Dear Colleagues

In our home, we celebrate a Scandinavian Christmas on the eve of the 24th December. Whatever your religion or culture may it be a time of peace and goodwill. Thanks so much for all your incredible support and feedback throughout the year. I appreciate this so much.

Over the upcoming holidays, take a few moments to think clearly, take notes and make changes about how you want to operate next year. The best is to write your objectives down for the year ahead. Be brutally honest with your personal appraisal - continue with the good practices for the new year, be honest about your weaknesses, your mistakes and blind spots. Write it all down in an easily accessible spot. I do this at the end of every year (hopefully my wife never finds this list - she would be horrified at how defective I am!).

I think there is an element of fear for what 2009 holds. I do believe, however, that it will work out well for all engineers and technicians. Keep sharpening your stock-in-trade – your engineering skills and ‘know-how’ and keep your eyes open for opportunities and innovative practices. In a web conference, we were conducting last night, the inimitable Dick Morley (the father of the Programmable Logic Controller), was ruminating on how he designed the first floppy disk drive, by observing how a playing card he flipped across the table seemed to float on a cushion of air. This led to the development of the floppy drive. I honestly believe these opportunities for engineering innovation surround us all the time.

We obviously have a full schedule of engineering courses for 2009 and an expanding range of books and e-learning courses. We also have a rapidly expanding set of whitepapers, software, pocket guides and other useful information available. You can use these in your work; courtesy of Rebecca and Maria who really work hard to make this a wonderfully useful repository of practical engineering information. You can explore this collection (at no cost) at our Downloads section at www.idc-online.com

Yours in engineering learning
Steve