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Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks

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vjl
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vjl   6/23/2011 6:29:59 PM
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Wonder how do these guys get something done in time?

pittfkk
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pittfkk   6/24/2011 7:28:13 PM
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1 saves
any engineer would know

Sheetal.Pandey
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Sheetal.Pandey   6/27/2011 1:23:47 AM
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agreed! some one told me earlier an engineer is never comfortable in formal attire, they love their jeans and T shirts. the more their tables are messy the more they are involved in their design..

wilber_xbox
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wilber_xbox   6/28/2011 1:41:34 PM
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maybe clean desk would discourage them to disturb the peace and order.

yalanand
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yalanand   1/13/2013 5:04:12 AM
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@wilbex_xbox, yes clean desk gives the feeling that they are not working on the design.

zeeglen
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zeeglen   6/27/2011 11:19:59 PM
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Because they know exactly where everything is (in the place where they last put it) as long as no one comes along and tidies up for them. Or makes them tidy up themselves; once the original where-it's-located connection is broken by tidiness, items will be so well organized they will never be located again.

sixscrews
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sixscrews   12/12/2011 10:47:08 PM
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They don't

mosspp
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mosspp   12/16/2011 8:06:07 PM
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And on what do you base this pretentious conclusion?

yalanand
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yalanand   1/13/2013 5:03:31 AM
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@vjl, they are programmed to work like that. If the desk is clean and not messy then I guess they feel soemthing is not quite right :).

fnordfnordfnord
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fnordfnordfnord   6/23/2011 7:19:14 PM
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It would make a pretty good thump, but there's no way that scope could cause an earthquake.

john666
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john666   6/26/2011 10:13:54 PM
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No, but if it was in Christchurch (or Japan), it would have ended up on the floor several times recently! I'd rather not be under it!

mr_bandit
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mr_bandit   1/11/2013 10:41:59 PM
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There was a EE at HP that bolted everything to the bench top. He didn't want them falling on him as he cowered under the bench. (This was building 52 Upper in Santa Clara.)

ST_Sean_Newton
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ST_Sean_Newton   6/23/2011 9:32:43 PM
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Every heard of the saying: "A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind!"

Halvad
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Halvad   6/29/2011 3:27:04 AM
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Can you convince this to your wife

DaddBad
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DaddBad   4/5/2012 5:26:55 PM
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Or a software engineer!

Archtop
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Archtop   6/24/2011 6:59:20 PM
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@Scott Wohler's picture: is that a pint of Guinness in front of your laptop?

swohler
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swohler   6/28/2011 6:06:46 PM
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I wish it had been. The coffee around here is black and frothy.

ihatenicknamesbuttheymademegetone
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ihatenicknamesbuttheymademegetone   6/24/2011 7:44:13 PM
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"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk?" - Albert Einstein.

J.OZI
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J.OZI   4/23/2013 3:45:31 PM
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... he might have in mind "... a clean desk is sign of a clear thought ..." or even possible he was speculating on non-theoretical topic ... and missed some points.

ihatenicknamesbuttheymademegetone
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ihatenicknamesbuttheymademegetone   6/24/2011 7:46:01 PM
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"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk?" - Albert Einstein.

Brian Fuller2
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Brian Fuller2   6/24/2011 8:53:54 PM
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An empty desk might signal zen nirvana...

Brooks Lyman
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Brooks Lyman   6/24/2011 9:59:14 PM
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I gave up on computer mice (in disgust) years ago. Went to a trackball, which allows me to pile stuff right up to the edge of it and it's still usable! Try the Kensington Orbit for a low-buck version.

darenw
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darenw   6/25/2011 3:10:00 AM
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Yeah, trackballs are great, for that reason and also the reduced grope-around factor. But be sure to get a nice quiet one - last time I used a trackball at work, given my financial priorities and Scottish ancestry, it was a cheap one that made noise. Everyone else said it sounded like I was playing video games.

john666
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john666   6/26/2011 10:06:34 PM
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I've got a cool alternative to the trackball that doesn't need any desk space, it works on the surface of my laptop. Now I can pile the paperwork right up to the edge! See www.futuremouse.com I don't have a workbench anymore, but still have a messy desk, I'm afraid.

