ECN December 2002
Here at, you can always find what’s new and trending. Our home page is constantly refreshed with up-to-the-minute news from the wires plus new products and announcements as they cross our desks. Our Trending section tells you what your peers have been viewing the most, usually within the last day. Prior to the Web, news delivery was not so instantaneous. New product news was delivered each month to our engineering audience through ECN’s print edition. Some old covers of ECN Magazine have been making the rounds, and we thought it would be fun to have a look back at ECN covers through the years.

This week’s cover goes back to December 2002. That month, a federal judge ordered Microsoft to distribute Java in Windows, and Pi had been calculated to 1.24 trillion digits. (It is believed to have exceeded 12 trillion digits in 2013). Earlier in the year, A Beautiful Mind won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In sports, the Anaheim Angels won the World Series, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on their way to win the Super Bowl in January 2003. Lance Armstrong was named Sports Illustrated’s 2002 Sportsman of the Year.

Reed Elsevier acquired ECN in the late 1990s, and the brand became part of Cahners Business Information — the largest business-to-business publisher at the time — which Reed owned. In 1999, the brand’s operations moved from Radnor, Pennsylvania to Morris Plains, New Jersey where it resided alongside Reed Business Information’s New Product Information division. Soon, ECN would join that division. By 2002, ECN was augmenting its product coverage with technical articles contributed by experts from leading technology vendors to become more than just a “new product tabloid”. I confess that the “Exclusive” products didn’t seem so exclusive at the time, but seeing how there is little information about them online today, those stars may have done the trick. The product descriptions grew to approximately 100 to 150 words, so all the important details of these cover products are thoroughly presented. Be sure to enlarge the cover photo to read them all.

At ECN, we love to celebrate the most successful products and technology, as evidenced by our annual Impact Awards. But, sometimes what looks like a spectacular innovation turns into “a spectacular failure,” which is how Touchstone Technology President and CEO Eric Snavely described the Touchsafe LCD Monitor for secure applications. Integrating fingerprint sensors with an LCD monitor was completely new at the time, and as he recalls, people were very worried about what would happen to their fingerprint once it was read by the sensor. Potential customers thought it would photograph and record fingerprints for shadowy purposes. Few, if any, monitors sold. “It’s good from the point that it started conversations,” Snavely said by phone. The fingerprint sensor for the monitor was produced by AuthenTec. Apple bought AuthenTec in 2012 along with the technology that became Touch ID for the iPhone 5s. Touchstone Technology, meanwhile, is alive and well, offering a wide range of products such as keyboards for air traffic control to video overlay systems for casino gaming.

Another company that is known for its LCD displays, Okaya, came up with an appropriate name for its line of aluminum electrolytic chip capacitors — the PetitCap. The announcement touts these caps’ low profile and presents them as a rival to V-chip capacitors. While the actual dimensions are not mentioned in the write-up, the PetitCap SE2 Series height was a mere 2.7 mm.

The early 2000s was a historic time for Advanced Linear Devices. According to the company, it was the first to offer 5-1/2 digital volt meter chipsets, which included the ALD 500R integrating analog processor and the ALD521D digital 24-bit serial interface digital controller. The EPAD technology mentioned in the op amp announcement is a software based analog circuit that contains MOSFET transistors with programmable threshold voltages for trimming.

Finally, Xicor offered a host of mixed-signal conversion products, application specific standard products, power management ICs and time-keeping devices before it was acquired by Intersil Corp. in 2004.

We’re on the lookout for more ECN covers. If you have any you can share with us to enhance this series, feel free to contact me at 973-920-7041; As always, feel free to share your perspective on the products and technology on this cover using the comments section below.

Be sure to check out: ECN Time Warp: April 1994

Be sure to check out: ECN Time Warp: March 1997

Be sure to check out: ECN Time Warp: May 1999