- Whenever you find a problem, fix it
Mad Phil taught me an absolutely fundamental rule for debugging electronic gadgets: when you find something unexpected, it’s either:
- part of the problem you’re trying to solve
- another problem you haven’t discovered yet
In either case, ignoring evidence that something was just a little off or that you didn’t quite understand or that didn’t seem important was a sure recipe for missing the cause of the problem.
That algorithm could trigger a depth-first search that distracts you from the real problem, which was where Mad Phil’s magic came in: he knew where the problem was and simply carved his way through the underbrush toward it.