Five surgeons were taking a coffee break and were discussing their work. The first said, "I think accountants are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is numbered."
The second said, "I think librarians are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is in alphabetical order."
The third said, "I like to operate on electricians. You open them up and everything inside is color-coded."
The fourth one said, "I like to operate on lawyers. They're heartless, spineless, gutless, and their heads and their butts are interchangeable."
Fifth surgeon said, "I like Engineers...they always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end..."
· Real Engineers consider themselves well dressed if their socks match.
· Real Engineers buy their spouses a set of matched screwdrivers for their birthday.
· Real Engineers wear mustaches or beards for "efficiency". Not because they're lazy.
· Real engineers have a non-technical vocabulary of 800 words.
· Real Engineers think a "biting wit" is their fox terrier.
· Real Engineers know the second law of thermodynamics - but not their own shirt size.
· Real Engineers repair their own cameras, telephones, televisions, watches, and automatic transmissions.
· Real Engineers say "It's 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 degrees Celsius, and 298 degrees Kelvin" and all you say is "Isn't it a nice day"
· Real Engineers give you the feeling you're having a conversation with a dial tone or busy signal.
· Real Engineers wear badges so they don't forget who they are. Sometimes a note is attached saying "Don't offer me a ride today. I drove my own car".
· Real Engineers' politics run towards acquiring a parking space with their name on it and an office with a window.
· Real Engineers know the "ABC's of Infrared" from A to B.
· Real Engineers rotate their tires for laughs.
· Real Engineers will make four sets of drawings (with seven revisions) before making a bird bath.
· Real Engineers' briefcases contain a Phillips screwdriver, a copy of "Quantum Physics", and a half of a peanut butter sandwich.
· Real Engineers don't find the above at all funny.
Two Engineers agree to paint a flag pole. Of course they need to know how tall it is so they can purchase the paint. One shimmies up the pole with a tape measure and falls after reaching about half way. While trying to figure out how they can possibly measure the pole along comes a Designer. After asking what they're doing he replies, "that s easy". He then reaches around the pole and pulls it out of the ground and lays it down. "There you go", he said as he walked away. The two Engineers look at each other and one said "that stupid guy will never get anywhere, we don't need to know how wide it is, just how tall".
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring relationship.
The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because of the passion and mystery he found there.
The engineer said, "I like both."
Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can go to the lab and get some work done."
"A Boy and His Frog"
A boy was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The boy took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket. The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the boy took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" The boy said, "Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool."
ENGINEERS & GUILLOTINES
During the French Revolution, three professionals were arrested and convicted of having bourgeois values. They were a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer. They were to be led to the guillotine one by one. The crowd was roaring with anticipated pleasure. First up was the doctor. How dare he enrich himself through other people's illnesses? Access to basic health care is a right, right? The doctor was placed in the guillotine, and the lanyard was yanked. The blade started on its massive, implacable way down. And lurched to a stop. The official in charge declared that it would be inhumane to make the doctor suffer this way more than once, so he was setting the doctor free. The crowd howled. The executioner checked his equipment. All was in order. He put a small tree branch in, and successfully lopped it in half. He re-sharpened the blade. Next up was the lawyer. Who needs an excuse to wish such a lying, cheating scoundrel dead? The crowd was thunderous in its applause. The lawyer was placed in the guillotine, and the lanyard was yanked. Again, the blade stopped part-way down! The presiding official once again said that he would set this prisoner free because of the unusual circumstances. The crowd screamed in frustration. Now came the engineer, a man whose innovations and devices were costing jobs. The crowd fell silent. The executioner checked and re-checked his equipment. As the engineer was marched up to the guillotine, he looked carefully at it, and said, "Wait. I see your problem...."
ENGINEERS & GUILLOTINES again
Today they're leading a priest, a drunkard and an engineer to the guillotine. They ask the priest if he wants to face up or down when he meets his fate. The priest says that he would like to face up so he will be looking toward heaven when he dies. They raise the blade of the guillotine, release it, it comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. The authorities take this as divine intervention and release the priest.
Next the drunkard comes to the guillotine. He also decides to die face up hoping that he will be as fortunate as the priest. They raise the blade of the guillotine, release it, it comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. So they release the drunkard as well.
