Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Tim, Julie and I attended the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear that was estimated at 10 million by Jon Stewart so it must be true :-)  It was a picture perfect fall day that was tons of fun with 215,000 of our closets Comedy Central friends.  Note Glenn Beck had 87,000, but from a weight standpoint, the crowds were equal :-)  Because of the fighting over numbers, the National Parks do not give estimates. An indicator of the size was Metro stated that there were 330,000 riders by 11am on that Saturday and that is the normal total number they see for an entire Saturday during that time of the year.  It was bigger than Glenn Beck's rally is all this crowd cared about - that and having a good time.  The creativity of these individuals I will place against any other rally event on planet earth.

This was my favorite sign.  I have no idea who this guy is, but his sign is brilliant!

This was Tim's favorite sign.

Me and Julie at the rally.

Jon Stewart was selected as the most trusted news person in America - seriously, he was.  That shows just how screwed up our normal "news" channels have become when a comedian is the most trusted person.  He is for good reasons....

7th Street after the rally.

We had to go to Tim's favorite DC restaurant - Ben's Chili Bowl.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Separation of Church and State

The most important amendment, and one of the best things about the United States of America, is the first amendment to the United States Constitution  and is part of the Bill of Rights, which is the separation of church and state:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Lately, we have all heard a number of complete knuckleheads, that either do not believe there is separation of church and state or misquote Thomas Jefferson, so I thought I would post this and encourage everyone to attend the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Rally For Sanity and Keep Fear Alive Rallies this Saturday.   Below is a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801.

I highlighted the most important part of this letter below.

Mr. President

To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association assurances of my high respect & esteem.

(signed) Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3D Technology on NPR on Tech Tuesday

Yesterday, Kojo Nnamde had a great one hour show on 3D Printing.    The title was:

How 3D Technology Is Changing Product Development

There were a number of very interesting speakers:

Stephen Rouse is the Director of operations and research for 3-D medical applications at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.   John Lee is a 3-D printing specialist with ABC Imaging, a printing business in Washington, D.C.   Scott Summit is an industrial engineer and co-founder of Bespoke Innovations, a firm that designs cutting-edge prosthesis.   Ashlee Vance comes on as well to discuss what he has learned about 3D printing and an article he wrote for the New York Times. Check out the links above (underlined text) to see some very cool examples of additive technology.

 One of the questions that comes up quite a bit with manufacturing is, "how do you make manufacturing cool?"     Without question, there is nothing cooler than 3D printers or additive technology.   Below is from a blog entry on the Emerging Technology Center at IMTS 2010 showing a product that was printed one layer at a time with a 3D printer or additive technology.

Don't just look at the photo below and think this is the ultimate example of 3D printing - far from it - go to the links in the first paragraph for cool examples at the individual sites listed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meeting Local Motors Jay Rogers in Miami

Last week in Miami there was a very successful Global Forecasting and Marketing Conference, AMT's Annual Meeting and the Board of Directors Meeting.

The highlight for me was listening to and having a chance to spend some time with the founder and CEO/President of Local Motors - John "Jay' Rogers.   This is fascinating to me because it is a car company based on the principles of open source software.

As Popular Science stated:  

"The company was co-founded in 2007 by former Marine and Harvard Business School graduate Jay Rogers on the notion of combining the crowd-sourcing and DIY movements with staid auto manufacturing. Amateurs and professionals submit designs to Local Motors’s Web site, and users vote on the winners in a monthly contest. If, among other factors, a vehicle generates enough buzz that the company thinks it could sell at least 500 of them, the engineers fine-tune the design to make it feasible. Then Local Motors sets up a micro-factory—think automotive plant meets semi-pro DIY garage—where buyers build the car themselves under guidance from the company’s instructors for an estimated $50,000. “We’re not trying to make cars for soccer moms,” Rogers says. “We’re trying to make cars for people who are really deeply interested in automotives. Local Motors can bring these low-volume, highly desirable vehicles to market.”
As Wired Magazine stated:
"In June, Local Motors will officially release the Rally Fighter, a $50,000 off-road (but street-legal) racer. The design was crowdsourced, as was the selection of mostly off-the-shelf components, and the final assembly will be done by the customers themselves in local assembly centers as part of a “build experience.” Several more designs are in the pipeline, and the company says it can take a new vehicle from sketch to market in 18 months, about the time it takes Detroit to change the specs on some door trim. Each design is released under a share-friendly Creative Commons license, and customers are encouraged to enhance the designs and produce their own components that they can sell to their peers."

This is definitely a company to watch and Jay Rogers is a real thought leader.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Homeless Veterans on 60 Minutes Tonight

Watching this 60 Minutes episode on homeless Veterans was heart wrenching.  Some of our politicians give a lot hollow rhetoric when it comes to taking care our Veterans.  There are of course exceptions.  For example, I know for a fact that Senator Webb is a leader who deeply cares about our veterans.  He recently reached out to my father to thank him for his service to our country and encourage him in his current fight with cancer.

