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Halloween contest

Double, Double, Toil and Troubleshooting: Share Your Worst (Best?) Example of Diagnosing a Technical Glitch & You Could Win $500

Witches with their warty green faces and ominous cackling—like those huddled around a bubbling cauldron in Shakespeare’s Macbeth—may not seem to have all that much have in common with engineers.

But engineers do have this kind of uncanny—almost magical ability—to troubleshoot problems, whether it’s coaxing dead products back to life, tracking down bugs hidden deep within software code, or sussing out the source of spurious signals that wreak havoc on nearby equipment. The list is endless.

One might even call that witchcraft! 

Like modern-day engineers, witches don’t just give up when problems crop up or things don’t live up to their expectations. No sir, stir a boiling cauldron while chanting spells or draw giant pentagrams in chalk, applying their magic powers to fix what isn’t working and get what they want.

So, in honor of witches and their special holiday—Halloween—Electronic Design wants to recognize this special ability of engineers and witches to apply their magical powers to troubleshoot a problem before them.

And to say thanks for all the good magic engineers work, we are giving away a crisp, cool $500 check to one lucky winner.

The winner will be announced on—when else?—Oct. 31, 2018.

Entering for a chance to win is easy. All you need to do is describe a situation in which a product didn't quite live up to expectations (or outright failed), and you successfully debugged, fixed, redesigned, or even reanimated it.

How to enter:

  1. Describe in 750 words or less an unforgettable example of a successful troubleshooting experience of yours
  1. Describe the circumstances that led up to your troubleshooting escapade.
  1. Describe how you diagnosed and fixed the problem. Was it with your trusty scope in hand or a simple turn-it-off-and on solution?
  1. Describe your “fix,” including any new constraints, added cost, or other tweaks involved.
  1. Include any relevant documentation such as photos, charts, sketches, video, and data that help illustrate your story.
  1. Your entry will be given special consideration if it makes us audibly groan or laugh so hard we can’t catch our breath--preferably both.
  1. Register at (if you haven't done so already), and email your entry to [email protected] by Oct. 28, 2018.
  1. Be sure to Include your Electronic Design user name, the email you used to register, and a short bio of yourself (less than 50 words) with your entry.
  1. Need a sample to get your creative juice flowing? Check out “The Case of the Noisy Nuclear Power Plant,” in which an intrepid engineer is called in to investigate false alarms at a nuclear power plant--causing a near management-meltdown—only to find the source is troublingly nebulous.

For full contest rules, click here.

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