ReneCardenas
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ReneCardenas   8/23/2011 11:16:56 PM
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I agree not only for the aspect of real-state footprint on my desk but it reduces stress in you hand, IMHO.

WKetel
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WKetel   6/25/2011 1:05:09 AM
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I would love to have the top manager at my last employer be made to look at these desks and then be shown how productive and creative the engineers were. He was one of those types who had outlines on the desk for where the phone and pad should be, and he valued neat far above organized. The same mind believed that all engineering talent was equal. Need I say more?

TFCSD
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TFCSD   6/25/2011 7:03:12 AM
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This is the problem with messy desks. If you work with a lot of hardware and prototyping, you have a lot stuff needed to do your work. Some of my larger prototype projects looked like I had dumped pots of spaghetti on several desks. Then add on to that test equipment, meters, parts, tools, and computers then you have what seems a cacophony of chaos. Surfing this undulating wave of disparate hardware is likely an engineer who is probably the only one in the company that fully understands that it is not chaos in their workspace but progress. Then enters the manager who job is to make everything follow “the plan”, reduce costs, systemize, “motivate” the workforce, and meet deadlines. In other words minimize chaos and promote order. When a manager sees what the engineer is doing, the manager skin crawls and seeks to help the engineer improve his productivity by introducing his version of order. To engineers, this is called stress. Managers look at engineers as hoarders and want them to get rid of the “junk” from previous projects. Then the same manager complains that following projects are continually delayed because the engineer keeps ordering and waiting for parts. The manager wants the engineer to clean up their work area to look pretty for customers who tour the area. Then the same manager complains that the engineer is wasting too much time searching for stored equipment and setting up projects. Then the manager makes everybody’s work space the same size then wonders why the hardware engineer has a rat’s nest of several projects on a single desk unlike the cooperative software engineers who can manage several programs on their computers just like the managers. When I had several desks and a larger room, my productivity increased. There are several other ways managers try to help engineers and then wonder why the engineer has a failure to thrive.

K1200LT Rider
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K1200LT Rider   6/27/2011 12:03:56 PM
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Wow... my experience with storing and throwing away engineering "junk" is so similar. But it look pretty for tours coming through!

Navelpluis
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Navelpluis   7/23/2011 8:44:34 AM
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Good comment. I fully agree. I think this might be one of the reasons why there are so few hardware engineers around. I am one of those and I start to feel like I am getting on my own. From hardware it is easy to skip to software, so no more managers pissin' in your neck ;-) Fortunately I started my own small company 12 years ago, and I can assure you that this boosted up my productivity !! ;-)

Ekko.Burt
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Ekko.Burt   3/2/2012 9:11:41 PM
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AMEN TO THAT! Best comment EVAR! =)

mar1us91
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mar1us91   5/10/2013 10:48:12 AM
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There are several other ways managers try to help engineers and then wonder why the engineer has a failure to thrive. http://www.jocuricu-mario.ro

t.alex
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t.alex   6/26/2011 8:32:29 AM
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The desks are only cleared when there are visitors :)

MattiasC
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MattiasC   6/27/2011 5:27:24 AM
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"Worshiping places have clean desks which does not mean IDIOTS go there!!" That is something that can be disputed ;)

AFOliveira
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AFOliveira   6/28/2011 8:54:03 AM
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I agree with the dispute, which is a disputable agreement:-) Maybe this side of the dispute shall be left outside this desk.

K1200LT Rider
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K1200LT Rider   6/27/2011 11:57:40 AM
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I prefer to think that my desk/bench is not "messy"... it's "cluttered in an organized way."

K1200LT Rider
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K1200LT Rider   6/27/2011 11:59:51 AM
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... At least that's what I tell my wife about my desks and work benches at home. :-]

zeeglen
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zeeglen   7/11/2011 12:35:22 AM
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Rider - organized in a cluttered way? Whatever, as long you can find what you are looking for it is definitely organized in some way. Visitors and boss be dumned.

DrewRT
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DrewRT   9/13/2011 10:50:30 PM
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Cluttered - I don't think so. I would call it "High density engineering". With out stuff compression I would need several offices. Oh and need another set of test equipment in each$$$

antiquus
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antiquus   6/27/2011 3:02:07 PM
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My desk isn't cluttered -- its organized chronologically (least-recently-used on the bottom).

