JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 27 : December 28, 2000
A new-age newsletter, published irreverently and irregularly by Jim Pinto.
Business, marketing & futures commentary.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
This is the final issue of JimPinto.com eNews
for the old year, century, decade, millennium.
We will resume in the new era!
Happy New Year!
- New Browser for P2P Computing
- P2P - In the enterprise
- Scarcity & Abundance - The Inflection Point
- The Myth of High Electricity Usage
- Wearable Computers - "My Jacket is Ringing"
- 1.5 Giga Hz Pentium + 180 gigabytes hard-drive
- Fortune names Rockwell "Takeover Bait"
- eFeedback - Rockwell/Allen-Bradley, Entropy & Extropy, etc.
New browser for P2P computing
Napster started music sharing. Now, a new browser from Groove, a
is taking peer-to-peer (P2P) computing to a new level, just as Netscape did with the World Wide
Web just a few years ago. Groove "Transceiver" software includes all the
tools a small group needs to interact: it allows users to communicate via
text and voice, to share all kinds of files and to collaborate on the
editing of documents.
Users create a shared, secure environment in which they invite other Groove
users to carry on business or to conduct personal conversations. All of the
information created in that space is stored on each users computer. When
one changes something, the change is automatically made on the others
machines. And if a user happens to be offline, Groove ensures that his
files are updated once he reconnects.
P2P is indeed a revolutionary phenomenon you'll be hearing a lot about
soon. According to Newsweek (August 14, 2000) : "The simple idea at its
core - easy-to-use peer-to-peer computing - already has unleashed an
intellectual storm that stands to change how digital bits, the lifeblood of
the New Economy, are delivered, stored, and valued."
Are there peer applications for business and personal use that go beyond
file sharing and searching? Will peer computing become the next generation
of computing? Download the preview edition of Transceiver and see for
Download Groove Transceiver
A good Introduction to P2P computing
P2P in the enterprise
If computers on the Internet can talk to one another directly (rather than
via a server) it would mean that a vast amount of unused computing could
finally be harnessed to revolutionize significant enterprise processes.
Examples: the real-time collaboration provided by Groove/Transceiver;
capturing bandwidth-intensive forms of communication such as telephone
conversations and aggregate them with other forms of content; vast
improvement in power and depth for search-engines; self-organizing and
complex adaptive systems. There are lots more new and revolutionary
applications being developed today.
Read this article on Enterprise P2P
Scarcity & abundance - the inflection point
My new article : Scarcity & Abundance - The Inflection Point was
published in Industrial Controls Intelligence & Plant Systems Report,
My previous topics :
Automation in Decline
Companies in Trouble
generated a lot of debate and discussion. On that theme, rather than simply
being the reporter of recession, I would prefer to present a path to
renewed industrial automation success. This new article reviews the
possibilities within a larger perspective.
Abundances and scarcities play out in a spiral of reciprocity, with each
producing its opposite in the cycles of economic advance. The inflection
point is where significant growth and wealth is generated for leaders who
utilizes knowledge and creativity to manipulate the future abundance while
it is still a scarcity.
For industrial automation, several new inflection points will arrive in the
next couple of decades. Here, I suggest my favorite possibilities. Please
take a look. I'll appreciate your comments and feedback, and perhaps some
good, stimulating discussion!
Scarcity & Abundance - the Inflection Point
High Electricity Usage
In Scarcity & Abundance I wrote:
"A typical PC uses about a thousand kW
hours per year. The billion computers which are expected to be connected to
the Internet over the next five years, together with peripherals and
hundreds of billions of embedded chips, will consume as much electricity as
the entire US economy does today. So, power - once an “abundance” - will
become a “scarcity”.
My article was based on ideas expounded in George Gilders book: Telecosm.
Gilder and his sources, Mills & Huber, are wrong, according to Dr. Joseph
Romm (firstname.lastname@example.org), former acting assistant secretary of energy, who
responded as follows :
"A typical PC (and peripherals) today uses 200 W, and that is a
conservative (i.e. high) estimate. The most credible source on this is
Lawrence Berkeley national laboratory.
Download the (pdf file) Berkeley Report on Electricity Usage
Read Dr. Romm's excellent book: "Cool Companies: Cutting Pollution and
Saving Money with Clean, Efficient Energy Technology”.
