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Comment: Re:Consulting (Score 1) 203 203

I agree with what you said. I always try and do my best for my current employer as well. Someone else in the thread said, your stuff should be documented as part of your job. When you get to the point of leaving, you should not be starting the documentation, just have to be organizing it for the next guy. Maybe a nice book that says where everything is so the next guy can find it.

If it is more then that, you have missed the boat already and your predecessor will be cursing you to for the next 2 years, so you burnt that bridge to the ground!

On a different level, since when is important technical documentation solely stored on the company email server anyway?

Comment: Re:If "yes," then it's not self-driving (Score 2) 362 362

You wrote, "Detecting a malfunction in a sensor is hard, really hard."

Actually is is quite simple to do. If you get anything more then the cheapest of sensors, they continually diagnose themselves and report back the diagnosis. There are failures that cause the sensor to freeze up and stop reporting. If it keeps sending the same data, easy to detect the value stopped changing. If it stops sending any data at all, easy to see a step change that should not have occurred and you also do a redundant sensors and do 2 out of 3 voting. I could continue with scenarios, but while it takes some work, some program and some costs, detecting a malfunctioning sensors is easy. Cars currently report malfunctioning sensors, most of them with a check engine light.

Not sure of your background, but I am a Controls Engineer. I do this for a living. I am sitting at a plant where I have over 20,000 sensors of various kinds and detecting the fact that a sensor failed is quite easy to automatically detect and alert the operator of failure.

Comment: Re:Visible from Earth? (Score 1) 126 126

We have satellites in orbit that are visible with the naked eye. The tend to be about the size of a school bus or smaller. School bus is 45 feet long. If you can see a 45 foot satellite as a point of light in the sky, this proposed telescope will be half mile diameter which is 58 times the length of a school bus.

Yes, I do believe this thing would be visible with the naked eye.

Comment: Re:its a tough subject (Score 1) 673 673

You wrote, "people should have a right to not be vaccinated - but they do not have a right to be free from the consequences"

Consequence of you not getting vaccinated because you choose not to is someone else can get sick and possibly die. I would think there is an argument to be made that if you choose not to get vaccinated and then get me sick that you are now responsible for my getting sick. Maybe you should have to pay for my lost work time, my suffering, medical bills and if a death results, then you are responsible to my family for my death.

The exclusion here being people who can't get vaccinated for medical reasons like being allergic to the vaccination. Those few individuals are gaining the benefit of the herd immunity and are put at the most risk by people refusing to vaccinate.

If I knowingly put someone at risk through my negligence, I am criminally liable. Isn't there a case to be made to say that not vaccinating and then participating in society, especially in a big way like working at Disneyland, means you are knowingly putting all of those people at risk? I wonder if some of the people who got sick because of the un-vaccinated workers will sure Disneyland or those workers. I think there may be a case for this...and IANAL, I just play one on web forums.

Comment: Re:Free? (Score 1) 703 703

You wrote, "In >>99% of all cases, a 2-year degree from a community college does not knock off anywhere near 2 years from a 4-year bachelor's degree. Generally that 2-year degree knocks off one year and maybe a couple miscellaneous lib-ed requirements."

You and everyone you know are doing it wrong if that is the case. I went to a community college for 2 years and then transferred to a university that has always been one of the top 10 engineering schools in the USA (leave out which one so we don't start a university flame war) and 2 years later left with my Bachelor's in Chemical engineering. My sample size of people I went to class with that did the exact same thing is 10, so that means 100% of the 11 people I knew from school that did community college and did 2 years there and then 2 years a the University did it in 4 years total.

In order to do this, you have to pay attention to the community college, make sure the courses you take the credits will transfer (100% of my CC credits transferred) and then work hard at it. Many student with the same degree as I have from the same school who went there for all of their credits didn't get their degree in 4 years. Many took an extra semester and a few took an extra year.

It is completely possible to get a STEM degree in 4 years and going to a CC first only makes it harder on you if you don't pay attention and research it out BEFORE you choose your CC to ensure you can make it in 4.

Comment: Re:Read Slashdot (Score 3, Interesting) 479 479

What sabri says is so true about the way you answer questions. I have recently been involved in trying to hire a controls engineer and one of the more important things I do is look for someone to say I don't know. I introduce myself at the start of a phone interview and let people know I am a controls engineer and I work on our systems, i.e. I am a technical person, not an HR person who has a list of questions.

Then the interview starts. Every few questions, I hit the candidate with a very technical question. I have a list of about 40 questions that I doubt tere are many people who would know all of the answers off the top of their head. Usually something very specific to our system. I expect the person to not be able to answer the question unless they have very strong experience with the same kind of system as we have. The answer I am looking for is something like:

I haven't worked on that, but I am confident that I could learn how that works.
or
It has been a long time since working on that. I remember this *insert simple, short explanation*, but know that if I looked it up in this reference text or googled it, it would come back to me.

That would usually lead to a follow up question about something that they learned about to reinforce that they feel they could learn it.

I had several candidates attempt to make up an answer and snow me. A few follow up questions and they usually figure out I know about it and they can't snow me. Usually it is too late though. I will give them a couple of chances with very difficult questions like this, but if they don't figure it out quickly and figure out the be honest piece, no chance I want to hire them.

If they have an advanced degree and apply for the jobs I am looking to fill, they don't even get interviewed because I know we won't be able to meet their salary and/or they will look to leave too quickly and I am looking for longer term candidates. I don't want to hire and train every 2-3 years.

