Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Muppets Attack Fox News

This is brilliant....

NYC's Academy for Software Engineering

SD Times has a very interesting article on what NYC is doing with an Academy for Software Engineering:

"Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the Department of Education will accept 100 students into the new Academy for Software Engineering, opening on the campus of Washington Irving High School in Manhattan’s Union Square."

 This will be very interesting to follow.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MTConnect at AMT's Manufacturing Technology Forum

AMT Manufacturing Technology Forum

Tech Forum 12_banner _px 490

Below is the announcement for this great event:

Mr. Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of the of the MTConnect Institute will be providing a presentation at the AMT Manufacturing Technology Forum to be held March 7-8, 2012, in Orlando, Florida.  This forum brings together manufactures to discuss new and innovative trends and technologies in manufacturing.

The Forum is held every other year and this year the theme is "Exploring the Forefront of Industry Innovations".  The keynote for the event is Dr. Don A. Kinard. He is a Senior Technical Fellow for Lockheed Martin and Deputy Director for the F-35 Fighter Production System. His presentation is entitled "Innovative Technologies, Manufacturing and How the F-35 is Made". If you are interested in reviewing the full agenda:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Washington DC Auto Show With Slim

Yesterday, I went with my father to attend the 2012 Washington DC Auto Show.  Below is my father with the 100 Year Anniversary edition of the 638hp ZR1

Above is me in front of a Lamborghini Aventador.  A 700hp rocket, 217mph 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds.

Above is the Ford Boss Mustang

 F1 is above.

 1962 Fiat

 The Fiat 500 Abarth (above)  has been getting lots of press.

Audio R8 Spyder

Above is my father with the founder of Freedom Behind The Wheel which is a great organization that is helping wounded warriors drive with hands only controls.  This is from their homepage:  "Freedom Behind the Wheel is a nonprofit organization developing a unique program to provide wounded soldiers the experience of participating in precision driving activities. In a controlled environment with the support of professional drivers, our goal is to present an opportunity allowing them to regain their freedom behind the wheel. Our approach will offer personal resourcefulness to respect and honor those that have sacrificed so much for our Country."
 Shelby GT 350 above

Lotus Evora above

The Super Bee is back :-)   Below is a modified Mustang Shelby

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Year Anniversary of Scott McNealy's Goodbye email

 Two years have gone by and in some ways it seems like an eternity and other ways it seems like it was yesterday....
Subject: Thanks for a great 28 years
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010
From: Scott McNealy
To: all@Sun.com
When I interviewed many of you for employment at Sun over the years, one commitment often made was that things will change above, below, and around you faster than any place you have ever been. Looks like this was one area we exceeded plan for 28 years. While it was never the primary vision to be acquired by Oracle, it was always an interesting option. And this huge event is upon us now. Let's all embrace it with all of the enthusiasm and class and talent that we have to offer.

This combination has the potential to put Sun, its people, and its technology at the center of yet another industry and game-changing inflection point. The opportunity is well-documented and articulated by Larry and the Oracle folks. Not much I can add on this score. This is a very powerful merger. And way better than some of the alternatives we were facing.

So what do I say to all of you, now this is happening?
It turns out that one simple message to the large and diverse Sun community is actually quite hard to craft. Even for a big mouth who is always ready with a clever quip. The community includes our resellers and customers, our current and former employees, their friends and families who supported our employees on their mission to change the industry, our investors, our supply and service partners, students and educators, and even our competitors with whom we often collaborated.
But let me try. Though nothing I could write comes close to matching the unbelievably strong and positive emotions I have for you all. See, I never was able to master dispassion. I truly loved starting, running, and living Sun. And the last four years have not been without serious withdrawal. And the EU approval rocked me more than it should have.
So, to be honest, this is not a note this founder wants to write. Sun, in my mind, should have been the great and surviving consolidator. But I love the market economy and capitalism more than I love my company.
And I sure "hope" America regains its love affair with capitalism. And except for the auto industry, financial industry, health care, and some other places (I digress), the invisible hand is doing its thing quite efficiently. So I am more than willing to accept this outcome.
And my hat is off to one of the greatest capitalists I have ever met, Larry Ellison. He will do well with the assets that Sun brings to Oracle.
What we did right and wrong at Sun over the years might make for interesting reading. However, I am not a book writer. I am a husband, father of four, and a builder and leader of people who want to make a difference.