Romm's book : Cool Companies
"Perhaps equally important to any calculation of what a 1-billion PC future
means, new PCs are increasingly more efficient. Laptops use under 100
watts, many use under 50 watts (Flat panel displays use 1/4 the power of
regular monitors). Because of battery life issues (and environmental
concerns), companies have been scrambling to cut the energy consumption and
improve the power management. Intel's Instantly Available Personal
Computer is designed to improve the capacity of a PC to stay connected to
information networks while providing much more effective management of PC
energy use and reducing the lengthy boot-up times PCs currently need. It
consumes less than 5 watts of power while maintaining connections to the
outside world. The energy consumed by individual embedded chips is also
"The electric intensity (electricity consumed per dollar of GDP) of the
U.S. has dropped sharply since the advent of the Internet (i.e. 1996). The
conclusion [power - once an “abundance” - will become a “scarcity”] is
incorrect. Stupid deregulation in California and elsewhere, some clever
gaming by utilities under the new flawed rules, and very hot summers should
not be confused with genuine supply problems. Indeed the annual growth in
the nation's total energy demand has slowed dramatically in the last 4
years, even though GDP growth has grown sharply.
"You have been taken in by the same disinformation that so many others
have--Mark Mills and Peter Huber's laughably inaccurate analyses, which the
above critique demolishes. Also, Mills & Huber never bothered to ask
whether networked PCs save energy (by reducing inventories, allowing people
work at home, etc), which is the thrust of my analysis at
"I spend a lot of time debunking Mills and Huber. Feel free to contact me
More on wearable computers - "My jacket is ringing...!"
Dutch electronics giant Philips and US apparel maker Levi Strauss & Co.
have teamed up to create a jacket with electronic gadgetry built in. The
two companies are betting that traditional pockets, bulging with portable
handheld devices, have reached their limit. Their $900 water-resistant
outdoor jacket branded ICD+, for Industrial Clothing Division Plus comes
equipped with an MP3 player for playing music downloaded from the Web, a
cellular phone, a headset and a small remote control device. To make a
call, just flip up your collar; for some music, reach for your pocket; if
the volume is too loud, just touch a few buttons on your sleeve.
If this jacket sounds like something only James Bond would use, look
again - it is being launched commercially this month in 40 of Levi
Strauss's high-end fashion boutiques in Paris, London and Milan. The
companies say they don't plan to introduce the jacket in the United States
anytime soon because the cell phone runs on the GSM standard which is
widely used in Europe but only in some segments of the US.
News item: Our jacket is ringing
Other clothing companies are jumping on the e-wagon. Nike has already
integrated a round, miniature MP3 player into its running clothes. For
women, the MP3 player can be attached to a pocket in the back of running
shorts ($40), to provide an unwired look.
Wearable electronics is being taken seriously by a growing number of
clothing and electronics makers. They are introducing fabrics that conduct
electricity and connect audio equipment and pocket computers. E-jewelry is
also hot. Swatch will introduce a $250 watch/cell phone in late 2001.
Get your new 1.5 GHz Pentium
Intel has released its new 1.5 GHz Pentium 4:
Pentium 4 Intro
with 180 gigabytes hard-drive
and Seagate just announced the Barracuda-180 which provides 180 gigabytes
of storage in a single drive (that's the text on a stack of paper three
times the height of the Empire State Building.)
Moore's Law marches on, and on......
Rockwell is "takeover bait"
The Investor Guide in Fortune Magazine, Dec 18, 2000 had an interesting
article entitled: Riding the Buyout Wave - Fortune's first-ever list of
takeover candidates for the coming year. The section on Industrials
mentioned the GE takeover of Honeywell, with "experts predicting a flurry
of similar deals". Rockwell was listed as a candidate for "Takeover Bait"
- as follows:
"Who's next? We like Rockwell International. The $7.5 billion Milwaukee
Company makes an array of advanced equipment, including communications and
navigation systems for aircraft manufacturers. Its avionics and
communications business, which primarily serves Boeing and Airbus, is
clearly the company's best performer. Revenues grew 21% in fiscal 1999,
accounting for about a third of overall sales. Thanks to an Asian rebound
and strong demand for Rockwell's cockpit controls and in-flight
entertainment systems, analysts expect strong sales growth through next
Fortune Feature Riding the Buyout Wave
The Fortune table with Rockwell as "Takeover Bait"
Pinto's Prognostications :
Fortune evidently did not know (yet) of the
Collins spin-off from Rockwell, which we think was done to separate
Avionics from Industrial (Allen-Bradley). There are a couple of ways to
look at the spin-off:
a/ Allow Siemens (and others who don't wish to play
with the Avionics piece) to make a clean and uncluttered offer for what is
left - Allen-Bradley.
