How do you think I feel?
A few years back, someone at an extended-family dinner observed that scheduling our annual family bike ride was becoming increasingly difficult—having reached four generations of participants. Conversation continued on the rapid passage of time. A family member older than I mentioned that years seemed to be passing like months, and months like weeks.
A few years back, someone at an extended-family dinner observed that scheduling our annual family bike ride was becoming increasingly difficult—having reached four generations of participants. Conversation continued on the rapid passage of time. A family member older than I mentioned that years seemed to be passing like months, and months like weeks. Not to pass a good opening, I jumped in: "I can't believe I'm in my 30s already." Dad, nearing 60, looks at me and says, "Hey, how do you think I feel?!" Grandpa, nearing 90, declared the same, louder, with a lot more emphasis on the "I."
As consistent as human nature remains, so does the "more" in each next-generation of products and software—more functionality, more intelligence, more intuitive use, and more connectivity—at a greater value than prior offerings. Turning the decade, century, and millennium, provides an extra moment for observing, connecting pieces, and musing over what's next. As Dick Johnson, senior editor for instrumentation, says, "I wish I could be here 100,000 years from now to see how this all turns out." Having moved safely past any Y100K concerns by then, perhaps some artificial life forms will lament about the continuing unpredictability of humans.
Control Engineering editors provide some certainty for the coming year by setting an editorial plan, a framework to expand upon evolving issues, technologies, trends, and products. Our core team of 10 and extended family of contributors will provide news you can use, applications across a diversity of some 65 industries, and explanation of technological trends to provide prospective to the ever-faster progression of product introductions.
In this issue, next generation control systems peeks at what's ahead, while a related Control Engineering Online Extra details how emerging technologies could influence future automation and control. Those seeking to avoid future risk can gain insights in when to invest in a safety system; see Dave Harrold's "Application Update." Reasons for robotics' increasing integration into manufacturing processes can be found in Gary Mintchell's piece detailing robotics advancements.
Major articles in future issues include February's exploration of plant-floor information integration. March provides one more chance to look back, with the Editors' Choice Awards' retrospective on the best Control Engineering products of 1999, based on innovation, value, and service to the industry.
In subsequent months, we'll look at impact of wireless technologies, Ethernet I/O strategies, human assets, and examine technology areas including step motors and controls, hazardous areas process sensing, and operating systems used for control.
Last-quarter efforts include trends in real-world simulation software, computer numerical control developments, and fiber-optic sensing for process control.
Whoops, there goes another year.
Drop us a line
Find the editorial calendar and descriptions on what coming up this quarter at Control Engineering Online , under "Media Info." Have advice about how you're applying or integrating any of these technologies? Drop us a line of e-mail—odds are if you think you have a valuable story to share, other readers will too.
Hurry up, though. Frank Bartos, executive editor, and I laugh each time we see another cover, having recently said, "Is this the twelfth month already? Seems like we just started." Enjoy the next "month."
Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief, firstname.lastname@example.org
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