Re: our boss was adamant
Yeah, I once worked at a company that worked like that. It was the DP equivalent of Grace Bros., and our DPM was the spit of Dilbert's PHB in every way.
7228 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008
"the rest of a ships crew are (as the article already indicated) always busy with maintenance tasks"
That would be just as true with the crashed aircraft finding sonar drone ship though.
Once the ship is shown to be capable of making the atlantic crossing those maintenance jobs become redefined, possibly as in-port jobs.
Not that I disagree that this idea is nuts. Saltwater and electronics do not mix well.
Because side scan sonar is so economic with the electricity.
Considering the actual business involved in doing a deep water undersea wreck search rather than simply lading and unlading cargo containers this idea simply does not stack up agains the cargo boat idea.
Amazing how many people don't believe that tungsten filament lightbulbs pop on being turned on.
I had a floodlight bulb in a bathroom that lasted for 30+ years because the switch had a dimmer built in and no rocker on/off like modern dimmer switches do.
Just like in a theatre, fading up - even really quickly - saves the bulbs.
Had a car that ate headlights and tried to get my EE Dad to help me design an in-line fader (he was fading fast himself and I hoped to revive his spirits with a nice little project) but he had no interest even when I expleined that I wasn't worried about overvolting in my own car (which he obsessed on) as much as economy in all the cars I'd ever own.
"Fortunately" a mechanic overfilled the engine oil on that car and killed it.
1) Easy to design a train that can break at random points along its length without the - unpowered remember - rest of the train rolling to a halt in the freeway?
Don't think so.
2) Real electric trains don't work to the powered tractor unpowered train model. Why would road-based versions work that way?
3) The streamlining issue is a bum steer. At 55-70 mph there is no need to worry overmuch about super-streamlining.
My vision simply reurposes the car. The road stays the same.
I imagine a future when my drive from NY to Florida down I95 could be done with me sitting in the equivalent of a 6-person railway carriage, wrap-around sofas, entertainments on tap, and not a steering wheel in sight. Basically, a train in which the carriages can go where the passengers need when they need to go.
A leisurely trip to Florida, overnighting in the car as it tootles along if I don’t want to break my journey, no need to face forward, watch the traffic (and traffic jams - those will be a thing of rarity when everyone is doing it my way) and no steering wheel needed.
The car would stop to service itself (swapping out batts maybe to cut down on wait time) and let me use facilities not included inside the cabin. I could tell it I want to shop for something on the way, or I want to stop and eat at a restaurant of such-and-such a type, and it would find the nearest place in which to do those things.
The idea of the car needing to still be a “car” once it can self-drive properly is risible. As is the idea I would need to own (and maintain) the thing.
One for the old Univac/Sperry Univac/Unisys crowd:
I was once asked to bundle up an application and send it and all the (empty except for configuration data) files it needed to another site across the country (never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tapes barreling down the interstate: Tannenbaum), where "Univac experts" would install the same application and re-configure it to their needs.
I got a phone call a week later from an irate on-site expert: "You forgot to send SYS$DLOC$ ..."
Once had the pleasure of having a colleague from what they considered to be the most important office screeching at me that I "had configured <software> with a bunch of resources specified" - which was a problem in their office because they had rolled-their-own when it came to allocating shared resource pointers instead of using the computer manufacturer's automatic configurationatorizer like everyone else in the world, and those "specified" resources were "KNOWN to be reserved in the head office".
(I had the job of configuring this software in my office because I took a brief break from the madhouse to work for the manufacturer and knew how it all worked. Would that I had stayed there.)
I listened to the rant and then said I had no idea what the person was talking about as I had simply allowed the software installation to take defaults.
More ranting, until it transpired the person (who was sneakily trying to steal my job wrt this software and - because they couldn't bring themselves to speak to me rather than at me - was unaware I would happily give the job away) was looking at the configuration report file and *not* the configuration itself.
My sweetly delivered "Why on earth didn't you just ask me where to look?" must've been like drinking battery acid to that twit.
