JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 130 : 11 September 2003

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

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9/11 anniversary thoughts - For what it's worth

As we arrive at the second anniversary of 9/11, we must stop to think about what is happening here. In the words of Buffalo Springfield's 1967 song,
For what it's worth.
    There's somethin' happening here,
    What it is ain't exactly clear.
    There's a man with a gun over there,
    Tellin' me I gotta beware.
    I think it's time we stop,
    Hey, what's that sound?
    Everybody look what's going down.
The world changed forever on 9/11. Two years after, the date must give us pause. There's something happenin' here...

Have we caught Osama bin Laden, the arch-villain behind the atrocity? No. Instead we went out and subdued Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet bin Laden and the Taliban are still there. Just today, his new video tape warned of more terror.

Have we caught the Anthrax killer, who supposedly had the same evil intentions? No, we've kinda forgotten that. Instead, obedient to the President's personal obsession, we went after Saddam Hussein and occupied Iraq. Have we found Saddam? No, though we paid a $30m reward and killed his two sons.

We were told that Saddam had WMD. Will we ever find the WMD? Not likely. The rhetoric has now shifted to "WMD programs" and even those references have almost disappeared.

The Iraqi war was declared over within days. In his aircraft carrier photo-op, the President proclaimed "Mission accomplished!" and "We have prevailed!" Up to that time, 139 Americans were dead. More than that number have died since, with even more casualties mounting almost every day. And disgracefully, no one even speaks about the number of dead Iraqis, estimated at over 10,000. Similarly, little was ever said about more than 2,000,000 dead Vietnamese.

America chose to attack Iraq. Terror attacks now occur there because we are there. What was sold to the Congress and the US public as WMD and freedom for the Iraqi people, is now being re-sold as "the central war on terror". Should we believe that we are somehow safer now?

During this 9/11 anniversary week, with the US in the throes of a "jobless recovery", President Bush has asked Congress for $87 billion (this year's budget) to fund the war. The present record deficit will now jump to an even higher record deficit, approaching $600 billion. With 140,000 US troops now in Iraq, the Bush administration admits that a similar number will likely remain a year hence.

I really don't understand! Polls show that President Bush's approval rating has "dropped" to 49%. Who are these 49% who still support this man after his succession of mistakes, mis-steps and mis-handling that goes on and on and on?

The pragmatic answer: There are many people who prefer to not think, to not make the effort to know, who feel that patriotism implies blind loyalty to the President. Open debate and criticism of the war are labeled "un-American"; those who disagree are called "traitors". Refreshingly, Newsweek suggests that perhaps it is time for a new kind of patriotism (see weblink below).

Now finally, the Presidential candidates are voicing their strong opinions. Are they "un-American"? Are they "traitors"? They make the criticisms I made some months ago in eNews now seem like milk toast. My previous comments brought a hailstorm of "damned liberal" epithets. I'd like to hear from those people again - I'd like to understand. And please, don't tell me to "stick to automation".

But stop! Today is 9/11/2003. It's 2 years later. Has the risk of terrorism increased, or decreased, because of Afghanistan and Iraq? Egypt's friendly President Hosni Mubarak warned: "The war in Iraq will create hundreds more bin Ladens!" Has it?

Democracy means that the buck ultimately stops with us, the voters. We must face facts, accept personal responsibility, and do whatever we can as individual citizens. Now is the time.

Click Newsweek (15 Sept. 2003)- Time for a new Patriotism?

Click Sidetracked from the war on terrorism

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More on email viruses and spam

The onslaught of viruses has reached epidemic proportions. Since August, computers everywhere have been attacked by literally hundreds of different viruses - some of them really bad.

On Aug. 11, the Blaster virus hammered millions of computers. Ten days later, with the SoBig virus, 15% of large companies and 30% of small companies were affected. Estimated damage totals $2 billion - one of the costliest viruses ever. Damage from viruses amount to more than $13 billion this year alone!

It's getting worse! Six versions of SoBig have been launched since January, each more effective than the last. Everyone's now waiting nervously for the next big virus, expected on Sept. 11. Terrorists might try to wipe out millions of computer hard drives, or shut down the power grid, or do something worse.

The author of SoBig has already turned thousands of computers into virtual slaves, ready to do his bidding as pseudo e-mailers. What next? Stay ready and vigilant this week!

