Developing Instructions to use a Toaster

Ava-her Cat

Grand Daughter Ava and her Cat

One of the more brilliant technical works I have ever read was authored by Forrest Mims, but I’m not sure if there’s even a hand full of people that really know why they are such great works. My summary of his work? It’s like pouring knowledge out of a can. It’s rather dumb founding how clearly written his explanations are.

Forrest wrote a whole series of Electronic books for Radio Shack and many of us learned from him.  Fact is, I keep a number of his books on my shelf as a quick reference. One book that really shows off Forrest’s talent to communicate clearly is a book called Understanding Digital Computers, Forrest designs a nibbler processor to teach the inter workings of a computer, and you walk away with a deeper understanding than most people will ever have.

But now I’ll tell you the secret, and if you are a developer of anything that needs instructions, it can put you light years ahead of others including your competition. Forrest was learning as he wrote! This allowed him to explain what he was doing in terms that a person just learning could understand, because he was just one step ahead of his audience.

I write this because the last few days, I have been pouring over the worst of the worst technical manual I have ever read. The instruction was written by a man that has done the work so many times, there’s no way he can really relate to the person who is doing it the first time. I found an account given by two geeks, (both engineers) who took a week to complete the same work, the Author calls it a 10 hour job, but I didn’t do any better than the two geeks.

The biggest mistake you’ll make is giving the job to document the assembly or the use of a product to the man who knows it best. If you want clear and concise instruction, you find someone who knows absolutely nothing about it.

I’ve been studying this process for 40 years or more, and I just think it must be counter intuitive for managers to grasp that they need the untrained to write the manual so the untrained can learn it best. Sure thing, they’ll struggle, but they will discover the majority of the potential misunderstandings in the first draft.

Next thing I’ll write about is a product that Marketing said needs no lubrication ever, but the lack of lubrication takes out the poorly designed controller that then takes out the motor. How could they get it so wrong? Well.. it happens after warranty so no big deal…. (for them).

All the best,

George B.

Posted in Critical Thinking, Inspirational People | 3 Comments

David Edgington R.I.P.

David's Alfa

How is it you learn of the Men who have the Answers? If you ask enough questions, if you are tenacious in your pursuit, you’ll likely find Men like David Edgington.

David has passed away this May 22, 2016; we had spoke of health issues, and David mentioned he was having good days, and others not so good. David was not a man to sit idle. when at home, he was gardening, or providing answers to those researching iron.

David started Stationary Engine Magazine, a most wonderful creation put together with a full measure of love. The Quality of the photos, and stories of Stationary Power that had been ‘on line’ for a lifetime or more in some occasions were items I read over and over. How could a curious person who is inclined to study mechanicals not study Stationary Engines?

It is the past that gives us insight into the Future, to understand what made a prime mover of the past viable helps us make assessments of today’s power plants. Among the most basic requirements is the cost of maintenance, can you afford to maintain the power plant and still make a profit?

We find legendary masterpieces at Internal Fire, they were built for a ethical purpose, and at the top of the list of design priorities was to provide value to those who invested in them.

David Edgington Authored a number of well researched books, and over here in North America, we found many questions about the differences of manufacture of the CS models. It’s rather amazing how many times a person would finally resort to pulling David’s book from the shelf and finding the answer, it left the rest of us wondering… “why didn’t I do that?”

This is in no way a proper tribute to David, he really was so unselfish with his time, and I will never forget the times people would write me from some ‘far off’ place, and tell me how excited they were to get an email back from David!  It was more than just an answer, as David was always interest in your find, and left so many who wrote him feeling as if they had found a friend.

David, you were a rare man, and I am so glad our paths crossed. My Condolences to your Friends and Family, and there’s no doubt there’s a place for you in Heaven ….. amongst the Iron so many of us love.  For those who find Tributes, please consider sharing a link or information by using the comments tool.  And M.M, sorry for your loss, I think of you often, we are friends always.

George B.

Links you might explore:



Posted in Announcements, Engines, In The News, Inspirational People, Slow Speed Engines, UtterPower Articles | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

I don’t get why they don’t get it!

