IEEE Central Coast News Volume 1, Number 2 (Fall 1999)

IEEE Central Coast News

Volume 1, Number 2
Fall 1999


The Official Publication of the Central Coast Section of the Los Angeles Council, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Find us on the Web at:

link to Volume 1, Number 1 Newsletter
Central Coast Greetings
by Marty Kaliski, Section Chair

Well, we made it to “newsletter number two.”  I would like to thank everyone for their positive comments.  We are learning as we go along, and your comments and suggestions are certainly appreciated.  This edition of the Central Coast News is characterized by two new features: advertising and outreach.  As to the former, we welcome your advertisements, and you can rest assured that they will be seen by over 800 IEEE Central Coast Section members.  At the present time we are just beginning to experiment with both the concept of advertising and with the various options for formatting and laying out ads—so bear with us.  If you would like to advertise, please contact Carol Erickson at (805) 756-2782 or

With respect to outreach, we are accepting interesting articles from those outside of the executive core of the section.  If you have an important message and are willing to write it up, please let me know.  This is your newsletter as well.

The Section is doing well, both financially and professionally.  We already have speakers lined up for our monthly meetings through January (see below) and we are taking active steps to maximize attendance at these meetings.  Officer elections are coming up (see the separate article on this) and we are excited about the possibility of having a slate of enthusiastic and interested candidates to choose from.

The next time you are in San Luis Obispo, please let me know.  I would love to meet with you and chat about your ideas for the Central Coast Section and its activities.

Volunteers Sought for Central Coast Section Officers
In accordance with our new bylaws, Dr. Kaliski has appointed the “Members-at-Large” to be our Nominating Committee for the 2000 election. We are seeking volunteers to run for all positions, but we especially invite members who are interested in helping hold technical meetings in the Santa Barbara & Vandenberg areas.  The officers to elect are:

Section Chair: Serves as Chair for all meetings of the Section and the Executive Committee (ExCom).

Treasurer: Keeps financial records and submits the Financial Operations Report.

Secretary:  Keeps a membership data base, mails notices to the membership, and submits meeting reports.

PACE Coordinator: Disseminates information on the services provided by the IEEE-USA.

Computer Chapter Chair: Must be a member of the Computer Society & chairs chapter meetings

To volunteer for one of these positions, or to serve on the ExCom in an appointed position, contact one of the members of the Nominating Committee by November 15, 1999:

John Armstrong

Wally Kammer
(805) 606-8000

Paul Castleberg
(805) 968-6787 x125

Central Coast Section Treasurer’s Report
by Jerry Skarnulis, Treasurer
At the moment, we are operating within our budget for expenditures.  It is anticipated that we will be operating within budget for the rest of the year.  The Executive Committee has unanimously approved the support of the local sections in their endeavors.  We have allocated $500 to the Cal Poly IEEE Student Section for some equipment.  We have also allocated $1,000 to support the North American Power Symposium, which was held October 10-12, 1999 in San Luis Obispo. The Executive Committee recognizes its financial responsibility to support its local organizations and its members.  If anyone has payment requests from our section or questions,  please contact me at

Keeping You Informed

News from John Armstrong, San Luis Obispo Member at Large

The Los Angeles Council (LAC) serves the various IEEE sections in Southern California by jointly supporting technical meetings from some 17 different technical specialties, organized as Council Chapters.  As LAC secretary this past year, I have had the privilege of helping Larry Dalton bring several of these back into activity.  This fall, I will be running for Larry’s current job as the Y2K Vice Chair - Chapters, while he runs for LAC chair.  But the LAC is still looking for volunteers to fill other positions; you can check them out on the LAC web page at  If you can help out, contact Kip Haggerty at

Assuming I am elected, the section will need a volunteer to continue representing us on the LA Council. This entails a trip to LA once a month for meetings.  Contact the nominating committee if you can help.

Next year will be very busy for the LAC, as we will be helping host WESCON 2000 and AUTOTESTCON 2000 in October. Both are very important sources of income for the Council and for the sections. WESCON 1999 will be held in San Jose, October 19-21.  See for more information.

News From Wally Kammer, Vandenberg Member at Large

It’s been almost a year since the Vandenberg Section was dissolved.  Since then the membership of the former Vandenberg Section has been included in the new Central Coast Section.  The new section also included the membership from the former San Luis Obispo Subsection and Santa Barbara Section.  As a member of the former Vandenberg Section, I am pleased to have been appointed as the Member at Large (M.A.L.) for the membership in the Vandenberg area.  Our Section Chair, Marty Kaliski, believes in close communication with each of the former section areas.  Therefore, I plan to function as a contact for members in the Vandenberg area and allow IEEE to best serve you.