The engineer is next. He too decides to die facing up. They slowly raise the blade of the guillotine, when suddenly the engineer says: -Hey, I see what your problem is.-
TOP 20 ENGINEERS' TERMINOLOGIES
1. A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT APPROACHES ARE BEING TRIED - We are still pissing in the wind.
2. EXTENSIVE REPORT IS BEING PREPARED ON A FRESH APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM - We just hired three kids fresh out of college.
3. CLOSE PROJECT COORDINATION - We know who to blame.
4. MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH - It works OK, but looks very hi-tech.
5. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS DELIVERED ASSURED - We are so far behind schedule the customer is happy to get it delivered.
6. PRELIMINARY OPERATIONAL TESTS WERE INCONCLUSIVE - The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.
7. TEST RESULTS WERE EXTREMELY GRATIFYING - We are so surprised that the stupid thing works.
8. THE ENTIRE CONCEPT WILL HAVE TO BE ABANDONED - The only person who understood the thing quit.
9. IT IS IN THE PROCESS - It is so wrapped up in red tape that the situation is about hopeless.
10. WE WILL LOOK INTO IT - Forget it! We have enough problems for now.
11. PLEASE NOTE AND INITIAL - Let's spread the responsibility for the screw up.
12. GIVE US THE BENEFIT OF YOUR THINKING - We'll listen to what you have to say as long as it doesn't interfere with what we've already done.
13. GIVE US YOUR INTERPRETATION - I can't wait to hear this bull!
14. SEE ME or LET'S DISCUSS - Come into my office, I'm lonely.
15. ALL NEW - Parts not interchangeable with the previous design.
16. RUGGED - Too damn heavy to lift!
17. LIGHTWEIGHT - Lighter than RUGGED.
18. YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT - One finally worked.
19. ENERGY SAVING - Achieved when the power switch is off.
20. LOW MAINTENANCE - Impossible to fix if broken.
THE ENGINEER SONG (Sung to the tune of the Beverly Hillibillies)
Come and listen to a story bout a man name Jed,
A poor College Kid barely kept his family fed
But then one day he was talking to a recruiter,
He said "They'll pay ya big bucks if ya work on a computer",
Unix that is . . . CRT's . . . Workstations;
Well the first thing ya know ol' Jed's an Engineer,
The kinfolk said "Jed move away from here",
They said "Arizona is the place ya oughta be",
So he bought some donuts and he moved to Ahwatukee,
Intel that is . . . dry heat . . . no amusement parks;
On his first day at work they stuck him in cube,
Fed him more donuts and sat him at a tube,
They said "Your project's late but we know just what to do,
Instead of 40 hours, we'll work you fifty-two!"
OT that is . . . unpaid . . . Mandatory
The weeks rolled by and things were looking bad,
Some schedules slipped and some managers were mad,
They called another meeting and decided on a fix,
The answer was simple, "We'll work him sixty-six",
Tired that is . . . stressed out . . . no social life
Months turned into years and his hair was turning gray,
Jed worked hard while his life slipped away,
Waiting to retire when he turned sixty-four,
Instead he got a call and they escorted him out the door,
Laid-off that is . . . Debreifed . . . Unemployed . . .
HOW TO HUNT ELEPHANTS
How do you hunt elephants?
MATHEMATICIANS hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left. Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise. Professors of mathematics will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students.
COMPUTER SCIENTISTS hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
1. Go to Africa
2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
4. During each traverse pass:
a) catch each animal seen
b) Compare each animal caught to a known elephant
c) Stop when a match is detected.
Experienced COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate. Assembly language programmers prefer to execute Algorithm on their hands and knees.
ENGINEERS hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.
ECONOMISTS don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.
STATISTICIANS hunt the 1st animal they see N times, and call it an elephant.
CONSULTANTS don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do. Operations Research Consultants can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.
POLITICIANS don't hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.
LAWYERS don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings. Software lawyers will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.
VICE PRESIDENTS of engineering, research, and development try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the vice president does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all possible elephants are completely pre-hunted before the vice president gets to see them. If the vice president does see a non-prehunted elephant, the staff will :
1. compliment the vice president's keen eyesight,
2. enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence.
SENIOR MANAGERS set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.
QUALITY ASSURANCE INSPECTORS ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
SALESPEOPLE don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens. Software salespeople ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant. Hardware salespeople catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as "Desktop Elephants"
The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"
YOU MAY BE AN ENGINEER...
