Thursday, March 1, 2012

Humbled by an Expert

Yesterday I played hooky from work. Not the whole day, just the morning.

Why did I do it? Because I was learning. I was in need of seeking out someone who had more knowledge and experience than I to solve a problem.

The problem was important and although in the end I was on the right track, and indeed had validated the conclusion the expert came up with, I also could not solve it. As it turned out, neither could he, although we worked around it.

What I lacked in experience, I made up with in Troubleshooting ability. Yes we were surging power, yes we had tripped a fuse or 2. That was my laziness somewhat but the real problem was the loss of partial power.

Picture the light going on in your refrigerator but the motor not working to cool the food and you get my meaning.

So while we cleaned up some bits and ends in need, the problem still came back. It was only after looking at some very specific parts of other chips that we found what we were looking for. One chip had lost a leg and was causing a short. Soldering on a new one and replacing it put everything right again.

The kids should now be happy the pinball machine is fully functional again. Except for the bit which I was stuck on myself. I knew the wiring was good, the bulbs were good and power was good, but still no luck. We traced it back to the circuit board and well, for 2 lights not to work, I can live with that for now. The cost of a new board or repair can be up to $200.

But it was a great experience to learn more, see new ways to troubleshoot the machine and do stuff I would never do to a chip board. Surprised it didn't snap. But he knew what he was doing. And that is what you want from your experts. That ability to take something not seen or experienced before and work your way to the level of the issue. And then know how to work around it or fix it.

It is what I do for Lotus products and various other software programs and other technology, both new and old. It is why people pay us and come to us for help for our expertise.

While I was with him, someone else called me and needed me to come out to their house and resolve some wireless issues. The 2 of us talked about this as well and appreciated each others worlds.

When he left I said hope I don't see you again soon, although I do look forward to the next visit.

If you need Fred and are in South Florida, here is his website, http://www.homeusepinball.com and phone number (561) 683-5893. Thanks again for the lessons and my kids appreciate it even more.


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