Troubleshooting Rule #1: Is it plugged in?

The first in my series of troubleshooting rules:

A surprising number of day-to-day problems are solved when you realize that the thing just isn’t plugged in. Oops.

The obvious sense of “plugged in” is “plugged into the mains supply” - the AC wall outlet.

But there are many other useful senses to look for:

  • Electronics: Are other cables (not power) plugged in between two things? Are the cables themselves working? Network cables, speaker cables, video cables, printer cables…

  • Software: Are components finding each other correctly? Clients pointing to the right server, URLs correct, using https: vs. http:, variable names spelled right, correct versions of modules installed, all levels of nesting accounted for…

  • People: Are people communicating - “plugged in” to the project, both logistically (e-mail address or phone number correct) and mentally (same expectations on both ends)? No news is not good news…

What must connect?

Next rule: Is it turned on?