SupplyFrame signs Nick Walker

Nick Walker has been signed as the SupplyFrame sales representative for Europe. SupplyFrame claims to be "the largest and fastest growing content and advertising network dedicated to the information needs of design engineers and procurement professionals in the electronics industry." Their traffic figures are certainly impressive, but the most shocking thing is how they have "got" the importance of promoting traffic figures whereas the large publishers seem to be way behind (I hate to point this out, but seems to want to hide their figures, and if you go to, the figures for the US site are somewhat unhelpfully from April 2007!). partners with Elektroniktidningen

It was good to see the guys at choose Elektroniktidningen's sales force to sell advertising on the site. It's a perfect vehicle for promoting EDA tools, FPGAs and ASICs, and I'm sure that the partnership will boost funding to expand this innovative site.

Online translation service detects language automatically

I've always been quick to point out the problems with machine translation, but still use services such as Babelfish for "gisting" (getting the gist of something written in another language). I'm now moving to use Frengly, simply because it will cleverly detect the source language.

Like all of these services, it can be very useful, but won't be worrying our team of more than 30 translators - a quick test translation revealed that at the start of the year IDT "announced that the first PCIe ® switch in the industry family samples that are tailored to the requirements connection the data and control plane of sophisticated communications applications tailored".

In a way the poor quality of automatic translations is a good thing - it makes me feel much better about my somewhat limited abilities to speak French and German!

The future according to Chris Edwards

I really liked this presentation about the future of our industry that Chris has recently posted to slideshare. It's a great overview of the technological challenges facing the industry that is presented in a way that non-engineers can understand.

IET editor wins award

I often feel that the technical B2B magazines are under-rated by people outside of the industry. But here's some good news: Dickon Ross, editor of the IET magazine E&T, has been named Editor of the Year at the prestigious British Society of Magazine Editors Awards. Dickon has done a great job at the IET, and he launched and still edits Flipside, a magazine that aims to excite children (including my young son that loves the title) about engineering.

It's great to see a editor in our industry recognised with an award, and I'm particularly pleased to see Dickon win as he is an editor with a great record of radical innovations as well as driving continuous improvement.

Quick guide to Google Adwords

I saw this neat little article covering the "Ten Mistakes You Can't Afford To Make With Google Adwords" and although it's not technically about the European electronics media, I thought it would be great information for any Napier News readers considering starting a Google PPC campaign.

Another nice article on the site discusses the accuracy of email open rates - something I have spent a lot of time looking at with clients as although it's nice to get precise numbers, often the open rate doesn't reflect the number of people reading the email.

Google SearchWiki says beta is uncool

Google launched the "SearchWiki" feature last week, which enables you to promote results for searches or eliminate sites from future search results. I see this as a big deal for anyone in marketing: although you can get access to other people's comments, I think the main use for this tool will be as a way of assessing the effectiveness of Google's algorithm. I am sure that the engineers at Google will be tweaking their search algorithms to match the results users are creating manually with the new buttons.

An additional development is the ability to comment on sites. You can also see others' comments (although this is a couple of clicks away).

What does this mean to anyone involved in marketing? Well almost any innovation is seen by spammers as an opportunity, and the comments are no exception: TechCrunch has already highlighted the problem of spam comments on their search results. Also I'm sure that there are people madly clicking on particular companies' results to promote them and try and boost their position on natural searches (although hopefully the engineers at Google are smart enough to filter this activity out). Finally by not slapping the ubiquitous "beta" badge on the feature, maybe Google is signalling that for online sites, Beta is no longer cool!

Penwell to launch new photovoltaics publication

PennWell will launch the new bimonthly publication Photovoltaics World in March 2009. The launch ties in with the announcement that they will also run Photovoltaics World Exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe beginning in 2010. The new exhibitions will be held in conjunction with the company’s existing Renewable Energy World Conferences & Exhibitions.

The move is clearly logical - Penwell have a strong portfolio of related titles, including Solid State Technology and Renewable Energy World, and the extension of the existing shows makes sense. If photovoltaics do grow as quickly as some analysts predict, then this will be a very successful launch. Living in England, however, what I really want is more research on capturing the energy of falling raindrops!

Batteries booming!

Despite the general gloom, BATTERIES 2008 saw a 25% growth in attendance this year, and will be moving to CANNES-MANDELIEU Congress Centre in 2009. It's great to see that some areas of technology continue to grow through innovative product and technology developments, and that the conference organisers are also benefiting from this expansion.

