Thursday, December 14, 2017

Net Neutrality Analogy EVERYONE Can Appreciate


There is a great article at the Washington Post by titled: 

Net neutrality keeps the Web from running like an airport security line. And it might go away

Here are key points Mr. Fowler brings out:

"But of course, airport security these days is all about a pecking order. There’s regular security and there’s the faster “TSA Pre” line. Then at many airports, if you pay extra there’s a “Clear” line, a “priority” line for pilots and first-class passengers, and even a super-fast celebrity line that comes with organic seaweed snacks (really).

Without the neutrality rules, Internet providers could set up their own fast lanes—meaning certain websites could buy first-class treatment, while others are stuck in cattle class. Providers could sell Internet service in packages, like cable-TV bundles. Service providers would also have the right to set up their own no-fly lists, blocking certain websites that they don’t like or compete with their own business.

For you, certain websites could slow to a crawl. Or perhaps they wouldn’t show up at all."

 

 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Listening In - A MUST Read Cybersecurity Book by Susan Landau


If I had to summarize why I loved working at Sun Microsystems so much, it would be the brilliant people I was able to meet, work with and we became friends.

Susan Landau was a Distinguished Engineer at Sun.  She is an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow, a Cybersecurity Hall of Fame inductee and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow.  Susan is a globally recognized expert in security.

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan while we were both at Sun.  We had a number of very interesting conversations while we were at Sun, as well a number of conversations since Sun was purchased.  The conversations we had and have were always enlightening, interesting and very educational for me.

Susan wrote a book titled Listening In - Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age and sent me a signed copy.  This is an excellent book and a must read whether or not you are a geek like me, a policy maker, someone who has an interest in security or just your average citizen.  Susan's book is extremely well written and well researched.  She is able to educate the reader on Cybersecurity in a clear and compelling fashion.  You do not need a mathematical, computer science or technical background to learn a ton from this book. My hope would be Susan's book would be embraced by policy makers and citizens around the globe as she does an excellent job explaining the proper role and balance of government in providing national security and law enforcement through numerous real life examples.

When I first got the book and looked at the back cover and saw recommendations from Vint Cert, Jonathan Ziltrain, Matt Olsen (former Director NCTC) and Juliette Kayyem (former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security), I knew this just moved to the top of my reading queue!

Susan did reach out to me to discuss security in the area of manufacturing.  We had a few phone conversations and email discussions.  I was thrilled to see that Susan referenced an article I wrote for Advanced Manufacturing titled, With Machine Monitoring, Instant ROI is Possible and my book, MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know.  Thanks Susan!

Bottom line is that this a GREAT book and a MUST read for everyone.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn and Tim's Gingerbread Man


There are two items that are a must in the Edstrom family every Christmas - one is outside and the other is inside.  Outside it is THE Deer of Ashburn and inside it is Tim's Gingerbread Man.

Below was the first rev of THE Deer when I found it in my neighbor Rick's trash.  I did not ask for permission to take it (Rick later said I am always welcome to take anything in his trash :-) and quickly mounted it on my son John's Taurus (the famous Sun Microsystems $1 million Ford Taurus)  John was not amused and ordered it off before he drove it to high school that morning.



Now I needed to find a purpose for the deer and then it hit me, the ultimate Christmas Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn!

It is always nice to see the line of cars several miles long in Ashburn as they wait in line to see Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer of Ashburn :-)


The inside ornament that is a must is Tim's Gingerbread Man. This always goes in the most visible space on our Christmas tree every year.

The story here is that Tim is 3 years old and the pre-school teacher gives out the Gingerbread Man, glue, some things to glue on there and lots of noodles to glue on.  It normally keeps the kids busy for 20 minutes according to the teacher.  After 1 minute Tim yells, "I'm done!"   The pre-school teacher thought this was priceless and was laughing out loud when she told the story.  She had never seen one like Tim created :-)

The Best of MTConnect FAQs, Presentations, Webinars, Websites and ALL Things MTConnect


This blog post is a culmination of years answering questions on MTConnect that I will keep updated as it is easier to just point individuals to one blog site I have as opposed to multiple blog posts or a very large email with all of these FAQs, Presentations, Webinars, Websites and ALL Things MTConnect.  A lot of this earlier work was when I was President and Chairman of the Board MTConnect Institute.