Comment: Re:Welcome to the Information Age! (Score 2) 144 144

I agree with you. I am a Controls Engineer. Until recently, my controls security was decades behind. Fortunately, Stuxnet happened, our CEO noticed the news stories and started asking questions and took an interest. A small group of controls engineers and an IT person who also did the controls network at the small plants he supports made a team, did research, made recommendations and were given money to start securing our network properly.

We need to start realizing security through obscurity is no security at all and make the changes starting with the vendors all the way through the end users.

A huge problem I have experienced is actually a lack of understanding of security and networking on the part of controls engineers, and a lack of understanding of controls systems by IT staff. I think this is actually one of the biggest problems that creates the security problems. Every place I have worked at or in (did a stint as a contract CE and went many places) there is a stand off between controls and IT. Controls knows what we need to do to make our system work and IT tries to tell us how we have to do things and they don't realize that it is not the same as a buisness network because it will shut the plant down to do some things they would like us to. CEs don't understand enough to secure the networks themselves so we do the best we can and keep IT away from our stuff and muddle through.

We need education on both sides so controls people know what they need to do and IT people who understand the differences between business networks and controls networks. Unfortunately, of all the IT professionals I have worked with, only 2 have understand the controls world enough, or been willing to even listen) to help so we just shut them out. I would much rather work with IT and not have to learn all of this security stuff myself when we have IT professionals who know the security. Granted, they probably don't want to learn about my world the same way I would rather not have to learn theirs, so we are right back at the stand off.

Comment: Controls Engineering (Score 1) 158 158

I am a Controls Department Manager. Controls Engineering is that discipline that programs the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Distributed Controls Systems (DCS) that talk to all of the instrumentation in an industrial plants.

Our Operator Interfaces are typically Windows boxes, or vendor specific OS and are tied to a LAN so they can talk to the controls systems. In addition, we are starting to get more and more I/O that is Ethernet I/O (plug in an e-net cable and talk to it that way).

Add to the fact that IT departments at many companies don't get the difference between a business network environment and controls environment and many controls engineers have to learn enough IT to maintain their own network and hardware. At the 3 companies I have worked at in the past 14 years, each company I found few IT personnel who understood what I do enough to help and many more that wanted to do things on my network that would simply just shut down the production lines so I just learn to do it myself with help of those few that understand the production needs.

Comment: Re:Well Duh! (Score 1) 174 174

I was going to say pretty much the same thing. This article isn't really a slam on environmental, or an attack of nuclear, this appears to me to be EXACTLY what you wrote. Purchasing decided to make a change to what was being purchased and didn't understand the reason why something was spec'd as such.

I get regular calls from purchasing because they found something cheaper that they think will work perfectly well as a replacement for part X. Every time we go through the exercise, we find 1 of 3 things:

1) The item they found is cheaper for a reason. Purchasing missed that part of the spec calls for something for a reason they they have no clue what it even means so they do not realize the cheaper thing does not meet the spec.
2) They didn't even bother to look at the spec, just figured it would work the same.
3) they don't realize that changing to have 1 or 2 of these of a different brand while it will save a few thousand dollars, will deviate from plant standard and will end up costing us 10x+ the savings of the purchase because we do not have spare parts or training on how to fix this one.

*Rant Ended*

Comment: Re:Specialized Pieces (Score 1) 355 355

I hear your first comment ALL of the time and even seen it published in a newspaper....not so much about the mindstorm.

Every time someone says this, I always want to say, you obviously don't have kids do you? I have 4 ages 10-13 and they get all the sets with all of the specialized pieces. Aside from my one son's Darth Vader Tie fighter set that stayed together for about 3 years before getting broken down, every other set they have with all of the crazy fancy specialized pieces are broken down in several bins or in their current work of Lego.

Specialized pieces did not destroy kids imaginations or hamper their ability to build in the slightest. They work just as well getting put into something else that has nothing else to do with it what they were designed for. My daughter has a whole made up factory with employees, break room, work area, specialized pieces from 3 or 4 different types of legos sets all over the place, none of the sets were originally a factory or lego town set. That factory has grown and changed several ways and lasted for a year.

Comment: Re:To be fair... (Score 0) 653 653

I agree they look like a Fluke. I saw the picture and thought it was a Fluke until I looked closer.

One of the commentators on the story brought up the fact that this meter looks enough like a fluke, but it not rated for the same power as a Fluke. I know I grab my Fluke, I am good up to a voltage way above the 120 or 220 I might use it on. That thing would probably burst into flames if used. So if that ends up on a workbench next to a good Fluke, gets used, blows up, then Fluke is blamed. I guess I can see why they would want to protect their image here.

The story statement of the yellow color being trademarked though makes me think of the apple rounded corners things, which I don't agree with. Not sure where to fall on this...so conflicted!!!

Comment: Re:Call me paranoid... (Score 1) 305 305

1) Wait until USB updates for cars are the norm
2) Send USBs that infect the cars with viruses and then they will crash at predetermined time
3) Send blackmail notices that arrive when a certain number of cars throw themselves off the highway at high speed actives
4) Profit

Or

1) Wait until USB updates for cars are the norm
2) Put USB sticks in mail to rich people who's cars you want to boost
3) Wait until they plug it in and have the car unlock itself and then start up at a time you want to boost it, like when they are at the office and you are waiting outside
4) Profit

Or just go tin foil hat and realize that terrorist can follow this and program all cars when the get over 70 miles an hour to accelerate and then cut the wheel all the way to cause mass destruction. How many people would see it and plug it in not realizing they just infected their car OS with a killer bug.

Cars need to not be hackable and the more we connect them, the more hackable they become. USB isn't as bad as connecting them, but it is trusting that granny or Joe blow will know, "This USB looks like a fake" and not plug it in. We can't convince them not to open email attachments from people they don't know, how will we stop this.

Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself.

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