My last newsletter coming from the ARC Forum of February 6-9. Sign up for newsletters by clicking on the envelop icon on the website or clicking here.

The annual ARC Industry Forum was last week. It was great to catch up with many people I have not seen for a while. Attendance was good considering there is now a Forum in Europe as well as Asia. Many do not have to travel so far. Attendees were energetic in the initial receptions and the conference tracks I attended attracted interest and questions.

I always have many meetings during the event. Sometimes more information is gleaned in hallway conversations, though.


There were several conversations regarding the pending Emerson acquisition of NI. My first reaction was somewhat negative thinking from an automation point of view. Emerson, duh, is a conglomerate. In order to grow, it requires acquisitions. Organic growth will not yield the growth Wall Street seeks. This acquisition would add markets and adjacent growth to Emerson’s current businesses. It has recently divested several business units, which must be replaced in its portfolio in order to sustain growth.

NI has restructured a couple of times over the past several years and now has a structure that would allow business units to be separated and perhaps even sold to provide funds for the acquisition. 

I’ve worked for a few conglomerates in my career. Sometimes they leave the business units alone to pursue their businesses without too much interference from the “suits” from corporate. Trust me, that’ll only last as long as profits are rolling in. Been there, done that!


Search has become increasingly frustrating. Some many companies use SEO that results after page 2 often are just repeats of page 1. I’m seldom surprised by search anymore.

Microsoft thinks the “large language models” of AI like GPT that it invested in will totally change search. Google countered with its Bard, which failed miserably in its debut demo. But GPT isn’t all that good either. An article in the MIT Technology Review pointed to many mistakes that it makes.

Something else to think about—Google and followers gave a list of links to a query. It didn’t point to a definitive answer. It gave you more options. GPT spits out a paragraph of text, which may or may not make sense. This sounds like a definitive answer, rather than a list of suggestions. That has implications for future generations using search.

It is not over, yet.


One hallway conversation I had was with Mark Fondl. When I first became an editor, he was a vice president of an automation technology provider. We had many meetings where he extolled the virtues of Ethernet in automation.  I recalled several of my early podcasts explaining Ethernet. They still are downloaded after 15 years. Here they are:

Paul Wacker interview on Ethernet from 2007

Paul Wacker follow up for more on Ethernet from 2007

A third Paul Wacker interview on Ethernet from 2008

Two other podcast interviews I did with Rockwell on safety are still downloaded:

Interview with Rockwell Automation on machine safety

Follow up interview with Rockwell Automation on functional safety

Inductive Automation (who sponsors this newsletter and my website and podcasts) is 20 years old. Here is an interview I did with two early employees from 2011.

Interview with Inductive Automation 2011

And I have a new podcast recently released focusing on Twitter, AI, and Video.


I’m an avid learner and practitioner of fitness and nutrition. I recently came across this newsletter from Arnold Schwarzenegger called Pulse Daily.

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