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What defines an engineer? Who is allowed to call themselves one? Also, how people debug and lots of new podcasts!
- We have lots of guests lined up for the rest of this year and into next! It’s going to be a couple of great interviews (with some blather each week in between!)
- There are new podcasts on the block as well!
- Embedded.fm is an embedded podcast now working past 25 episodes.
- The S.T.E.A.M. power podcast is a bit more broad and sciencey than the embedded one, but still good! Also past 25 episodes.
- (Forgotten to mention) Lemnos Labs, the hardware accelerator, now has a podcast interviewing members of the accelerator.
- (Forgotten to mention) Two of the guys from Microsoft (though the show isn’t affiliate at all) discuss embedded electronics and other tech news on The Unitialized Show.
- Dave has been on a quest for truth lately, he’s been investigating the current carrying of vias
- Do we have any Chinese listeners? What is the wage disparity really like these days for top engineers? (We assume any listeners to The Amp Hour are the top engineers)
- Dave was watching an ABC (au) documentary on pay in New Jersey. He was shocked at how little service staff make (before tips).
- Chris thinks you need to be super persistent when trying to find a job. You need to make people realize you don’t want to talk to HR.
- Jack Ganssle makes a great point about debugging (based on another article about increasing complexity of systems [paywall]) and how good debuggers (people, not machines), record their steps and are deliberate in their actions. You know, like hardware people have to be. Are you good about your rigor while debugging?
- Chris learned over the weekend about the high cost of crappy tools. Especially the time cost (and frustration).
- Dave has experienced this in the paste with a solder sucker he immediately needed to repair.
- If you buy something with lame assembly but good components, you can mod it later. The Sieg X2 and X3 (milliing machine) are a good example of this.
- A solid and low cost tool you might want to pick up is a hand-activated solderpaste dispenser. Chris and Dave haven’t ever done reflow at home (but have at work).
- Don’t stick electronics under your skin, folks. It’s really gross (WARNING: Disturbing images)
- Is a modular phone really going to happen? Even if Motorola says it’s going to happen, it doesn’t mean it will make it commecially. The cost is usually in the connectors.
- Celebrity news? Really? Well yeah, because Lenovo is saying that Ashton Kutcher is an engineer. Chris is upset because it is likely he’ll be a marketer, not an engineer.
- However, since engineers don’t have board certification (specifically for electronics), there are no repercussions for someone calling themselves and engineer.
- Our guest next week is the one and only Forrest Mims! Get your questions in for us to ask him on the show next week!
Thanks to the Seattle Municipal Archives for the picture of old school nerds!
What does the outro mean?
I think those were tweets/bookface comments.
In any case Chris was hilarious 😉
Chris Gammell says
It means that we would love if people would write us iTunes reviews. That really helps other people find our podcast and helps the show out. I’ve gotten sick of asking directly, so I wanted to do it in a more memorable (silly) way. You may be able to find another similar outro in the recent past. And you can probably expect more in the future 😉
Is there a link for the skin embedded electronics? I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach it, but curiosity is killing me.
Chris Gammell says
Updated with the grossness. You’ve been warned though!
My mouth actually dropped open when the LEDs came on in his arm. That was bizarre. Can’t say I would have ever done that, but it was interesting since it was someone else’s arm haha.
funny… i was making parts for my x2 mill while chris was talking about them.
Andrei in the great white north. says
In Canada, the name engineer is protected by law. If you go through engineering school, fine good for you, but you can’t call yourself an engineer. You can be an engineer in training (EIT) if you’re working under an engineer, but until you have done your couple of years under a professional engineer and written your exam, you can’t call yourself an engineer.
A while ago Microsoft had their MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer) thing, and the engineering society went ape-shit on them. Now you can buy…er…earn an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Expert).
Just because you are doing a job like an engineer, you’re not an engineer. You might get in trouble for doing things where an engineer certification is necessary (like certified devices and bridges, etc.) where people could die and the designer should be held responsible.
On the other hand, if you are doing work like an engineering you do your time under a professional engineer, and you write the exam, you can become a professional engineer. Even if you didn’t go to engineering school (like me).
As for doctors, there are physicians and there are doctors. My buddy is a Doctor, he has a Ph.D. in astrophysics.
Chris Gammell says
This is a good point and I should mention it’s also true in the states. I think if I profess myself to be an engineer for hire, I need to have a PE. Especially if there are any documents I need to sign off on. Ugh, still need to take the PE exam.
Taking notes vs recording video that you will never watch:
M$ R&D is working on SenseCam for a good few years now. Their R&D, unlike M$ products in general, is top notch, real skunkworks, no expenses spared, all MIT/Stanford grads they can lay their hands on hired type of stuff.
I think it is directed at people suffering TBI (memory loss and so on).
Real breakthrough will come when we can record 12h of fullhd video per day and process it using big data. Thats ~64GB in h.264.
Something like Mobius Actioncam almost gets you there today encoding fullhd at 13Mbit. It would require two 32GB cards and 6000mAh battery in a ~220grams package (1S RC lipo pack).
Second part of the package would be a nightstand that uploads 12 hours of video to “ZE CLOWD” so it can be automagically stenographed, sorted, associated, stored and learned by our personal IBM Watson assistant :o) You will never forget where you left the keys .. because you wont even try to remember it in the first place, Watson will do it for you! hehe
The problem with engineer in UK is, that everyone can call themselves an engineer. You can be changing bulbs and call yourself electrical engineer, because it involves electricity. So there is no real differentiation between a highly qualified engineer and a guy changing light bulbs (technician at most) with no formal/actual qualification (sometimes without even finishing school), because they both call themselves engineers.
That is one of the reasons UK is facing a huge shortage of engineers – no kid wants to study engineering, because they think that after 3-4 years of studies, you’ll end up driving a van around town changing light bulbs.
And it goes really deep in society which makes the whole profession sort of unimportant – everyone thinks you are just another guy with a van repairing boilers or changing light bulbs, even though you might be responsible for the biggest bridges in the world.
Ivan747 (Iván Veloz) says
I have a question for Forrest Mims.
I actually learned from the books he wrote for the Radioshack Electronics Learning Lab, a more contemporary version of those kits everyone learnt on about 30 years ago.
I see the text and schematics on the books are hand made and that makes me wonder about the writing process, how hard is it to lay out the pages, how does he devise the circuits and examples specially knowing that he’s dealing with a limited budget, limited amount of components and wires in the kit, and a mass manufactured “console” (I guess he uses a prototype console, is it his design?).
ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12) says
There’s another documentary kinda along similar lines..