Networking

Are you a technologist or a magician, or both?


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

-- Arthur C. Clarke

I recently discovered this quote from Clarke, and it has been haunting my thoughts ever since. It reminded me of a time a couple years ago when I took my son to the bathroom at a brand new Home Depot. The lights turned on automatically when we entered, the water automatically poured out when he put his hands under the faucet, and when he reached up toward the paper towel dispenser, it quickly spit a towel at him, which made his eyebrows shoot up and his mouth drop open. When we walked out, he told my wife, "Mom! They've got a magic bathroom!" 

Of course, I wasn't quite as impressed. I knew that the bathroom was powered by some cheap and simple motion-sensing technologies and that Home Depot used them to save money by cutting down on wasted resources. The bathroom was magical to my son because he didn't understand why these things worked the way they did or the behind-the-scenes technologies that made it happen. To me, it drove home the point that what we view as "magic" almost always involves mystery. Once you understand how something works, you take away the mystery, and usually the sense of magic as well. 

As a result, those of us who understand the hows, the whys, and the science behind technology can lose our sense of wonder and magic. That's especially true for IT pros, who have to make the magic work -- and keep it working -- every day.  However, most of the end users that IT pros support still occasionally have a sense of magic about technology, especially when it involves making their jobs easier, faster, or better. 

Making magic 

I can think of several times when I implemented solutions for users that felt like magic to them:  

  • The first time I set up a VPN connection for a user that needed to work remotely, the user was slack-jawed. She had just gotten a cable Internet connection at home. I had already set up a VPN server at the main office, so I simply put a shortcut on the user's home desktop for the VPN client connection. The user double-clicked, authenticated, and then was able to browse the company's file shares, access her e-mail via Outlook, and connect to line-of-business apps. "It's just like being in the office!" she exclaimed. 
  • Similarly, when I first demonstrated a Remote Desktop connection for someone running Windows XP, it drew excitement and wonder. The person had already been using a VPN connection on his laptop for a couple years but had some latency issues when connecting to some of the resources at the main office. Since both his office PC and his laptop were running XP, I suggested that he just use his laptop and VPN to make a Remote Desktop connection to his office PC. I set up a Remote Desktop shortcut on his desktop. He double-clicked, authenticated, and maximized the screen on the remote connection. "This looks just like sitting at my desk!" he said.

More recently, there have been a few times when software engineers here at CNET Networks have used some new techniques and technologies to overcome some long-standing problems with backend tools and user interfaces. I won't bore you with the details, but the bottom line is that they have significantly reduced the production time of some important tasks and enabled us to finally have the ability to implement some good ideas that we've wanted to try for years. In retrospect, it's pretty magical stuff. 

I think what Clarke is saying in his quote is that even if you understand how it works, that doesn't mean that it's not magic. Thus, when you work in IT, you shouldn't forget that in your daily work you are not always just a technologist. You are not always an IT professional. Sometimes you are a wizard. Sometimes you are a magician. I'd like to tip my hat to all the wizards and magicians out there. Of course, there are times when end users have other names for you, especially when the magic isn't working for them, but don't let that obscure the times when you do make the magic happen. That's one of the things that makes the job great. 

Share your magic 

Can you think of times when you've designed, deployed, or implemented something that has astonished your users and made you look like a magician? Share your story in discussion below.


Also, take a look at this three-part series that our sister site News.com is doing about a few IT pros who are trying to make some magic by using technology to help people in other parts of the world that haven't yet been as influenced by the tech revolution. 

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

48 comments
ejkolkman
ejkolkman

I don't know how many times I've walked into a user's office and asked them to show me the problem, only to find that the symptoms that they described to me over the phone have disappeared, never to return. IT Professional or magician? You be the judge.

stan
stan

Problems usually disappear when I show up. I usually tell the user that computers are afraid of me because they heard from other computers that have seen me pull out a screw driver and rip the processor out of one of their fellows....

brad_crouch
brad_crouch

I was helping a family friend with setting up their wireless network and their Mum could just not understand when I held the laptop in my hand (no cables attached) viewed a web page and then printed it to a printer in the next room. It took a lot of explaining and some diagrams before she understood...I know I know...a good magician never tells his secret!

techrepublic
techrepublic

the most common piece of magic that i do, in amongst all the rest, is to take remote control of a remote users computer (using gotomeeting, vnc, whatever) at least once a week i hear the comment "that's magic/amazing/brilliant!!"

