It wasn’t until I upgraded my phone that I became aware of the dozens of decisions I had made to customize it to me. In the system transfer, all of the main data moved from one phone to the next, but none of the options carried over. Thus I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to make it “mine” again: ring tones, alarms, notification settings, phone favorites, cities to track for weather, the location of apps, and on and on.

I was also confronted with the fact that I have many passwords, most of which I never use as the app is permanently logged in or the network is “automatically” connected. When the apps didn’t remember me, I had a lot of work to do to get them functional again either by looking up the passwords or resetting them.

We take a lot of infrastructure details for granted. You turn on the phone and it will just have all the information you need. You crank up the thermostat and the heat will flow. You start the car and expect to be able to drive it.

A new phone reminded me that I need to be conscious of my contributions toward making my things work. Keep track of passwords. Conduct preventative maintenance. Have back up systems and documentation.

The software systems may alert you when it’s time to install a new version, but nothing else will. Proactively schedule upgrades and bug fixes for the rest of your operations.

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