Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Something Ventured" Ventury Capitalism Documentary on Netflix

I read on an article on must watch documentaries for the computer industry and "Something Ventured" came in at the top.  As a computer history nut, I have always been that way, but npg really gave me the true appreciation of the importance of the individuals and context of the times (starting back in May 1987), I really enjoyed this documentary on how venture capitalism came about.

This goes into the entire Shockley, Fairchild, Arthur Rock, Gordon Moore, Intel, Tandem, Atari, Nolan Bushnell, Kleiner and Perkins, Georges Doriot (Harvard Professor had a class called manufacturing that was really about how to start a company), Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Genentech, Home Brew Computer Club, Mike Markkula, Don Valentine, Apple, Radio Shack TRS-80, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Dick Kramlich, Forethought (creator of PowerPoint), FileMaker, U.S. Venture Partners, Macintosh, Cisco, Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack, John Morgridge, and all the great entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that have changed our world.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Martin Fowler's Great Blog Post On Remote Versus Co-Located Work

I really enjoyed this blog post by Martin Fowler titled:  Remote Versus Co-Located Work.

Martin is a great speaker, writer and thought leader in the field of software.

He brings out many great points such as these three snippets below: 

"Another factor is that there are so many other factors that make a team work well. If someone is saying they are more effective on a single-site team, that may be because other factors are in play compared to different teams. One way to reduce this problem is to pay special attention to teams that have changed their distribution pattern, such as splitting from single-site to multi-site. Other factors still intrude, particularly since changes in team distribution often mean people will leave or join a team, but I think this yields stronger evidence than comparing totally different teams.

Given this, all I (or anyone) can do is listen to lots of people and make the best judgement I can. I've heard a lot of experiences about teams and locations, including quite a few where teams have changed their distribution pattern (although I haven't heard very much to or from remote-first). The weight of anecdotes leads me to conclude that most teams are more productive when in a single-site model.

The reason for this is the ease of communication. While tools like (video) chat, screen sharing, and the like have done much to make remote work easier, there is still nothing as effective as being able to turn around, see the person you want to talk to, and just be able to speak. Co-location also introduces a huge amount of out-of-band conversations which improves personal relationships. The result is a virtuous cycle of improved relationships and communication. Since communication is such a central part of software development, this is a big impact on productivity."

When people ask me, "why did Sun go belly up?" One of my answers is, "hoteling or work from home killed Sun Microsystems." I would say this because hoteling absolutely killed any sense of teamwork or comradery.  This was especially tough when a company is going through layoffs as Sun was at the time.

My feeling on this has been that teams need to be be physically together, but individuals can work from home for stretches at a time when it is more heads-down isolated work.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Benghazi Hearings Today

Here is the bottom line on Benghazi.  There is no there there.

Hillary just became the President of the United States in the November 2016 election.  All the Republicans looked like they brought a knife to a gun fight when questioning Hillary Clinton.  I am certainly not a Hillary fan, but the Republicans looked like fools today.  Warren Buffett called it on May 4th of this year...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Three "A"s of MTConnect - the Adapter, Agent and Application

As the former President and Chairman of the Board of the MTConnect Institute, I have given this 10 minute presentation countless number of times to explain the Three "A"s of MTConnect - the Adapter, Agent and Application.

As a reminder, MTConnect is the open, royalty-free manufacturing communications protocol which fosters greater interoperability between manufacturing devices and software. The MTConnect standard provides connectivity and the capability to monitor and then harvest data from the entire production floor: machines, cells, devices, and processes. The standard makes this possible, because its based on XML and HTTP Internet technology for real-time data sharing. 

The adapter is the piece of software and/or hardware that sits between the device itself, such as a machine tool, sensor, compressor, any MTConnect enabled device, and the agent.  The adapter needs to speak the specific language that the device understands and then convert that to SHDR (Simple Hierarchical Data Representation - a simple time stamped human readable stream separated by "|" symbols as delimiters.  The information is sent continuously from the device to the adapter and then to the agent. Please note that the SHDR protocol is not officially part of the MTConnect spec, but in reality, almost all of the adapters use SHDR to speak to the reference agent. The reference agent is the agent that is out at that almost all of the implementations out there today use as their agent.