You can easily share this blog post with https://tinyurl.com/MTConnect-Info


MTConnect is an open, royalty-free standard built to foster interoperability between devices, equipment and systems. Using XML and HTTP, MTConnect defines, structures, and exposes real-time data throughout a factory.  Unlike previous interoperability attempts, MTConnect’s common communication and data dictionary empowers software developers to implement applications aimed at providing more efficient operations, improved production optimization and increased productivity.   MTConnect is elegant because of its simple and scalable design.

Think of MTConnect as the “Bluetooth for manufacturing” with the clear goal of “Different Devices, COMMON Connection”.   MTConnect has become the default interconnectivity fabric to enable manufacturing dashboards to understand exactly what is happening in a plant or shop, an M2M communication mechanism and a simple, yet elegant way to implement IoT or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT has been predicted to be tens of billions of dollars per year with manufacturing being a large percentage of that market.

Give Me A 10 Minute Overview of MTConnect

MTConnect Home, Source Code, Member Listing and MTConnect Standard Download Location



How Can I Join MTConnect?
  • MTConnect is royalty-free, open source, free to join and free to deploy
  • There are two types of members
    • Implementors
    • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) members
  • How can I join the MTConnect Institute?

Why Should I Join The MTConnect Institute?

 John Byrd, former President of AMT, summarized the significance, “MTConnect will be more important for manufacturing in the 21st century, then CNC was in the 20th century.  Brian Papke, former President of Mazak USA, stated the financial importance, "The implementation of MTConnect is one of the simplest and fastest ways to improve productivity and increase machine utilization.  Mazak's MTConnect implementation provided the highest ROI for any capital investment because of the significant increase in utilization of equipment for a very moderate expenditure."


A sample of global companies which joined MTConnect, that those not in manufacturing have likely heard of, include Boeing, Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, FANUC, Foxconn, GE (Aviation, Global Research, Power, Transportation), General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin Electronic Systems, Mitsubishi Electronic Automation and Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC).  

If you are in manufacturing or WANT to be in manufacturing, then you NEED to join the MTConnect Institute!


What Do I Need To Know About Connecting ALL Of My machine tools, 3D Printers, Sensors and Devices to MTConnect?

 Why Would I Want To Monitor My Shop or Plant?
    While the above two "Getting Started With MTConnect" documents are a little dated, the principles remain and the list of shop floor monitoring companies is still a good list.
  • Here is the video that has Ben Schawe of Mazak speaking on their Factory using MTConnect at the [MC]2 2014 Conference.  It is very compelling and shows the power of MTConnect and shop floor monitoring.  This might be helpful in terms of a machine tool company that is considering to use MTConnect in their own factory with shop floor monitoring by "flying their own planes" or "eating their own dog food" :-)  It should also be noted that Mazak has really expanded with using MTConnect and MERLIN beyond that point to include full OEE, an operator panel, as well as that was an earlier version of MERLIN.
     
 What Is The Best Book On MTConnect?

MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know (my book - Dave Edstrom - of COURSE! :-)  Available in ALL formats


How Can I Easily Try Out MTConnect?
 What if I Want My Company To Implement MTConnect?

MTConnect Implementation Guide Webinar - Machine Tools, Devices and Sensors

 


In the above 40 minute webinar, I provide my personal thoughts on the technical and business issues to be aware of when implementing MTConnect for machine tools, devices or sensors.

The impetus for this webinar is the tremendous amount of interest I have seen globally for companies and individuals who are considering deploying MTConnect enabled machine tools, devices and sensors. 

When I think of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) I think of MTConnect.  The reason for this is that monitoring and data analysis begets more requests for additional information and this can be accomplished by the addition of MTConnect enabled devices and sensors in the plant.

