In the tech world, Murphy’s Law rules

Saturday September 9 2017

A man uses a computer in home office. Technology

A man uses a computer in home office. Technology is fallible. It is susceptible to failure and does so often. PHOTO | CHRISPUS BARGORETT 

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The tentacles of technology run deep and wide.

Individuals and institutions are constantly searching for ways and means of exploiting it to improve services and products.

Pundits have warned that, in this era, we should either dive in or sit still as spectators.  

Technology buzz has come with unfortunate misconceptions — that technology cures all ills and solves every problem.

The notion that once you deploy technology you can sit back, recline in your sit and enjoy flawless operations is misplaced.

Things can go wrong, dealing a serious blow to your operations.

Technology is fallible. It is susceptible to failure and does so often.

It is not a replacement of a human brain or human involvement. At best, it complements.

Among the techie fraternity, there is a law famously quoted, known as Murphy’s Law.

Here is what this law states: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And it goes wrong when least expected and when needed most.”

That’s why when something goes awry, we blame Murphy.

To prevent Murphy’s Law coming true to you, it is important to have a number of options to fall back to, should the need arise.

If you are preparing to make a high-stakes presentation that is powered by technology; it is fair to assume your trusted computer could fail to power-up when everyone is all seated and waiting on you.

The lights could go off. The projector’s bulb could blow out.

The laptop may not be compatible with the projector.

Any of these could happen just when a high powered-team is in the boardroom, all ears to hear the speaker.

If Murphy visits you, be prepared to whip out a solution from your back pocket and save your skin.

One obvious solution is to have paper-copies of the presentation at hand to give the participants.

You can also have a laptop-to-projector adaptor on the ready should you need it.

Ask an IT person to be on standby so that you can call on him or her should tech issues crop up.

It is nowadays common to have participants connecting to meetings through the Internet.

Make sure that the media and channels that Web participants will use are well tested and functional.


Test the mics to be certain that you can be heard and that remote participants, if expected to speak, can be heard or can type in their comments.

If cameras are to be used, especially for video conferences, make sure they are tested beforehand not only to make sure they are fine-tuned, but to confirm that they can focus on the speaker, the participants or the presentation when necessary.

Besides, it is important to test the room’s lighting for the best video experience.

If you are a business traveller who tags a laptop along, always have your files backed up either in the cloud, on external drives, or both.

There are many things that can go wrong and mess up your trip. You could lose your laptop.

It could crash and you may not get the needed tech support while travelling.

In such situations, what you need most is your information. Anything else is replaceable.

If you can retrieve your files from a cloud space, or from another drive, you can borrow or rent another computer, and carry on with your business.

Prior planning is the hallmark of a strong information technology strategy.

Letting computer technology to run unchecked, or without backup plans, can cause losses or cripple your business.

Murphy often conspires to cripple your plans and must, therefore, be expected and planned for.

The writer is an informatics specialist. [email protected] @samwambugu2