Monday, December 31, 2012

Redskins Beat Dallas 28-18 to be NFC East Champs!!

I attended the Redskins - Dallas NFC East Championship game last night with my youngest son Tim.  This was the final season game and it was the first time ever that it was a win or go home for the NFC East Championship between the Cowboys and the Redskins.  Tim dressed in classic RG III Redskins jersey and I dressed for warmth :-)    As I told Tim, you will tell your kids someday, "I was AT THE GAME!"  Julie and Tim will be going the Redskins vs. Seahawks Playoff Game on Sunday the 6th of January at 4:30 eastern. 

Above is the outside of FedEx Field before the 8:30pm, 25 degrees with a wind game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

Below is the sign congratulating the skins for winning the NFC East.   Alfred Morris ran smash mouth football and ran over the Cowboys for 200 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries — all career highs for Big Al!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Great Manufacturing Book - Overall Equipment Effectiveness by Robert C. Hansen

I read a great manufacturing book over the holiday break:

Overall Equipment Effectiveness 

A powerful Production/Maintenance Tool 

for Increased Profits

by Robert C. Hansen

Thanks to John Ratray and Dave McPhail of Memex, I received a signed copy of Bob Hansen's fantastic book on OEE.  Memex have been tremendous supporters of MTConnect and we can not thank Dave, John and the whole Memex team enough for their support.

I first met Bob at IMTS 2012 and was very impressed.  We are very fortunate that Bob is giving a talk at [MC]2 2013 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference.

Bob's book is rich with specific examples, as well as detailed discussions and formulas on how to quantify a plant's efficiency and effectiveness.

In the beginning Bob lays out the big picture:

"World-class manufacturing areas share two common characteristics.  They are data driven and they are led by synergistic multi-function leadership teams.  Accurately measuring and driving key success parameters contributes to higher productivity for both the area and the plant.  A method called Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) can help you better understand how well a manufacturing area is performing, and identify what is limiting higher effectiveness."
I highlighted data driven and accurately measuring because that is exactly where MTConnect comes into play.

Bob writes:
"Measurement is a significant part of factory life.  Nearly every job involves measures and controls, if for no other reason that to evaluate good and bad product and work."
In another section of Bob's fantastic book he writes:
"Two of the most important steps in promoting RAM (Reliability Availability Maintainability) are collecting and analyzing data."
 This review can not do justice for how good this book really is.  I like how Bob wraps up his book in Chapter 10 discussing "The Success Riddle".
"Having good tools is one thing.  Being able to apply the right tool at the right time in the right place is another.  The success riddle is unique for each factory, as no two factories are alike."
This book is a must purchase for anyone in manufacturing!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great Example of Mazak's MTConnect Leadership

I was thrilled to hear that Mazak is having a conference called: “MTConnect: Downstream Applications to Increase Productivity and Competitiveness” and led by Neil Desrosiers.  Neil is the,Mazak applications engineer/developer and a real thought leader in manufacturing and in the MTConnect community, plus he is just a great guy.  The announcement lists the following points as the main agenda for the Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. ET webinar:
• How MTConnect exists to set the standard communication method for retrieving data from manufacturing equipment,
• How MTConnect works and what capabilities can be gained via the protocol,
• How Mazak makes it easy to implement the MTConnect standard,
• What an MTConnect-enabled facility looks like,
• Upcoming MTConnect advancements, including dynamic scheduling.
The site also states   "All it takes to participate is a computer, an Internet connection and a web browser. Registration for the webinar is now open at"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

iPhone 5 versus Samsung Galaxy SIII - Why I Went With iPhone

Tim, my youngest son, both upgraded to the new iPhone 5 this past Saturday.  Tim went with the 32GB and I went with the 64GB. 

I hesitated going to the iPhone 5 because of the great things I read about the Samsung Galaxy SIII and Android being an open platform.  I also hesitated because of Mike Briggs post on, "8 Reasons Why I Hate My iPhone 5".   Having tremendous amount of respect for Mike, this caused me great pause.  I spoke to many individuals who switched from the iPhone to  Samsung Galaxy SIII .   Then Mike wrote a follow up post, titled "8 Reasons Why I Love My iPhone 5".  At first, I thought this was going to be a tongue-in-cheek type of post, but Mike has changed his point of view with some great points.

What really caused me to go to an iPhone 5 was all the benchmarks of the iPhone 5 versus the Samsung Galaxy SIII.   In every single benchmark the iPhone 5 was faster.  This is important to me as I tend to quickly check things on my iPhone and do not need the bigger screen that the Samsung has.   Having 130 iPhone apps was less of an issue, but not a non concern.

