A sense of loss when your skills are no longer required?

Do other people feel a sense of loss when some skill you were (perhaps secretly) proud of is no longer needed because technology or tastes have moved on?

A very minor example has just occurred for me.

I have been very comfortable using Port manipulation in place of digitalWrite() when extra speed is needed. And I have a nice little program working on my Uno to drive three stepper motors.

But I want to transfer the program to a Mega with a RAMPS shield (and a 4th motor) and, because the step pins are not all on the same Port I figured I would explore digitalWriteFast(). Which does the job perfectly - the difference in speed between it and directly writing to the Ports is not of any value for my application. But the code is much easier to understand.

Somehow I feel a little sad that I don't need to use my knowledge of Port manipulation. And I suspect from now on I will use digitalWriteFast() in all of the situations where I had been inclined to use Port manipulation in the past.

And I am sure there have been lots of similar examples of expertise becoming superfluous in many different fields of activity. For example, adjusting the distributor timing for the spark-ignition of a petrol engine in a car.

...R

Think of the Apollo series lander computers - by modern standards utterly trivial in performance and memory size…

But the skill of the designers and programmers in acheiving what they did on such a small machine is beyond praise.

Don’t give up on the old tricks - they may prove useful some day!

Allan

Back in late 70s and early 80s there was a total of maybe 5 people in whole elementary school (out of 200+ students and around 40 adults) that could program on Commodore PET. ~4 adults and a 6 year old.

I was the lone non-adult. At the time most of the time PET were used were for playing games like Checker and Hunt the Wumpus or to type up text document.

I learned BASIC and later LOGO (mostly self taught) and in 1982 with the adult support I was encouraged to teach other students LOGO.

Today? Short of emulator or old computer, nothing can run BASIC or LOGO. I also picked up PASCAL (easy to learn but a pain in the butt to teach) and Hypertalk for Macintosh Hypercard program. I also briefly dabbled in ASM and could do basic program on C64 and Atari 2600 with straight ASM. But I would be hard pressed to find someone who would want to learn from 20-30 years old languages that isn't supported on modern computers.

In my opinion, if you've learnt one computer language, you can easily learn another - you've got the principles in your head.

I starrted with FORTRAN - - that's a long time ago...

Allan

There will be a real sense of loss if the electric car becomes the norm i.e. the poor auto internal combustion mechanic will be the new dinosaur.

.

Well I'm helping to make the IC engine a dinosaur-2000 Boxster S to electric drive using Siemens 1PV5135. 88KW, 160Nm torque.

larryd:
There will be a real sense of loss if the electric car becomes the norm i.e. the poor auto internal combustion mechanic will be the new dinosaur.

.

Good thing my Dad retired from auto shop just a month ago. He worked as mechanic for almost 50 years. When he started, cars were easy with few wires, switches, and no computer, no ABS, no security, no air bags, no Blue tooth, etc.

Recently I had a couple of college-age kids working with me. I needed some wires crimped so I handed them the crimper and the crimps. Of course they came back completely mangled with the insulation and most of the strands cut through at some distance away from the crimp. They thought they did a good job.

So, back to basics: why do we crimp when we have a perfectly good soldering iron on the bench? What is the mechanical principle which allows the crimp to hold onto the wire? Why am I so critical of breaks in the insulation?

The guys were absolutely fascinated once I explained the technology that goes into such a simple piece of bent metal. Now they know how to crimp this kind of connector, they're reading the NASA wiring standards to find out how other connections work. (Great resource, by the way.)

This kind of manual skill isn't going away any time soon, even though 99.99% of all crimps are done in machines in factories. We just need so many billion wires connected in this modern world.

allanhurst:
In my opinion, if you've learnt one computer language, you can easily learn another - you've got the principles in your head.

I starrted with FORTRAN - - that's a long time ago...

Allan

Me too i spent considerable tint in And E after a punch chard was in my eye after a vacuum cleaner blew it in my eye.

We could only use it out of hours. :o

I did 'stopped and blind dovetail ’ joints with a tenon saw , mallet and chisel in my youth - modern tools may be quicker, but are they better?

Allan

allanhurst:
modern tools may be quicker, but are they better?

