New No Better Until Proven Improved

Six hours into setting up my new hard drive, I finally figured out what was wrong. I let the idea of something being new alter what I knew to be true. 

This is a story of how new resets knew and why new is no better until proven improved.
 New and Improved!
How could this possibly be taking so long? This is a new device. The Windows 7 installation screen had been creeping along for two hours when I finally started to search online for a solution. I was at least grateful for the ability to search the internet on my iPhone. I didn’t have that luxury when I started working on computers 18 years ago. Those were the days when troubleshooting a computer issue meant
knowing someone to ask or working through all the possibilities yourself. I didn’t know anyone else who was computer savvy at the time, so I learned by doing.
All of my previous computer experience didn’t seem to apply to my current situation. I was holding a hard drive I had thoroughly researched and selected at my intersection of performance and cost.
This was a new device, so I assumed that the problem was how I was using it. I jumped into searching for advanced solutions, telling myself that this must be a problem I hadn’t encountered before.
At hour five, the installation bar was replaced with an error box and I still had no answers. I had wandered through every tech forum I could find. I even found myself on old forum sites from years ago that I was surprised still existed. I started to remember the old days of troubleshooting, when I only had one computer and no resources other than patience and logic. Back then I never searched a forum for hard drive installation problems. That would mean my computer was unbootable and I was completely offline.
How did I once manage to fix my old computer, offline with limited resources? That was the question that both revealed a solution and made me feel like an idiot at the same time. I had been assuming that because my hard drive was “new” it could not possibly be the source of the problem. If this had been happening 10 years ago, I would have tested the most obvious potential problems first. I was falsely empowered by the ability to search online. I started seeking advanced online solutions and hadn’t even thought to apply my own experience first. Running a basic disk check (CHKDSK in DOS) quickly revealed that my “new” hard drive was faulty.
Wow, I had wasted a lot of time searching for an advanced answer to an easy problem. I understand logically that “new” is just a subjective label. Emotionally though, I see “new” as an answer to a problem. It doesn’t matter if I knew the problem existed before. It doesn’t even matter if the solution applies to me. Seeing the word “new” has a tendency to trigger curiosity, bypassing logic and experience. In my situation, my new hard drive was on a pedestal before I ever received it. I had thoroughly researched all of the new features and convinced myself it was the answer to my problem. I had made a naive mistake of assuming that new meant faultless. I removed what was new from the line of troubleshooting when it should have been first on the list.
This got me thinking about how often the word new is attached to everything technology related. Often we allow curiosity to lead us into how we see new technology. By simple definition, technology is applying knowledge to solve a problem. The meaning of technology implies changes, so technology resulting in something new should be obvious. Amidst frequent technology upgrades and features, it’s easy to assume that new means improved. It’s also easy to forget that not every problem being fixed applies to us. Not everything that’s new actually solves a problem we have. That being said, not every problem we have should be assumed as included in the new version we see.
Next time you see the word new, take a moment to make a mental note of your first reaction. Are you interested because there’s a specific problem you want solved? Or, are you curious because it’s something you may not have seen before? Something being new implies that a change was made. Condition yourself to look for the change first, before you decide if what’s new applies to you.


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