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Talking about Trial & Error

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#1 phawgg


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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:24 PM

First off,
I think I'm like everyone.
I know some things, other things I do not.

Early on in the use of my PC I had a lot of questions.
About everything, it seemed to me.
How & why everything worked the way it did (or didn't).

Basically I identified that "feeling" as paranoia.
Not a comfortable way to be.

If you think something might happen that will prevent you
from doing what you do know how to, and why you do it,
then you'll worry about it.

Until you know better.

In my case, I'd do things over and over to make sure they
ALWAYS did the same thing each time I did them.

Then I'd do them slightly differently, to see what happened.
Within reason, I told myself. nothing wildly out of routine.

Trial & error testing is what it is called.

I'd use online websites to read about "things" and then apply what
I thought I'd understood about them to whatever the "test" might be.

Trial & error testing depends on a couple fundamental basic statements:
  • IF (any particular action is done) THEN (the result of that action) is found to be____________.
  • IF (any particular action is done) AND ONLY IF (without any other variables) THEN (the result of that action) is ALWAYS found to be_________.
Sometimes, when doing something, the result is not always the same.
If "the something" you do is always the same, but it gives you different results at different times,
some additional (possibly unknown) VARIABLES must certainly be effecting the results.

That means, for every action you take:
  • The ACTION itself must be understood, and "defined" so it is consistant.
  • The RESULT also must be understood, defined, & consistant.
  • The things that happen between the two should be understood (somewhat, at least)
  • The conditions present, the ENVIRONMENT that the action & result take place in, should be understood.
  • The environment may alter the CAUSE & EFFECT of actions taken.
  • So, VARIABLES are usually found in the environment details.
It is easier simply the think:
"when I type on my keyboard, the words appear letter-by-letter on my screen"
That is cause and effect.
Action & result.

The environment, kinda like the weather, isn't always thought of.
It does alter results, though.

What is "understood" as a "given fact" is that the monitor is plugged in properly.
The keyboard, also. Software is in place to make this action work. Power is on.

Et Cetera

It is within the "etc." that what I call the "environmental details" exist.
Sometimes misunderstood, overlooked, forgotten, or otherwise ignored.

Something should be said about this when problem-solving is a typical request.

For instance, when a Hijack This log is first posted.
It reports on the variables present at a given time.

If changes are made between post time and the reply,
based on those variables, it could effect the quality of the reply.

If when first mentioned, the problem is ___________, and several actions are taken,
like trying "X" program, or turning the computer upside down to see if the problem falls out,
or something else ... it might invalidate the advice.

It is perfectly normal to try several things to "fix a problem".
It is also a fact that each enters the situation as a variable.

From this beginning ... understanding ... about "things", problem solving begins.
Paranoia is replaced by understanding.
It's good to learn.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

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#2 phawgg


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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:44 PM

A couple more quick thoughts.

The environment most of my computer
problems (if not all of 'em) happen in can be defined:

I use a PC that has particular hardware;
A type of motherboard/processor.
A type/brand of memory chips.
Hard drives of a certain type.
Optical drives of a certain brand and/or type.

I use a particular version of OS (operating system).
Or more than one.
They have been modified by updates to be what they (or it) is NOW.

Within all those details I use certain software.
That software is set to work a certain way (configured).

That is my environment.
It differs somewhat than "yours".

It is also similar in many ways.

I know some things, and other things I do not.
Google searchs can identify some of the things I do not know.

It always helps to know as many details as possible
when solving problems.

It is even better when the sum of those details is understood.
Sometimes it is not, instantly.

That is why patience is required when problems need to be solved.
That is why it takes time to resolve the problems, too.
Variables need to be "pinned down".
Details understood.
Searchs made.
action taken that WILL be the result that is desired.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#3 efizzer


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Posted 10 March 2005 - 01:51 PM


"There are no stupid questions, But there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."

That was me, and in many ways it still is. I do Tech Support for a small company. My area of expertise is more on the hardware side, and i go into our software dev's offices, and immediately get blown away at what they do. yet they ask questions that they don't know the answer to (and sometimes i don't even know).

Anything else i say would be in total agreement with you so i'll not repeat.
Posted Image

We're going to make the merry-go-round go faster, so everyone needs to hang on tighter-just to keep from being thrown to the wolves.

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