Chameleons are cool. I had one as a pet for a few weeks, until frying the unsuspecting, cold-blooded reptile by leaving it for too long in a terrarium on my parents' deck on a 95 New Jersey summer afternoon.

While their color-changing abilities still fascinate me, as a magazine editor I have come to appreciate another one of their noteworthy biological skills. The eyes of members of the family Chamaeleonidae move independently of each other. This allows this inhabitant of India, Africa and Madagascar to watch for its next meal without moving its head, and to then zap unsuspecting prey with its super-sticky tongue.

The ability to change colors or zap unsuspecting prey with a sticky tongue might come in handy for an editor on occasion, but having eyes the move independently is of even more value. That's because editors have to keep one eye on the issue of the magazine under construction and the other eye searching for the editorial topics that will interest readers most.

Journalists are trained to seek out the best sources for the articles that we write and to convey the observations of industry experts in accurate, concise and hopefully helpful prose. Invariably, CEE News' editorial staff finds that the most knowledgeable industry experts are our readers. In our conversations with readers on job sites, at trade shows and during telephone interviews, we have put together what we feel is a winning editorial lineup for 2001. Although it's only mid-October as I write this editorial, CEE News' editors have a good fix on many of the topics that we will explore next year. Certainly, as news stories break and new trends take root during 2001, we will work them into the editorial mix. If you have any ideas for topics that we should cover, please give me a ring at 913-967-1743, or contact me by e-mail at jim_lucy@intertec.com.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the topics that we will cover next year:

January - Home automation

February - Security market

March - Online purchasing

April - Building renovation

May - The latest in lighting

June - Job site communications

July - Residential work

August - Solar power and wind energy update

September - 2002 NEC changes

October - Test equipment

November - Power quality

December - Running your business

Of course, we will have dozens of other stories in next year's issues. One very important area of coverage for us will be structured wiring systems for the residential market. In fact, starting in January 2001, Paul Rosenberg, CEE News datacom consultant, will author a correspondence course on residential networking that he has developed for Iowa State University. In addition to this monthly feature, we plan to cover this topic in each and every issue of CEE News next month.

Next year's issues will also feature several editorial efforts that we launched in 2000, including the 2001 ElectroForecast, the CEE News 50 Largest Electrical Contractors listing and the Second Annual CEE News Product of the Year.

It's an exciting range of topics to cover, and one that will be supplemented by what we discover in our journeys out in the field. Now if the CEE News editorial staff can just continue being good "chameleons," and keep one eye on the magazine issue in production and the other one on the editorial topics that will help you do your job better or run your business more profitably, we will not have to rely on any of the chameleon's better-known characteristics to earn a living.