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This article was published on May 19, 2021

It’s baffling that turning tech off-and-on again works — but I’m glad it does

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It’s baffling that turning tech off-and-on again works — but I’m glad it does
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

This is adapted from Plugged In, TNW’s bi-weekly newsletter on gear and gadgets. Subscribe to it here.

Watch out! Plugged In has just tumbled through the ceiling and is now laying on the floor and rolling around and groaning in agony. But you know what? That hurts less than what happened this week.

It’s story time — and that means one thing: slipping this stifling robe from my shoulders and getting comfortable enough to paint you a word picture.

It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m so hungover I feel halfway between a lizard and a raisin. I flick on the TV to watch some MAN SPORTS and… horror…

Horror, friends, HORROR! I’m not talking about Saw-style jump scares, this is true, sphincter-clenching terror, like when you realize how big Teletubbies actually are.

Are you sitting? Good. Because one side of the television was dark. Not like, totally dark. You could still see everything, but it was like a bit of shadow-y netting had been draped over the screen.

And, in that that single moment, I lived a lifetime.

First, I was upset and annoyed. Then I became resigned to this new reality. After that? Excitement: I’d get to choose a new TV. I assume this is the sort of experience DMT users never shut up about.

 

a blank television that probably doesn't need rebooting
This is what my TV looks like. It’s probably what your TV looks like. It’s what every goddamn TV looks like.

Anyway, before I splurged on a new TV with a picture sharp enough to cut my eyeballs on, I took a quick look online to see if I could fix my enshadowed (shut up, it’s almost a word) screen.

Some sites thought it could be an issue with the power supply, others that it was to do with the LEDs in the screen itself. Most agreed that the TV’s time had come.

“No,” I said to my weeping reflection, “I refuse to accept this.”

So, gentle reader, like the intrepid explorers of yore, I pushed my technical expertise to the limit and did what any Brain Genius would: I turned my TV on and off again. Not just in and out of standby (though, admittedly, I did try this too), I actually unplugged it.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this approach, but it worked. The shadow is gone.

There’s genuine logic about why turning tech off-and-on again works (basically, software and hardware can enter ‘bad’ states and restarting can force them back into a ‘good’ one), but it still feels stupid. This cliche shouldn’t be truth. It’s unbecoming. It’s wrong.

But hey, I won’t complain — rebooting saved my Sunday. I just wish I could do the same with today’s hangover.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

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