If you refer to your spouse as "\woman at home.wife,"
If your favorite TV show is "Mr. Wizard" instead of "Baywatch,"
If when your family is expecting, you are more interested in the ultra-sound equipment than the test results,
If when someone asks "What's new?" you answer "C over lambda,"
If you know Bill Gates' e-mail address, and don't remember your own,
If you are always asking your friends from marketing to hold two leads to a giant capacitor,
If you find your head nodding up and down every time you read Dilbert,
If your pocket is full of too many mechanical pencils,
If when your 3-year old asks "Why is the sky blue?" you start explaining it to them,
If you can explain which direction the water spins as you flush the toilet and why,
If you go to the air show, and you start calculating how fast the sky divers are falling, you may be an engineer; if you start telling all the people around you, you definitely are.
If you need a spreadsheet to figure out who owes what for lunch,
If you plan your family vacation on a Gantt chart,
If you pre-plan your route on a map of the exhibits through the annual computer show at Moscone Center,
If you read PC World and Popular Mechanics while on vacation,
If you are willing to debate for two hours the possible results of an experiment that takes five minutes to run,
If you know the altitudes at which you must turn off electronic devices on an airplane, and why,
If on a camping trip, your spouse starts complaining about bug "bites" and you respond that "Yes, we do need more memory in our computer,"
If Dilbert is your hero
If you stare at an orange juice container because it says CONCENTRATE
If you want an 8X CDROM for Christmas
If you can name 6 Star Trek episodes
If the only jokes you receive are through e-mail
If your wrist watch has more computing power than a 486DX2-50
If your idea of good interpersonal communication means getting the decimal point in the right place
If you look forward to Christmas only to put together the kids' toys
If you introduce your wife as "email@example.com"
If your spouse sends you an e-mail instead of calling you to dinner
If you can quote scenes from any Monty Python movie
If you use a CAD package to design your son's Pine Wood Derby car
If you have used coat hangers and duct tape for something other than hanging coats and taping ducts
If, at Christmas, it goes without saying that you will be the one to find the burnt-out bulb in the string
If you window shop at Radio Shack
If your ideal evening consists of fast-forwarding through the latest Sci-Fi movie looking for technical inaccuracies
If you have "Dilbert" comics displayed anywhere in your work area
If you carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of a test that actually takes five minutes to run
If you are convinced you can build a phazer out of your garage door opener and your camera's flash attachment
If you don't even know where the cover to your personal computer is
If you have modified your can-opener to be microprocessor driven
If you know the direction the water swirls when you flush
If you own "Official Star Trek" anything
If you have ever taken the back off your TV just to see what's inside
If a team of you and your co-workers have set out to modify the antenna on the radio in your work area for better reception
If you ever burned down the gymnasium with your Science Fair project
If you are currently gathering the components to build your own nuclear reactor
If you own one or more white short-sleeve dress shirts
If you have never backed-up your hard drive
If you are aware that computers are actually only good for playing games, but are afraid to say it out loud
If you truly believe aliens are living among us
If you have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance
If you have ever purchased an electronic appliance "as-is"
If you see a good design and still have to change it
If the salespeople at Circuit City can't answer any of your questions
If you still own a slide rule and you know how to work it
If the thought that a CD could refer to finance or music never enters your mind
If you own a set of itty-bitty screw drivers, but you don't remember where they are
If you rotate your screen savers more frequently than your automobile tires
If you have a functioning home copier machine, but every toaster you own turns bread into charcoal
If you have more toys than your kids
If you need a checklist to turn on the TV
If you have introduced your kids by the wrong name
If you have a habit of destroying things in order to see how they work
If your I.Q. number is bigger than your weight
If the microphone or visual aids at a meeting don't work and you rush up to the front to fix it
If you can remember 7 computer passwords but not your anniversary
If you have memorized the program schedule for the Discovery Channel and have seen most of the shows already
If you have ever owned a calculator with no equal key and know what RPN stands for
If your father sat 2 inches in front of your family's first color TV with a magnifying lens to see how they made the colors, and you grew up thinking that was normal
If you know how to take the cover off of your computer, and what size screw driver to use
If you can type 70 words a minute but can't read your own handwriting
If people groan at the party when you pick out the music=7F
If you can't remember where you parked your car for the 3rd time this week
If you did the sound system for your senior prom
If your checkbook always balances
If your wristwatch has more buttons than a telephone
If you have more friends on the Internet than in real life
If you thought the real heroes of "Apollo 13" were the Mission Controllers
If you think that when people around you yawn, it's because they didn't get enough sleep
If you spend more on your home computer than your car
If you know what http:/ stands for
If you've ever tried to repair a $5.00 radio
If you have a neatly sorted collection of old bolts and nuts in your garage
If your three year old son asks why the sky is blue and you try to explain atmospheric absorption theory
If your lap-top computer costs more than your car
If your 4 basic food groups are: 1. Caffeine 2. Fat 3. Sugar 4. Chocolate
There was this male engineer, on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for the first time. It was wonderful, the experience of his life. He was being waited on hand an foot. But, it did not last. A Hurricane came up unexpectedly. The ship went down almost instantly.
