Posts in category: ‘Rants’

Generational labels are stupid. Engineering transcends age

A tired old greybeard engineer, sits arms folded, frown fully deployed, carrying an unhealthy skepticism of any IT trend sporting a cute monosyllabic name, as he glares at the young punk across the table - a "Millennial." The youthful opponent, looks up momentarily from her Instagram post as if to make an impassioned, ecologically sound plea to experiment with a new technology or process, then quickly down again – Squirtle's just around the corner!

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Even Elon can’t get us to Mars

Mars has long been and continues to be a frustratingly elusive dream for many an aerospace engineer, wannabe astronaut, or die hard Total Recall fan alike. It’s a subject many people including myself are deeply passionate about. And despite the nearly 50 years of technological progress since the Moon landing, we are arguably still rather ill-prepared to reach the Red Planet. That’s precisely why watching Elon’s recent Mars reveal in front of the International Astronautical Congress felt like an exasperatingly tragic lost opportunity. Perhaps about as aggravating as Arnold getting blown out of an action set piece to asphyxiate in a red wasteland, albeit without the insta-terraforming plot device to conveniently save the day.

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What’s the root of ethics in engineering?

In all the fireworks debating whether software engineering is somehow a subversive underling of "real" engineering, we've only touched on the underlying core issue: engineering ethics. In the Twitterverse, many were quick to invoke the Calling of the Engineer ceremony, specifically citing a symbolic iron ring as indicative of the higher standard for which software engineers are not invited. Here's the problem: costume jewelry doesn't magically impart ethics, unless perhaps you graduated from Hogwarts. I might as well have fabulous secret powers revealed to me, hold aloft my magic sword, and say "By the power of engineering!" Fantastic magical crap aside, what then is the root of ethics in engineering?

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Software engineering is engineering. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

You better unplug your keyboard and turn off your workstation. You shouldn't be designing, modeling, analyzing or coding anything because more than likely you're not an engineer. Go home, you're an imposter. That's apparently the grim news delivered by Ian Bogost of the Atlantic, who narrowly confines the definition of an engineer to the strictly traditional concept of certification and licensure. Software engineers in particular have been thrown off a bridge, it seems. It's the sort of crass judgment that might have you propelling your fist through the nearest display. But before you go off unnecessarily voiding warranties or turning to a career in Russian medieval literature, let's do what engineers do best and assess the problem systematically.

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A better way to describe technical roles

Recently, a publication I respect published a poorly contrived article that makes its author seem hopelessly out of touch (but has probably been a windfall for their ad department). The author of “Programmers: Stop Calling Yourselves Engineers” asserts that programmers aren’t doing the same caliber engineering as engineers who make physical things and are therefore unworthy of the label “engineer.” Now, the internet is aflutter with people agreeing that someone on the internet is wrong.

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Scott Adams – I Challenge you to a duel, Sir!

Today’s Dilbert was just one too many insults and therefore, Mr. Scott Adams, I must contact you.

For years you have been insulting my fair homeland of Estonia by heaping scorn on backwards “Elbonians”.  We all know who you’re really talking about, Scott, with your mockery of mud and huts and cold.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2013-12-01/

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2013-12-01/

But today you went a step too far and mocked GrabCAD Challenges as well.

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GrabCAD News: Bringing Quality to You Through Open Engineering

At GrabCAD we encourage innovation and quality. We value involvement in events like hackathons and meetups that push limits and advocate open engineering. So, what are we actually doing to support these values? I want to share some updates and let you know why the GrabCAD team cares so much.

Video via TechCrunch, "A Hackathon for the Data Center, Now That's A First" by Alex Williams

Video via TechCrunch, "A Hackathon for the Data Center, Now That's A First" by Alex Williams
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Standard parts libraries vs. GrabCAD – what’s the difference?

Fanuc 430 robot. Model by Ken Schulze, rendered by Indrek Narusk.

"Your site is a great idea and could be very helpful but it seems to focus too much on very specific designs rather than standard parts."

This is a comment we get every now and then and it’s understandable enough. So why isn’t GrabCAD a standard parts library? After all, standard parts are what most (mechanical) engineers use in their everyday work.

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