It’s Pronounced Pro·pri·e·tar·y.

Bendgate! iOS 8 Bugs! I don’t know how often I hear this. The newest Iphone 6 has met with a wide range of bugs and criticism. Anyone remember the antenna problems from previous iphones? The Iphone is always having issues. Why respect Apple, some say. Android you can do anything with, it has awesome phones. Apple is a marketing company they are a subpar engineering company!

But every time an issue has risen apple has responded. There has to be something said about that. pro·pri·e·tar·y, It’s a big word so I decided to give you the exact pronunciation. Proprietary. It’s defined as of or relating to an owner or ownership, or while that is how our friend Merriam Webster defines it. Regardless its something that makes Apple different. Each design and every piece of their technology is theirs. To get something on iTunes, Apple has a very selective process versus Android’s open apps. They take pride in everything they do. Many people forget Android is a software company first, then a hardware. While several sets of hardware are manufactured to run on Google’s mobile platform not all of them run the same specs. For the past couple of years various Google various have come out on a number of phones. This is not the case with Apple, as each phone is developed with their own software system. You know what your going to get with the iPhone. But this is not start the Apple vs. iPhone debate. That can rest for another time. This is the issue of when did everyone start working together?

The second definition of proprietary is ownership. Who owns ownership in one platform? Once the finger is pointed who will take the blame? Will anybody? In February of 2013 the F35 suffered another drawback. On February 21, 2013 the pentagon ordered a grounding of all F35 aircraft after discovering a crack in a turbine blade. All fingers pointed to Manufacture Lockheed Martin. This just served as another letdown in the program. With delays and more additional spending added every day many people questioned the project. A lot of people were quick to blame Lockheed martin. And to blame they did with talks on congress. Their names were all over that jet. But like the Android phone even though their name was on it the engines were not theirs, they were Pratt & Whitney’s. Thus, why were they not in the news?

My Question is what ever happen to proprietary equipment. Whatever happened to one company making a product and supporting one product? Proprietary equipment offers many benefits, such as one company being able to take responsible for their actions. The old saying “Too many hands in the cookie jar” now rivals the great statement “become good at one thing, and run with it”. To many things have become incorporate with other too many things. Is this our inevitable downfall with technology?

So next time you see a piece of technology ask yourself who made it, and who is responsible for it. If something was to fail on this who could I contact for help? Will I have to go through several hoops to get my answer? The answer may shock you. Proprietary companies are a dying breed. There is no “one company and their rivals” anymore. Everyone is linked together except for the proprietary companies. And I have always had something for the little guy by himself.

Excel, The Tool You Need to Learn

During one of my first professional interviews I was asked “How good are your excel skills?”.  I paused and quickly responded that they were probably a 7 out of 10. I mean during my vast career at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte I can’t even count the times I have used excel.  I mean, I used this program at least once a week if not more.  I felt confident in my answer, not wanting to overshoot my skills only to have the interviewee quickly follow-up with “well do you, VBA? Do you know audit?” and so he went on naming tools excel could do.  At the time, I was kind of left dumbfounded and found myself confused for awhile. When I told this story to a friend of mine later he said, “Don’t worry I thought the same thing before I started working here.”

So I ask you, how well are your excel skills?  Or how well do you know excel?  Excel is defined by Wikipedia as “Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application developed by Microsoft for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications”.    So you know how to create spread sheets and if so I am going to assume you know how to plot these?  But I am going to take a look at little bit more at EXCEL’s key features such as calculations and defining Macros.

It begs the question, why do we need a calculator when we have office?  Especially when one has a hundreds of numbers to calculate.  The following syntax is included and built into excel:  Sum, Average, Pi, Radians, Degrees, and the list goes on and on.  I know I recently used it to calculating angles of a descent of an object.  Simply by starting with a cell and hitting equal then going to the formula function one  can view formulas that may be used.  As you now have seen excel can be powerful tool for converting most mathematical formulas.  There have even been books written on it.  In 1995 Willaim Orvis published a book called Excel for scientists and Engineers.  (  Some colleges even provided classes on how to use excel in introductory science classes such as Carleton college.

