Guilty. Sometimes to the point of over reaching for an elegant solution over a quick and dirty one. Unfortunately it takes good management to recognize this behavior and good managers are fast becoming an extinct species. Looking busy is now required in order to keep your job. Sad. Claude Shannon would have been fired from Bell Labs for sitting on his butt for years before developing information theory.
The human brain works in the kilohertz range. We need to slow down to allow humans to think thru problems.
I humbly believe that we have had a lost decade in engineering starting from the telecom/dotcom bubble. No real innovation and lots of me too product development by outsourced development teams. If Facebook is the example of innovation in this decade, we are doomed as a species.
I need to be lazy, or efficient and take my time and plan for Mr. Murphy otherwise very expensive, very high power RF transistors can go bye bye without even a puff.
In every design I need to stop and think of everything that can and will go wrong in a new design and come up with a safe guard for every scenario and I also have to come up with several backup plans just in case that Puff happens when I hit the power switch.
If this means that I have to be repetitive and plan and redo each step over and over again and even wait until the next week to fire up a new board then so be it, after all we all know what happens on Fridays to RF projects.
To me it's like piloting an aircraft, I may know the entire procedure for landing a particular plane in my head but its still best to pull out that written down check list and go thru each step one at a time just to be safe.
An old, but still bold entrepreneur uses the PRUSSIAN system:
Smart and Lazy - Commander - that's me
Smart and Energetic - Top Management
Dumb and Lazy - Employee
Dumb and Energetic - very dangerous - outsource temps
Wu wei, the action of non-action.
The USA financial system is doomed because of too many
'dumb and energetic' traders on Wall Street. They mistake
action for EFFECTIVENESS. Stock brokers love to 'churn your
money' because of economic PERVERSE incentives.
The USA engineering system is doomed because management
is biased against old, SLOW thinkers. Fastest way to
get fired is to even LOOK LIKE YOU ARE THINKING.
The USA vehicle highway transport system is doomed because of the
Dumb and Energetic. Drivers drive sleepy and drive for too long
periods while energetically texting.
Insert Dilbert cartoon... REAL LIFE SITUATION... err cartoon FARCE here.
PS. top management in Asia and S Korea have PhDs and
emphasize SLOW THINKING about 100 year plans. USA
CEO (chief executive officer) average tenure is less
than 2.8 years and many do not have the patience to
complete a college degree. Their only interest is in
the stock price and stock options.
I was thinking about this a bit more Bill and I'm with JohnM above. I have over the years designed bits of gear to: test keyboards (that otherwise needed plugging in to an online terminal to test all key functions); to test the RS232 chips in a comms controller (again that needed to be online to fully test functionality); and also to record the runtime of a UPS even if I wasn't there - I kept missing the end of battery life point because I was doing something else.
I did these to enable me to use my time more efficiently, to minimise the time spent on repetetive testing, not because I was lazy as such (well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!) So I can see where you're coming from, but I still think "Lazy" is the wrong word. I think we're both on the same side of the fence, it's more a question of semantics...??
It may look like laziness, but my compulsion to streamline a process is rooted in an innate intolerance for inefficiency. It just drives me nuts. I can't plug along on any repetitive task without automating it in some way. And that does generally lead to a more accurate and repeatable process, but it generally saves time too - all good things. It's not always easy to convince others of the value, though, so you might only be saving your own time (seeing others waste time can be annoying too, and it's a double win to see your automation used by others).
One can be "too lazy" to the point where you spend all day automating a half day task.
Mind you the problem either goes away 'cos you took too long, or comes back anyway and you get a three quater day rest each time ;-)
At my first job out of school I did a lot of soldering. If I was working on a board I would put it in a board vise. A chassis I would stand on end. Then lean back in my chair, feet up on the little shelf under the bench and solder away. The president of the company said I looked to comfortable and it didn't look good when customers walked through.
Coincidentally, I always tell people engineers are "lazy". They don't want to do the dirty work themselves. They will leverage their ability to build tools to work for them. This is how the civilization works. Our ancestor build tool to hunt, to do mechanical work. Now, software engineers or, in general, computer engineers, build scripts to do data analysis and to generate report to them.
In today's economy, we will be better off to increase our efficiency and productivity so that we can compete in the global market. That's why engineering and software skills are somewhat important. Question is how we, engineers, can help the other industry to boost their efficiency.
Engineers got to be quick and clever.Any work done urgently will give lot of errors resulting in losses. But if we know the work fully we should do it fast and finish as quick as possible.If it is a new work then planning takes time to reach the goals.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.