Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Interview with an Engineer

Intelligent, well spoken, and the father of a newborn baby, this engineer lets us know how technology has become a staple of his daily job--although from time to time it does let him down.

How do you use new technology at your job?
For my job, almost every piece of documentation can be found on a shared drive or "intranet" system. Also, equipment and power station manuals that would take up an entire wall of bookshelves can now fit on two DVDs and be accessed through Adobe pdf files. We also use internet/email/blackberries to communicate quickly and efficiently among industry and company peers. This helps us collaborate on issues while we may be working geographically far from one another.

Is there any new technology/website made in the last 5-7 years that you cannot live without?
Email is a must for my job. A lot of times the people within my work group are traveling to various power stations and some times even traveling over seas. Email is one way we can all colaborate quickly and efficiently on an issue. It alows us to have a record of our conversation as well as be able to share documents. 

Using BlackBerries helps us utilize email even more. I can take a photo of something while on a construction site, email it to a colleague and get a reply within minutes.

Videoscopes are a must for our job. A videoscope is a camera on the end of a long thin tube that you can "snake" into a machine. This allows us to check the condition of the unit during regularly scheduled maintenance or to check out potential problems without unnecessarily disassembling the machine. Unnecessary dissassembly can cost the company 100s of thousands of dollars.

Is there any new technology/website made in the last 5-7 years that seems useless to you?
Hmmm, good question. I am not that technologically savvy or up to date so I am not sure. I can think of things that never really took off like the "lazer video disc" or beta video tapes but besides that, no.

What do you wish you could do with technology that you can't do now?
Yes, I'd like good cell phone and mobile internet coverage EVERYWHERE! Right now I commute to rural [county name] everyday and it is almost impossible to make a phone call during the drive due to bad cell coverage.

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