So with these powerful mathematical formulas one would assume you can create a worksheet where one button can produce a variety of outputs?  Excel covers this with the many Macros you can make in Visual basic.  A Macro is a rule of pattern that specifies how a certain input sequence should be mapped to a replacement of an output sequence.  With excel visual basic you can automate tasks creating these excels.  Visual basic is simply a higher level language written using English-like words and syntax.  It is developed by Microsoft for their operating system in windows.

I am not going to go into the step by step of how to open VBA into office as each version of excel has slightly changed the process and these can be found through a quick google search.  But my adding the developer tool into the command list VBA offers a wide assortment of skills one can use into excel.  Worksheets can now be made by incorporating the wide arrange of formulas that MS Excel can use.  I suggest everyone look into it.  Now documents can be made to determining wide arrange of pass/fail mathematical formulas.  Ever wonder if a jump can reach a height based on a variety of different forces? VBA allows you to make this formula and simply by inserting the height you can now see the pass or fail of reaching a certain height by simple clicking a button, through its graphical interface. 

Simply put, Excel is an amazing powerful device.  Never look at it as a simple spreadsheet tool.  It has a thousands of tools I haven’t even touched.  So next time someone asks you how good are your excel skills think about it clearly.  Remember these are my thoughts and thus my consequences.


A Starting Point.

So welcome to Gypsy’s devices.  The entry level post to a weekly series, where I will rant about all that in technology, aerospace, and social media.  I have been thinking about doing this for a while. Personally I think blogging is a way to clear one’s mind.  My brother Cole Watts (recently nominated as one of the top people you need to know in Raleigh, NC) has been doing this for a while and I know it helps clear his mind, so I figured I’d jump into the game.  He will be hosting this and you can find him on and you can also find out about all things Raleigh at his local Raleigh series,  A little bit about me, I was in the Air Force for five years, currently have an electrical engineering degree and spend my days working in the aerospace industry.  Each post will be limited to 300-500 words on my current thoughts of news going around or recent quotes that caught my attention.  So let’s get started huh?

 Focus on one thing at a time.  I saw this recently on twitter.  It’s tough in these times.  With times being slammed at us 24 hours a day and with all this knowledge at our finger tips, we should be pros at everything right?  Ray Lewis, former NFL linebacker, once said there is no reason for his son to fail in school because everything is online.  I disagree and agree at the same time.  Yes, I do agree everything is at our finger tips now.  But hasn’t it made us stupid?  Whatever happened to learning by trial and error?  Also how do you find your focus or your goals, while trying to gather everything at once?

I guess it’s one of my greatest errors as I relocated to Melbourne, Florida.  I want to do this and that, but I need to focus on one straight goal, but I know I have been assimilated into the internet way.  I want to get into modeling, I want to write, I want to broaden my career outlook and pad my resume, and I want to get certified in the programming language LabVIEW, ontop of refining my skills at work, and gathering more knowledge that will help me at   work.  A lot of goals, I know. I constantly punish myself everyday for not full filling, each and every one of these.  But should I not breathe?  Should I stop thinking about all these goals and start with one?  And I going with the trend of the internet where everything is at you?

 Should I just copy and not learn from the facts on the internet.  Should I take the easy way out and do everything quick and not learn the why’s and how this work.  As an engineer I want to know the why’s of everything..  The internet has become a shortcut for all things in life and it should not be.  I say breath, focus on one thing after another.  Refine one goal, while looking at another.  Don’t rely on the internet, think for yourself.   The internet was created as the next generation of a library, treat it as such.

I know this is a bit of ramble, but these our my thoughts, and thus my consequences.

- Cal

Cal Watts is an engineer and writer located in Melbourne, Florida. Connect with him at Twitter at @Cal_Watts.