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Crisis Response 15 January 2017

Posted by Dr Moose in Geekery, Journal quotes, Life, Memory, Technology.
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There are, I’m sure, many ways to be woken (to news on the radio is my normal manner) but a wife panicking over her laptop locking up with unsaved school preparation work on the go is not one I’d recommend for 6.20am on a Sunday! It’s not as if it’s a usual wake-up call, nor one that normal responses are sufficient for. It did, however, provide an object lesson in how long it takes to really get the rational brain working.

keybCould I remember the keyboard command sequence to switch between applications? No, I could not. It’s been a long time and is probably more a memory of finger movements than a conscious exercise in remembering the names of the keys. The Start button enabled us to engage with the Taskbar, and so stat shutting down unneeded windows and applications – with the threat of CTRL-ALT-DEL sitting in the back of the mind. Of course, once we isolated the non-responsive application (Internet Explorer, let the record show) I was stuck. No way round it, and so a reluctant forced reboot…. except of course CTRL-ALT-DEL is much more flexible than in days of old when the course was the last resort! Task Manager, though not infallible, is your friend, and saved the day by terminating the troublesome browser.

The ultimate point is a reminder about this human’s function, wakefulness and memory. Never mind that the Three Fingered Salute has given the option of opening the Task Manager since at least Windows XP (so at least 10 years); when woken from sleep to an unexpected crisis situation my brain reverted to the older, deeper memory that would have ‘unlocked by reboot’ and lost the work.It makes tales of human failure to react appropriately in dangerous situations and unusual situations all the more comprehensible at a level beyond the initial “why didn’t they do that?” It’s not just about logic, nor knowledge, but about routine and instinct. I’m not a strange to Task Manager, but it wasn’t there in my mental list of options at the time.

Neither was the gentle headache that has now appeared (or, more pleasantly, the coffee and croissants!)

(Footnote: at the same time as I note the poor performance of the rational brain, I could get the above in my journal immediately afterwards with no drafting or planning. I’m used to writing when I wake, it’s the best time. Another interesting observation of waking responses and habit).

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