I have had it five days now and I am very impressed.  The quality is tremendous.  The battery life is very impressive.  Google put their maps back on iTunes which is a great thing.  Siri is better than I thought if you stick with the basics.  The best quote on the iPhone 5 was Tim the other night, "this is almost too fast" he said half jokingly.

Moving from an iPhone 4 running 6.0.1 to an iPhone 5 running 6.0.1 was painless.  I do encrypt my backups so that I do not have to re-enter any login/password information after I upgrade.  I nearly did a big FUBAR when I encrypted my iPhone backup (a different password than your phone of course) and nearly forgot which of my 8 "standard" haystacked passwords that I used.  That would have been a big D'OH, but I got it on my third attempt.  I was almost at capacity with my 32GB iPhone 4, so the total process was a few hours, but there were no problems.  

I picked up a nice bumper as well the Photive Hybrid iPhone 5 Bumper Case - Black. Designed for The New iPhone 5. Updated Lightning Port Cutout for $9.95.

Most interesting to me is the speed difference between LTE and WiFi as illustrated below:

 I run the full WPA-2 security here at home and that accounts for some of the slow speed.  I never thought in 2012 I would just turn off WiFi because it was slower on my phone.

I sold my iPhone 4s on Gazelle for $149.  I should have sold them last week when they were paying $165.   The sales almost paid for my iPhone 5 which was nice.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The MTConnect Challenge!!!

There is no better supporter of MTConnect than Ralph Resnick.  Ralph is the President of National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and on the MTConnect Board of Directors.  NCDMM has been a tremendous partner of MTConnect.  Ralph is a true thought leader and just a great guy as well.  I am extremely lucky to be able to be able to seek Ralph's advice on a number of topics.  I can not thank Ralph enough for everything that he does for not only MTConnect but manufacturing!

This MTConnect Challenge really proves how far MTConnect has come since 2007!

Below are some snippets from the NCDMM homepage discussing the MTConnect Challenge.

The MTConnect® Challenge is comprised of two main goals:
  1. To engage and stimulate a broader base of software and system architects to develop advanced enterprise, facility, and machine control applications based on, and extensions to, the MTConnect® standard to enable a more efficient and competitive domestic manufacturing infrastructure for the defense enterprise; and
  1. To create valuable tools and applications that can be easily adopted by manufacturing enterprises, especially the lower tier producers, to enhance their manufacturing capabilities and support Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain management goals.

The expectation is that the interoperability afforded by MTConnect® will enable a host of third-party solution providers to develop software and hardware products to make the entire manufacturing enterprise more productive. Although a limited number of applications utilizing MTConnect® have emerged, a comprehensive and wide spread initiative would go a long way in socializing and formalizing the potential impact of the MTConnect® standard on an extended manufacturing enterprise.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

CTMA, MTCTAG and CCAT Presentations in Connecticut

A week ago I was in Hartford, Connecticut giving a number of presentations.

 Above is the title slide for the MTConnect presentation I gave at the Connecticut Tooling & Machining Association (CTMA) on December 4th.

On December 5th and 6th we had and MTConnect Technical Advisory Group (MTCTAG) Meetings at the Connecticut Science Center which was extremely nice.  We had great conversations and many of us ended up at Steam City Brewing after the meetings :-)

On Friday the 7th, I gave a presentation on MTConnect at the Connecticut Center for Advance Technology (CCAT).  Special thanks to Tom Scotton of CCAT, Director of Modeling & Simulation Laboratory, for being a FANTASTIC host for both the MTCAG and the CCAT MTConnect event!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Contest for the Best MTInsight Ideas!

MTInsight is having a contest for the next great idea!  Below is a graphic and a snippet from the contest page.  Please click on the graphics below to learn more!

Got a great idea for an MTApp on MTInsight?

It could be worth $5,000

Access to specific, relevant data is what can drive your business ahead of the competition. The goal of MTInsight is to offer you good data in a format that is easily digestible so you can use it to make decisions for your business. Now you have the opportunity to help develop the next great MTApp.