I reckon that quicker has generally been considered better since man became intelligent.

I like to think that the only reason they used french polish on furniture was because they didn't have polyurethane varnish. But that does not mean the the french polish expert would have been happy when the varnish came along.

My mother (who was born in 1918) was never inclined to talk about anything personal but she must have been very conscious of her skills becoming "redundant". When I was small she used to keep hens for eggs (maybe 12 hens - not large scale chicken farming) and made jam. My father had an allotment and grew the family vegetables. When people do those sorts of things now it is just as a hobby. You no longer need that knowledge or skill to feed your children.

...R

When people do those sorts of things now it is just as a hobby. You no longer need that knowledge or skill to feed your children.

Very true for those of us lucky enough to be in the 1st world - at the moment. Not so true elsewhere.

You never know - don't forget the old hand skills and do pass them on to your children. Times may change.

Allan

Robin2:
When I was small she used to keep hens for eggs (maybe 12 hens - not large scale chicken farming) and made jam. My father had an allotment and grew the family vegetables. When people do those sorts of things now it is just as a hobby. You no longer need that knowledge or skill to feed your children.

...R

I wish.
Have been looking for similar for many years.
Henhouse i can get. I live in one.
Try getting a decent garden though.

Friend has such having done well in tech.
Thinking of selling it for a development though (many millions), many henhouses . >:(

Modern developments are awful

allanhurst:
You never know - don't forget the old hand skills and do pass them on to your children. Times may change.

True - Jared Diamond's book "Collapse" makes very sober reading.

...R

Robin2:
Do other people feel a sense of loss when some skill you were (perhaps secretly) proud of is no longer needed because technology or tastes have moved on?

Not any more. I have worked in the technology sector far too long.

My first real tech job was on the ground floor, wireman and pcb assembly. I managed to progress to prototype-wireman and test-engineer just as pick and place took off. The deskilling eventually caught me up and I was chased out of the test department by Automated Test Envirnments, which rendered the job eben less interesting than where I started, stuffing boards and building looms in production.

By a fluke of interviews I moved over to networks, integrating digital telephony trunk interfaces with Netware voice servers. The rate at which I have needed to forget stuff, has sort of climbed from there. All the time I invested teaching myself the inner depths of IPX, ISDN2, DOS, Quemm, QNX and OS/2 (to name a few), is worthless today. I remember a performance review where I complained to my boss I was doing too much with NT Server (3.1) and not enough with Netware (if only I knew).

These days I tend to think moving on to the next thing, without clinging, is a skill in itself. However, every now and again, when I am decommissioing some system I only put in a couple years ago, I find myself pondering how I may have been more content as a wireman, if only that trade had not all but dissapeared.

Hi,
Well these workers may have been on a car production line, but where do they use their skills, along with hundreds of support industry workers.

I know its happened in the US too, but what a loss of skills.

And we now no longer make cars in Australia for the average guy in the street.

Tom... :slight_smile:

All this talk of woodwork made me lookup some "impossible" joints that really have been made. I think they use all sorts of tricks like steaming, compressing and drying - not something that will get automated any time soon. I really admire people that are good with their hands.

I don't feel a loss as IT skills become obsolete. There are times though that I worry about keeping abreast of the changes. It is easy to get stuck in a technology rut where you don't develop the new skills and new experience that are attractive to employers.

ardly:
All this talk of woodwork made me lookup some "impossible" joints that really have been made. I think they use all sorts of tricks like steaming, compressing and drying - not something that will get automated any time soon. I really admire people that are good with their hands.

I don't feel a loss as IT skills become obsolete. There are times though that I worry about keeping abreast of the changes. It is easy to get stuck in a technology rut where you don't develop the new skills and new experience that are attractive to employers.

Ah the diagonal assembly.
Easy with CNC but not easy with hand tools.
Had that as a test back when i was practising dovetail joints.

Boardburner2:
Ah the diagonal assembly.

That idea crossed my mind when I saw Reply #18 - I suspect I have seen that joint before.

Perhaps it is not a real dovetail joint, just a conjuring trick that looks like one?

Any pictures of it as two separate pieces?

...R