Apparently, it IS rocket science.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Did you hear the news about the Proton rocket that crashed into the ground seconds after takeoff a couple weeks ago? They found the culprit: someone--a new guy, apparently--installed a number of sensors wrong. They had "this end up" arrows on them, and yet this genius managed to do that wrong. Further, nobody inspected his work.

    In this case, I guess TRWTF is non-keyed connectors.

    Ninja edit - link: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/proton_glonass49.html



  • To be fair, it is unusual for "this end up" to define "up".



  • IIRC, another rocket, ten or so year ago, had crashed because some part of the driver were assuming metric measure and other imperial mesures. It was not more brillant.



  • Do you mean this one? Another famous crash (Ariane 5) was caused by the overflow of a variable.



  • @FrostCat said:

    They had "this end up" arrows on them
    Conjecture; they were probably installed with those arrows pointing up. The trouble is that they wee installed on a rocket segment which was at that point lying upside down on the construction bench. Nothing looked wrong when they were fitted or inspected, because the segment remained that way up when it was inspected. When the segment was subsequently added to the completed rocket, it was rotated 180° and placed in position, causing the arrows to now point down.

    The solution is to replace "This way up" with "This end points towards the pointy end of the rocket". Or "This way up. And make sure the part you are fitting it onto is the right way up first. Eejit."



  •  In space, there is no up.



  • @dhromed said:

    In space, there is no up.

    Sure there is. Look down at your feet. See them? Okay, up is in the opposite direction.



  • Even if you're sitting and your feet are perpendicular to your head? Space is awesome!



  • @Ronald said:

    Do you mean this one? Another famous crash (Ariane 5) was caused by the overflow of a variable.

    Mariner 1 had to be shot down because one of the algorithms for on-board flight control was given to the programmer with a single missing character.



  • @KillaCoda said:

    Even if you're sitting and your feet are perpendicular to your head? Space is awesome!

    When I sit, my feet are still pointing down.



  • @TarquinWJ said:

    The solution is to replace "This way up" with "This end points towards the pointy end of the rocket". Or "This way up. And make sure the part you are fitting it onto is the right way up first. Eejit."

    No, the solution is to make it asymmetric so that there's only one way that it fits.



  •  @morbiuswilters said:

    When I sit, my feet are still pointing down.

    That's not because of any definitions of up and down, that's because you're a tiny hobbit and your feet don't reach all the way to the floor.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @KillaCoda said:
    Even if you're sitting and your feet are perpendicular to your head? Space is awesome!

    When I sit, my feet are still pointing down.



  • @pjt33 said:

    the solution is to make it asymmetric so that there's only one way that it fits
    If you make something idiot proof, someone will just make a better idiot. They will fit it backwards and upside down, from the wrong side of the panel, so that the shape still fits. Or use a hammer. Everything fits when you use a hammer. When mistakes happen, someone gets fired. It's always good to have some grunt to blame when it all goes wrong. If you make it impossible for them to make mistakes, then it's you who will be blamed when something else goes wrong instead. Think ahead, you know.



  • @TarquinWJ said:

    Everything fits when you use a hammer. When mistakes happen, someone gets fired.
     

    I even use a hammer to fire people, so I can skip on all that nasty paperwork.

    "Mr Johnson is... no longer with us"



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Mariner 1 had to be shot down because one of the algorithms for on-board flight control was given to the programmer with a single missing character.

    If Wikipedia is anything to go by, the orgy of inaccuracy surrounding accounts of that particular episode makes your own contribution ("shot down") rather minor...



  • @Ronald said:

    Another famous crash (Ariane 5) was caused by the overflow of a variable.

    Well, this would never have happened if those engines weren't so damn powerful (IIRC the same variable was used by Ariane 4 with no problem at all)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    When I sit, my feet are still pointing down.
    What about when you put your feet up?



  • @TarquinWJ said:

    @pjt33 said:
    the solution is to make it asymmetric so that there's only one way that it fits
    If you make something idiot proof, someone will just make a better idiot. They will fit it backwards and upside down, from the wrong side of the panel, so that the shape still fits. Or use a hammer. Everything fits when you use a hammer. When mistakes happen, someone gets fired. It's always good to have some grunt to blame when it all goes wrong. If you make it impossible for them to make mistakes, then it's you who will be blamed when something else goes wrong instead. Think ahead, you know.

    http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_abuse.shtml

    These ones are likely relevant to our conversation.

    @Story said:

    A customer had bought a computer from us about a year ago and a
    Voodoo 3 card just yesterday. He took it home and tried to install it
    but couldn't, so he brought them both in this morning. He ranted and
    raved, etc. He had reboxed the Voodoo 3, expecting a replacement, so
    we took the computer and the Voodoo 3 in the back and told him we would
    fit it for free. When we opened the box for the Voodoo 3, it was in a
    terrible state. The bit of metal that attaches the card to the case
    was taken off, and a wee heatsink had been scraped off the chip with
    a screwdriver. I reglued the sink and reattached the backplate.
    So we opened the machine, and tried to fit the card. Ack. Card is AGP,
    computer has exactly zero AGP slots. So we went back to the front.

    • Me: "Sir, your computer has no AGP slots, and this is an AGP video card."
    • Customer: "Yeah, but the card fit perfectly into the little white slot."
    • Me: "Which white slot?"
    • Guy: "There's five of them -- little white ones. There's a spare one."
    • Me: "The PCI slot? Uhh...it shouldn't...let me check."

    Sure enough, if you remove the heatsink and backplate, turn the card around, and really hammer it into the only free PCI slot, it will just fit snugly next to the hard disk.

    We explained that the AGP card was completely destroyed and he had voided the warranty on it by hacking away at it with a screwdriver. The usual mad customer vs. techie exchange ensued, but he eventually backed down and bought the PCI version instead...and got us to fit it.

    @Story said:

    My mom had some problems with her system and figured she'd get a new modem. After she installed it, there were more problems than before. It turned out the modem was an ISA modem, and she somehow managed to put it into a PCI slot. How, I have no idea.

    @Story said:

    A customer came into the store one day to return an internal modem, which he had purchased a few days earlier. He complained that it would not work. I took the modem out of the package and could scarcely believe my eyes.

    The card had been filed down to about half its original size.

    • Tech Support: "Why has this card been filed?"
    • Customer: "The modem didn't fit in the slot, so I had to file it till it would fit."

    @Story said:


    • Customer: "I just bought a Pentium II 300 from you, and I installed it as the manual instructed."
    • Tech Support: "Let's go over the jumper settings of the board, and make sure all the connections are correct."
    • Customer: "I know that is installed right. I've done this hundreds of times."
    • Tech Support: "Ok, take the CPU out of the slot and reinsert it, making sure it snaps into place."
    • Customer: "The CPU doesn't seem to fit properly. Why don't I just bring this in. You will look at it, right?"
    • Tech Support: "Sure, no problem."

    When the customer brought the motherboard and CPU in, I could not keep myself from laughing. He had installed the CPU into an ISA slot. He had actually cut the housing of the Pentium II CPU to make it fit.

    @Story said:

    • Customer: "Where can I get a BIOS upgrade for by 286 computer?"
    • Tech Support: "The unit should have been shipped with the latest bios."
    • Customer: "Well, I upgraded the processor myself, and my computer doesn't seem to work."
    • Tech Support: "What did you upgrade the processor to?"
    • Customer: "I upgraded it to a 486DX-50."
    • Tech Support: "Sir...the 286 chip is soldered on the motherboard!"
    • Customer: "I know, I took out my handy soldering iron and took it out and put the 486 on myself."
    • Tech Support: "Sir, the 486 is bigger than the 286."
    • Customer: "I know, I had to use quite a bit of solder to solder the extra pins together."

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @dhromed said:

    In space, there is no up.

    Sure there is. Look down at your feet. See them? Okay, up is in the opposite direction.

