The Magic Fix-O-Matic Button

My iPhone woke me up at 7:30 AM on Sunday and about 9 AM today. The first time, it was an alarm that I’d set and it meant that it was time to pull on clothed, pull batteries out of chargers, and head off to the last MIT Flea Market of the year. Today, it was a phone call from a friend with a Mac problem. Yesterday’s wake-up was better.

When people call me in tech emergency, they’re hoping that the conversation will go something like this:

“I don’t know. It was working fine, but now when we push the power button it sputters for like two seconds and then goes dark again.”

“I can’t believe the magic Fix-O-Matic button didn’t work.”

“The…?”

“‘Magic Fix-O-Matic button’. There’s a big button inside the machine that automatically diagnoses your Mac and solves every conceivable problem, from a faulty prefs file to your hard drive being struck by a meteor. Have you pushed it?”

“I didn’t even know it existed.”

“Well, that’s why Apple hides it inside. Only paid Apple techs are supposed to know about it, so…schtumm.”

Sadly, it almost never goes like that. Instead, there’s an hour of me being very patient as the friend fails to understand what I’m trying to explain to him, and then my friend being very patient as I fail to understand his description of what happened after he did what I told him to do. If the friendship survives a session of phone diagnostics then we really ought to just go ahead and have sex, regardless of the friend’s gender. We’ve already determined that nothing can possibly screw this relationship up.
But today my friend’s dream came true because it was indeed a “Fix-O-Matic Button” situation. Unplug everything, pop the latch, find the power manager reset button just above the battery, give it an authoritative press, close ‘er up, plug everything back in, wait a few moments, and then power back up.

There was a bit of a hiccup when there proved to be too many air molecules between the video port and the end of the monitor cable, but otherwise, all was well.

3 thoughts on “The Magic Fix-O-Matic Button”

  1. There was a bit of a hiccup when there proved to be too many air molecules between the video port and the end of the monitor cable, but otherwise, all was well.

    Ain’t it always the way? I hate those problems when you’d see the solution in a second had you actually been standing there, but since you’re on the phone it takes the user a few minutes to figure out their mistake.

  2. @augmentedfourth – It’s always like the scene in every action movie where the bomb-disposal expert has to talk someone through by phone. The worst case is when they assume they know the rest and move on without you. “Yeah. Y’know what you did? You restarted without holding down the key sequence I was about to give you, so now we have to start all over again.”

  3. >I hate those problems when you’d see the solution in a second had you actually been standing there, but since you’re on the phone it takes the user a few minutes to figure out their mistake.

    Mee, too! I was on the phone with my brother, who was complaining that he could not click on anything. After a large number of probing questions, I determined that he was seeing a contextual menu every time he (right-) clicked on his mouse button.

    “Is there anything obstructing or sitting on the control key on the keyboard?” I asked. “Uh… yeah,” he responded, “this book….”

    “Oops,” he said, after removing the book.

    I felt really, really smart! :-)

    Best wishes,
    Clint

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