It just gets quicker and quicker!

Wighty’s web world – a regular feature written by Richard Wightman of Design Engineering Online

I’ve already broken my new laptop, £3000 of state-of-the-art computer technology and a little plastic thingy has gone and snapped. I don’t even know what it’s supposed to do yet, but I guess it’ll rear its ugly head when there’s a pressing deadline to be met.

The main thing is that it has a 56K modem, which goes some way to relieving the stress of waiting for pages to find their way to my screen. The next measure of `It wasn’t like that in my day’ might (sadly) be the speed of modems. Tomorrow’s generation will probably be as fascinated to hear that I had to cope with a 28K modem as I was to hear that in my Grandad’s day half my home town of Barwell was all fields.

There have been a couple of recent additions to Design Engineering Online’s sister site, The Engineer Online (www.theengineer.co.uk). `Ask the Experts’ is designed to give you a direct route to specialist professionals who will do their best to help you with any problems you may have. Pneumatics is our test subject so if you’ve got a tricky problem in this field, Peter McEwen of SMC, should be able to help. There are plenty of others planned so keep your eyes on this slot.

The other new addition is The Engineer Online calendar. The concept of an on-line calendar isn’t breaking new ground but this has the facility for you to post events for yourself. So if there’s something going on which other engineers might want to know about, visit this part of the site and keep us informed.

If you want to keep up with the latest engineering news, The Engineer Online’s `News Update!’ is hard to beat. The news editor of The Engineer (sister newspaper to Design Engineering) is posting important stories as they break.

When it comes to web design, suppliers of broad product ranges are faced with a problem as tricky as whether or not to take Hick to Australia (I say take him – he’s in my fantasy cricket team and I need all the help I can get – Ed). Failing to keep the user on the track to the products they need may result in lost business. Protex Fasteners (who appear later in this issue in an article on its work with the RNLI) have a site that appears to address the problem very well. Furthermore, when you’ve found the fastener you require the site provides a technical drawing to download to a CAD file and a selection of recommended catchplates.

Trawling the search engines for the Protex site proved fruitless but it’s one of Design Engineering Online’s hotlinks (www.designengineering.co.uk) under the heading fasteners and adhesives.

ONE TO LOOK FOR

OK so I’m blowing my own trumpet, but www.theengineer.co.uk is going from strength to strength. Simple navigation, masses of useful information and regular updates make this a must for any engineer.