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Looking forward on Ethernet's 40th anniversary

April 2, 2013 10:24 am | by John D’Ambrosia, Chairman and Board of Directors, Ethernet Alliance Chief Ethernet Evangelist, CTO Office, Dell | Blogs | Comments

Ethernet this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and anniversaries are typically the time to celebrate the past. But with so much innovation and development percolating across the global Ethernet ecosystem, there is little time for the technology’s vast array of stakeholders to look back on its successes.

A legitimate case for drones

March 29, 2013 3:32 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s been a lot of chatter in the news (and here on ECN) about drones. These arguments usually come down to questions about ethics, military power and tangentially the military industrial complex, and the relationship of the US with various other countries. It’s rare to see drones talked about in any context outside of military.

Post-Sandy legislation: Backup generators would prevent long gas lines

March 28, 2013 4:12 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Five months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and legislators are nipping around the edges of bolstering the fuel distribution system so more gas can get to the consumer in the case of a widespread power outage or other state of emergency.

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Is re-industrialization the key?

March 28, 2013 2:27 pm | by Tom McNamara, Assistant Professor of Operations Management, Rennes School of Business | Blogs | Comments

Most economists agree that the “Great Recession” of 2008 ended sometime around August 2009, and while the economy has been slowly recovering, unemployment still appears to be a stubborn problem. The headline rate is just a shade under 8 percent, which translates into a little over 12 million Americans out of work.

Replenishing the “brain drain”

March 28, 2013 9:26 am | by Paul Michalicka, SKF USA Inc. | Blogs | Comments

It is a phenomenon that is referred to with a catchy rhyme: “the brain drain.” Older workers are leaving companies, taking their experience and knowledge with them. And, for various reasons, the reservoir is not being refilled at the same rate. Knowledge leaves, and the tank threatens to go dry.

The first high-tech war

March 27, 2013 2:54 pm | by Tom Ligon, Technical Contributor, with contributions by the SIGMA Think Tank | Blogs | Comments

Ironclad warships. A steam-powered warship defending New York’s harbor. Submarines. Rifled cannon firing elongated explosive shells. The first use of steam power for logistical support of a battle. Industrial automation. Obviously, I’m talking about the U.S. Civil War, right? Nope.

Internet sales tax will only benefit the state

March 25, 2013 3:34 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Get ready to pony up more dollars for online purchases. On Friday, the U.S. Senate passed the innocuously-titled "Marketplace Fairness Act" through the upper chamber on a 75-24 vote. The bill would require e-tailers to collect and remit sales tax on interstate commerce, even when the business has no physical presence in the state.

Nuclear power: The future of human civilization

March 25, 2013 10:23 am | by Tom Ligon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

This is not an article about the environment. This is not an article about oil. This is an article about the long-term future of human civilization. Are you with me so far? Are you in favor of human civilization having a future, not just for another hundred years, but for thousands ... tens of thousands?

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The best way to improve distributors, according to engineers

March 22, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

How do you deal with distributors? Distribution is a key aspect of the engineering process, and it's important to choose the right distributor. You need dependibility, reliability and transperency to make the relationship between distributor and manufacturer work. 

The LED rundown

March 22, 2013 2:16 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Articles | Comments

The life of a light-emitting diode (LED) isn’t as simple as some advertisers may lead you to believe. Manufacturers offer numbers like 100,000 hours as the expected lifetime of high-powered LEDs, but those numbers reflect calculations done using optimum conditions and specification points.

Bendable display technology takes the stage

March 22, 2013 12:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Corning, Samsung | Articles | Comments

It happens to everyone who owns a smart phone or tablet. One ill-fated toss into the car or accidental drop on the hardwood and suddenly the screen is too cracked to read. Not only does this render the phone useless until you can get to a store, it can mean spending hundreds of dollars on a new screen or an entirely new phone.  

Soldering and other tools

March 22, 2013 9:17 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I don't have a lot to say today. I'm busy on the bench building things. But I have come across a few good tools and soldering helpers, so I thought I'd provide a few links. Harbor Freight has a couple of good items. Yes. I know it is easy to buy junk there, which is why I thought I'd mention these two items.

Level the playing field between retailers and e-tailers

March 20, 2013 9:38 am | by Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring | Blogs | Comments

As a former local elected official, I know that tax revenues need to come from somewhere and that they should be levied on as fair a basis as possible. It’s a delicate balance, one that does not come easily. Government must be responsible in its spending and should not abuse its authority to effect change in the marketplace....

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Fighting to reclaim manufacturing in America

March 19, 2013 1:34 pm | by Kristopher Settle, Energy Curtailment Specialists | Blogs | Comments

American manufacturing is battling for its vitality right now. Yes, the industry is still a global juggernaut; producing 18.2 percent of all manufactured goods, which tops the list globally (still over half a percent more than China).

Technology forces your teen to stop texting and driving

March 19, 2013 12:19 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Everyone knows texting (or Redditing or Facebooking or Tweeting) while driving is a bad idea, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. It’s pretty easy to justify if it’s “just a quick text to my mom” or “a quick peek at my email.” It’s just as easy to end up in an accident because you were distracted.

An itch for telecom reform

March 18, 2013 5:00 pm | by Brian Santo, Editor-in-Chief, CED magazine | Blogs | Comments

More than two decades after the Cable Act of 1992, and almost that long since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it appears that the sentiment that it’s time for wide-ranging, substantive telecom reform is beginning to coalesce among legislators.

Mourning the death of Google Reader (and finding a suitable replacement)

March 18, 2013 3:40 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Like many of you, I was shocked, dismayed, and several other adjectives upon learning that Google Reader will soon go kaput. As a journalist, I sift through copious amounts of content daily, and it would be no exaggeration to say that Google Reader makes my job exponentially simpler, so I took its demise rather hard.

Unleashing engineering creativity: The Kano model

March 18, 2013 2:32 pm | by Joe Berk, Principal Member, Eogogics Engineering Faculty | Blogs | Comments

How do we decide which features to include in new products? That’s a great question. If we miss important features or include unnecessary features, customers will reject our products. If we include unexpected and exciting features, though, we can delight customers and jump ahead of the competition.

Lady brains: Dumbing down technology for women

March 15, 2013 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Manufacturers are constantly trying to find ways to appeal specifically to women. The justification is often that their product—be it pens, cars, or toys—sells with men, but they’re trying to attract more women. It’s a logical thought process: figure out what a demographic wants, market those specific traits, sell more product.

Green energy pirates

March 15, 2013 9:26 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I got an e-mail from a friend recently railing against what he called (loosely translated by me) "Green Energy Pirates". Let me quote one sentence from his e-mail. "There is a whole slew of companies that move from subsidy to subsidy globally and then abandon 'green projects' when the subsidies dry up."

Using biometrics to avoid credit fraud

March 14, 2013 2:45 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Credit fraud is a growing problem, and new technology isn’t making it any better. With the advent of electronic wallets and fewer cash transactions, maintaining privacy and verifying identity are becoming an alarming issue.

Is the Nobel Prize obsolete?

March 14, 2013 9:29 am | by Cynthia Fox, Bioscience Technology | Blogs | Comments

Over the last few months, the Nobel Prize has generated much controversy—again. More than 3,000 scientists contributed to the most high profile science event of 2012: the discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle. Yet the Nobel can only be split between three laureates. Was the Nobel Prize finally obsolete, the press fretted, in one angst-ridden blog after another?

The best use for Google Glass yet

March 13, 2013 9:05 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

There is something universally horrifying about that moment at a party when you meet someone briefly but you can’t recall his name when you bump into him a few minutes later or running into a coworker on the street during lunch and being unable to come up with anything besides "that lady who works two cubes down from me".

Drone pilots don’t need a “participation trophy”

March 12, 2013 4:31 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sometimes — and I stress sometimes — the government does work for the people. Case in point: The new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has halted production of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal — awarded to drone operators — in response to veterans' complaints that the "participation trophy" ranks above combat medals like the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Will future technology herald "the end of insight"?

March 11, 2013 9:08 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We all know the cliché regarding the robot apocalypse – we’ve even taken a few stabs at it on the Engineering Newswire. As we broach the crest of technology that operates upon the barrier between autonomous and thinking, it is easy to see the inevitability of crossing over. Immersing ourselves in a world not far off from Futurama, where robots have personalities and rights (sort of).

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