Domain name nightmare

Licencing of titles to allow publishers to produce local versions of magazines is surprisingly common, but not without difficulty. We did feel sorry for Incisive Media, publishers of the UK version of CRN (Computer Reseller News). Unfortunately CMP (who originated the CRN brand) kept hold of the rights to the UK domain, so if you visit, you land on CMP's American ChannelWeb site. To get to the UK CRN site you now need to visit, which takes you to Incisive Media's UK-based CRN-branded site. Confused? I'm sure many readers are!

Future Horizons seminar

Probably only for the brave, Future Horizons will be dissecting the troubled electronics industry and the impact of the economy at their Industry Forecast Briefing Seminar 2009, to be held on 27th January 2009 at the Kensington Close Hotel, London.

PC Magazine stops print version

Despite the recent launch of Power Systems Design North America, the print industry is continuing to delcline in the USA. I was sad to see PC Magazine stop its print edition, although it is great to see that ZD will continue to publish a digital magazine as well as offering the website. I'm convinced this is the way forward for many magazines, and personally I expect to see at least one European electronics title move to publishing only in digital format during the current economic downturn.

A picture takes as much bandwidth as 1000 words?

I was interested to see a couple of editors (Chris Edwards and Graham Pitcher) discussing the problems of receiving image attachments with press releases. Of course most office connections have great bandwidth, but when editors are travelling and desperately trying to post a story over a 3G connection then receiving 100 JPEGs might not be helpful. At Napier we've always tried to send releases in the format that editors prefer with our own in-house database software, and when we checked fortunately we found that we don't send either images with their releases! For more information about how we manage our PR distribution (and to tell me if you are getting releases in the wrong format) send me an email.

TechInsights merges ESE and ESDE

TechInsights has surprised no one by announcing that they will merge Embedded System Engineering and Embedded Systems Design Europe to create Embedded Systems Europe, a title with a circulation of over 20,000. Interestingly they have also decided to extend the brand by launching I do sometimes wonder how much sense it makes to segregate the engineering community on geography as vertical segmentation seems to make much more sense, but as TechInsights also offers such a comprehensive range of vertical DesignLines, I guess I can't complain! The website will also help drive a weekly email newsletter with 18,000 circulation.

The website and the magazine will have a close tie with ESC UK, the Embedded Systems Show, which has recently switched venue to Farnborough.

Phil Ling will edit Embedded Systems Europe, with Colin Holland appointed as Editor-in-Chief across all the European Embedded titles, which makes this an incredibly strong and well-respected team.

Cassidy Publications to launch online titles

It's great to see new publications launch in our industry, and to see three new titles announced from a new publishing company is fabulous. Cassidy Publications has announced the following online titles:

  • Wave ISM will launch in January 2009, focusing on license-free wireless technology, addressing everything from semiconductors and modules to standards and testing
  • Linker-Locator will launch in the first quarter of 2009, focusing on embedded software development. This resource is sure to be appreciated by embedded software engineers who have few publications that focus exclusively on their needs
  • Modularity in design is the third publication, also planned for launch in the first quarter of 2009. This publication will focus on the use of pre-configured modules in embedded development
  • I hope that this new venture is successful. Cassidy Publications has identified gaps that are not filled by existing publications, rather than trying to simply chase the biggest advertising budgets. It's interesting to see that by focusing on the reader, Cassidy Publications has actually created publications that will also have strong appeal to many suppliers (who will presumably become advertisers!), and hopefully this will ensure the success of all of these new online titles.

    Is charging for images a good source of income for websites?

    I was impressed with the redesign of when I wrote about it in October, but I've been disappointed with their approach to posting images. Electronicstalk are asking for £120.00 to publish each image to accompany releases. Although releases with images are more likely to be included in the featured articles box on the home page, it's difficult to see the value in paying for the image. With the current layout the images are unlikely to drive a significant increase in traffic, and if a potential customer arrives at the page, they are probably interesting in the product features and there is no need to catch the eye of the reader. I can understand online publishers looking for new revenue streams, but without any guarantee of better promotion of the story, this doesn't seem to be an approach that will see widespread adoption.

    E&E discovers the fascination of electronics

    According to Plato, "Necessity is the mother of invention," and this probably applies to E&E, who are relaunching the magazine after disappointing results in the AgLa readership study. Although Publish Industry tell me that they were planning a relaunch before the results were known, it is clear that a new approach is needed in the overcrowded German electronics magazine market.