RAE_Hou
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RAE_Hou   6/29/2011 7:55:22 PM
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I also used to refer to the piles of items on my desk as "Chronologically filed." They are so tall now that pressure and time have forced me to reclassify it as "archaeologically filed."

Itinerant Engineer
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Itinerant Engineer   7/2/2011 5:10:24 AM
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I prefer to refer to it as my "sedimentary filing system". Lance ==)-----------

jeremybirch
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jeremybirch   8/2/2011 3:53:15 PM
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At a previous company I had a meeting in my boss's office. To sit down on any of the 4 chairs in the room meant moving a stack of paper 12 inches deep. The stack I moved had a report on the top of it written by my brother. He had left the company 5 years before. On that basis the bottom of the stack was probably an invoice for the Big Bang!

kasey72
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kasey72   4/20/2013 3:45:00 PM
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Only 12 inches??? Guess he had a lot of space for more stacks. You may laugh, but at least there seems to be some grudging appreciation when someone comes around in a panic and a report pulled out of the "mesozoic" layer an inch and a half from the bottom just happens to have the info needed to solve the urgent problem.

xx19xx
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xx19xx   4/20/2013 6:21:52 PM
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government officers are best in this http://media.npr.org/assets/news/2010/04/28/indiapaper-c0a8c012856deedf4b3abf67bc790b32459fff73-s6-c10.jpg

Duane Benson
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Duane Benson   6/27/2011 3:40:37 PM
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Perhaps the real test of genius is step B. Step A is to have the messy desk. Step B is to measure how long it takes the desk owner to find an item in that mess. I'd say that's the real test. I have know people that could take a pile like some of those desks and retrieve any item within seconds. Of course, if intelligence is determined by how fast one can find any given item, then I would likely register an IQ of around negative fifteen.

LennyP
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LennyP   6/27/2011 4:12:38 PM
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Actually for many engineers "organizing" stuff makes it impossible to find anything. My mess is a highly efficient system, for me alone, were I can locate anything quickly. My wife, who was a superb high-tech project manager and is very highly organized has to put little yellow stickies all over, what most all would consider, our logically organized kitchen so I can find stuff when I cook :)

dft00
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dft00   7/14/2011 7:52:13 PM
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I had a co-worker that practiced the "chronological filing piles" system, yet he could find anything within seconds. His technique was to walk down the hall and ask me for a copy.

Hillol
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Hillol   5/19/2012 10:44:07 PM
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Ciaos

LennyP
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LennyP   6/27/2011 4:03:38 PM
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Engineering genius defined: Someone who puts the FUN back in dysFUNctional.

gmorita
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gmorita   6/27/2011 7:08:59 PM
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My workbench is usually fairly messy while I am actively working on project. I have a fairly standard suite of instruments that I have set up on my bench. However, I almost always tear down the rest of the test set up and re-build a new test set up from scratch when I transition to a new board/project. This means putting (horrors!)EVERYTHING including test leads and probes away. I do this mostly to make sure that I have everything hooked up properly. I have been bit too many times thinking that the set up was correct when in fact, some remnant of the previous project was still connected and screwing up my measurements.

jorgemendez
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re: Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
jorgemendez   6/27/2011 8:43:17 PM
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great!

ThermalHunter
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ThermalHunter   6/30/2011 2:06:37 PM
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Every discussion needs a pedant.

IphaseGSM
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IphaseGSM   6/30/2011 5:18:14 PM
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This made me feel pretty good about MY desk.

WillitWork
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WillitWork   6/30/2011 7:10:37 PM
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Have you noticed that walking on stilts allows you a smaller clear "footprint" of floor space?