Additional Documents For Those Wanting To Implement MTConnect

  • I put the document, Implementors Guide For Machine Tools, Devices and Sensors that is at my DropBox site since it was over 10MB for those who would like a copy.
  • Device Functionality Group  This is listing of what data items some of the machine tool vendors are supplying would be of interest.  Info that is included is partial machine, control, and adapter support and functionality supplied by builders are listed here. Many additional devices are supported from the factory or via third party adapters, and the MTConnect standard may be extended to cover additional data items.
  • A​n interesting exercise to find out what is available is to go out to some of machine tool makers and see how they setup their MTConnect pages such as MazakOkuma, ​DMG MORI and others where you can go to their homepage and search for MTConnect.
What About OPC and MTConnect?
Security and MTConnect

What If I Have More Questions On MTConnect?
 

  • Leave me a comment on this blog and I will be happy to respond to you directly or will update this blog post or even create an entirely new blog post!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Machine Monitoring and MEMEX's Financial OEE - Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Mark Albert, Editorial Director of Modern Machine Shop, wrote an article titled: 3 Perspectives on Machine Monitoring in the November 2017 edition of Modern Machine Shop.

Mark is a true thought leader in manufacturing, afirst class individual and a long time friend who I always learn a great deal from whenever we speak.  Thanks Mark for another great article!

This article was based on the Top Shops event  that was held in Indianapolis in September and it was the first ever Top Shops put on by Modern Machine Shop. .   I blogged about the Top Shops event here:

Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness (FOEE) at Data Driven Manufacturing Panel at Top Shops

The section of the article wrote has a section titled: A Financial Angle on OEE

Below are some of the points Mark brings out in his great article:

"Because OEE is an essential measurement of how well a manufacturing unit is doing, it is one of the most prominent “readings” of machine performance provided by almost all machine-monitoring systems. Mr. Edstrom provided another angle on OEE: financial OEE (FOEE). In fact, Financial OEE is a trademarked name for a feature Memex plans to release in early 2018 as an additional solution for those customers who have the MERLIN Tempus Enterprise Edition (EE), a scalable, extensible and open manufacturing execution system platform.

Mr. Edstrom is the CEO/CTO for Virtual Photons Electrons. In 2006, while at Sun Microsystems, he helped create the vision and framework for MTConnect, the set of interoperability standards for translating machine data into a common, internet-based language. He served as president and chairman of the board for the MTConnect Institute from 2010 to 2014 and was the CTO for Memex for three years.

Mr. Edstrom was asked to talk about how OEE could be linked to information about financial results, because the concept of FOEE shows that machine performance data has value to decision-makers in the front office from a business management perspective. Analyzing FOEE helps a shop understand how machine performance is helping (or hurting) profitability. This insight keeps the focus on the most appropriate productivity improvement efforts.

Mr. Edstrom began by defining OEE as a simple mathematical formula. It multiplies the percentages of availability, performance and quality to yield a single percentage. This result enables similar units (one machine, one department, one plant or an entire enterprise) to be compared to or rated against a target such as a plant’s best record or a benchmark of world-class performance. However, shops and plants must also focus on profitability. Managers have to balance decisions about maximizing the part-making capability of their equipment with decisions about the money-making potential of this equipment. OEE ratings alone provide an incomplete picture.

FOEE answers the question, “What is the value of improving OEE on this particular machine for this particular product?” More to the point, it answers “How much profit is being left on the table by not performing at company-best or industry-best levels for that specific part?” FOEE requires three key financial input values for each product and machine. These inputs are unit sales price, unit material cost and the hourly operational expense (OPEX) of the machine. FOEE is the current-state hourly profit divided by a value representing a world-class level of profit. This ratio tells a company what profit it made compared to what profit could have been made at factory-best or world-class levels.

With FOEE, managers can look at jobs scheduled for a machine and make decisions based not just on utilization, but also on utilization and profit. This enables managers to compare machines capable of running a certain job and determine which machine would yield the highest hourly profit. Just as the OEE figure related to each project or job is a key tool in prioritizing and evaluating continuous improvement projects, FOEE provides a quick view of the profitability opportunity for these projects. FOEE is a tool to make better business decisions for scheduling products, guiding continuous improvement efforts, and driving sales and marketing efforts."