The man found himself, he knew not how, swept up on the shore of an island. There was nothing else anywhere to be seen. No person, no supplies, nothing. The man looked around. There were some bananas and coconuts, but that was it. He was desperate, and forlorn, but decided to make the best of it. So for the next four
months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice and mostly looked to the sea mightily for a ship to come to his rescue.
One day, as he was lying on the beech stroking his beard and looking for a ship, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. Could it be true, was it a ship? No, from around the corner of the island came this rowboat. In it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen, or at least seen in 4 months. She was tall, tanned, and her blond hair flowing in the sea breeze gave her an almost ethereal quality. She spotted him also as he was waving and yelling and screaming to get her attention. She rowed her boat towards him.
In disbelief, he asked, "Where did you come from? How did you get here"?
She said, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed on this island when my cruise ship sank"
"Amazing", he said, "I didn't know anyone else had survived. How many of you are there? Where, did you get the rowboat? You must have been really lucky to have a rowboat wash-up with you?"
"It is only me", she said, "and the rowboat didn't wash up, nothing else did."
"Well then", said the man, "how did you get the rowboat?"
I made the rowboat out of raw material that I found on the island, replied the woman. The oars were whittled from Gum tree branches, I wove the bottom from Palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree".
"But, but, asked the man, what about tools and hardware, how did you do that?"
"Oh, no problem, replied the woman, on the south side of the island there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found that If I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But, enough of that, she said. Where do you live?"
At last the man was forced to confess that he had been sleeping on the beach.
"Well, let's row over to my place, she said." So they both got into the rowboat and left for her side of island.
The woman easily rowed them around to a wharf that led to the approach to her place. She tied up the rowboat with a beautifully woven hemp rope. They walked up a stone walk and around a Palm tree, there stood an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.
"It's not much, she said, but I call it home. Sit down please, would you like to have a drink?"
"No, said the man, one more coconut juice and I will puke."
"It won't be coconut juice, the woman replied, I have a still, how about a Pina Colada? Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk.
After a while, and they had exchanged their stories, the woman asked, "Tell me, have you always had a beard?"
"No", the man replied, "I was clean shaven all of my life, and even on the cruise ship". "Well if you would like to shave, there is a man's razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom." So, the man, no longer
questioning anything, went upstairs to the bath room. There in the cabinet was a razor made from a bone handle, two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. The man shaved, showered and went back down stairs..
"You look great, said the woman, I think I will go up and slip into something more comfortable." So she did.
And, the man continued to sip his Pina Colada. After a short time, the woman returned wearing fig leafs strategically positioned and smelling faintly of gardenia."Tell me, she asked, we have both been out here for a very long time with no companionship. You know what I mean. Have you been lonely, is there anything that you really miss? Something that all men and woman need. Something that it would be really nice to have right now."
"Yes there is, the man replied, as he moved closer to the woman while fixing a winsome gaze upon her, "Tell me ... Do you happen to have an Internet connection?"
THE ENGINEER'S DICTIONARY
· MAJOR TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGH - Back to the drawing board.
· DEVELOPED AFTER YEARS OF INTENSIVE RESEARCH - It was discovered by accident.
· PROJECT SLIGHTLY BEHIND ORIGINAL SCHEDULE DUE TO UNFORSEEN DIFFICULTIES - We are working on something else.
