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Release It!, 2nd Edition by Michael T. Nygard

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Shipboard engineers can tell when something is about to go wrong by the sound of the giant diesel engines. They’ve learned, by living with their engines, to recognize normal, nominal, and abnormal. They are constantly surrounded by the sounds and rhythms of their environment. When something is wrong, the engineers’ knowledge of the linkages within the engines can lead them to the problem with speed and accuracy—and with just one or two clues—in a way that can seem psychic.

The power plant in a ship radiates information through ambient sounds and vibration, through gauges with quantitative information, and in extreme (usually bad) cases through smell. Our systems aren’t so naturally exposed. They run in invisible, faceless, far-distant ...

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