Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Amazing Engineer Richi Parker of Hendrick Motorsports

This is an incredible video of a very talented engineer at Hendrick Motorsports.  His name is Richi Parker.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Great MTConnect Article by Leslie Langnau - Tips on Working with the MTConnect Industrial Network

Leslie Langnau, Managing Editor for Design World, wrote a great article on MTConnect titled - Tips on Working with the MTConnect Industrial Network.

This is one of the best articles that I have seen written on MTConnect.

Leslie presents the beginning accurately.

"At the 2006 annual meeting of The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), presentations from David Edstrom of Sun Microsystems and Dr. David Patterson, Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley described the need for an open communication standard that would allow manufacturing equipment to connect to the Internet and use it as a means of data exchange. The question asked was, how could manufacturing replicate the IT model of interconnectability? By 2008, joint efforts among academia and industry machine developers resulted in the MTConnect protocol, an open, royalty-free communication standard that uses Internet communications technology to link machines and systems together. The protocol is based on HTTP and XML."
 Leslie does a very thorough and professional job laying out the different ways to communicate to manufacturing equipment, the types of data that can be captured, specifics on the protocol itself, as well as providing very well thought instructions on how to proceed.  Below is a snippet on how to proceed.
"Once you’ve established what MTConnect connection equipment or software you need, the next steps are:
  1. Clearly define your problem. Are you looking to improve production capacity? Is there an issue with excessive or unpredictable downtime? If you could see information more clearly, how would that benefit your bottom line?
  2. Determine how you will measure success. Will a successful MTConnect implementation be evaluated by improvements in production capacity; by what percentage, for example? What measurements and parameters will be used to evaluate the benefit of using this protocol?
  3. Determine the equipment that will need to be connected. What controls, sensors, measurement devices, and so on will need to be involved? It is important to know the details of all controllers involved.
  4. Define the limitations or constraints you may encounter, such as budget, accessibility, security issues, must-have functions, legacy network systems, and so on?
  5. Determine who will be in charge of the implementation process. Also assess which departments will benefit from more and better data. Who or what could restrain or even derail the project?
  6. Define the resources you will need to implement the project. What equipment will be sending data, what software will be needed, and what legacy network systems will you be working with?"

Go check out this extremely well written article by Leslie Langnau - Tips on Working with the MTConnect Industrial Network!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary to My Beautiful Bride

Today is our 30th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated in Maui this summer and went out for dinner tonight.  She is still absolutely beautiful!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Now available on iTunes - MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know!

Now available on iTunes - MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know!

It is also available on Kindlex, Amazon for hard copy as well as on Google Play for Android!

The Absolute Easiest Way To Have PCs Use Printers That Are Connect To Macs via USB

After purchasing and connecting a new Samsung laser printer, I decided to move some of the USB connected printers to different locations where the Macs were located so the Macs would share the USB printers.

What should have been brain dead easy, was now an exercise in getting these low level authentication errors:

After googling around for the above text and seeing lots of complicated solutions or folks just ranting, I ran upon an off hand comment that got my attention.

The post was on getting printers to work for both Macs and PCs - no matter which direction and it went it to great detail on user security settings on both Windows and Mac OS X, but at the end of this long post, there was an off hand update that basically said, "unless you just want to use bonjour from Apple to do the same thing."

So, I googled around again and it turns out that this person was referring to:

                     Bonjour Print Services for Windows v2.0.2

 As it says at Apple for the description:

"Bonjour Print Services for Windows lets you discover and configure Bonjour-enabled printers from your Windows computer using the Bonjour Printer Wizard.
Use Windows Update to make sure you have the latest Service Pack installed for your computer.

Printer requirements
Bonjour Print Services works with either:
* network printers over Wi-Fi or Ethernet
* USB printers shared via a Mac or an AirPort base station"

 This is ABSOLUTELY the way to go when you have your PCs easily talk to printers that are connected directly to a Mac.   Of course, you need to remember to share the printers on the Mac side to everyone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Manufacturing Encryption

