It's customary to close out the year with a retrospective of some sort, and/or a forecast. We'll do something similar, but with a twist.
First, a tale of outstanding customer service, in these days of generally lousy service: I was having trouble accessing my member's online-access account for the IEEE site; the specific details are unimportant. I called the customer-service toll-free number, expecting the worst: voicemail hell, long “your call is important to us” bromides and hypnotic music–you know the situation.
(An aside: I'll be honest–I have serious problems with the IEEE leadership and the direction it has taken the organization and the flagship publication, IEEE Spectrum . The IEEE , formerly known formally as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers , avoids any of those key nouns with a passion, as if the terms are poison ivy or similar. Even the cover tag line on Spectrum follows this precept, identifying it as “the magazine for technology insiders”, which is as bland, meaningless, and undistinguished a mission statement as you can have.)
My call is answered immediately by a live person, who asks what the problem is. I describe it, and she says “I'll transfer you to the right person.” I figure I'll be on hold for while, then get the runaround, either automated or live.
But I was wrong, the transferred call is also answered immediately by another live person, who brings up my account on her screen, asks me a few basic questions, says she has do one thing and then checks that it is OK. Within two minutes, my problem is resolved and my account restored. I was impressed, shocked, and stunned. You don't often get that sort of service much, for sure!
And now, on to our 2008 retrospective . Here are the top-rated Planet Analog columns, ranked by page views:
- “Networking with headhunters is key to your career success” (guest column)
- “Why Blu-ray won”
- “My AM radio’s new life”
- “Watching the magnetics, an eternal story”
- “Why smart people fail in interviews”(guest column)
- “When your problem is also part of the answer”
- “Thinking superhet thoughts”
- “The swinging serial/parallel I/O pendulum”
- “Wake me, shake me, fake me; or, is that really a dead parrot?”
- “Are we becoming a ‘cargo cult’ society?”
- “Timing the AC time out”
- “IR is dead; long live IR”
And now, on to 2009! ◊