Monday, July 29, 2013

Mazak MTConnect Enables Florence, Kentucky Plant

This is REALLY big news!  This is a great news for Mazak and MTConnect!  

Here are some snippets from the press release.

"In implementing the protocol into the Kentucky operations, Mazak continues its MTConnect leadership and demonstrates its commitment to the protocol as a powerful tool for all manufacturers to improve productivity, machine utilization and efficiency. Mazak has been an ardent supporter of MTConnect since its inception, offering all its machines with MTConnect compatibility. Currently, over 100 Mazak customers are at various stages of MTConnect integration within their own facilities involving approximately 300 machines within a wide range of model types."

“We continue to take a leadership position in propagating the MTConnect open protocol,” said Brian Papke, president of Mazak Corporation. “MTConnect’s value to our customers is in the ability for them to establish extensive and open channels of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices. MTConnect allows software to be universally applied between different types of machine models so that information is readily available for improving machine tool utilization. Using this capability, Mazak is taking another positive step in further increasing the productivity of our North American operations and ensuring the strong competitiveness of our
Kentucky manufacturing.”
 "According to Neil Desrosiers, Mazak’s developer of digital solutions, the full improvement potential resulting from MTConnect at the Kentucky plant will be achieved when the measurement data is collected and full potential machine tool utilization is realized in the factory."

Canadian Industrial Machinery Article - The Internet Comes to Manufacturing

Joe Thompson wrote a great article for Canadian Industrial Machinery that was titled:

The Internet Comes to Manufacturing

The digital age has arrived on the shop floor, increasing process speed, reducing nonproductive time.
Joe starts off the article with, "If data is being collected, then it should be used. And, once again,new technology enables this."

Dave Edstrom

Joe goes on to say, "Imagine anywhere, anytime access to all facets of your manufacturing process."
Edstrom also is the author of MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know, a book that addresses how open-source, royalty-free standards systems can revolutionize the business of manufacturing.

Cloud computing has potential to be game-changing technology in manufacturing for everyone from small shops to extremely large manufacturing plants. The key is understanding the process, asking the right questions, and making wise decisions.

“Cloud computing is important for manufacturing because it allows companies to avoid the countless business and technical issues associated with running their own data centers and save money by paying only for the computing resources when they need it on a pay-as-you-go model,” said Edstrom."

Friday, July 26, 2013

President of Network Appliance's Complacency Kills Article

There is a great article at Forbes titled, Complacency Kills, on how big companies die.  It is written by Tom Mendoza, president of NetApps at Forbes.  Having lots of former Sun Microsystems employees at NetApps, I know for a fact they do truly care about culture and their employees.

Here is a snippet:

"Here’s how to recognize complacency and fight it.

In the 1980′s, Digital Equipment was a powerhouse, seemingly unstoppable. But Digital got complacent. It failed to respond to technological changes—and it was gone in ten years.
In 2000, what would you have bet that Sun Microsystems would still be in business by 2010? It would have been a bad bet. Sun was on top of the world then, but by 2008, its stock had lost 80% of its value and it disappeared the next year. Sun’s sprawling corporate headquarters now houses Facebook.
These and other companies failed for many reasons, but complacency was front and center. Why didn’t they do something about it?"

75 Mile Bike Ride

Yesterday was a picture perfect day for a bike ride that started out 20 miles with my wife Julie and ended up being a 75 mile ride.  Julie and I rode together from Leesburg to Purcelleville and back (20 miles total).  This is all part of prep for the Seagull Century that I ride in every October with long time friend Jeff Stone.

Below was my speedometer.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sun Founder's The Computer History Museum

Today is the SunDC Sun Microsytems Reunion at Coastal Flats.  Here is the video on the Computer History Museum that was the founders of Sun talking about Sun's history.  I was there in the 3rd row.  I asked Bill Joy and John Gage to retell the "Network Is The Computer Story" which I heard both Bill and John tell me on separate occasions when were having dinner together in Aspen and Georgetown repsectively.  It was a great night listening to Andy Bechtolscheim, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and Bill Joy.

