Dunning-Kruger Effect – Life is not complicated as it seems to be

In these days of lock down, it was a big challenge for me when my broadband modem burnt out in the lightning during the recent summer rains. Though I had switched off the power, the cable from the splitter was through and that appears to have caused the damage. It did not take too long for me to realise that WIFI is the most basic need in Maslow’s hierarchy. A computer hardware dealer known to me promised that he will try to do something if any of his mechanics could be contacted, though it could be pretty difficult during these lock down days. After a few ‘gentle reminders’ he arranged a new modem and sent a Mechanic for installation. The bloke had to pass through several police check points before reaching my house. He came in with his mask on and at the doorstep itself I offered him hand sanitiser, something which many of us have heard about only now. With the air of an expert hardware technician, he took out his tools and connected the new modem to the phone line but unfortunately even after hours of efforts the Internet was not through. With a long face he went away with the promise that he will return the next day. I sanitised the whole PC, mouse, keyboard, the table, the chair , doorknobs, hand rails and whatever I thought he had touched. He turned out after two days with the same face mask on with an added air of confidence as if this time he going to definitely fix it. Once again after spending hours without any success he struck a glorious retreat with the final diagnosis that the Telephone Exchange has to re-set the Mac id and he is unable to contact anyone in the BSNL exchange. He was crestfallen and me too. Once again the disinfection protocol was strictly followed. My friend, the hardware dealer, reassured that “he is one of my best technicians and when he says no then nothing much can be done at this juncture, let us wait for the lock down to be lifted.”

In the evening I contacted my old colleague in BSNL based in a far off town and he assured me that there is no need for Mac id etc. and all that is to be done is to set up the modem. He guided me step by step right from opening the browser, typing the IP number of the modem in the address bar, opening the set up wizard and making necessary changes in the different popup windows. Lo and behold! To my great surprise and immense relief the Internet was through within about ten minutes and I was wondering what that Technician was doing for two days on my system. Among other things this incident taught me the following.

  1.  Like computers, modems contain electronic circuitry that can be damaged by sudden power surges or disruptions caused by lightning.
  2. Because these power surges can travel through electrical and telephone wires, simply turning off the equipment may not be enough.
  3.  To keep your electronics as safe as possible, turn them off and unplug the power cords from the sockets when you hear distant thunders. In addition to pulling the plug on the DSL modem after you turn it off; disconnect the telephone line from the back of the modem.
  4. One can live without WIFI.
  5. Life’s problems are not as complicated as they seem to be, if only you tackle it step by step.
  6. Very often we have to deal with people who think they are much better at their jobs than they really are.
  7. More things are wrought by commonsense than this world dreams of.

Author: Mathew George

Another slipshod writer under the Sun

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