Ford’s TUEC

Here’s the label from Henry Ford’s TUEC. What’s a TUEC, you ask? As far as I can recall, it was a wall-mounted vacuum cleaner in Ford’s workshop. Sort of an early predecessor of a central vacuuming system. The latest patent date on this thing is September 1912. There’s nothing new under the sun, is there? Anyway, I thought the badge looked interesting. Wonder what the United Electric Company is up to these days? They have a website.

Now here’s something I want: the StupidFilter. Although I fear it would seriously shorten the length of my blog posts. On the other hand, this technology could be expanded in many different ways. Today’s controversy: how would you use/change/upgrade the StupidFilter to make the world a better place?

Let’s see here, what’s been going on in the comments area? A little bit of immigration talk and some carefully-worded comments on driving. I’m not touching that last one any more. On immigration, though, one more question: how would my Loyal Readers handle the question of legalizing the millions of illegal aliens? Is it right to put them on the path to citizenship in spite of their illegal status? Isn’t that giving favorable treatment to people who have broken our laws, while others all over the world wait for many years to come here? On the other hand, what else can we do with all these people? Deport them? Crack down on employers so they can’t find work? Cut off government benefits and accept the health risk untreated sick illegals would pose? How do we continue economic growth when my generation and the ones that come after it aren’t even replacing themselves, let alone increasing the supply of future workers?

So many questions. I’m looking forward to hearing some simple solutions.

I was in a training class on Tuesday morning, and I got some really good ideas for some articles for software developers. One I’m working on is tentatively titled “Costing to Price.” It’s about the insidious practice software developers (and other engineers, for that matter) sometimes engage in of estimating the cost of a product based on the amount of money available (i.e. the price). While that sounds like a good idea on the surface, what it actually results in is deliberately understated estimates, which inevitably lead to cost overruns. This is not a good management practice, and yet many managers (including some of mine) require their subordinates to do just that.

One of the first things they teach you in MBA school is that there is no relationship between cost and price, and attempting to establish one will inevitably lead to failure. Of course, an important goal is to keep the cost below the price, but you can’t do that by fiat, and trying to do it that way will lead to unpleasant surprises later.

Anyway. I’m working on a little article on this and some other topics (another one: “Ruthless Prioritization”) and post them to the Gardenville Software website. Along with a few little projects the Loyal Readers and I have been working on. Other Loyal Readers with an interest in writing software-related articles are welcome to submit ideas and/or finished work. Not being a peer-reviewed publication and not being a paying publication, we are able to keep our editorial standards notoriously low. You too can be a published author!

Time for bed. See you tomorrow.

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