But spare me a bit of nostalgia. Not of the mistakes we made, and lord knows I made a ton. But of the things we did right and well.
First and foremost, Sun innovated like crazy. We took it to the limit (see Eagles). And though we did not monetize our inventions as well as we could have, few companies have the track record in R&D that we had over the last 28 years. This made working at Sun really cool. Thanks to all of you inventors and risk takers who changed how we live.

Sun cared about its customers. Even more than we cared about our own company at times. We looked at our customer's mission as more important than ours. Maybe we should have asked for more revenue in return, but our employees were always ready to help first. I love this about Sun, which I guess makes me a good capitalist, if not a great capitalist.

Sun did not cheat, lie, or break the rule of law or decency. While we enjoyed breaking the rules of conventional wisdom and archaic business practice, and for sure loved to win in the market, we did so with a solid reputation for integrity. Nearly three decades of competing without a notable incident of our folks going off course morally or legally. Not all executives and big companies are bad. Really. There are good companies out there. Special thanks to all of my employees for this. I never had to hide the newspaper in shame from my children.
Sun was a financial success. We paid billions in taxes, salaries, purchases, leases, training, and even lawyers and accountants for devastatingly cumbersome SOX and legal compliance (oops, more classic digression). Long-term and smart investors made billions in SUNW. And our customers generated revenue and savings using our equipment in countless ways. Many employees started families, bought homes, and put them through school while working at Sun. Our revenues over 28 years exceeded $200B. Few companies make it to the F200. We did. Nice.

Sun employees had way more fun than any other company. By far. From our dress code ("You must!") to beer busts to our April Fools' pranks to SunRise to our quiet enjoyment at night of a long, hard, well-done day of work, no company enjoyed "work" more than Sun. Thanks to all of our employees past and present for making Sun such a blast.

I could go on for a long time reminiscing about the good and great stuff we did at Sun, but just allow me one last one. We shared. Not the greatest attribute for a capitalist. But one I could not change and was not willing to change about Sun while I was in charge. We shared in the success of Sun with our resellers. With our employees through stock options, SunShare, beer busts, and the like (for as long as Congress would allow) and through our efforts to keep as many of them on board for as long as possible during the inevitable down cycles. With our partners through the Java Community Process, through our open-source collaborations, and licensing strategies. With our customers through our commitments to low barriers to exit. Sun was never just about us. It was about we. And that may be a bit of the reason we are where we are today.

But I have few regrets (see Sinatra's "My Way") and will always look back at Sun and its gang with only pride. Enormous pride. You are the best this industry ever had, though few outside of Sun recognized it.
And what we are about will live on in Sparc, Solaris, Java, our products, and our spirit. Well past everyone's recollections of what we did together. I will never forget, though.

Oracle is getting a crown jewel of the technology industry. They will do great things with Sun. Do your best to support them, and keep the Sun spirit alive and well in the industry. Our children will be better for it.
Thanks for the off-the-charts support to everyone who ever carried a Sun badge, used our products, or helped our company through the years.

And thanks to my wonderful wife, Susan, who gave this desperado (see Eagles) a chance to choose the Queen of Hearts before it was too late.
Someday, hopefully, you will all get to see or meet her and my other life's works named Maverick, Dakota, Colt, and Scout. If you do, perhaps you will understand why I stepped back from the CEO role four years ago. And why I feel like the luckiest guy in the whole world.

