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Offshore Design - Part 3 of 3

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[Part 3 of 3 -- Continued from Part 2 posted separately]

You know, your unqualified assertion that you are better at engineering and
software than us is not only insulting, it's ridiculous.  I try to judge
engineers individually, not as a group.  However, at the risk of being rude,
bluntly, the highest overall standards and quality of engineering are
consistently practiced in the United States, Canada, Western Europe and
Japan.  Pakistan isn't even on the map.  Aren't you guys still trying to
catch up to India?  If your engineering is better than ours, then why don't
more of your engineers return home from their engineering studies in the
United States and Europe?  You and I both know why, don't we?  It's because
you're really not better at engineering, you're simply willing to do what
anyone asks you to do for whatever price they are willing to pay.  If you
were really better, they'd be willing to pay you more for it, wouldn't they?
It's easy to prove that we are better at engineering than you.  Considering
all engineering works, including buildings, bridges, transportation, nuclear
facilities, dams, flood control, sanitation, etc., our per capita rate of
death (or lives saved) and injury due to our engineering works is so far
superior to yours that it's not even a meaningful comparison?  Why can't you
stop your buildings, even your new ones, from collapsing so frequently under
earthquakes, and why can't you keep the radiation inside your nuclear
containment facilities?

I've made my point, but I've got to comment on your claim at being better at
software than us too.  Although most software (not structural engineering
software) is simply a commodity product and not a professional service,
again you're not better, just cheap.  Nevertheless, the majority of all
software in the world is still produced in the United States.  Among all
software programmers, the problem is that there aren't enough good ones to
go around, there's just quantity.  I was writing serious engineering
software 25 years ago, but haven't seriously written any in-depth software
for about ten years -- it's not my job, and it's not worth my time.  Yet,
it's ridiculous that when I find bugs in major structural engineering
software, the offshore programmers in Calcutta haven't got a clue what I'm
talking about and just say they'll get back to me.  Two weeks later, they
e-mail to me that I was right.  No fix, just that I was right.  No kidding!
I've found such obvious and relatively simple bugs in just upgrade
installation routines, that I wonder how they could have ever gotten by the
most rudimentary QA check.  If I hadn't figured out how to manually fix the
stupid files and the appropriate registry entries, we wouldn't even have
been able to get them to work.  Then when it comes to some of the more
serious engineering routines and algorithms, it's equally ridiculous that no
one there knows what I'm talking about.  That's because most of the
structural engineers who originally wrote the code in the United States are
gone.  The programmers (not practicing engineers) in Calcutta haven't got a
clue about what to do with the old code, and I doubt that they understand
the engineering analysis.  Major features (like semi-rigid connections) are
written with totally bogus mathematical procedures, and has been that way
for years -- every since it went "offshore".  Yeah, you know what I'm
talking about -- it's STAAD.  They've slashed the price, and still no one
wants it.  For most of today's programmers, if they can't use a GUI
application development program to do the programming for them, they're
lost.  The reason there's been such a proliferation of crapware is because
the capability of hardware has exploded beyond software during the last
decade, thereby enabling people with application development software to
write cheap, sloppy, bloated crapware.  So you're better at software, huh?
Fine.  I suggest you stick to programming recipe indexes to sell to
housewives in the mall.  I'll stay away from it and use accurate and
reliable American structural engineering software written by real structural
engineers (like GT STRUDL and RISA) -- even though it costs more.

And finally, if you think offshore professions must be better as long as
they're cheaper, then I trust that when you or a relative have a serious
medical problem, then you'll be eager to let some physician in Uganda
perform surgery on them in Karachi over the Internet (with video of course).
Don't worry -- it'll be OK, as long as they're cheaper.

James H. Stamper, PE (Jim)
Senior Structural Engineer
Heery International, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia
(E-Mail:  jstamper(--nospam--at)

[...End of 3-part posting]

P.S.  My thanks to the List.  I really DO feel better.

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