As I have previously written, the first "killer app" I ever saw was VisiCalc. For those of you too young to remember VisiCalc, it was the world's first "visible calculator" or electronic spreadsheet and it came out in 1979. I remember demoing it in 1979 and the concept was so different, that it took a little while for people to truly appreciate what was going on, but when they did, they would push me aside and take over the keyboard. At that point, I would start writing up the order :-)

I believe the MEMEX's MERLIN Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness  (Financial OEE™ - trademark by MEMEX) will be the killer metric for manufacturing, as VisiCalc was the killer app for the entire business world.

Bob Hansen, of OEE College and R.C. Hansen Consulting, LLC, is the creator and the thought leader who coined the term, Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness (FOEE).

Here is a link to the blog on Top Shops where I included all of my slides from the Tops Shops event.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

God Bless Dick Morley - PLC God and Manufacturing Thought Leader

As I think about the many things I am grateful for today on Thanksgiving, I think about people who I had the privilege to know that have passed away this year.   On October 17th, Dick Morley passed away at the age of 84.  Dick would certainly be on the Mount Rushmore of manufacturing thought leaders.

Here are my memories of Dick.  Some of these are from my blog post when I went I up to see Dick in 2014 which I called:  Spending The Afternoon With Dick Morley - Priceless

In 2000, Dick Morley and I gave talks at AMT's Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico. I was speaking on the Internet and Dick was giving one of his incredible talks on manufacturing. Dick and I had lunch in Puerto Rico and we discussed open source and manufacturing. When I got back to the DC area, I sent Dick a copy of Eric Raymond's book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

Fast Forward 14 years.  Dick was a Director at Memex Automation (now just called MEMEX). When I asked how we were asking Dick to help Memex Automation, outside of the duties of being a Director, we were not working with Dick as closely as I would have thought.  I told Dave McPhail, our CEO, that I would like to reach out to Dick.  Thomas Smeenk, our VP of BD at Memex Automation at the time, reached out to Dick.  Dick was very generous and said he would enjoy it if I made the trip up to New Hampshire to visit him.  So I made the trip up there, and what a thrill that was!




When I was up there, we discussed mostly physics - which was fascinating for me.  We then went into a variety of topics and then discussed Memex Automation and where we should take the technology.  We spent some time talking about his many foster children and his wife - who had passed away.

The first topic Dick brought up was that he dropped out of MIT and did I know other famous people who dropped out of college.  When I rattled off Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg to name just a few, he quickly understood that I knew Dick was in an important category of those who left college early to pursue their passion.

Above is Dick and I having lunch at a GREAT restaurant near his house called, Parkers Maple Barn.  Dick drew out on the back of the placemat how he invented the PLCBelow is a photo of that placemat. That was a lunch I will never forget.

 


Below is from Dick's homepage at TheBarn.org:


"Dick Morley is best known as the father of the programmable controller and is the leading visionary in the field of advanced technological development. He is also an entrepreneur whose consistent successes in the founding of high technology companies has been demonstrated through more than three decades of revolutionary achievements. Mr. Morley is the recipient of the Franklin Institute's prestigious Howard N. Potts Award and is an inductee of the Automation Hall of Fame. He holds more than twenty US and foreign patents, including those for the parallel inference machine, the hand-held terminal, the programmable logic controller and magnetic thin film. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Board of National Center of Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), Director at Large for the Society Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and a member of the Manufacturing Advisory Board for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
Using his studies in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a springboard, Dick Morley has become an internationally recognized pioneer in the fields of computer design, artificial intelligence, automation and technology trend forecasting. As an inventor, author, consultant and engineer Dick Morley has provided the Research and Development community with world changing innovations.
For many years, Dick Morley was a contributing columnist to Manufacturing Systems Magazine. He has also written articles for magazines and journals worldwide including Manufacturing Automation Magazine. In recognition for his ground breaking contributions, Mr. Morley has received numerous awards and honors from such diverse groups as Inc. Magazine (Entrepreneur of the Year), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Albert M. Sargent Progress Award)"


