News and Records

When my wife and I moved back to the States from Canada, the young professional packers labeled our boxes.  I was surprised to open one of them after the move to Arizona that was labeled “CDs”.  The box seemed awfully heavy.  Oh, these were the 12-inch, black vinyl “CDs.”  Even then all of my real CDs had been ripped into MP3s and that number is larger now.  In fact, I have 6,511 tracks.  I know because I decided this year to listen to all of them alphabetically by album name… and just finished.

Um, excuse me, is there a point in any of this.  Maybe.  In the days of black vinyl records, automation was accomplished by direct wiring every device back to a central controller (be it a PLC or a DCS).  In the days of MP3s, automation should be accomplished using a fieldbus.  It only saves money and time at design, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance.  If my colleague at the PTO General Assembly Meeting was right that over half of new projects for process instruments do not use a fieldbus, a lot of control engineers must still be buying 12-inch black vinyl record albums.  I wonder if they are embarrassed carrying around portable record players instead of iPods…  they should be just as embarrassed not to use a fieldbus.

Speaking of the General Assembly Meeting, Control Engineering and Automation World have posted their news there from: “Digital network: With 20 million nodes, Profibus is now mainstream technology” and “Profibus ‘Maturity’ Declared”.

Speaking of records, we are headed for more high temperatures here in Scottsdale.  It’s expected we’ll break the record for most summer days over 110 degrees this week.  (The current record is 28 and we are now at 26.)  But it’s a dry heat…

Speaking of a dry heat, the Mikes are not experiencing any today; they get humid heat in Houston at the well-attended PROFIBUS in Process class there.

Speaking of one-day training classes, the schedule was recently updated.  See when we’re coming to your city.

Speaking of RSS feeds (er, introducing the topic of RSS feeds), one of the popular topics at the General Assembly Meeting was using RSS feeds to stay up to date with news and blog postings.  Our website offers three RSS Feeds: news, newsletters, and PROFIblog.  If you are looking to adopt this popular technology to have news delivered to you rather than going hunting for it, try this brief introduction.  You can use Internet Explorer 7, an add-in for Outlook, or a stand-alone reader (aka aggregator).  I use SharpReader only because I adopted early and it was free:  

You can walk down to the news stand and get a paper, come back and listen to your records, then go direct wire some automation hardware or have your news delivered while listening to your MP3s, then use a fieldbus.  Look for news or use RSS; record album or MP3; direct wire or fieldbus.  Choose wisely.