My #1 Computer Troubleshooting Solution

My #1 Computer Troubleshooting Tip - SoundSavant.comSometimes we humans just make things more difficult on ourselves than we need to.  An example of this weird phenomenon that I see every day in my classroom is computer troubleshooting.

Of course, we’ve all had those moments when our computer/software just didn’t react the way we thought it should.  It happens to me too so I understand how frustrating this can be.

However, it’s the way we react to these moments of frustration that separates the experienced/savvy computer user from the novice.

Luckily, I have a quick and simple fix for you.  So, in the hopes of saving you from hours of frustration, here’s my #1 solution to 90% of your computer issues:

When In Doubt, Re-Start

Wow, that was a little anti-climactic wasn’t it?  Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.  The simple act of re-booting your computer will fix about 90% of your computer troubles.

I can’t give you the technical reason why this works because it will be different for each of you.  All I can I tell you is that 9 times out of 10 this will fix whatever issue you were experiencing.  And here is where your mindset is going to come into play.

Just Get Out Of Your Own Way

The only way this is really going to work for you on a consistent basis is if you are able to quit obsessing over the details.  Here’s what I mean by this.

Based on my 15+ years of teaching experience, computer users break down into two main groups:

  • Those that feel like they need to understand every single technical thing involved in using their computer system, no matter how small or random it may be.
  • Those that just want to get stuff done.

It’s the people in the first group that tend to waste a huge amount of their time trying to understand why they get a certain error message or why something isn’t working the way they think it should.  They’ll often spend as much as half an hour or more trying to “beat a dead horse” when they could have simply re-started their computer and been up and running again in 2-3 minutes.

The people in the second group tend to be focused on finishing tasks.  Because of this, they don’t bother wasting the extra mental energy needed to figure out why something went wrong.  They simply re-start and move on.  Problem solved.

In other words, they stay out of their own way.  You need to find a way to join this second group.

What About The Other 10%

At this point there’s probably a few of you asking, “What about when re-starting doesn’t fix my problem”?  As I mentioned before, about 10% of the time you’ll find that re-starting your computer won’t fix your problem.

This is when you’ll have to dig a little deeper for a solution.  Check out your owner’s manual, surf Google or the forums.  If this still fails you may need to call tech support.

However, if you do resort to calling tech support be prepared for one of the first questions they ask you to be something like, “Well, have you tried re-starting your computer?”  And that’s the moment when I hope you remember this tip and say to yourself, “Man, Bill really does know what he’s talking about!” 🙂

Best of luck on your computer troubleshooting and, as always, feel free to “drop me a line” here with any questions or comments.

5 Things My Dad Taught Me About Living A Successful Life

Note:  I originally wrote this article intending to post it on a different site.  It wasn’t about music so I didn’t think it belonged on SoundSavant.com.  But after I thought some about it I realized that it made sense to use it here.  I view SoundSavant.com as my personal site.  I should be able to talk about things beyond music every once in  awhile.  In the end, the person I am ends up in the music I make so it all comes full circle anyway.  I hope you enjoy this.

Most of us have a mentor, someone that’s there for us as we grow up and show us what being a successful adult is all about.  Sometimes it’s a teacher or a neighbor but most often it’s a family member.  In my case, it was my dad.  Even though it’s been several years since he passed away, I still reflect almost daily on the life lessons I learned from him.  Possibly the most important thing he taught me is that the key to a successful life can be broken down into 5 simple ideas. Continue reading “5 Things My Dad Taught Me About Living A Successful Life”

Are You Really Listening?

One of the most important skills any musician, recording engineer, producer, sound designer, etc.., must have is the ability to listen critically. What do I mean by that? Not only must you be able to listen, you must be able to understand what you are hearing.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you are a recording engineer and you are spending your day cutting guitar tracks. The guitarist tells you that he has a specific tone in mind for the next song. He plays you three examples from other songs to give you an idea of the tone he is looking for. As an engineer, it’s now your job to listen to those examples and immediately understand what your client is looking for and how to get it for them.

Here’s another example… You’re writing a new tune and you need the ultimate kick drum sample. You search your sample libraries and realize that you just can’t find what you are looking for. Now what are you going to do? Well, if you are are a well trained producer/engineer you should have no trouble taking the kick drum sound that you are hearing in your head and turning it into a reality. You will have spent many hours listening to kick drum samples so that you understand what frequencies are involved. You will have also listened to the shape and envelope of a great kick drum. Because you have developed your ability to listen and understand what you are hearing it shouldn’t take you very long to find a kick drum sample that is close to what you are looking for. Then all you need to do is apply the correct amount of EQ and/or compression and other effects to create your ultimate kick drum.

A common question among new engineers/producers/sound designers is, “How do I practice listening?”. I have lot’s of ideas on this but I’d like to turn it over to you. How have you developed your listening skills? Are there specific books or courses that you’ve used in your studies? Leave me a comment and let me know. We’ll continue this conversation in future posts.