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Old 05-27-2012, 12:51 PM   #29
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Is it just me, or do the spots keep getting narrower?
It might have something to do with most cars getting smaller. Nothing to do with trucks or SUV's. Maybe it is just the lines getting wider?
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:01 AM   #30
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Thumbs down Another one

Parking lots where the spots are not in line so you can't use the lines of the next row of spots which you can see.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:55 AM   #31
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I wouldn't comment on this thread, but it has somehow been popped back to the top of the heap and I can't help myself.

Reading back through the postings I see a whole lot of comments about engineers. First let me say that I am not an engineer. I started in engineering physics (a branch of engineering dealing with, amongst other things, nuclear reactions and properties of materials in various bizarre states that exhibit unusual properties) ie. materials in plasma (high temperature gaseous) form or even very thin films don't exhibit the same properties as they do in more normal states - very strange and interesting but most folks don't have any comprehension of same, and it is a pretty obtuse branch of science/engineering). As the whole nuclear power industry kinda dried up, jobs became unavailable, and I did not finish my engineering degree, but moved from engineering physics to finish my BSc (honours) in Statistics and Actuarial Science and then on to law school and became a successful lawyer.

In this thread, engineer bashing seems to be almost as popular a sport as lawyer bashing, so to keep things in perspective, I think that a bit of background should be presented just so that folks know what it is to be an engineer. I'm not trying to get on anyone's case, but hey, most folks have no idea as to what is involved in being an engineer.

Let me say that I have nothing but absolute respect for proper engineers (P.Eng's that is). First off, in Canada at least, most full time university students take 5 courses per semester, but Engineers must take 6 - a full 20 percent higher course load. Second, engineering courses are much harder that "regular courses". Our extra course was generally required to be in a "non-engineering subject - to keep us thinking broadly. I took Sociology in my first year and Statistics in my second as my extra course. Not to be offensive, but we would refer to these non-engineering courses as our "bird" courses as they were so much easier than the engineering courses that they effectively required little relative effort. I actually really enjoyed sociology as an interesting diversion (plus lots of cute girls in the class), and the second year statistics course was so easy that I did not attend a single class, studied for the final exam for 3 hours and passed with flying colours. We took some other courses in common with the science folks ie. calculus, physics and chemistry, but the killers were the engineering courses. We referred to the engineering courses as "weed" courses, because they were seemingly designed to weed out 30-50% of the class every year. So 30-50 % would fail the particular course and be kicked out of engineering. That happened each year, so it was really quite remarkable if you made it through the 4 years to the end.

Job prospects led me to move from engineering after the second year, and I can honestly say that I never again encountered such difficult courses, including in law school. My friends in med schools agreed, there was nothing harder than engineering. Additionally, the engineering courses took an incredible amount of time - I knew a couple of engineering students - bright guys - that literally did nothing but eat, sleep and work for the entire program - and the sleep came last - they slept only a couple of hours a night. One told me that he was bright, but not bright enough, and accordingly he knew he had to work at least 20 hours a day to succeed in the program. No summer job, no movies, no pub crawling, just work. The other, had permanently bright red bloodshot eyes Ė he virtually didnít sleep.

All this is to say that these folks know all about positioning of spark plugs, etc., ease of maintenance, etc. It isn't stupidity, it isn't oversight, the inaccessible spark plug is there for a reason (and it's usually because styling trumps engineering in the corporate world).

I have always maintained that the most under appreciated and underpaid professionals are engineers. These folks really are the cream of the crop and it seems really petty to make silly comments about lack of understanding/knowledge/etc., when truth be told, it isn't the engineer making the final decision on a product, etc. They make their recommendations, and if it is a safety or similar issue, they will not put their seal on it, but most times, it isn't the engineer making the call as to what goes out the door - its decided by what sells.

Anyway, apologies for the long winded post, and I'm sure that the folks denigrating the engineers didn't really intend it, but really, why blame the very folks that probably identified the problem and were ignored or overruled.

PS. Everyone can keep blaming the lawyers and making the lawyer jokes. I always got a kick out of peoples need to tell lawyer jokes, even to their own lawyer. If you are wondering why lawyers laugh so much at lawyer jokes, its because whether you are explaining your problem, or telling a lawyer joke, its all billable time. So it really is funny, isn't it?
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:35 PM   #32
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So how come a person has to take such a crushing course load to learn how to drive a train?

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Old 07-08-2012, 05:16 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPJ View Post
I wouldn't comment on this thread, but it has somehow been popped back to the top of the heap and I can't help myself.

Reading back through the postings I see a whole lot of comments about engineers. First let me say that I am not an engineer. I started in engineering physics (a branch of engineering dealing with, amongst other things, nuclear reactions and properties of materials in various bizarre states that exhibit unusual properties) ie. materials in plasma (high temperature gaseous) form or even very thin films don't exhibit the same properties as they do in more normal states - very strange and interesting but most folks don't have any comprehension of same, and it is a pretty obtuse branch of science/engineering). As the whole nuclear power industry kinda dried up, jobs became unavailable, and I did not finish my engineering degree, but moved from engineering physics to finish my BSc (honours) in Statistics and Actuarial Science and then on to law school and became a successful lawyer.

