Remember the Simple Things

This is a hardware post, and not at all database related, but it reminds me of troubleshooting problems in my career, and of a lesson that I thought I’d learned well. Apparently that isn’t the case.

Over the last year I’ve been using a tablet to record my daughter’s volleyball matches. We’ve saved off the video between matches, often uploading it or sending it to college coaches. After the season, the tablet wasn’t used much, mostly for some movies on trips, but often it sat idle. Not too long ago a software update appeared for the Android operating system and I applied it, promptly forgetting about this.

I recorded a couple matches earlier this year, but was too busy to download the video. As I was getting ready for a match last week, I realized that I needed to copy some of the video off the device to free up space. I connected it with a USB cable to my PC and …


No device appeared, and I couldn’t access video. I played with the settings in Android, even tried some software from Samsung. Nothing worked. I had read that modern versions of Android included some protection from random USB connections, so I ended up prying open the rubber case, removing the small SD card, cursing a few times as I tried to find a micro adapter to read it, watching the clock the entire time. Rushing to copy video and get out the door in time to make the match is not the least stressful part of my life.

The next day I ran more searches, trying to find a way to connect remotely to the tablet from a Windows device. I kept seeing references that enabling the device visibility should work and Windows should detect the file system. It didn’t work, and this was frustrating. I was ready to purchase some software to allow remote connections to the device.

Finally, I saw a note that some cables don’t allow data transfer. Apparently a micro USB cable is not a micro USB cable. I decided to try another one I had laying around, but no change. I did notice the message that the device was charging slowly, so I wandered through my desk to find the original cable that came with the tablet. I connected it and


I had a file system to which I could copy video. I felt both relieved and rather ashamed of myself. I can’t remember the number of printer problems I’ve solved in my career by changing cables. Or the number of times a motherboard wouldn’t boot, but changing a power cable fixed the issue.

Consider the simple things first when troubleshooting. They won’t always solve your issue, but if they do, you’ll be glad you tried them first.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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