Go Deeper

re•boot        		/rēˈbo͞ot/
    (with reference to a computer system) boot or be booted again.
    an act or instance of booting a computer system again.

Problem? Do not reboot! Ok, so your device is causing you strife. Whether it’s frozen, slow, or what have you, something is not working the way you think it should. Rebooting is my last resort. Something is causing the problem. Has the device consumed all available physical memory and using swap as a last ditch effort? Is the storage layer transparently hiding physical/logical errors? Is there a memory leak in the application? Is the network dropping or misrouting packets? Is the transcoder “mathing” wrong? Is the multiplexer off-by-one? No seriously, what’s wrong??? If you reboot it, you’ll never know…

I’ve been around the block a couple times. I always cringe when I hear an issue was resolved by rebooted a computer or piece of hardware. Obviously something went wrong somehere. I spend a good deal of my professional career sussing out real problems. I’m a divergent thinker, the instant I field an issue, my mind blazed through known possible scenarios searching for a solution. Rebooting is the last thing I recommend, and when I do, it’s always (read: 99.97% of the time) a Microsoft Windows problem. Rebooting only masks the real problem, left undiagnosed it may wreak havoc across your system; (ha! See that? I know how to properly use semicolons!) I hope you have a tested disaster recovery plan.

Seriously speaking, low-level diagnostic and analysis is the “best way” IMO to solve problems, whether they be chronic or systemic. When I catch wind of a network problem, if I wasn’t the one to fully implement said network, the first thing I do is check a packet capture. Likely I’ll see the problem right off the bat, if I don’t, I know the problem is likely logical as a higher level or application specific. Reading raw network traffic has become second nature to me; I see patterns in the matrix. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve left logs scrolling in a terminal only to glimpse a problem simply by noticing discrete irregularities in the complex patterns displayed.

Proper diagnosis within a reasonable timeframe requires proper tools. Frequently, said tools are pricy. SMBs must weigh resolution efficiency versus upfront costs, unfortunately such quantitative investments are often hard to realize. The lines between OPEX and CAPEX are often blurred…