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A small benefit of being between gigs: I’m sitting here, coding and networking and working and planning, while watching From the Earth to the Moon Episode 5: Spider. If you’re any sort of an engineer, you need to watch this every year (or more) for inspiration. It’s the best, truest picture of engineering I’ve ever seen on screen. And for me, it’s a reminder: my job is not hard. That was hard, and they did it. I can do this.

I also recommend Thomas J. Kelly’s Moon Lander for the story behind Spider. It’s kinda dry, but it’s an amazing look at a period in engineering history when they were inventing and discovering the project management techniques we take for granted today. Oh, and they sent men to the Moon.

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:21 PM Personal | Back to top

Comments on this post: Spider

# re: Spider
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Absolutely agree. This is my favorite episode in a fantastic series.

It highlights the compromises and the failures involved with design. It also shows how a team can work together.

I love the part where the manager (I believe Thomas Kelly) disagrees with the chairless design

"I can't see it"

And after he leaves the lead engineer says "make him see it".
Left by Mark Flory on Feb 26, 2009 12:34 PM

# re: Spider
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Yep. One of many scenes in the story where I said "I've been there!" In the book, the process was longer and not so black and white, but still had this sense of engineers bringing conflicting visions together and honing them into a single unified vision.

I also recommend Apollo by Murray and Bly Cox. It's all about the engineering and the program, not the astronauts. I admire the astronauts, but I know myself too well to ever see myself in their boots. The engineers are my inspirations.
Left by Martin L. Shoemaker on Feb 27, 2009 2:07 PM

# re: Spider
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So, when this episode of Earth to the Moon is over, are we getting another Lounge?
Left by EditorBill on Mar 02, 2009 10:45 AM

# re: Spider
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The episode is drawn. Now I'm writing the commentary and drawing the diagrams. I got started on that after Spider, then got distracted writing a new tool: a tool that lets you read a Word doc or an Outlook email and build a UML model from it, using Enterprise Architect. That consumed all waking hours this weekend.
Left by Martin L. Shoemaker on Mar 02, 2009 10:54 AM

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