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Turn on the fax file filter in the BIOS and computers will never have problems.

bill.herde
bill.herde

"Look at this! I'm connecting to New York at 9600 baud! It's like I'm there!" From the Computer Room of SAIT, San Diego - mid 1983

progan01
progan01

I've done technology magic. I have repaired faulty diskettes simply by laying hands on them and flicking their shutters. I've resurrected files from erased disks and caused a user's document to reappear like-- You get the idea. But I did it over the phone. (Poor dear, she had shifted her fingers one key to the left and accidentally hit a key combination that turned her text the color of the paper) But the spookiest magic I've done is one I myself do not understand. A guy came to me with an absolutely dead hard drive. It had failed not only to boot, but to power up. On it were three years's worth of his wife's tax-preparation business files. No backups. For reasons I can't explain, because I don't know why I did, I told him to take the drive home and stick it in the closet for a month or so. Don't look at it, don't touch it. Then take it out, put it back in the box, and try it again. He came back a month later and told me it worked. He had done nothing but what I told him to do. The drive sat untouched a month -- got put back into the same machine it came from, and started right up. I know as much as anybody else the probable explanation is a residual charge somewhere in the controller holding an invalid command set simply dissipated over time, clearing the circuit and restoring normal function. But I can't say how I knew that was the problem, or why I suggested sequestering the drive as the solution. Especially since I had never encountered this problem before, or ever suggested drive isolation as a solution. There's magic we do, and then there's magic that's done THROUGH us. I find the latter intriguing, but I also find it more than a little disturbing. Not controlling the magic I do is an alarming idea. Where DOES it come from?

techmail
techmail

It's possible to be considered a wizard by both the users and other members of the IT organization. I've been involved in software/hardware for a long time, with my first nomination as "wizard" coming in the days of MSDOS, dBASE, dialups and "fast" 80286 processors. A weekly company report (available only as many pages of print-to-terminal-and-capture-to-textfile) was being processed by a dBASE script to extract the data for further analysis - which took hours (dBASE wasn't the best text processing language). I wrote a C program to extract the data from the text file and produce a formatted file for input to dBASE. The C program ran in a matter of seconds and dBASE was happy with the formatted file, reducing the total time get the text file into dBASE to a couple of minutes. My favorite bit of "wizardry" was an enhancement for an existing application, where the original developers had told the users for two years that they could not provide statistics on the time it took to process a request for service. I read the structure of the Sybase tables that were used and found that they actually captured the date & time of each step of every transaction. I created an Excel application that read the date/time stamps, tracked elapsed time only during normal-business-day hours, could display individual or group performance summaries, displayed processing time statistics in color by quality, and had some charts & graphs. When the organization's manager saw the (not very pretty) prototype, his response was "I want that on my desk TODAY!" That one got me a wizard nomination from other members of the development team - in one developer's future applications my password was always pre-assigned as "thewiz". John

ozkmtnbear
ozkmtnbear

My nephew had gotten his computer (running Windows 2000) where it wouldn't boot up, so my sister called me to come and fix it. I tried it and it would start to boot and then hang. With my nephew sitting beside me watching, I restarted the computer, and at the right moment, hit the spacebar and then selected "Last Known Good Configuration". The computer booted right up. When my sister came to the door to see if I had fixed the computer, my nephew turned to her with a big look of astonishment, reached over the keyboard and wiggled his fingers and said, "He went like that and FIXED IT!" and both burst out laughing. It was priceless! Ha ha.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

The last and only place I heard the term "technologists" used was back in the public sector where they come up with these cheesy titles to justify paying someone who doesn't know a keyboard from a hole in the wall. Hey, my mom operates a toaster and a microwave, two pieces of technology, so does that make her a "technologist" too? Put her in front of a computer and she will feel as lost as a fish out of water....completely helpless. Hey, I had a cheesy public sector title of "Distributed Applications Specialist", but if anyone asked, I was a network admin. Who comes up with these silly titles anyway?

