Monthly Aphorism: On Finding Errors

  • What’s new and different?

Father Vaughn always posed that deceptively simple question when asked for help with a new problem.

What he knew, and what we eventually discovered, was that the most recent Thing-That-Changed generally had something to do with what was now broken. Even if the difference didn’t seem related in any way, tracking down its effects was always a highly productive use of your time.

His question applies to non-technical problems, too… especially when you think nothing has changed.


5 thoughts on “Monthly Aphorism: On Finding Errors

  1. Oh, so true! Even (or, as you say especially, when “it couldn’t be that”)!

  2. I heartily agree with that. I work with computers for a living and this invariable holds true.

  3. A corollary to that is that when you’re making changes, if possible, change one thing at a time.

    1. Or, perhaps, change at most one thing at a time.

      I find it educational to run the same test several times and get different results!

      And then there’s the series where you change one thing at a time and nothing affects the output. Then you check to see which pin isn’t making contact with its socket…

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