Charles – you just brought back an old treasured memory. I got up at the crack of dawn and paid $75.00 at the first Saturday sidewalk sale in Dallas (when it was still under the bridge) for a 286 motherboard when they first came out – a fortune to a poor student like me at the time. Those were the good old days when not everything was integrated on one board and we would build our own computers and adding the serial and parallel ports we wanted and if the video card was blown we just replaced the card and not the board...it was always important to see how many slots were available for adding cool stuff. Windows were still just to look through back then...took me years to get over DOS – hard to get over your first love ;)
Well, I wasn't going to mention it but now that I see Armageddon in the mix, I loved Space Cowboys. A great cast, Clint Eastwood plays a retired engineer that is the only one who can repair an archaic computer onboard a Soviet satellite (hey, what is American technology doing onboard a Soviet satellite – the plot thickens...) along with Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner, all retired test pilots that train to go on the shuttle as part of a deal Clint makes with his old nemesis at NASA. A comedy drama with a few sub plots that add interest, it may not get very technical but it is an enjoyable watch.
Yes that is amazing. I would assume there was mainframe help in the Houston facility. Technology has advanced incredibly since the 1960s, Even so, our most impressive technological feat -- getting to the moon -- occurred with technology that looks relatively primitive now.
Rob: What's equally amazing about the 1960s space missions was the incredible lack of computing power. In retrospect, it's amazing to think that the engineering teams back then would have been ecstatic to have 286-level computing capability on board.
You're right, Chuck. The whole point of that movie was the engineering problem and solution. What I found fascinating about Apollo 13 was the bubble gum and scotch tape aspects to the original engineering as well as the solution. By today's standards, the early spacecrafts were made out of household items.
Rob: Everyone has their favorite engineering movies, but I agree with you about Apollo 13. That movie is one of the rare few that actually IS about engineering. And it shows the engineers as the heroes.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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