In the photo above, I asked Bill Joy to retell the story of how "The Network Is The Computer", which came about at the 1:43:40 mark in the video below:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Great Week in Ocean City, Maryland with the Franklins of Marshall, Wisconsin

Julie and I spent a week in Ocean City, Maryland with Bobbi and Richard Franklin (my cousin) of Marshall, Wisconsin as well as their daughter Tayor and Taylor's friend Kimberly.   Below are some of the highlights.

The first mandatory health stop if to Thrasher for their world famous boardwalk french fries with vinegar - NO KETCHUP as they like to say :-)

Early morning view from out balcony of the three umbrellas and four chairs I set up at 7:30am every morning.

Little blurry, but they showed movies on the beach in front of our condo.

Bobbi Franklin and Julie

Taylor Franklin and her friend Kimberly.

Julie and me at our new favorite restaurant in Ocean City - the Harborside Bar and Grill which are known for their orange crushes.  You have to like any restaurant that has a sign the "bikers can not wear their colors".   They are not talking about your Lance Armstrong Trek jersey either.

Above is the orange crush from the Crabcake Factory which Julie and I ate at twice since it was just one block from our condo on the ocean side.

Richard and I like to compete on everything.  Below is me kicking his butt boogie boarding! :-)

One of the highlights was the 46.2 round trip Ocean City to Rehoboth bike ride that my cousin Richard and I took one day.  We had a 16 to 20mph southerly tailwind, so we flew up there.  Not so easy on the way back.  This was a distance record for Richard.  It was also tough because he broke a spoke and the bike shop in Bethany did not line the rear tire up correctly when they fixed his spoke on the way back, so his brake was rubbing all the way from Bethany to OC and we did not realize this until we got to OC.

Some fireworks on the 4th of July.  We sat out in front of Bobbi and Richard's tennis courts to have a great view on  a perfect night.

Robot Operating System (ROS) and MTConnect Video

This is a great 8 minute video Robot Operating System (ROS) and MTConnect video that demonstrates how two open systems can work together to change everything you know about manufacturing.  This is a game-changer...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

MTConnect Challenge Phase II

This is an excellent video on the MTConnect Challenge 2.

As stated at the site:

"The MTConnect Challenge seeks to engage and stimulate development of a broader base of advanced manufacturing intelligence software applications that acquire data utilizing the MTConnect standard. The intent is to enable a more efficient and competitive domestic manufacturing infrastructure for parts and assemblies for the defense enterprise. Additionally, the objective of this Challenge is to create valuable low cost software tools and applications that can be easily adopted by manufacturing enterprises, especially the mid and lower tier producers which represent a significant portion of the Department of Defense (DoD) supply chain, to enhance their manufacturing capabilities to produce parts and assemblies.

This, the second phase of the Challenge (Challenge 2), is seeking the development of software applications that harness innovation and manufacturing intelligence breakthroughs that could benefit the DoD and their industrial manufacturing supply chain.  Three prizes totaling $225,000 will be awarded to the winning submittals in Challenge 2."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tim Shinbara's "Living in a Cyber-Enabled World" July 2013 IMTS Insider Article

Tim Shinbara, Technical Director at AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, wrote a great article on "Living in a Cyber-Enabled World" for the July 12th, IMTS Insider.

Below is a very interesting point that Tim brings out regarding infrastructure:
"Under Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has the responsibility to develop a voluntary framework – based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices – for reducing cyber risks to critical infrastructure. NIST is holding workshops around the nation to gather industrial input and provide updates to their efforts on the Cyber Security Framework. You can find out more by doing a search for “cyber framework” on the NIST website,"

