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  • The problem with the FAA is that in most cases the equipment is very old. 15 to 20 years is a very long time for a computer. That was the case with the radar systems, but those have since been upgraded.

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    • I don't care how new and wonderful some technology is. I don't care if it's old and outdated as long as it is maintained and the people in charge of it know how to use it. Instead, I believe that people who use technology must know how to do the job WITHOUT computers before they start wanking around with machines. That doesn't mean that people have to do it as well as computers can do it. That's why we have computers! Right? Still, people need to understand the fundamentals of the job they are doing BEFORE they start using computers.

      You need to know how to do basic arithmetic (or at least understand the concepts) BEFORE you can use a computer spreadsheet to track your household budget. More importantly, you need to understand what a spreadsheet is and how it works compared to other applications, such as a database. Maybe a database is a better solution for the work you want to accomplish. Maybe a database is the better solution but you won't know that unless you understand the basics of BOTH databases AND spreadsheets. I often see people using spreadsheets when they should be using databases, or vice-versa, who have trouble getting work done because they used the wrong solution.

      When I worked on an electronics assembly line, we had a large library of solder stencils that were used in automated silk screen machines to lay down solder paste before the individual components are installed. It was important to select the right stencil for the job at hand and there might be slightly different versions for individual jobs. Using the wrong stencil probably means that there will be extensive rework or even scrapped parts.

      Stencils were kept on rows of racks and each one had a unique ID number. They all needed to be arranged by row, shelf and slot numbers so that a person could easily find them. This girl from the front office put all the information in a spreadsheet but couldn't keep things organized. There were cases where we had jobs to do and little time to complete them but nobody could find the stencils even after searching the spreadsheet for an hour. Finally, I was asked to reorganize all the data so that people could do their jobs. I took all the existing data, transferred it to a database (using Libre Office) and set up a custom search page so that all you needed to do was type in the customer's ID number and the computer would return a list of available stencils and their locations in the library. You looked down the list and found the item that matched your job. I even included a "Checked-Out" field that told you whether the stencil was in use and what line it was supposed to be running on. It took me a couple of days to do the basic work and the balance of a week to get all the wrinkles ironed out but, when I was done, stencils that took an hour to find (if you could find them at all) could, now, be found in just a few minutes.

      The problem was that other people didn't understand the difference between the way a database works and the way a spreadsheet works and it took over a month before they figured out how to use it. I made the thing dead simple. There was only one field on the "search" page. The user only had to type in the customer's name or ID number. You could search either one, interchangeably. You put in your search term, hit the "search" button and the computer gave you a list of items that matched your request. You looked down the list (usually only three or four items) then clicked the check box next to the one you wanted. Hit the "select" button and a small ticket printer on the counter would spit out a slip showing the location of the stencil you needed. You take that ticket to the library, find the row, shelf and slot you want and pull out the stencil. You write your employee number and the date on the back of the ticket and leave it in the slot where the stencil belongs. When you have the right stencil, you enter which line you took it to in the database and you're done. If ever a worker can't find the item they are looking for there is a slip of paper with somebody's name on it so that they can go ask and there is also an entry in the database showing the last time it was used and where.

      Nobody understood the problem, in the first place, and they didn't understand the different kinds of software that could be used to solve the problem but, still, you had people fussing around with half-baked solutions that cost more in time and resources than was necessary. In fact, I had people complaining that the the original database was "gone." They couldn't understand that, technically speaking, a database and a spreadsheet use the same basic data storage format and that the main difference is what way you access that information. There was one person who complained so much that I had to make a "list" view of the database that looked like a spreadsheet in order to shut them up.

      Wouldn't you know it... Whenever that person used the database, they never printed tickets, they never used the "checked-out" feature and nobody could find things after that person's shit was over.

      It was all because of one person who did not understand the fundamentals of the job they were being asked to do and, instead tried to use half-baked solutions to solve a relatively simple problem.

      From what I heard, some of the FAA's computer systems still run on COBOL. Yes! That's old and outdated! I'm sure that they badly need an upgrade!

      The thing is that, if you have people who understand the fundamentals of the jobs they want to do and they understand the systems they work on, it is quite possible to get things done almost as efficiently as if they were using state-of-the-art technology.

      If the idiot who crashed the FAA computer system had understood (and obeyed) one simple rule: BACK UP YOUR FILES BEFORE YOU START! The whole thing probably wouldn't have happened.
      Last edited by Randy Stankey; 03-06-2023, 01:03 PM.

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      • There's nothing wrong with COBOL.

        https://gnucobol.sourceforge.io/

        I can't say that I've written anything significant with it yet, but I find it interesting to play around with.

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        • A couple of Colbol tablets in the morning... and you should be good to go.

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          • Originally posted by Randy Stankey View Post
            I don't care how new and wonderful some technology is. I don't care if it's old and
            outdated as long as it is maintained and the people in charge of it know how to use it.
            I happen to like CP-650's and still work with them at a number of venues. But just last week I got into a
            lively disagreement with a friend here who here who was insisting that a CP-650 "wouldn't even make
            a good boat anchor or door stop
            " Local environmental regulations prevent me for testing the '650's
            efficacy as a boat anchor, but as I've proven many times over- - it makes a perfectly good doorstop!
            DolbyDoorStop.jpg
            . . and it actually works better than my previous door-stop:
            ArriflexDorStop.jpg
            I kept tripping over the lens on my Arri doorstop.

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            • Jim, feel free to send me either one of those doorstops, I'll pay the shipping.


