Walking on the Moon and off of the stage

When I was sweating through my first semester of the Electronics Engineering Technology program in 1972 at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now University), the final NASA Apollo lunar mission successfully returned to Earth.

0 December 15, 2015

Although there would be a Cold War curtain call thaw a few years later in the form of Apollo-Soyuz – the forerunner of the International Space Station – walking on the moon had become a thing of the past.

Growing up in the 1960s as I did when we were pitted against the Soviet Union, the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were my heroes, along with the electronics and other engineers that piloted man into space.

The science fiction of Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke also helped drive me to study electronics engineering.

Yes, I’m feeling rather nostalgic at the moment for a very good reason. After 22 years, Design Product News has published its last edition.

Unlike the U.S. space program, I actually got to participate in this publication as associate editor before promotion to the editorial director’s chair. The magazine bug caught me during my stint as a QC technologist for my first 10 working years, initially writing for community newspapers, then as a “pro” for a startup newspaper for electronics engineers called Electronics Times.

This was followed by Computing Canada, DPN and Canadian Electronics, providing my ticket to report on the endless wonders of engineering developments in electronics, telecommunications, mechatronics, CAD, CAE and most recently, the burgeoning world of IoT.

DPN was capably edited first for 20 years by Jim Young before I came aboard in 1993. Hats off, too, to the DPN publishers, sales staff, art and production folks that were a joy for me to work with: Keith Watson, Mike Doody, Tony Chisholm, David Crabtree, Roger Heritage, Nigel Bishop, Ron Salmon, Peter Tams, Alice Chen, Luanne Campbell, Graham Jeffrey and many others.

In 1971, David Bowie sang “Is there Life on Mars?” NASA has confirmed the presence of water on the Red Planet, so there just may very well be.

There will, of course, be life for me after Design Product News — and life for the manufacturing industry in Canada. My colleague Mike McCleod, the Design Engineering editor, will record these developments in DE magazine.

To sign off, I’d like to quote Orson Welles, famous for his Martian invasion radio play War of the Worlds: “I remain, as always, your obedient servant.”

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