Sat October 11th, 2014

Day 34: Troubleshooting

I thought I was done with Windows. When I bought my MacBook Air last year, I decided to go all in into the Apple ecosystem. I was tired of troubleshooting Windows, diagnosing BSODs, error codes, sluggishness, etc. I wanted something that just worked, where I didn’t have to focus on any sort of troubleshooting and just get on with my life. For the most part, that plan actually worked. I barely do any sort of maintenance or troubleshooting on my Mac because everything has just worked. I’ve bought so much software that do various things, and my life — geekily enough — has just felt better. And that’s just on the Mac. With iOS 8 and the upcoming release of Yosemite, the integration between my Mac, my iPhone, and my iPad just got better. I love being able to take phone calls on my iPad when that’s the device I’m using. I love closing tabs in Safari on my iPad from my iPhone. That’s just cool. However, because of my job, I have had to jump back onto the Windows train.

And I kind of like it.

I’ve been doing so much research the past few weeks on advanced level, Windows-only topics like Group Policy, Active Directory, network protocols, and even some scripting and PowerShell, topics I have no use for on my Mac yet mean a lot on Windows, and I’m really loving every minute of it. A few days ago, an English teacher came to me and told me she wasn’t able to access the internet. I went to her classroom and checked out her laptop. While I was having trouble connecting to the internet myself, the teacher told me a few of her students weren’t able to logon either. Curious, I checked my laptop and my iPhone: both devices connected to the internet just fine. Other students connected just fine, too. Intrigued, I tried a few things. First, I logged out of her account and logged into the admin one. I opened the Command Prompt, tried a few commands (ipconfig and the like), and nothing. Nothing seemed to be wrong with any of the settings, the adapter card was working just fine, it just wasn’t connecting to the server. My next course was Google. For the next half hour or so, I researched the symptoms, formed my own hypothesis, observed other people’s similar problems, experimented with their solutions, failed to connect, so I tried another hypothesis, tested it, failed, tried again. Since I knew it was a network problem, I thought maybe the laptop’s wireless card — even though Windows told me it was fine — was at fault somehow. So, I went to my office, grabbed an ethernet cord, walked back to the classroom (which ended since I took so long troubleshooting), hardwired the laptop to the internet, and voilà. It worked. Again, curious, I disconnected the wire and tried the wireless. It worked, too. The teacher thanked me and I left. I was unsatisfied, though, because I didn’t know why that worked. This problem might come up again, and I want to know how to fix it and know why that solution works.

I miss this. I miss being a detective. I know that might be corny or whatever, but I always felt good when I solved problems like this. I love using the scientific method to test and try out new things and new ways of looking at things and seeing how it works. And this doesn’t just apply to computers. I stopped experimenting with myself. That might sound kind of cold or something, but listen: how do you know what you’re capable of if you don’t push yourself past your limit? How do you know what your limit is without testing yourself? For years I knew part of my weight problem was because of my diet. I spent years reading health books and researching diets and recipes and whatever else I needed to do to eat right, but for those years, I failed. Nothing seemed right to me, and there was always too much friction when it came to eating right. That is, until I discovered the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is the simplest diet to understand because it just makes sense to me. Eat what our ancestors ate: fruits, veggies, meat, seafood, and nuts. No dairy, no wheat, no processed foods, no trans fats. I read a few books, the Paleo Diet and the Paleo Solution, and I gave it a shot. I lost a lot of weight. Since 2011, I’ve lost over 60 pounds, and I believe a good chunk of that is a direct result of my trying the Paleo diet. I wasn’t a perfect Paleo eater — far from it — but I focused on the basics, tried my best, and saw the results. I’ve been struggling with this diet recently, though, but I’ve been curious about something.

What if I’m perfectly Paleo like 80% of the time, and I eat some comfort foods the other 20%? Will I gain weight, lose weight, or stay about the same? I won’t know unless I experiment. That’s the fun part. That’s the part I miss. I’m afraid of monotony. Monotony breads complacency, which means I’ll just stay the same forever. I don’t want that. I want to keep pushing myself. And the best way to do that is to troubleshoot my life. Geeky, I know. But if it works for me, it works for me.


year one


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Day 35: Be like water One of the key people that I looked up to when I first started on this journey five years ago was Bruce Lee, the philosopher. Years before, when I