· THE DESIGNS ARE WELL WITHIN ALLOWABLE LIMITS - We just made it, stretching a point or two.
· CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS BELIEVED ASSURED - We are so far behind schedule that the customer was happy to get anything at all from us.
· CLOSE PROJECT COORDINATION - We should have asked someone else; or, let's spread the responsibility for this.
· THE DESIGN WILL BE FINALIZED IN THE NEXT REPORTING PERIOD - We haven't started this job yet, but we've got to say something.
· A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT APPROACHES ARE BEING TRIED - We don't know where we're going, but we're moving.
· TEST RESULTS WERE EXTREMELY GRATIFYING - It works, and are we surprised!
· EXTENSIVE EFFORT IS BEING APPLIED ON A FRESH APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM - We just hired three new guys; we'll let them kick it around for a while.
· PRELIMINARY OPERATIONAL TESTS ARE INCONCLUSIVE - The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.
· THE ENTIRE CONCEPT WILL HAVE TO BE ABANDONED - The only guy who understood the thing quit.
· MODIFICATIONS ARE UNDERWAY TO CORRECT CERTAIN MINOR DIFFICULTIES - We threw the whole thing out and are starting from scratch.
On the train to a math and engineering convention, a group of math majors and a group of engineering majors sat in the same car. Each of the math majors had his/her train ticket, but it became clear that the group of
engineers had only ONE ticket amongst them. The math majors started laughing and snickering.
When one of the engineers said "Here comes the conductor", all of the engineers went into the bathroom. The math majors were puzzled. The conductor came aboard, said "tickets please" and collected tickets from all
the math majors. He then went to the bathroom, knocked on the door and said "ticket please" and the engineers stuck the ticket under the door. The conductor took it and left, and the engineers came out of the bathroom a few
minutes later. The math majors felt really stupid.
So, on the way back from the convention, the group of math majors had one ticket for the group. They started snickering at the engineers, for this time the whole group had NO tickets amongst them.
When the engineer lookout said "Conductor coming!", all the engineers went to one bathroom. All the math majors went to another bathroom. Just before the conductor came on board, one of the engineers left the bathroom, knocked on the other bathroom, and said "ticket please."
A mechanical engineer, an electrical eng.,and a civil eng. were discussing God's profession. The ME said He must have been an ME because look at how the human body is constructed with all the intricate bones and muscles. The EE said He must have been an EE because look at the electrical impulses of the nervous system. The CE said God surly must have been a CE because only a CE would put a sewage system through a recreational area.
A software engineer, hardware engineer and departmental manager were on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes failed. The car careened out of control, bouncing off guard rails until it miraculously ground to a scraping halt along the mountainside. The occupants of the car were unhurt, but they had a problem. They were stuck halfway down the mountain in a car with no brakes.
"I know" said the manager. " Let's have a meeting, propose a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and through a process of Continuous Improvement, find a solution to the critical problems and
we'll be on our way."
"No," said the hardware engineer. "I've got my Swiss army knife with me. I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we'll be on our way."
"Wait," said the software engineer. "Before we do anything, shouldn't we push the car back to the top of the mountain and see if it happens again?"
A Programmer and an Engineer were sitting next to each other on an airplane. The Programmer leans over to the Engineer and asks if he wants to play a fun game. The Engineer just wants to sleep so he politely declines, turns away and tries to sleep. The Programmer persists and explains that it's a real easy game. He explains," I ask a question and if you don't know the answer you pay me $5. Then you ask a question and if I don't know the answer I'll pay you $5." Again the Engineer politely declines and tries to sleep.
The Programmer, now somewhat agitated, says, "O.K., if you don't know the answer you pay me $5 and if I don't know the answer I pay you $50!" Now, that got the Engineer's attention, so he agrees to the game. The Programmer asks the first question, "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?" Then Engineer doesn't say a word and just hands the Programmer $5.
Now, its the Engineer's turn. He asks the Programmer,"What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down on four?" The Programmer looks at him with a puzzled look, takes out his laptop computer, looks through
all his references and after about an hour wakes the Engineer and hands the Engineer $50. The Engineer politely takes the $50 turns away and tries to return to sleep.
