Here in Chicagoland, people say the climate has two seasons: winter and construction.
Our winters do a pretty efficient job of tearing up the roads. We then use the summer to tear up what's left of it, fix some of it, and wait for winter to come around and tear up more. It's a cycle with the inevitable rhythm of cicada emergence, only it's an every-year thing.
Are you getting the idea that I'm not exactly wild about road construction? I think it's part of our endowed right as Americans to complain about anything and everything related to traffic. But for all the inconvenience it sometimes causes, I'm actually pretty accepting of the need to fix the roads and provide better value for users, me being one of them.
So "it's worth it" is how I feel about the overhaul and upgrade project that's been underway for a few weeks now, as I write this, on the Control Design website.
The team will be at this for a few more months, as we add layers of content and search capabilities that should make your visit more efficient and more valuable.
I'm not concerned about admitting that it's a work-in-progress right now. In fact, I want you to go visit the site now, go often, in fact, so you can see the progress and point out things that you'd like us to include or change.
For instance, we've created "channels" of content for topics of specific interest such as machine safety, control platforms, vision systems, motion control and so forth. You'll find news, new products, application-based articles and case histories, third-party white papers, all focused on the channel's subject.
While those are available now, we'll also be adding deeper layers in the coming weeks, so you'll be able to cull a subject such as "control platforms" even further to access the same types of content relevant only to, say, embedded controllers, CNC or control software. From the motion control channel, you'll be able to drill down to focus entirely on electro-mechanical solutions or servos or hydraulics, among others.
We try our hardest to not waste your time with irrelevant or ill-focused content in these pages. We're after the same objectives on the website -- to get you to what you need better and faster than anyone does, without those highly annoying, unsolicited and non-helpful detours other sites route you through.
So have a long look around at the site and lend me your critical eye and voice about what you like, what you don't, and what else you think should be there. If you come, we will build it.
As a matter of fact, the first thing you can do is participate in the instant online survey. With the wide range of responses I received to an earlier question about Linux use in machine control, it seemed only right to make that the first topic for the survey. If that's a subject that strikes a pleasant chord with you or raises the hair on the back of your neck, please drop by and cast your vote.
Along these same lines, let me know if you have a topic you'd like us to use for an upcoming survey. If we chose topics well, the surveys can be a helpful barometer to help us decide what to write about, and an instant feedback loop for you on what your fellow citizens of machine builder nation are thinking about a particular technology.
It's not as much fun as driving a bulldozer, but come on along and lend a little help in the construction zone. It'll provide quite a ride when it's done.