• Addison (unregistered)

    I am scared.

    About $10,000 could increase efficiency by a factor of 10.

    and 9 out of 10 numbers are pulled straight outta my a$$!

  • Some annoying Swede (unregistered)

    Umeå lays far too north to take the train. There train station isn't even directly connected to the rail road networks backbone, so one have to change in some even smaller town if one wants to leave Umeå by train!

    It takes 7½ hours by train and bus to Stockholm (capitol of Sweden) compared to about 1 hour (plus transfers) by flight.

    I think I'll take a plane if I'm going to Umeå!

  • DOA (cs) in reply to Some annoying Swede
    Some annoying Swede:
    Umeå lays far too north to take the train. There train station isn't even directly connected to the rail road networks backbone, so one have to change in some even smaller town if one wants to leave Umeå by train!

    It takes 7½ hours by train and bus to Stockholm (capitol of Sweden) compared to about 1 hour (plus transfers) by flight.

    I think I'll take a plane if I'm going to Umeå!

    Having read this post I would like to nominate it for the Most Accurate Username award.

  • Valerion (unregistered)

    Who says the train companies do their maintenance any better?

  • RPJS (unregistered) in reply to Valerion
    Valerion:
    Who says the train companies do their maintenance any better?

    Indeed they may not - in fact as they're nothing like as heavily regulated as the airlines they probably don't. But on the whole the likely failure modes for trains tend not to be quite as catastrophic as for aircraft, and the really bad ones tend to be more to do with the failure of the infrastructure rather than the vehicle.

  • fuzzylollipop (unregistered) in reply to Valerion

    I think the point is that trains don't fall out of the sky.

  • Jamie (unregistered) in reply to Valerion
    Valerion:
    Who says the train companies do their maintenance any better?

    If the train engine falls off... I would think you stand a better chance of not becoming a crater.

  • Maurits (cs)

    TRWTF is the implication that going to a computer system would be safer.

    Paper doesn't crash.

  • James (unregistered)

    Heh, slow read but worth it for the punchline. I've been reading the site long enough, though, that all I can managed is a tiny, slightly-disappointed sigh.

  • Packrat (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Biff (unregistered)
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

  • Satanicpuppy (cs) in reply to Addison
    Addison:
    I am scared.

    About $10,000 could increase efficiency by a factor of 10.

    and 9 out of 10 numbers are pulled straight outta my a$$!

    All we see here, day in and day out, are chaotic, poorly designed systems, and your first thought on seeing that the airline people have an extremely simple system, and rely on their own training more than on some poorly coded tool, is "OMG they're not using enough technology! They're doomed!"

    I'd much rather they were dealing with binders and pdfs than putting their faith in a system that misplaced every 1000th critical update.

  • A ha! (unregistered) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Likely any other cigarette. (The "C" is capitalized for a reason)

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Camels as in Camel cigarettes, not camels the animal.

  • Ryan (unregistered)

    How many of you work for companies that don't have WTFs going on all day every day?

    The truth is that while we, as geeks, think the best solution is the one that uses the most high-tech, clean, approach, sometimes an old paper binder works better.

    Sometimes, people still look at computer systems as an unnecessary expense, as a bit of a novelty.

    Yeah, some of us might work for silicon valley startups with beer kegs in the breakroom and every whiz-bang new piece of technology at our disposal, but I would argue that MOST Of us work for companies that still look at IT as a sortof barely necessary evil.

    Sigh....maybe i just need a new job.

  • Bob (unregistered) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    As you're being inaccurately pedantic, I feel the need to act similarly. It's a brand of cigarette.

  • B-Rad (unregistered) in reply to Biff

    Camels = Camel Cigarettes... the official cigarette of general aviation.

    CAPTCHA=ullamcorper

  • A ha! (unregistered) in reply to A ha!
    A ha!:
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Likely any other cigarette. (The "C" is capitalized for a reason)

    Although, I would think jet fuel and smoking do not mix, so I could be wrong on that. ;)

  • ponder (unregistered)

    For Packrat's information, small aircraft do not crash frequently....usually only once!

