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What engineers really do…

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antedeluvian
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re: What engineers really do…
antedeluvian   2/26/2012 10:05:05 PM
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No matter what I told her, my mother-in-law told everyone proudly thatI fixed TVs for a living.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/27/2012 2:54:38 PM
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After I'd got my degree, every time I visited home I'd find a pile of TVs, stereos, radios, whatever that belonged to my mom's friends ... she would tell them "Clive can fix them"...

ThermalHunter
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ThermalHunter   2/28/2012 5:15:52 PM
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The wife of my high school physics teacher said, "Oh. If that doesn't work out you can always repair stoves."

Duane Benson
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Duane Benson   2/27/2012 12:28:15 AM
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Is there a way to photograph a "blank stare"? When I send friends and family links to articles I've written and I tend to get some variation on "...I have no idea what you're saying, but..."

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/27/2012 2:55:20 PM
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I know what you mean -- their eyes sort of glaze over...

bearchow
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bearchow   2/27/2012 9:04:14 PM
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I've been an analog engineer all of my life. Analog and mixed signals as of late. Whenever a layperson asks me what I do, and I answer I'm an electronic engineer, they respond with "I knew you were into computers!"

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 2:21:54 PM
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Being an analog engineer must be a bit like being Welsh... When I was planning on moving to America 22 years ago I read a book on the process. The author said that if you were from England, Scotland, or Ireland and someone asked where you came from you could tell them, because folks in America had a vague idea where E S I were in relation to each other... The book also suggested that if you were from Wales and someone in America asked where you came from, you should reply England or Scotland or Ireland .... otherwise you would spend the rest of the day explaining what Wales is and where it is... So as I say, being an analog engineer must be a bit like this (grin)

antedeluvian
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antedeluvian   2/28/2012 2:49:31 PM
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Try explaining where Zimbabwe is. "I know somebody in Cairo. Is it close? Do you know them?"

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 3:15:29 PM
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People ask me if I've met the Queen... (I wonder if they ask her if she's met me? :-)

David Ashton
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David Ashton   2/29/2012 9:10:59 AM
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Yeah, every time you meet someone else from Zimbabwe you spend 10 minutes playing the "Do you know so-and-so??" game. Silly thing is, Zim is that small that sometimes you do.....

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/29/2012 1:18:56 PM
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Tell me about it -- I've never even been there and I know both of you :-)

Jay.Jones_#3
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Jay.Jones_#3   2/28/2012 4:45:32 PM
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My wife told her family she was going with me to Wales for 2 weeks to visit the family home of my ancestors. Her family replied, "Really, you're willing to spend 2 weeks in Wells, Nevada?"

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 4:57:29 PM
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Just think how many blushing brides have been told they are going to have their honeymoon in Paris ... only to end up in Paris, Texas... :-)

ThermalHunter
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ThermalHunter   2/28/2012 5:14:31 PM
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A fabulous movie by the way.

ftuccio
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ftuccio   2/28/2012 1:21:47 PM
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I once told a woman I was interested in that I was an Electrical Engineer....she asked me to replace a light switch in her apartment.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 2:17:32 PM
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I know what you mean -- when I told my mom that I was studying electronics (I couldn't face explaining what it meant that my degree was "Control Engineering") she asked me to fix the front door bell :-)

wwbrown
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wwbrown   2/28/2012 3:38:57 PM
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This is a little reverse of some of the comments. recently I was visiting my Dad and was doing some embedded coding. I told my dad I had to go up to the library, to get an internet connection because I was having some problems programming the device. My dad said I should talk to Curly the next door neighbor because he is really good with computers and can probably help you. I quietly went to the library and downloaded the datasheet I needed. wade

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 4:07:50 PM
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Grin :-)

wswbln
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wswbln   2/28/2012 6:57:58 PM
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There was a similar topic some years ago when the german "Verein Deutscher Ingenieure" (associacion of german engineers) had filmmaker Elwira Bednarz go to pedestian areas / shopping malls and ask people there what engineers do / wear / look like / have in their pockets etc. The very funny (but all german) films can be found here: http://www.vdi-nachrichten.com/allgemein_00000089/seite.aspx

LiketoBike
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LiketoBike   2/28/2012 8:54:27 PM
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I remember going home and running into an old acquaintance... "What do you do these days?" "I'm a microwave engineer." "Oh, you fix ovens!!!" At least "analog engineer" doesn't take you straight to oven-land :-)

old account Frank Eory
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old account Frank Eory   2/28/2012 10:47:44 PM
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When we were still part of Motorola, any time I would meet someone and they learned I worked at Motorola, they immediately wanted to tell me all the things they didn't like about their phone, or that their calls always got dropped in certain parts of town, and could I PLEASE ask someone to fix that!

