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Reset to a Known State

Summary #

In automation, engineers ensure that the system is a well-controlled state. When there are many variables in play, and something goes wrong, resetting the system to a known state is a common tactic to regain predictable behavior.

It can also help you find your keys.

Reset button

Push the red button.

(Photo: Max Barners at Flickr)

Commentary #

A place for everything, and everything in its place.
> — Benjamin Franklin (and others)

While resetting large, somewhat unpredictable, systems to a known state is critical, the lesson can also be applied to daily life.

When I was in high school I found a small 7.5in. x 4in. wooden box. I had seen stores sell valet trays, but they looked awkward; for me, this little box was sufficient.

Victorian notions of propriety aside, the major benefit of putting things away in a predictable location is the ease with which they are found—and the corresponding savings in time.

As the number of virtual places (e.g., file systems, email) we can "put" stuff increases, this principle becomes more and more relevant.

See Also #