  • populus (unregistered) in reply to Biff
    Comment held for moderation.
  • snoofle (cs)

    I once worked for Allied Signal Aerospace. One of our tasks was to automate the updating of (military) aircraft component maintenance manuals.

    Before: subcontractor updates document, prints pages, mails to contractor (repeat if nested subcontractors). Primary contractor delivers copies of updates to assorted customers. Customers internal copy/deploy procedures get the updates to the line mechanics. Typical delay time: 9 months.

    Proposal by customer: subcontractor updates electronic doc (no web stuff at that time). Updates are e-mailed up and down the chain. Email containing the update is printed out and inserted into the paper document by the mechanic. Typical delay time: 1 month

    What we did: devise system to scan, disect and markup (SGML at the time) paper documents. Pass through automated spell correction, etc, and technical readers to verify scan/dissection/correctness. Provide now on-line doc to sub/contractors, so it could be modified, and changes passed up/down the chain electronically. The mechanic would simply download the latest approved manual. Typical delay time: still 1 month (mostly due to proofreading, etc).

    What they decided upon: Let's stick with paper because we don't trust electronic documents.

    sigh

  • All-Beef Patty (unregistered) in reply to ponder
    ponder:
    For Packrat's information, small aircraft do not crash frequently....usually only once!

    And if they crash more than once, it means they didn't do it right the first time.

  • Outlaw Programmer (cs) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    I'm pretty sure the author was actually referring to the Camels, which smell like a bunch of dirty hippies.

  • Wyrd (unregistered)

    Ah, that reminds of my previous job as a Plant Operator at the Blue River Wastewater Treatment plant. Hmm.. maybe I should write one or more WTFs about that... yeah, I might do that.

    At that job, I was considered the techie/smart one because I knew how to "go down to the next line" when writing an email. Before I told them to use the [ENTER] key, most folks just typed a whole bunch of spaces. Seriously.

    -- Furry cows moo and decompress.

  • Some IT girl who used to work with airlines (unregistered)

    It is truly scary how much of airline operation and maintenance doesn't rely on computers. I used to work for a company that tried to implement a computerized maintenance system for US airline maintenance. (Though I use the term "tried", the company technically hasn't given up yet, but they're just lurching along like a zombie that has no idea it's dead...). Behind the high-tech tools used in terminals to impress the passengers, there is almost no tech in most maintenance bays (this includes major US airlines)! A plane comes in, a manager has to find the paper record to see what the plane is due for, then manually compiles a list of work that needs to be done on carbon-paper forms. The mechanics take part of the carbon-paper forms, see what job needs to be done, opens a huge book that has the updated job requirements, completes job, stamps the paper with their personalized ink stamp, and returns the paper to the manager who uses the papers to see which jobs are completed. This system is in desperate need of computerization, but $10,000 would never come close to fulfilling the airline's needs. My ex-company spent (wasted) thousands to millions of dollars implementing their system, but it was never actually able to modernize all aspects of airline maintenance (and this company was one of the few that managed to even have any success!). After seeing how things were managed on the "modern" maintenance bay floor, it is said that you were either much less, or much more afraid to fly. I grip my arm rests whenever unfortunate enough to get stuck in a plane...

  • Jamie (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Camels as in Camel cigarettes, not camels the animal.

    Oh, I thought he meant "camel case", which could smell good or bad, depending on developer opinion...

  • Mcoder (cs)

    Why is it classified as a WTF? Are teir procedures not working?

    I mean, if they had a real CMS, would their products be safer? Really? Or would their productivity increase a lot?

    The same questioning is valid for a on-line order system, automatic BPM, or any of the systems the students expected to find there.

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    They smell like pungent horses. Not that surprising really.