I have served in the Vandenberg Section in a variety of tasks and served in several offices,  including section chairman.  I am familiar with IEEE policies and I plan to be effective in communicating your interests and issues to the executive board.  Hopefully, this will allow us to give you the best service that IEEE can offer its members.  To do this efficiently, I plan to establish individual IEEE members as contacts within the various major industry groups. These contacts have the ability to suggest specific activities such as speakers, tours, etc. I will make the arrangements to implement these suggestions.  The section leadership has agreed to budget for the expense for any such activities.  I have already contacted several of the members and I am encouraged by your support.  I plan to contact others and should I miss someone interested in participating, please contact me at or call me at my home at (805) 736-1989.

It is with regret that I report the passing of Joseph Epstein last July, a member of the former Vandenberg Section.  Joe was a faithful supporter and worker, and served at various times as a section officer.  Joe will be missed but remembered for his many contributions to the Vandenberg Section.

In October I will be attending the IEEE Section Congress as your Central Coast representative.  I will have more to say about this when I get back.  There are a lot of exciting things happening in IEEE and I am excited to be a participant.

Softec Enhances Visibility of Central Coast Tech Community

by Dan Logan, Softec

In 1996, a group of software developers and other interested parties began meeting to explore the possibility of pulling together members of the Central Coast technology community. The organization they created—Softec, the Central Coast Software and Technology Association—is devoted to promoting and facilitating networking, resource sharing, advocacy, and economic development for the software and technology industries in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties.

At its monthly meetings (usually the 4th Wednesday of each month, but not in November or December), Softec features speakers from firms in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties such as Computer Cafe, Experts Exchange, Lober & Walsh Engineering, Oddworld, Wynd Communications and Xing Technology.

Softec also helps introduce the public to technology initiatives emanating from the Central Coast, such as the California Central Coast Research Partnership (C3RP) and V-Bird (Virtual Business Incubation for Research and Development—Softec’s initiative to assist small or emerging businesses in competing for seed funding).

Meeting formats range from individual speakers to panel discussions. Each meeting is begun with an hour of networking where guests can introduce themselves to each other and pursue their individual interests.

Meetings are open to the public. Softec’s web site is If you have any questions about Softec, e-mail

IEEE Monthly Meetings at Cal Poly Resume
Central Coast Section meetings for the new year are off to a great start.  Bernard Maxum was the guest speaker at the first meeting, which was held October 5th at Cal Poly. He spoke on the topic “Internet-based Engineering Education: A Passing Fad or the Wave of the Future?”  Dr.Maxum, who is on sabbatical from his duties as Department Chair of Electrical Engineering at Lamar University in Texas, is working on global and wireless communications as a Visiting Researcher at Cal Poly’s Electrical Engineering Department.

The following speakers are scheduled through January 2000:

November 2, 1999:  George Westrom on “The Future Scientists and Engineers of America (FSEA) K-12 Hands-on Program.”

December 7, 1999:  Kevin Sites on “Digital Journalist in the 21st Century: New Technology in TV News.”

January  4, 2000:  George O’Clock on “The Impact of Materials and Device Structures on Communication Systems and Radar.”

Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month from 7-8 p.m. in Engineering East Faculty Office Building 20, Room 206 at Cal Poly. Refreshments are available around 6:30 p.m. Meeting information will be announced via email. Please notify Carol Erickson at if you are not receiving these announcements and you would like to.

Publishing Information

IEEE Central Coast News is published quarterly by the Central Coast Section of the Los Angeles Council, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. in San Luis Obispo, California. Inquiries, comments and submissions may be e-mailed to Carol Erickson at or mailed to the address below. Circulation: 992.

IEEE Central Coast Section
c/o Martin Kaliski, Section Chair
EE Department
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Campus TV On the Edge of the Digital Revolution

Even for commercial television news operations, it’s difficult to stay ahead of the technological curve.  For college journalism programs it’s impossible.  But Cal Poly’s new broadcast journalism lecturer, Kevin Sites, thinks he has at least a partial solution—leap frog ahead.  While many stations are currently adopting the digital format, Sites wants to take Cal Poly’s broadcast program and student-run television station, CPTV, one better by adopting the Mini DV (digital video format).  Mini DV’s are about the size of an audio cassette, but are also considered broadcast quality.  Sites has plans to equip the program with Canon XL1 Mini DV Cameras, as well as palm-held Mini DV’s by Canon called Ulturas.

Sites, who just left his position as Washington, D.C.-based producer for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, believes that Mini DV will be widely adopted in TV newsrooms around the country.

“It’s currently being tested with some of the network O&O (owned and operated) stations,” says Sites.  “That’s an indication this format could be adopted on a much broader scale.”  Sites says he’s also seen it in use by European news operations, specifically on his last assignment covering the refugee crisis in Kosovo.

By equipping and training students in Mini DV and non-linear editing, Sites believes they’ll be superior to other broadcast journalism students both in production and editorial skills.

“Because Mini DV cameras are so small, they reduce the technological clumsiness of broadcast reporting,” Sites says. “They allow us to set up and cover a story  much more quickly and are less obtrusive during interviews.  In a way, it creates a kind of reporting parity between broadcast and print journalists by lowering the threshold of production.”

If  you’re interested in learning more, you can contact Kevin Sites at