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RE: Excel vs Mathcad[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: "'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'" <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
- Subject: RE: Excel vs Mathcad
- From: William Keil <WJK(--nospam--at)brph.com>
- Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 15:53:45 -0400
I have been following the Excel vs. Mathcad debate closely with great interest. I agree that Mathcad is easier for a peer to review, but I prefer Excel for the power and the ability to hide non-essential calculations to save paper. Once I have verified the accuracy of the program then I have no need to see any other cells than the input, design decisions made, and the output. However, I do need to provide secondary documentation so that the peer can confirm the procedure and some examples. This is not a problem because I must perform a few hand calculations to help in the programming anyway. My company requires numbered calculations for every job so limiting the amount of paper saves time at the end of a project. I have been developing design spreadsheets for the last five years (I've been contemplating selling them but I've discovered that everybody likes their own style and therefore likely not interested in anything that I have produced). I create them on company time (i.e. overhead) when I am not busy or when another engineer requests a specific task to be designed. Other than that, I create the spreadsheets on an as-needed basis and charge the time to the project that I originally needed it for. My employers do not infringe on my desire to be more efficient with my calculations mainly because it allows more time to prepare the construction documents. One employer established a job number for me to charge to so they could track my time but that was unique. My employer endorses the use of Excel spreadsheets and other engineers are encouraged to use them (and check for accuracy also). Since I am the creator of these spreadsheets, they will come and go with me. If my employer wants the exclusive rights to what I have created, they must compensate me very well. I estimate that I have over 1300 hours invested over the last five years. I do not receive any additional compensation for performing my job more efficiently - however, these tools have allowed me to meet the tight deadlines this profession is subjected to. In addition, they have saved me from coming into the office on weekends. My current company is an employee-owned organization so whatever design time I save results in a better bottom line and practically guarantees a bonus at the end of the year (I only have to wonder how much it is instead of if I will get one). I believe in working smarter instead of harder. I do not like to do things over and over manually because it becomes extremely stressful and tedious. It is much simpler to program a computer once, do some test runs, and just alter the input. Therefore, once I have developed a design spreadsheet it can be reused on another project. Several of these files are over 1 Megabyte and process an enormous amount of information quickly! For example, I have reduced the time to design a concrete retaining wall from 5 hours (by hand) to 2 minutes. I assume eventually I will have a design spreadsheet for every task I perform ... which will expedite the calculation phase in order to create "perfect" drawings. Hmmm - wonder if I could automate that too?? I hope this insight helps. William J. Keil, P.E. -----Original Message----- From: Jim Kestner [mailto:jkestner(--nospam--at)somervilleinc.com] Sent: Friday, August 13, 1999 3:08 PM To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org Subject: Re: Excel vs Mathcad For those of you who are not self employed, have you developed these spreadsheets on your own time or on the company's time? If on your own time, what agreement do you have with your employer as to owns the right to these spreadsheets? Do you get some additional compensation from your employer since it has made you and possibly your co-workers, more efficient and you have more value to your firm. If you are not getting additional compensation or other benefits, what incentive do you have in writing these, other than some individual satisfaction? If done on company time, do you charge it to a particular project, general overhead or something else? Jim Kestner, P.E. Green Bay, Wi.
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