 Above is Dick in The Barn after we got back from lunch.  I gave him a copy of my book (on the table) MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know, since MTConnect is very important to Memex Automation and manufacturing.  It was a GREAT day and was extremely glad that Dick wants to work closely with me and Memex Automation!
  • 2016 Inducted into the Measurement, Control & Automation Hall of Fame by the Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA)
  • 2016 Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2007–2008 SME Manufacturing Enterprise Council Member
  • 2006–2008 NH Judge - Hi Tech Council Product of the Year
  • 2006 Process Automation Hall of Fame (Control magazine)
  • 2005 SME Board of Directors
  • 1996 Automation Hall of Fame Prometheus Award
  • 1995 SME Fellow
  • 1993 Parallel Processor Design — Flavors
  • 1991 Howard N. Potts Medal
  • 1990 Entrepreneur of the Year
  • 1981 Gould Science & Engineering Fellow
  • Boeing Technical Excellence Award

God bless you Dick Morley - you were one of a kind!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wonderful Time in CA - John and Janet's New Home


Our oldest son, John and his wife Janet, purchased a wonderful home in Redwood City.  We went out there to visit for a few days and then Tim, my youngest son, and I did some of the items on the to-do list for five days.  I also picked up tools for John that will be needed for his first home. 

Here are photos of some of the days and nights we took a break from the work.


Above we stopped by to see my cousin Lynn and his wife Jane in Glen Ellen during the first Saturday we were out there.  Lynn and Jane have and are redoing Lynn's mom's, Dorothy - my aunt and godmother who passed away in 2016, house and doing a fantastic job.  We had lunch in Sonoma and our goto Cheese Factory Restaurant and hit a few wineries on the way back.


 Above was a photo of the six of us at Jacuzzi Winery on the way back into the city before we had dinner at Scoma's on the water that evening.


Monday for lunch we ate our our favorite pizza place in the city Tony's Pizza.


We enjoyed a beer at a local pub as we walked to have dinner (below) at one of our favorite restaurants - Caffe Sport.  Janet had to work that Monday and John was able to take off.



We took one night to play basketball near Facebook at a great gym, no charge with free use of basketballs.  I had to prove I could still (barely at age 58) palm a basketball -  John and Tim can easily palm a basketball!


Michael, Tim, John and Janet at a local winery in Sonoma.  Tim is below getting ready to enjoy a nice meal at The Fish Market after one of our many hard days of work :-) 




We spent our last day at Half Moon Bay having a wonderful lunch and then going down to the water.  It was a lot of fun spending 8 days in CA, first vacationing with John, Janet as well as Julie, Michael, and Tim.   Tim and I accomplished a lot at John and Janet's house (not that it needed anything major) and I think Tim and John learned a few things regarding home maintenance along the way as well :-)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterans Day 2017

Thanks to my father John Kenneth Edstrom who did two tours of duty in Vietnam as an officer in the Air Force.  My father is also in the very unique category in that he was awarded TWO BRONZE STARS for the two tours of duty for his countless acts of bravery in his two years in Vietnam.  The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service.  

Thanks to my cousin Chris Edstrom who has done two tours of duty in Iraq and three in Afghanistan and who did work in both countries now as a contractor.  Thanks to Dr. Harry Foxwell, Brad Kirley, Bruce Adams and Paul Warndorf for their service to our country.

History of Veterans Day as stated at TimeAndDate.com

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be "filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory". There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11am.


In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving. The Congress also requested that the president should "issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples."

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved on May 13, 1938, which made November 11 in each year a legal holiday, known as Armistice Day. This day was originally intended to honor veterans of World War I. A few years later, World War II required the largest mobilization of service men in the history of the United States and the American forces fought in Korea. In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word "Armistice" to "Veterans". Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American veterans, where ever and whenever they had served.

In 1968 the Uniforms Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) made an attempt to move Veterans Day to the fourth Monday of October. The bill took effect in 1971. However, this caused a lot of confusion as many states disagreed with this decision and continued to hold Veterans Day activities on November 11. In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which stated that Veterans Day would again be observed on November 11 from 1978 onwards. Veterans Day is still observed on November 11.

Harry Foxwell always would send out a nice email to Sun employees (and I imagine others).  Two years ago, he asked the question: Do you know where your veterans are?

Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery:
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/visitor_information/tomb_of_the_unknowns.html
National World War II Memorial: http://www.wwiimemorial.com/
Marine Corps Memorial: http://www.nps.gov/archive/gwmp/usmc.htm
US Navy Memorial: http://www.navymemorial.org/
Air Force Memorial: http://www.airforcememorial.org/
Korean War Veterans Memorial: http://www.nps.gov/kowa//index.htm
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: http://www.nps.gov/vive/index.htm
Vietnam Women's Memorial: http://www.visitingdc.com/memorial/vietnam-women%27s-memorial.htm
Iraq Veterans Memorial: http://iraqmemorial.org/

Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.va.gov/

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Bill Joy's Tech Breakthrough Article In Washington Post


Bill Joy, Sun co-founder and the "Edison of the Internet", has written an article in yesterday's Washington Post titled"

Three tech breakthroughs that will help transform the world

 Bill writes,  "Information technology has rapidly transformed our economy but not areas such as energy, materials and food, where we desperately need sustainability. We need to change our course."

 He expands on these topics, "Using a target list of 25 clean-tech “grand challenges,” I worked for over a decade to find, fund and commercialize big breakthroughs. One such challenge was radically cheaper batteries."

 I blogged about this six weeks ago in a post  Bill Joy's Investment In The "Jesus Battery" 

It is also interesting when Bill writes about the grid:

"But electric vehicles won’t be truly emissions-free unless we decarbonize the grid. Rechargeable alkaline batteries can be made so cheaply that we can imagine a grid where we can store a kilowatt-hour of electricity for less than a cent, saving wind and solar energy so it is available when we need it. This could be a grid that runs entirely on renewables; a grid that can move energy 24 hours a day from producers to and between storage locations; a grid where utilities can be not just providers of power but provide a marketplace for energy; a grid where fossil fuel and other existing generation capacity is used only for backup in extreme cases."

Bill Joy is a genius and it is fascinating to watch what big problems he is trying to solve now.  Long ago he established himself as a legend in the computer industry going back to UCB and then with Sun Microsystems.  He ends with the "grand challenge" that has defined his professional life since leaving Sun.

"We sought “grand challenge” breakthroughs because they can lead to a cascade of positive effects and transformations far beyond their initial applications. The grand challenge approach works — dramatic improvements reducing energy, materials and food impact are possible. If we widely deploy such breakthrough innovations, we will take big steps toward a sustainable future."

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seagull Century 2017 With Jeff and Gork


This ended up being a great Seagull Century, but we thought it was going to be a rain filled day until the night before.  It was 60% chance of rain when we went out to dinner and while we were having a few drinks, it dropped to partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.  The ride had the least wind that I can remember. 

Jeff, Gork and I did the 100 miles again this year.  We were joined by Gork's wife Connie and my wife Julie in Ocean City.  It was also Corvettes at the Beach, so it was a double win for me!   We all stayed at a 3 bedroom, two level condo at Sea Watch. 

What is really nice about doing a ride like the Seagull Century is that it is a great chance to get together with friends who you have known since the mid 1970s.  From a health standpoint, what is important about a 100 mile bike ride is that when you are in late 50s, like the three of us, you simply cannot show up and ride 100 miles.  You need to put in about 2,000 miles during the earlier part of the year in order to be in shape to do it.  This means that every time sitting on the couch passes through your mind, you get off your butt and go for a long bike ride.

We averaged between 15 and 19 during the first 85 miles.  My cyclemeter app somehow reset when it was in my jersey pocket at the 85 mile mark, so that is why you see two different maps below.  What was very nice this year was the new southern route that was the most picturesque Seagull Century that I have been on since 1998.  Jeff has been doing it since 1999 and he said the same think.  This is Gork's 4th Seagull and he thought the route was the best as well.

This was the best cycling times that I have ever had and I owed it to weighing 192 pounds (first time below 205 pounds in 19 years of riding the Seagull), much better diet and putting in more miles than I ever had in preparation for the 2017 Seagull Century.


Here is the link for the specifics on our riding during the first 85 miles.

Here is the link for the specifics on our riding during the second 17 miles. 

Below are some photos from our ride and that weekend.  I am bummed and feel like an idiot that I did not get photos of the five of us out to dinner.  We had very nice meals at Liquid Assets and Hooked in Ocean City.


Above is Gork, Jeff and me at the 2nd rest stop.  They have rest stops with food and drink every 20 miles.


