The golden days of summer

July 1, 2010
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, these are supposed to be the “doldrums” of summer, with our minds on vacation trips or just lolling around sipping cool drinks and not over-exercising our brains.

Riding a 50-year laser wave

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, these are supposed to be the “doldrums” of summer, with our minds on vacation trips or just lolling around sipping cool drinks and not over-exercising our brains. For those of us with air conditioning at work and home, these two months are bearable, but the glorious weather outside draws our thinking to pleasure rather than serious work, so it is a chore to focus on business.

In the publishing business, it has traditionally been a time of slow advertising sales as the long-held theory is that readers are too involved with recreational activities to read magazines, and the issues just pile up to be read, or not, when one returns from vacation.

My opinion is this is a lot of bunk. First of all, many people stagger their vacations today and there is no set period when they are away from work. Just look at the airports around the winter months where hoards of people head for warmer, more salubrious climes on pre-scheduled vacation days. I freely admit that today’s more mature work force has extended vacation days and thus can schedule summer or winter trips or both, but many of the folks I see are young, which gives little credence to this theory as a whole.

Of course the production lines keep humming, except for those companies that schedule an annual shut-down. Even in the plants, those not on the line tend to stagger their vacations, so the “decision makers” are around all summer.

I looked at the ILS reader metrics for the July/August period last year and found little change in the number of web site visits and page openings.

To further my argument, there are countless conferences, workshops, and trade shows in these months, none on a grand scale I admit, but still scheduled on the premise that “if we hold it, then they will come.” I’m involved in one in South Korea in mid-August.

My point is, you’re reading this, so you are either checking your e-mails and get the digital version, or you are at work and checking your snail mail daily. I know that my blog readers are checking this out because I get my most caustic comments in response to things I said in the summer months last year. I’m just joking because the comments I receive tend to be complimentary and positive, but these still occurred mostly during the nice-weather months last year.

So we worked very hard to make this issue of ILS a good one with four features and one Update item all focused on applications. We do this because we know that you are looking for this information regardless of the weather and to prove this I’ll let you know what the metrics for this issue are compared to the preceding 12 months, when they are available.

Just a word about the 50th anniversary of the laser. ILS did not set aside a special issue for this. I did a technology highlights feature in the January/February issue, and I have posted many news items about this on the web page,

I was a young research staff member working to build ruby laser crystal growing furnaces in that period just after Ted Maiman’s breakthrough of the first working laser in 1960. It was an invigorating time as industrial and commercial research labs raced to be first with the latest laser development. Friday staff meetings were abuzz with the latest news, picked up by word-of-mouth, as that was before the Internet. For me to have been a very small part of those “early” days was a memory that I especially treasure as we celebrate the golden anniversary of this most significant achievement.

David A. Belforte
[email protected]

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