Tony Duell wrote:
But I routinely flip through databooks looking for
Not necessarily from the highlighted specifications. Or even the data
sheet on that device. I might spot an application circuit, see some
device in it that I've not heard of, look it up, and then file away in
the back of my brain that <foo company> makes a useful chip to do <bar>,
the data sheet is in book <baz>. And I'll rememebr that when I have that
sort of problem to solve.
I have yet to find a way to do that efficiently with pdf files.
I'll concede that point.
Ah, well, alas I am one of those folks. My moan about
pdf is that it's
not portable. At least not to any of the 200 or so computers I own (well,
I guess I included "printing" as a portable destination that was a
lowest common denominator.
Plain text is readable on just about every machine I
own. It's printable
on just about every printer I own. And it is possible to represent all I
need in plain text. Document formatting is not something that is that
important to preserve, at least not for the things I read.
Maybe you can glean layouts for parts from text only data, but I simply
must have a picture to go by when I lay out parts in PCB design.
I have _never_ found a computer or electronics company
that offers what
I consider to be even marginally adequate technical support. I've
contacts many, both privately, when working at well-known universities,
and when working at large, well-known companies. Without exception they
have been useless.
Can't argue there. I am called in to deal with this issue
on a daily basis.
That's one reason I insist on being able to
everything I depend on myself (meaning that I have schematics, source
Admirable, but unrealistic, in my opinion. Systems today have gotten so
complicated, that one person cannot possible gather and retain all of
the information. Our main admin system runs on zOS, but it is buried
behind miles of interfaces, middleware, application specific hardware
appliances, and web GUIs. I cannot and will not ask a person who
depends on that system to be available to have access to all of that
the necessary program from scratch. A trivial example.
I had to convert
some ROM dumps from one format to another. There may be a program that
does just what I want if I give it the right options. But by the time
I've found the program, worked out what those options are, etc, I might
as well have writen the 10 lines or so of C to do the job.
I have been misunderstood. If developers want to write little utilities
for such things, I'm fine with that. It's the "multi-week developments
they insist on doing themselves because they don't want to learn a tool,
or can't image a tool could be as elegant as what they are cooking up"
solutions that I speak of. If you want to spend a day writing a script
to parse some ROM or clean up a dataset as a one time thing, I'd join
you, as I do the same thing (long live AWK, SED, PERL, SH, etc.). But,
when someone spend weeks re-implementing something I could have
purchased for $1000.00, I'm not as happy. If the support is horrid, I
say find an open source tool that performs the function and learn *THAT*
You may think I'm misguided, but I can definitely provide information to
back up my position. Perhaps no one else in here has this issue, and so
I am outnumbered. But, I at least stated my position, with the
possibility you'll consider it. Maybe, if I find myself at a gathering
of folks from the group at some point, I'll be happy to discuss it over
a favorite beverage and you all can convince me why I'm wrong.
But, regardless of whether I am right or wrong, I feel there is great
responsibility in being an experienced software or hardware
developer/technician/engineer. I always try to include those folks,
because they've "been there, done that", and have seen what works and
what does not. In my opinion, the best are those who can keep one foot
in the past "Jim, there is no way that will work, CICS just does not
keep a connection open that long") and one in the future "We can use XML
for that. We used to dislike verbose formats like that, for space
reasons, but DASD is cheap now and we see value in that format").