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Santa’s Workshop Wonders Engineering Troubleshooting Contest

Dec. 14, 2018
Santa’s Workshop Wonders Engineering Troubleshooting Contest

Tell us about how you’ve engineered a holiday miracle and your stocking could be stuffed with a crispy $500 bill five crisp $100 bills (thanks readers for letting us know the US treasury hasn't printed $500 bill since last century!) to help you pay off those nasty Xmas bills when they come rolling in early 2019.

The holidays are such a happy time, full of joy and laughter, over-the-top lighting displays, and copious amounts of eggnog and gingerbread. Santa and his elves seemingly work miracles to grant every wish.

You engineers are kind of like master elves: You’re busy in your own workshops and really good at rush orders, general problem solving, system repairs, fixing old, broken-down products, pleasing the boss.

In honor of the holidays, we invite you to share your stories about a famous engineering “save”—involving hardware, software bugs, firmware, masking tape, glue, deadlines, and horrible bosses, customers, or mothers-in-law.

Instructions for entering:

  1. Describe in 750 words or less a compelling example of something that you fixed, improved, rebooted...etc. No need to involve the holidays, but we encourage it.
  1. Describe the circumstances that turned you into a fixer, whether it was horrid people who sold you something stupid; a broken or lost part; even an other-worldly presence involved (the Ghost of Christmas Past, perhaps!).
  1. Tell us what you did to remedy the situation. Was it an entire reboot or something involving masking tape or string? Did the product get returned to working order—or made to work—or was something compromised?
  1. Describe your “fix,” including any cost, new constraints or feature enhancements, and other tweaks involved.
  1. Don’t forget to include photos of the item (in disrepair and repair), satisfied co-workers and extended family, or drunk elves.
  1. Register at (if you haven't done so already) and email your entry to [email protected] by December 23, 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 “A Spell to Correct Erroneous Missile Tracking Data,” in which an intrepid engineer is called in to investigate problems with the missile tracking antenna on a Cold-War era guided missile unit.


Contest ends at 12/23/18 at 11:59 pm EST. For full contest rules, click here.

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