I’ll confess that when I joined Circuit Cellar three and half years ago, I didn’t attach much significance to the magazine’s issue number. Maybe that’s because on previous publications that I was employed by over my career we didn’t count issue numbers this way. I was used to the more standard volume number (year) and issue number (month).
I quickly came to appreciate why numbering issues in a continuous order has its advantages and how it’s particularly suited to the character of Circuit Cellar. There are several reasons for that. Circuit Cellar readers are interested in present day, cutting edge technology while also having a keen appreciation for technology evolution and “retro” electronics. Meanwhile, we have the best set of regular columnists and recurring guest authors in the industry, and their articles are like an ongoing narrative. As a result, we frequently reference back to previous articles. We also make digital pdf copies of the magazine available for sale on our website—all the way back to Circuit Cellar issue #1! All of this is easier to organize and manage with a continuous numbering system.
As we put the finishing touches on this December issue—the final month of 2020—it occurs to me that this month Circuit Cellar has reached issue #365. Thinking of that number has made me reflect on the 365 days that has been the year 2020. Yes, I know the year isn’t done yet, but stick with me. I don’t know anyone for whom 2020 hasn’t been difficult and stressful in one way or another. The pandemic and the resulting economic devastation have touched us all, but perhaps what’s most upsetting is how those events have affected people unequally. I’m thankful that, for our team here at Circuit Cellar, we were able to move forward relatively without disruption. The fact that we were already a completely work-from-home group was helpful. But even more significant is how you, our Circuit Cellar readers, stuck with us and supported us through 2020. My sincere thanks to you all.
On the less positive side, I need to acknowledge the devastation the pandemic has had on conferences and trade shows in our industry. It’s been gut wrenching to watch as events have been postponed or canceled one by one. 2020 was the first 365-day period since 1990 when I didn’t get on an airplane to go to an industry trade show. The first year in 30 years that I didn’t hand out a business card, shake the hand of an industry associate or hand them a recent copy of my publication. Even though the electronics technology is centered around physical objects, I contend that it’s still a people business. Yes, we’ve found alternate ways to communicate and stay and in touch, but I feel the loss of in person interaction with the industry.
On a happier note, one thing that’s surprised me about 2020 is how well the electronics industry has persevered. Supply chains for components and manufacturing processes were severely disrupted. But, from the perspective of a technology journalist like myself, I’m surprised that the roll out of new products continued at a fairly steady pace. That was helped in some cases by most electronics industry manufacturers being classified as essential business. But it’s also a testament to how embedded technology vendors adapted, and were able to keep developing, designing and manufacturing their goods. If you had asked me back in April what I predicted Fall to look like in terms of the industry’s level of activity, I would have painted a pretty grim picture.
Clever readers will have noticed the flaw in my premise. 2020 is, in fact, a leap year—and is therefore 366 days long, not 365. That seems fitting. 2020 has tripped me up once again! In that spirit, I look forward, not only to issue #366, but to continuing our mission to make Circuit Cellar and circuitcellar.com your premier media resources for critical information on embedded electronics technology 365 days a year, throughout 2021 and beyond.
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE• DECEMBER 2020 #365- Get a PDF of the issue
Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.