Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flipping the "Big Red Switch" on today's electronics



Listen: Flipping the "Big Red Switch" on today's electronics

I realize that this is going to sound incredibly simplistic, almost too simple to even bother writing and recording, and yet I explain this concept several times a week, if not every single day, when I am busy.

When talking with my clients it becomes clear that they do not know how to power off their computer, or other electronics, should they crash or otherwise become unstable. Back in "the old days" of the IBM PC, it was very clear how you turned off your computer. There was this Big Red Switch right there on the side that made this oh so satisfying "kerchunk" when you operated it. Flip it the other way and the computer came on. How simple could it be?

Then we entered the realm of electronic power switches on nearly every device. Sure they turned the unit off and on when it was operating normally, but what did you do when your computer crashed. In the early days, there was really no other choice but to unplug the device or, in the case of a laptop, pull the battery out. In fact, this is what many people are still doing today. Hence, the reason I am writing this.

After a few iterations of these electronic power switches, manufacturers realized that you needed an electronic equivalent of The Big Red Switch as yanking the plug out of the wall was probably never a good idea. Unfortunately, it seems that this alternative method has been very slow to filter down to the average user.

So, the next time your computer crashes or hangs and won't restart, hold in the power button for 10-15 seconds. That's right...just press in and hold until the computer powers off completely. Then tap the button as usual to start it back up.

So, the next time your computer crashes or hangs and won't restart, hold in the power button for 10-15 seconds. That's right...just press in and hold until the computer powers off completely. Then tap the button as usual to start it back up.



Now, you don't necessarily want to be doing this a lot, as powering off in this way can damage files on the hard drive, but when you have no other choice, this is the proper way to get working again. Then, you should find out from a knowledgeable person, like myself, why the computer was crashing in the first place.

You'll find that this power-off method applies to more than just computers, too. Cell phones, television sets, MP3 players, almost anything with an electronic power switch will have the same type of emergency power off functionality.

So there you go. Tell your family, friends and even your enemies that they don't need to be reaching behind their computer and pulling the power cable when their computer crashes, just use the electronic equivalent of the Big Red Switch.




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