Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tweets keep me Current

My company recently hired an EE intern to work with me and help fix all my mistakes this summer :)  He is very bright and extremely motivated to learn knew things. One of our conversations made me start thinking about all the things I do to try and keep myself learning new things. 

I work at a company that has a relatively small Electrical Engineering group, so I have had to rely on reading publications and allow myself to be taken out to dinner by an occasional vendor to stay current with the latest electronic component offerings.

Trade Mags are a great way to keep up on the technology:
EETimes is more of a current events type mag.
EDN & Electronic Design are a bit more application orientated in there articles.
Embedded Systems Design (ESD) is more software/firmware focused.
Circuit Cellar is a great mag for seeing electronics from a hobbiest perspective, but many of the designs are totally capably of being mainstream products with a bit of refinement.
Design News is a more of a well rounded engineering mag that is more product focused.

There are lots of other more field specific mags, but these are the embedded mags I read religiously.

For the last 9 years of my career I thought these were the major sources of EE knowledge apart from co-workers, textbooks and trade shows. At the Embedded Systems Conference in Chicago last year I did something I never thought I'd do.... I created a Twitter account. They were having a Twitter based scavenger hunt and I was in the mood to collect some nice prizes/swag, so I created an account so I could participate.

A few months later I really started using the Twitter account as a way to monitor companies and individuals who were Tweeting/blogging about electronics. I found a whole new world of people and organizations that were using social media to educate engineers.

I found:
The EEVblog where Dave Jones rants about everything from poor multimeter design to acoustic panels in his recording room study.
The Amp Hour weekly podcast/radio show discussing the embedded electronics industry.

Adafruit, Design Spark, SparkFun , and Element14 who sell parts and/or kits, but also have a ton of content on there sites from blogs to tutorial videos, to just plan rants about embedded stuff.

I've also been able to follow some awesome engineers like Jeri Ellsworth, Chris Gammell, Clive (Max) Maxfield, Dave Jones, Jeremy Blum  and many more who tweet very regularly and discuss topics most Embedded EE's love.

Even though my personal Tweets are minimal it is great following other conversations and getting linked to blogs and videos about projects that stir my imagination and get me excited about being an Engineer.... I just learned about what an Arduino was and have one in the mail to me... fun projects to come, keep Tweeting!

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