In this thread, engineer bashing seems to be almost as popular a sport as lawyer bashing, so to keep things in perspective, I think that a bit of background should be presented just so that folks know what it is to be an engineer. I'm not trying to get on anyone's case, but hey, most folks have no idea as to what is involved in being an engineer.

Let me say that I have nothing but absolute respect for proper engineers (P.Eng's that is). First off, in Canada at least, most full time university students take 5 courses per semester, but Engineers must take 6 - a full 20 percent higher course load. Second, engineering courses are much harder that "regular courses". Our extra course was generally required to be in a "non-engineering subject - to keep us thinking broadly. I took Sociology in my first year and Statistics in my second as my extra course. Not to be offensive, but we would refer to these non-engineering courses as our "bird" courses as they were so much easier than the engineering courses that they effectively required little relative effort. I actually really enjoyed sociology as an interesting diversion (plus lots of cute girls in the class), and the second year statistics course was so easy that I did not attend a single class, studied for the final exam for 3 hours and passed with flying colours. We took some other courses in common with the science folks ie. calculus, physics and chemistry, but the killers were the engineering courses. We referred to the engineering courses as "weed" courses, because they were seemingly designed to weed out 30-50% of the class every year. So 30-50 % would fail the particular course and be kicked out of engineering. That happened each year, so it was really quite remarkable if you made it through the 4 years to the end.

Job prospects led me to move from engineering after the second year, and I can honestly say that I never again encountered such difficult courses, including in law school. My friends in med schools agreed, there was nothing harder than engineering. Additionally, the engineering courses took an incredible amount of time - I knew a couple of engineering students - bright guys - that literally did nothing but eat, sleep and work for the entire program - and the sleep came last - they slept only a couple of hours a night. One told me that he was bright, but not bright enough, and accordingly he knew he had to work at least 20 hours a day to succeed in the program. No summer job, no movies, no pub crawling, just work. The other, had permanently bright red bloodshot eyes Ė he virtually didnít sleep.

All this is to say that these folks know all about positioning of spark plugs, etc., ease of maintenance, etc. It isn't stupidity, it isn't oversight, the inaccessible spark plug is there for a reason (and it's usually because styling trumps engineering in the corporate world).

I have always maintained that the most under appreciated and underpaid professionals are engineers. These folks really are the cream of the crop and it seems really petty to make silly comments about lack of understanding/knowledge/etc., when truth be told, it isn't the engineer making the final decision on a product, etc. They make their recommendations, and if it is a safety or similar issue, they will not put their seal on it, but most times, it isn't the engineer making the call as to what goes out the door - its decided by what sells.

Anyway, apologies for the long winded post, and I'm sure that the folks denigrating the engineers didn't really intend it, but really, why blame the very folks that probably identified the problem and were ignored or overruled.

PS. Everyone can keep blaming the lawyers and making the lawyer jokes. I always got a kick out of peoples need to tell lawyer jokes, even to their own lawyer. If you are wondering why lawyers laugh so much at lawyer jokes, its because whether you are explaining your problem, or telling a lawyer joke, its all billable time. So it really is funny, isn't it?
The education is just a small part of what goes into engineering a product of any kind. Every product involves thousands of decisions and usually involves several people discussion many of those decisions not all but several. Most engineering involves some compromise, there's no such thing as a perfect world. Without knowing the assumptions made during the design process and the considerations it's impossible to say why things happen that some people like to complain about happen.
Complaining about software user interface is such an individual thing. What makes sense to someone doesn't to someone else. One of the most difficult engineering tasks I've been involved with is software user interface.
My advice to the Monday morning quarter backs, try to design some piece of software, design a smart phone, design a automobile.
Even simpler design a clothes pin. One that provides the right amount of pressure to stay in place, the right opening for the clothes line, and weak enough that anybody can open it and put it use. It has to be the right length, the spring has to be the right size. You'll have to research how much pressure pressure a human hand can apply, the weaker hands that is. As should be able to see it's not an easy task.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:21 AM   #34
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I think there are few true engineers, but plenty of bench techs who call themselves engineers. I'm not an engineer, nor do I play one on TV, but I have stayed at the [brand] motel .

bench techs are the people that have to make what the engineers design,,,actually work.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:13 AM   #35
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engineers

I was wiring a large grade school . The plans showed a fire alarm system but the engineer did not put in any horns or bells in the system. When I questioned the engineer about this he told me I was just a dumb electrician and I was not qualified to question an "ENGINEER" I roughed in the boxes for the horns and bells anyway because I knew he was wrong . When the fire inspector condemned the fire alarm system , the engineer looked like the fool and I sold him the horn boxes and wiring for a $1000.00 per horn . Engineers may be smart but they are arrogant . We made $20.000 off his arrogance
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:16 AM   #36
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Amount was $20,000.00
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:37 AM   #37
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bench techs are the people that have to make what the engineers design,,,actually work.
There's a name for that. It's called wannabees
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:27 PM   #38
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Diy-ers that insist on using regular butt connectors in exterior applications that come into constant contact with moisture and salt.

