Why not Pittsburgh?

So there’s this.

Alcoa is one of the entities supporting this, but there’s no mention of Pittsburgh. They’re opening a TechShop in Pittsburgh, and you’ve got places like Pitt and CMU nearby that are working on pretty high tech stuff.

So…..why no Pittsburgh?

Toothy the Timer

Here’s Toothy the Timer, a little project I made to help my kids brush their teeth for the right amount of time. I originally made a through hole version, but I wanted to make an SMD version to help me practice surface mount soldering.


Do Engineers Do Engineering Anymore?

I have two personally designed, qualitative indicators that I use to judge the health of the economy: the fast food service quality indicator (FFSQI) and the recruiter inapplicability indicator (RII).

The FFSQI is basically my experience getting fast food. When the economy is good or improving, the quality indicator drops. One wonders how some of the people providing the service manage to get, much less keep, their jobs. The worse the general experience at fast food places, the better the economy is because they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of available labor.

The RII comes from calls/emails that I get from recruiters. It’s not just the number but also the nature of the jobs. If a recruiter calls me with a position for which I am in no way qualified (or only minimally qualified), the indicator goes up. The higher this indicator, the better the economy because recruiters are having a hard time finding candidates.

This indicator, however, has recently made me wonder if engineers actually do any engineering anymore. By “engineering”, I mean applying mathematics and physical laws to solve problems or generate new products or processes. Note that under this definition, software engineering is not quite engineering. My apologies to any such engineers, but I’m focusing on “traditional” engineering.

Continue reading “Do Engineers Do Engineering Anymore?”

Who is this guy?

So I went to the Steelers-Eagles preseason game last night with my dad. During a TV commercial timeout right before half time, they showed this guy on the big screen:

He was getting ready to do a half time report.

Almost everyone in the stadium started clapping. Except the young woman next to me. She asked me, “Do you know who that is?”

I almost chuckled at first, as if she was trying to be funny. She wasn’t. I said, “Are you serious?” She was. I looked at my dad; we both looked at her; the guy in front of her turned around and looked at her.

“It’s Terry Bradshaw,” I said.

“Oh,” she replied and paused. “Who is he?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. She wasn’t. “Am I on Candid Camera?” I asked around. “I’m waiting for Allen Funt to come out here.” She kept waiting for an answer.

“He led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories in the 70s,” I explained.

I later apologized to her and told her I didn’t mean to offend her. I explained that if I happened to go to a Penguins game and people cheered for some old guy, I’d probably wonder who it was. I’m not a hockey fan.

But I know who Mario is.

Odd Repair

In case you ever damage one of those foam fingers that people use at sporting events, RTV silicone adhesive makes a great repair. Very strong and quick.