Thursday, November 20, 2008

A good test engineer studies the details, part 2

I've always been a big fan of PDAs.  I bought a Casio Telememo watch as a "congratulations on graduating college" present for myself.  It held up to 100 phone numbers plus it had calendar and memo functions.  I was hooked.  Since then I've had a host of such portable devices, including wring a program on my Hp48 calculator to hold contact info.  My next device will be either the new Blackberry Storm or maybe an iPod touch.

I view such a device as a necessity for a test engineer.  Sure, it can be a time-wasting toy at times, but I think there are 4 good reasons for using one:
  1. Having a calculator with good scientific functions in you pocket is really handy when checking your test results. 
  2. I have often kept technical specs (often in PDF format) on my Palm - this can be a lot handier than looking it up online.
  3. Writing down notes at any time in electronic form is very helpful when you have to refresh your memory 6 months later via a search function.
  4. More so that other engineers, test engineers are mobile - commuting from your office to the test lab, meetings, customer's facility, remote site, etc.  But sometimes a laptop is cumbersome, especially if you need to fit in tight spaces.
How does this fit in with my thesis that a good test engineer is detail-oriented?  Referring to the reasons above, I would say that having a tool like this allows you to focus more on the details.


Chronological list of my PDAs (1989-2008)

Casio Timebank,  HP48S, HP Jornada 680, HP Jornada 620, Palm TX


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