From the editor's desk: May I have your attention please?

March 2022 News

Brett van den Bosch, Editor

It feels surreal sitting here, typing these words. Just ten weeks ago I got the phone call to tell me that the long-time editor of this esteemed publication, Steven Meyer, had passed away. On a personal level, I have lost a colleague of nearly 15 years and if it were up to me, it would be his words you’re reading instead of mine.

From a professional point of view, it is daunting to try and fill his well-worn shoes, as it is surely disconcerting for you to see me wearing them. The challenge is exhilarating, though, and I would like to thank the directors of Technews Publishing for entrusting me with this role, especially Jane van der Spuy, who needs no introduction to SA Instrumentation & Control readers and clients, and with whom I’m greatly enjoying working. Without her relentless, infectious enthusiasm and patient guidance I wouldn’t be at this point of putting the finishing touches to my first edition in this role.

Since most of you have no idea who I am, I thought it would be appropriate to use my first editor’s column to introduce myself. My qualification is in electrical and electronic engineering, and my working life began with a stint doing electronic circuit design and printed circuit board layout for a small engineering company. At some point I raised my eyes from the familiar, organised chaos of my work area and noticed that there was a whole world outside where the stuff I was working on was actually being sold and used. It was time to leave the solitude with which I was most comfortable behind and to not only see, but live, in that world.

That journey led me far from home, geographically (my daily commute went from 15 minutes to 2 hours, but that’s Joburg traffic for you) as well as circumstantially. For the next phase of my career I served a technical marketing role – more technical, less marketing – at the Randburg branch of a multinational industrial automation vendor, where I was gradually rehabilitated from my engineering ways and learned the important lesson that even the best, most precisely engineered solution in the world is worthless if you can’t actually sell it.

My next move came straight out of left field: a job offer for the editor position of a technical magazine, something I had never for a moment imagined or even wanted to do. Figuring “why not, what’s the worst that could happen?” I took the plunge and became the editor of Dataweek, a sister publication of SA Instrumentation & Control dedicated to the electronic engineering and manufacturing industry. That tenure has seen me age by 15 years (sometimes it feels like longer, at other times it’s like the blink of an eye) and, I would like to think, grow wiser in the process. Which is all to say that I’m not so much the new kid on the block as the new middle-aged bloke on this particular block.

As an editor, my guiding principle is to be honest with our readers. That means telling you the good news you want to hear as well as the bad news you might not want to hear, but need to know. Although the views I will express in subsequent editions will be wholly my own, I promise this is the first and last time I’ll bore you by talking about myself.

Ultimately, I’m welcoming you to read what I have to say by sacrificing some of the most precious thing you have: time. No matter which words I use or how I arrange them, I could never justify that sacrifice, the best I can hope to do is earn it.

Finally, seeing as this début column is all about me, I thought I’d share some last tidbits in a format engineers know and love – a features and benefits list, datasheet-style:

• IP65 rated.

• IS & Ex approval pending.

• IK10 rated*.

• Operating temperature range: +15°C to +25°C.

• Biofuel-powered; fully functional during load-shedding.

*Likely to cause catastrophic destruction.


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