Engineers!

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ARE YOU ONE???

Poll ended at Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:57 pm

Are you an engineer?
10
63%
Are you a wizard?
2
13%
Are you a magician?
4
25%
 
Total votes: 16

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Fred in Skirts
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Engineers!

Post by Fred in Skirts » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:57 pm

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Fred :kiltdance:

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Sinned
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Re: Engineers!

Post by Sinned » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:08 pm

I am definitely an engineer because as a software developer and working in Service Delivery for a number of years I was used to producing programs to dodgy and imprecise specifications if they were available at all. Sometimes just a verbal just get it to do this, that and that. Service Delivery is about fixing something that has broken with very woolly symptoms and requiring the ability to shove your finger up your *rs* and diagnose the fault before it has occurred. The second way is doing genealogy in trying to work out relationships based on incomplete data provided by people who could be at best evasive and worse downright liars. So yes, I am definitely and engineer.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.

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crfriend
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Re: Engineers!

Post by crfriend » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:07 pm

It depends upon the precise definitions used. I am primarily an engineer insofar as I adhere to rigorous rules about how things work and the principles of good design, but have been called "wizard" on occasions for my ability to rapidly diagnose failures on scant evidence.

On the former above, although I'm pretty much out of hardware now, but when I was doing it I wanted it to be robust and reliable, even in the face of failure. I do the same now in the software I write as a sysadmin.

On the latter, I have two favourites.

One involves the time when I walked into a "down system situation" (a KI-10) one time, and with a cursory glance at the machine and a question to the other onlookers, "Has anyone touched anything?" (to which I received a, "No.") made my decision and headed for the spares-locker for a replacement board (there are over a thousand of these in that class of machine). The walk to, and from, the spares-locker took longer than the diagnosis and repair. "How did he do that?" was the commonest thought in the room.

The other one -- a real corker -- appeared to be an intermittent problem that only happened once every few weeks -- and the machine would pass all its diagnostics, even run under worst-case margining of both voltages and clock-speeds. I believe the company was about set to scrap the machine, so I made a daring request: "I need five minutes -- tops -- of downtme the next time this happens and I'm on watch." Since this always happened during "prime-time", time was of the essence. Nobody wanted anything to do with this one and the Corporate decision was, "Give it to the kid." (I was 20 at the time, and the general attitude was that I needed to be cut down a notch and taught some humility.) The next time it happened, I was there, pictures were taken of the console and all three bays' worth of lights, I had a clipboard for notes, took stuff down, did some furious arithmetic in octal and used the other CPU to examine key areas in memory. Then, having gathered what I needed, I rebooted the surviving machine, ended the period of downtime, swapped the failed machine with the "hot-spare" in the lab, started that, and went to work on the impaired one. My notes and the pictures yielded the rarest of diagnoses -- a data-sensitive, single-instruction failure. I could reproduce the failure from the front panel. It took a couple of days, but I licked that one -- to the surprise of my elders -- and the machine went back into service and was still chugging happily away when I left the company two years later. According to a chap I've remained friends with (several others having passed away in the interim) that fix was still being talked about years after I departed.

So, for me, is it "engineer", "magician", or "wizard"?
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

K_Highlander
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Re: Engineers!

Post by K_Highlander » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:56 am

To use a phrase from my alma mater (Georgia Tech)
You are a "Helluva, helluva engineer"!

K

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beachlion
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Re: Engineers!

Post by beachlion » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:39 am

For an engineer, another engineer is just an engineer. For the rest of the world they are wizards or magicians.

A friend tripped a circuit breaker because it could not handle a microwave, a coffee maker and a toaster on the same circuit. To switch on the circuit breaker, you have to switch it off first, to reset it. She did all the kitchen breakers with no result. Then all the breakers from the same floor. Still negative. Then I was asked to solve the mystery. I saw one circuit breaker with a red marker and did a reset. It was so dark around the breaker box, it was difficult to see. But the trick was a wrong marking next to the breaker. She followed the text next to the breakers and I checked the red marker of the breaker. Just a different approach. What she could not do in two frustrating hours I did in 30 seconds.

I worked for a company where the big boss was sponsoring a pole vaulter. The pole vaulter was on his way to become champion of the Netherlands. But his pole broke and his injuries ended his ambitions. So he became head of the sales department without much qualification beside some months of introduction to the various parts of the company. He was resposible for finalizing the orders for ships propulsion systems, in our case rudderpropellers. I was resposible for the electrical and hydraulical controls like steering and engine control. Instead of discussing with my department the technical possibilities he just gave a price and a description of the system as he saw it.

