But then there’s the annoying bits – fault tolerance, hardening, and such. That’s the stuff that interests me.

lol that’s awesome smile emoticon Basically what I’m doing is just through a 1 hr basics of PLC. I’m pretty sure I understand it already but I’m hoping there will be _some_ tidbit of “something” that I might be missing.

For example, already in the first few minutes, the fact that in relays there’s a slight “sweeping motion” that cleans the carbon from arcing is something I didn’t know before.

I’m trying to find the “inbetween” stuff like that. Not sure how else to describe what I’m looking for.

In short, the perfected stuff to me is easy enough: You go from drawing, to prototype to production to troubleshooting as it were. But then there’s the annoying bits – fault tolerance, hardening, and such. That’s the stuff that interests me.


Communication protocols between proprietary platforms then? I remember phone modems and hooking up to computers utilizing different text formats… Getting something useful on my PC when I hooked to an old Commadore 64 BBS was interesting to say the least.

Then i got a job at Jersey Central Power + Light for a little bit and I got to flex my modem muscles hooking into monitoring devices for oil tanks. That was fun. There was something magical knowing I was directly accessing an always-on system that had enough redundancy built into it that it just COULDN’T really be killed by ANYTHING I did to it. It let me do what it let me do and that’s ALL it let me do.


Part of why I’m going through all of this is that I’ve been researching cognitive systems from various different perspectives, finding mechanical analogies that work and ones that don’t.

I don’t really know what my “end goal” is, but I’ve noticed the more I investigate systems that I’m less familiar with, the better an overall comprehension I get.

That’s one of the things that always impresses me with engineering over pure scientific theory. Spherical cows are fine when speaking of esoteric concepts, but then you need milk and Bessie is cranky because it’s been a cloudy day…

It’s refreshing talking to someone who “thinks engineering” by the way. My field has always been more computer engineering and really, human engineering truth be told (managing people’s emotional states primarily so I can get the job done effectively, whatever it is), ,and it’s a messy job where each situation has its own unique peculiarities, even if they follow similar tendencies.


Ah – mental connection made. The problem you mention with electromagnetic coupling is functionally similar to a Race condition in programming or circuitry.

Something as simple as scheduling errors can cause this or as dramatic as chip manufacturing issues, especially in the case of overclocked video cards where a race condition can lead to melted solder.


I love Excel. even though I’ve done various types of programming, nothing beats Excel and access for all-purpose “get it done”, especially when coupled with VBA or whatever they’re using to automate them. Excel is my baby.


That was my “big thing”: when they titled me a “Systems Analyst II” it was because I went from a bored temp copying and pasting the same stupid formula over and over again, into learning VBA and Excel, asking for more work and found myself creating a whole complicated system integrating data from all sorts of messy sources into a gigantic single reporting spreadsheet that pumped out reports to thousands of reps in the field on their laptops.

They HAD to hire me because nobody could possibly understand how I did it tongue emoticon

After a few years and deciding to move to Florida, I had to train a handful of people on it, and they used it for many years after that for many other products, at least ’til 2010 that I know of, and I left the company in 2002, so I was pretty proud of myself smile emoticon


Curious question: the issue of low power relays continuing to function even when technically “off”, can you see how it might analogize to water pressure in a primed pump that’s no longer being actively “pumping” but yet still has water flow?


I keep wanting to tackle visual studio – I never cared for the interface and haven’t had a reason to as of yet, outside of hacking someone else’s stuff to make it do what I wanted… but it’s on my long list stuff I’ll try if the need arises.



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