I had to rewire an entire trailer and TK reefer unit that was infested with butt connectors and the resulting corrosion.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:48 PM   #39
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There are some common truths, design does not always match up with real world usage. Complex systems like cars or applications have more issues. We do tend to ignore that which works great, it just blends in.

Complex systems require complex specifications, the client or group that provides the specifications often don't do it well. E.G the V6 Ford Escape engine you can not change spark plugs without removal of air intake. The engine design did not take that engine compartment design into account. Probably both engineering teams designed to specifications of respective area but failed to compare all of the hundred of measurements between the two systems, or if they did they found this problem too late to change it.

Application design is painful, client provides specs of what they "want" the application to do or be like, which often has no relationship to the task they really need to accomplish.

Then a team of programmers each with different levels of skill and areas of expertise build what the client "stakeholders" said they wanted. Application is then used by people with varied levels of skill and knowledge.

Think simple like a screw driver or punch, how many people use it as a pry? Or take a perfectly good power saw and try to cut much faster than blade can cut, then complain about crooked cut and burned wood? Now ask them to use a complex computer application and get ready to weep.

You can try and design it to be idiot proof, but the world keeps designing better idiots.

There is a proven way to prevent software bugs, make the person that wrote the buggy code fix it. The smart ones will learn from their mistakes. If nothing else the rest are kept too busy on prior bugs to produce more buggy code.

Sort of matches up with the they should have to live with the shortcomings of the product they build. My favorite so far is crossing Death Valley in Aug. using "fuel booster".

Last but not least is it takes time to refine a design, most of us get better at things from experience, no way a person sitting down to design is going to anticipate every possible need, use case, or problem. Especially if the product is doing something they have no experience with, say car maint. for auto engineer. Some stuff has to be mass field tested by the buyers to figure out what could be better. It takes end user experience to inform design.

Still I must say dropping the stearing column and removing the dash to change a heater core or shifter to trans cable seems.... well frankly pretty dumb design.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:00 AM   #40
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Diy-ers that insist on using regular butt connectors in exterior applications that come into constant contact with moisture and salt.

I had to rewire an entire trailer and TK reefer unit that was infested with butt connectors and the resulting corrosion.
Your comment on known corrosion reminds me, ford used steel shaft for transmission shift, running through an aluminum transmission case. Shaft corrodes into immobility if allowed to sit, so trans shop makes $400 removing and cleaning shaft, because 4WD system does not get activated for several months. Ford Escort had the same problem if allowed to sit.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:14 AM   #41
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Some good points being made. I fully agree that above and beyond education, experience provides a kind of practical knowledge that is almost impossible to obtain otherwise. I also agree that end user experience or testing similarly leads to design refinements. More and more though, I think that product designers and manufacturers know the shortcomings of their design from a user perspective, but styling, economics, use of off the shelf components, etc. dictate that the product goes out the door with known shortcomings so as to satisfy these other objectives. That's just the way the world works and perhaps necessarily so. It's all about compromises for reasons that aren't always readily apparent or meaningful to the end user.

Back to experience....I always appreciate a good technical book because sometimes the author has distilled the highlights from a lifetime of experience into the book. For a few dollars and a few days of my reading time, I have the opportunity to absorb that experience with little relative time or effort. What a bargain! That's also why I like this forum so much. Folks freely share their actual real world experience. Sometimes I get actual solutions, other times a story of "how not to do things". Both valuable and with a few minutes reading I get the benefit of that hard earned experience.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:44 AM   #42
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Some good points being made. I fully agree that above and beyond education, experience provides a kind of practical knowledge that is almost impossible to obtain otherwise. I also agree that end user experience or testing similarly leads to design refinements. More and more though, I think that product designers and manufacturers know the shortcomings of their design from a user perspective, but styling, economics, use of off the shelf components, etc. dictate that the product goes out the door with known shortcomings so as to satisfy these other objectives. That's just the way the world works and perhaps necessarily so. It's all about compromises for reasons that aren't always readily apparent or meaningful to the end user.

Back to experience....I always appreciate a good technical book because sometimes the author has distilled the highlights from a lifetime of experience into the book. For a few dollars and a few days of my reading time, I have the opportunity to absorb that experience with little relative time or effort. What a bargain! That's also why I like this forum so much. Folks freely share their actual real world experience. Sometimes I get actual solutions, other times a story of "how not to do things". Both valuable and with a few minutes reading I get the benefit of that hard earned experience.
Of course the product will go out the door with known short comings. As I said earlier, designs are compromises, there is NO perfect design. The laws of physics won't allow it. We don't generally know, as consumers, what compromises were made. Furthermore what some see as a negative others will see as a positive. Many things are dependent on the what the consumer demands. Example left hand threads on lug nuts, no matter what the reasoning was, the public simply wouldn't accept that.
Also off the shelf components, again of course. It would be silly to attempt to design and perfect something that has already been done.

Software...
It's really easy to design a word processor, but impossible to design a user interface (that's what you see on the screen and how it behaves) that easy for everybody to use. Many have tried with multiple ways of accomplishing the same thing. But, there's still those that want something different making it impossible to please everybody.
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