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Now, For the Bad News

Here’s All the News That EE Journal Missed in 2018. You’re Welcome.

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.” – Tracy Morgan

Space is limited. Unless you’re an astrophysicist, in which case it’s unlimited, non-Euclidian, and deeply counterintuitive. But here at Electronic Engineering Journal Galactic Headquarters our space is limited, so we apply our editorial skills at cramming the maximum amount of useful information into a finite space. It’s all about information density.

Our editorial inbox is a gravity well, sucking in news updates, product information, press releases, financial results, data sheets, story pitches, unsolicited advice, PowerPoint presentations, ghost-written articles, meeting invites, and weird bits of digital detritus. Our mission briefing is to prioritize, sort, weed out, analyze, filter, triage, and sift through all of this to improve the output signal/noise ratio. The rest spirals into the black hole, a contribution to information entropy. Before we close out the year, here are a few items that managed to slingshot around NGC 2018.12 and make one last pass at avoiding heat death.

    • We learned about new explosion-proof GFCI outlets. Too bad Mythbusters isn’t airing anymore.
    • Almost a hundred companies this year told us they’ve hired a new VP, a new board member, or a new HR director. This last appointment is usually a bad sign.
    • Approximately the same number of companies announced they just got a new customer. Seriously.
    • Apparently 66% of survey respondents said that technology is “more a part of my life” than last year, according to an ARM-sponsored survey conducted by Northstar. Another 3% said it was “less important.” You’ll find them at Walden Pond. The remaining 31% are evidently in the Goldilocks Zone.
    • We received helpful tips like “How [K-12] school systems can take advantage of holiday breaks to prioritize proactive endpoint management tasks.”
    • Several announcements informed us that Distributor X now carries components from Vendor Y, or that Retailer A is filling the shelves with Consumer Product B.
    • There were many quarterly and annual earnings updates. Occasionally important; mostly dull. Relatedly, many companies got their Series B funding. Hooray, we can keep the doors open a while longer!
    • We got notices that companies had changed their logos, or of products with new certification logos.
    • About a dozen companies announced they’ve opened a new field office, held a ribbon-cutting, or “added new capabilities” to their facility (i.e., got a new photocopier).  
    • At least one firm was awarded ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification.
    • There was lots of email in Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, and Catalan. Surprisingly, Outlook doesn’t automatically translate these. Or delete them.
    • Waterproof floatable Bluetooth speakers are a thing.
    • We heard about a surprising number of, uh, adult electromechanical devices, including one with its own programming API. I’ll just let the press release speak for itself: “This gives users the ability to integrate its functionality with app or online platforms, such as Facebook, social media, and gaming platforms, allowing control of the unit remotely via the controller and the product’s app.” As one does.
    • I got several messages thanking me for spending time at a conference I didn’t attend, complete with pictures of smiling people I apparently “met” while I wasn’t there.
    • There are regular offers to speak to experts on any conceivable topic, including one with the startling headline, “North Korea’s next missile launch may come on Saturday,” followed by an invitation to speak to their lawyer. Presumably before Saturday.  
    • You can buy a “luxury charging station” made with “airplane-quality aluminum.”  
    • One company announced that it had been “reselected to provide program management and inspection services for the City of Cleveland.” Okay, how many kilobytes is that?
    • A battery was named High Performance Passive Component of the Year.
    • At least one nuclear fast-attack submarine was launched.  
    • Someone is auctioning off “natural” nuclear bunkers. Because you just never know.
    • Engineer at Company X posted a new YouTube video. Presumably with his employer’s approval.
    • A doctor set a world record for performing a hysterectomy through the smallest incision ever. Who awards these things?
    • In energy news: “[Company’s] Unleaded Avgas Continues to Build Momentum – UL94 is Now Offered in Illinois at Rochelle Municipal Airport-Koritz Field.” The new gas cans are here! The new gas cans are here!
    • We got a pitch for a prewritten “interview” with Q&A transcribed from a meeting that never happened.
    • An actual “Stop the Presses!” subject line on an email. We declined.
    • Regular news and updates from a hair and nail salon in North Carolina. I can only assume that there’s a local blogger or journalist in that area with a similar email address. Either that, or they’re trying to tell me something.  
    • As in past years, many of the announcements are sent twice, about four days apart, with the second copy bearing a cheery preamble from the PR assistant saying she “Just wanted to circle back…” or was “Double-checking to make sure you saw this…” This needs to stop.
    • Oh, and one press release came from “AI World Government.” So the rumors are true! It’s finally happened! Oops, no, it’s just the name of a conference held in Washington. Maybe next year.

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