Manufacturing Passwords

-By:  Dave Edstrom
The title “Manufacturing Passwords” can be thought of as a double entendre. It could discuss passwords in the area of manufacturing, or, alternately, creating passwords themselves. These are actually both important topics.
In the June 2013 edition of IMTS Insider, I wrote about cyber security and manufacturing. Continuing with that theme, this time around we’ll examine the topic of passwords and manufacturing.
As manufacturing becomes more and more interconnected with the outside world, the need for security will increase exponentially. Security can be thought of as an onion with different layers that are needed for protection. The only 100% secure system is one that is not on any network, sitting in an electromagnetically sealed room running on its own power source where no individuals can get to it. Even then, I would be reluctant to bet my last dollar that someone couldn’t figure out a way to break in. Unless that system was a black box with a fixed function, it would likely not be a very useful system. Being on a network and accepting risk is part of doing business today.
One of the simplest areas to protect is having a good password system in place for all users and services. When you type your password, you are going through an authentication process. By entering your login name and password, the system authenticates you and lets you in. We are all familiar with the requirement that some sites have for strong passwords. While we think it can be an inconvenience, this is really for our protection — it makes it more difficult to break into that password. The two most important aspects of strong passwords are the length as well as the types of characters, numbers, and special symbols used.
A strong password for a user would be something along the lines of a!&tR)^-n8@#&y\B. That password is 16 characters in length and has a variety of characters to it. The obvious challenge with that type of password is that it is hard for us humans to remember. The trick is having a password that a human can remember and makes it difficult for computers to guess by having that mix of characters and a long password. The time it takes for a computer to guess your password can easily be quantified. Let’s say that your password is “PeterIMTS”. I am sure that is not Peter Eelman’s password, but if it were, an offline attack using five servers that used a total of 25 Graphic Processing Units (GPU) that could guess Peter’s password in couple of hours. (The processors your kids use to run video games make great password crackers.) An offline attack is where the password file has been downloaded or stolen from a site and the bad guys just keep trying to break the passwords so they can get specific passwords for specific users. If we used those same 25 GPUs with the password of a!&tR)^-n8@#&y\B, it would take about one hundred billion centuries. You read that right, one hundred billion centuries. The age of the universe is about 13.77 billion years old, just in case you are worried it was not long enough or complicated enough. That is with today’s computers. Keep in mind that Moore’s Law tells us the speed of computers effectively doubles every 18 to 24 months.
A not-so-obvious point to understand here is that Peter’s password of PeterIMTS is not stored in some file that anyone can just open (if they stole the file) and simply read what it is. What happens is that when your password is entered, it goes through what is called a one-way mathematical algorithm where what comes out the other side is a very long and complicated set of characters. There are different mathematical algorithms that are used today. As a user, this is not your worry unless you find out that the bad guy has broken into your site and taken your password file. When that happens, the first thing users are typically told is to immediately change their passwords. If you ever find out a site is storing your passwords in clear text or “in the open,” run and don’t walk to get your valuable information off that site.
The first password of a!&tR)^-n8@#&y\B is too hard and PeterIMTS is too easy, so what is a good compromise? There are many strategies and this topic is as controversial as mixing both politics and religion. Whatever I point out for your consideration, it’s likely any number of security experts would suggest a different and possibly better way. I am offering a suggestion that I think is reasonable. It is just one suggestion. Keep in mind that the trick is both a variety of characters as well as the length of the password that causes these massive brute force attacks to take a long time.
Let’s go back to Peter and his password. Peter could use a technique called haystacks. A haystack basically means creating a bigger haystack for the bad guy to find your password. I first heard of this technique at a Sun conference years ago and then later on a podcast with Steve Gibson of Security Now on the This Week in Tech (TWiT) series of podcasts. There is lots of good information on this topic at A haystack is basically padding a password with a string of special characters that you can remember that are a prefix or suffix or both to the site for which you want a secure password.
Let’s look at an example with Peter. Peter would pick a series of characters that he could remember. This might be 8Caps*MJ23$ Those 11 characters would then be added to any site that Peter would go to. Peter likes the Caps and the Bulls, so this might be a reasonable way to pad his passwords. For example, Peter goes to a site called Legendary Hockey Player Jerseys. They want a password. Creating a new password every time is a hassle and using the same password is simply not wise. In this case, Peter could have a policy that says he will grab the first character of whatever sites he goes to and pads it with his Peter only padding set of characters. The password would be LHPJ8Caps*MJ23$. Now using that same 25 GPU system, it would take about 500 million centuries to break it. Peter should be able sleep at night with that type of security. The key of course is that only Peter knows his private padding password. If Peter went to his Bank of America site, it might be BOA8Caps*MJ23$. It is also critical to not have the same password at more than one site. Obviously, if Peter had a sticky note on his monitor with 8Caps*MJ23$, that would be a security hole.
