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Thanks, Pal

A look back at some of the finer contributions of DE's founding editor, Tony Lockwood

A look back at some of the finer contributions of DE's founding editor, Tony Lockwood

The cover of volume 1, issue 1 of Desktop Engineering magazine from September 1995.

In 2010, as DE celebrated its 15th anniversary, we enlisted founding editor Tony Lockwood to share his thoughts on how and why the magazine was created. You can read them all here. One of the lines that stuck with me is near the end: “News and information about products and technologies that you need never needed to be boring, as it was before Desktop Engineering.”


The design engineer’s job has changed quite a bit since the magazine’s founding, as reflected when we replaced “Desktop” in the name of the magazine with “Digital” in 2016, but the heart of the magazine that Tony helped create remains the same. Creating something new and figuring out how to make things work better is exciting. The ever-changing technology and tools used to do that are amazing. As Tony put it: “Engineering is fun,” and the magazines, websites and newsletters DE produces should be as well.

Lockwood on Technology

Since stepping down from full-time editing duties, Tony has authored DE’s Editor’s Pick of the Week and Check it Out newsletters. In them, he practiced what he preached, peppering the newsletters with observations you wouldn’t see in engineering research papers or product announcements. Among DE’s staff, these nuggets became known as “Lockwoodisms.” Below are just a few from the past year.

On graphics processing units:

“Engineering workstations are changing faster than RuPaul’s runway attire. Like RuPaul, much of it is in the graphics with raw power sharing the lead.”

On additive manufacturing:

“Scrap, rework and especially the dreaded recall are the ghouls that bedevil the design and manufacturing biz. And as mortals are learning quickly, metal additive manufacturing (AM) comes with its own witches’ brew of deformed and warped nightmares.”

“I’m circumferentially challenged. I routinely weigh improving my ingestion processes by staring into the fridge ... Stupid analysis paralysis like that is one thing. Staring at your manufacturing processes and being unable to decide how to integrate high-strength additive manufacturing (AM) into your workflow is a high-stakes gamble.”

“Additive manufacturing cognoscenti can get their knickers in a twist over the pros and cons of DLP (digital light processing) technology vs. other methodologies that also use light to build 3D parts. Sorry, no such partisanship today.”

On generative design:

“It’s like a futuristic Socratic skull session: You both pose questions and together work toward an optimal design.”

On the Internet of Things:

“Everybody’s talking about the industrial internet of things (IIoT). But, oy! What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to IIoT.”

On automated pre-processing and meshing:

“I microwaved some ready-made mashed potatoes the other day. In a zap, six traditional, time-eating preparation steps were history. It was a life-changing experience.”

On CAD-embedded simulation:

“Not so long ago a bit of structural or flow analysis functionality embedded in CAD—or otherwise readily CAD-accessible—rocked the design engineering world’s boat. The druids of analysis thundered that it was like handing toddlers heavy weapons. Some CAD jocks were irked that once again they had to do somebody else’s job without the training. Yet the idea caught on, evolved and now simulation-driven design has become the wave of the future.”

On model validation:

“Do you love playing ‘Where’s Waldo?’ while hunting for differences between a master and a derivative file to validate that the copy is a trustworthy representation?”

On new processes:

“Mark Twain loved to hate his type-writer [sic]. He cussed his ‘newfangled writing machine’ as devilish and degrading his morals. Yet he was smitten by its potential from first click. He boasted about being the first person to ‘apply’ it to literature. New technology and operator befuddlement often engenders such emotions, especially as you transition to new ways of doing something you think you know how to do.”

Looking Ahead

Not everyone was a fan of Tony’s writing style. I still remember an email from a very concerned reader who wanted to inform Tony that “ain’t” is not a word. Years later, another reader wrote to let me know he was sick and tired of being called “pal.” Tony closes each of his messages with “Thanks, Pal,” and this particular gentleman was “not his pal” nor did he have any interest in becoming his pal.

But, those were the exceptions. As a rule, you told us time and again how much you enjoyed Tony’s take on the latest design engineering news. Lockwood’s insights will be missed, but we’ll take his advice to heart as we continue to expand upon what he started.

Before signing off, check out Tony's last diatribe to DE readers here. 

If you’d like to reach Tony to wish him well in retirement or argue the finer points of grammar vs. style, you can send an email to We’ll make sure to pass them along.

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About the Author

Jamie Gooch's avatar
Jamie Gooch

Jamie Gooch is the former editorial director of Digital Engineering.

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