"a key issue is that managers are much more involved today -- and not in a good way."
The real problem, to me (sorry for my sincerity, and my f**k*g bad english) is that "managers" these days are not the type we had in the past. No hope for passionated engineers to guide his teams. Today's managers are just a bunch of "profit minded" people, with less care for the ideas than the budget. And the overal mediocrity of these times spells to us the previsioned results.
No more visionaries, no more passionate entepreuners, so no more advance. And if you think that the lame gadgets we have these days are evolution, i say we just missed the point badly.
The real workers today are all overstressed, not only in the electrical engineering field but in more areas of work. What do you think is the cause? I do not intend to know , I am just asking. But I see that some work is spoiled in futile deeds like some new interface "like this" or some functionality to meet vanities "like that" (facebook generation maibe?). More thouths open here.