A podcast and video I made for Automation World is now live. I do a preview of the ARC Forum and Packaging Automation Forum plus thoughts about recent acquisitions by ABB and GE, MESA’s certification training and automation company stock prices.

I’m in Orlando now. Arrived in time for the Super Bowl party sponsored by Opto 22 (I mention this because it’s a little out of the ordinary for that company which usually takes a quieter approach). I’ve come down here for many years. It’s great to see so many people I know, hear gossip that it’s best not to repeat and get a sense of the mood of manufacturing and automation. Not to mention, it’s usually my first chance to run outside in about three months.

The press conferences begin at 12:30 EST. I saw people from several of the presenters, and it looks like there should be some interesting news. I’ll try to post something from each on the blog, and you can follow my twitter stream (the hashtag, I believe, is #ARCforum if you want to search).

The Wall Street Journal has an article on GM this morning reporting that the company plans to greatly expand its “eAssist” technology and “will spread across our entire lineup.” The eAssist is not exactly the same as Toyota’s “hybrid” but similar. GM says it has beefed up the engine, which has fared poorly thus far in the market.

On the media side of my life, I awoke this morning to news that AOL has purchased the Huffington Post. Some observers I respect voiced disappointment with the move, thinking that the additional page views will hardly give AOL the boost it needs to sell more display advertising (the old/new nirvana for online media). I’ve heard that HP holds “liberal” as opposed to others’ “conservative” views. I tried it for a brief time. It clogged up my feed reader and I could never figure out how to tune it to information useful for me.

Oh, and at least three ISA people made a point of searching me out to say that it was all a misunderstanding last year at Automation Week. The press were, indeed, welcome to visit the conference portion of the event, meet people and conduct interviews. October is always a very busy time, but I’ll have to evaluate the value of a trip to Mobile.

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