Posts from the ‘engineering’ Category

The last of Nortel’s legacy sold off

Nortel’s patents sold for 4.5 billion dollars–a true indictment of the many dollars and years of R&D investment.  Some of Canada’s top scientists worked there–it truly was an innovative company (unfortunately with bad management).

It is also very sad that Nortel’s leadership, including Mike Zafirovski, did not know the true value of what they had in the company.  Also sad is the fact that our governments (federal and provincial) didn’t realize the value of this innovation to our country.  I still believe that investment into high-tech is more forward looking than investment in the automobile industry, and expecially construction.  Highly skilled knowledge workers are great for the future of the country.  Here is an article that I think sums up the loss pretty well: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1016391–family-jewels-frittered-away

Hoepfully this is a lesson that can be learned.  RIM is a true Canadian tech anchor–let’s hope we take to heart some of lessons from the down fall of Nortel.  I’m not talking a future bailout, but some manner of protecting the intellectual capital (patents, workers, skills) that is being developed at RIM.

Here’s hoping.

New Ontario Liberal Commercial

I just saw the new Ontario Liberal commercial and I must say that I really like it.  I’m not sure it will help the election, but it really instills some Ontario pride.  Many Canadian provinces have strong identities, and some are having a strong economic resurgance, largely based on resources.  But Ontario can claim to be province of high tech and manufacturing–an exporter of finished goods.  With our strong Canadian dollar really affecting the Ontario manufacturing sector, it’s good to put a positive slant on things.  A good spot.

It made me think of another recent commercial I saw that I really liked, the Chrysler Super Bowl commercial by Eminem:

The Importance of a Technology “Anchor”

Not a long post from me today, but just a link to an article in the Globe and Mail that explains what RIM’s misfortunes could mean for the city of Kitchener-Waterloo.  I doubt that they will become the next Nortel, but hopefully they won’t.

Ottawa Tech Sector / RIM

A while ago I was going to post a quick something that I saw about the Ottawa Tech Sector from the Ottawa Citizen, but didn’t post it.  Unfortunately things didn’t seem to be going well in Ottawa high-tech despite some encouraging signs from some companies.  Article below:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/thinning+ranks+Ottawa+tech+sector/4564755/story.html?cid=megadrop_story

But now it seems we could have some more bad news for Ottawa (really Canada) tech with RIM’s recent announcements.  This will affect the growing tech economy of Waterloo much more than Ottawa’s but there will be an effect.  RIM is one of the local bright spots. 

Who is going to be Canada’s tech anchor?  It looks like RIM is still a major force and will remain the number one tech company in Canada for awhile.  But who will be Ottawa’s anchor?  Since the demise of Nortel we don’t seem to have a large, world-class, exporter of technology (apologies to all the smaller Ottawa companies out there).  Maybe an anchor is not required beyond the government and it’s tech contracts, but I think a big world-beater would be good to have in town.

An Aside – Engineers in Politics

Just saw an arictle in EE Times, a kind of article that started this blog! 

From south of the border, a call to run for office for the nation’s engineers.

Getting things done

Just a few observations from my trip to China.  Seeing the growth of Shenzhen and the skyscrapers of Pudong in Shanghai, one cannot help but be impressed by the progress made in the last 30 years.  I even got to ride on the Pudong Mag-Lev train to the airport.  Very impressive.

I was instantly reminded of the constant debate, start, cancel, debate, start, cancel cycle that we seem  to be involved in for Ottawa’s transit system.  Will it ever got off the ground?

I’m not promoting China’s political system, but they can get things when they need to.  (But may not care about all the consequences). 

Perhaps there is some middle ground that would allow functional democracies to accomplish things a bit faster.  The US was able to put a man on the moon in a limited amount of time–is there a lesson to be learned there?

Lot’s of stuff going on…

Been some busy months in my life that have kept me from posting.  My brother was in a life-threatening cycling injury in the US, I’ve had a two week work trip to China, all the while trying to keep the family happy…but enough of all that…experiences that could fill a blog on them alone.  But from now on I’ll try to keep going with some regular commentary on the world of engineering.

As I end this post–one comment, Apple did mess up with their antenna design.  Oh well, we all make mistakes every now and then.