At one of my previous employers, we couldn’t get some of our sales reps to take password security seriously. The sales VP had the technical team pull down a password-guessing program and run it against our password file. The results of the cracked passwords were published to their peers and the offending sales reps with the results. The VP then gave the sales reps explicit instructions to change to a secure password NOW. Peer pressure can be a powerful force because it just takes one weak password to give the guys wearing black hats all the entry they need into the network.
I am sure some of you are thinking — “but that still isn’t secure, because what happens if someone finds out my password? They become me with just my login and password.” You are absolutely correct. What we have been talking about is single factor authentication. In others words, a password is something that you know. For systems where having just a login and password are not deemed enough, there is two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication adds another variable. For example, a company I worked at had a special password generator calculator, a device we called “the enigma,” and every employee that needed a remote login had one. It was unique for each employee. How it worked is that the employee would login to a special system with a unique login and an 8-digit challenge that they had one minute to reply to with their enigma response. For example, when I first turned on my enigma, I had to enter in my password and then immediately enter in the challenge. It would then come back with the unique number that I would have to enter into the system for that given one-minute window just for Dave Edstrom. If that was successful, I would then be asked which system I wanted to login to with my username and password. That was deemed as secure enough for our needs.
For other systems, even two-factor authentication isn’t enough, and a third factor is added. The third factor is something that you are. It might be a fingerprint or retina scan. In summary, a single factor authentication is typically something you know. A two-factor is usually something you know, as well as something you have, such as an enigma card. A third factor might add something like a retina scan.
Some might argue that authentication involving an enigma card and a fingerprint or retina scan is enough and would eliminate the need for a user to remember a password. Companies employ various levels of authentication depending on the system. In the long run, having humans pick and try to remember passwords is not a good idea. Many smartphone manufacturers are considering biometrics for the security systems on their devices.
If you have traveled recently, you likely noticed new traveler kiosks in some of the larger airports. These kiosks are part of a trusted traveler program. These programs go by different names around the globe, but the common theme is that it is for those travelers who have been deemed “safe” for air travel and not a terrorist threat. What these kiosks all share is a multi-factor authentication system. These multiple factors usually require that the traveler has a current passport, scanned at the kiosk, plus two-factor biometric scanning – such as finger print scan and facial recognition. They’re also required to enter their flight number. These multiple factors fall into something you have, which is your passport, something you are, which are the two biometrics, and finally a booked flight, which is the reason you are at the airport to begin with. All of these factors combined provide the airport and airline with a high degree of confidence that the person traveling is the person that has been previously checked out and is not considered a traveling risk. The background checks can be quite extensive, but the benefits are a more streamlined entry and exit process when traveling.
At this point, you should be asking what the security policies are regarding passwords in your manufacturing shop or plant. What would happen if you ran a password-guessing program? The degree of security needs to be balanced with the risk. For example, let’s say that you have a crossword program that requires a login and password to save your last game. You got it free at iTunes and there is no financial transaction involved, and the worst thing that could happen is a stranger could pick up from your last crossword puzzle. Let’s compare that to the login for your health provider where you have all of your family’s medical records. You likely would want a very secure password for this site. What would happen if a nation state decided to attack your company’s site because they just read you were the proud recipient of a new aerospace contract? Would you bet your company’s intellectual property on your current security system? Who makes that determination at your company?
Just as a reminder, you can get a Ph.D. in the area of cyber security, so please treat these articles as simply high-level guides on what to think about. It’s not meant to be an all-encompassing discussion of security best practices. My goal is to spark conversations in shops and plants regarding security, but I’m not providing a recommendation that works for all scenarios. If you now have more questions than answers, then I have done my job. Remember Andy Grove of Intel’s timeless advice, “only the paranoid survive.” When it comes to security, be very paranoid.
Next month, I will discuss authentication and authorization. Please keep the comments and suggestions coming on cyber security in manufacturing!

