Automation Unplugged -
Chip Lee, ISA Director of Publication, has informed me that
my book "Automation Unplugged" was the No. 1 best-seller at
the ISA Expo 2003 in Houston. And the books are shipping now!
Industrial networks, this bus is for you
Hey! After your read the book, please visit Amazon.com and do
a review (your honest opinion). Marketing guru Shari Worthington
has already done the first review - thanks!
As chairman of ISA SP50 and IEC Fieldbus Standards Committees,
Dick Caro has witnessed first-hand the petty politics of the
fieldbus committees. Dick wrote the introduction to Section 4
- Industrial Networks, this bus is for you.
Here is the Table of Contents for Section 4 :
You might enjoy my own poetic musings on Fieldbus:
- Introduction : By Dick Caro
- Fieldbus - Neutral Instrumentation Vendorís Perspective
- How do I catch the Fieldbus?
- The Law of Open Systems Confusion
- The Dichotomy of Open Standards
Industrial networks bring lots of gains
Automation Unplugged is now available online from the
ISA website and several others (see web links below).
Read "Automation Unplugged" - Complete Table of Contents
But that brings with it lots of games
The fieldbus wars cause a lot of fuss
The Users want an Open bus.
The Vendors simply can't agree
To make a fieldbus cheap, or free
The committees they just twist and turn
They argue out and then adjourn
You've gotta read between the lines
That Open and Closed are just designs
That Users all for Open plead
When Inter-op is what they need.
De facto standards win all debates
Ask Microsoft and Mr. Gates.
Buy the book on the ISA website
AutomationTechies.com - taking orders
Amazon.com - buy with 1-click
Readout - UK and Europe shipments
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The ominous Chinese puzzle
In the midst of a serious worldwide economic decline, China has the
fastest-growing economy - surpassing all other countries' boom-time
records in recent history. US analysts figure that China's economy
grew by 14% in the third quarter and will grow 11% in 2003, well
beyond the latest official Chinese forecast of 8.2%.
This year, in mid-October, China put a man in space, only the
third country to do that after the US and Russia. The Chinese people
are naturally thrilled about their latest accomplishment. China has
already used its own rockets to put satellites into orbit. But, this
new-found prestige ominously reflects the reality that America's own
space program is somewhat stymied, while China is quickly catching up.
With accident-prone US space shuttles grounded, many see China's new
space capacity as a major security threat, taking the place of the
old Soviet Union. But, it's not just about putting humans in space.
China has the fast-growing ability to launch nuclear weapons on
intercontinental missiles, and the capacity for global-positioning
satellites that contribute significantly to military power. Clearly,
China has already begun to utilize military surveillance.
China's rockets cost a fraction of the America shuttles. The Chinese
orbital modules are expected to be components of a space station which
could cost just a fraction of the American one. If, in the long run,
China has more humans permanently living and working in space, this
could seriously affect commercial and security aspects within just
a few years. And who can control further militaristic advances?
The political and financial resources of American government are
absorbed in controlling the chaos in Iraq and the mid-east. We have
identified Syria, Iran and N. Korea as the "axis of evil". Who will
protect democracy and freedom from the advancing power of China?
China's spy in the sky
China's space challenge
Fortune Mag: China Is Too Darn Hot!
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The Florida "chad" debacle and the following election fiasco seemed
to indicate a rapid push towards better voting machines. Electronic
touch-screen voting seems the most technically feasible solution,
which many parts of the country hastened to implement.
The US electronic vote-count is controlled by three major corporate
players - Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia - with SAIC soon to be a fourth.
These companies, all with close ties to the current administration,
have been given billions of dollars to complete computerization
of voting machines nation-wide by the 2004 election.
The touch-screen machines being deployed cannot be made to produce
a paper record, and will not be able to do so until 2007. Without
a paper validation of each vote, there is a significant risk that
the electronic count can be rigged. I'm not suggesting that it WILL,
just that it CAN. And most people recognize that if it can, it will.
If we don't assure touch-screen-voting-with-a-paper-trail,
a significant risk factor will be added during the 2004 presidential
election. Many, many people feel that it is crucial for the American
public to mobilize to stop this danger.
Responsible citizens need to engage this problem to a sensible
conclusion. There must not be even be the possibility of the
nation being at risk for another clouded and controversial
election process, presidential or otherwise.
All the President's Votes
Wired Mag: Did E-vote Firm Patch Election?
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San Diego Firestorm 2003
Everyone in the global village knew about the fires in California.
My home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego was in the eye of the storm,
and we received telephone calls and emails from all over the world
asking whether we were affected. I thought I'd share my story with
At about 6:00 am on Sunday 26 Oct. 2003, when we turned on the TV,
the fire was already big news. It had started late the previous
evening some 25 miles away and spread quickly. By about 7:00 am
it was uncomfortably close and we started to evacuate. By 8:00 am,
homes were ablaze in Scripps Ranch, less than half a mile away.
We left by about 9:15 am, and as we drove off with other evacuating
cars, we could see flames behind us.
All the TV channels were broadcasting the deadly details. About 200
homes in Scripps Ranch had burned, and we watched anxiously hoping
and praying that our home was spared, that we would NOT recognize
our own homes on the screen. This was when I wished I had rigged up
the web cam I bought years ago. And then I thought of telephoning
my home number - and mercifully the answering machine responded with
my own voice. After that, we kept calling home every few hours,
while the fire continued its path of destruction. Large sections
of San Diego were burning, as the fire and devastation expanded.
On Tuesday we were allowed back and fortunately our home was spared!
The hill behind is scorched and some of the grass in our backyard
is charred. But, amazingly, the fire stopped short of the house.
It turns out that Ed, a good neighbor, saved our home. When Ed
heard that (because the widespread firestorm had taken many local
firefighters to other areas) the response in our area may not be
in time, he returned to protect his own home. Using his pool pump
and its hose, he watered down his home. Then he saw the flames
approaching over the hill behind our home, and directed his hose
towards the fire, which stopped the flames short. But our backyard
was ablaze, so Ed directed his pool hose into our yard and
succeeded in dousing the flames. Our home was untouched!
Our neighbor Ed is our hero!
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