In my days as a Unisys DBA supporting a CODASYL database the following conversation happened at least once a month.
"The database broken!"
Not as far as I know, it isn't. Why do you think it is?
"Well I know I stored such-and-such a record on the database yesterday, and now it says the record is not on file!"
Did you delete the record?
"Of course not!"
Did someone else do that?"
"No-one would touch my test data!"
Lucky you. What did you change in the program?
So if I do an @PRT,S of all the library elements, the dates will all be at least a week old?
"Well, I DID change something in a subroutine, but it wouldn't effect the program!"
Let me guess. You added a few columns to your subroutine's DATA DIVISION.
You have displaced your calc keys by however many characters in your LINKAGE SECTION. You are chopping the front of the calc key off. That is why your record is not found, assuming your "no-one would touch" assertion is valid.
So you need to go fix your program so all the bits match the one bit you changed.
It got so bad at one point that when someone offered me a listing of their botch job and insisted the database was broken I offered a wager, that if I went through their code and found no cause for concern I would give them a crisp ten dollar bill, but for every protential problem I found they would give me one dollar. I pointed out that before they took the bet I could see I was five dollars up on the deal from what I could see on the first two pages.
That and the old "Your record counts say there are 66 thousand records on the database, but I can only find 60" thing. How many times did I have to tell them to re-establish currency when switching from "in set" to "in area" semantics? Well, I quit before an answer to that was available.
I transferred into a new department and was asked to replace their "expert scripter" who was retiring. One of the jobs he had written was represented to me as "vital, if this doesn't run we are in big trouble".
Said script ran at regular intervals and sent an email if there was a problem of a certain type. The problem was detected by examining the output of a "ps" command and using "cut" on the output to extract the pid, which was typically 3-4 digits on that hardware.
We had deployed a new Unix infrastructure from another manufacturer and the expert had ported this script to the new hardware, but had never checked it was working.
The expert had also usefully redirected stderr to the bit bucket because he never figured out how to make his dot profiles work for logon shells *and* batch shells and the script would fill the server mailbox with "can't do stty keyboard configuration stuff in batch mode" error messages. Said dot profile had a truly staggering amount of code that I think was trying to find out if it was running in a logon script or not. It certainly had no other purpose, but didn't work anyway. I surmised it was the work of several people. I digress.
As part of another project I sorted out the problem with the dot profile so that it *would* work in both use cases (if tty -s etc of course), and that is when I discovered that:
When the expert had deployed the script on the new servers, he forgot to also deploy the mailing list file with the addresses for that "vital" email, and the script was failing on line 2 as a result.
Smiling to myself I fixed that, and discovered that:
The new hardware was super virtualized. One side-effect was that pids were now 6-8 digits long rather than three or four. The "cut" command presented only the most significant of those digits to the rest of the "logic" and so was not working. At all. The "vital" email would never go out.
So I replaced the "cut" part of a massive pipeline with "awk" and the script started doing what it was supposed to.
And that afternoon the condition it was built to detect came about and fifty bajillion emails went out to the man who had told me how important it was he get said emails.
And BOY was he pissed. "Stop these G_D_ emails!"
So I descheduled the "vital" script.
All-in-all, an avalanche of suck.
Non-luminous object 3 and a third miles away?
Nope. Having ridden the slowly exploding bomb into LEO and having sat in a thin-walled tin can for x days awaiting the arrival of powdered Soviet satelite, the threat of something I won't see coming speeding past (well, not so much, orbital mechanics being what they are) a few miles away is not going to consume much nightmare time in the Steviehead.
Get a grip, man.
Back in the dawn of time I sat in a friend's Viva for a drive from Merrie Coventry to St Ives, Cornwall. He had just rebuilt the front end & suspension having smashed it to hellenbach driving over a pile of hardened asphalt.
Every 50 miles or so it overheated. He insisted he had cleaned the radiator before refitting it, and was totally befuddled by the classic symptom of a blocked radiator.
