May 28, 2004
So, I was putting stuff away in my room tonight when I looked at the screen, and saw this huge thing hanging on it. It was the strangest bug I'd ever seen. Then I looked closer, and it was some sort of frog. Now, I live in the country, next to a river, so its not entirely unexpected to see some wildlife around. However, I was surprised to see this frog on my window. My bedroom is on the second floor. The little bugger had to climb all the way up my house to get to the window. Then a little be later, I saw a smaller frog on one of my other windows (all glass this time), also on the second floor. It was sort of strange.
Also, I have to clean out my gutters, as right now, they are just breeding grounds for mosquitos.
May 25, 2004
I'm so sore today!
Yesterday I finally got most everything big moved to the new place. We just have a bunch of smaller stuff that should all fit into our cars. Thanks to Jerry and Elizabeth's help, we loaded up the Uhaul, and took many big, heavy things out of my rental and into my real house. It does really suck to have to assemble your bed before you can sleep though. Pain killers are wonderful too, I'm rather sore at the moment.
May 21, 2004
So this guy comes to the door trying to sell me some citrus cleaner. He starts off by saying this is his first day on the job...(yeah, right). Then he proceeds to show me an order for by one of my neighbors, who printed her name as "Gail Hildebrandt". Fine, She might very well be my neighbor, but i don't get out much :P The hilarious part is when he trys to pronounce her name. He calls her Gail Harrison. I didn't buy the cleaner stuff. He tried to make me feel bad, by saying he was trying to raise money for school, I was actually expecting this. He gave me an informational flyer. I told him I don't need any now, but if he let me keep the flyer, I would order some in the future. (Maybe i will, maybe I won't) He wouldn't let me keep it! Guess I won't be buying the amazing citrius cleaner.
May 19, 2004
Must remember this!
Every once in awhile lowbrow.com has some good stuff. Mostly its stories about poo. Also, if you've never been there before, don't go at work. I found this tonight, and thought it was great! So i'm stealing it and posting it here.
there is a great line from a book (and subsequent movie) called "under the volcano."
the protaganist is drunk as shit--and has been for days--, standing outside of a bar, and he is asked what he is doing out there.
he responds, as he wobbles unsteadily on his feet:
"i've heard tell that the world goes round and round. that being the case, i am going to stand right here until my house comes by. then when it does, i am going to go inside, go up to my room, and lock my door."
despite my many attempts, i have never been able to get that right, standing outside of a bar, drunk as shit.
May 17, 2004
There is a gnat in my Killians. The little bastard.
So the project was due today, since we're making production vans now. The line's running vans, I've already started programming up controllers for them. Today's a great fugging day to have a meeting to decided how to change the stupid thing one more time. So full of h8! But we finally decided on how it should be. Lets make it "exactly" like the old verson!
Why would people want something new? Never mind the only difference between the old and least offensive new way is about 2 seconds.
So lets throw out the testing, and make me rework everything. Oh, remember how I said I was programming controllers? They'll want more tomorrow. I don't have any to give them now. I'll blame sales. I also think I'm going to drink tonight.
May 14, 2004
So Naginata had this on his site.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
The Salesperson suggested another attractive style of glass, which did not come in a twelve-ounce size. Small Things Considered by Henry Petroski.
Boy, now isn't that exciting.............
May 11, 2004
Survival of the Fittest
Electric lawn mowers are a bad idea! First, you have to drag you extension cord, and make sure not to run over it with the sharp spinning blades. Next, you're using an electric lawnmower. Should you really be using it in the rain?
May 04, 2004
So, I've got to have my big project done in ~10 days. I've been working on the controller basically for the last year I've been there, although in various incarnations. One of the things that was decided at the beginning of this was an operation change. It has been brought up many times, but basically we've added 3 buttons to a van that can enable or disable a feature if it is held in for ~3 seconds. There are several problems with this. First, the button looks identical to buttons already in a vehicle which do not enable or disable the feature. Next, those 3 buttons also will operate the van in the exact same way the buttons we don't add, giving them 2 jobs. Finally, no one remembers what they do, specifically that the feature can be turned off. Sure a few people that want the van for that very reason, and use it often know its there.
I have no real data to back up this next claim, but it makes sense. If you don't use it, you're not going to remember you can turn on and off the feature. When someone else then is playing with your vehicle and holds the switch in for 3 seconds accidentally/on purpose, it then looks broken.
