Talk-show host David Letterman has a regular feature where he cites "top ten reasons for XYZ". (Frankly, I find these not funny at all and fairly labored but, hey, maybe that's just me.)
That doesn’t stop me from using the same concept, with the top thirteen reasons you should attend the upcoming Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, in the last week of September.Here they are:
- You can learn both basic and advanced techniques from knowledgeable presenters.
- The keynote addresses are usually pretty good and worth a shot.
- The various teardowns are always fun and exciting.
- You'll see that you are not alone as an engineer, even if you sometimes feel that way—and that your management, design, build, test, and debug problems are not unique to you (usually).
- You'll see exhibits from small and large vendors, and can even do some hands-on with interesting products and tools—all without having a salesperson visit you! You might even discover a vendor who has a product you didn't know about but which solves your problem; sometimes, a basic heat pipe is a better solution than a lower-power IC with complex functionality, and that is hard to source.
- Walking the exhibit floor gives you a real sense of what's happening in the embedded world.
- You can meet editors from EETimes, the various Designlines, EDN, and Test & Measurement World (and even some non-UBM publications) in person, and see that there are real people behind those web sites and print pages.
- Inexpensive development kits are available to try out and buy; and sometimes free!
- It is co-located with DesignCon, the leading chip, board and systems design event.
- It is co-located with DesignMED, for designers and developers of medical electronic devices.
- It is also co-running with EDN's very popular and relevant Designing with LEDs Seminar and Hands-on Workshop event.
- You can get free pens, small screwdrivers, mouse pads, bags, and maybe T-shirts—and who can’t use more of those items? Plus, there's lots of free coffee.
- You need to get out of the office and away from the screen and bench.
So, I've given you 13 reasons, unlike Mr. Letterman and his "ten" list. Why? First, I believe ESC has more to offer than his lists do. Second, media research has shown that readers "respond" better to lists which have oddball or prime numbers (I am not making this up)—that's why you see newsstand taglines such as "241 ways to save money" or "73 ways to get a job".
And if we can’t follow the dictates of such market research, we're not being good engineers, right? ;-)