My best to all of you, and remember:
Kick butt and have fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making 3D Custom, Solid Robots Video

Steve Fritzinger sent this to me.    It is very cool video from My Robot Nation showing all the steps of additive technology in creating small, solid custom robots using 3D printers using Z Corporations (recently acquired by 3D Systems):

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

President Obama Is Right on SOPA & PIPA

The White House issued a statement this past weekend stating "we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet".  President Obama is right and congress is wrong on this.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are examples of Congress and the Senate trying to do the right thing but not understanding either the law of unintended consequences or the fundamentals of technology.

SOPA and PIPA is analogous to is having a surgeon show up for brain surgery with a chainsaw instead of a scalpel.   The bottom line is that one small infraction of copyright violation would be enough to block out the entire domain (all of the nodes at a given site).

Below is Google's and Wikipedia's homepage today.  Go here to SPEAK up to your representative at Google's End Piracy, Not Liberty page.

Top 12 Resolutions IMTS 2012 Can Help You Keep

Below is the link to a video that has the:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Citizens For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are the most brilliant satirists of our time.  This video below clearly demonstrates just how much the Citizens United Supreme Court Ruling will change politics for the worse with Super PACs. 

It is interesting to read the disclaimer at the bottom of  Citizens For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC site.  I highlighted the unlimited contribution aspect of this.

"Contributions to Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow ("ABTT") are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. ABTT may accept unlimited corporate contributions, unlimited individual contributions, unlimited labor-union contributions, and unlimited PAC contributions. Contributions from foreign nationals and federal-government contractors will not be accepted. *Federal law requires ABTT's best efforts to obtain and report the name, address, occupation, and employer of any individual who contributes more than $200 in a calendar year." 

I do look forward to what Citizens For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow Super PAC also known as The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC will be coming up with as we get closer to the election :-)   You can donate to Stephen's cause here:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gardner Publications Announces Additive Manufacturing Publication

Our good friends at Gardner Publications, recently announced their new Additive Manufacturing publication.  This is very cool!

 I was at a Sun Microsystems reunion a few weeks ago ( I worked there for 23 years) and the most popular question I got was, "Dave, is this stuff I am seeing on 3D printing and additive REAL?"  There is so much excitement out there right now around additive it is just amazing.  The open source aspect of additive is particularly exciting and reminds me of the early computer industry when PCs started to take off.  Additive will open up manufacturing to the masses.   

It is great news that the industry thought leaders at Gardner Publications are doing this.  I know it will be absolutely first class!  

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Mythical Man-Month Revisited

The Mythical Man-Month

Jan 11, 2012
By Dave Edstrom
NOTE: This is an article I wrote for the January 2012 IMTS Insider.

In all industries there are seminal books that are in the must-read category as someone is learning their trade. In manufacturing, one of these must-read books is The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldblatt and Jeff Cox.

In the computer industry, there are numerous must-read books and certainly Frederick P. Brooks The Mythical Man-Month, written in 1975, is in that category.

Personally, I prefer the updated version of Brooks’ book as it sheds more light on the topics and he updates his thoughts toward the end of the updated version. My favorite computer book that deals with the challenges of getting a product out the door is the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Tracy Kidder called The Soul of a New Machine.

The lessons from Brooks’ The Mythical Man-Month can also be applied to manufacturing. This is especially true as software becomes more important in manufacturing each and every day. I’d like to discuss “Brooks’ Law,” which is the focus of his book, but the point he brings out is implicit in the other two books as well.

