More Dan Hebert...quote for the day!

From Dan's Technically Speaking column in the August issue of Control:

Technical types are often so fond of elegant smart solutions they forget about simpler, almost-as-effective dumb ones.


Boy, isn't that the truth? You'll have to wait a while to read the rest of Dan's column, but it will surely be worth it.
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  • <p>Management types are fond of saying this sort of thing, whilst failing to understand the technical. And I have not even seen the article yet!</p>


  • <p>Actually, Francis, Dan is a registered Professional Engineer, and hardly a management type. I think he's as technically competent as you are, certainly. We tend to have writers who know what they are talking about, hereabouts.</p> <p>Walt</p> <p>PS, the article will be up on the ControlGlobal website in a couple of weeks...</p>


  • <p>This is a funny place to have a conversation! But I could not resist it, it seemed odd to trail the article without publishing it. Cheers Francis</p>


  • <p>Yes, but think of the people who will turn directly to Dan's article when the magazine comes out!</p> <p>Walt</p>


  • <p>Francis,</p> <p>Dan the writer here. I actually used to be in management but wasn't very good at it. I try to write things from the perspective of something that I was a little better at, actual control engineering. Read the article and let me know if you think I suceeded.</p> <p>Dan</p>


  • <p>Dan I am looking forward to your article. Simplicity of design is something we should all aim for. Often though it is far from easy to achieve, especially when you are furiously working on a project that has deadlines. You have to find time to think, and be able to think laterally and of course have a good understanding of how similar problems have been approached before. And at the end of the day, when you have arrived at a good ‘simple’ solution everyone will say what took so long? Francis ControlDraw Ltd</p>


  • <p>Since when is "Elegant and smart" and "simple" mutually exclusive?</p> <p>When doing our jobs as users, we usually don't see much "under the hood" as it were. We like plug-and-play. Whether the underlying code is simple or complex is not a concern unless we experience problems.</p> <p>As one who has composed a line or two of ladder / boolean / function block / whatever, I have the following observation: Getting "it" to do what you want can be pretty easy. Getting "it" to <b>not</b> do what you <b>don't</b> want - that can be a chore, and both simplicity and elegance may fall by the wayside in the interest of getting the process on-line.</p>


  • <p>Often complexity is a response by engineers who assume that managers understand the situation and what they're asking for.</p> <p>I agree with the sentiments and I often query my managers to be sure what they ask for is exactly what they want.</p>


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