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Snowpocalypse (a.k.a. Snowmageddon)

November 23, 2010, 10:50 pm - James Farrer

The "worst blizzard in years" and my furnace decides not to blow hot air. Fortunately I've got a friend who knows someone that could walk us through some of the troubleshooting. Apparently it was just a tripped heat sensor that just needed to be reset.

Now what I'm still trying to figure out is how an "OK" light that goes "blink, blink, blink" means I need to reset a sensor? I'm glad it's smart enough to blink, but I wonder if it would really be that hard to take it a step further to have it diagnose with more than 4 "blink codes".

It's probably just me and my experience building and working with systems and their error codes. I am always amazed when I see a system that says "you've encountered an error." Generally speaking when I get an error, I'm aware of it. What caused the error, now that's the trick.

I've been working on some process automation at work. It's great to see things come together and really work nicely, but I think people get tired of me being the pessimist and always saying, "Ok, now what if that doesn't work..." I'm finding out that most people assume it will work and often don't even think about the what-ifs. That's all fine and dandy until we look at the data and see that 11% of a certain activity fail. Why? Well, the data is bad (after years of 11% not working), the intermediate system doesn't account for anything hiccuping while it's doing its thing so it never recovers from it. We're reworking the system and it will be better, but wow, how much do we pay for that system that doesn't work 1 in 10 times?

Now that I think about it, I probably wouldn't want one of those programmers making my furnace "smarter", because then I'd never know if it was really broken or if the system just didn't know that return code 10429283549 means it should reset a switch, cycle the power, do the hokey pokey, and try it all again.

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