  • Zylon (cs) in reply to Outlaw Programmer
    Outlaw Programmer:
    I'm pretty sure the author was actually referring to the Camels, which smell like a bunch of dirty hippies.
    You don't believe that at all, you big liar.
  • Outlaw Programmer (cs) in reply to Zylon
    Zylon:
    Outlaw Programmer:
    I'm pretty sure the author was actually referring to the Camels, which smell like a bunch of dirty hippies.
    You don't believe that at all, you big liar.

    You got me. The author was actually referring to camel toes but I wasn't brave enough to dig up the wiki link from work...

  • pitchingchris (cs) in reply to Jamie
    Jamie:
    Valerion:
    Who says the train companies do their maintenance any better?

    If the train engine falls off... I would think you stand a better chance of not becoming a crater.

    Since we really don't know this til you try it, this should make a great MythBusters episode. Train wrecks are more common than most people know, and there is some good businesses that do nothing but restore parts from train wreckages.

  • Code Dependent (cs) in reply to B-Rad
    B-Rad:
    Camels = Camel Cigarettes... the official cigarette of general aviation.
    [image]
  • SuperousOxide (cs) in reply to Jamie
    Jamie:
    Valerion:
    Who says the train companies do their maintenance any better?

    If the train engine falls off... I would think you stand a better chance of not becoming a crater.

    But can your seat still be used as a flotation device?

  • Code Dependent (cs) in reply to Wyrd
    Wyrd:
    Ah, that reminds of my previous job as a Plant Operator at the Blue River Wastewater Treatment plant.
    "Yellow River" or "Brown River" would have been a more appropriate name.
  • halcyon1234 (cs) in reply to Biff
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Because once you've smelled a jet-powered camel, you never, ever forget.

  • ATimson (cs) in reply to Mcoder
    Mcoder:
    Why is it classified as a WTF? Are teir procedures not working?
    Since they don't have the technology they think they do, and since their system encourages the use of out-of-date information... yes, I'd say that their procedures aren't working.
    Mcoder:
    I mean, if they had a real CMS, would their products be safer? Really? Or would their productivity increase a lot?
    Depending on how diligent mechanics are about looking things up in the updates, yes, their products might well be safer. And either way their productivity would increase noticeably.
  • Bear (unregistered) in reply to Some IT girl who used to work with airlines
    Some IT girl who used to work with airlines:
    It is truly scary how much of airline operation and maintenance doesn't rely on computers.
    I disagree completely. Knowing that airline operation does NOT rely on computers heavily makes me feel more comfortable. Last thing I would want is some retarded content system spewing out the wrong maintenance instructions because of a bug. Paper manuals also work in the absence of electricity, and it's more difficult to remotely change the contents of a paper manual if you have malicious intent.

    Computers are nice, but whenever something truly important is relying on them, I tend to get nervous.

    I write software for a living. I know how easy it is for a bug to get through testing and hide out in production for weeks or months, suddenly jumping out to ruin my day.

  • Duke of New York (unregistered)

    Wonderful, we've got a new troll... and the same old idiots who bite.

  • Neil (unregistered)

    Klaus began, "So, ya boys wanna learn about how we use computers in the high tech field of modern avionics? C'mon - step into my office - pull yerselves up a chair!"

    Why does the Swedish mechanic's dialog sound like a hick? Does his Swedish somehow translate differently into English than the others?

  • Kermos (cs) in reply to Bear
    Bear:
    I write software for a living.

    GASP Really!? You do!? Amazing!!

  • Franz Kafka (unregistered) in reply to Neil
    Neil:
    Klaus began, "So, ya boys wanna learn about how we use computers in the high tech field of modern avionics? C'mon - step into my office - pull yerselves up a chair!"

    Why does the Swedish mechanic's dialog sound like a hick? Does his Swedish somehow translate differently into English than the others?

    He's a small town plane mechanic - probably is a hick.

  • CynicalTyler (unregistered) in reply to Bear
    Bear:
    ... Computers are nice, but whenever something truly important is relying on them, I tend to get nervous.