              Meantime, meet the newest edition to my stable, a 2006 YZ 125 which I picked up in September 2022 from my friend. (Along with buying a bunch of new riding gear.) This first picture is at Glen Helen Raceway on a practice day, and was my first day back on a dirt bike in over 8 years.


              20220922_152800.jpg

              This next one was a week later at my old "home" track, Perris Raceway. I used to run there a lot back in the early 1990's. This one shows my new helmet and Troy Lee race gear.
              IMG_2299.jpg
              And finally, after the bike got it's custom numbers. This was after my last visit to So Cali in November 2022, where I tried to do the Red Bull Day In The Dirt Race, which would have been my first real race in over 30 years. The bike decided to go full diva causing me to not make it onto the track for the race. So I crowned it and it's new moniker is LBS, for "Little Blue Shithead."
              20221206_122013.jpg

              I an about to go back to So Cali and get the bike's suspension custom modified for me, so that it will finally be ridable. I hope to try the Red Bull race again later this year.

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              • Saturday's Smile - 3-18-2023.jpg
                Please enter a message with at least 10 characters.

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                • Late last month, we did an advance studio preview screening of the upcoming "HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE"
                  movie due for release soon. (There was a live Q&A with the director & some others involved in the flick too)

                  - - and THIS Is One Of The Lobby Displays They Sent Us
                  Pipeline_1.jpg

                  > Thats A Real 44Gal Drum, Not A Cardboard Or Fiberglass Mock-Up
                  Pipeline_2.jpg

                  . . . I can hardly wait to see what they're going to send us for OPPENHEIMER!

                  (I'm actually trying to figure out a way to make some sort of giant dry-ice mushroom cloud
                  or something in the lobby for the opening night here)
                  Last edited by Jim Cassedy; 04-01-2023, 03:23 PM. Reason: I'm Afflicted With C-E-D: Compulsive Editing Disease

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                  • Is this particular pipeline about 15,000 feet down? Or is the movie not even about an actual pipeline?

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                    • Originally posted by Mark Gulbrandsen View Post
                      Is this particular pipeline about 15,000 feet down? Or is the movie not even about an actual pipeline?
                      Oh, geeze Mark, I had two overlapping live events AND a 35mm show to do that day, so I didn't
                      have time to sit & watch the flick, but from what I've seen in the trailer and a little bit during the
                      tech-check, it's about a college age-ish kid who enlists the help of a bunch of his friends to blow
                      up a petroleum pipeline some evil oil company has built across his father's (or grandfather's)
                      farm- - to save humanity. . or something like that.


                      The other live event was an advance premiere of the APPLE TV's "TETRIS" movie. I really
                      wish I could have watched that one, but I was really up-to-my-ears in workstuff. I clocked
                      something almost 14 (union!) hours that day- - it was just exceptionally busy and one
                      of my co-workers was off, so pretty much had to handle all three events single-handedly.‚Äč

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                      • Hey, nothing wrong with some overtime... The most time I spent in a booth was 24 hours. Egyptian theater in Boise scheduled a 24 hour film fest for the millinnium. And we only had one platter!!!

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                        • Yesterday we had a sneak-preview of another soon-to-be-released flick: "Beau Is Afraid" and the studio
                          also sent another huge display standee that took up most of the hall/lobby area that we had to put it in.
                          I'm hoping some day, they will come up with a way to holographically do 3D projections of those things-
                          - it would not only save some resources, but also the time/labor it takes a couple of 'the kids' on the
                          floor staff to set them up for display and break them down for disposal.

                          Originally posted by Mark Gulbrandsen View Post
                          And we only had one platter!!!
                          That doesn't sound like fun! Hopefully you had alotta spare film clamps and/or a "platter pocket"!
                          Also make-up & break-down must have been 'fun'.
                          I've always tried to avoid working "platter jobs" - so I've been lucky enough never to have to run
                          a festival off one. I still frequently run film, and the 'worst thing' I usually have to deal with is ones
                          arrive wound on cores- - badly.


                          This Was My Film Pile From Last Weeks' Shows
                          FilmCansApril1.jpg
                          Last edited by Jim Cassedy; 04-02-2023, 11:31 AM.

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                          • We had several sets of film clamps which helped immensnsly, three splicers, lots of tape and stuff to. And a pack up person in case I collapsed. The best part of the whole thing was starting in 1999, end finishing up in 2000...

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                            • Originally posted by Jim Cassedy View Post
                              This Was My Film Pile From Last Weeks' Shows
                              FilmCansApril1.jpg
                              That picture makes me feel sad.

                              Projecting movies has been the one thing I loved to do most, ever since I was a kid, but, now, I'm stuck in a shop, connecting wires all day long.

                              That kind of work has disappeared from my town. Digital projection is just uninteresting and unfulfilling but there's no way in Hell that I'd ever find a job like that in another place which would make the expense of moving worthwhile.

                              Some days, I just want to go to sleep and never wake up again.

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                              • buggered_bulb.png

                                This was an expensive mistake to make, and I'm sure as heck glad that it wasn't me that made it! This is a 6.5kW bulb as well, so quite an ouch.

                                I once had a co-worker who accidentally left the inner plastic wrap/sheet (the one with shoelace-type cords on it that Ushio bulbs ship with) on a bulb after installation, but it's beyond comprehension how someone could leave the entire blastproof condom on. I'm surprised that it even fitted through the UV filter hole and into the (Barco B series XL) lamphouse module, and that it didn't blow up.

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