Multiple functions on one button, which has no indication that the action will occur are bad.
Anyway, a few days ago, we started testing our prototype units, and gave one to someone in service, and one to the manager(sales) of the line. I forgot(woops) to put in the information sheet I gave them that they could not disable said feature. Needless to say, its like the first thing both of them tried, and they noticed it didn't work.
Here's where things get fun....The service guy actually liked that. He gets lots of calls from dealers/customers who accidentally disabled the feature, and thinks there's something wrong with the van. He knows that some people like the ability to turn it off, but does think it can be better implemented. The sales guy *really* likes this feature, more than one person should like a feature. Since I gave him his van second, I did remember to tell him that kneel could not be disabled. He got this stunned look on his face, and immediately wanted to know why. I tried explaining the horrible man/machine interface to him, and he *seemed* to understand, although I could tell he wasn't happy about this feature disappearing. I could tell things would be going downhill from here.
The next morning, I get an email that goes to my boss, and the head of engineering asking if we can meet with the sales department to go over the controller programming. WTF...first, the sales department knows jack squat about programming. Second, he mentions again in his email that he tried to turn kneel off by pressing the button. I ALREADY FREAKING TOLD YOU IT WOULDN'T WORK! Guess he didn't believe me, what do I know, I only wrote the software. I talk with my boss, we agree that we don't really need to meet with the sales department at this time (we've still got 12 days at this point before we even start the first production day). The head of engineering stops by, and also agrees that we don't need to meet with them yet.
So what's the wonderful sales department do? Next day they send an email to the head of our vehicle group asking when we can meet. Since the vehicle group head doesn't know what's going on, he tells him to meet us and we'll go over it. Luckily for me, both the head of my department, and the head of engineering both are busy. (meeting was set up with in 30 minutes of the email being sent out). I get to go there alone. So we go meet. Guess what, he's brought 2 more people with him, who really shouldn't even be there. Wee. Predictably, he wants this feature back. The vehicle group is aware that it isn't there, but they don't really care, all they are really concerned with at this point is if I can get the controller working, and if all the mechanical aspects are sound. The sales guy he puts me on the spot(1) . The sales guru brings up the fact that this isn't there, then asks me to explain myself *again*. I can tell by the way I explained it and by the way people looked at me that they realized what I said made sense, but sales guy wants it in there, and he's going to get it.
After I get through the tortures of sales people trying to engineer something(2)(3), I speak with my boss about it, and he agrees it something we don't want to just give in too. In fact I believe he used the words absolutely not....
(1)Sub-rant: If you tell someone you don't mean to put them on the spot, you are a lying sack of dog poo. Making someone say the exact same thing to you, in front of another department head and 2 of your sales managers is putting me on the spot, those people weren't there by accident. I have a phone, I have an email address, I have a cube, the company has a paging system if I'm not responsive to any of these. I could have answered all of his questions had he asked them to me. In fact, I did answer some of them when I gave him the van, but it wasn't good enough. He reminds me of a kid who will keep asking for something till you give in. Luckily I'm stubborn to a point (I'm not going to bend to him, just because he asks, but I'm not going to risk my job over it either. In fact, the only way he's getting it is by doing paperwork, which has to go through the system, through my boss, and through the engineering department head.)
(2)/inflate ego. My education wasn't cheap, I didn't spend so much on it so you can completely ignore my reasoning. I don't really care if you've been with the company for much longer than I have. I'm not an idiot, I can think for myself, and I do know quite a bit. If you want me to give you the reasoning for a decision I made, I'll do it. I'll provide you with the research I came to my opinions on. However when you just go and discount my opinon as not good enough with out wanting to see any research, you really piss me off. Give me some credit, I can think for myself, its why I'm an engineer.
(3)You're salespeople damnit, we're the engineers/designers. I know its not the way it works in real life, but sales people should be able to sell what ever I give them. Their life should be putting spin on the slightly negative aspects so the customer doesn't realize they are problems. The designers (or engineers in our case) are the ones that are making the design decisions, not the sales department. The sales department should provide feedback to us from our customers, allowing us to base our designs around the customers needs, but that sure as hell doesn't happen. (Word of mouth doesn't count, give me DATA!)
All mispellings are free!