RayJeff
RayJeff

And I thought I was the only one thought that way? The people who come up with these titles are the non-understanding-non-technical HR persons who do not understand what the descriptions of a IT position actually are. It's sad

djl4fzw
djl4fzw

Considering the humor, you probably have some pretty good "solutions seeming like magic" stories.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

I've come up with some pretty crafty solutions and have even done some amateur circuit board work using a soldering iron to fix an old 21" monitor that had a blown capacitor, causing the video display to look funny. Radioshack parts and my trusty soldering iron to the rescue!

JamesRL
JamesRL

If you look at the commonalities in the "professions" you will see some things that we don't have, and never will have in IT. Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants(certified), Engineers all have things in common with each other that IT does not have: professional standards and ethical guidelines, agreed upon by a governing body composed of members who pay dues. There are rules to being a member, and penalties for breaking those rules, up to and including have the right to practise taken away. There are people in IT who are professionals - I know certified accountants who are business analysts, and project managers who have a PMP designation, which is very close to what doctors etc have (but not manadatory to practise however). And its the mandatory aspect that is the thing that means IT will not be a profession - its too broad, we won't be able to license and so on. But the flip side is that without the process that a "professional" goes through to enter their field, its easier to get in at the bottom. James

nubbs17
nubbs17

Isn't having, say an MCSA, as good as being licensed? I know of more than a few companies that view this as a standard for hiring, no certification (of some sort), no job.

jeffro in Berkshire
jeffro in Berkshire

Your apology is accepted but maybe I was being defensive! I have grown-up with this industry, having heard and done some of the moaning and groaning and having seen the majority of the delopments and having clients who date back to the very first MODEMS I have a balanced viewpoint but like you see the same old complaints, mainly from those who wouldnt know a dos shell from a sea shell! It is time we globally self regulated before this is thrust opon us by those who dont understand the complexities of the work we do.

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

Sorry, I didn't intend to start up a fight. I just made a sarcastic remark, because the word 'certification' came up, nothing more. Intonation doesn't travel well via text. There are arguments for all sides and after having seen this debate so many times, I prefer to just sit back and watch.

jeffro in Berkshire
jeffro in Berkshire

This is NOT a Cert vs Degree debate as both have their place! and yet at the same time both cannot provide the credability which our industry requires - I will elaborate! The Certificate is sponsored by specific corporations and as such do not cover the whole spectrum of our industry as such they have a vested interest in their own specific field, sometimes to the detriment to others. AND The degree takes so long to complete, by the time the degree has been outlined for the course, the course sat and examination completed the industry has moved on. This is why graduates are generally then re-trained upon completion of their specific specialisation by their respective employer. Our industry needs BOTH and neither will suceed without the other so before one group starts to "bitch" the other, think about it. What we require is a strict code of practise written up by both groups which would be amalgamated into ONE workable and ethical foundation upon which we base the future development of our industry - TOGETHER. There is also a third group who are generally unsung in the overall IT world and they are those who have grown up and developed both with the industry and in the industry over the last 25 - 35 years who are not necessarily MCSE, MCP or Graduates. But without their infatuation with the Acorn Electron, BBC B, Sinclair Spectrum etc etc there would be no industry!

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

You do realize that with your statement you have opened up this thread for the never ending degree vs. cert vs. experience debate. :)

jeffro in Berkshire
jeffro in Berkshire

Whilst yes an MCSA is a recognised IT qualification it is specific ONLY to MICROSOFT (MS), even though MS do provide the dominant OS and I am a recognised MS Partner, the total extent to the "IT Industry" is not just MS. The best way to arrange data, the way a document is set up,the backup solution which protects the data, the hardware the backup or working data is on, etc etc does not have anything to do with MS. The MCSA MCP and other qualifications are fantastic but generally you will inherit a network infrastructure, not set one up from scratch and this brings with it the foibles of each and every SysAdmin who has had his or her hands on it. If you put a dozen SysAdmins in a room there will be at least 10 different "Best Methods" of doing things and at least 5 different pieces of hardware. MS despite their extra-ordinary efforts to placate everyone - including the European Commission - and provide ease of use for everything everyone wants to do with a system, they do stand on toes and this is inevitable. The ethical situation those of us find ourselves in, where by we feel responsible for the work, the data and the equipment we are responsible for is difficult and made more so by those who see the work we carry out as "just a job". This unfortunately is not "just a job" and cannot remain as such for as long as we are responsible for the very information which maintains our individuality. We have seen many recent examples by where exploitation of "customers" information is used for personal gain, some of these people use their qualifications to gain better access to data which they then abuse. An ethical position would be above any single company or corporation and without doubt be difficult to set up, but so it should be and likewise be just as difficult to gain such accreditation.

