In my first column for Design News in the May 2010 issue, I pointed out my intent to continue delivering editorial coverage of the principal technology areas that Design News has long been known for addressing. These areas are: Design Tools (analysis and collaboration software, CAD/CAM, computer hardware, etc.); Electronics/Test & Measurement (embedded systems, LEDs, power management, sensors, switches, etc.); Materials/Assembly (elastomers, plastics, fastening/joining, metals, rapid prototyping, etc.); and Automation & Control (drives, controllers, industrial networks, fluid power, motors, etc.).
Since the appearance of that column, we've made a number of moves to ensure a more even-handed level of coverage on these topics. You'll be seeing these changes start to materialize in the publication and on our website this fall, and they will be fully implemented by January 2011. The primary change you will see is that the four technology areas listed above will each have a related feature article in every issue.
With more than 145,000 subscribers buying and specifying products across these categories, it only makes sense from an editorial perspective to give equal weight to each area. Our main goal editorially is to serve each segment of our design engineering audience, not only to help you with day-to-day engineering design tasks, but to get you thinking about the possibilities enabled by technology advances in your area of engineering.
This month's cover story on the microelectromechanical systems-based inertial sensors used to create Iron Man 2 is a great example of the out-of-the-box thinking Design News has long been known for engendering in its audience - and it's something we remain committed to doing as we move forward. It also happens to be a fun story to read - another factor that subscribers have cited over the years as one of the primary reasons they prefer to read Design News.
To create a more even-handed level of technology coverage each week online, Design News has launched the "Automation & Control" blog to complement its design tools blog ("CAD/CAM Corner"), its materials & assembly blog ("Engineering Materials") and its electronics/test blog ("Electronics News & Comment"). These and other blogs on the Design Newswebsite serve as regularly updated sources of news, trends and insights into the technology and industry areas we cover. You can access all the blogs at: http://www.designnews.com/blog.
Long-time readers of Design News will likely note the change in title of a few key technology coverage areas as we move forward. Automation & Control is a good example of this change. This coverage area has historically been referred to as Motion Control/Automation. The change in title was made to enable our coverage to more accurately reflect the technologies applied by our subscribers. According to our most recent subscriber audit report, more than 94,000 of our subscribers buy or specify the use of sensors, vision systems and feedback devices; controllers; drives, motors, actuators or other motion control components; robotics; and industrial Ethernet or other network communication devices. These technologies are part of the broader spectrum of automation and control, not just motion control - though that will continue to comprise a portion of our coverage in this area.
The changes you're seeing us make now and in the months ahead are all designed to create a content platform that will allow us to adapt to the needs of our audience and the technologies available to us to present that content. So stay tuned, and let us know what you think about these changes as they roll out.
The fun factor continues to draw developers to Linux. This open-source system continues to succeed in the market and in the hearts and minds of developers. Design News will delve into this territory with next week's Continuing Education Class titled, “Introduction to Linux Device Drivers.”
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.