Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yep, another analogy …

As I watch the news I often find myself comparing the world’s issues to my daily hustle hoping to glean some nugget of wisdom. I do this because I‘d otherwise feel like I’ve been placed on the revolving rock with a few billion morons. Not that I’m smarter than anyone else, it’s just that the news will do that to you.

Anyway… you may not know this but there is a little foreign material leaking into the ocean. People who know about this are mad. Real mad. They have mostly been mad at the company who usually makes a lot of money when that stuff doesn’t pour out into the ocean. This is just human nature; be mad at those who have screwed things up, especially if they have more money than you.

The funny thing is that lately I’ve noticed some people are aiming their scorn at the people tasked with stopping the leak. Not the people who made the mess, but the people who are trying to wipe it up. And let me tell you, that is a hard friggin mess to wipe up!!!

That brings me to CAD Administration.
The job of a CAD Administrator is to help people be more productive. Most admins I know are just that, a “servant leader” if you will. And a few (me included) are volunteers who have unofficially acquired the job because they were the only one foolish enough to take it. They don’t make anymore money than anyone else. They just have a bit more in their bucket of responsibility. Plus, most admins are tasked with improving, solving, or fixing situations that they had no hand in fouling up.

So the next time you want to be mad at your CAD administrator, first consider if they had any control over the mess before it was handed to them.

CRASH!!! BOOM!!! THUD!!! (that was me falling off my soap-box)

Well, the server came in last night and we’ll be hooking it up in a little while. This should be fun.

Serve(r) and Volley

A few weeks ago we closed the office that housed the majority of our Product Engineering and have since been in the process of moving everything to our headquarters (where I work). I have been tasked with getting all the engineering data here as quickly as possible so design work can recommence. The difficulty is that there are still a handful of engineers working out of that office who need to access that data and finish their projects. They are the last people I wanted to inconvenience as most of them are losing their jobs.
So I spent a few days trying to copy their entire Intralink server to ours over the WAN but quickly realized it would take forever. I finally convinced everyone it was best to shut their server down, FedEx it here and have the few people remaining there work over the WAN. Oh well, so much for not hassling anyone.

It’s one of those things where you’re going to get someone mad at you no matter what you do. Funny thing is that I have more people here giving me $h!+ than at the office that is being closed.
I’m quickly reminded that there will always be people who complain about anything they can get their misery aimed at (no matter how much you are helping them).

As I find myself saying more and more these days, “It is what it is”.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to tell if you're a massive, massive geek

Although it has nothing to do with design, I had to post this hilarious strip from Dave Kellett and his comic Sheldon.
The scary thing is that this actually happened to me a few weeks ago.

I'm such a geek.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Time to Celebrate the Designers

So here I am on class trip with my 10 year old daughter stuck in the back of a touring bus with a dozen sugar-intoxicated screeching girls. All I can say is "thank God for noise canceling ear-buds!!!". These things are absolutely wonderful.

As the FooFighters drowned out the cackling it got me thinking about the wonderful things in my life, and that someone designed them all. iPods, guitars, fishing reels and gas-grills. Someone like me sat through brainstorming sessions, made CAD models, and worked the tolerance stack-ups the same way I do every day.

It made me proud to do what i do.

It also jumpstarted my imagination. I started to think, "Us Designers need to be honored properly". And what higher form of honor is there than a Bud Light "Real American Heroes" commercial?

So here you go:

Bud Light presents, Real American Heroes.
(Real American Heroes)

Today we salute you Mr. 3-D CAD Designer Guy.
(Mr. 3-D CAD Designer Guy)

Never before has being an uber geek been so cool.
Just you, your computer, and 12 cups of bad office coffee.
(Man, I have to pee)

Sure, most guys dream of spending a day with a model, but you're paid to do it every single day.
(Way cooler than the accountants)

You check them out. You measure their curves. You even get to spin them around.
(ctrl / middle mouse button)

So crack open a Bud Lite oh Master of the Mouse and we'll keep wishing we were as cool as you think you are.
(Mr. 3-D CAD Designer)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"System Maintenance"

I've been working on a large data exchange with our Intralink server and was apparently a little over zealous with my purging. As a result I had send out the following message to our CAD users...

"Please do not save to the Intralink database for the rest of the day. I have to perform system maintenance that will take approximately 8 hours. You can still work locally. Just do not check-in as you will lose your work."

Ahhh the old "system maintenance" message.

system maintenance (sis•tem m├óne•ten•ens) -
The reason a System Administrator gives for having to restart the server after he has messed something up.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hydrogen and Stupidity

For those of you who saw the title and clicked here for pictures of the Hindenburg disaster; Here is your gratuitous image.

Now, please move along...

Here is my original post for anyone who cares to stick around:

I work for a company that makes hydrogen fuel cell products.

You may have noticed that hydrogen has become an intriguing story over the last decade. In the days following 9/11 world leaders were talking about a new energy economy based on the most abundant element in out universe. This new infrastructure was supposed to create new jobs and break our dependence on foreign oil. Hydrogen vehicles were discussed as a solution to our inefficient and environmentally filthy combustion engines. All in all it seemed like a great idea until everyone started to realize how difficult hydrogen is to get in its pure form.

Well, I was doing a little web-based research (regenersurfing) and came across this quote from the late-great Frank Zappa…

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
Frank Zappa

Now if we could only find a way to harness the world’s stupidity and put it to good use. Also, something tells me it would much easier to find stupidity in its purest form.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


One of the things I forgot to mention while at the PTC/User World Event is that I did the User Experience evaluation of Wildfire 6.0.

I usually avoid doing these one-on-one evaluations because I feel like a complete jackass fumbling through the simple steps I'm given. But I couldn't resist the allure of poking at the next version, so I took it for a spin and all I can say is, "Wow!!!"

Everything looks different. And I mean that in a good way.

The ribbon UI is now predominant in all command menus (not just detailing). This is a plus for me as I'm a big fan of the ribbon. Tasks are very logically organized making part and assembly creation a breeze. I was amazed at how intuitive it felt. It honestly seemed easier to find commands in WF6 than in the version I'm familiar with (WF3). Needless to say, that "jackass" feeling never showed up.

A few days ago I was drooling at the idea of jumping from WF3 to WF5 (have I mentioned WF5 frigging rocks?). Now I'm lustfully awaiting the release of 6.0

The only problem with witnessing the future is the present suddenly feels bland and uninspiring. Oh well, my inner-geek now has something to dream about.

Thanks to my new friend Amir for letting me kick the tires. Keep in touch.