The Programmer, a little miffed, asks, "Well what's the answer to the question?" Without a word, the Engineer reaches into his wallet, hands $5 to the Programmer, turns away and returns to sleep.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"
One advisor, an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" The engineer replied, "Using a four-bit microcontroller, I would write a simple program that reads the darkness knob and quantizes its position to one of 16 shades of darkness, from snow white to coal black. The program would use that darkness level as the index to a 16-element table of initial timer values. Then it would turn on the heating elements and start the timer with the initial value selected from the table. At the end of the time delay, it would turn off the heat and pop up the toast. Come back next week, and I'll show you a working prototype."
The second advisor, a computer scientist, immediately recognized the danger of such short-sighted thinking. He said, "Toasters don't just turn bread into toast, they are also used to warm frozen waffles. What you see before you is really a breakfast food cooker. As the subjects of your kingdom become more sophisticated, they will demand more capabilities. They will need a breakfast food cooker that can also cook sausage, fry bacon, and make scrambled eggs. A toaster that only makes toast will soon be obsolete. If we don't look to the future, we will have to completely redesign the toaster in just a few years."
"With this in mind, we can formulate a more intelligent solution to the problem. First, create a class of breakfast foods. Specialize this class into subclasses: grains, pork, and poultry. The specialization process should be repeated with grains divided into toast, muffins, pancakes, and waffles; pork divided into sausage, links, and bacon; and poultry divided into scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs, and various
"The ham and cheese omelet class is worth special attention because it must inherit characteristics from the pork, dairy, and poultry classes. Thus, we see that the problem cannot be properly solved without multiple inheritance. At run time, the program must create the proper object and send a message to the object that says, 'Cook yourself.' The semantics of this message depend, of course, on the kind of object, so they have a different meaning to a piece of toast than to scrambled eggs."
"Reviewing the process so far, we see that the analysis phase has revealed that the primary requirement is to cook any kind of breakfast food. In the design phase, we have discovered some derived requirements. Specifically, we need an object-oriented language with multiple inheritance. Of course, users don't want the eggs to get cold while the bacon is frying, so concurrent processing is required, too."
"We must not forget the user interface. The lever that lowers the food lacks versatility, and the darkness knob is confusing. Users won't buy the product unless it has a user-friendly, graphical interface. When the
breakfast cooker is plugged in, users should see a cowboy boot on the screen. Users click on it, and the message 'Booting UNIX v. 8.3' appears on the screen. (UNIX 8.3 should be out by the time the product gets to the market.) Users can pull down a menu and click on the foods they want to cook."
"Having made the wise decision of specifying the software first in the design phase, all that remains is to pick an adequate hardware platform for the implementation phase. An Intel 80386 with 8MB of memory, a 30MB hard disk, and a VGA monitor should be sufficient. If you select a multitasking, object oriented language that supports multiple inheritance and has a built-in GUI, writing the program will be a snap. (Imagine the difficulty we would have had if we had foolishly allowed a hardware-first design strategy to lock us into a four-bit microcontroller!)."
The king wisely had the computer scientist beheaded, and they all lived happily ever after.
A physicist, an engineer and a mathematician were all in a hotel sleeping when a fire broke out in their respective rooms. The physicist woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk, pulled out his CRC, and began working out all sorts of fluid dynamics equations. After a couple minutes, he threw down his pencil, got a graduated cylinder out of his suitcase, and measured out a precise amount of water. He threw it on the fire, extinguishing it, with not a drop wasted, and went back to sleep. The engineer woke up, saw the fire, ran into the bathroom, turned on the faucets full-blast, flooding out the entire apartment, which put out the fire, and went back to sleep. The mathematician woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk, began working through theorems, lemmas, hypotheses , you-name-it, and after a few minutes, put down his pencil triumphantly and exclaimed, "I have *proven* that I *can* put the fire out!" He then went back to sleep.
When considering the behavior of a howitzer: A mathematician will be able to calculate where the shell will land. A physicist will be able to explain how the shell gets there. An engineer will stand there and try to catch it.
People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like other people. This can be frustrating to the nontechnical people who have to deal with them. The secret to coping with technology-oriented people is to understand their motivations. This chapter will teach you everything you need to know. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.
Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. The word "engineer" is greatly overused. If there's somebody in your life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this test to discern the truth.
ENGINEER IDENTIFICATION TEST;
You walk into a room and notice that a picture is hanging crooked.
