Sunday, September 27, 2015

How VW Cheated on the EPA Test

There is a nice and succinct article by

The tech behind how Volkswagen tricked emissions tests

 Here is how they did it from the article:

"In the end, the detailed requirements for each test gave Volkswagen the advance knowledge it needed to teach its cars when to behave more cleanly. By measuring how long the engine was running, the vehicle’s speeds, and even seemingly esoteric factors, such as the position of the steering wheel and barometric pressure, Volkswagen vehicles could understand they were being tested and so adjusted their engine performance to pass the tests, according to the EPA."

The article is well worth reaching.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Germany versus the United States for Industry 4.0

There is a very interesting article written by Alex Webb for Bloomberg Businessweek titled,

Below is from Alex Webb's article that all of us in manufacturing and in the world of MTConnect can appreciate quite well:

"Unlike in computing, with its standardized suite of keyboards and USB connectors, there are no dominant standards in industrial equipment."

When I read the paragraph below in the article, I think of what we are doing at Memex with MERLIN.

"Both groups aim to make it easier for machines in factories throughout companies’ supply chains to communicate with one another. The goal: to reduce downtime by anticipating when a factory will have spare capacity or need replacement parts, for example. Built-in sensors will collect all manner of data to better allocate resources, helping manufacturers cut energy use by as much as 20 percent and labor costs by 25 percent, according to consultant McKinsey."


One thing I know for sure and that is Germany and the rest of the countries need to embrace MTConnect if they truly want to provide an open and royalty-free standard protocol that is the ultimate game-changer in manufacturing.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

Modern Machine Shop's The Seven Things You Need To Know About The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0

I have had the privilege of working with Mark Albert, Editor in Chief for Modern Machine Shop, on a number of occasions and it is always an honor and a real pleasure. Mark is a great writer and Modern Machine Shop is THE magazine for manufacturing.

Mark wrote a great article titled, The Seven Things You Need To Know About The Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0, and I had the chance to provide some comments in his article.

It is an excellent article and Mark asked my thoughts on how to get started and below is a snippet of my comments:

"Getting Started on the IoT Pathway

So how does a machine shop begin to bring on the power of the Industrial IoT? A practical option for many companies will be to install a comprehensive machine monitoring system. Dave Edstrom, the chief technology officer at Memex, recommends this approach because machine monitoring introduces key elements necessary for wider Industrial IoT connections. For example, even basic machine monitoring can require equipping machines with the necessary interfaces for data collection and reporting; establishing the framework for a shop-wide network; getting the shop workforce accustomed to a data-driven manufacturing environment; training managers to recognize and deal with data management issues (who gets what report and what do they do with the info); and so on.

“Most shops that implement a monitoring system such as MERLIN start with a small number of machines to ease the learning curve and get everyone on board,” Mr. Edstrom says. MERLIN (Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network) is Memex’s manufacturing execution system and machine-to-machine communications platform that is MTConnect compliant. “Supervisors and operators must be involved in evaluating the machine monitoring software, encouraged to provide input and given a clear understanding of the direction the company is taking with this implementation,” he adds. He also notes that, from the start, machine data must translate into actionable information that helps both the operators and managers. Operators must feel that this is a tool for them and not Big Brother looking over their shoulders.

Installing large display screens to show reports such as machine utilization is typically part of a shop’s pilot project. Visual awareness creates quick (and significant) results, because shopfloor personnel instinctively focus their thinking and practices on improvements that boost utilization, Mr. Edstrom reports.

Once a shopfloor monitoring system is in place, the shop can deploy additional sensors to augment their dashboards and reports to improve performance and lower costs. “Monitoring software that can speak to a wide range of devices and provide real-time dashboards with notification triggers and reporting to drive down costs and drive up productivity in a secure and predictable way will be the heart of the Industrial IoT,” Mr. Edstrom concludes."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

George Will, the Republican Debate, Pope Francis, Ronald Reagan, Jon Huntsman and Upton Sinclair

I disagree with George Will on every topic except when he writes about baseball.  When it comes to baseball, George Will is clearly an expert.

When it comes to science, Mr. Will should listen to the Pope. Mr. Will writes an article in today's Washington Post titled, "Pope Francis’ fact-free flamboyance"

The only thing that is fact-free in the article is Mr. Will's lack of logic and his inability to address science in any cohesive fashion.

It is a absolutely mind-blowing that NONE of the current Republican candidates believe in climate change!  Even the legendary neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson does not believe in climate change.  I can certainly understand why Donald Trump and the others do not believe in climate change.  It makes sense when you think about that in the context of what Upton Sinclair stated:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” 

The last presidential Republican candidate that believed in BOTH climate change AND evolution was not even a rounding error in the Republican primaries.  When former Utah Governor tweeted, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy", it was a guarantee that he would never get the nomination.

