That was the year that was

As we approach the 10th anniversary of our inaugural issue in June, we can’t help but wonder what you remember about 1997. Take this quiz if you think your steel-trap memory is in fine working order.

Joe FeeleyBy Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

It was 1997. What do you remember about that year?

Take the quiz below if you think your steel-trap memory is in fine working order, then read on.

The Oscar for best movie was awarded to:
a) Fargo
b) Starship Troopers
c) The English Patient
d) Titanic

The World Series winner was:
a) Florida Marlins
b) New York Yankees
c) Boston Red Sox
d) Arizona Cardinals

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives was:
a) Newt L. Gingrich of Georgia
b) James C. Wright of Texas
c) Sean J. Combs of N.Y.
d) Richard B. Cheney of Wyoming

The National Debt totaled: 
a) $5.3 Trillion
b) $2.7 Trillion
c) $950 Billion
d) $480 Billion

The Wrestlemania version held was:
a) Wrestlemania  3
b) Wrestlemania 13
c) Wrestlemania 23
d) Wrestlemania 33

OK, only a few of us actually might remember, or care about, the answers to even some of these. Most of us recall 1997 in more personal terms. Somebody’s high schooler was in the first grade. You taught your daughter to drive. You got married. You started a career in controls engineering. You had hair.

For our brand, in ‘97 we floated two trial-balloon issues of Control Design, the only trade magazine focused entirely on the information needs of controls professionals in the industrial machine builder marketplace. It still is.

The very first editor’s page asked, “Are we contributing to the problem?” The problem being the increasing pile of junk mail that landed on people’s desks every day, which, of course, now mostly hits the e-mailbox.

We vowed not to be part of the problem by proving we could be your advocate and a forum to spotlight you, not the suppliers, and share your real-world technology successes, not vendor claims.

That first issue also stated, “I don’t want to presume that I know what you want in this type of magazine. What I do know is that we have a terrific staff of professionals who can deliver the goods once we know what you want. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast learners.”

Ten years later, we’re still here, still good at what we do, and still learning at breakneck speeds.

Our emphasis continues to be on issues of immediate impact, while providing a dependable heads-up on what’s coming around the corner. But this year, we’ll include looks back to see what’s happened in a few areas during these 10 years. Our 10th Anniversary logo will point them out. We start this month with Jeremy Pollard’s reflections on the influence Microsoft had on discrete manufacturing, on page 32. Later, we tackle PLC evolution, standards creep, machine safety, drives and motion controllers, ASICs and FPGAs, machine vision, remote support, and computer-aided design, among others.

Join the party and call us, e-mail us, or send us your recollections and ideas about how these or other machine automation factors have changed since 1997. That’s the critical part of story we depend on you to provide.

The quiz answers? Does it matter? Oh, right. We’re engineers. We need to close the loop—even a trivia loop.

Can you say c, a, a, a, b?

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