60 minutes reported that there are 9,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets that are homeless.  That is incredible.  

It was stated that the primary reason for homelessness for our Vets is that we are asking our young soldiers are being redeployed 2, 3, 4, 5 and more times and the combat stress is incredible.  There are 250,000 troops who have asked for mental help.  Imagine that numbers who do not ask for help.  IEDs are causing untold problems as well.

The episode is in San Diego at Camp Stand Down which is where these homeless Veterans meet to find out if they can get help.  Only 20% were able to receive help.

I would strongly encourage everyone to watch this.

If we can not take care of these vets, then why in the hell are we nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot Died Yesterday

Steve Fritzinger passed this on to me that Benoit Mandelbrot died yesterday.

At Sun Microsystems, we used to have a fractal program that allowed you to turn on the number of processors in the system or to farm the calculations out to systems on the network that had a fractal daemon waiting to receive data and then return the answer.   It was the classic parallel program.

Seagull Century 2010 and Long Weekend in Ocean City, MD

The photo on top is me and just above is Jeff Stone.  Last Saturday was absolutely perfect weather for the Seagull Century 76 degrees and not a cloud in the sky as you can see.  These photos are on Assateague Island looking back at Ocean City, MD in the distance.  The water temperature was 69 degrees as well.

After finishing 100 miles

Above is me, Tim and his friend Thomas.  Tim is holding his MONSTER flounder that he caught in Ocean City, Maryland a year earlier in July of 2009.  It was SO BIG, that the Captain called Coastal Fisherman and they sent out a reporter to take Tim's picture.
Tim is on page 49 of the Coastal Fisherman.  See below:


Above is Tim by himself.

Above is Thomas Jones and my son Tim in a brand new Corvette Grand Sport 436hp convertible at the GM performance tent at OC, MD.  It was cruisers weekend, so we always go check out the cool cars.

You can not come to Ocean City without standing in line to buy Thrasher's fries...

The 638hp Corvette ZR1 super charged engine.

Cyber Metallic Gray - my next Corvette.

LS Controller Kit for Corvettes and other Chevrolets

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10.10.10 Binary Day and The Answer to Life Day

My wife's cousin, George Smith, put a number of interesting facts on his facebook page today  regarding 10.10.10   As George points out, when you look at 101010 as the binary representation of decimal 42, then it gets to be a really interesting day:
As Wikipedia also points out about 42 decimal:
  • Given 27 same-size cubes whose nominal values progress from 1 to 27, a 3×3×3 magic cube can be constructed such that every row, column, and corridor, and every diagonal passing through the center, comprises 3 cubes whose sum of values is 42.
  • Forty-two is a pronic number and an abundant number; its prime factorization 2 · 3 · 7 makes it the second sphenic number and also the second of the form { 2 · 3 · r }. As with all sphenic numbers of this form, the aliquot sum is abundant by 12. 42 is also the second sphenic number to be bracketed by twin primes; 30 is also a pronic number and also rests between two primes. 42 has a 14 member aliquot sequence 42, 54, 66, 78, 90, 144, 259, 45, 33, 15, 9, 4, 3, 1, 0 and is itself part of the aliquot sequence commencing with the first sphenic number 30. Further, 42 is the 10th member of the 3-aliquot tree.
  • It is a Catalan number. Consequently; 42 is the number of noncrossing partitions of a set of five elements, the number of triangulations of a heptagon, the number of rooted ordered binary trees with six leaves, the number of ways in which five pairs of nested parentheses can be arranged, etc.
  • Since the greatest prime factor of 422 + 1 = 1765 is 353 and thus more than 42 twice, 42 is a Størmer number.
  • The eight digits of pi beginning from 242,422 places after the decimal point are 42424242.
  • 42 is the expected number of throws of a (single) fair die until two sixes show up successively (for the first time).

In technology

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ten Years Ago Today Purchased My Corvette

Ten years ago today, my wife Julie and I came back on a red-eye from Hawaii.  After lunch that day, Julie asked me to run up to Walmart to pick up some school supplies for the boys.  On the way to Walmart I decided to stop by Carmax.  I walked into Carmax and saw a black C5 (5th generation Corvette) Corvette coupe, looked inside and it was an automatic.  As I was walking away the salesman said, "we have three more just like it in the lot."   I then said, "oh, you have three more Corvettes in the lot?"   He then said, "no, we have three more black C5 coupes."   That really got my attention because that was the exact type of Corvette that I was looking for during the past year.  I also thought, "this is a sign from Jesus/Allah/Buddah that I should go check these out." 

We walk out to the lot and the second and third C5s did not have the options I wanted.  The fourth black C5 coupe had every option I wanted and more.  I took it out for a drive and then asked the salesman how it works when you buy a car from Carmax?  The salesman said that when you buy it, you have three days to return it.   I then said, "let's do it."   From when I uttered those words it was less than a 1/2 an hour when I was driving off with my new Corvette.  It was the exact type of experience that you want to have when you buy a car. 