The agent can be thought of as a simple web server that on one side talks to the adapter and the other side talks to applications.  The agent is what translates the SHDR and makes it available in MTConnect (XML) format via http (how you access any webpage on the web today such as The agent responds to simple commands from the apps or applications such as probe, current, sample or asset as examples.  The agent has a circular buffer for storing the data that is coming from the adapter.  Typically this is about 10 minutes of data.

The app or applications can be anything that wants to get information from the agent on what the MTConnect enabled device is doing.  Typically, the app is a shop floor monitoring app such as MERLIN.  Apps query the agent and typically store that information into a database as well as make that info available in dashboards, reports, email alerts and countless other ways.

I think these 10 minutes should give you a very nice overview of how MTConnect works and a deeper dive on what happens under the covers for MTConnect with the Adapter, Agent and Application.

As I stated in the webcast, you can learn more at

Friday, October 16, 2015

Exciting Announcement - Mazak Launches Platform To Bring Manufacturers Into the IIOT


These are very exciting times for the world of MTConnect!

Mazak developed SmartBox to work with any machine regardless of make, model or age.

Mazak Corporation is collaborating with Cisco and MEMEX to launch a platform “for easy and highly secure entrance into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” called SmartBox.
This technology represents a huge leap in digital integration across manufacturing. Access to real-time manufacturing data is used to improve overall productivity and responsiveness to customer/market changes. Using MTConnect technology as the foundation, SmartBox connectivity of machines and devices allows for enhanced monitoring and analytical capabilities including advanced cyber security protection.

Mazak is showcasing the SmartBox technology during its DISCOVER 2015 Technology and Education Event, held October 27-29 and November 3-5 at its North American Manufacturing Headquarters.

The power of SmartBox will be demonstrated in one of the automated cells as part of the company’s own manufacturing operations. Each of the cell’s four machines are outfitted with a SmartBox and sensor array package, giving event attendees a firsthand look at the device in action within an actual manufacturing environment and network.

The SmartBox is another component within Mazak’s dynamic iSMART Factory concept and one that takes advantage of Cisco’s Connected Machines solution to provide insights into machine operations. Advanced manufacturing cells and systems, along with full digital integration, can achieve free-flow data sharing, i.e., process control and operation/equipment monitoring.

The iSMART concept also incorporates Mazak’s SMOOTH Technology working in tandem with the MTConnect standard connectivity protocol.

Mazak also developed SmartBox to work with any machine regardless of make, model or age and will offer it in various configurations/kits based on the scenarios and challenges in which the units will be used. The device physically mounts to the side of machines without having to integrate into a machine’s electrical cabinet. With several standard input/output connecting ports, SmartBox lets users quickly and easily connect any standard off-the-shelf sensors to the system for machine data gathering and condition monitoring. One SmartBox may service several machine tools along with other associated manufacturing equipment, depending on the application.

At the heart of the SmartBox is Cisco’s Connected Machines solution, based on the IoT System, designed specifically for industrial environments and equipped with an MTConnect software agent. Using a fog computing model, the MT Connect software runs directly on the ruggedized Cisco Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000 switch—providing real time visibility and insights into data right on the factory floor.

The Memex software installed in Mazak’s own factory allows for monitoring analytics of machines, test stands and other equipment within the plant. The Cisco hardware is designed to help prevent any issues with unauthorized access from both directions – to or from the machines and equipment within a network. SmartBox satisfies the highly critical security concerns of IT departments when connecting legacy equipment to a plant’s main network for the purpose of gathering manufacturing data via the MTConnect protocol.

“With the development of SmartBox, Mazak continues to drive toward its iSMART Factory concept and connecting today’s shops to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to achieve levels of efficiency and productivity never before realized,” said Brian Papke, President of Mazak Corporation. “And while our concept centers around open connectivity and the Internet, we at Mazak believe it is our moral obligation to also provide customers the highest level of security possible with SmartBox. As with all the technology we develop, Mazak has first implemented SmartBox into our own operations before expecting customers to wholeheartedly embrace the system.”

