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Pleas for help from clueless students?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Grant Edwards, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. How so? The senders of the requests _state_ that they have no
    idea what to do or where to start. Isn't that the very
    definition of "clueless"?

    And they don't politely request help, the SHOUT AT YOU AND
    DEMAND that you provide step-by-step instructions to them.
    Grant Edwards, Jun 27, 2006
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  2. Grant Edwards

    Tom Lucas Guest

    I know I'm being the PC police here but Devil's advocate is important.
    The aforementioned students may not have had clue about their homework
    but "clueless" is more commonly used as a derogatory term and, I believe
    in this case is meant as such. The fact I agree with you is not in the
    spirit of proper debate :)

    With reference to elitism, would you not concede that the premise of the
    thread could be considered to be elitist by some? To someone who didn't
    know you or the good work you do it could come across as "As a highly
    desirable engineer should I waste my time on these morons who haven't
    learnt as much as me - don't you other highly desirable engineers
    agree?". Now I'm taking this to an extreme here but it is one valid
    interpretation of your post even though, I'm sure, it is not your
    intended stance.

    I am a relative newbie compared to most on here and certainly don't
    receive e-mails from Indicatively Challenged (is that more PC <g> )
    students. Actually, I'd like to as it must be a great ego booster :) I
    try to help where I can but I get as nervous about posting answers as in
    asking questions in case I come across as a clueless student and step
    into the path of a flaming. I would say that this a Good Thing and
    forces me to consider carefully what I'm writing but it does make me
    feel like someone on the outskirts and not _part of the elite_ which is
    what I've been getting at.

    Having said that, these people have earned their right to be gurus and
    it's taken years of hard work to do. It would be ludicrously arrogant of
    me to expect to be treated like a guru as well - you have to earn your
    wings and that can be quite intimidating to a newcomer and you feel on
    trial all the time.
    I would make the distinction between rude and clueless here. Perhaps
    there's a cultural divide too but I think basic manners are pretty
    international. I think I'm considering all us newbies as clueless when
    you are actually only talking about the homework beggars and the two
    line demanders. I have a tendancy to rant when I get started :)
    Tom Lucas, Jun 27, 2006
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  3. Grant Edwards

    Al Balmer Guest

    <G> Where have you been for the last few years?

    On the positive side, the Usenet archives might not have survived
    without Google.
    Al Balmer, Jun 27, 2006
  4. Grant Edwards

    Tom Lucas Guest

    Still it does say Beta at the top so maybe this is just a practice and
    they are going to roll out the real, well thought out, interface in a
    few weeks. :)
    There's not many prepared to take on the task. That's a lot of data.
    Tom Lucas, Jun 27, 2006
  5. Grant Edwards

    Joe Random Guest

    Crikey, you ruined the story! I hoped you'd proposed to her there and then :)
    Joe Random, Jun 27, 2006
  6. Years ago I was sitting in an almost-deserted lab putting the finishing

    I had an interesting experience when I was studying.
    We were supposed to control an LSI-11.
    The setup was a terminal connected to the LSI-11 and the LSI-11 was
    connected to a PDP-11.
    At boot, the LSI11 monitor would just bridge between the terminal and the
    The code was developed on the PDP-11 and downloaded into the LSI-11
    and then the program was started

    Me and a friend was supposed to develop a program which read input from
    various sources
    including the terminal, a keypad and a few other things.
    Data was then sent to different output devices including an LCD and the

    The program was mainly developed at home and fed into the PDP11 and
    To our dismay, the program immediately aborted and we were returned to the
    PDP-11 prompt.
    We tried downloading again, and got a major crash during download. Strange
    character all over the screen.
    Reset the LSI-11 and got the PDP-11 prompt again.
    Tried downloading again and this time it worked, but when we ran the
    again we were returned to the PDP-11 prompt.

    After testing a few times, we could see the pattern.
    First time we download and run we are returned to the prompt.
    Second time we download we get the crash.

    Called the teacher, which could not explain the strange phenomena and
    scratched his head...

    Suddenly I realized what was going wrong...

    The first time we downloaded our application it was written to the memory of
    the LSI-11.
    When we ran the program it started sending characters from the terminal to
    the PDP-11
    which returned a prompt every time it got a return character.

    We were not "returned to the prompt", our program just worked as it was
    supposed to...

    The second time we downloaded, we overwrote the rtunning application, no
    surprise that the crash occurs...