Here we are at the finish line with our bikes and looking forward to having a beer before we head back to Ocean City to have dinner (first a shower :-) with Connie and Julie.


Above is what you gets you through the 100 miles when it can be raining or windy -- a nice cold beer at the end! :-)

Above is the view from our condo with a very nice sunset on Sunday night.  Gork, Connie and Jeff had to get going Sunday morning.  Julie and I stayed through Monday.

On Sunday, Julie and I went to our "goto" lunch place which is the Crabcake Factory at 120th Street on ocean side.

Above is my Seagull Century wall in my garage where I put my Seagull Century Numbers.

The Seagull Century in 2018 will be the 30th anniversary and will be on Saturday the 6th of October.  Should be a lot of fun next year!

Hopefully, the three of us can keep doing this Seagull for many years to come!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Photon - A Great Dog

Today is a very, very sad week for the Edstrom family.  Our 13 1/2 year old yellow lab, Photon, died on Wednesday.

We decided to get Photon in 2004 on a trip back to Minnesota.  We were driving in our van in the pouring rain when a big four door pickup looses control slides off the road and then slides back in front of us, luckily I missed hitting him.   After that incident I said we are getting a puppy and I am going to name it Photon.  We had two dogs at that time Spike and Toot.  Spike was our first dog in 1998 - a combination of a yellow lab and a golden retriever and Toot who was loaned to us from the breeder to help calm Spike down.

We got Photon in the summer of 2004 and he was the perfect dog.  Photon was an absolute sweetheart of a dog who looked like a white polar bear.  The most gentle dog I have ever witnessed, except for if another dog picked on Nero, our much younger black lab.  That happened twice that I can remember.  Photon absolutely loved to go for walks, even when the arthritis in his legs would barely keep his rear legs going.  He also loved following either Spike or Nero around our 1/2 acre lot going counter-clockwise around the fence as if they were in patrol mode.

I am really glad we had dogs for our three sons as I definitely believe it helps in the maturity of kids when they have to take care of pets.  The countless hours of pleasure that John, Michael, Tim, Julie and I got from Photon was simply priceless.  This past year I was in semi-retirement, so I got to spend much more time with Photon and go with Julie on walks with Photon and Nero.  You could just see how Photon’s spirit would lift when he would see us grabbing the leash.

Even though you know the day is coming, it is still one of the most heart-breaking things a person can do when you make the family decision that your beloved dog’s quality of life is not where you or your dog want it to be.  We were fortunate because Photon gave us a two week warning.  He completely collapsed two weeks ago with no movement whatsoever.  The next morning he was slowly moving again, much to the surprise of our vet.  Tons of tests revealed nothing that would explain the collapse.  We treated each day after that as it could be his last.  This past Wednesday he collapsed and then later passed away at home when I was on the phone with Michael.  It was like Photon knew this was a tough decision for us to make and he decided to go on his own terms - at home.

Here are some pictures of Photon over the years.  God bless Photon you were the perfect dog and now you’re with Spike…. 
 Photon was the cutest puppy.  Looked like a little polar bear.
Above is Photon and Spike pulling on Photons toy after Spike had an operation.


We tried to introduce Photon to our rabbit Bugs.  Bugs was not that thrilled with the introduction :-)

 Above is Spike with Photon on his right.   Photon loved Spike.
Below is Toot on the left, Photon in the middle and Spike on the right.  Toot was loaned to us by the breeder to try calm Spike down when he was a puppy.  Spike literally ate our grill, our couch and a chair.  He was the alpha's alpha dog :-)

Above is Photon, Nero (our black lab) and Spike on the right.
Below is something all three liked to do - lie at the front door.  Photon is near the door, Toot is in the middle and Spike is on the left.


Wherever Spike was, Photon wanted to be right next to him.  When Spike passed away, it was really hard on Photon, but luckily Photon had Nero.  Now Nero is alone as he will be our last dog.  Julie and I are getting too old for raising puppies.


 Above is Photon and Nero when Nero was much younger.


Above was taken in the past week.  Photon and Nero become good buddies.  Photon used to follow Spike around the yard and then he would follow Nero. 


Above is Michael with Photon when Photon was still growing.  Photon was really Michael's dog.


