Phil Sutterlin, Electrical Engineer from CA, wrote:

I have 3 computers at work, for different uses. - I use an Apple Mac for email, for keeping track of correspondence or specs for projects, and for preparing presentations for training seminars [Using Power Point]t. Another is a SUN work station - a UNIX computer. With this, I simulate electrical circuits that I design. Before building them, I design a model on this computer. When it looks like it will work the way I want it to, I go to the lab and build a real one. The third computer is a laptop, which I take on trips to do expense reports or to hook up to external boxes to monitor our communications over power lines. I have an adapter and can plug it in anywhere.

For designing the electrical circuits, I use a packaged software called Cadence , which runs a kind of program called Analog Workbench. On the screen, I can select different resistors, capacitors, batteries, inductors, diodes, transistors--in other words, various components. Then I wire them up right there on the screen. I can type in what value of resistance is desired after selecting the resistor. The program can calculate things either way, so it can tell you what you need in what is called the optimizer option. For this, you can put down components which components you want to use, then put in variables for some of them, instruct the program how you want the circuit to behave, and ask it to tell you the values needed that would do work.

For more trials, I have what is called a “Monte Carlo: tool. If building a circuit for real in the lab, the one model built may not be an exact accurate representation. You need to verify or to check the computers predictions. However, In the lab, the parts aren’t all made perfectly. Even though you want to buy something with exactly 1000 ohms, for example, there may be something like a 5 % tolerance level in production specifications. So, as you design the circuit, you want to know if you build 1 million, if they will all work okay. Then I use this Monte Carlo, (random, chance) tool to “build” 1000 simulated circuits on the computer, giving the computer the tolerance to work within. So, sometimes the computer will test the circuit with exactly 1000 ohms, but the next time use 1090, then 990, 1050, etc. Each time it remeasures and recomputes what would happen It simulates repeatedly, selecting the resistor and slightly different values, so you can predict what would happen when you actually produce the circuit which you have designed.

After I design them, some of the things these electrical circuits be used in:

• systems that communicate over power lines
• an amplifier to make bigger a signal
• a filter--to filter out some of the “noise” on signals.

The computer is also used to design a “chip.” Unlike when you build the electrical circuit, each time you work on a small chip, or an integrated circuit, you can’t go out and solder one together in the lab, so you need to make sure you do it right first on computer, since the first chip built would be very expense to correct. So, I do Lots of the simulations for that before the chip is built.

Gregory Skarda, BBN, Maritime Systems, wrote:

As a scientist and engineer, the computer is an essential part of my daily work. I have used a variety of computers and operating systems over the years to do everything from demanding, real-time SONAR signal processing and display to report generation with word processors. Several years ago, I used special purpose computer systems to address each task I was doing separately. In the last few years, the modern PC has become so powerful and flexible that it can fulfill all of my processing needs. Standard PC's now process SONAR signals from acoustic sensors in the ocean in real time and display the results to a scientist or SONAR operator using the familiar Microsoft Windows look-and-feel. That same PC also provides me with a network connection to the Internet so I can send and receive e-mail or browse the World Wide Web. This connectivity allows me to stay in touch with customers, coworkers, and the SONAR industry. Other PC applications enable me to prepare the reports and proposals that are essential to fulfilling contract requirements and getting new business. Project tracking software allows me to keep contracts on time and on budget. Being able to accomplish all of this using a single computer platform has greatly simplified my daily work life.

Susan Shaw, civil engineer, wrote:

I work as a civil engineer for a state highway agency (Virginia Department of Transportation). In addition to the usual office applications (we use Microsoft for word processing, email, spreadsheets, etc.) We use computers for a number of technical applications. Almost all roadway plans are prepared electronically using CADD software (computer aided drafting and design). In addition, many computations such as design for drainage structures, etc. are done using PC's.

The biggest changes in computer applications right now are occurring in nontechnical areas of computer use. In a few months, all time sheet data entry and requests and approvals for leave will be accomplished on computers and across a network. An employee requesting leave will process a leave request that will go straight to their supervisor's computer for approval or denial.

The VDOT is also in the process of launching a new employee evaluation process. This will include peer review that will be done on the computer network. Each employee will receive input from coworkers, supervisors, and customers. These changes will make computers a necessity for every employees job, since every employee needs to submit a time sheet, request leave, and be evaluated. Before these changes, only certain jobs required computer usage. It will be interesting to see how we all adapt to these new changes!

Dave Pope, VA, wrote:

There are several different ways that I use computers in my daily work. I use a Word Processing program to record comments on documents that I review. Sometimes I receive an electronic file containing comments prepared by others and I merge those and the ones I have generated together into a final set of comments concerning a specific document.

I use a computer and its spreadsheet program to prepare a table of data particularly tables that have calculations where the data is summed or otherwise manipulated.

I frequently review schedules . I use the computer to access the detailed data stored in an electronic file to be able to see more of the data than can be presented in the summarized form. Then, I can form conclusions about what may need attention.

I generally use a computer to prepare a presentation program or briefing. In all of my work I communicate by electronic mail. I draft messages that I send to coworkers whether local or out of town. I send electronic files as attachments to some of these.