jeffro in Berkshire
jeffro in Berkshire

The reason behind the IT Professional confusion is that our industry which is created on the back of a hobby - the electrcal version of the Airfix Modeller! - moves so fast that the ability to set professional standards falls so far behind so quickly that it makes the enforcement of standards very difficult. eg: the IEEE standards for 802.11N are still not yet set in stone even though we as professionals are implementing the hardware and the hardware manufacturers are already in the process of creating the sucessor to the "N" standard. What our industry requires is more of an ethical oath type thing (similar to the Hipocratic Oath taken by Doctors)which we all should sign up to that reflects the intrinsic importance of the information we control through our expertise with technology! Now wasn't that a mouthful! but is that not what we do?

Labrat636
Labrat636

Information and communication system administrators are trusted with access to sensitive, personal, or otherwise empowering information. Professionals respect this access and take responsibility for it's safeguarding.

ITEngineerGuy
ITEngineerGuy

I believe we are magicians, gods, doctors, lawyers, all of these things when it comes to being computer guru's. We heal the computers when they are sick, we defend them in a court of law, we work magic at 2am in the morning so the president can get his daily jokes, we tell users who can access what. Having said that we are professionals and should act like such. I believe we all know that the arthur was saying in the article and calling us technologists was a broad statement to cover all the different job functions in IT. And by the way, I am still amazed by technology even if it is an automated paper towel dispenser. I hate touching those handles on the manual ones. I think the doors should be automated so I don't have to touch the door handles after those that don't wash up.lol!! Overall good points in the article.

LockOutGirl
LockOutGirl

I'm stuck with "Information Systems Specialist." When I repeat that phrase to anyone asking my job, their eyes glaze over. I instantly follow up with "I work in IT" and they perk up, finally understanding! In college, I was the resident computer nerd on my floor, and all the other students came to me with issues. I could solve most of them, since they were so simple. One day I came back from classes to a note on the whiteboard attached to my door that read "Kim is a Computer Goddess." Pity I couldn't use that as a job title.. Back to the original question - yes, daily I do things for users that astounds them. It just makes me grin to see and hear them so happy over something that to me is so simple. Certainly is an ego boost on days I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.

Tig2
Tig2

I refer to myself as a Security driven demi-god. So far, it's working. I once was an "Internal Customer Interface Specialist". I am still not sure what that means...

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

IT pros often roll out solutions that save time and money or make work easier or faster. The results can seem magical to users. What solutions have you implemented that have amazed your users and made you seem like a magician?

chris_atb
chris_atb

when i was in primary school the teaching and school administration staff used to call me out of class to fix there computer problems, im talking like when i was around 8-10, and computers were running windows 3.1 - 98 problems included: * installing printers and faxes, * installing office and admin programs * locking the naughty older kids out of chat room sites (for the oh so wonderful windows 98 pc's with internet explorer) * teaching teachers how to get there email and indeed set up email accounts) * helping the head teacher format documents and saving them as templates she could use in Microsoft Work `97 (i was that womans miniature tech-hero from that day on) * various other things like why cant i view this picture, why wont this movie load, why cant i open this etc... it was so fun :) going up in assembly to get special thank you's and playing with all the newest tech-toys the school bought because they knew id figure them out and teach them how to use it faster than they could be bothered to read the damned manual i love being the go to guy for ICT, and to this day it still tickles me when i hear the "oh wow! THANKS! :D"'s from staff, friends, family, or even that person struggling to connect to the t-mobile hotspot service in starbux growling at the laptop and calling all the names under the sun, read on if your intrested in the problem, solution and/or my coffee preferences (suddenly this lady's seemingly crappy morning was BRIGHTENED by the mid-hungover individual next to her waiting for his monday morning head-jolt double espresso vanilla latte no cream but a shot of peppermint to make it taste christmasy, walking her through the troubleshooting process, in the end finding out her IT Technician had set a static IP and an alternate IP config so i made her another hardware profile so she could use her WLAN at home and in hotspots with her T-M hotspot subscription work-laptop and taught her how to switch between the two when she turned it on :3 she even wrote it all down which also tickled me, it was like three lines, *turn it on, keep pressing space bar, press home when menu comes on* i was rewarded with that familiar WOW smile we all know and love, the over-excited handshake, and the heart-warming "OOHH!! I CAN CHECK MY EMAILS AND GO ON MYSPACE HERE NOW!" gotta love it call it whatever you want, but i love this profession, and my job :)