RVK2010
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RVK2010   7/1/2011 7:31:57 AM
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Nice pictures. I have same workplace, but I did not see a cup and a tin with coffee.

mgburr
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mgburr   7/3/2011 7:32:24 PM
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If you take a look in front of my 3rd monitor. You'll see a tall coffee cup that I turned on my lathe. and to the right of that is my coffee press.

mgburr
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mgburr   7/3/2011 7:38:59 PM
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Also, you can see my ceramic daily mug in between monitors 2 and 3. :-)

timbo_test
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timbo_test   7/1/2011 2:18:18 PM
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A tidy desk is a sign of a sick mind!

charly5139
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charly5139   7/1/2011 8:48:33 PM
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Some are seeking truth from politicians - totally wrong place to search for; others think that employees are inspired by a 5S-conformant desk - well this might be fine for shared working areas; many might believe that a messy desk by itself is a sign for genuity - for sure you NEED genuity to handle such a desk. While I never had the pleasure to meet Bob personally, I really liked his writing which covered much more than analog stuff. For sure, any 5S reminder in our office puts a smile on my face - Bob simply didn't care about. What I will keep in mind is Bob's helping hand.

Man21
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Man21   7/2/2011 11:17:54 AM
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An obituary for Prof Rosalyn Yalow appeared a few days ago: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/26/rosalyn-yalow-obituary?INTCMP=SRCH which includes a picture of her at her very cluttered desk. Allowing a modest extension of the 'engineering workspace' definition it is worth noting that she was awarded the 1977 Nobel prize for medicine and physiology although originally trained as a physicist. The account is worth reading for what she had to overcome in recognition of her work. Scott Hamilton

zeeglen
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zeeglen   7/5/2011 9:53:20 PM
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Thank you. So many work wonders yet get so little public recognition. This is another example of hard-achieved progress simply taken for granted because it does not involve touchdowns, goals, runs, or baskets.

mr_bandit
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mr_bandit   1/11/2013 10:51:21 PM
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I happen to know her son. She both changed the world and raised good kids at the same time. And Amen for @zeeglan's comments about progress without sports. Name me 10 jocks that changed the world - it will take a while. Name me 10 nerds - just point to most of the people around you.

mnorman4
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mnorman4   7/7/2011 6:15:55 PM
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I see you have a Freescale Tower System on the workbench. Nice!

M_S
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M_S   7/8/2011 6:04:11 PM
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When my desk is clean and neat, it means I'm out of work to do - no designs or projects left to work on!

mbraunstein
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mbraunstein   7/8/2011 7:00:20 PM
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Everything is sorted by weight - heavy stuff on the bottom; lighter stuff on the top. Works for me everytime...

zeeglen
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zeeglen   7/11/2011 12:25:36 AM
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A long time ago we needed to have some metal castings milled to avoid shorting PCB etch when the castings were assembled to the PCB. We found a provincial government supported (NOT USA) shop to do the work. When I brought the castings and rework drawings to the shop I was surprised to find it incredibly clean. And only 3 staff - a receptionist, a head honcho, and the machinist that actually did all the work. Clean = no work in progress. Our tax dollars at worst.

zeeglen
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re: Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
zeeglen   7/11/2011 12:46:08 AM
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A recent place of no-longer employment had a rule that all useful under-bench junk be moved to the warehouse when VIP visitors arrived. Then of course the warehouse organizers would move the junk somewhere else and fail to keep records of the new locations. ie, permanently lost. The real funny thing was these VIP visitors had no technical clue whatsoever. Our chief chimpanzee had a habit of wiring test racks with 100 ohm twisted pair connected directly (no balun) to 50 ohm coaxial cable when the TP ran short. Of course the VIP visitors were not technically astute enough to realize this was not acceptable. Still, when dealing with dummies, who cares? Another similar con was to order all employees to park their cars in the front parking lot to make the place look busy for the visitors. Usually the employees parked in the rear parking lot. The company? Think "I Cannot Believe this Schist"

Gort
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Gort   7/11/2011 1:34:05 AM
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It is much easier to tell your boss that you are very busy when he comes to you.