Even the Holy Patron Saint of the Republican Party Ronald Reagan once stated, worried about what man has done and is doing to this magical planet that God gave us."

 When we will hear a Republican presidential candidate state they believe in science such as Jon Huntsman or even at the very least, agree with Ronald Reagan?  

Monday, September 14, 2015

Great "Kim Davis Marriage" Billboard

I just read that a group created a billboard where Kim Davis (the woman who believes her particular religious beliefs outweighs the Supreme Court) is greeted to the following:

 “Dear Kim Davis, the fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage”

This is an obvious reference to verses in the Bible that permit the selling of women.

I wonder if Mike Huckabee would have coming running to Kim Davis' side (in the bright camera lights) if she happened to be a non-Christian and her religious beliefs did not allow for same sex marriage?

When I hear these idiots state that the United States was based on a particular religion, I suggest they go read some of the Amendments - with the first one not being a bad place to start...

Amendment I

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.

Nice Cutting Tool Engineering Article by MEMEX CEO David McPhail

Here is a link to an article titled: 


 David writes regarding the importance of having data:
"Top-flight manufacturers understand that a convergence of connectivity, analytics and ubiquitous Internet devices creates opportunity for an industrial-strength, shop- floor-to-top-floor communications platform that provides real-time efficiency metrics. Specifically, a software-based machine monitoring platform should: 

deliver a 10 to 50 percent average productivity increase;
create at least 20 percent profit improvement, based on an achievable 10 percent increase in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE);
achieve payback in less than 4 months with an internal rate of return greater than 300 percent; and
connect to any machine, old or new, using either native MTConnect or retrofitted hardware adapters. 

Machine monitoring allows plant managers to cost-effectively iso- late productivity issues so everyone from the CEO to each individual machine operator can understand what must be done to maximize efficiency"

David writes regarding Mazak's use of our product:

"Mazak’s IT department started the efficiency drive by implementing the MTConnect protocol to accurately determine machine availability by using OEE as a standard measurement.

Brian Papke, Mazak’s CEO, personally drove the project to show the machine tool industry the importance of moving toward data- driven manufacturing.

Mazak chose the platform for its ability to collect data using MT- Connect adapters for newer machines and through its Universal Machine Interface circuit board for legacy machines. This advanced adapter board directly captures sig- nals from a legacy machine and translates it into MTConnect-standard code. This combination means every machine on the shop floor is MTConnect-compatible for a com- mon technology analysis platform."

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Sad Few Weeks - Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone Both Die

The Philadelphia 76ers were my favorite NBA team of all time.  Both Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone were centers for the 76ers.  Darryl died on August 27th and Moses Malone died today. Both were absolute legends.

Darryl Dawkins gave names to his dunks.  My favorite was:  Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Glass-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Babies-Crying, Glass-Still-Flying, Cats-Crying, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam

Moses Malone was the "Chairman of The Boards" for his incredible offensive and defensive rebounding abilities.  As stated in wikipedia "Malone's acquisition paid dividends, as the 76ers won 65 games in the 1982–83 NBA season. Prior to the playoffs, Malone predicted a clean playoff sweep for the 76ers, ending it with the statement Fo, Fo, Fo. The 76ers would steamroll through the playoffs, sweeping the New York Knicks 4–0 in the conference semifinals, before overcoming the Milwaukee Bucks in five games of the conference finals, thereby denying Malone's infamous prediction. Nevertheless, the 76ers were heading into the Finals as confident as ever."

As stated on ESPN, "Malone was the first player to go pro right out of high school, signing with the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association in 1974. He played the following season for the Spirits of St. Louis before moving to the Buffalo Braves after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976."

God bless Darryl and Moses - they brought tremendous joy to NBA fans all over the world.

Corvette Racing Wins The Triple Crown!

Corvette Racing


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Corvette Racing's victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago completed the team’s Triple Crown of sports car endurance racing with the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Corvette Racing is the first team since 2000 to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same season.

Above is from Corvette Racing which is VERY COOL!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How Often Should You Upgrade Your iPhone?

I thought this was a very interesting analysis regarding How Often Should You Upgrade Your iPhone by William Gordon? The entire analysis is worth reading.