    Wait, so for about 2 to 2 and a half hours every night, subjective up moves from towards the center  of the earth, to west, to towards the sky, to some wierd combination of any two of the above for my fiance?  With, of course combinations of towards and away from her head?  No wonder she's incoherent during and for periods of time afterwards.  The cognitive dissonance alone .......



  • @Medezark said:

    to some wierd combination of any two of the above for my fiance?

    Oh, she's pregnant? Congrats.

     

    Edit
    ohhhh ok. Right. Yeah.



  • @TheLazyHase said:

    IIRC, another rocket, ten or so year ago, had crashed because some part of the driver were assuming metric measure and other imperial mesures. It was not more brillant.

    That was actually the Mars Climate Orbiter. Funny story, one of my coworkers worked for Lockheed at that time, on the MCO project. We give him a hard time, even though he insists it wasn't him.

    It probably wasn't, but we still give him a hard time


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @TarquinWJ said:

    Conjecture; they were probably installed with those arrows pointing up. The trouble is that they wee installed on a rocket segment which was at that point lying upside down on the construction bench.

    Do you have any idea how many Proton rockets have been made? This is something the Russians have been doing for literally 50 years (wikipedia says first launch was 1965.) What you're talking about is like walking out of the house without pants.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @pjt33 said:

    @TarquinWJ said:
    The solution is to replace "This way up" with "This end points towards the pointy end of the rocket". Or "This way up. And make sure the part you are fitting it onto is the right way up first. Eejit."

    No, the solution is to make it asymmetric so that there's only one way that it fits.

    Exactly: Like I said, keyed connectors.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @FrostCat said:

    Like I said, keyed connectors.
    That just means it takes more force to insert it.



  • @dkf said:

    @FrostCat said:
    Like I said, keyed connectors.
    That just means it takes more force to insert it.
     

    Yes, but you expect people working on that to be at least the same level as you putting in a new video card. You don't know exactly how those parts are made, but you're competent enough to install them when given asymmetric connectors.



  • @dkf said:

    That just means it takes more force to insert it.
     

    That's what she said.

    Your honour.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Exactly: Like I said, keyed connectors.
     

    Assuming the component is correctly placed in its slot - what makes you so sure the keyed receptacle will be placed in the correct orientation?



  • @FrostCat said:

    @TarquinWJ said:
    Conjecture; they were probably installed with those arrows pointing up. The trouble is that they wee installed on a rocket segment which was at that point lying upside down on the construction bench.

    Do you have any idea how many Proton rockets have been made? This is something the Russians have been doing for literally 50 years (wikipedia says first launch was 1965.) What you're talking about is like walking out of the house without pants.

    OMFSM, don't give the Wilters more ideas.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @dkf said:

    @FrostCat said:
    Like I said, keyed connectors.
    That just means it takes more force to insert it.

    Please provide pictures of the next A-type USB cable you manage to plug in backwards, because I'd really like to see what it looks like.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @too_many_usernames said:

    @FrostCat said:

    Exactly: Like I said, keyed connectors.
     

    Assuming the component is correctly placed in its slot - what makes you so sure the keyed receptacle will be placed in the correct orientation?

    Don't make me go all "it's turtles all the way down" on you. Ever looked closely at the kind of (for example) Ethernet or USB jack you solder on to a motherboard? It wouldn't be difficult to design them with a key.

    Then again, I'll admit, I'm more the sort of person who would try to make sure people are adequately trained, with the ability to fire people who have proven they can't follow simple instructions.

    Edit: For example, look at this: . It would be a trivial design change to move one of the two lugs or make it wider than the other one.

    If that picture doesn't work right, here's the product page.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @D-Coder said:

    @FrostCat said:

    @TarquinWJ said:
    Conjecture; they were probably installed with those arrows pointing up. The trouble is that they wee installed on a rocket segment which was at that point lying upside down on the construction bench.

    Do you have any idea how many Proton rockets have been made? This is something the Russians have been doing for literally 50 years (wikipedia says first launch was 1965.) What you're talking about is like walking out of the house without pants.

    OMFSM, don't give the Wilters more ideas.

    As if Morbs hasn't already thought of that.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @dkf said:
    @FrostCat said:
    Like I said, keyed connectors.
    That just means it takes more force to insert it.

