Saturday, November 23, 2013

My electronics are crazy

Who can tell me where to turn off the setting on the computer for “Cause random problems” or “Unpredictably shut off critical functions”?

Have you ever noticed that your electronics will suddenly stop doing what they have been doing, more or less reliably, for months or years, when you haven’t changed any settings? My earbuds for my iPhone do that. I’ve had the thing for almost a year now, and most of the time it works fine. But then, for no reason that I can discern, one day the little control on the right-hand wire will cease to function. Yesterday, for example, I was listening to music on my iPhone when it rang. I pressed the button, which in this circumstance, should switch it from music to phone mode and answer the call. 

Nothing happened.

Neither did the volume control on the earbud wire work. To adjust the volume, I have to use the on-screen controls or the buttons on the side of the handset. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is inconvenient when you have to put your book away, re-sling your briefcase on your shoulder and dig the phone out of your jacket pocket. Of course, by the time you do that, the call has gone to voice-mail.

This same thing happened last spring. I noticed that the control button on the wire didn’t work to adjust the volume or skip to the next song as I was listening while riding my bike to work. I thought perhaps that I had damaged the wire by taking the iPhone on my bike, although the phone had never suffered an impact. But after a couple of weeks, the button began working again of its own accord.

This happened a number of times over the spring and summer, but by August or so, the functionality seemed to settle down and just work as it should. Until yesterday.

This same self-discombobulation happens other electronics, too. My DVD player gets grumpy when I press the buttons too quickly, and then seizes up. I have to unplug it to clear it. 

At unpredictable intervals, my printers will cease to function — without any changes to the system, settings or options.

Yesterday, I printed a letter I wrote on my desktop computer, no problem. Today, my son tried to print a report for a university assignment, and got an error message that said his computer couldn’t find the printer.

In that two-day interval, no one made any changes to the settings or the operating system. But in a span of two days, repeating the same instruction once brought two different results. 

Einstein supposedly said that the definition of insanity is doing the same actions and expecting different results. Einstein, obviously, never had to put up with microcomputers.

Naturally, I welcome any suggestions to solve these problems. 


  1. Did you ever see the Star Trek episode where the repair robots started acting that way? Turns out they had become self aware...that goes well for the humans.

    I suggest some sort of containment to prevent your ipod, printer and DVD player from taking over your home. Or at the very least an elctronic maintenance and appreciation system so that, when they rise, your new electronic overloards will think of you fondly. :)

  2. Louisville Slugger, 28 oz.