b/ Separate Collins, to allow United Technologies
(who don't want the industrial piece) to make an unclouded offer for the
In any case, observers feel that Don Davis (Rockwell CEO, ex-Allen-Bradley) is ready to
sell off and "go home". Look for Rockwell (all or part) to be sold off
early in the New Year. The Fortune article suggests a takeover price of
$55.00. ROK closed on Wednesday 27 Dec. 2000 at $ 46 1/8 - I'll hold my
stock (bought at $38.00) to see what happens.
Dave Hillquist [DHillqu@iccnet.com] Plant Engineer, Inland Paperboard &
Packaging, Ontario, California e-wrote significant comments which I thought
would be worth including here in their entirety:
"Reading your remarks about Rockwell's troubles leads me to observe that
there has long been a largely-unperceived precariousness about the success
of their Allen-Bradley component which may finally be coming into play.
On a different topic, regarding my item on extropy (increase of "order" -
opposite of Entropy) Willy Smith [email@example.com] e-asked:
"Allen-Bradley has been a bastion of obsolescence and obstructive
complexity for many years. They have been remarkably successful in
marketing and distribution, but many of their major products are technical
dinosaurs in a field where technology is the essence. I have marveled at
the prevalence of Allen-Bradley PLC's (programmable logic controllers),
because I could always purchase better PLC's for a fraction of their price.
Their PLC programming software has been a wonder of confusion and vast
complexity, while much competitive software was characterized by simplicity
"Allen-Bradley variable speed drives are extremely expensive and so complex
that an installation or a breakdown can be very challenging to deal with;
each model is accompanied by a huge stack of obscurely written manuals in
which useful information, if present at all, is very hard to find. In
contrast, competitive drives, which I may purchase for a fraction of the
price, come with one or two small manuals and are quite easy to configure
or diagnose. The difference is not because of superior features in the
"When I purchase automation products for small projects (about $10,000 to
$75,000) I achieve substantial savings by soliciting competitive bids, but
rarely is there any Allen-Bradley product on my final purchase list. Even
their major competitors sell to me at much lower prices than theirs.
"I see two factors that keep Allen-Bradley in business: first, much
purchasing is done by agents who are hierarchically isolated from the
technical end users, such as plant engineers and electricians, who can
actually discern the relative utility of various devices; and second, many
companies seem to keep specification lists, apparently carved in stone eons
ago, which ensure that they will never be able to adopt innovative
technology and will hardly be able to recognize when their specified
devices become uncompetitive.
"Also, the effects of the internet are slowly insinuating themselves into
the automation products business. I can quickly direct my desktop PC into a
world of bargain-priced high-quality products at automationdirect.com,
asi-interconnect.com, thinkndo.com and other sites. Openness and truly
competitive pricing may soon force Allen-Bradley and other major automation
manufacturers to change or succumb."
"The big question is, where does extropy come from? How are extropy and
entropy possible in the same universe?"
"Entropy relates to the physical universe - which is
continually "winding down", towards minimum energy. Extropy relates to the
non-physical universe - spiritual, intelligence - which is continually
"winding upwards" towards maximum harmony. Spiritual drive, intelligence,
technology are the driving forces in extropy."
Lots of people wrote with pleasure and excitement on recognizing the
concept of Entropy. Your own comments, feedback and suggestions will be
Looking for news, Roger Grace [firstname.lastname@example.org] e-wrote:
grapevine sources perhaps picked up any information as to what they are up
to after spending all that cash on acquiring ABB power turbines?"
Do you have any insights or information? Please let me know. I am
currently reviewing ABB, and will bring up some "jewels" soon.....
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