Re: What's the need?
Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...
25 posts • joined 11 Apr 2018
Our home telephone number is very close to the local branch of the Nat West bank. Some years ago, before internet banking, we kept getting messages on our answerphone from an old gent wanting some information about his current account.
Eventually, expressing real urgency, he left a message and gave his name, address, account number and pin number.....
We were so concerned, I rang the bank directly, explained what had happened and asked them to get in touch with the poor guy and perhaps remind him to safeguard his details over the phone. As you will understand, it took ages for the bank to grasp the issue. I'm sure the guy would have believed me if I had returned his call but that would not necessarily have sorted the problem or alerted the bank.
We didn't get any more calls from him. I only hope scammers never found him; they would these days.
We used to have 'Technical Sales' salesmen; jobs might take years to come to fruition. So salesmen were salaried and we office-based technical guys supporting sales were happy to assist and visit customers, consultants, suppliers etc. to support the sale.
Change of management, new sales crew, commission-based, who were 'go-getting' but knew nothing about the product. We had hundreds of enquiries for products we didn't make and zero for the long-term, difficult (but high-margin) contracts. And a set of pissed-off designers who resented being asked to help out.
A 'them and us' situation where all lost out.
Masterstroke. I left.
Reminds me of a very clever guy who came to work with us. A genuine polymath on all things mathematical, physical and chemical.
He was so obviously brilliant he was taken on straight away.
After a couple of days at work, his company car arrived.
"I can't drive," he replied.
The car was put in reserve until he passed his test, but he became/was a terrible driver. I feel sure he was driving in a different set of dimensions.
In the 1970's, there was a debate in the office over which of two managers was the heavier. It was a choice between tall and chubby or short and spherical. In time, the discussion turned real; a book was started, certainties questioned, money was involved.
We new graduates were charged with solving the problem and we decided that strain-gauging the centre-tubes of their chairs would get the problem determined.
Unfortunately, it was just another great idea that never ran to completion. The heavier took early retirement.
A long time ago, I had heard that putting a disk in the freezer was sometimes effective for data-recovery. I thought is was a good spoof for ordinary citizens to open themselves to ridicule.
In desperation, after multi-plane, sub-destructive percussion had failed, and with no-one watching, I put a troublesome disk into the freezer compartment of the fridge. Like the disk, I was stunned, but we both recovered for long enough to extract the data files.
"Since you fixed my PC, it's running slow again." For years I had been telling my friend to replace his outdated piece of crap rather than me get involved to 'get it going' again. This was causing some irritation between us. My son was aware of the conflict. He intervened, took the computer away 'to fix', dumped it and bought a new one. After a few days he returned it, 'repaired'.
15 years on, that computer is still being used...
Richard Feynman warned of the failure to aggressively check safety systems and in his appended report on the Challenger Disaster praised NASA's approach to software faults (one of the few processes he thought was fit-for-purpose). Even then, the managers wanted to reduce software testing because it was time-consuming and expensive.
His appendix to the report is a good read (and re-read); I frequently recommend it to engineers.
"These 1 MW diesel generators are very important.
They provide the emergency back-up power to the batteries which are essential to shut down the power station in the event of external supply failure.
Let me show you how to manually synchronise them with the National Grid.
Good job we have a standby and a spare.
As reported elsewhere, 'Jaywalking' is known as 'crossing the road' almost everywhere except the USA. Is this not the great problem with 'AI' or 'self-driving' cars? Anyone can, and many will, just walk out in front of these vehicles to force a stop. It will become a sport. Cars will have to crawl in populated areas.
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