MTInsight is holding a contest to find the best ideas for new apps. As an added incentive, we've got some great cash prizes for our top three winners:

  • 1st place winner: $5,000
  • 2nd place winner: $3,000
  • 3rd place winner: $2,000 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just The Facts, Ma'am

Dec 12, 2012
When the 2012 election is reviewed from a statistical standpoint, it will be recognized as the year Nate Silver beat Karl Rove. First, for those who worry that this is a political rant, I have voted Republican, Democrat and Independent in presidential elections since 1980. This is about the importance of data and not about politics.
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. Nate Silver is very famous as an innovative and brilliant statistician in baseball and poll predictions. Karl Rove needs no introduction. I met Karl Rove once on a flight from Colorado Springs to Washington, D.C. I could not have been more impressed with how smart and how nice he was.
If you were like me on election night, you flipped around from one channel to another to see what was being said. I like the statistical nature of the Electoral College predictions. All of the channels seemed to be basically in sync in terms of predicting states. If you happened to see what state go for a particular party, you could turn to a different station and likely see another station call it in a sway fashion. If you were watching Fox News like I happened to be at the time, you witnessed an interesting situation of Karl Rove questioning the number crunchers at Fox News assessment that president Obama had won Ohio. Mr. Rove said it was “early” and “premature” for Fox News to call Ohio for Obama. The anchor, Megyn Kelly, walked down to the experts and they calmly and rationally explained their math. These experts then were brought back to the set and explained the rational directly to Karl Rove. What came through was the importance of taking emotion out of data analysis.
Just in case you have never heard of Nate Silver, he first became famous as a statistician who used data and metrics to predict how baseball players and teams would perform in the future. In 2008, his FiveThirtyEight blog correctly predicted the way that 49 of 50 states would vote for president, and in 2012 he went 50 for 50. What is fascinating about Nate Silver is that he comes across as a very calm, smart statistician who takes the many polls that are out there and makes extremely accurate predictions. There is no emotion and it reminds me of the line from the classic show Dragnet: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Many articles have been written since the election where the basic theme was, “is punditry dead and has data analysis taken its place?” I will show my bias here in that I prefer data geeks to pundits of any party.
This is where I think of both MTInsight and MTConnect. Both MTInsight and MTConnect are all about providing “just the facts.” MTConnect is the open and royalty-free standard that provides “just the facts” coming from manufacturing equipment. This data typically ends up in shop floor monitoring dashboards first with integration into manufacturing systems the next logical step. MTInsight is the business intelligence tool that is a must-have to succeed in today's manufacturing world. MTInsight is entirely cloud-based and provides information on markets, benchmarking surveys, industry forecasts, your competitors, customers and supply chain. MTInsight provides the facts in a variety of formats to help manufacturing companies understand where they need to invest today and in the future.
What would Nate Silver think about MTInsight? I believe, if Nate Silver was in the manufacturing sector, he would be a subscriber to MTInsight. A statistician, who wants to understand data and not base decisions on emotion, would find MTInsight is critical to manufacturing success.
You can learn more about MTInsight at For questions, pricing, or to schedule a live demonstration, contact Mark Kennedy ( or 703-827-5220) or Kim Brown ( or 703-827-5223) to learn how you can improve your business with manufacturing business intelligence.
If the 2012 elections were the tipping point for data over pundits, then I believe 2013 will be the year where manufacturing business intelligence will reach a tipping point. All too often we hear why a manufacturing shop or plant does things a certain way and it is typically a statement such as, “that’s how dad and grandpa did it.” Think about the questions that Nate Silver might ask if he showed up at your plant, shop or company and wanted to improve productivity. What would Nate Silver want to know first? He would want the truth, no emotion and “just the facts.”

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dave McPhail, President and CEO of Memex Automation, Discusses MTInsight

Dave McPhail, President and CEO of Memex Automation, is a great guy, a real thought leader and a tremendous contributor to MTConnect.

Dave and I were having a nice dinner in Hartford Connecticut when I asked him about his thoughts on the MTInsight IMTS 2012.

IMTS 2012 is the definition of a killer app as I write about here.

Listen to what Dave says about IMTS 2012 and the ROI it gives.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Always Read The Play List - Worst Concert I Have EVER Been To

Last night I went with a couple of long time friends (Jeff and Dave) (friends since 1975) to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the Patriot Center. I have been a fan of CSN & Y and Neil Young since the early 1970s.  We had dinner at Hard Times and it is always great getting together with Jeff and Dave.


He started at 9pm and played until about 11:20.  He played 12 songs and according to (see below) it certainly appears that is the same order he played last night.

  1. Encore:
  2. Here's the problem.  He only played three of his most popular songs - The Needle and the Damage Done, Cinnamon Girl and Hey Hey, My My.  But, one could argue that these others were providing a different type of concert.  When he played those songs, the crowd went crazy with applause.  Yes, but HERE is the REAL PROBLEM, he turned these non-popular songs into disco (super long) version of the songs that would NOT END!!!!  One song went on for 15 minutes with mindless meandering that made Spinal Tap look like a military band.   People were getting up and walking out of the concert.

    There are lots of Neil Young fanboys out there stating, "well that is why he is BRILLIANT, he does NOT play his popular songs!"   Yeah, REAL freaking brilliant.  You will NEVER see me at another Neil Young concert.