Saturday, December 10, 2011

Preventng the Zombie Apocalypse

I love this commercial...

 First of all, it has zombies, and hey, what geek doesn’t like zombies? Nearly every geek at one time or another has dreamed about waking up to the zombie apocalypse, and an endless supply of firepower.

(usually there is a pretty girl in a with a magic sword involved too… I know… kinda random… It’s a geek thing…)

 (Usually they are less modest in their clothing choice too, which  never really made sense to me because, hello... Flesh eating zombie horde... You're seriously going without armor?)

However… I don’t think the girl is universal... not sure what the direct female geek counterpart is… somehow I doubt it is a smarmy guy in a short skirt… with or without the magic sword.

But the other, more philosophically deep reason for my appreciation of this commercial is for its moral about good design practice.

One of my favorite engineering instructors once told the class that engineers are in the "excitement avoidance" business. When you are designing a bridge that thousands of vehicles will travel across, your goal as a designer is to engineer that bridge such that every traversal of that bridge as excruciatingly uneventful as possible. When designing a rocket to go into space, you want it to do so as boringly as a rocket can. Good engineering means never having to make the news for a battery that doesn’t last or a murderous molasses flood.

It is difficult to practice good engineering. A lot of wisdom is required. You need to have a good deal of experience in order to be able to look into the future and see all the possible ‘what if?’s.
It is also difficult because of the compromise factor. Engineers have conflicting requirements. They are expected to build it safer than ever, faster than ever, and cheaper than ever, all at once. Good, Fast,  Cheap, as they say. 

When you get the balance wrong, bad things happen...

But when it goes right, it is amazing

So hats off to you, the few, the dedicated, the truly boring. May your days be filled with non-events, (and managers who listen), and may your dreams be replete with Zombie Domination (hot chick with magic sword optional).

No comments:

Post a Comment