Everyday Computing, Features, Technology

Warning Signs

By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant
By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

SOME problems are complicated, and may require a great deal of attention and training to correctly categorise and resolve them. Sometimes, even interpreting the early warning signs of these problems may require some good-fortune or expertise. (See previous articles entitled: “Diagnosis Difficult”, and “The Arc of the Rainbow” of: 5-Feb-2015, and 9-Apr-2015 respectively.) At such times, your instincts and gut feelings may be useful to help you appreciate the gravity of the situation.

Here are some examples that you may recognise:
* Your machine takes longer to startup;
* An occasional noise emerges from your computer;
* The machine freezes or reboots unexpectedly.

These symptoms may suggest that: you are low on disk space, or a component failure is imminent, or maybe the computer is overheating! These may also be a sign of a loose cable or connector.

When computers are used, there is a hardware component, a software component, and also the operating business environment. Experience teaches that people become adept at detecting hardware problems. Software problems can be harder to troubleshoot. Finally, shortcomings in your business processes may disguise hardware and software problems.

Other signs are easier to detect, such as: the smell coming from the equipment, or a message that appears on the screen.

Warning signs appear all around us. If you observe your environment carefully, you may notice, for example:
(1) Cracks in walls, and leaning trees;
(2) Loose soil exposed by workers cleaning the roadside;
(3) Dislodged rocks near the road;
(4) Changes in criminal behaviour or statistics;
(5) Surges in the crowd around you; and
(6) Unusual environmental events.

Although some warning signs are easy to interpret, they are also easy to overlook. If you do not understand the context of a change, you may not realise, far less categorise, the situation. Be alert! Trust your instincts, and seek advice when confronted by uncertain signs.
Better to be safe than sorry.

To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.

About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville leads the ICT Consultancy, Datashore, building capacity and advising on data management, business information systems, and the safe use of technology. He also lectures at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.

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