the confusion would be among the people using the damn things not in the devices themselves.

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One Response to “Rebooting the Confused”

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  1. Rebooting the Confused (via Croisan Views) « Chicago Mac/PC Support - July 1, 2010

    […] I had to reboot my stove again this morning. Once in a while the digital controls get, as the customer support person told me years ago when it first happened, “confused.” That confusion can only be fixed with a reboot. Since I no longer use a stereo component system for my music, relying instead on my iTunes collection and some upscale Klipsch speakers, I had to reboot my music once during a social gathering. I’ve also had to reboot my Siemens G … Read More […]

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