As I watched Bernie, the other night, I listened to the applause when he mentioned healthcare was a right for all people. I wondered, why not food, as you have no health without it? But why not shelter, as you have no health without that either?
And of course, since it’s a right, none of us need do a thing to get it, we’ll all just sit around on our ass.

For those who are upset about what it says on our Money, will they ever understand how wise our predecessors were?




I always wonder about Atheists, I wonder if they’d be foolish enough to surrender their ‘God Given Rights’, and place their lives in the hands of men?



Posted in Critical Thinking | Tagged | 16 Comments

An Important Question: Will western people learn anything from South Africa?

An important read:

After you read this article, consider asking your friends if they know what’s going on in South Africa?

What will we learn? I think the answer is nothing.

One party unchecked… could it happen here? Maybe it already has….

George B.

Posted in In The News | 1 Comment

The Home Power Producer’s Guide to Electrical Reality is now on line at Amazon.

Kindle sales were light, and the rewards even lighter, so Bill canceled the effort.  I do have a way to deliver you a digital copy should you decide to make a small donation to keep utterpower info online.

All the best,


Posted in Bill Rodgers Book | 7 Comments

A new ruling worth a note?


Seattle Washington is ripe with Liberal thought, it is the tail that wags the whole dog here. A new ruling is worth a note? See the link below.  Now answer the question. If a Judge EVER accepts their argument, should he also accept that it trumps every right he has to rule on it?

Follow the Logic

Have a great Monday!

George B.

Posted in In The News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Today’s Challenge. Make sense out of this post.

Is there a more  honest environment to compare equipment and to access it’s value than an off grid site? I think the only challenge is the making of a complete inventory of your efforts and materials so you can know the true costs. The DIYer has a rather huge advantage, he can buy good used equipment when others upgrade, he can do all the labor himself.

I have to admit, I can’t make any sense out of the following  post, how exactly does his concerns spill into the off grid market? I only suggest I don’t understand, do you?

Is it something in the water?

Have a great day…


Posted in In The News | Tagged | 9 Comments

“All are equal, but some Pigs are more equal”


In a company far far away and in a past time: I remember a room full of brand new servers, VME buses, CPUs clocked for warp speeds, and perhaps the coolest front panels in the Galaxy. But there they sat in a brand new room, brand new raised floors, and the best  environmental controls money could buy.

There was just one tiny problem, a small detail for sure; and that was the server was not certified secure. What a blunder it was, no one made that part of the purchase spec? Time dragged on, I took a few friends into that room, it was like a trip to the bridge of the Enterprise, The cutting edge?

So it was.. from the Mail Room Guy to the CEO, no one could find a person who would sign off on putting the most benign information in those servers! So they were junked as scrap!

As an IT person you might ask… why is Hilary not in trouble when you were nearly threatened with your life for doing far less than she did?

We are living Animal Farm. What has come out already is enough to put a normal person in jail..”All are equal but some pigs are more equal”

Have a great weekend!

George B.


Posted in In The News | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

It really is too bad that DIYers are one percenters, it’s leaves the other 99% gullible?

As per the small boats in Iran

Only Josh Ernest would pedal this horseshit, and I do hope he wakes up in hell one day…

And for goodness sake, start correcting your friends, It’s not Iran, it’s not the Iranians! Under the direction of the Mullahs, the Republican Guard has tortured or Killed a large number of Iranians that opposed their direction. This Administration has chosen to ignore the Iranian people, and to deal with those who oppress them.

I trust his comments;
“Matt Bracken Former Navy Seal on the Iran situation.
I rarely pull out my dusty old trident, but in this case, here goes. I was a Navy SEAL officer in the 1980s, and this kind of operation (transiting small boats in foreign waters) was our bread and butter. Today, these boats both not only had radar, but multiple GPS devices, including chart plotters that place your boat’s icon right on the chart. The claim by Iran that the USN boats “strayed into Iranian waters” is complete bull$?#?it?.

Update, I read the CCN report, a real POS. Here’s a better report for the moment:

We’re left to wonder, did the Navy crews disobey orders? Sorry… something is still fishy….

George B.

Posted in In The News | 5 Comments