When I Carried over the Problems at my Home to my Workplace
The most common sense and simplest solution failed to catch my attention.
Every week, I write an article to share my learning or discovery during my startup journey. Here is the link to my reasons for penning these articles for myself and for many others like me.
Have you encountered a situation — where the solution is lying right there in front of you, but you don’t see it? You keep on banging your head on ten other probable solutions. Somehow the most common sense and simplest solution fail to catch your attention.
This happened to me today.
I am still recuperating from this loss of common-sense shock. I think by sharing it with others, it will feel better. I might also find people who had faced a similar situation at some point in their life.
So here goes my story.
These days, I am working on a product idea. It is a software solution, so I am exploring some viable ways to create a software application quickly. Instead of creating a solution from scratch, I tried finding some providers who had already built the technical solution.
Generally, these organizations expose the solution as APIs (Application programming interfaces), which allows two software applications to talk to each other. An external party can use call these APIs in their application. These companies charge a monthly fee for API usage.
I found a few organizations that had published the APIs that send the response needed by my product. So, I began testing these APIs to see if they could provide a useful output for my product. These API providers also share the API documentation, which contains the details of the input and output parameters of these APIs.
To run these API, I used POSTMAN — an API platform for building and using APIs.
I was testing an API that required an audio file as an input parameter. So, first, I created the request command by referencing the API documentation. Then, I created a variable “AudioFile” and pointed it to a specific file on my local drive.
I clicked the “send” button to call the API. I got an error in response — a 404 — “Resource not found” error.
I started diagnosing this error. Here are the different solutions that I tried:
Authentication error — The API documentation mentioned authenticating each API request. We need to use an API key generated for the user. Maybe the error was coming due to an incorrect API key. Hence, I checked the API key by sending a different API request. This time the result was a success. So, the API key is working fine.
Alternate Authentication method — The documentation mentions another authentication method: Bearer token. Maybe this specific API can only be authorized by the bearer token. Hence, I replaced the API key with the Bearer token in the API request. I got the same error: 404 — “Resource not found”
Incorrect values — One of the values of a request parameter must be base64 encoded. I might be sending the incorrect value in that parameter. I searched online to find code to convert a string to a base64 encoded value. I tried a few methods and pasted the base64 encoded value into the API request, but the error persisted: 404 — “Resource not found”
Wrong parameter name — I observed that the documentation did not mention the parameter’s name, which was passing the audio file name. Maybe I am using the wrong parameter name. I tried a few other combinations of the parameter name. I got the same error: 404 — “Resource not found”
Support — Finally, I connected with the chat support provided by the API provider. This also did not help much, as the chat support specialist told me this was a technical problem. Either I had to take a paid support plan, OR I could reach out to the community for help related to this issue.
Open an issue — I opened the community support and searched the forum to find if someone had faced a similar issue. I could not find an existing thread on the same problem; hence I logged a new issue.
I had spent almost two hours trouble-shooting the API error. I had not moved an inch in terms of resolving the API error. After trying many different solutions, I still got the same error. For self-motivation, I took help from Einstein’s quote
“I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work.”
I got tired and frustrated of fretting about this persistent error. My stomach started making sounds to remind me to take the lunch break. Suddenly, I noticed that the file for the parameter “AudioFile” was not showing in the folder.
I remembered specifying the filename through the “Select a file” dialog box, which meant that the file did exist when I provided the value to the “AudioFile” parameter. Maybe I accidentally deleted that file. So, the persistent 404 — “Resource not found” was the infamous “File not found” error.
GOSH, such a simple and obvious solution, and I had wasted my time checking other complicated and incorrect solutions.
I silently scolded myself for more than 10 minutes.
But I also did a retrospection on this incident. How can I overlook such a simple and basic thing?
One of the reasons for this oversight was my agitated state of mind before I started working on this task.
I was frustrated over a personal matter which spilled into my work life and wasted my time.
I remembered the lines from Og Mandino’s book “The Greatest Salesman in the World”
“There is no room in the marketplace for my family, nor is there room in my home for the market. Each I will divorce from the other, and thus will I remain wedded to both. Separate must they remain, or my career will die. This is a paradox of the ages.”
A piece of wise advice, but very hard to follow.
And today, I learned a hard lesson by not following this advice. Hopefully, I will keep this learning with me now.
Wishing you a great week and hope you get to solve all your problems by looking at the most obvious solutions first.
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