    Please provide pictures of the next A-type USB cable you manage to plug in backwards, because I'd really like to see what it looks like.

    http://www.rm.com/Support/TechnicalArticle.asp?cref=TEC1670975 close enough for you? Or maybe http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/R-L-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/ThinkPad-hangs-on-boot-stuck-at-Thinkpad-screen/ta-p/301526


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @PJH said:

    @FrostCat said:
    @dkf said:
    @FrostCat said:
    Like I said, keyed connectors.
    That just means it takes more force to insert it.

    Please provide pictures of the next A-type USB cable you manage to plug in backwards, because I'd really like to see what it looks like.

    http://www.rm.com/Support/TechnicalArticle.asp?cref=TEC1670975 close enough for you? Or maybe http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/R-L-Series-ThinkPad-Laptops/ThinkPad-hangs-on-boot-stuck-at-Thinkpad-screen/ta-p/301526

    Well, that's certainly impressive in it's idiocity, athough it's not particularly surprising. Fortunately, I have already applied a fallback position: If you are building something as your job and you have to do that, you should be summarily fired.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @too_many_usernames said:

    @FrostCat said:

    Exactly: Like I said, keyed connectors.
     

    Assuming the component is correctly placed in its slot - what makes you so sure the keyed receptacle will be placed in the correct orientation?

    Don't make me go all "it's turtles all the way down" on you. Ever looked closely at the kind of (for example) Ethernet or USB jack you solder on to a motherboard? It wouldn't be difficult to design them with a key.

    Then again, I'll admit, I'm more the sort of person who would try to make sure people are adequately trained, with the ability to fire people who have proven they can't follow simple instructions.

    Edit: For example, look at this: . It would be a trivial design change to move one of the two lugs or make it wider than the other one.

    If that picture doesn't work right, here's the product page.

    And directly from the linked product page: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/115

     



  • @mott555 said:

    @Story said:

    • Customer: "I just bought a Pentium II 300 from you, and I installed it as the manual instructed."
    • Tech Support: "Let's go over the jumper settings of the board, and make sure all the connections are correct."
    • Customer: "I know that is installed right. I've done this hundreds of times."
    • Tech Support: "Ok, take the CPU out of the slot and reinsert it, making sure it snaps into place."
    • Customer: "The CPU doesn't seem to fit properly. Why don't I just bring this in. You will look at it, right?"
    • Tech Support: "Sure, no problem."

    When the customer brought the motherboard and CPU in, I could not keep myself from laughing. He had installed the CPU into an ISA slot. He had actually cut the housing of the Pentium II CPU to make it fit.

     

    Confession time.  While I didn't do anything *quite* this stupid, back in the Pentium 3 era at one point I ordered a new CPU and motherboard to upgrade my computer. The place sent me the right motherboard, but the wrong CPU.

    Unfortunately, the CPU they did send was about the same size as the one I was expecting... but its pin layout was very different.  So when I tried to put it in the socket, it wouldn't go in.  I figured it was just being stubborn, and tried to push it in with more force.  When it still wouldn't go in, I looked at the CPU, and saw that I'd managed to bend the heck out of several of the pins.  Then I looked at the CPU more closely, and saw that it wasn't what I had ordered and was designed for a different socket!

    But at least the place I ordered it from accepted responsibility--they had sent me a different chip than what I ordered, afterall--and didn't charge me for the damaged CPU.  I sent it back to them and got the chip I'd ordered a few days later.

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Medezark said:

    @FrostCat said:

    @too_many_usernames said:

    @FrostCat said:

    Exactly: Like I said, keyed connectors.
     

    Assuming the component is correctly placed in its slot - what makes you so sure the keyed receptacle will be placed in the correct orientation?

    Don't make me go all "it's turtles all the way down" on you. Ever looked closely at the kind of (for example) Ethernet or USB jack you solder on to a motherboard? It wouldn't be difficult to design them with a key.

    Then again, I'll admit, I'm more the sort of person who would try to make sure people are adequately trained, with the ability to fire people who have proven they can't follow simple instructions.

