Two Technology Setbacks on the Same Day

Like every generation before me, I feel this generation has it easier. Most of this is due to the advances in technology and I get it. However, there are times when technology impacts your view on life. Recently, Facebook posts hit two of my soft spots in the same day; changing tires and bailing hay.

As a youth, I spent my fair share of time on these two labor intensive efforts. In fact I once had a conversation with my ex-father in law that a right of passage for my own children was to spend a 90/90 day bailing hay. For those of you that have “been there” this is a day where it’s 90 degrees out and the humidity is 90 percent. Typically the air isn’t moving on this day. In the hay mound, it’s even hotter. Mix in the nettles on your sweat soaked skin and the dust in your lungs and you start to get the picture that hell isn’t far removed.

As for changing tires, I was a “parts replacer” while going through college. In the same manner I declare that I’m a painter and not an artist, I state that I’m not a mechanic. I was the low guy on the totem pole who got to fuel trucks on 90/90s and at 30 below, wash trucks, and change tires. These were full sized tractor trailer tires that used a sledge hammer and bars to remove the tire from the rim as well as pry it back on. Factor in the effects of a northeast winter bonding a tire to a rim with rust and a visual picture starts to emerge. One could easily spend a half an hour loosening a tire.

One particular day of effort was after a night of doing shots until 2 AM. I arrived at work at the normal 6 AM to find two tractors backed into opposite bays required the tires be swapped from one to the other. Twenty tires had to be removed, dismounted, swapped, and replace on the vehicle. Now this would have been easy had the rims been of the same style however they weren’t. One style was the “Budd wheel” with a rim that bolted to the hub and the other style was wedged to spoked designs that required removing a snap ring from the rim. The snap ring held the tire on. The Budd wheels are tubeless and the spoked wheels required tubes. Needless to say the labor and associated writing of each and every serial number (i.e. the paperwork) along with being hung over took the entire eight hour shift to complete. It was brutal.

Fast forward to 2016. The same Ryder company that I changed tires for has a video showing an automated tire changer. This device removes the tire from the rim automatically and puts the new one on. Like me, it’s a mobile changer. Gone are the days of pounding on the bead with a sledge hammer and wedging the tire off with two, three foot bars. Well, sort of. The tire they showed was new with a fairly new rim absent of rust. It remains to be seen if this equipment can perform the job under all conditions. One thing is for sure, it will save on the back as the machine does all the work. All the technician has to do is pull levers, assemble a few parts, and roll the tire into place.

In the second let down of that day, FB posts revealed a video for an automatic hay baler that lifts bales in the field and automatically stacks them. As a bit of a reprieve, there is a shot of manual stacking of the bales at the end of the video. Of course the laborers are outside and not inside where it’s forty degrees hotter and no air is moving. I must somehow find a disadvantage to relate to my own personal misery.

Neither of these designs would have been possible without control systems and motor drives. In addition, the advances of sensors play a large part. So Planet Analog community, “ya done good”. And my children have never had to experience these labor intensive efforts first hand all while being conducted for minimal pay.

Technology has made great advances for us all. I’m sure that today’s generation will be blogging about current technology or a lack thereof and reference how their own modern times have made life easier for the younger generation. As an engineer who enables such advances, there is a sense of pride in the accomplishment. However, to have two of the most irritable instances of growing up presented on the same day is hitting below the belt. And of course the venue for alerting me was none other than Facebook; another technological advancement that was lacking during my youth. I’m shutting the computer down and going out to work my back manually away from technology. This time it will be with weights for enjoyment and not as a job. Somehow it seems a bit more acceptable. Now where did I put those Bluetooth headphones? Life is so easy these days.