ReneCardenas
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ReneCardenas   8/5/2011 2:47:44 PM
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In most labs that I know, order and pattern in the mist of chaos is the norm.

mr_bandit
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mr_bandit   8/11/2011 10:24:17 PM
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I had HP as a client in the mid-90's (the real HP...). A hardware guy had all of his instruments tied down to the back shelf of his workbench - I wish I had a picture. Each corner had 1/2" all-thread, and side-to-side was 2" angle iron. This was in Santa Clara, building 52-upper. His actual bench was messy, of course. A former co-worker (a EE) once pointed out that, no matter the size of the work surface, you always have the last 6 inches for the actual thing you are making. Great pictures - fond memories of previous lives.

hacksaw74
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hacksaw74   8/18/2011 5:35:08 PM
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Yeah the last pics definitely looks like a startup not much do eh?

bearchow
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bearchow   10/26/2011 7:06:18 PM
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The category of management and hr that gives me the most amusement is the ones who think they know how to improve the productivity of people. But rather than waste verbage with the myriad ways that those people are absurd, I will simply say that these pictures are of the work places of people who truly accomplish meaningful things.

sibin-ben
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sibin-ben   12/23/2011 7:58:38 AM
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Description of the research focus messy, which is used to focus…… http://www.wigsmarket.co.uk I am very eager to have more than this desk, it is a strength

jellwally
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jellwally   2/15/2012 7:38:01 PM
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it is very informative blog and very good blog thanks for it

Hillol
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Hillol   5/19/2012 10:36:29 PM
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Wow, You can get the job done.

tender_vittles
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tender_vittles   6/29/2012 4:01:08 PM
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The reason, I believe, the mess is what it is has to do the the degree of focus the individual has on the task at hand. They are more interested in pursuing whatever their objective is at that moment rather than worrying about tidying up. The latter is wasted energy because it does not support pursuit of the objective. Most engineers, and I include myself among them, get so focused on whatever they are thinking about in a development/debug mode where you are pursuing an answer....nothing else matters. Thus the issues with messy desks, hygeine, eating habits, stackup up Red Bull cans etc. People could take a lesson from being so single minded about a particular task. The pursuit of perfection is messy.

obat
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obat   11/8/2012 3:50:03 AM
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salam kenal kawan http://rumahjakarta2.blogspot.com/2012/11/waletbet-promo-bonus-100-sportsbook-dan.html http://rumahjakarta2.blogspot.com/2012/11/ekioskucom-jual-beli-online-aman.html

yalanand
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yalanand   1/13/2013 5:11:12 AM
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I think clean desk means designer is more worried about the desk rather than the design he is working on. So more messier the desk more involved the designer is.

johnR2013
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johnR2013   3/20/2013 11:59:37 AM
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some of the desks in the pics are neat

ruserious
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ruserious   4/19/2013 11:05:42 PM
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I saw Pease's cubicle first-hand, and the photo in this article does not do it justice. I felt really bad for the folks who had to help him move from Building C to Building D. Because he was so senior, he eventually ended up with two cubicles. One for all of his clutter, and one for his desk (and more clutter).

Cookie Jar
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Cookie Jar   4/27/2013 6:27:26 PM
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You can tell it's time to clean up when there's so much clutter on the floor that you keep falling down trying to get around.

Cookie Jar
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Cookie Jar   4/27/2013 8:35:46 PM
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The definition of spacial efficiency - getting the most stuff into the available space.

Rsaksena
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Rsaksena   4/28/2013 8:02:36 AM
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I think they shall not be called "Engineering's messiest desks" rather they are most active and alive Engineering's desks. An Engineer

SYSINFRASHandas
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re: Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
SYSINFRASHandas   4/29/2013 3:23:00 PM
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Well said Realsena But I write if you allow me. Engineers are "In in solving mode" for more complexe Technical problems, but seem might lead to ignore simple things and seem "messy" from a different perspective;the general perspective. But leaving as it is might be simplest way, leaving room for...comments

mar1us91
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re: Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
mar1us91   5/10/2013 10:47:30 AM
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Car insurance quotes will definitely be high if the coverage has any gaps. http://www.jocuricu-mario.ro - http://www.jocuride-gatit.ro - http://www.jocuri-bile.ro

artistu1991
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re: Photo gallery: Engineering's messiest desks
artistu1991   6/23/2013 5:59:57 PM
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very interesting website. http://www.jocurifotbal.biz http://www.filmehd-online.net

mario2014
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true!
mario2014   2/7/2014 1:22:27 PM
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yes that is true http://jocurinoi12.com/jocuri-mario, but also hard to believe http://jocuribarbie.ws

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