Below is a snippet:

"To do this, I subtracted the “market price” for a phone from its original list price ($650 for each iPhone), then multiplied that by a number of years to see how it’d affect you in the long run. Since we’re measuring every one, two, and three years, let’s use 6 years as our least common denominator. Here’s what I found:
  • If you upgrade your iPhone every year for six years, you’ll spend $1014.
  • If you upgrade your iPhone every two years for six years, you’ll spend $1044.
  • If you upgrade your iPhone every three year for six years, you’ll spend $932.
  • If you upgrade your iPhone every four years for six years, you’ll spend $817 (adjusted for the six-year period)."

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dropped Our Landline

In looking at our bill for our landline it was $60 a month.  We received 98.96087% of our calls from people wanting our money or to ask us who we were voting for.  The only reason to keep the landline was ADT.  When I found out that ADT had a cell service option for $5.83 a month that did not use either the landline or the Internet, I realized that was the best solution because both the landline and the 75ohm coaxial cable that comes into the house for our Comcast 150Mbs down and 25Mbs up could both be easily cut outside our house.

I just need to clean up the plates where the old landlines are at so it looks professional.  I find it hard to believe that the next purchaser of our house will want a landline, but you never know.

It has been very nice to not have a phone ringing every night from people or organizations we have zero desire to talk to.

For those who know us, just call us on our cells.

My New MacBook Pro 2016 versus my 2010 MacBook Pro Comparison

Five and half years ago I purchased a:

  • 2010 MacBook Pro 15" screen
    • 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    • 8GB RAM
    • 500GB hard drive (spinning rust type) - I had to upgrade from the 250 GB when I was cut off in traffic in CA and had to make an emergency swerve which caused my briefcase in my trunk to go flying from one side to the other and it killed my drive.  I changed the inside of the briefcase so it now has padding around all parts of the computer.  I doubt that will happen again, but why push my luck.

A month ago I purchased:
  • 2016 MacBook Pro 15" screen
    • 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.
    • 16GB RAM
    • 1TB PCIe-based flash storage

I did a quick test this morning doing a restart of each computer.

The 2010 MacBook Pro did a complete restart (it did a shutdown and then started the system back up again) where I was logged in with the apps all up and running  in 4 minutes and 22 seconds or 262 seconds.

The 2016 MacBook Pro did a complete restart (it did a shutdown and then started the system back up again) where where I was logged in with the apps all up and running in 41 seconds.

Being 514.63 percent faster { (262-41)/41  (formula per Patterson and Hennesy) } is well worth the investment and I probably should not have waited so long.

That might NOT sound like a lot if you are not traveling 100% of the time and constantly restarting your computer or trying to check your email, start up a number of apps or run VMWare between meetings, but trust me, it is a BIG deal. More importantly, EVERYTHING is faster and I estimated that the new MacBook Pro is saving my over an hour each and every day.  It runs at the speed of thought :-)

The same day I bought the one above, I purchased the exact same model for my youngest son Tim who is in his final year at JMU majoring in computer science.  The Apple salesperson said to Tim, "you have a very nice father who would buy the fastest MacBook Pro that we sell."  I had Tim put in $750 of his own money so he had some skin in the game.  If you have never purchased anything from Apple, it is the best experience you can possibly have for an in store experience.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Oldest Son John in WIRED Article On The Future Of Coding

So, I get a text from my oldest son John asking, "have you ever been in WIRED? :P  "  with a link.  Needless to say when you get this type of text from one of your kids you stop whatever you are doing and go read the article.

The article is titled, "Facebook’s New Spam-Killer Hints at the Future of Coding" by Cade Metz.  It's a very interesting article (regardless if my son is quoted in it :-) about Facebook's anti-spam software which is written in a functional computer programming language called Haskell.

Cade Metz writes in the article concerning Haskell "In the early ’90s, a committee of academics built Haskell as a kind of experiment in language design, and all these years later, it remains on the fringes of mainstream programming. At GitHub—the primary repository for software code on the ‘net—Haskell ranks 23rd on the list of the most popular languages. Even so, Facebook chose it as the basis for its enormously complex anti-spam system, which went live earlier this year."

The author continues with a reference to a comment made by Facebook's Lois Brandy,  "What he does say is that Haskell is ideally suited to fighting Facebook spam because it’s so adept at executing many different tasks at the same time—and because it gives engineers the tools they need to code all these tasks on the fly."

My son John is quoted in the article, "John Edstrom, who uses Facebook’s system to fight spam on Instagram, the photo-centric social network owned by Facebook, underlines how valuable this can be. “With a lot of these rules, we’re writing them as we’re being attacked. We’re like: ‘Oh crap. We have to get these out fast,'” he says. “If we’re working in a purely functional language that we know doesn’t have side effects, the faster we’re able to move.” 

I really enjoyed this article because it touches on so many significant challenges that a computer scientist faces today, and yes it does not hurt that my son is in it and the magazine is WIRED :-)