The result was that I had to design what he offered in the final specification instead of offering what we proposed and knew would work. Needless to say that company closed it doors around 1990, about 6 years I moved to another company. I saw the writing on the wall.
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Freefrom
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Re: Engineers!

Post by Freefrom » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:26 pm

beachlion wrote:For an engineer, another engineer is just an engineer. For the rest of the world they are wizards or magicians.
If an Engineer is just an Engineer; or a Magician; or a Wizard. What then might a Blacksmith be?

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Re: Engineers!

Post by crfriend » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:39 pm

Freefrom wrote:What then might a Blacksmith be?
If he shoes horses he might be a farrier.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

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Re: Engineers!

Post by crfriend » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:50 pm

beachlion wrote:For an engineer, another engineer is just an engineer. For the rest of the world they are wizards or magicians.
Oh how boring!
A friend tripped a circuit breaker because it could not handle a microwave, a coffee maker and a toaster on the same circuit. To switch on the circuit breaker, you have to switch it off first, to reset it. [...] I was asked to solve the mystery. I saw one circuit breaker with a red marker and did a reset. It was so dark around the breaker box, it was difficult to see.
The trick here is to not depend on sight, but rather feel. A tripped breaker may look like it's "on", and in the absence of sufficient light the way to find these is to sweep one's knuckle along the bank of breakers to sense which one isn't fully on -- and this works in the dark as well. An added benefit is that one can feel a hot breaker that may be at load or about to fail. I usually don't even bother to read the labels as they're wrong as often as not. And the sweep takes only seconds to perform on a large panel.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

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beachlion
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Re: Engineers!

Post by beachlion » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:23 am

crfriend wrote:...... The trick here is to not depend on sight, but rather feel. A tripped breaker may look like it's "on", and in the absence of sufficient light the way to find these is to sweep one's knuckle along the bank of breakers to sense which one isn't fully on -- and this works in the dark as well. An added benefit is that one can feel a hot breaker that may be at load or about to fail. I usually don't even bother to read the labels as they're wrong as often as not. And the sweep takes only seconds to perform on a large panel.
I was used to a different type of circuitbreakers in the Netherlands. They replaced the fuses that you had to screw in in the fuse-box. When they are overloaded, a button pops out as an indication. There is also a test button to see if the breaker still works. I'm still learning to function in the USA. ;)
All progress takes place outside the comfort zone - M J Bobak

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crfriend
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Re: Engineers!

Post by crfriend » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:37 am

beachlion wrote:I was used to a different type of circuitbreakers in the Netherlands. They replaced the fuses that you had to screw in in the fuse-box. When they are overloaded, a button pops out as an indication. There is also a test button to see if the breaker still works. I'm still learning to function in the USA. ;)
I've seen and used those, but when presented with a proper fuse-box prefer the old-school fuses as those are faster to react than breakers.

What amazes me is that most folks don't really involve all their available senses when troubleshooting problems. When "on a problem" I use every sense available to me -- and that has yielded amazing results over the years which have profited various employers greatly even if they had no clue how I identified the problems at hand (one of which averted a serious fire in a computer room and which I detected by sound before it even began to smell; the facilities guys loved me, but the IT "Management" hated me -- and I worked for IT).
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

pelmut
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Re: Engineers!

Post by pelmut » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:49 am

crfriend wrote:... the facilities guys loved me, but the IT "Management" hated me --).
Many years ago I commented that Britain's industry desperately needed good engineers but Britain's management didn't want them.  It seems as though things aren't all that different in the U.S..
There is no such thing as a normal person, only someone you don't know very well yet.

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Re: Engineers!

Post by crfriend » Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:01 am

pelmut wrote:Many years ago I commented that Britain's industry desperately needed good engineers but Britain's management didn't want them.
That's one of the nice things about working in a field that has strong engineering overtones to it: one gets to speak truth to power. However, power ("Management") usually (a) doesn't like it nor (b) understand it.
It seems as though things aren't all that different in the U.S..
That's sad that you guys are in that position, too -- just more evidence that it's just as rotten everywhere else.
Retrocomputing -- It's not just a job, it's an adventure!

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Re: Engineers!

Post by Sinned » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:16 pm

I like the Dilbert cartoons. The "Pointy Haired Manager" has a lot of overtones to managers in general. They plan and record but manage????

At home we still have fuses that use fuse wire and I mean to replace them with circuit breakers but since I can't remember the last time I actually changed a fuse wire I err on the "if it ain't broke ...." rule.
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.

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Re: Engineers!

Post by dillon » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:57 am

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Re: Engineers!

Post by dillon » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:59 am

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