Thu Sep 3 14:52:26 1998 from pm3o-42.pacificnet.net

I do computer consulting for friends and family. My favorite thing I get to do is teach people how to do what theu have always wanted to do with computers. When I use computers to first of all design adds, proccing sheets, and keep a databse of all the computer shtat I work with and every thing has been wrong with them. The most inportant thing to know if you are condering the conulting fild is that your certifacations and a kind atitude are the most inportan. Read and keep up with the industry and also what is hapening in the otside world.

Mon Sep 7 01:55:58 1998 from client-151-200-120-163.bellatlantic.net
Kent M. <kmanley@bellatlantic.net

I work as a Systems Administrator for a company working for a large Federal Government/Department of Defense Health Affairs contract. There are many different groups on the contract that I support, doing everything from making publicly and privately available web sites, to writing programs, administering databases, performing cost/performance analyses, and a variety of other tasks. To support all of these tasks, we run a major network that lets everybody communicate with each other through a variety of ways: e-mail, shared databases, and public directories. We are using Windows NT 4.0 and SCO Unix for our servers, and most of the people working on the contract work with either Windows 95 or NT Workstation on their desktops. My job is mostly making sure the servers work as they are supposed to work. I spend a fair amount of time making sure that there's enough disk space, memory, and other resources available to do the work required. I also am working with a group of people to migrate all of our users over to using Windows NT as servers and away from the Unix systems. On top of that, I also work with users directly when they have problems - everything from hardware problems (oops, there goes my monitor!) to tricky software or operating system questions, to installing new software or operating systems on their desktops. I like the work because it lets me do a variety of things. I can keep some projects always running "in the background", and enough things "pop up" to keep me busy so I don't get bored with my work. I guess it just goes to show you that not all computer work is in the background and unnoticed!

Fri Sep 11 18:58:13 1998 from 207-172-96-201.s264.tnt8.ann.erols.com
Steve Myers <

Received by team Member Steve K. via email. " I've written a few words below to summarize my job as a software developer. I have been in the software development business for the past 13 years. Much has changed (about the computer industry) during this time such as the hardware becoming cheaper, faster, and easier to use. My current job function is to develop software for end-user (commercial) and in-house (custom) products. Commercial products are developed to address a general need of the mass-market and custom software is written to address specific needs of a few customers. The process of writing software begins with an idea which evolves to a written specification. The specification typically discusses: a) what the program does, b) what the inputs are, c) what the outputs are, and d) how the user will interface with it. Sometimes specifications include screen shots and dialog boxes. The specification usually goes through a process of evolution. As it is studied and evaluated, technical problems may emerge, features may be added, unnecessary features may be removed. When the specification has solidified, the process of writing the code begins. The developer must choose a hardware platform, operating system, and compiler development environment inwhich to work. Usually, new programs are created by modifying existing programs. Pieces of technology (ie: software subroutines) can be easily combined with new work to produce new software quickly. The more experienced a developer is, the more technology he/she has to draw upon. The development process is a cycle of four steps: 1) write code, 2) compile, 3) test, and 4) debug. The better you get at the first step, the less time you have to spend on the last step. When a software product is finished, it requires testing by customers and quality assurance personnel. During this phase, bugs may be found and features may need to be changed. While this is happening, the developer may also be involved in writing, reviewing, or editing user documentation for the product. In addition, the developer's time may be consumed by preparing installers, porting the product to other hardware platforms, or attending trade shows to demonstrate the product. After a product is released, some feedback occurs from customers and industry reviewers and the developer begins planning another release of the product in the form of an upgrade. I hope this helps, Steve. Regards, Steve Myers Andromeda Software Inc. "

Tue Oct 6 22:00:12 1998 from spider-tp061.proxy.aol.com
Al

I am disabled and I use my computer at home to help design and modify vacuum tube amplifiers.

Wed Oct 7 12:02:12 1998 from hiro.netizen.com.au

We have about 30 Sun Sparc Solaris machines of various vintage (from really recent Ultra 4-50s, to Sparc2s), which are used for developing Telecommunications software on. We also have lots of Windows PCs for doing documentation on, and a few Linux machines to provide network services like email and Usenet.

Wed Oct 7 16:47:41 1998 from

We use our computers for emails to clients, to send cad drawings, to email each other in the workplace, and during our "down time" we play on the internet. I don't know how we ever got along without them. They simplify our workplace so much.

Thu Oct 15 13:04:27 1998 from 207-172-57-130.s130.tnt2.ann.erols.com
N. Ward

Thu Sep 3 10:01:38 1998 from 207-172-99-28.s28.tnt13.ann.erols.com Norm Ward This entry was received from Mr. Ward, Division Director, Systems Integration Group, SAIC, who does Computer based training and systems development. The main thing I end up using a computer for is: e-mail. We also use computers extensively for word processing, spreadsheet applications, graphics, and project control. What often goes unrecognized, though, is the amount of computer resources needed to support networking computers together so e-mail works and files can be centrally stored and shared. File and print services are probably the most used dimension of any computer system at my office, because e-mail wouldn't work without them! There is also a security aspect of our computer system that is often undervalued in that computers can prevent (hopefully) unathorized access to our resources. This was received by our team by email, and has been entered for Mr. Ward.

Sun Jan 24 13:43:07 1999 from spider-tm024.proxy.aol.com
Julie Drzymalski <djulie111@aol.com

Specifically, I use computers to generate many database programs for Quality Assurance and Program Mgmt functions. Also, the internet is utilized as a tool to locate information about Federal regulations and new information that may be useful in developing our product which is in the airline safety related area.