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Slideshow: Engineering the Silver Screen

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a.saji
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Silver
Re: Testing is only interesting to engineers.
a.saji   2/28/2014 2:44:37 AM
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@Charles: I think itís a risk since then you will not figure out the mistakes. When you get the feeling that everything works perfectly at the very 1st sitting then the risk is really high 

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Testing is only interesting to engineers.
William K.   2/27/2014 8:58:38 PM
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Charles, that things work right the first time were not the bosses goals, they were his demands. It was really flattering to find that they believed that it could happen, and the good news is that we usually did get things right the first time. But on occasions it was only right the first time the boss saw it. 

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Testing is only interesting to engineers.
William K.   2/27/2014 8:52:08 PM
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Charles, we did have an excellent track record of our machines being just what the customer needed, so  you could be very at ease purchasing one of our test systems. Of course, when you sell equipment to the auto companies and the army they do come to the progress meetings and they do help to avoid errors in the specification. One big portion of getting it right was always the sales letter, which mine always described exactly what the equipment would do for the customer. The big advantage of designing custom equipment is having somebody tell you just exactly what it is that they need to achieve, and how fast and accurate the machine needs to be. So having clearly defined performance targets makes designing a system much simpler. NOT EASIER, but simpler. And on occasions I would have to tell them that what they asked for would not work, and then suggest an alternative that we could certify would deliver what they needed. I did make us a few friends that way, since it saved them from wasting both money and time. When you can make your customers engineers look good to their bosses you have made a friend indeed. A great way to get more business.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Testing is only interesting to engineers.
Charles Murray   2/27/2014 8:03:43 PM
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Your former boss's goal of having everything work right the first time is a worthy idea, William_K. That said, I'd be skeptical about buying any products from him.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: engineers in movies
Charles Murray   2/27/2014 8:02:05 PM
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Believe it or not, many movie scripts are available online, William K. In my limited experience in looking at them, I've been surprised how little detail is actually called out in the initial script.

William K.
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Platinum
Testing is only interesting to engineers.
William K.   2/22/2014 4:20:07 PM
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The movies seldom show engineers doing tsting because the assumption is that everything works the first time. That is probably why a lot of people think that engineering is not such a big deal. And of course one does get "a bit spoiled" when things do work right the first time. But I did have a boss who explained to me that it was expected that every design would work right the first time, that was why I was there. It was certainly flattering but also it did add to the pressure quite a bit, knowing what the expectations were.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: engineers in movies
William K.   2/22/2014 4:14:33 PM
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Actually, I have been wondering how close a screenplay is to the very detailed functional specification of a human interface controls program. That is, the specification that describes each screen, what the choices are, and what the program does, for each step of operation. That may be a liitle like the description of what each scene should look like, and what happens as each line is said. Or possibly not.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Brainstorm
Charles Murray   2/21/2014 3:47:08 PM
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You're right, BrainiacV, testing isn't a suject that gets shown in the movies. No Highway in the Sky with James Stewart includes testing as kind of a sub-text, but even in that movie, you don't see much actual test.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: engineers in movies
Charles Murray   2/21/2014 3:44:47 PM
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I'm with you on that, William K. I've never written a movie script, but I'd bet money that I wouldn't be good at it.

BrainiacV
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Platinum
Re: Brainstorm
BrainiacV   2/18/2014 4:33:43 PM
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Design iterations were what I loved about the first Iron Man movie.  That, and that things didn't always work first time :-)

They even bothered to have a scene where they were testing the leg mechanism in the cave.

How many movies bother to show testing and failures? They usually make it seem like everything works first time, every time.

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