RayJeff
RayJeff

...that's all I did. And not so much the database itself but what it could do. The first time I queried it to pull data, I was seen as instead of Mr. So-and-So to Dr. So-and-so. Doctor, because I worked at a college in a department with no technically-inclined faculty or staff.

halvbria
halvbria

As I read some responses to this I smile and think of a time in high school. I had an internship with a computer teacher that was over the school network and she would send students like me to get experience troubleshooting whenever there were simple problems. There was a Home Ec. teacher, a little old lady who was sweet as could be but as far as computers were concerned she was terrified to touch it. I loved going to help her, she always had a couple freshly made cookies or cinnamon rolls for anyone that could help her :) Anyways, One day she called having a problem saying that the computer wouldn't boot, wouldn't do anything, just a black screen with a error message. A little background: nearly every faculty computer had removable hard drive bays, hers included. When I got there I saw that the handle to release the locked in hard drive was broken off. The error message was also saying no hard drive found. I turned it off, then out loud said some encouraging words to the machine and acted like I was caressing the case. As I did that I pushed the hard drive back into place without her noticing and then said something along the lines of "Come on now, you want to boot up and work right, don't you?" like I was speaking to a small child. 'Magically' the PC booted up just fine. Knowing it would take longer to explain the hard drive had come loose than to just give a simple answer, I told her she just needed to be nice to it and speak nicely to it from time to time and to stop swearing at it. This woman had probably never sworn in her life, but she took me seriously and probably to this day compliments her computer. Love her as a teacher, I still stop by and say hi to her when I'm in town, and she still calls me for help from time to time. Always makes me smile when I think of her.

duckboxxer
duckboxxer

The coordinators here were putting in about 6 hours a week in order to create a report that is used for a weekly client status meeting. This document averaged about 40 pages and was 100% manual. I waltz in, and after about 6 months of going back and forth, sifting through REALLY crappy data, gave them a form with some text boxes, some prepoulated, and then pulled data from the database, based on certain parameters. From there they took a Word export of the document and modified it as necessary. Six hours of hunting down data, comparison to the last report, etc. was cut down to about 30 minutes a week. I was their hero.

Choppit
Choppit

The best wizardry occurs when you stand three feet from a users computer and whatever problem they were experiencing is miraculously cured. Now that's magic!

bvjones59
bvjones59

I'm just getting into "real" IT and Help Desk stuff, but I've been the geek at my office for years. Hooking up with a cheap VPN while I was in Taiwan on sabbatical was definitely 'way cool! And I have often gone into the boss's office, where she has been pulling out her hair, and said, "See this button up here? Click that, then this one. Now hit enter" or some such. She'll do it, and gasp, "That's AMAZING!" Sometimes she even remembers how to do it herself next time!

tbarkdull
tbarkdull

I setup a way to flash the BIOS on any PC on our network using PXE based network boot option. After arriving at a network prompt, a batch file maps to another server share and opens a DOS menu. Selecting the appropriate letter/number from the menu opens the bios flash utility and starts the flsh process. The batch files are easy to understand and adding or removing updates are easy.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The old process; spend three days infront of a "UPC Generator" website entering merchandise information item by item to generate valid UPC with much copy and paste to the web from. My process; drop the complete merchandise list into a worksheet, add columns for missing information, write formula into a column to generate concatinated UPC code. Three days becomes an hour with the magic of VB and "howto generate EAN13" in a search box.

andrew
andrew

After working for over 9 years at one of the leading Building Societies in Australia, I have been called avery adjective known to man...some even made up new ones. But at the end, on my last day, the most humbling experiance of all was to get calls or cards from EVERY employee around the country. After years of "Cirix Shadow Sessions" and "Percussive Maintenance" (pick the printer up....now drop it!!! yes I am serious), and of course the good old..."Is it actually turned on?....ok then try it NOW". The staff realised they were losing the 'Magician' that held the place together. Some times it is not money at stake, but rather a persons sanity. You may not seem to be appreciated now...but just wait..we have a LOT of power as "GODs" of the network, and people DO remember. Now go and remember the magic words ......"Help desk number is...."

