Among the odd ways that electronics are changing our lives, here are two: Blackberrys are causing parents to behave like children; and musically-challenged individuals are creating "songs" that are listened to by millions.
The Blackberry issue was publicly discussed in a free blog by Wall Street Journal writer Katherine Rosman earlier this week. Rosman wrote: "As hand-held email devices proliferate, they are having an unexpected impact on family dynamics: Parents and their children are swapping roles. Like a bunch of teenagers, some parents are routinely lying to their kids, sneaking around the house to covertly check their emails and disobeying house rules established to minimize compulsive typing. The refusal of parents to follow a few simple rules is pushing some children to the brink." Read the original blog at http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116553463083344032.html?mod=technorati.
As for the musically-challenged who make popular music: Increasingly, creative individuals have been using video editing software to create "songs" that get listened to by millions on youtube.com. Norwegian Lasse Gjertsen, for example, has has been viewed 1.8 million times on youtube.com, playing his piano-and-drum music. What's amazing, though, is that Gjertsen admits he can play neither the piano nor drums. He simply records himself playing a note at a time, transfers the sounds to audio files, then edits it all to create music.The kicker is that Gjertsen's video is funny, and his music is catchy. See it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzqumbhfxRo
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
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.