I wish I had your discipline, Ann. I usually just dig in and refer to the instructions when I run into trouble. I think the value of each approach depends on the quality of the instructions. I recently had a clogged vacuum. When I wasn't able to locate the area of clogging, I turned to the instructions. They were of no help. So I continued a trial-and-error approach until I found and fixed the problem.
Glenn, sounds like your predecessors didn't work as carefully or methodically as you did. I'm also a fan of reading instructions before proceeding with building, installing, or troubleshooting something, or using a new machine. First, I read through the procedures at least once to make sure I have all the tools and supplies I need, and to determine where I'll be doing a repair or assembly task: a table, the floor, outside on the deck, etc.
Ann R. Thryft; Other than knowing the other techs were unsuccessful, I didn't know what testing they had done. I did have the advantage of more experience with that timer from running laboratory tests.
I also have the bad habit of reading manuals and instructions. Some technicians seem to believe 'real men don't read manuals'. The solution may be hidden in an unrelated chapter, or only inferred to, but many times the answer is in the manual. On the other hand, unless the manual is formatted to be printed, it may be useless. An on-line manual needs to be formatted so that it can be flipped through page-by-page. The example that I use of a poor manual was trying to find how to delete a chart in Excel. You can't 'delete' a chart. You can't 'erase' a chart. But if you already knew how to 'remove' a chart, you wouldn't need the manual.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
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