    I write software for a living...

    Perhaps you're in the wrong line of work.

  • bramster (unregistered) in reply to Bear
    Bear:
    Some IT girl who used to work with airlines:
    It is truly scary how much of airline operation and maintenance doesn't rely on computers.
    I disagree completely. Knowing that airline operation does NOT rely on computers heavily makes me feel more comfortable. Last thing I would want is some retarded content system spewing out the wrong maintenance instructions because of a bug. Paper manuals also work in the absence of electricity, and it's more difficult to remotely change the contents of a paper manual if you have malicious intent.

    Computers are nice, but whenever something truly important is relying on them, I tend to get nervous.

    I write software for a living. I know how easy it is for a bug to get through testing and hide out in production for weeks or months, suddenly jumping out to ruin my day.

    Bang On! I too write software for a living, and fly a small airplane. It is great comfort to me to be able to check through my technical log and that the required inspections and repairs/replacements have been properly performed.

    Even on fairly ancient aircraft (mine is 1966 vintage), new problems can still arise, resulting in the dreaded "AD", or airworthiness directive.

    The paperwork ensures that the Insurance Companies know who to go after in the event an aircraft ends up cratering a schoolyard during recess.

    There was an earlier comment about small aircraft crashing more often because of poor maintenance. Not so. Small aircraft crash more often because:

    1. Too many pilots are optimists about fuel consumption, and run out of gas. Oops.

    2. Too many pilots are too optimistic about their and their airplanes' abilities to fly in bad weather.

  • T604 (unregistered)

    As someone who has worked on Air Force TO's (manuals) and Army Tech Manuals... Let me tell you its not much different in the worlds "finest military."

  • T604 (unregistered) in reply to snoofle
    snoofle:
    (SGML at the time) paper documents. *sigh*

    Still is SGML (or was 3 or 4 years ago).

    sigh

  • Simon (unregistered)

    In a trying-to-be-helpful sort of way (although I shan't deny being a pedantic so-and-so): There's a typo in the penultimate paragraph: udpate for update.

    From Mark: Fixed! Thanks!

  • CoffeeZombie (unregistered)
    ATimson:
    Since they don't have the technology they think they do, and since their system encourages the use of out-of-date information... yes, I'd say that their procedures aren't working.
    Huh...the impression I got from the article was that, because they had to check the more updated paper manuals anyway, the system simply didn't get used (either that, or it really messed up their productivity because they had to check it and the paper manuals whereas before they only had to check the paper manuals).

    On a different note, I can understand Bear's sentiment. For most people, there's either the "I don't understand it, so I don't trust it" knee-jerk reaction to software, or there's the "it's a black box; smart people were paid a lot [ha, ha] to write this, so I'll just have to assume it works" reaction (which is more-and-more the typical response, just like with any other engineering product; how many of us go inspect a bridge before driving over it?). However, for those of us who write software, we're in the unfortunate situation of often knowing at how many places it can fail.

  • Funkadelic (unregistered)

    I built software for charter airlines. The industry is notoriously cheap. As a GM said to me once, "our major capital expenditure last quarter was a water cooler". Thank God for industry regulation.

  • Pauller (unregistered) in reply to A ha!
    A ha!:
    A ha!:
    Biff:
    Smelling like a combination of jet fuel and Camels, he sure didn't look like management.

    Ignoring the fact that we don't smell with our eyes, I would be curious to know how the author knows what a camel smells like?

    Likely any other cigarette. (The "C" is capitalized for a reason)

    Although, I would think jet fuel and smoking do not mix, so I could be wrong on that. ;)

    Truly. I would also expect the smell of burnt flesh in that same sentence ...

  • moz (unregistered) in reply to snoofle
    snoofle:
    The mechanic would simply download the latest approved manual.
    I don't suppose the mechanics were overjoyed at the prospect of having to print out manuals each time they wanted to do a job.

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