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Playing games with resonant frequency

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Chuck.Hill
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
Chuck.Hill   10/13/2010 3:20:03 AM
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Thanks to all for your comments. I know everyone in the industry has had a similar experience. For me, what I took away from the experience was a bit of humility. No matter how smart we think we are, we cannot think of everything. And even if we could, there would still be things that are beyond comprehension. Accepting that makes this job a lot less stressful.

ReneCardenas
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
ReneCardenas   10/11/2010 4:22:41 PM
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Check, I enjoyed your article and had a good laugh, since I can relate from several past experiences. The lesson that I have taken away, is that when testing scenarios are conceived in the vaccum, the product suffers in the long run since eventually the permutation of unrelated events will be present at key customers. There are numerous cases of products that did not received the benefit from "Midas touch/heavy thumbs" and end up with massive recalls.

docdivakar
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
docdivakar   10/7/2010 10:55:07 PM
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Chuck, hello from a fellow ASU graduate... liked your article. I also agree with @ylshih, engineers hold their designs too close to their chest and miss many things. A "break" tester is an invaluable resource to bring a dose of reality to the engineering teams. They are your last line of defense before you release your product for beta testing at a client site! Dr. MP Divakar

kalpak
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
kalpak   10/6/2010 6:23:01 AM
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This is known as "member of upper management syndrome". It is as important as other QC test.

Robert.Reavis
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
Robert.Reavis   10/4/2010 8:48:06 PM
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Years ago I saw a classified ad in "The Peninsula Times Tribune" from some company near Palo Alto, they were advertising for a Test Engineer, Someone Who Is Good At Breaking Things. I should have applied, I can break anything.

Duane Benson
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
Duane Benson   10/4/2010 4:08:33 PM
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"gift for mayhem" I used to be one of those people. Sometimes it was a blessing. Sometimes a curse. I used to joke that I had "The Midas Touch"; everything I touched turned into a muffler. If there was one user's manual printed wrong, that's the first one I'd pick. If there was one key combination that would make a system freeze, I'd inadvertently make that combination. Unfortunately, the problem extended beyond the work environment where it was welcomed. In variably, if I had to buy a car part, I'd have to take the first one back. Buy an alternator, take it back due to a defect. Etc. And I also just seemed to have a propensity to do weird things. While doing some testing at a very early OCR scanner company, I, for some unknown reason, decided to scan my neck tie. Doing so caused the software to crash and take the whole computer down with it. I received a lot of ridicule for scanning my tie until one of the software engineers took a closer look and discovered that the problem I uncovered with my tie was actually pretty common in end-customer use but had been very difficult to predictably reproduce until the neck tie incident. People with that "talent" are very valuable on the development and test team, but can be very frustrating as customers.

selinz
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
selinz   10/1/2010 6:50:21 PM
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This illustrates why the reliability and test lab guys like to make things fail (cumulative failure plots) while the marketing managers only want to see success FOMs(ie., no fails to X cycles).

ylshih
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
ylshih   10/1/2010 4:11:45 AM
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There are those with heavy thumbs that are just good at breaking things and those who are inspired at conceiving of failure cases. You want to recruit these folks for private testing before a big show-and-tell if you can. I learned long ago that having the project engineers being the sole source of failure scenarios guaranteed that there were many that would be missed; the project engineers don't always have the natural talent and they're certainly too close to the design.

Salio
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
Salio   10/1/2010 3:40:00 AM
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Chuck unfortunately there are people like that everywhere. The best we can do is design, test, test, retest, and retest before the big day. Unfortunatley, sometimes testing and the best design possible is not even good enough. But on the other end you have to give kudos to folks who can do things like that to one's system. I think it is kind of intriguing because for a person like me it would just make me think completely outside the box and look at system design from an outsider's view because the testing would be random and completely unorthodox.

tb1
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re: Playing games with resonant frequency
tb1   10/1/2010 1:33:01 AM
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I once wrote this simple menu interface software for this graphics compression hardware that we were going to show the customer. I asked an experienced engineer to test out my menus. She walked over to the keyboard and started banging on it, hitting as many random keys as fast as she could. After a few seconds of this, the program crashed. She said "I'm done with my testing," as she walked out of the room.

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