For more and more of us, computers are an integral part of our daily life and a key component of how we get things done.
We send emails. We surf the web. We post to Facebook. We tweet. We write. We code. We chat. We journal. We pay the bills. We send invoices. We learn. We research.
Personal computing took off in 1984, when Apple released the Macintosh and brought the mouse to everyday users. Graphic user interfaces were revolutionary, but if you want to maximize your proficiency with the computer, using the mouse/trackpad isn’t enough.
You need to know how to use the keyboard.
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The Obligation of the Engineer
I am an Engineer.
In my profession I take deep pride. To it I owe solemn obligations.
Since the Stone Age, Human Progress has been spurred by the Engineering Genius. Engineers have made usable Nature’s vast resources of Materials and Energy for Humanity’s Benefit.
Engineers have vitalized and turned to practical use the Principles of Science and the Means of Technology. Were it not for our heritage of accumulated experiences, my efforts would be feeble.
As an engineer, I, (full name), pledge to practice Integrity and Fair Dealing, Tolerance, and Respect, and to uphold devotion to the standards and dignity of my profession, conscious always that my skill carries with it the obligation to serve humanity by making best use of the Earth’s precious wealth.
As an engineer, in humility and with the need for divine guidance, I shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good. In the performance of duty, and in fidelity to my profession, I shall give the utmost.
When I’m working, I wear a plain silver band on the little finger of my dominant hand. There’s no inscription; it’s completely unadorned save the scratches it’s picked up over the years.
It’s not a fashion statement, but if you think I wear it well, thank you. According to the Art of Manliness, a ring on the little finger symbolizes intellect, a great ability to express yourself, or a strong intuition. I can’t dispute any of that.
It’s an Engineer’s Ring, given to those in the United States who have completed a qualified engineering degree or are a licensed professional engineer.
Photo courtesy of © Wikipedia / Taximes (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped from original)
The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.
The Bridge Builder
An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”
Will Allen Dromgoole
Isaac Newton famously credited those who had gone before him with laying the foundation for his success. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
You were left a legacy by your parents, and their parents, and society as a whole. You’re now building upon that legacy to leave something better to your children.
There are books that tell us how the world works, maps that shows us how the pieces fit together, and roads that will take us most places we want to go.
Those tools will get you pretty far in life, and if you do nothing but pass them on to your kids, they’ll have a pretty good life, too. But if you want to really make a difference in the world, there is one question you need to answer long before it ever comes up:
What will I do when I run out of road?
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Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
One of the basic rules of chess etiquette is that once you touch a piece, you have to either move that piece (if it’s yours) or capture it (if it’s your opponent’s). It’s called the touch-move rule.
My sisters and I would frequently violate the touch-move rule as we hemmed and hawed over our next move. Our parents were very patient with us, and usually only enforced the “if you let go, that’s your move” rule.
Your Inbox probably faces the same analysis paralysis. If you keep picking up the same input over and over again only to consider it, then put it back to deal with later, consider invoking the touch-move rule.
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