    The biggest change is the plan to change the editorial style to focus on the fascinating aspects of electronics - through both pictures and words. articles will look at technologies, products and people within the industry, and I guess the approach could be summarised as trying to make a coffee-table electronics magazine. The magazine will also reduce frequency to 8x year, but there will be a short PDF magazine (E&E Week) distributed by email 48 times a year, covering news and products. of course the website will continue in a similar format to today, as will the annual Kompendium.

    The print publication will also be published as a "flip book" four times a year, with the back focusing on green electronics.

    Unfortunately Publish Industry has also announced that Sabine Grothe (editor) and Javor Dimitrov (advertising manager) will leave the publication, although a replacement for Javor, Saskia Albert, has already been appointed.

    So is this an inspired move, or panic? If E&E can pull it off, then I think it will be inspired. In a way the new approach is not unlike that of the IET's Engineering and Technology, a publication that many of my engineering friends read avidly. The weekly PDF magazine is a fabulous idea, and will also ensure that advertisers feel that their products get covered (which clearly won't happen as frequently in the new print format). But this is a huge challenge, and one that will be made even more difficult by changes in the advertising and editorial team. Producing 48 PDF mini-mags as well as a new format that if anything will place more pressure on the editors will definitely present a real challenge. Convincing advertisers of the completely new advertising ideas such as the spotlight photo sequence will surely require many sales conversations. Personally I hope E&E pulls it off - the electronics magazine market lacks innovation with most websites looking very similar and only a couple of magazine formats dominating the print offering. If this new approach is successful, we will have more engineers reading more magazines, which should will mean the design community becoming more knowledgeable and therefore able to design better products. Let's hope this optimistic vision can become reality!

    Congratulations to Vicor – Elektra Award winners again!

    Many congratulations to Vicor, a great client that has won an Elektra Award for the second year running. Vicor was named the winner of the Power Systems Product of the Year at the ceremony in Munich. Electronics Weekly has video clips of the winners - including Andy Gales of Vicor - collecting their awards.

    "The Nearly Men" sells out

    Congratulations to Mike Green, who tells me that his first book, The Nearly Men, has sold out the first print run.

    Happy birthday c't!

    Congratulations to Heise on the 25th brithday of c't. Although not strictly an electronics title, this IT magazine exerts incredible influence on the technical community in Germany, and drives PR agencies mad with an unbelievably large editorial roster. Many happy returns c't!

    Results for SAME 2008

    The organisers of SAME 2008 have announced that the event had 42 exhibitors and 800 participants. The numbers are a little down on last year (47 exhibitors and over 900 visitors), but have held up pretty well considering the econmic situation.

    The show continues to focus on the local area, with 75% of participants from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, and only 11% from outside France. Almost a quarter of the exhibitors, however, were from outside France, so clearly the region continues to offer exciting opportunities for all companies.

    Mike Green publishes new book

    Worlds in Collision cover
    Worlds in Collision cover
    We loved Mike's first book, ‘The Nearly Men', which was one of five finalists in the science category of the USA Book News Awards 2008, and are excited to hear that his second book, ‘Worlds in Collision' is now available. The book "looks at the discord between technological advance and Christian belief" and covers events such as the torching of Benedictine monk Giordano Bruno by the Holy Inquisition for suggesting that civilisations might exist on other planets, and that these might have their own deities; and the murder of Michael Servetus by the Calvinists, for propounding the view that the heart was merely a pump for the circulation system, and not the vehicle of the soul.

    The book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Blackwell, and WH Smiths. We've also ordered a copy and will give it to a reader of Napier news. Just email me to enter the draw, and I'll randomly pick a winner during electronica.

    Call for papers - SCOPES 2009

    The organisers of SCOPES 2009, the 12th International Workshop on Software and Compilers for Embedded Systems have issued a call for papers. The event will be held on April 23-24, 2009 in Acropolis, Nice, France (co-located with DATE). The full paper must be submitted by 21st November.

    Electronicstalk redesigns

    Electronicstalk has redesigned the website, and now sports a much cleaner look and funkier color scheme. Although the site is promoting features such as color pictures to accompany articles and releases; animated slideshows; and video content, it's also very interesting that the site is now promoting case studies, company news and technical articles. Electronicstalk was a victim of a major change in Google's pagerank algorithms which penalized "duplicate content". It's good to see Dave Wilson trying to enhance the editorial content to both boost the google traffic and add value to users of the site.

    New publisher at Findlay

    Ed Tranter has been appointed group publisher of Findlay's design group of titles, which includes New Electronics, Eureka and European Automotive Design. Ed has an inpressive track record, having been publisher of Marketing Week and most recently he was Group Publisher for Informa Telecoms and Media, working with important comms titles such as Mobile Communications International.