I skipped a couple weeks of blogging, as astute readers likely noticed. I hope readers, like me, had the gift of spending holidays with loved ones, whether those holidays were Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or whatever. As I get older, presents and trimmings matter less to me than an honest pint and good conversation with good friends and family. Now, I get to see my daughter open presents with the wide-eyed joy of knowing they came from Santa, and that’s better than getting gifts myself. Of course, if you bought me presents, who am I to refuse?

OK, enough grinching from me.

It’s a new year, and I want to wish readers all the prosperity and hope that comes with new beginnings. To contractors, may you get that big contract you always wanted. And, to my advertisers, may you this year release that golden product that no driller can resist. Raise a toast to yourselves; we made it through another year.

And, about that new year: National Driller has a lot in store for 2014. We have a lot of projects in the works. I’m at liberty to mention one right now: We’re relaunching our Tech Topics column in March following the retirement of longtime columnist Bob Pelikan. I wish Bob the best as he speeds off into the sunset. Check out his farewell column in our February print issue to see what he’ll be up to in “retirement.”

Going forward, Tech Topics will cover the overlap between technology and drilling, not just pumps (which Bob covered so elegantly). It’s a broad category, but I promise each column will give drillers tips and tricks to work smarter on the jobsite. Drilling, like every industry, moves fast these days, and we want to help you keep up. We’re also open to ideas. If you want to know more about an aspect of drilling tech, chances are other readers do, too. Send ideas and feedback to verduscoj@bnpmedia.com.

We’ll talk about other upcoming changes to National Driller soon. Every bit needs sharpening now and again to keep drilling, and that’s our goal. Check back here for early insights into the directions we’re headed.

Stay safe out there, drillers.