All posts by Paul Tomblin

How many hardware engineers..

No, this isn’t based on anything that’s happened to me recently.

How many hardware engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

  • One to turn the lights on and off a few times to see if he can reproduce the problem. S/he then escalates it to the:
  • One to swap it with another light bulb in the same room to see if it’s the fixutre. S/he then calls:
  • One to bring in the hot-swap light bulb, only to find it’s the wrong type of bulb. That gets called back to the office, where:
  • Another one orders the correct bulb via second day air. The other hardware engineers go home for two days, leaving you in the dark until eventually:
  • Another one brings in the newly arrived bulb, but puts it in the fixture of an already working bulb and closes the call.

At this point, a progammer picks up the working bulb that’s sitting in the garbage and installs it. Problem solved.

Can’t get started…

I’ve been staring at the same bug report for 6 days now, unable to get started on it. I often have this strange hesitation to start big projects. (Actually, it seems like it’s mostly anything that’s going to have a “main” method in it.) Fortunately I usually snap out of it and start making good progress as soon as I’ve figured out the whole thing in my head. Usually this process of figuring it out goes on while I do other stuff, like spend 6 whole days doing nothing but reading email and usenet, surfing the web and playing Palm Pilot solitare.

I shudder at the thought of having to explain this process to my boss some day. “Why yes, you did pay me $HUGENUM to play solitare for 4 days, but you got your money’s worth out of it. Honest.” Fortunately it’s never come up. And I’ve had a few little projects or things where I’ve had to help other people. Sometimes I say “Ok, that earned my pay today” and go back to checking my email, and other times I say “Damn, why can’t I get started?” as I hit refresh on Slashdot for the 18th time this hour.

Do a better job of voting than California did, ok?

Plane & Pilot magazine is having an on-line poll for the best aviation related PDA software. As some of you already know, I’m rather heavily involved supporting my favourite piece of aviation related PDA software. Of course, CoPilot is free so it can’t win against software that actually buys advertising in the magazine running the poll, but it would still be cool if they actually report the vote correctly. So if you don’t mind on-line votes, I’d appreciate it if you’d go in there, select “Other” in the drop down, and put “Laurie Davis’ CoPilot 4.3” in the “please specify” box.

Thanks.