thinkdata
thinkdata

some of my higher maintenance users, having moved on to new pastures (jobs) have called me over the years to express their appreciation for the little things that we did to make systems disappear and interfaces more logical. so you don't necessarily have to die in order to hear the nice things :)

tadams
tadams

Once, about 20 years ago, I was on contract as a programmer, working on some applications on an AS/400 (or S/38...I forget which). They had an application that ran nightly and took about 12 hours to complete, and was getting steadily longer. I took a look at the code, and told the client I could shorten the processing time dramatically. I don't think she believed me, but allowed me to spend a day looking at it. After a few hours modifying and testing I had got the run time down to ten minutes! After that I was considered a programming "god". I never did get around to telling them that it wasn't that I was that good, just that the original code was that bad!

bg6638
bg6638

I recently interviewed for a position with a small firm just in the start-up phase. The owner told me that he really did not want to have any IT staff, just get a server that he could "plug in like an appliance", and have it work! They decided against hiring an "IT person", but I did get a weeks contract to set up Small Business Server 2003, based on my interview with them. Does everything that they want: web site, file server, VPN, etc., and I can maintain their system from my home office. The owner was "blown away"! But magic......I don't think so!!!

mwfrench
mwfrench

There were a lot of times that I would walk in to an office insert my Magic Disk,a 3.5 FD with all my trouble shooting files, into a computer and walk out 5 minutes later with the computer working like it was supposed to. I quickly gained a reputation as the Computer God. The best piece of magic I ever created was spending 8 hours on a Saturday re-indexing the e-mail database and clearing out old trash. When I came in on Monday everybody wanted to know what I did with the old e-mail system or how did I get it to run so fast. There was literally a 15-30 second delay for opening an e-mail without any attachments and up to 60 seconds with an attachment. When I was finished there was about a 1 second delay for e-mail with extremly large files attached. And the Computer God said, "Let there be information." And there was information and he saw that it was good.

djl4fzw
djl4fzw

I worked with a club having 340K members in their database, indexed on member ID. Mailing labels printed in the same order. Many times, multiple club members lived at the same address. I created the index for: zip, address, last name, to sort the printed labels. They were able to apply more than one label to each mailing. They stacked the labels so each member's name showed but only one address. They reduced their postage by $10K/month. ... eyes grew wide... jaws dropped... smiles... a good day.

loudomvis
loudomvis

Just responding to the coustomer's everyday problems can put you on that "IT Pedestal". When answering our help desk phone, the customer on the other end stated excitedly, "I can't get on the internet!" I asked her a few other questions to try and get more info from her, but she finally gave me the frustrating, "Look, can someone just come help me get on the internet?" After remoting to her desktop, I discovered that there was no Internet Explorer icon on her desktop and no quick launch on her task bar. After a few short clicks, I showed her the new desktop shortcut to Internet Explorer and told her that opeining this icon would solve her problem. After double clicking on the icon, she stated, "Wow, your'e a genius. How did you do that?" I explained to her that she always had internet access, she just didn't have the shortcut on her desktop. "Your simply the best." she stated.

djl4fzw
djl4fzw

What do you see on your screen now? Works wonders.

rschmid
rschmid

Who cares what you title is, Da man, resident computer geek, IT god/godess, dosen't mean anything. Whats in a name?? As long as the pay is good, you earn respect from your "superiors", that still type with one finger on each hand. You can look like a hero daily. Our task is to keep the Non technical functioning and do the least amount of damage as possible. Period

jrandom42
jrandom42

1. Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced. 2. Any given technology indistinguishable from magic is actually a rigged demo.

rschmid
rschmid

I work in a manufacturing environment. Equipment operators were expected to manually punch in dimensions to complete their task. this can be done as much as 320 times in an 8 hours shift. I figured out a way for the equipment to read a simple text file and import it automatically over the lan. The operator only need to have the first sequence # and the machine will automatically (magically) size itself. The machine will also cycle to the next sequence # incrementally.

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