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Archive for April, 2019

Atiba Kids: Learning to Troubleshoot

Atiba Kids is our blog series written by the kids of Atiba techies about their techno-geek adventures.

Troubleshooting and Video Games By Max Rosen (Kid of Atibian JJ Rosen)

We all know that one kid who is really into video games, but also into the tech behind it. For a lot of people, that is me.

I love getting into the sort of complicated tech behind video games. When people don’t know how to fix something wrong with their game, I’m always ready to help.

For instance, a good friend of mine was having some trouble with getting a laggy (adults just say “slow”) game. He was running at around 15 FPS (Frames Per Second) and had been doing so for a good while. I had done my research beforehand, and found out it was because he was dedicating only 2GB of RAM to the game, where he should’ve been using 4-15GB. I helped him reconfigure the memory done and boom, his game runs far smoother.

However, we all have our limits of computer knowledge.

Last summer, I had acquired a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. VR is still kind of new to the gaming industry, so naturally, there are bugs. I plugged everything into my desktop, got the VR sensors running, and installed all of the software.. It ran for about 20 minutes. I got to play the game Beat Saber, a sort of guitar-hero but with swords and VR, for around 15 minutes; and Rec Room, a multi-player minigame hub, for about five.

And then suddently…my VR headset just crashed. It stopped working. My techie cousin and I were perplexed! We spent two hours troubleshooting.

First, we restarted the computer. Like any person who has watched any comedy involving computers we were saying, “Of course this will work, it always does”. It didn’t. Next step, we re-ran the installer. Didn’t work. We restarted again after running the installer just to be safe. Still nothing.

We had tried so many things, from unplugging things and plugging them back in, and timing it, to switching the video ports around, to even busting open the headset and unplugging and plugging cords. We tried everything… or so we thought.

Just like in any hobby, there are always people better than you in tech support. I got frustrated so I ate dinner and went to bed.

Next day I woke up and got on the support site for my particular VR headset. I reluctantly started a chat with a superior techie. We talked about all of the troubleshooting I had already done, then she started giving me new ideas. A few of them I face-palmed on, saying in my head “Oh I’m so dumb,” and “Why didn’t I think of that?”.

Being with other techies is like being in a music store, you pick up a guitar to try it out, and you play your best, then as soon as you are done someone picks up another guitar and starts shredding the heck out of that thing. In other words, you don’t want to look stupid.

Eventually, after spending about an hour chatting with the support agent, she said, “You could have one of two different problems, but they both lead to a common answer: your VR headset is faulty”. In a sense I was relieved. I was glad that the product was just broken instead of my computer being the problem. A day later I sent the headset back, and in a week, we got a new one.

A lesson was learned:

Never be afraid to call a support agent even if it makes you feel inferior. Just admit it, there is someone better than you and it’s okay to call them for help.