How’s business? In January 2009, this is definitely a loaded question.

Most people are closely following the news to see what will happen next with the automotive industry, the stock market and the unemployment numbers. On the other hand, certain industries may have more business-some consultants have told me that they are busier than ever.

No matter what is happening with the economy, quality will remain a priority in all aspects, whether it be in automotive, aerospace or medical. No one wants to buy products with compromised quality standards, so while companies may be doing more with less, they still want to get the best products out.

To that end, Vision & Sensors will offer six issues in 2009 as well as increased exclusive online content. We’ve launched a new blog on where Ned Lecky of Lecky Integration discusses common vision issues.

The very busy Mr. Lecky also wrote “Why Wireless?” in this month’s new column, Integration Corner, a column providing an integrator’s perspective on machine vision issues.

Have questions? Send them to me at [email protected]. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please send your thoughts my way. Think of it as an online letter to the editor, and feel free to post your thoughts and reactions to blog postings in the comments section.

Blog comments are a great way to get your messages out. In our fast moving world, however, there is already another technology available to complement blogs-twitter. Have you heard of twitter? Have you used it? Twitter is a real-time short messaging service-up to 140 characters (a little longer than the length of this sentence)-that works over multiple networks. While this may seem far too short, sometimes short is memorable. Keep in mind that Alexander Graham Bell’s first spoken words on a telephone: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” only took up 41 characters. Wired called it “incredibly useful,” the New York Times said, “It’s one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet,” and Newsweek said, “Suddenly, it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter.” While your area may not be “a-twitter” just yet, it has definitely been gaining ground since its public launch in August 2006. Visit to learn more about this San Francisco startup. If you prefer to get your twitter messages, or “tweets,” in another language-even Finnish or Thai-you can do that too.

And if you want to really put your language skills to use, travel is a good way to start. Conferences and workshops always provide a great chance to meet others in the industry. Machine Vision China will be held in Shanghai from March 18 to 20, and The Vision Show will be held in Phoenix from March 31 to April 2. In addition, the first Quality Vision & Sensors Conference will be held in Orlando, FL, May 4 to 7, in conjunction with the Quality Measurement and NDT Conferences.

While you’re waiting to visit China, Arizona or Florida, check out the redesigned If you would like to appear in these pages, please e-mail me at [email protected].

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this month’s issue-covering photoelectric sensors, light sources, bar code reading and more information on integration from advisory board member David Dechow.

Let me know how business is doing. Are things slowing down or are you busier than ever?