If you needed any more proof that Gear Technology is an unusual publication, consider the “Ask the Expert” column (that appears in each issue of both Gear Technology and Power Transmission Engineering magazine). Where else in the technical press can you submit a question and get an answer from recognized experts — and, in many cases, more than one expert response?
And — at no charge?
This service is as much a testimony to the affection those experts have for our trade as to the Randall Publications’ editors’ and publishing team’s commitment to providing the best content possible. It always surprises people that the technical editors are all volunteers. Although most of us earn our livings as consulting engineers, we assist with the magazine at no charge.
The publisher does treat us to a wonderful dinner in conjunction with Gear Expo, though. If the menu was limited to hot dogs (affectionately known as “draftsman’s steaks” at one time) I would still attend. The opportunity to chat with the “dream team” Gear Technology has assembled is just that enticing. At the risk of revealing their ages, we never total up the total years of gear service in that room. My 44 years is on the low end of the per-capita experience.
AND this year’s Gear Expo will have a new feature: “Ask the Expert Goes Live!” — staged in the Gear Technology show floor booth. (The scheduling of panelists is still being developed.) You’ll be able to ask the “resident” expert your question and get an answer immediately. These guys are that good; they don’t hide behind a research staff or search the internet for information to repeat back to you.
In researching gear history topics I was amazed to discover that technical articles were once critiqued in the pages of follow-up issues. The author was expected to “defend” his position against all comers in the public pages of the publication. Questioners were often rather blunt in their criticism, but unlike today’s cowardly internet trolls, they did so with their name and affiliation disclosed. The level of intellectual debate shows just how passionate the participants were.
We have difficulty with this type of technical exchange today. Commercial interests, modern sensitivities, and internet trolls have combined to limit public discussion. Our hope for a lively Comments Section here on the blog have been dashed for the same reasons. Readers should know that the passion and dedication to technical excellence of the giants of our trade are still present in your technical editors. We work “cheap” because we care so much.