    Edit: For example, look at this: . It would be a trivial design change to move one of the two lugs or make it wider than the other one.

    If that picture doesn't work right, here's the product page.

    And directly from the linked product page: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/115

     

    Actually, that wasn't what I linked. Regardless, it illustrates my point: in retrospect, it's a weak design because it isn't keyed in any way. Compare the sockets on this goofily-named Papilio.



  • @Hatshepsut said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Mariner 1 had to be shot down because one of the algorithms for on-board flight control was given to the programmer with a single missing character.

    If Wikipedia is anything to go by, the orgy of inaccuracy surrounding accounts of that particular episode makes your own contribution ("shot down") rather minor...

    Sorry, by "shot down" I meant "remotely detonated", which is usually how astray rockets are destroyed.



  • @dhromed said:

     In space, there is no up.

     



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Sure there is. Look down at your feet. See them? Okay, up is in the opposite direction.
     

     



  • With your feet in the air and your head on the ground,

    try this trick and spin it-- yeah!

    Your head will collapse,

    but there's nothing in it,

    and you'll ask yourself...

    Where is my mind?



  • @dhromed said:

    In space, there is no up.
     

    Remember, the enemy's gate is down.

     



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    @dhromed said:

    In space, there is no up.
     

    Remember, the enemy's gate is down.



    Ugh, I am now imagining that quote on a Hot Topic shirt after the new Ender's Game movie hits.

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Snooder said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:
    Remember, the enemy's gate is down.
    Ugh, I am now imagining that quote on a Hot Topic shirt after the new Ender's Game movie hits.
    Actually, that probably calls for an Irish Girl shirt there, but it's too late for me to try to draw such a thing. (Heck, given my drawing skills, it's always too late for that. Diagrams? Yes. Art? No.)



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Sure there is. Look down at your feet. See them? Okay, up is in the opposite direction.
     

     

    Why does the expression "head over heels" imply that there's something unusual about that arrangement?  My head is higher than (and therefore "over") my heels a good two-thirds of the time.

    The same people probably came up with "put on your shoes and socks".

    And how about those songs that say "put your hands in the air like you just don't care"?  If I don't care, my hands are staying at my side where they naturally come to rest.  I have to care at least a little bit to go to the effort of putting them in the air.

     



  • @da Doctah said:

    Why does the expression "head over heels" imply that there's something unusual about that arrangement?

    It started as "heels over head" but for whatever reason changed.

    Another one people always have trouble with: "have your cake and eat it, too". A clearer phrasing is "eat your cake and have it, too", which makes the meaning of "to derive enjoyment from something transient but to also want to retain it for later" obvious.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @dhromed said:

    In space, there is no up.

    Sure there is. Look down at your feet. See them? Okay, up is in the opposite direction.

    No! Up is whatever direction is opposite to the gravitational force.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @da Doctah said:
    Why does the expression "head over heels" imply that there's something unusual about that arrangement?

    It started as "heels over head" but for whatever reason changed.

    Another one people always have trouble with: "have your cake and eat it, too". A clearer phrasing is "eat your cake and have it, too", which makes the meaning of "to derive enjoyment from something transient but to also want to retain it for later" obvious.

    Or "lock and load." You LOAD your gun, and then you LOCK the magazine (or the cylinder, if you're wheelgun-inclined) in place.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Or "lock and load." You LOAD your gun, and then you LOCK the magazine (or the cylinder, if you're wheelgun-inclined) in place.
     

    A lock in the case of firearms is the ignition mechanism -- See Flintlock, wheelock, hammerlock etc. on wikipedia.

    From my Army days, the "Load" command was an instruction to Load the magazine into the rifle.

    the Ready command involved (amongst other things) Cocking the rifle and putting it on safe.

    So the Ready Command is equivalent to a "Lock" command.  

    It is absolutely impossible to "Ready" or "Lock" a weapon that is not previously loaded.

    (Technically, you could go through the motions, but from a State Transition perspective, it can't be done.)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



  • Why do people post stuff like that?


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