The underlying Cisco networking platform helps ensure that IT technicians will be familiar with SmartBox’s operation and can use it to quickly and easily control and manage network security. Also, the hardware allows manufacturers to enable secure machine communications through secure access and identity policy mechanisms. Third parties, such as equipment suppliers, can then log on to a company’s network and access only those machines equipped with a Mazak SmartBox.

“This is great example of how Cisco works with our ecosystem of partners to help customers capture the value of digitization,” said Tony Shakib, Vice President, Vertical Solutions, at Cisco.

“Cisco’s scalable and secure IoT platform makes it possible for partners like Mazak and MEMEX to quickly launch new IoT offerings that provide high-value customer experiences and business outcomes. We’re helping our OEM partners transform their business from selling products to selling industrial services.”

For more information, visit
To see the article, please click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Another Horseman of the Internet Bites The Dust

There is a nice article by Matt Kranz in USA Today titled, "Another 'Horseman of the Internet' loses its head"

 "EMC was one of those stocks you just had to own in the late 1990s and early 2000 - as it was one of the companies nicknamed the "Four Horsemen of the Internet." These companies prospered as their customers bought gear looking to build Internet systems and Web sites. EMC, along with network gear maker Cisco Systems (CSCO), storage maker Oracle (ORCL) and computer systems maker Sun Microsystems were seen as dominating the construction and development of the Internet."

It is funny, because younger folks in tech today don't really believe that Sun Microsystems and EMC were big players.

It is interesting how things might change in the future as Mr. Kranz postulates:

 "Investors can only wonder if the current "FANG" favorites, Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOGL), will meet a similar fate."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sun Microsystems Fall Outing at Bluemont Winery and Dinner at Magnolias at the Mill

Below are some ole SUNWers from the left to the right, me, Julie, Barb (Dennis' wife), Joy, Dave and Dennis. We were at Bluemont Winery which has one of the best views of any winery in the country with the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. Bluemont Winery is at 951' elevation and on a clear day you can see (with a set of binoculars) the Washington Monument 55 miles away as the crow flies. It was the perfect fall day to spend the afternoon enjoying some wine and food with long time friends.  We met Sue and had dinner in Purcelleville at Magnolias at the Mill.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Memex HW/SW Development Team

Above is the Memex SW/HW Development Team after we had lunch at Montana's in Burlington, Ontario. I am very fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated group of developers!

From left to right is Doug, Anusha, Terry, me, Brian, Tim (in the horns - its a tradition we started :-), Ryan, Gowtham (kneeling), Jeremy and Litian.  Not pictured is Ken who was not able to make it.

Mazak's DISCOVER 2015

Measuring Manufacturing Excellence

A Technology + Education Event From Mazak
with Memex as a VIP Partner

Smart, connected manufacturing solutions are the wave of the future and will unleash a new era of competition.  That's why you need to start preparing your business today - and DISCOVER 2015 is the perfect place to begin.
Mazak Corporation Headquarters
8025 Production Drive
Florence, Kentucky
October 27 - 29
November 3 - 5
Click here to register now!

Memex Inc. is a Mazak VIP Partner.  
Mazak VIP Partners are selected because they share Mazak's forward-thinking approach to manufacturing.
Memex will be at DISCOVER 2015 as part of the Mazak iSmart Factory!
Memex's flagship product, MERLIN, runs on any machine, and can deliver 10% - 50% efficiency gains.  To learn more about how MERLIN is a part of the iSmart Factory, please contact Memex today, at 1-866-573-3895 or email  Get started on a single machine cell now!