A. Straighten it.
B. Ignore it.
C. Buy a CAD system and spend the next six months designing a solar-powered, self-adjusting picture frame while often stating aloud your belief that the inventor of the nail was a total moron.
The correct answer is "C" but partial credit can be given to anybody who writes "It depends" in the margin of the test or simply blames the whole stupid thing on "Marketing."
Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction.
"Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:
*Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
*Important social contacts
*A feeling of connectedness with other humans
In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:
*Get it over with as soon as possible.
*Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
*Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.
FASCINATION WITH GADGETS
To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories: (1)things that need to be fixed, and (2)things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them. Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.
No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.
FASHION AND APPEARANCE
Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.
LOVE OF "STAR TREK"
Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having sex with aliens. This is much more glamorous than the real life of an engineer, which consists of hiding from the universe and having sex without the participation of other life forms.
DATING AND SOCIAL LIFE
Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function.
Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that many normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing their virginity.
Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually irresistible men in technical professions:
* Bill Gates.
Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a warm day.
Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth.
Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below.
"I won't change anything without asking you first."
"I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
"I have to have new equipment to do my job."
"I'm not jealous of your new computer."
Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"
POWERS OF CONCENTRATION
If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be pronounced
dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she snaps out of it.
Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.
EXAMPLES OF BAD PRESS FOR ENGINEERS
* Space Shuttle Challenger.
* Hubble space telescope.
* Apollo 13.
* Ford Pinto.
The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:
RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.
REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.
Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain.
If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much."
Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
* How smart they are.
* How many cool devices they own.
The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it's solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to
get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal -- a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature.
Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem. (Other times just because they forgot.) And when they succeed in solving the problem they will experience an ego rush that is better than
sex--and I'm including the kind of sex where other people are involved.
Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use that knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer. When an engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned to glance at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve difficult technical problems."
At that point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand between the engineer and the problem. The engineer will set upon the problem like a starved Chihuahua on a pork chop.
There are four engineers traveling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a chemical, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer.The car breaks down."Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again", says the mechanical engineer. "Well", says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system. "I thought it might be an grounding problem", says the electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead." They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say: "Well, what do you think?" "Ummm - how about if we all get out of the car and get back in again?"
Two engineering students meet on campus one day. The first engineer calls out to the other, "Hey, nice bike! Where did you get it?" "Well'" replies the other, "I was walking to class the other day when this pretty, young co-ed rides up on this bike. She jumps off, takes off all her clothes and says, "You can have ANYTHING
you want." "Good choice," says the first, "Her clothes wouldn't have fit you anyway!"
Comprehending Engineers, --Take One
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
Engineer: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!
Doctor: I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!
Pastor: Hey, here comes the greens keeper. Let's have a word with him.
[dramatic pause] Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?
George: Oh, yes, that's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.
The group was silent for a moment.
Pastor: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.
Doctor: Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them.
Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?
Comprehending Engineers -- Take Two
In the high school gym, all the girls in the class were lined up against one wall, and all the boys against the opposite wall. Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart.
A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were asked, "When will the girls and boys meet?"
The mathematician said: "Never."
The physicist said: "In an infinite amount of time."
The engineer said: "Well... in about two minutes, they'll be close enough for all practical purposes."
Comprehending Engineers -- Take Three
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired. Several years later his company contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines.
They had tried everything and everyone else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past.
The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine. At the end of the day he marked a small x in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where your problem is".
The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly again.
The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. Accounting demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.
The engineer responded briefly:
One chalk mark .. ..... ..... $1
Knowing where to put it ..... $49,999
It was paid in full and the engineer retired in peace.
Comprehending Engineers -- Take Four
The Top 10 Things Engineering School didn't teach
10. There are at least 10 types of capacitors.
9. Theory tells you how a circuit works, not why it does not work.
8. Not everything works according to the specs in the data book.
7. Anything practical you learn will be obsolete before you use it, except the complex math, which you will never use.
6. Never try to fix the hardware with software.
5. Engineering is like having an 8 a.m. class and a late afternoon lab every day for the rest of your life.
4. Overtime pay? What overtime pay?
3. Managers, not engineers, rule the world.
2. If you like junk food, caffeine and all-nighters, go into software.
1. Dilbert is a documentary.
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