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'[OT] Hole Hawg (long), [was Re: [OT] Some tips and'
1999\09\10@100515 by Bob Drzyzgula

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On Fri, Sep 10, 1999 at 08:39:38AM +1200, Richard Prosser wrote:
> If you think this testing is too severe - you should see what real users do
> to these things!
>
>  Also - You forgot about the lightening discharge & chemical spillage tests.
>
> Richard
>
> ----<snip>------------
> >
> >
> > 4. The Nilsson testing procedure for an H-bridge motor driver:
> >
> > 1. Run full speed clockwise direction, with a flywheel inertial load.
> > 2. Suddenly reverse driver direction to full speed counter-clockwise.
> > 3. When the motor has slowed down about 10%, hit the flywheel with a
> >    sledge hammer in clockwise direction.

Sorry for the digression, but this thread reminded me
of a section out of the Neal Stephenson's essay "In the
Beginning Was the Command Line". The original is supposed
to be at http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html,
but for some reason that machine isn't responding right at
this moment. I did find one mirror of the whole article at

  http://www.polarcom.com/~patawi/matt/glass/Beginning-00.html

The passage quoted below is from Part 4 in the segmented
version; I apologize for the length, but I think that it's
worth it; whether or not you enjoy the Unix references,
the description of the Hole Hawg is an absolute gem.

Enjoy,

--Bob


        THE HOLE HAWG OF OPERATING
                SYSTEMS
        (c) 1999 Neal Stephenson

  "Unix has always lurked provocatively in the
  background of the operating system wars, like
  the Russian Army. Most people know it only by
  reputation, and its reputation, as the Dilbert
  cartoon suggests, is mixed.  But everyone seems
  to agree that if it could only get its act
  together and stop surrendering vast tracts of
  rich agricultural land and hundreds of thousands
  of prisoners of war to the onrushing invaders, it
  could stomp them (and all other opposition) flat.

  "It is difficult to explain how Unix has earned
  this respect without going into mind-smashing
  technical detail. Perhaps the gist of it can be
  explained by telling a story about drills.

  "The Hole Hawg is a drill made by the Milwaukee
  Tool Company. If you look in a typical hardware
  store you may find smaller Milwaukee drills
  but not the Hole Hawg, which is too powerful
  and too expensive for homeowners. The Hole Hawg
  does not have the pistol-like design of a cheap
  homeowner's drill. It is a cube of solid metal
  with a handle sticking out of one face and a
  chuck mounted in another. The cube contains a
  disconcertingly potent electric motor. You can
  hold the handle and operate the trigger with your
  index finger, but unless you are exceptionally
  strong you cannot control the weight of the Hole
  Hawg with one hand; it is a two-hander all the
  way. In order to fight off the counter-torque
  of the Hole Hawg you use a separate handle
  (provided), which you screw into one side
  of the iron cube or the other depending on
  whether you are using your left or right hand to
  operate the trigger. This handle is not a sleek,
  ergonomically designed item as it would be in a
  homeowner's drill. It is simply a foot-long chunk
  of regular galvanized pipe, threaded on one end,
  with a black rubber handle on the other. If you
  lose it, you just go to the local plumbing supply
  store and buy another chunk of pipe.

  "During the Eighties I did some construction
  work. One day, another worker leaned a ladder
  against the outside of the building that we were
  putting up, climbed up to the second-story level,
  and used the Hole Hawg to drill a hole through
  the exterior wall. At some point, the drill bit
  caught in the wall. The Hole Hawg, following its
  one and only imperative, kept going. It spun the
  worker's body around like a rag doll, causing
  him to knock his own ladder down. Fortunately he
  kept his grip on the Hole Hawg, which remained
  lodged in the wall, and he simply dangled from
  it and shouted for help until someone came along
  and reinstated the ladder.

  "I myself used a Hole Hawg to drill many
  holes through studs, which it did as a
  blender chops cabbage. I also used it to cut
  a few six-inch-diameter holes through an old
  lath-and-plaster ceiling. I chucked in a new
  hole saw, went up to the second story, reached
  down between the newly installed floor joists,
  and began to cut through the first-floor ceiling
  below. Where my homeowner's drill had labored
  and whined to spin the huge bit around, and had
  stalled at the slightest obstruction, the Hole
  Hawg rotated with the stupid consistency of a
  spinning planet. When the hole saw seized up,
  the Hole Hawg spun itself and me around, and
  crushed one of my hands between the steel pipe
  handle and a joist, producing a few lacerations,
  each surrounded by a wide corona of deeply
  bruised flesh. It also bent the hole saw itself,
  though not so badly that I couldn't use it. After
  a few such run-ins, when I got ready to use the
  Hole Hawg my heart actually began to pound with
  atavistic terror.

  "But I never blamed the Hole Hawg; I blamed
  myself. The Hole Hawg is dangerous because it
  does exactly what you tell it to. It is not bound
  by the physical limitations that are inherent
  in a cheap drill, and neither is it limited
  by safety interlocks that might be built into
  a homeowner's product by a liability-conscious
  manufacturer. The danger lies not in the machine
  itself but in the user's failure to envision the
  full consequences of the instructions he gives
  to it.