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I drive home in my 1998 black Corvette coupe.  When I pull up in the driveway, Julie is outside with the boys.   Julie asked, "did you just buy a Corvette."   I then say, "no, I am just test driving it."  Julie then says, "don't give me that crap, you have metal tags on the car and their is no salesman with you."   I then say, "wait, a second, now that I think about it,  yes I guess I did buy it."  We both laughed and my sons that it was pretty cool.

I called Steve Ferry who is a Corvette expert and he came out to the house with his son Matt.  Steve checked it out and gave me his approval.  He then suggested that I take it up to Tony's Corvette Shop.  I called Tony first thing Monday and brought it up there on Tuesday.  Tony gave it his approval as well after spending a couple of hours going through it carefully.  It has been a great car.  

About five years ago I had Tony take it from 345 hp to 430 hp by adding a Honker Callaway airbox, ceramic coated long tube headers, x-pipe, RandomTech replacement catalytic converter replacement, Corsa Pace Car exhaust, a thicker replacement under panel to keep heat out of the cabin and miscellaneous other upgrades.

It puts a smile on my face every time I start the engine.  This is a daily driver unless the weather is crap.  As I tell people, if I come out and get in a Nissan Quest versus a Corvette, I had better have my head examined.  Driving a Corvette is fun. Waxing and polishing a Corvette is not....

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Social Network - Facebook movie

I almost hate to admit this, but I really liked the movie The Social Network, from both the geek and the movie standpoints.  My wife saw it this weekend and really liked it as well.  I should state (no offense here) that my wife is not a geek :-)

This is one of these rare movies that a geek can take their non_geek_significant_other (NGSO :-) to and both can have a good time.   It also further validates the theory that you should go to Harvard and then drop out to start your own company if you want to be filthy rich in life.  My favorite line in the whole movie was when Mark Zuckerberg was standing outside with some other Harvard students after a guest lecturer had just given a talk:

     Student outside of just finished lecture:   "Hey, I arrived late to this but when that guy was speaking about the next Bill Gates, it seemed like he was looking at you Mark.  By the way, who was that guy?"

Mark Zuckerberg replied as he was walking away from that group, "That guy was Bill Gates"  :-)

There is an interesting article on that exchange here.

MaaS Manufacturing as a Service

Since every thing these days in the computer industry, it seems, is [A-Z]aaS (Something as a Service) today, the most logical question is where does manufacturing fit in? MTConnect is driving these conversations. First, let's be clear and not furthe confuse folks about MTConnect and cloud computing. MTConnect is a protocol that is an open and royalty free mechanism for manufacturing technology equipment to easily speak to the rest of the world. MTConnect runs in the manufacturing plants and shops. Cloud computing involves farms of thousand and thousands of servers that reside in places like Amazon, Google, Rackspace and countless other locations that allow companies to pay for what computing and storage they need when they need it.

MTConnect is typically a stepping stone or logical gateway to cloud computing. For example, the first question that plant/shop owners typically ask themselves after they start seeing the benefits of MTConnect is “how do I start to tie all of my other enterprise systems together in a secure and scalable manner?” My answer is to first find a top notch integrator and to make sure you investigate the benefits of cloud computing. In my opinion, Manufacturing as a Service (Maas) MaaS is really what these owners are looking for. MaaS should have the three major elements of cloud computing as part of it which are typically represented by:
Please note that MaaS is not a term I thought up or coined. As far as I can tell MaaS was first discussed here in October of 2007. I do however believe that a more descriptive definition is in order for MaaS.
Like any topic, it is important to understand how MaaS came to life. When I first suggested MTConnect at the 2006 AMT Annual Members Meeting in Lake Las Vegas with Dave Patterson of UCB, the most common question I received from Sun Microsystems management was:

Dave, why are you spending time helping machine tool vendors create a new open and royalty free standard - where is the payoff for Sun?"

Sun was a fantastic company to work for and management was extremely open in their thinking (which is why I hung around for 23 years :-) My response was:

"When all of these machine tools start spitting out data, there is no way in the world that manufacturing shops/plants are going to want to take on the burden/cost of building up their data centers to take the next logical set of steps. Initially, every single company and machine tool vendor will be obsessed with monitoring. They will quickly realize that the REAL win with MTConnect is not the new ease of use in monitoring, but it is taking the data for further integration and analytics. The only answer at that point will be to do it in the cloud. The real money will be in total integration in manufacturing with all the existing software plans/shops current have. There is no one better at network computing and integration than Sun Microsystems."

At that point, every single Sun Executive I explained this to would be knowingly nodding their heads.

This was my vision from day one with MTConnect in 2006 - MaaS - Manufacturing as a Service.

MaaS is the implementation of SaaS, PaaS or IaaS specifically in the manufacturing domain. I further spell out specifics on MaaS in future IMTS Insider articles and blog posts.