  1. Automatic Tire Changer” Ryder video
  2. Baling and loading small bales | David Brown 885 | Kemper Ballenautomat Express BE 125”

9 comments on “Two Technology Setbacks on the Same Day

  1. jimfordbroadcom
    June 29, 2016

    Hi, Scott.  Probably most of us have had similar private hells to endure.  I can think of two that rival yours.  When I graduated from college in 1988 with a BSEE and no job, I moved back in with my parents in New Hampshire and looked around for whatever work I could find.  The best pay I could get was industrial roofing.  Fortunately for me, this was not the hot tar type, but gravel over rubber sheeting over foam insulation over corrugated metal decking.  The old school tar guys were real men ;)!  Anyway, first we had to cut and lay down the foam insulation on the deck in 90/90 conditions.  This stuff was bright white styrofoam that reflected most of the sun's light and heat back up in your face.  Then they had us pushing 1 inch gravel over the sizzling hot black rubber with these aluminum tools.  For the first few weeks of the summer, I thought I was going to die!  Not to mention the sweat causing sunblock to run into my eyes and causing serious pain!  But after a few weeks I kind of got used to the work.

    Fast forward to the winter of 2010, where winter means rainy season in Southern California.  A low spot in my back yard and a plugged drain combined with rain that won't stop equalled water almost coming into the house.  When I couldn't get the drain unplugged, I had to use a pushbroom to move as much water as possible to the lower side of the yard where it would (thank God) drain away properly.  I remember working until my heart rate went up to about 140 bpm, then “resting” until it got down to about 100 before starting up again.  I worked from about 11 pm to 5 am in the pouring cold rain until my wife could get an emergency guy out there with a pump to continue draining.  And oh yes, this was after donating blood that day!  I sure hope I never have to do that again!  I have a sump pump in the garage just in case…

  2. jimfordbroadcom
    June 29, 2016

    Hey, I guess I beat your “painter” status because Planet Analog lists me as an “artist”! LOL!

  3. salvimorriswak
    June 29, 2016

    nice post good

  4. antedeluvian
    June 30, 2016

    Years ago I worked with diesel motor starters for fire protection sprinklers. The company I worked for was quite small and so I would do some of the installations, especially since this was near my wife's hometown and I could couple it with a hoilday. I had suffered from a back problem and to exclude tumours I had a test called a Myelogram (no CAT scans or MRIs back then)  which involved injecting dye into the spine. One of the side effects was that it dropped the pressure in the spine, resulting in massive headaches that diminish with time. Anyway I thought I was over the headaches and out the family and I went to Durban (South Africa) with weather much like Florida. A few days later I went to site, which was a Mobil oil refinery. The installation was outdoors. I got driven to the location and left to do the wiring- 90/90 day, no hat, no water… First the headaches started and then nausea and then I'm not sure- I came to in the refinery's clinic some time later.

    I had to return several days later, and this time the refinery crew hovered around.

    Unlike your experience, I don't think there is an automated way to do the wiring yet.

  5. Effective-Technical-Writing dot com
    June 30, 2016

    I don't claim to be an artist.  That's up to the audience to decide.



  6. Effective-Technical-Writing dot com
    June 30, 2016

    All I can say about past experiences is that people who see you now in a professional role often don't realize what it took to get there.  I'm watching my sons go through it now trying to make a buck while paying for unnecessary Obamacare.  It takes a while to increase your value and salary yet the taxation of single people makes it very difficult to survive and build a life.  Then you hit the glass ceiling and they call you in and end all of the effort by replacing you with someone for half the price.  I've been holding off on that conversation.  All I can say is what I say to my sons, find a way to make more than they can take.  Often times that way is not to get stuck on the corporate treadmill where they say, “We had to give more to others that aren't making as much” which translates to: “after we got finished rewarding management, there wasn't anything left for those doing the real work.”

  7. jimfordbroadcom
    June 30, 2016

    Hey, Scott, your art looks very good to me!  Very Southwestern.  I was just making a joke there because my User Rank came up as ARTIST, but my own personal art is more auditory than visual; i.e. music.  Specifically, I play electric bass, keyboards, and guitar, with tendencies toward rock, blues, jazz, and funk.  As to putting examples online, well, someday in my spare time….  Recording and posting online is way more difficult and time-consuming than it appears.  No wonder Geddy Lee of Rush referred to music as “my favorite headache”!

  8. jimfordbroadcom
    June 30, 2016

    Don't get me started about Obama-doesn't-care!

  9. sangwankal
    July 2, 2016

    nice one

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.