Inventor of the computer mouse - Doug Engelbart

Interesting article at the New York Times on Dr. Douglas C. Englebart - the inventor of the computer mouse.  The article is written by the famous John Markoff.

Below is a snippet:

"In December 1968, however, he set the computing world on fire with a remarkable demonstration before more than a thousand of the world’s leading computer scientists at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, one of a series of national conferences in the computer field that had been held since the early 1950s. Dr. Engelbart was developing a raft of revolutionary interactive computer technologies and chose the conference as the proper moment to unveil them. 

For the event, he sat on stage in front of a mouse, a keyboard and other controls and projected the computer display onto a 22-foot-high video screen behind him. In little more than an hour, he showed how a networked, interactive computing system would allow information to be shared rapidly among collaborating scientists. He demonstrated how a mouse, which he invented just four years earlier, could be used to control a computer. He demonstrated text editing, video conferencing, hypertext and windowing. 

In contrast to the mainframes then in use, a computerized system Dr. Engelbart created, called the oNLine System, or NLS, allowed researchers to share information seamlessly and to create and retrieve documents in the form of a structured electronic library. 

The conference attendees were awe-struck. In one presentation, Dr. Engelbart demonstrated the power and the potential of the computer in the information age. The technology would eventually be refined at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center and at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Apple and Microsoft would transform it for commercial use in the 1980s and change the course of modern life"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MTConnect and Google Glass at ITAMCO

Joel Neidig of ITAMCO continues to be a true thought leader in manufacturing.  Below is a snippet from a very nice article from MMD Newswire on what Joel is doing with MTConnect and Google Glass:

"MTConnect® lowers the barriers to Manufacturing Intelligence, even to as complex a supply-side manufacturing chain as a fortune 500 company. Google Glass--a Heads-Up Display, camera, touchpad, microphone, email and internet connection built into a spectacle frame--coupled with MTConnect functionality, will provide a view into the manufacturing process that until now has been unattainable. The Google Glass user will be liberated from laptops and hand-held smart devices and be able to travel the entire shop floor, gathering and sharing machine data provided by MTConnect, and accessing the internet for more information as he goes.

The opportunities inspiring the merger between MTConnect® and Google Glass are twofold. The first opportunity is in the exploitation of Augmented Reality (AR). AR generates a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene, as viewed by the user, and a virtual scene generated by the computer with additional information such as sound, video, graphics, GPS data, or, in this case, manufacturing data via MTConnect. Google Glass becomes a natural extension of MTConnect's view into machines, providing intuitive and user-friendly access to manufacturing data."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sun Microsystems Reunion - SunDC Reminder - 4:30pm on Wednesday July 17th at Coastal Flats in Tyson's !

A week from today, there is going to be another summer Sun reunion party on Wednesday July 17, 4:30 p.m. at the same location we did last year -

Coastal Flats, Tyson's Corner Center (Tyson's 1). 

In order to help prepare the staff at Coastal Flats for the crowd, please respond to sundcreunion  ( at ) if you can attend!  Please also help us spread the word and forward to all your old Sun friends.

We hope to see everyone there!

CRenshaw, DEdstrom, DWalker, KFox, REbling

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

John Meyer's [MC]2 2013 Keynote

One of the true highlights of [MC]2 2013 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference was John Meyer's Keynote that kicked off the final day of the conference.

John Meyer is a Senior Technical Competitive Analyst with IBM, and a well known around the globe as a computer industry thought leader.  At Sun Microsystems, John was known as, "Mr. SPARC" (Scalable Processor ARChitecture)  for his extensive microprocessor expertise, as well has being a highly sought after global expert with Sun's many systems.  John was in constant demand for his deep and wide expertise with performance of competition as well in sales and benchmark opportunities.  He carried his tremendous reputation and expertise to IBM.

John gave a keynote that was titled “Processing Zetabytes: The Technologies Enabling Big Data and Analytics,” which focused on the evolution of computing, the rise of big data and the opportunities this data creates.

John has the very rare ability to take extremely technical topics and present them perfectly to the audiences with such passion and expertise that it is an absolute gift and not something that can be taught.   For the final keynote, we needed a world class presenter who could quickly understand and appreciate the challenges of manufacturing and frame big data and analytics in a manufacturing context.  John Meyer hit it out of the park.  This was a global conference and it was very impressive how well John's keynote came across with all the representatives from around the world beyond just the United States.

Below is John's keynote:

FYI: We are in the process of editing all of the [MC]2 2013 MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference keynotes, presentations, panels and hands-on classes.  As I am sure everyone can appreciate, this is a very time consuming and difficult process. Huge THANKS to Diyana Hrzic for her amazing video editing skills!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nats 11-7 Win

Peter Eelman, Julie and I saw a great Nats baseball game today where the Nats won 11-7 with a grand-slam by Ryan Zimmerman.  Great pitching by Stephen Strasburg.