Manufacturing Encryption

 By: Dave Edstrom
This month we are wrapping up my summer series on manufacturing cyber security by taking a deeper dive into what encryption is and how to think about its importance in manufacturing.  Before we take the plunge, let’s see how we got here these past few months.  We started earlier this summer from the 100,000 foot level with cyber security. We dropped down to 5,000 feet with a discussion on manufacturing passwords, and then we lowered the plane to 500 feet withmanufacturing authentication and authorization. Today we are taking the topic to the 100-foot level with a discussion of encryption. 
There are three questions I am going to answer directly in this article as well as providing a quick summary of the manufacturing security articles this summer. What exactly is encryption?  We are told to look for this lock anytime we are dealing with important information, but what is happening under the covers?  How does this apply to the shop or plant floor?
Sending information securely is an old problem.  How does someone send a message over a public medium with the guarantee that only the person who should be receiving it can read it?  The classic example of this is in the military, but there are many examples where this is critically important in manufacturing as well.  A military leader needs to be able to send commands to troops in the field, but the generals do not want that information intercepted by the enemy.   A very important reason the Nazis lost World War II was because of the incredible work by the British at Bletchley Park when they were able to intercept and decode the Germans’ messages by understanding how the Enigma machine worked.  It is widely believed that this might have taken two years off the length of World War II.  Sending information is even more important today and not just for the military.  GM might want to send the design for a new model of the Corvette Stingray to a supplier over the Internet, and GM certainly does not want that information shared with competitors or the press.  
I mentioned previously in this series, but it is worth repeating. The way to think about security is first from the absolute highest level and then work your way down from there.   The highest levels of security have to do with the nature of information in general such as data at rest and data in flight.  Data at rest is information that is sitting on disk drives and should be encrypted.  Data in flight refers to information that is being moved from one location to another and should also be encrypted.  What exactly is encryption?  It’s taking information and scrambling it with a key in such a way that only the intended recipient can read it with a key.  The important and significant challenge is the complexity of these keys and the handling of these keys.  This is really no different than locks on your house.  Encryption means that the information is “scrambled” and is not readable, decrypted, without the appropriate key.  The size of these keys and the encryption algorithm are just a couple of the decisions that must be made.  Individuals earn Ph.Ds researching these topics alone. 
Before we get a little more technical on manufacturing encryption, let’s take a quick look back on how we got here. In June, we started talking about cyber security.  I mentioned that as manufacturing continues to embrace complete supply chain integration, cradle to grave digital thread tracking of parts, open and royalty-free standards such as MTConnect, as well as networking across the board, the importance of cyber security in manufacturing will continue to grow. 
In July, we started talking about the fact that 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.  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. 
In August we discussed “Manufacturing Authentication and Authorization”.  AIn that article, I used Peter Steiner’s classic New Yorker cartoon with the caption “on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.” This cartoon has one dog sitting on a chair and typing on a computer while speaking to a second dog sitting on the floor.  It perfectly summarizes the problem with computer security.  Specifically, how do you know the person is really who they say they are, and what exactly is that person allowed to do?  In the world of security, this is called authentication and authorization, which are two of the key pillars upon which applications and data depend for safe operations. 
Most people have a rough idea how encryption works, but let’s take a little bit more detailed look.  Let’s say you are an MTInsight subscriber.  For those who are not familiar with MTInsight, it’s a business intelligence (BI) tool based on three key elements: BI software, AMT's experience and analysis, and our unique data warehouse — all of the information AMT tracks on your markets, benchmarking surveys, industry forecasts, your competitors, customers and supply chain.
 If you type into your browser and you see the following:
There are a few things worth pointing out.
  1. A lock on the far left of the toolbar.
  2. You will notice that the when you typed in that the text changed from black togreen and the complete name for AMT appeared.  The purpose of the certificate is to insure that AMT is the owner of the site.  This type of certificate is known as an EV or Extended Validation Certificate.  EV Certificates require much greater business verification and validation on exactly which organization is the legal entity that owns this site than a standard certificate requires.  When you see an EV Certificate it is a sign that the company takes security very seriously.
When you go to a website that has a lock, you can learn the specifics of the certificate clicking on the site’s name next to the lock.  For example, this is what you would see for
We are told to look for this lock anytime we are dealing with important information, but what is happening below the covers?  There are a number of steps, but we are going to keep this at a high level. has two keys: A public key that anyone can see and private key that only knows.  A key is a very long number.  What makes this public key and private key work is something called one-way function.  A one-way function is a mathematical algorithm that can use a public key to encrypt data and the only way to decrypt it is with the private key.   Even the entity that encrypts the data cannot decrypt it without the private key.  
When is entered into the browser toolbar, the first thing that happens is your browser verifies with the EV Certificate that is the real and not an imposter site.  After that happens, your browser and need to speak in a secure fashion.  In order to do that, both sides must agree on a secret key.  The question now becomes, how do they share a secret key?
  1. You type into your toolbar.
  2. sends its EV Certificate and its public key to your browser.
  3. Your browser verifies this is is valid, then your browser uses’s public key to send the secret shared key that both systems will use to securely communicate.
  4. uses its private key to decrypt the message from your browser and then starts using the shared secret key for communication.
How does this apply to the shop or plant floor?  Remember that both data at rest and data in flight should be encrypted.  We covered lots of security information this summer. If I could leave you with just one message it would be Andy Grove of Intel’s timeless advice, “only the paranoid survive.”  When it comes to manufacturing security, be very, very paranoid.  It will serve you and your company well in the long run.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Afternoon at Tesla Motors in San Mateo

After having lunch with my oldest son yesterday, I spent an hour and half at Tesla Motors in Menlo Park.  The Ownership Advisor was Scott Sloan and was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

Below is the huge info screen.

Above is the "instrument panel" that unlike any I have seen.

Above and below is the aluminum frame and electric motors.  The Tesla has 1/10 the number of parts as a standard automobile. The frame is capable of a 55mph head on collision per Scott and is the strongest frame ever tested by NHTSA.

I went for a drive in the Tesla Model S P85 four door sedan.  When I jumped on it it was 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds, immediate torque and totally quiet.  Very, very impressive.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Tour of PARC - The Legendary Palo Alto Research Center

On of my dreams came true yesterday when I was given a private tour of the legendary PARC -  Palo Alto Research Center.

 Above is what you see when you pull in parc.

Here I am standing in front of the very famous photo of the early days of PARC.

The list of incredibly talented individuals and inventions are literally too numerous to list on a blog post.  Here are just a tiny subset of the ground breaking inventions (as listed at PARC's homepage)

  • the laser printer
  • object-oriented computing
  • the personal workstation
  • ethernet
  • distributed computing
  • VLSI circuit design
  • WORM
  • natural language programming

On the right are some very early robots.

Above is the world's first laser printer.

Above is the world's first scanner.

Above is me touching the world's first production mouse created by Douglas Englebart.
I remember being ten feet away from Steve Jobs at Sun event when he retold the famous December 1979 "Steve Jobs visits PARC and sees a GUI and a mouse for the first time."

The world's first personal computer - the Xerox Alto.

Above is Bob Metcalfe's ethernet boxes that were invented at PARC and the first VOIP which was the 1982 etherphone that you see as well.

The next day, I thought as long as I visited the legendary PARX, I should at least swing by the legendary venture capitalist, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers on Sand Hill Road.  On my way to Tesla, after having lunch with my oldest son John at Facebook, I had to swing by Khosla Ventures below.