Imagine yourself waking from a period of unconsciousness. You don’t know where you are, you don’t know how you got there, and you don’t know if your life is in immediate danger. It could be intimidating, right? Well, just like the spy in Robert Ludlum’s International Bestseller, until you find the answers to these questions and many more, life could be very unpleasant and disorienting.
Self identity is critical to the mental health and well-being of sentient beings throughout the planet, and consciousness begins with a very focused version of who am I? Why am I here? Am I in danger? After these questions are answered the body and mind can run a checklist confirming your identity, your plans for the day, and what you need to do to accomplish those plans based on what you have at your disposal. Are your legs working? When you open your eyes can you see clearly?
Amazingly enough, if electronics were sentient, intelligent beings, this is how their days would begin, as well.
Matter of fact, it does. The initial start-up sequence that drives all of this information is called firmware. Just like your waking thoughts of self diagnostics and self-identity, firmware runs its initial assessment, verifies everything is in order, and puts the device or computer in its normal operating mode. If some piece of the puzzle is missing, something isn’t working properly, or if a new player is worked into the equation that the electronic item does not recognize, it can shut itself down until that error is corrected, or until further information is gained.
Sometimes an electronics manufacturer can put out a device in 2014 and it works great. In April 2015, a new camera hits the market, and that device does not work with the 2014 model, so the manufacturer will release a firmware update to make sure the camera and the new device can work properly together.
Firmware updates fall into the category of ROM, or Read-Only Memory, the most basic, forgive the analogy, subconscious, information available to your electronic device. It is information that is not turned off every time the power switch goes in the “Off” mode.
Pick a couple of good dates throughout the calendar year, tax time your birthday, anniversary, back to school, etc. look up the firmware versions and release dates for the high-end electronics that you depend on and make sure everything is running correctly. The manufacturers will tell you when the updates came out, what they fixed, why they fixed it and so on. If a new update has been released, take the time to connect it to your computer, following the manufacturer;s instructions and get that device the information it needs to start the day in good working order.
Make it a habit, stay current, stay competitive, and stay safe.