It's probably the prednisone. Though I took the last yesterday, the stuff builds up and takes awhile to get out of your system. Whatever it is, I have been clumsy and out-of-step all morning. Woke up slowly and face-down and nearly fell getting out of bed. Cooking breakfast went poorly -- the usual ballet that ends neatly with coffee ready, toast and egg done at the same time, juice poured and drank was instead a jumbled mess, bacon too cold, toast burned, egg barely kept from burning, coffee half-done.
Later, I nearly dropped a book in the washroom sink. Can't keep from falling over my own feet and if you saw this blog post before correction, the number of typos would amaze you.
To make matters worse, yesterday, I was confronted what just how much of a steam-locomotive technician in an all-electric world I have become: I needed a few diodes for a project -- a couple of PTC205s or 1N4007s to sum two 5 Volt power supplies, a few 1N4148s to put across relay coils to suppress the inductive spike when you turn off the juice (and keep them pulled in just a little longer, a cheap "pulse stretcher" that can sometimes prevent problems). We not only didn't have any, there wasn't even a place for them!
In the most recent rearrangement and expansion of Engineering, we added three more workbenches and revamped parts storage. We kept a good stock of connectors and basic passive components, mostly resistors and capacitors, a few relays. The consensus was that our stock of TTL and CMOS discrete logic could go -- either to deep storage or a surplus dealer -- because it was long past its time. Anything you once did with TLL or CMOS is either simple enough that now you can just use a relay, or complicated enough to merit an embedded microcontroller. And as for transistors and diodes, we'd keep a few basic types that would cover most of our needs: 2N3904 and 2N3906 transistors are an NPN/PNP pair that will do for most relay driver and small-signal work, a fairly tough rectifier like the 1N4007 or PTC205 (1kV/1A and 1kV/2.5A respectively) for power supplies, and a smaller diode like 1N914/1N4148 or 1N4001 for other uses. Add some three-terminal regulators (78nn and 79nn positive and negative regulators in 5V and 12V versions), and that's nearly everything you might want. With 15-Volt regulators and NE5532As, we'd be set for audio work as well -- and that's not even a shoebox full of parts.
Yeah, well, nobody saved the shoebox, as near as my bosses, peers and I can tell. We used to have a wall of ICs, transistors and diodes, neatly sorted by type and number, and they're all gone. Every last one of them, along the with the little drawers they were stored in.
I have a few of the parts I need here at home, so I'm providing them for this project; I have ordered more for my employer and they'll restock what I have used.
But think about it: a whole wall of parts vanished and no one noticed (except, presumably, the guy who threw them out). Parts that were once critical to the kind of work I do. At one time, I prided myself on having a foot in both camps: it was 1937 in my basement workshop, and five minutes into the future in my shop at work. Any more? Pick your flavor of "old," because that's all there is.
Working On A Starship
1 month ago