    So you can be both clueless and bright at the same time...
    Ulf Samuelsson, Jun 27, 2006
  7. They make money from advertising on those useless pages, right?
    Ulf Samuelsson, Jun 27, 2006
  8. Grant Edwards

    msg Guest

    Not necessarily; the useless hits are from pages which link to pages
    which have the search terms and in general these useless pages don't
    seem to be paid Google Ads. I just wish that there was a way to turn
    this off. To get an example of one of these 'referring hits' just
    access the cached copy and it will state in the cached-page banner
    "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: <terms>".
    The hits aren't even ordered by relevance to the search criteria,
    just by Google's absurd popularity ranking scheme which is nuts
    for technical searches.


    msg, Jun 27, 2006
  9. Did I forget to mention how she 'thanked' me? ;) Just kidding!!!!

    Mark McDougall, Jun 28, 2006
  10. LOL! It's always a pleasant surprise when, after scratching your head
    over a puzzling 'bug', you suddenly realise that it's actually
    *working*!!! ;)

    Of course, the aforementioned girl in my case had simply obtained a copy
    of someone else's source code.

    Mark McDougall, Jun 28, 2006
  11. --
    Best Regards,
    Ulf Samuelsson
    This is intended to be my personal opinion which may,
    or may not be shared by my employer Atmel Nordic AB
    Hope you did not underestimate her.
    We had another lab, where we were supposed to program a stepper motor in
    We should be able to start and stop and run in both directions.

    Unfortunately, the lab assistant replied when asked,
    that there were no manuals available for the Basic interpreter and then he

    When he returned, we had a nice interrupt driven program which would
    go right on '>', left on '<', start/stop toggle on "space" and finally as an
    the digit keys (0..9) would control the speed of the stepper motor.

    He did not seem very happy, so we were disappointed, because the other
    guys had to stop the stepper motor and read an INPUT statement in order
    to do anything....

    (He was totally pissed, and was about to give us a reject,because he thought
    that using non standard basic functions was impossible to do without
    so we MUST have copied the code)

    What actually happened was that someone who really new that Basic
    interpreter turned up in the lab so we could ask him if there were
    any predefined calls to do certain things...
    Ulf Samuelsson, Jun 28, 2006
  12. Grant Edwards

    Kelly Hall Guest

    My company uses Yahoo IM, Microsoft Messenger, Google Talk, IRC,
    Microsoft Outlook, cell phones, email, a Wiki, and an VOIP phone system.
    We let geographically distant employees VPN into the corp network.
    This is the most communication tool-centric environment I've ever worked
    in, and we still can't communicate worth a damn.

    Today I had enough of the interrupts and simply closed all of my running
    applications except my editor. It's the only way to get any work done.
    Anyone who wanted to speak to me was forced to actually walk to my cube.

    Kelly Hall, Jun 28, 2006
  13. Definitely not. It was patently obvious that she didn't know her way
    around a computer keyboard, let alone be capable of coding a couple of
    Minix 'interrupt' service routines for a custom piece of hardware and
    have it compile and run first time with ZERO errors.
    It's good to have someone in the know around. During my uni days I was
    more interested in hanging out in the canteen/bar between (and sometimes
    during) lectures than spending spare time in the computer lab. However,
    a good friend much preferred the latter.

    Early on in the course we got an assignment that had to be run in batch
    mode on a Honeywell mini. Trouble is, we'd been given JCL code that put
    the job in a queue which meant it would only get run every 4-8 hours. It
    was painful having to spend half an hour or so in the lab, trying to
    make sure you got your next run as correct as possible, then submit the
    job, check back in later that afternoon, etc over the course of a week
    or so.

    The aforementioned friend grabbed a copy of the Honeywell JCL manuals
    and worked out which line of JCL to change to have it run almost
    immmediately. We each had our entire assignments finished in the time it
    took everyone else to do a single run!

    Later on in the course they shut down a computer lab for a whole day to
    interactively assess Cobol programming assignments - so people scheduled
    for later in the day wouldn't unfairly have more time than others to
    complete the assignment. Again my friend simply ushered us into the
    little-used computer lab on the opposite side of the building and
    proceeded to connect remotely into the mini. We got about 6 more hours
    to finish our assignment.

    Ultimately his diligent hacking never paid off - he never could beat me
    at Xevious or Juno First (video games we had in the bar)! ;)

    Mark McDougall, Jun 28, 2006
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