  "A smaller tool is dangerous too, but for
  a completely different reason: it tries to
  do what you tell it to, and fails in some
  way that is unpredictable and almost always
  undesirable. But the Hole Hawg is like the genie
  of the ancient fairy tales, who carries out his
  master's instructions literally and precisely
  and with unlimited power, often with disastrous,
  unforeseen consequences.

  "Pre-Hole Hawg, I used to examine the drill
  selection in hardware stores with what I
  thought was a judicious eye, scorning the
  smaller low-end models and hefting the big
  expensive ones appreciatively, wishing I could
  afford one of them babies. Now I view them all
  with such contempt that I do not even consider
  them to be real drills--merely scaled-up
  toys designed to exploit the self-delusional
  tendencies of soft-handed homeowners who want
  to believe that they have purchased an actual
  tool. Their plastic casings, carefully designed
  and focus-group-tested to convey a feeling of
  solidity and power, seem disgustingly flimsy
  and cheap to me, and I am ashamed that I was
  ever bamboozled into buying such knicknacks.

  "It is not hard to imagine what the world would
  look like to someone who had been raised by
  contractors and who had never used any drill
  other than a Hole Hawg. Such a person, presented
  with the best and most expensive hardware-store
  drill, would not even recognize it as such. He
  might instead misidentify it as a child's toy,
  or some kind of motorized screwdriver. If a
  salesperson or a deluded homeowner referred
  to it as a drill, he would laugh and tell them
  that they were mistaken--they simply had their
  terminology wrong. His interlocutor would go
  away irritated, and probably feeling rather
  defensive about his basement full of cheap,
  dangerous, flashy, colorful tools.

  "Unix is the Hole Hawg of operating systems, and
  Unix hackers, like Doug Barnes and the guy in the
  Dilbert cartoon and many of the other people who
  populate Silicon Valley, are like contractor's
  sons who grew up using only Hole Hawgs. They
  might use Apple/Microsoft OSes to write letters,
  play video games, or balance their checkbooks,
  but they cannot really bring themselves to take
  these operating systems seriously."

--
============================================================
Bob Drzyzgula                             It's not a problem
spam_OUTbobTakeThisOuTspamdrzyzgula.org                until something bad happens
============================================================
http://www.drzyzgula.org/bob/electronics/
============================================================

1999\09\10@102230 by Andy Kunz

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>   "Unix is the Hole Hawg of operating systems, and
>   Unix hackers, like Doug Barnes and the guy in the
>   Dilbert cartoon and many of the other people who
>   populate Silicon Valley, are like contractor's
>   sons who grew up using only Hole Hawgs. They
>   might use Apple/Microsoft OSes to write letters,
>   play video games, or balance their checkbooks,
>   but they cannot really bring themselves to take
>   these operating systems seriously."

I look at it the other way - if you need an Operating System in your
product, you're a wimp!  That means the Unix weenies are the biggest wimps
of all!

Give me raw access to the sand!

Andy

==================================================================
Eternity is only a heartbeat away - are you ready?  Ask me how!
------------------------------------------------------------------
.....andyKILLspamspam@spam@rc-hydros.com      http://www.rc-hydros.com     - Race Boats
andyspamKILLspammontanadesign.com  http://www.montanadesign.com - Electronics
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1999\09\10@164414 by Hugh Hoover

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> I look at it the other way - if you need an Operating System in your
> product, you're a wimp!  That means the Unix weenies are the biggest wimps
> of all!
>
> Give me raw access to the sand!

http://www.cag.lcs.mit.edu/raw/

1999\09\10@170240 by Andy Kunz

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At 01:32 PM 9/10/99 -0700, you wrote:
>> I look at it the other way - if you need an Operating System in your
>> product, you're a wimp!  That means the Unix weenies are the biggest wimps
>> of all!
>>
>> Give me raw access to the sand!
>
>http://www.cag.lcs.mit.edu/raw/

Gut yoke, ja!

Andy

==================================================================
Eternity is only a heartbeat away - are you ready?  Ask me how!
------------------------------------------------------------------
.....andyKILLspamspam.....rc-hydros.com      http://www.rc-hydros.com     - Race Boats
EraseMEandyspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmontanadesign.com  http://www.montanadesign.com - Electronics
==================================================================

1999\09\10@205705 by Anne Ogborn

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>  if you need an Operating System in your
> product, you're a wimp!  That means the Unix weenies are the biggest wimps
> of all!
>
> Give me raw access to the sand!
>
> Andy

I have to confess I tire a bit of the hi level programmer bashing.
With much of my life spent amongst the class wizard and visual
editors of various sorts, I assure you that there is good and bad
software engineering occuring at all levels. Indeed, it is far
easier to write terrible code at hi levels, since it's far more
likely to 'sorta work'.


--
Anniepoo
Need loco motors?
http://www.idiom.com/~anniepoo/depot/motors.html

1999\09\10@213919 by Dave VanHorn

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> I have to confess I tire a bit of the hi level programmer bashing.
> With much of my life spent amongst the class wizard and visual
> editors of various sorts, I assure you that there is good and bad
> software engineering occuring at all levels. Indeed, it is far
> easier to write terrible code at hi levels, since it's far more
> likely to 'sorta work'.

Here Here!  Eschew Obsfucated Ultra Turbo C++  Embrace Simple Assembler.

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