When management makes the decision to throw more people at a software project that is running late, they do so under the firm belief that adding more people is the right and obvious decision to make at that point. The problem is that it is usually the wrong decision. “Brooks’ Law” states “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” At first glance, this may seem counterintuitive. The reasons Brooks’ Law is usually right are multiple. I use the term “usually” here because there are exceptions to Brooks' Law. The reasons Brooks’ Law usually holds up are when you bring new software developers onto a project, there are a number of tasks that simply must be done. These include:
  • Bringing new developers up to speed on the project. This typically involves current software developers and project leads investing time with these new developers.
  • There might be training for the new developers because the software tools or practices the project is utilizing are different than what they have previously worked on.
  • The remaining work must be prioritized so the experienced developers are taking on the most difficult parts of the project.
  • There is also dividing the work among the existing and new software developers — often a daunting task.  
  • This partitioning of work can be extremely difficult if the initial architecture was not cleanly laid out separating out interfaces from implementations.  
What I mean by an “interface” is how one communicates with a piece of software. This is typically at a high level. For example, let’s say I want to verify that when a prototype part is being created on a specific machine tool, it is being created by one of our very best machinists. I also want to make sure that these machinists are using a cutting tool that meets certain quality requirements my company has determined will be used by for all prototype parts. What is the software interface that I program my client application to in order to make this happen?  Side note - this is where an open and royalty-free protocol such as MTConnect® provides simple interfaces to get information.

The “implementation” is the low-level set of specifics on what happens when that above request is serviced.

Here’s another way to think about the interface and implementation definition in layman’s terms. The interface for me to get the yard mowed on a Saturday is to yell at one of my three sons, “Get the yard mowed tonight before it gets dark.” If I do not hear anything from them in 14.896 femtoseconds, I then yell, “Are we clear?” If I hear a positive response, then I consider the task done.

The implementation is my son going out to the shed, checking gas in the John Deere tractor and the Honda push mower, then deciding whether they want to mow the front or back yard first and finally getting the yard mowed. I don’t care HOW they mow the yard; just get the yard mowed before it gets dark. If time was tight, I could ask John to mow the back, Michael to mow the front and have Tim trim. However, if I needed my ½ acre mowed in less than three minutes, the partitioning and coordination to make this happen would be an interesting exercise. This partitioning can be easy to do when it comes to a simple task such as mowing the yard when you can simply yell at one of your sons to get it done, but it is very hard for a software project that could require hundreds of thousands of lines (or more) of code to be written.

It also can be a challenge integrating the new software developers into the existing communication framework.  

Brooks also states in his book, “the man-month as a unit for measuring the size of a job is a dangerous and deceptive myth – it implies that men and months are interchangeable.” It is well known that your gifted software developers can literally be 10x as productive as other software developers. This makes the dividing up of work even trickier.

A humorous statement that Brooks would make to drive home this point is, “The bearing of a child takes 9 months, no matter how many women are assigned.” This does drive home the point that some things just take time to make and software is certainly in that category.

Have things changed since 1975 with software development? Absolutely. It used to be that everyone thought software should be developed like a boat going down a gentle waterfall. In other words, one went from planning to coding to component test to system test and finally to deployment in a nice logical fashion. Today all the realists know that software development needs to be agile, lean, a clear partitioning of tasks and most importantly, interactive with the end customers. The type of computer languages have also changed a great deal, enabling more partitioning of tasks. When you think about the time frame of 1975 and computing, it is pretty remarkable to realize that even 37 years later, Brooks’ Law is still true many more times than it is false.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tim Edstrom Dunking 10 Foot Goal Official Basketball

My 17 year old son Tim (youngest of three) is dunking with ease now on ten foot goal with an official basketball.  Tim is now 6'1"    All three of my sons dunked on ten foot goals before their 18th birthday AND all were selected to the National Honor Society, so now my job as a father is finished :-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New System Insights Big Data Blog for Manufacturing

Dr. Athulan Vijayaraghavan, CTO and co-founder of System Insights, dropped me a note informing me of their new blog called Manufacturing Big Data.  

System Insights is the company that Will Sobel and Athulan started specifically to provide MTConnect products and services to the market place.  Systems Insights is going great.  Both Athulan and Will are tremendous thought leaders in the MTConnect community and it is very cool that they are sharing their knowledge with this new blog!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cool NBA Video Released on Christmas Day on TNT

This came out on Christmas Day 2011 and is one of the coolest sports videos I have ever seen: