On July 1, 2012, online retail giant Amazon.com began collecting and remitting state sales taxes in Texas. As a small-business owner and president of Houston Jewelry, I can say from experience that this was cause for celebration in the Texas retail community.
Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to give up control of component supply and call it “business improvement.” Re-think the standard mode of buying stuff from others if you can do it yourself.
I assume many of my readers are either engineers or interested in engineering and its effects on society, so what I am about to say may surprise you. It is simply this: Engineers are playing a role in American society that may end American society as we have known it up to now. Let me explain.
Pop culture references manufacturing as the factories of the 1800s or modern-day overseas sweatshops — full of mind-numbing, remedial tasks in dark and dingy factories. Today’s manufacturing environments tell a much different story: clean and safe environments with employees managing advanced machinery that drives innovation and productivity.
After every election, there's a mad scramble in Washington over the must-make-it-happen agenda for the newly inaugurated president and Congress. There are welcome signs from the White House's own Material Genome Initiative that securing America's access to critical metals and minerals will be high on the list.
Power has come of age as a defining parameter in electronic systems. Whether maximizing battery life, keeping an enclosure cool, or passing large currents more efficiently, projects now start with power in mind. In 2013, we will see the continued migration of power technologies from research to commercial availability.
This year will see automotive electronics designers approach power management (PM) more like their mobile industry counterparts. While it may seem a fringe concern, the burgeoning security, convenience, connectivity, safety, and infotainment features of tomorrow’s vehicles will drive design and component choices that address standby power consumption.
Obviously, the overwhelming majority of the industry is not in favor of the medical device tax associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). There are the remote pockets of support within the industry where people say that the tax, as part of the whole picture, will be a positive.
If the United States economy is to restore itself to earlier levels of full employment, prosperity and financial soundness, the American manufacturing community must engage in a national effort to resurrect its global competitiveness.
Friday’s announcement of Path's settlement is illustrative of the way regulation works when you're trying to safeguard consumers from technology that the regulators themselves don't understand. It's also the way regulation works when you're trying to drum up press that illustrates how you catch the bad guys and make them pay.
The world is positively aglow with rapidly changing technology trends in solid state lighting (SSL) LEDs. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), costs dropped by a third in 2011 to about $12 per thousand lumens and will be on their way down to $2 per thousand lumens by 2015 (Strategies Unlimited, August 2012).
The established solar architecture based on 12V photovoltaic panels, batteries, charge controllers, and inverters will continue to give way to grid-tied inverter architectures. This approach to harvesting solar energy brings with it a lot of key benefits.
The central fallacy with crony capitalism is that it ignores the invisible hand of the free marketplace. This is precisely what the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is doing with their support for "e-fairness" legislation (i.e., an Internet sales tax).
Could you go to Mars? Sacrifice everything; friends, family, and (possibly) future in order to be one of the first colonists on the red planet? Maybe if you were the first to plant a boot print in the dusty red sand, you would have some sort of historical notoriety....
The outlook for wireless networking keeps getting brighter as more devices — some as large as automobiles — become connected. Megatrends also drive wireless growth with the single most important being the conversion of electricity grids into Smart Grids, which in turn creates markets for smart meters and smart homes.
Excuse the tortured metaphor, but the old advice about not putting all your eggs in one basket applies to engineering as well as to other fields. The implication is that if the basket with all your eggs slips and falls, you’ve lost everything. Boeing hasn’t lost everything, but the battery troubles besetting its new 787 Dreamliner could not have come at a worse time.
Can you hear it? That's the sound of the device market changing. It sounds a little like the whispers that RIM just might have something with BlackBerry 10. It also sounds a little like rumors that Amazon has the right kind of content ecosystem to launch a smartphone of its own.
There is a message that I have tried many times to convey to colleagues, associates, peers, friends, and employers. It’s challenging because it is such a large and broad idea that it’s difficult to simplify into a platitude or simple fable. I’ll start by explaining that one of the greatest failures of many improvement efforts is also the greatest failure of many failed product designs and struggling or failed businesses.
Think you own your wireless handset, inside and out? Think you can do whatever you wish with your own property? Think again. Beginning Saturday, it will become illegal to unlock a phone without the express permission of the carrier who locked it.
A new trend gaining speed in many industries is the concept of “bring your own device” (BYOD). Plainly put, BYOD is when employees have the ability to bring their own technical devices—like smart phones, tablets and laptops -- and use the company’s network instead of a company-provided device. BYOD has many benefits and risks, though....
ECN recently published a piece slamming Texas for passing a law that "allows Texans to make and sell the old-fashioned inefficient kind of bulbs". The author further states that the goal of the national law Texas is opposing "was to lower U. S. energy usage." It will do no such thing. It will increase electrical usage. We have known this since Economist William Jevons discovered the principle in 1865.
Recently, the supply chain has been buzzing about potential changes in the touch technologies used for future iPhones and iPads, in particular involving LCD suppliers rather than touch panel makers. First came a report that Innolux had delivered TOD (touch on display) samples for the iPhone....
Each January brings with it a slew of laws scheduled to take effect on the first of the year, and 2013 is no exception. As of Jan. 1, for example, it is now illegal to make or sell new 100-watt and 75-watt light bulbs that do not meet the efficiency standards of the federal Energy Independence and Security Act (nicknamed ERISA).
With the predictable run of 4k2k announcements this CES, most comments have sensibly focused on content availability. This was undoubtedly the single greatest factor in the failure of 3D to create a revival in the TV market.
Every North American electronics company that trades in the EU should make at least one New Year’s Resolution: to learn how RoHS 2 will impact them, because ready or not, this regulation takes effect January 2, 2013.