Category Archives: Engineering

Buggy, Design Contradictions, and TRIZ (now ARIZ)

A Tuesday session of the Project Summit / Business Analyst World conference (June 20th), featured an interesting talk by the New Jersey Department of Health’s Victoria Roza. She described methods of design and creativity coming out of a practice called … Continue reading

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The Confederation Bridge

This weekend I finally made it to my twelfth Canadian province (only Nunavut remains) when I drove across the Confederation Bridge into Prince Edward Island (see also here). The bridge is seven miles long, 40-60 meters (about 131 to 196 … Continue reading

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Order Of The Engineer

I grew up reading a bunch of popular technical magazines and always wanted to do something in that vein. Excelling in a seventh grade mechanical drawing class gave me an idea that I might become an architect but over time … Continue reading

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Solving the Right Problem

The cover of the June 2010 issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine asked the question, “Can Visionary Engineers Revive Industry in America?” Here’s the question I would ask: Did engineers break industry in America? To ask the question is to answer … Continue reading

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Artists and Technicians

A lot has been written about learning styles but there are questions about how meaningful it is and I’m not an expert anyway. I have, however, always felt that there are two opposing approaches to learning that each end where … Continue reading

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The Greatest Field Improvisation Ever

When I was working on a furnace control system in Thailand I witnessed one of the coolest feats of engineering ever. The field service guy needed to measure the flow of gasses and a manometer was nowhere to be found. … Continue reading

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How Not to Miss Things in a Discovery Process

I’ve been part of a lot of discovery efforts and have found a few ways to increase the chances of identifying all the relevant factors. I plan to discuss these only informally. Volumes of ink and electrons have been spilled … Continue reading

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Be Honest When Things Go Wrong

One of the important lessons I learned at my first engineering job was to be honest and open at all times. This was never illustrated more clearly than when a refiner disc flew apart, tore through the pressurized refiner casing, … Continue reading

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When I Knew I Was “Home”

When I was very young my family sometimes took the train from DC to New York to visit my grandparents. I still remember the swaying and rumbling of the cars and the smell of oil and a certain kind of … Continue reading

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A *LOT* of Ways to Test Software and Systems

Having developed software for systems large and small I’ve been involved with most kinds of software testing. Here are the major details from my experience. The traditional way of defining and conducting tests is shown in the V-Model, and the … Continue reading

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