It seems that henceforth I may be obliged to include disclaimers right at the beginning of any of my blogs that are on non-programmable-logic-related topics saying…
…well, that such a blog is on a non-programmable-logic-related topic. I must admit to being a tad miffed. I might even go as far as to say that I am a trifle peeved (please excuse my strong language).
And how did this all come to be? Well, here’s the deal…
Deep in the mists of time in the days before the Internet, I used to receive the monthly print version of EDN (Electronic Design News) magazine. Like many of my compatriots, the first thing I would do as soon as the latest issue landed on my desk was to bounce over to the Dilbert Cartoon for a bit of a laugh. Once I’d perused the cartoon, I would return to the contents page to see what technical gems were on offer that month.
Similarly, many readers have been kind enough to email me to say that they enjoy my off-topic blogs; also that they look forward to receiving my weekly Programmable Logic Designline Newsletter (and how often do you hear that?). The readers of the newsletter often go on to say that they begin by checking out my blogs to discover what interesting or fun things I’ve run across. Then, after taking a few minutes to relax and kick back, they proceed to look at the more technical Design, News, and Product articles.
Thus, you can only imagine my surprise while I was at lunch with my father-in-law yesterday when I received a call from my immediate boss at EE Times. It seems that a subscriber to my newsletter had taken exception to my recent blog Am I a racist? Are You?
Rather than add a comment to the blog or send me a private email, this little scamp instead decided to take the time to send an email to the Supreme Commander of the vast EE Times empire. My understanding is that I stand accused of wasting his valuable time on non-EE issues (although he obviously has sufficient time to compose nasty emails [grin]). Also that I’m striding down a social agenda road and of doing nothing to help this guy keep his job or design a better mousetrap.
Now, my knee-jerk reaction was that if I were to see a blog titled “Am I a racist? Are You?” I wouldn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that this was probably not going to teach me much about designing with FPGAs. At that point I would make the decision whether or not to check the column out based on whether or not it looked interesting. The thought that someone would actually open such an article, read it, and then say “Hang on, this isn’t about programmable logic! I have been led astray and have wasted my valuable time on an article that has done nothing with regard to my on-going quest to design the definitive 21st Century mousetrap.” But we digress…
As you can imagine, the result of this guy’s email was akin to poking a stick into a hornets nest. The order went up in the secret EE Times underground command and control bunker to “Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war!” The demand for an accounting (or at least a sound spanking) then proceeded to ripple down the chain of command until it landed in my lap.
The Supreme Commander in his secret underground bunker.
“Go forth and give Max a sound spanking immediately!”
Well, to say I was surprised was something of an understatement. With regard to my blogs, I’ve long fought a running battle with those who don the undergarments of authority and stride the corridors of power at EE Times. When I first became editor of Programmable Logic Designline, my initial marching orders were to blog about FPGAs. My response was something along the lines of “Every news article on Programmable Logic Designline is about FPGAs; every product article is about FPGAs; every design article is about FPGAs; do you really think people want to read blogs about FPGAs?”
Of course this is not to say that I won’t blog about programmable logic if there’s something interesting to talk about. Just yesterday, for example, I penned a column about the New Space-Grade Rad-Hard Virtex-5QV FPGAs
from Xilinx. However, I see little point in blogging for blogging’s sake. If there’s nothing interesting on the FPGA front to blog about, then I would rather write about whatever is currently drawing my attention (“Oooh, Shiny!”
I just took a quick look at my most recent blogs to see if I was focusing too much on non-programmable logic topics. The result was as follows (FYI – These are the just the ones that are currently on the Programmable Logic Design landing page; you’ll find all of my off-topic columns in my Max’s Cool Beans
In particular, I revisited my “Am I a Racist? Are You?”
column. No matter how many times I read this, I really don’t agree that I was treading a social agenda road or waving any flags or anything. This was just an article about some books I liked and an online test that I had personally found to be of interest.
But as I say, I am now somewhat miffed verging towards peeved. In the future should I blog only about topics of a programmable logic nature? Or if I should happen to post a blog with a title like "Embrace your inner geek!"
Do I really need to start that column with a disclaimer saying “This has nothing to do with designing FPGAs”
What do you think? My future course of action will be based on your feedback to this blog…
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