Here are a number of interesting items I’ve run across in my reading and listening over the past month or so plus a couple of bonus random thoughts.
This blog is almost nine years old now. I have to believe that it is one of the longest running blogs in the “blogosphere.” Walt started one, but it got moved to the company’s site and lost its personality. On the company side, Jim Cahill started early at Emerson Process Experts. He has been consistent for years (I forget when you started, Jim). Many other companies in the automation space have started blogs, but no one has kept a consistent thread of good content and community building like Jim has.
11 of my 12 readers know that this is my personal blog. I used to talk about a lot more things, but only 2 of my 12 readers seemed to like the soccer part–and SEO said to drop it. But, wait, I don’t really care about SEO. And if you do Google analytics, you’ll see the results of that thinking. This site is not set up to take advertising, and most of you have suggested that I not take advertising. A few people have hinted about advertising, but like I said, I’m not set up to handle it. Besides, refer back to the Google analytics thing. Don’t think I’d make that much money 😉 .
I do have a day job, which I reference occasionally. If you want to know what Automation World thinking is, visit that site. I’ve been trying to start an “official” blog there, but it’s still on hold. Maybe in 2013.
3 out of my 12 readers have found my other blog about trying to live in the Spirit. Google it if you’re interested. I try to stay busy. As I told someone years ago, I get up early and don’t have kids. Writing is what I do.
Email, coffee and iPad apps
If email is dead, then why are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn flooding me with emails? Actually, researchers have concluded that email marketing and newsletters still work.
Have you noticed that McDonald’s coffee isn’t as good as it used to be? Comments on Facebook suggest trying Tim Hortons. I just did (that’s where I am now). Better than McD’s. Room for improvement.
The Wall Street Journal has a new app for iPad and IOS 6. It sucks. The old one gave you articles that you could scroll through and skim or read. The new one replicates the newspaper. Hello! Design things for the medium, not because you’re still stuck in the 20th Century.
I got an iPhone 5 this week. Verizon LTE. It rocks. So far, set up has been easy. Speed is fantastic. Great as a phone.
Creativity and engineering
Something you can give back to the community. This conversation on Engineer vs. Designer shows how you can be really creative and develop cool stuff.
“This week we talk with Gui Cavalcanti, robotics engineer, founder of Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, Mass and instructor for the Hexapod project as well as fellow instructor and controls engineer Dan Cody. Along with fellow instructor and Electrical Engineer James Whong and a savvy crew of students, they’ve hit their $65,000 goal on Kickstarter, and then some. What are they using it for? To complete Stompy, an open-source, 18-foot-wide, 4,000-pound, six-legged hydraulic robot you can ride!”
Some great talks on TED on education
Daphne Koller, what we’re learning from online education
Stephen Ritz, a teacher growing green in the Bronx
Jane McGonigal, The game that can give you an extra 10 years of life
Boaz Almog levitates a superconductor
Peter Norvig, the 100,000 student classroom
Bonus: a young guitarist meets his hero
My company has a Jura super-automatica coffee machine (which grinds, tamps, and pressure brews the coffee), and it's wonderful. Every cup is fresh, you can choose how much water, it's been reliable, and you can use any coffee (unlike the one-cup machines that take proprietary pods; my favorite coffee is LaVazza Qualita Rossa, but unfortunately we rarely have it).
There are way too few personal (non-corporate) automation blogs. I can count the ones I know of on my fingers…
Hi Tony, for all the times you've commented, I've just found your comment in the spam queue. Sorry. But then, now I'm jealous. A Jura, huh?
Corporate blogs usually fail, it seems. Can't find that mix of personality and mentioning with going over the top. It must be the times, but seems to me that marketing and PR people are pressing extra hard to get commercial messages out (especially for free) and just hitting people rather than showing people benefits. Of course, that's not everyone. I receive almost 100 a day, though.
The Jura is a side-benefit of being owned by an Italian company 🙂
I think part of the problem is that "everyone" wants to follow the Silicon Valley / VC route: get big fast, instead of thinking long term. Concentrating on short term profits often leads to long term problems; US car companies are a classic example.
Back to the coffee & commercial blog theme, check out Seattle Coffee Gear's blog and videos. I bought my Bodum tea pot from them, and have stayed on their e-mail list because it's always fun to see what they're up to. They also have a page on espresso machine reliability and common problems.
Also, if you haven't already looked at Vision Systems Design, you should — they run lots of application oriented articles, describing how different companies solved problems using machine vision, such as this article about inspecting golf balls.
Gary, Thanks for the shoutout! I started the Emerson Process Experts blog back in February of 2006. I enjoy learning about all parts of our business by sharing stories about our subject matter experts. As technologies keep changing, so do the stories to tell. It was great seeing you last week in Anaheim!
Wow, you're coming up on 7 years. It was great to see you again, even if we were both incredibly busy. I was happy to see so much energy and enthusiasm at Exchange. Bodes well for the industry. By the way, it was so noisy before lunch on Thursday that Glen Gudino remarked, "who said engineers can't talk"!