10 Reasons why attending DISCOVER 2015 is a smart move.
1.  Experience the latest metalworking technology.
More than 30 of our latest machine tools will be on display cutting real-world parts via modern Multi-Tasking, HYBRID Multi-Tasking, 5-axis, milling and turning techniques.
2. Participate in productive discussions.
Application experts will be available during the cutting demonstrations to discuss specific ways in which our machines can optimize your part production.
3. Check out alternative machining techniques.
Our new INTEGREX i-400AM combines advanced Multi-Tasking with additive manufacturing to create one highly efficient, precision machining platform.
4. Find new ways to control the competition.
As the fastest in the industry, our new MAZATROL SmoothX CNC brings extreme productivity advantages to the most demanding manufacturing environments.
5. See the debut of unprecedented Kentucky innovation.
Several Kentucky-made models will make their first appearance at the event, with several featuring iterations of our revolutionary CNC design for SMOOTH TECHNOLOGY.
6. Learn best practices in workplace flexibility.
Our modular, highly versatile PALLETECH System with new Smooth PMC software can grow your business and keep your processes moving 24/7 without adding shifts.
7. Network with the best and brightest in the industry.
As the year's largest private manufacturing event in North America, you will have access to industry experts, technology leaders and key influencers in one central location.
8. Experience the dawn of the digital factory.
Be among the first to see our new iSMART Factory in action, and learn how it harnesses the power of connectivity to optimize our operations on every level.
9. Prepare for the next wave of innovation.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is starting to transform our industry, so now is the time to get ready for the complete paradigm shift in manufacturing.
10. Start tapping into the intelligence era.
Communication protocols such as MTConnect® provide access to real-time intelligence that you can use to optimize your operations and shorten lead times.

3425 Harvester Road, Suite 105
Burlington, ON, Canada
L7N 3N1
Phone: 905-635-1540     Toll Free: 1-866-573-3895

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Seagull Century Canceled For First Time in 27 Years

The folks at Salisbury University do a great job running the Seagull Century and they canceled today's ride for the first time in 27 years.  It was the right call, but I am bummed that I am not riding with Jeff, Gork and Steve.  It is always a great time with them and this year we were spending the weekend at Ocean City, MD -- which would have been great.

Hopefully next year will work out!

Yet Another Shooting In A School - President Obama Is Right

The NRA has blood on its hands. Congress has blood on its hands. Anyone who states the BS line of "more guns make us safer" ALL have blood on their hands.

I am F*CK!NG sick of this BS that the chicken sh*t politicians and the NRA feed the idiot Americans who believe this crap!  As a father of a son who stood outside Norris Hall at VT on April 16th, 2007 when the gun shots first started in the worst massacre at a college campus in American history I am disgusted with our politicians and those who suck at the tit of the NRA. I was one of the lucky ones as my son was not killed that day.  But my son was very involved in this tragedy after the fact because he worked for (as a volunteer) Virginia Tech's Collegiate Times.  My sister (a BS, two Masters and a Ph.D.) was one of the first counselors to show up at VT to help those in need. So, this is very, very near and dear to my heart.  One of the many tragic stories I heard first hand was from John's roommate who was one of those who was there when the bodies of the students were being taken out and you could hear the cell phones ringing in those students pants or purses as their moms and dads were calling and praying they were ok.....

The logic of "more guns make us safer" is complete and utter CRAP!  It is the Archie Bunker logic.  Archie famously stated in the hit TV show All In The Family, to combat the hijackers on planes, they should pass out guns to every one who gets on a plane so when the bad guy pulls out his gun, the good guys will have theirs and can shoot him.  That is the same bassawkwards logic that we hear today.

IF guns make us safer, then why did we go through TWO metal detectors before I was able to visit the Senate?  IF guns make us safer than why do we have metal detectors before we get on planes? The logic is BS!!

Here is an experiment we can run in the House.  Since MOST of the politicians today believe MORE guns make us safer and we can RELY on having that person with the gun to take out the bad guy with the gun, let's do this:

In the Senate keep everything the same - no changes to safety protocols.  In the House, let's get rid of all the metal detectors, let's get rid of the protective services that each of the congress men and women have so anyone with a gun can walk right into the floor of the House and sit there with their gun no problem.  These Congress men and women should feel just as safe as the Senators according to their logic - right? This is the same logic that that all of these politicians are pushing when they relax all of the gun laws.

It reminds me when I saw Oliver Stone speak live at Foot Hill Community College in CA.  Mr. Stone was asked, "why did the Vietnam war go on for so long?"  He looked at the woman with disgust and said, "Do you REALLY NOT KNOW?"  The woman said sheepishly, "no".  Mr. Stone said, "Because politicians kids were not going to war and were not dying.  If they were, it would have been a short war."  The same logic applies here.
I have lots of friends who are police officers or Secret Service agents or detectives.  They all say the same thing, which is just because you can shoot a gun does NOT mean you are properly trained to use it in a real life situation.