Above is John with Photon when he was a puppy.


Above is Tim with Photon.


Above is Julie taking Photon for one of his last walks.   God bless Photon you were the perfect dog and now you’re with Spike….

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Small Functions Debate In Computer Science


This blog post titled, Small Functions considered Harmful, by  Cindy Sridharan  addresses one of canonical principles in modern computer science - small functions.  As she points out below:

"The idea is simple — a function should only ever do one thing and do it well. On the face of it, this sounds like an extremely sound idea, in tune, even, with the Unix philosophy.

The bit where this gets murky is when this “one thing” needs to be defined. The “one thing” can be anything from a simple return statement to a conditional expression to a piece of mathematical computation to a network call. As it so happens, many a time this “one thing” means a single level abstraction of some (often business) logic."

This is a long blog post, but it is well written and for anyone who has written code, it challenges some of the principles.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Machine Learning and Security


This article helps dispel the "magic" of machine learning that is being hyped so much today.

There is an excellent article by in SD Times  really brings out the challenges with machine learning and is titled: 

Black Hat USA 2017: Machine learning is not a silver bullet for security


This article is well worth reading and Hyrum Anderson clearly states the challenges below:

"Hyrum Anderson, technical director of data science for cybersecurity provider Endgame, presented research on machine learning malware evasion at this week’s Black Hat USA 2017 conference in Las Vegas. 
 
“I want you to know I am an advocate of machine learning for its ability to detect things that have never been seen,” Anderson said. “[But] machine learning has blind spots and depending on what an attacker knows about your machine learning model, they can be really easy to exploit.”

Anderson explained, machine learning is not only just susceptible to evasion attacks, but it is susceptible to these attacks by other machine learning methods. Researchers at Endgame have learned it is not only enough to provide a cybersecurity system, they have to check and double check the product as well as test and think about how adversaries might exploit or evade them. “If an attacker has access to your machine learning model, he can actually ask it ‘What can I do to confuse you the most,’ and the model will tell them.”"

What is very interesting is what Engame is doing with open source and machine learning malware detector:

"As part of his research, Anderson is releasing a machine learning malware detector into open source as well as the framework users can use to improve the AI agent, improve the malware, or attack their own models to learn about their weaknesses. “The framework that we’re providing can be readily adapted to attack your own machine learning model. To be clear, there are easier ways to attack your machine learning model since you know everything about it. But this framework represents what we believe to be the most realistic attack that an adversary can launch and that can be used to understand your model’s blind spots,” he said.  "

Friday, September 29, 2017

You Have To Love Steve Wozniak


Steve Wozniak tells the story of creating the Apple I and Apple II.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Excellent Bitcoin and Blockchain Video


I went for a 63 mile (metric century) bike ride a week ago while listening to five hours of podcasts on blockchain and this video below was more succinct and clear then anything I heard on my ride.  This deeper dive into blockchain was prompted by a very technical dinner conversation on blockchain that I had when I was at Top Shops at the beginning of September. 

This is an excellent video on Bitcoin and Blockchain.  It balances just enough of the behind the covers to understand what is going on, without getting into the lower bit-level mathematics of cryptography.  This gets into how blockchain can be compromised (51% attack), but shows enough details on why that becomes simply unfeasible. There is an excellent video on SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256 bits that the creator, 3Blue1Brown, discusses.

Yes, I am a geek if I listen to five hours of blockchain podcasts :-)


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Donald Trump and Sports



I thought it would be hard for Trump to infuriate professional athletes, since most are like Michael Jordan, who famously said, "Republicans buy basketball sneakers as well", are reticent to speak out, but Trump proved I was wrong. 

As a huge fan of the NBA, I am complete lock step with Lebron, John and Bradley as stated in the Washington Post:


"No, LeBron James is not backing down from his criticism of President Trump, preferring not to utter his name during the Cleveland Cavaliers’ media day.
“The people run this country,” he said, “not one individual and damn sure not him.”
That echoes a tweet he published Saturday morning, one that has been liked nearly 1.5 million times and retweeted nearly 653,000 times. You know, the one in which he called the president “U bum” for pulling a White House invitation for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors."