Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Dec 2013 23:35 UTC
X11, Window Managers

I recently scored a Hewlett Packard 1670A Deep Memory Logic Analyzer and I finally had a chance to fire it up. This unit dates back to 1992 and is packed with all sorts of interesting options for connecting peripherals to it. One particular feature that caught my eye was the option to connect to an X Server.

Aside from the really cool stuff regarding X11, I'm absolutely fascinated by the user interface of this exotic piece of hardware. It's quite utilitarian, but still has an interesting sense of beauty and focus. I'd love to play with this (even though I have no idea what this equipment actually does).

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RE[2]: HP-UX
by tylerdurden on Fri 6th Dec 2013 00:25 UTC in reply to "RE: HP-UX"
Member since:

Why sad?

These are tools, to get the job done. Not objects of masturbation for the technological fetishists.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: HP-UX
by nicholasj on Fri 6th Dec 2013 14:00 in reply to "RE[2]: HP-UX"
nicholasj Member since:

Ok, I'll bite.

It's not about techno-fetishism. It's about the joy we get from looking at and using a really well designed and built _thing_.

There is some mysterious urge to create harmonious order within us, some of us at any rate. And we have a related appreciation of the artifacts which are clearly the result of people acting on that urge.

It's interesting that I (and others, it seems) can get a similar buzz from this HP Logic Analyzer, a well engineered Container Ship or even a Coffee Maker.

If it's clear the designers cared to go a few steps beyond the basic business requirements in the creation of an item, then our sense of design appreciation responds.

Professors may rattle off some pat, bloodless definition of Engineering as being a set of methods for evaluating design trade-offs. But I would argue the _heart_ of design and engineering is this same motivation - people love to lose themselves in the creation of some thing of beauty and utility.

I imagine the very same principles inspired the artisans who created Roman coliseums, and certainly inspired the masons who built medieval cathedrals.

From previous posts, people can probably tell I'm no Apple fan, but the development of the original Mac sounds like it was a similarly inspired effort - and I, despite my misgivings about Apple's business model, really appreciate that too.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: HP-UX
by tylerdurden on Fri 6th Dec 2013 22:14 in reply to "RE[3]: HP-UX"
tylerdurden Member since:

There is nothing to bite. Although the dissonance in your post was amusing; first you tell me how you're not fetishising technology, and then you proceed to write several paragraphs on techno fetishism.

My point is that a logic analyzer is a tool used to get a specific job done. Not to get a "funny" feeling in my pants.

I have worked with old "HP-way" analyzers which were a pain in the rear to use and had very limited capabilities, which more often than not led to very unproductive and painful experiences. Now some of the old tools were great, don't get me wrong. But I have also used newer kit, some of which runs windows, which offers vastly superior functionality, and are much easier (and pleasant) to use. Which in turn have sped the processes significantly, thus leading to far more productive environments.

If as an engineer you're going to discount a tool, via some wishy washy purely subjective and uninformed qualitative bias, then so be it. You can waste all the time you want marveling about the perfectly textured plastic case, the tasteful pastel icons, and the classy contrast between the napa leather and the red silk stitching of the handles. I just want to analyze my signals, find the damned bug, fix it, and go home early if I can help it. If the best tool for that task happens to be running windows, so be it.

Reply Parent Score: 3