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A while ago, I had to replace the battery in my old VW TDI , so I brought the old one in to the local auto parts store, plopped it on the counter and said " I need a replacement for this battery"  The guy behind the counter, without looking at the battery asks, "What's it go in?"  Being somewhat annoyed at the tone of the question, and trying to hide my annoyance, I replied "2002 VW TDI"  The cashier taps away at the keyboard, walks into the back room and brings out a battery half the size of the one I had placed on the counter.

 

"That won't do."  I said.  "That's what the computer says"  the cashier replies.  "Look at the specs on the old battery, and look at the specs on your battery."  I instruct him.  "It just won't do.  It gets cold here in the winter, and it's a diesel engine, I need a more powerful battery"

 

Puzzled, the guy again starts tapping away at the computer.  "Well it's what the computer says goes in that car."  he protests.

 

"Well, I'll just go somewhere else that has the right battery" I say.  So now another guy behind a different counter steps up to have a look, and he, too starts typing away at the computer and gets the same answer, but he doesn't want me walking out that door, so he agrees with me that I am right.  He takes out a tape measure, and goes into the back room, and he comes out with the correct battery. All the specs match.

 

So a third cashier gets curious and looks up the battery on the computer to see what it goes in.  "Oh, that goes into a Passat TDI!"   

 

Because that is what the computer says!

 

I guess no one told the computer the two cars used the same engine.

 

How often has this sort of thing happened to you?

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"That right there son, is what'cha call 'dirty data.'" 

 

I've spent my whole career on the bleeding edge of database management systems, so I can go on for ages about it. The kids will try to tell you that if you just use MongoDB, it would all just work. Kids these days....

 

All the auto parts databases these days are structured on 5 fields:

  1. Year
  2. Make
  3. Model
  4. Sub-model
  5. Engine

Your request gave them just 1, 2 and...4. Putting the Sub-model value into the Model field, it'll use the "T" to match the first model with a "T" and that means "Beetle" and that's why you got the tiny battery. I checked several sites and a couple did not have "Passat" and "TDI" at all, just the "GLS" or "GLX," so even if you had said "Passat" they may *still* have not been able to find it, although they may have gotten closer.

 

Hazel is right, computers don't make mistakes, they do exactly what the idiot humans tell them to do.

 

At least until our AI Overlords take over.

 

 

But Skynet presets the switch to read-only when we're sent out alone, :phones:

Buffy

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I can remember a time when I could bring in almost any random part to almost any parts place, and whoever was behind the counter could just walk into the back room and come out with the right part,  without asking any questions or typing anything into a computer.  I guess all of those people must have retired!

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I can remember a time when I could bring in almost any random part to almost any parts place, and whoever was behind the counter could just walk into the back room and come out with the right part,  without asking any questions or typing anything into a computer.  I guess all of those people must have retired!

We have a Batteries Plus store here like that.  They owner knows what I (or anyone) want after a few words from me.  The little family-owned stores are the best.

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I can remember a time when I could bring in almost any random part to almost any parts place, and whoever was behind the counter could just walk into the back room and come out with the right part,  without asking any questions or typing anything into a computer.  I guess all of those people must have retired!

 

Two effects here:

  • The number of parts has exploded. When I was a kid, the auto parts stores were just starting to even bother with non-US parts, and the big 3 had already learned to force their divisions to use common parts, so "Make" was really just "GM, Ford or Dodge/Plymouth." 
  • The auto parts chains aren't willing to pay more than minimum wage for "mere clerks." The guys who are smart enough to master what's in the back find they can make more elsewhere. The few mom n' pop's Hazel refers to are getting squeezed out by the Auto Zones, Pep Boys, et al....

The other thing I hate though is that the auto manufacturers literally copyright their part numbers, forcing the 3rd party parts suppliers to use different numbers. They do that just to force you to buy the "manufacturer owned/approved" parts that invariably cost 30% more.

 

That's what they call "freedom to innovate".... :P

 

 

Everybody who goes into government gets somewhat chewed up in the process. Being a senior appointee is like being at a startup, only more so: You run into opposition from the entrenched oligopoly of contractors whose business model is to extract as much money from government as possible for doing as little as possible, :phones:
Buffy
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All of the mom & pop stores are being squeezed out.  While it is the big stores driving at them, the general public is also to blame.  They insist on going to the big places because they think they get things cheaper.  Maybe sometimes they do but they never think of the extra gas they spend bypassing a neighborhood store.

 

We had a wonderful little family-owned grocery store just down the street.  I could walk there.  And the service was far above that of big groceries.  I live in a heavily-apartment-dotted neighborhood.  There are enough people around here to have supported that store.  But they all drive to bigger stores five miles away.  Our little store went bankrupt after being in business 70 years.

 

It's a dog-eat-dog world.  Farming Guy, when I first read your topic heading, I thought it said "Turn on Television; Turn off Brain".  Well?

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Two effects here:

  • The number of parts has exploded. When I was a kid, the auto parts stores were just starting to even bother with non-US parts, and the big 3 had already learned to force their divisions to use common parts, so "Make" was really just "GM, Ford or Dodge/Plymouth." 
  • The auto parts chains aren't willing to pay more than minimum wage for "mere clerks." The guys who are smart enough to master what's in the back find they can make more elsewhere. The few mom n' pop's Hazel refers to are getting squeezed out by the Auto Zones, Pep Boys, et al....

The other thing I hate though is that the auto manufacturers literally copyright their part numbers, forcing the 3rd party parts suppliers to use different numbers. They do that just to force you to buy the "manufacturer owned/approved" parts that invariably cost 30% more.

 

That's what they call "freedom to innovate".... :P

 

 

Everybody who goes into government gets somewhat chewed up in the process. Being a senior appointee is like being at a startup, only more so: You run into opposition from the entrenched oligopoly of contractors whose business model is to extract as much money from government as possible for doing as little as possible, :phones:
Buffy

 

To top it off, some companies, John Deere, for example, randomly change part numbers.  The local John Deere dealer's parts manager looks frazzled on a regular basis.  

 

 

 

It's a dog-eat-dog world.  Farming Guy, when I first read your topic heading, I thought it said "Turn on Television; Turn off Brain".  Well?

 

 I witnessed one local John Deere dealer pressured to sell out to a bigger one by John Deere. The bigger dealer was under pressure from John Deere to expand , so at least he did have the opportunity for a comfortable retirement, but the whole farming community misses him.

 

What gets me today is how dependent a lot of people are on their computers.  I heard of one guy that got the wrong part from an equipment dealer, and even though he had the original broken part in hand and it was obvious they had given him the wrong part, the guy behind the counter argued with him that since the computer gave a particular part number, it couldn't be the wrong part.  He had to go to the manager, and the guy behind the counter didn't keep his job.

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My wife gave me a Kindle, and I'm a couple of chapters into my first book, and I still find myself occasionally trying to physically turn pages.  How long before my brain fully adjusts?

Well, let's see.  It has been one year and nine months since I tried one.  But then, what I did  was send it back to the person who offered it to me and said "forget it". I have not missed it a bit.  You are probably more adaptable and skilled.  If you are managing not to mess it up every time you touch it (my problem),  enjoy.   I can see it as a good way to "take it with you".  At home?  Give me a good paper book.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My wife gave me a Kindle, and I'm a couple of chapters into my first book, and I still find myself occasionally trying to physically turn pages.  How long before my brain fully adjusts?

i have tried that and i was doing the same. I also tried Audible, but really can't adapt. Imagine a book being narrated to you? i still like reading the hard copy

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