The Universal Tech Support Answer

Today, I reached my wits end with my desk phone at work.

I am on conference calls at least half of the working hours of every day on calls with the UK, South America, Hong Kong, and Australia, and many points in between.

My phone decided, in the midst of an already trying day, to act up. I’d push the number 4, it would show onscreen that I’d inputted 4444.

I’d hit speakerphone button just once and it would come on, go off, come on, go off, come on, go off, etc.

This creates a bit of trouble when one is dialing an overseas number.

For example, to call Britain, one must dial 011 then 44 and then the person’s phone number.

So with this buy-one-get-four free plan my phone seems to favor, I would not even be to the actual person’s number, and my phone would think I had punched in



And yet again I say GAH!

I tried a number of different creative ways to get my numbers dialed. I tried mashing the buttons really hard. Nope. I tried hitting them very lightly. Sort of success.

I found that using a pen to dial and hitting the numbers very fast seemed to work. At least enough to get into scheduled conference calls (though it would take five or six tries).

But come ON here people! This is no way to conduct business!

So when I had a gap in meetings, I went online and raised an IT trouble ticket.

I expected it would take a week to hear back as one person’s desk phone crying in the dark isn’t enough to rouse the passions of the IT department.

Imagine my surprise when I got a call some four hours later from an actual person with actual knowledge of the issue.

Yes! Hello good sir! What can be done!?

His recommended fix? Power cycle the phone.

That’s it. Unplug it. Plug it back in. Should be fine.

I then applied a smack to my own forehead. Of course! I should have thought of that first.

The Universal IT fix for whatever ails you. Power off, power on.

What the systems administrators in my old team used to call “bouncing the machine”

So I bounced the phone. It’s back on line and working fine. We’re back to a one for one button press to digit input value.

Now if I could only get my nerves to be as docile.


And a mental note to self: Always try bouncing the machine first.

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  • Lucky

    I would never have thought of doing that to a landline phone. Generational mental block?

  • Karen Fayeth

    Lucky – Yeah, I would never have thought of that either with a regular desk phone.

    It's one of those fancy Voice Over IP desk phones, so I guess that power on power off is now part of the expectations of a landline phone.

    Crazy. And yeah, I might be showing my age a skosh. :)

  • blueyes

    That's the first thing I usually ask of electronic equipment errors lol Most of the time it works which saves a lot of traveling.

  • fruey

    I worked support for a long time, and rebooting usually works. Because the system basically starts again from scratch and re-reads all configuration, it makes sense. If a configuration has gone wrong but nothing has actually been written to memory/disk, then restarting works.

    Some servers get restarted regularly in our office because it's easier to do that, than to find the actual problem. Not leaving a PC running all the time is usually a good idea. Switch off when you go home, back on when you arrive next day. Saves a bit of energy, and makes sure your machine isn't filling its memory with built up crud that programs don't remove from memory properly, etc.

  • Karen Fayeth

    blueyes – gotta go with what works, right, and what is most expeditious.

    I'm just ticked at myself I didn't think of it first. As Lucky said, because it was a telephone, that idea didn't come immediately to mind. I'll remember now, though!

  • Karen Fayeth

    fruey – Ah, that's all good advice, especially from someone who has been on the front lines.

    Thanks for the comment!!

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