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 11:18:37 PM
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Did you? (grin)

LiketoBike
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LiketoBike   2/29/2012 2:08:39 PM
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I worked for Ericsson for a while...got the same responses :-)

sharps_eng
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sharps_eng   2/28/2012 11:27:15 PM
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I have done most of my engineering in glamourous or at least comprehensible areas, like TV, film or aircraft test equipment. Mention your equipment was used in making the latest James Bond movie (really), and at least people look at you in an OK way. (Mind you, it was different when the only one we had done was Scary Movie 2, no kudos there apparently...) BTW, My dear old Mum (95) does understand what I do, her brothers used to make stop-frame cine-film animations on the kitchen table, and they later worked on the great telephone roll-outs (Strowger/POTS that was, not 2/3G).

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   2/28/2012 11:31:53 PM
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When I was a student back in the late 1970s, I had a flat on the top floor of a house -- the bottom floor was another flat in which lived a very old lady. Whenever I was going out I'd knock on her door and ask if she wanted anything picking up from the grocery store. Often she would invite me in for cup of tea (I'm from England, remember) One day she had another little old lady visiting. While we were drinking our tea she asked "What do you do" -- I replied that I was a student studying computers (saying "Control Engineering" didn't seem like a good idea). She immediately responded -- "Oh, hardware or software?" ... color me surprised!!!

EdV1022
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EdV1022   2/29/2012 6:45:22 PM
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Steve McQueen as a US Navy Machinist Mate (propulsion engineering) http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/dvdreviews37/sand%20pebbles%20brd/HF7Y3114_The_Sand_Pebbles_SD.jpg I am little prejudiced of course having been one myself.

masher
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masher   2/29/2012 7:18:14 PM
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anymore I just tell people that I listen to their digital radio and cell phone conversations, encrypted or non encrypted, it's a much funnier blank stare in my opionion. I do analog/digital radio RF design from DC to daylight BTW so I'm not that far off in my statements.

BrianMolex
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BrianMolex   3/1/2012 4:56:44 PM
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I'm a tech and not an engineer, or course where I work about the only difference between the "Controls Techs" and the "Controls Engineer's" is pay grade. When people ask what I do I tell them I get to play all day with machines. I get some funny looks but its half true. Saying I'm a "Controls Tech" gets blank stares

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   3/1/2012 5:10:15 PM
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That makes me think of "The Big Bang Theory" (the TV sitcom, not the beginning of the universe) ... the way Sheldon and the other PhDs talk down to Howard because he "Only has a Masters"... I agree that saying you're a "Controls Technician" wouldn't convey much to most people ... if you say you "play with robots" (whether its true or not) people won't give you funny looks anymore... ...unless, of course, you are a devote of shorts combined with knee-length black socks and sandals, in which case all bets are off... :-)

antedeluvian
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antedeluvian   3/1/2012 8:12:19 PM
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The first 90 seconds of this lecture are very apropos of this topic http://pddnet.com/video-ted-talks-all-your-devices-can-be-hacked-022912/

antedeluvian
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antedeluvian   3/1/2012 8:28:16 PM
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And well worth listening to the end!

krwada
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krwada   3/2/2012 1:58:23 AM
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To this day, my Mother-in-law still wants me to set the time on her VHS tape player!

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   3/2/2012 1:38:41 PM
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How many years has she been waiting for you to do so? :-)

constant314
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constant314   3/3/2012 12:48:00 AM
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I just wanted to build the world's best hifi. Then I found out I could buy a pretty good hifi on my engineer's salary. Then I found out my ears were only good to 3kHz.

Max The Magnificent
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Max The Magnificent   3/4/2012 6:05:29 PM
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LOL

Barry_Moss
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Barry_Moss   3/9/2012 6:49:10 PM
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I think at least one of those boxes should have had a picture of Scotty or Georgi from Star Trek. :) Perhaps the "What I want to do" or "What I think I do"...

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