We drove most of the way with the heater on full blast - in July. The glue holding the soles onto his girlfriend's shoes melted.
After a couple of days of intra-Cornwall boiling over he decided to remove the radiator and several other essential bits of the engine, like the cylinder head (in the campsite - the things you do when you are young, eh?).
While he was tidling around with various bits of the engine he had dismantled in the hope of discovering The Problem I suddenly thought to ask what he had cleaned out the radiator with.
There then followed some class four Words of Power from yours truly and the instruction to go and buy a bottle of vinegar. Over the course of the next hour, using the vinegar as a rinsing agent, we managed to dislodge several large clots of washing powder that were impeding the proper operation of the forward heat exchanger, after which it functioned more or less as it was supposed to.
Then Chief Engineer Dimwit kicked over the rocker box and scattered the head bolts into long grass, requiring him to walk a search pattern in bare feet to find them again.
It was all quite depressing.
My dad could fix almost anything by looking at it, but never *ever* read "the destructions".
This precipitated the event one Xmas Day after he had (finally) bought a betamax recorder "so mum could record her programs".
He looks at the remote. He looks at the front of the recorder. Cue 10 minute rant about designing controls on a remote that weren't on the body of the recorder (high-quality chartered engineer ranting I might add).
I spent about a minute in the manual, walked over to the machine which was almost melting under the fiery blaze of said rant and flipped open the drop-down door to reveal the "missing" controls.
Cue five more minutes of harrumphing.
Got yelled at for loading Dad's self-opening brolly with these back in '71-ish.
He was walking past the fire station heading toward Coventry city centre down the Radford Road when it started to drizzle. He raised his brolly and pressed the trigger and deployed a blizzard of chads - all over the nearby policeman standing downwind.
My chief programmer's Cherokee Chief* was rendered scrap when the punch girls doused every surface including the engine block (WHY?) with paper tape chads adhered with a light coating of fairy liquid as part of her impending wedding celebration.
The mechanics who stripped the car found spindled chads in the carb jets. which suggests someone had added them to the petrol tank.
* - Hubby to be ran a swank car dealership.
I wonder what the demographics would look like if each new iteration of the windows UI came with a "make it look like Windows <insert favorite version>" button?
Mine's the computer that looks like XP. Rounded windows, drop shadows, 3D buttons.
When I want to use a butt-ugly UI that reminds me of an oversized phone I'll go use an ATM at my bank.
About 20 years ago, I call Sears and tell them I need a warranty repair on my washing machine. I tell them the cycle selector knob ratchet has worn out and it needs a new knob fitting. Please bring a new knob.
Two weeks later I get a confirmation call. I check they will be bringing the knob.
"The technician will determine what's needed when he gets there". I point out that is great, but that he needs to bring the knob because it is a special order part and the machine is U/S without it. They argue. I point out it is a ten dollar part retail. Bring it anyway. "OK"
The day of the repair the guy calls. I ask him if he has the knob. "What knob?" I go through the whole tale again. He pushes back. I point out that he is wasting both our time if he does not bring the knob. He yields.
He turns up, agrees the knob is needed but cannot figure out how it can be changed. So he stands there while I use his pliers to pull off the circlip and the old knob and slide the new knob into place until it clicks. Done.
Sears called six months later to ask if I wanted to extend the warranty ...
Like my wife's brand new Garmin GPS that insisted it needed to be connected to a computer right out of the box, but blanked the screen as soon as it booted so I couldn't say "Yes please trust the computer you are connecting me to".
Had to charge the battery using a phone charger.
Once the battery was charged I was able to wade through the menus and tell it not to do the blankety-blank thing, but it took about an hour to figure out *after* a five hour battery charge.
What concerns me is that the implication here is that crucial security measures are not being taken on *military* hardware that almost certainly *will* be connected to the internet because ... well ... I've never understood why people connect the stuff they do to the internet.
All your lightbulb are belong to Chechnyan baddies - inconvenient.
All your aircraft carrier systems are belong to Chechnyan baddies - quite worrying.
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