Jan 10, 2012

To the Rails in 2012

The new year has brought some big changes for me in only a few short weeks and my blog production has trailed off a bit. Since I don’t have anything concrete to offer you in this post, I thought I would share some ideas I had for the future of this blog in 2012 as well as some projects I am currently working on that should find their way onto these pages very soon. I started this blog in early 2011 and with a year of experience under my belt I definitely want to make some upgrades to my presentation.

Back in the News
Some readers may have noticed that my Empires of Light entries have disappeared in recent months. These are entries where I look at four stories from the world of electric power/electronics from the previous month and classify them as important, frivolous, noble, or idiotic. Look back at the entry where I dreamed up this concept to see why.

I have been distracted with the holidays and working more on my own projects recently so those entries sort of fell by the wayside. While I like the idea of having a regular segment on this blog, I am not sure how much longer this one will stick around. I am still experimenting with formats, and I don’t want to make too many regular segments because it would leave little room for the entries about my projects, EE fundamentals, circuit concepts, and whatever the hell else I feel like writing about.

One of my newer ideas for a regular segment is to start posting EE trivia every week. My thought right now is just to post a few sentences of trivia related to something in electrical engineering, electronics, and/or technology each week.

Happy Birthday to Me
As part of the one year anniversary (Jan 30) here on To the Rails, I am currently working on a few new header designs for the blog. Homer has served me well these past 11 ½  months, but I feel it’s time to move on to something more dramatically stated rather than continue with a banner I threw together in paint one night. Originally, I wasn’t going to change anything else about the blog, but now I am considering changing the background and the circuit picture above my entry history. Either way, my plan for the header remains the same: the readers get to choose. About a week from now, I am going to post 4-5 headers I have designed in the past month for you to vote on. The one with the most votes will become the new logo banner for To the Rails. Get excited people.

DIY ‘til the World Ends
What does 2012 have in store for me personally when it comes to my DIY electronics projects? Well, when I first started this blog I came up with a number of projects that I wanted to complete and document for everyone to see. Since that time I have only made it through roughly 1/10th of the list and I am adding more and more each day it seems. Right now I have 4 circuits I am working on as well as trying to build a couple of custom frames for my dual monitors and mocking up sample circuits every now and then for demos. I want to show my work on all of these over the next few months with time permitting. ***SPOILER ALERT*** I am getting into building my own test equipment so expect to see the results of my labors in that area very soon.

Making My Way in the World Today
I don’t talk much about my job on this blog because, frankly, my personal contributions are not all that interesting. Secondly, what I am allowed to divulge is extremely limited because I am frequently exposed to proprietary design information that various electronics companies don’t want getting out. I can tell you that I contribute to establishing energy efficiency standards for consumer products in the United States via the Department of Energy and the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. Going forward I want to look more into energy consumption in the US through a series of experiments as well as explain how the energy standards process works for consumer products (i.e. TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, external power supplies, etc.). This blog has mostly been about circuit level design up until now, but I am interested in expanding the scope to include some analysis of product energy consumption. The entire reason I became an electrical engineer was to try and help reduce our global demand for coal-fired energy by improving efficiency and finding alternative resources to fill in the gaps. While I have touched on these topics somewhat in the past, I really want to explore these areas more down the road.


Joel Ryan said...

I am excited to see the new banners. I like the current background and color-scheme, but change is good too. By the way, as the reader with the highest number of comments, I think that my vote counts several times. So many times.

Post a Comment