One Last Diatribe
Editor’s Note: Tony Lockwood, DE’s Editor at Large, is officially retiring from a career in technology journalism that spans 39 years and includes co-founding this magazine in 1995.
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February 19, 2019
It takes 14,502 days to time-travel from June 18, 1979 to March 1, 2019. I occupied myself those 476 months and 12 days writing about computers, software, high-tech stuff and the absurdities of cubicle life for readers like you. Past tense? Yeah, I’m through, Pal. This is my last diatribe. I’m starting a new career as Fatlas the Pudgy Pole Dancer on the old-age home circuit.
Actually, no. I’m just slouching off to see what kind of disruptive force I can be.
Disruptive force. Such a tidy locution. It describes well the arc of computers and high tech over those 39 years, 8 months and 12 days. Come on, no. I’m not old-guy teary over 8088 processors, 110-baud acoustic couplers and 8-in. floppy disks. But this blue hair is a wee misty about this ta-ta to DE stuff. See, you’re a disruptive force and, through DE, I’ve been on the ride with you since 1995. It’s been a rush.
Challenge Conventional Wisdom
DE launched with silly notions. One: Provide design and mechanical engineers the news and information they need to do their job and they’ll use it to change the way things are. Two: Focus on the person and the job. Do not hitch your wagon to the hot technology of the day because its lifetime is finite (see Yaboom Box). Three: Cover the technologies that dare to challenge conventional wisdom.
From the get-go, we reported about the ever-changing tools in the design engineering toolkit. We explored disruptive technologies from minds like Jon Hirschtick’s, who helped reinvent CAD for the engineer’s desktop computer long before he did it again on the cloud. Or technologists like Scott Crump and Chuck Hull who envisioned 3D printing revolutionizing design workflows and factory floors.
“Thank you for taking me along with you for a spin as you drive change in the world around us. It’s been an honor. Terrific fun too.”
Other silly notions that intrigued us: simulation-driven design and John A. Swanson. Virtual instruments and James Truchard. Multiphysics analysis and Svante Littmarck. Jensen Huang and graphical computing. Plus countless others I apologize for not mentioning.
Before they were in today’s toolkit, we covered tomorrow’s innovations such as the cloud, data-driven design, software as a service, artificial intelligence, collaboration, digital twins and virtual reality. And disruptors like you took these technologies, ran with them and developed your own innovative solutions that enhance everyday life and work.
From your breakthroughs in, say, lightweighting, embedded systems and analytics, it’s a completely different world today than in 1995 or even 2015. You personify the disruptive nature of what Ray Kurzweil called the Law of Accelerating Returns, and it’s been a blast for me to be part of it for the first 270-plus issues of DE.
The Best is Yet to Come
The last song Frank Sinatra sang in public was “The Best is Yet to Come.” It was February 25, 1995, Palm Desert, CA. DE was on the drawing boards in Peterborough, NH, heading for its launch in September. Our motto should have been “the best is yet to come,” but this founding editor was never that clever.
But you are, you disruptive disruptors. You’re clever enough to know that the best is yet to come from your imagination. DE will be there riding along with you and covering all the cool, fun and pundit-declared ridiculous technologies that’ll change how you work and inspire your disruptive DNA.
However, I won’t be riding with you. This is my stop. I’m getting off here. Me and my keyboard, we’re clicking off to parts unknown. I’m going to miss DE. Maybe I’ll send a postcard.
Anyway, thanks, Pal. Thank you for taking me along with you for a spin as you drive change in the world around us. It’s been an honor. Terrific fun too.
Tony Lockwood is the founding editor, DE. Contact him via [email protected].