Measure Once, Cut Twice

February 10, 2006

A long time ago, when I was a budding programming student, one of my professors had us keep a log of our abends (abnormal ends) and our corrective action. The idea was to learn our bad programming habits and eliminate them from our code. He periodically collected the notebooks and reviewed our log. Repeated errors of the same type were questioned. All in all it was an interesting learning tool.

For the past couple of months I have been watching American Choppers on The Discovery Channel. Each episode, between the bickering Pauls, they manage to build another jewel of a motorcycle. The process seems to follow these steps: minimal visible design, lots of fabrication and careful fitting of parts and components, paint/powder coat/chrome, and then final assembly. And every single episode when final assembly rolls around not all the parts go together correctly. It seems that the thickness of powder coat, or chrome, or paint, mucks with their tight tolerances. Every. Single. Time.

As a student of the process I follow to construct applications I am very aware of repeated steps. Especially those that cause the same problem over and over again. Now I realize that the boyz at Orange County Chopper don't have control over the powder coat/paint/chrome process, but you'd think that after a couple of dozens time they'd be better at anticipating the delays and issues caused by the need to clean out fittings or scrape off excess finish.

I'm just saying.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.