Have you ever noticed how–just when you go to hook up a new component, that’s the time when something arbitrary happens. Take today. I was re-connecting a friend’s home theater and the picture from Cable went bad. It appeared that I had touched a video cable or perhaps it was that I had unplugged the cable box from the wall and connected it into a surge protector . Actually, I had done nothing.
To be fair, we had noticed the night before that the picture wasn’t looking good. My friend lives in Lake Tahoe where cable outages are common. Still, while working on his home theater, to my friend, I had done something wrong. That’s common, isn’t it? We touch something, it stops working and we always assume that we caused it. Only to find out later that it was just a coincidence. (It seems to happen to me a lot. Though, for me, it’s a gift because it gives me the opportunity to help people solve the problems they have with technology…)
After my repeated insistence, my friend called the cable company. It turned out that there was a problem with the cable signal coming into his house and that the problem wasn’t shared with his neighbors. The cable company will be out to fix it next week…
I was able to be certain that I hadn’t caused the problem, because I only change one thing at a time. That is, I only re-connect one cable, then I check to see if it’s working. If something goes wrong, I return what I changed to the original way it was hooked up. I do this when I make changes in a TV or component menu. Before I change anything, I make note of any numbers under contrast, black level or other adjustments so if I don’t like the alteration, I can put it back the way it was.I think in science it has to do with a constant–when doing research you only change one variable.
Still, how many times do we rush when making changes? When it comes to our home theater, or even our computers, we’ll often add several components or peripherals at the same time. Then we turn it all back on. When it doesn’t work, we have to go through a long process of elimination.
Next time, take it one step at a time, then test before changing or adding the next thing, you’ll find you have more confidence that you didn’t mess anything up, and you’ll save hours of frustration troubleshooting a problem. A problem that you may not have even caused!