We Hate the Internet, but It Saves Our Skins (cont).

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Yesterday I mentioned the astonishing (to me) news that, by cramming a wad of Post-it notes underneath the cover of my ailing Android Nexus 5 phone, I could save myself the significant cost and hassle of buying a new one.

Three followups. First from Jason Virga, creator of the Post-in note video that saved me so much time and dough:

When my Nexus 5 microphone first started malfunctioning, my first thought was "oh well, time to get a new phone”!

Thankfully my curiosity drew me towards tinkering around a little bit before making that new purchase. Within an hour, I figured out the problem and posted the video.

The phone is actually great, and nothing else was wrong with it. So I thought a few minutes checking under the hood couldn't hurt. Thankfully, it turned out this way, and has saved many people as you said "hundreds of dollars".

And for me helping people brings me utter joy.

And to me too!

***

Second, from a reader who operates a charter-boat company. First he talks about a similar self-help story; then, reflections on What This All Means:

Last Spring, making flank speed to get a boat ready for the upcoming season my random orbit sanders seized. One, then the other 30 minutes later. From a remote port, the nearest replacements (on a sunday) were a 3 hour round trip away.

But the Internet to the rescue. Don't remember what I googled, but in short order I was watching a bearing repacking for my sanders on Youtube. (Fine particles from sanding enter the sealed bearings, mix with the bearing grease and turn it to non-lubricating goo) I took a chance and sprayed PB Blaster (WD-40 on steroids) into the bearings,and Voila! I was back in business and the boat launched on time.

I think the internet has been disastrous for professional communications, both the profession and the communication. I really do think books, magazines, tv, movies are worse for the internet.

But it is a true golden era for amateur communication, most especially peer to peer communications like your and my day-savers.

We’re fighting off the professional-world effect here at the Atlantic, but overall the reader has a point. His emphasis on the professional/amateur difference is a useful clarification.

***

Another bit of testimony:

The internet has also saved "early adopters" like me (more than once) from our impulses to upgrade things at the earliest opportunity.

My latest impulse (and fiasco) was to upgrade my Macs (both desktop and laptop) to Yosemite right when it came out (instead of rationally waiting until bugs had been fixed and, more importantly, vendors caught up developing drivers for it). [JF note: burned long ago, I never load an operating-system update until the first “maintenance release.”]

Later that day, when I went to print something out from my laptop, nothing happened (expect a notification on the icon bar telling me an error had occurred). So I looked at the error message and, of course, it was essentially gibberish to me:
Stopped - ntdcmsmac open fail:dlopen(/usr/lib/dlthm1zcl.dylib…

Of course, I immediately knew it had something to do with the upgrade, and I got the sinking feeling I would need to wait for Dell (the maker of my printer) to get around to upgrading the drivers (I went to their web site, and they hadn't yet).

Instead, I decided to poke around the internet, googling the above error and the word Yosemite, to see what I could find out.  Sure enough, someone had posted a "workaround" to deal with the issue.

(Essentially, Apple beefed up the security features of the OS; in doing so, they prevented programs, etc, from copying files into certain directories.  One of those directories was the one the printer driver, dlthm1zcl.dylib, was located in.  On top of that, I guess it also erased the driver.  And, since the drivers could no longer access the directory, you couldn't simply reinstall the drivers.

The solution was to reboot the machine into recovery mode, disable the security feature, reboot into regular mode, install the current version of the printer driver, which could now access the directory, reboot back into recovery mode, re-enable the security feature, and then reboot back into regular mode).

Worked like a charm.  

And, as you said, thanks to all those willing to share their expertise with those of us who often need it!

Disaster (or challenge) for professionals, golden age for amateurs: such are our times.