It's interesting that most of my relatives all like to hunt. Which I think is perfectly fine.  BUT, NONE of them going hunting with an AK-47, M16 or any type of machine gun!

You have to have a license to get married, to go hunting, to fishing, to drive a car, to drive a commercial vehicle or hell EVEN to cut someone's hair in a barber shop, BUT you don't need a universal background check to buy a gun??????

Politicians LOVE to say, "well the American people have said...." Well guess what IDIOT politicians, look what Americans say about universal background checks for guns???

"Ninety-two percent of voters, including 92 percent of gun owners and 86 percent of Republicans, support background checks prior to all gun sales, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University."

Don't tell me this crap response, "well, if we look at where the gun laws are the strictest that is where we have the most murders." Yeah, it really matters when DC has a tight gun law but freaking Virginia is the wild, wild west doesn't it?

Also, don't give me the BS response of, "well, what can you do, these things will just happen."  That is Homer Simpson logic when Bart tried something and failed Homer said, "Bart, you learned a very valuable lesson today, never, EVER try."

Frank Bruni writes a great article title Guns, Campuses and Madness in the NT Times when he states:

"This is madness. When it comes to guns, we have lost our bearings in this country, allowing misguided chest-thumping about a constitutional amendment penned in an entirely different epoch, under entirely different circumstances, to trump all prudence and decency.

President Obama had it right when he said on Thursday that Americans had “become numb to this,” as evidenced by our political paralysis — or, in the case of Texas, our sprint in the wrong direction. He noted that there was now “a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America.”

“So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
he added."

Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times "A New Way To Tackle Gun Deaths":

"First, we need to comprehend the scale of the problem: It’s not just occasional mass shootings like the one at an Oregon college on Thursday, but a continuous deluge of gun deaths, an average of 92 every day in America. Since 1970, more Americans have died from guns than died in all U.S. wars going back to the American Revolution.

When I reported a similar figure in the past, gun lobbyists insisted that it couldn’t possibly be true. But the numbers are unarguable: fewer than 1.4 million war deaths since 1775, more than half in the Civil War, versus about 1.45 million gun deaths since 1970 (including suicides, murders and accidents).

If that doesn’t make you flinch, consider this: In America, more preschoolers are shot dead each year (82 in 2013) than police officers are in the line of duty (27 in 2013), according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI."

Republicans like to say as stated so well by E.J. Dionne, Jr on October 4th titled "The Conservative Evasion On Guns"

"Politicians who go on about American greatness should be ashamed of saying that the United States is the one and only nation that can’t act effectively to solve a problem every other free and democratic country has contained."

Dionne nailed it! Don't tell me how great America is and "exceptional" when the Republicans are so afraid of the NRA that those politicians refuse to address this incredible problem!

I would be willing to be BIG MONEY that if a Senator or Congressman's child was killed on a college campus or at a school that they would have a "change of heart" and realize how f*cking crazy American's politicians have become in their absolute fear of the NRA!!!!

God Bless President Obama who has it EXACTLY right -- we have spent over $1 TRILLION on fighting terrorism, but that is a rounding error compared to gun deaths --  this CANNOT become routine and I am glad that he will not let it - if only the politicians had some courage.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Congratulations to Susan Landau - Cybersecurity Hall of Fame

One of the true privileges of working at Sun Microsystems was working with truly brilliant people who were changing the world. One of those was Susan Landau.

I just read in CIO that Susan was named to be inducted into the Cybersecurity Hall of Fame. As the article states: 

 "The National Cyber Security Hall of Fame has announced its recent class of inductees. In noting them we also highlight some of the past winners. The hall of fame recognizes the history and contributions of pioneers, innovators and educators who influenced the industry. The inductees are chosen by a board of advisers"

The article goes on to say:

"Susan Landau is a Professor of Cybersecurity Policy in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Landau has been a senior staff Privacy Analyst at Google, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems."

Congrats Susan!! It is WELL deserved!