But, even if such a killer virus never strikes, the combination of viruses with spam e-mail has turned everyday computing into an ordeal. When I check my e-mail, I'm greeted with a seemingly endless string of advertising for, uh, (words deleted here to avoid this eNews being blocked). An increasing number of companies now block good emails that inadvertently include embargoed words. This is seriously reducing email effectiveness.

The vitality of the information economy is at risk. Viruses and spam are heavy anchors, weighing down already dragging businesses. The virus epidemic is seriously undermining technology's productivity boost.

With 95% market share, Microsoft's Windows desktop operating system is a fat, juicy target for virus attacks. Microsoft is trying to help with safe-software initiatives. Make sure that you signup (free) for their automatic upgrades and patches. If you haven't, DO IT TODAY!

And MAKE SURE your Norton or MacAfee anti-virus programs have all the latest updates. If you're connected, use live updates!

Click Business Week (8 Sept. 2003) - Epidemic!

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Major automation suppliers - rankings & market shares

Morgan Stanley has just (Sept. 8, 2003) published a report entitled "Automation: Deep Dive plus Customer Survey". It provides valuable insights into customer perceptions of the major automation suppliers in both market segments - process and discrete. Here is a summary which you might find valuable:
    Process Automation Market Shares (2002)

    Emerson 12.9%
    Honeywell 11.8%
    ABB 11.2%
    Invensys 7.4%
    Yokogawa 5.6%
    Siemens 2.5%

    Discrete Automation Market Shares (2002)

    Siemens 18.3%
    Rockwell 10.7%
    ABB 10.6%
    Schneider 9.4%
    Mitsubishi 6.1%
    GE-Fanuc 4.3%
    Emerson 3.9%
    Omron 2.9%

    Customer feedback:

    Siemens Undisputed heavyweight champion in the discrete domain
    Emerson Great technology, great marketing, gaining share in key growth markets
    Honeywell Don't underestimate the power of its installed base
    ABB Maintaining share despite recent uncertainties
    Invensys Strong individual businesses
    Schneider A more product-driven company
    Rockwell A strong market position in discrete
    GE Fanuc Focused on the service aftermarket

    Automation outlook:

    Modest 3% growth in 2004, after falling by 1% in 2003. Greatest growth potential in process projects in Asia and Eastern Europe, with Asia increasing from 16% to 26% of the global market by 2013, benefiting Emerson and Yokogawa especially.

For a copy of this report, contact: Scott Davis at Morgan Stanley
Click scott.davis@morganstanley.com

Click Visit the Morgan Stanley website

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Help to select the next Fortune magazine
"Hero of Manufacturing"

Gene Bylinsky of FORTUNE Magazine is open to candidate suggestions for FORTUNE's industrial management and technology edition's annual feature, "Heroes of Manufacturing". These people should have made a lasting contribution to some aspect of manufacturing. This can include software, hardware, supply chain, inventory control, product development and design, computerized warehousing linked to production plants, etc. Preferably, these people should still be active in their fields.

Fortune Heroes have ranged from our own Dick Morley, the PLC inventor, to Leroy Hood, the brilliant designer and builder of "gene machines" that have speeded the deciphering of the human genome by decades, to Jim Bryan, who has pushed forward precision machining.

Click For some examples of previous Heroes

Please email your candidates names with a brief description of their achievements to Gene Bylinsky: Click Gmbylinsky@aol.com

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The great $1,000,000 driverless car race

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been funding research projects for a long time, and has launched some amazing technical jumps including the Internet (which was originally called ARPANET). Now DARPA has initiated an unusual effort to develop self-guiding military vehicles by pitting teams against each other, to stimulate new technology. The objective is to develop robotics technology that will replace people with machines in dangerous situations (like combat).

DARPA's Grand Challenge is to get an unmanned automobile to drive itself from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 10 hours. This will not be a remote-controlled vehicle driven by someone wielding a wireless laptop, but a completely autonomous car that will drive and navigate itself at speeds as fast as 55 mph., on a yet unspecified route, including both on-road and off-road driving. The winner will have serious bragging rights - and $ 1,000,000 cash. Deadline: March 13, 2004.

While autonomous vehicles have driven successfully on paved highways, none has done so off-road. Several university researchers and privately funded groups are working hard to meet the deadline. A team of 23 Caltech students is competing with the feeling that this is a historic opportunity, similar to the crossing of the Atlantic by Lindbergh. The Caltech team leader boasts, "Our chances of winning are 100%!"

Click MSNBC - The great (driverless) car race

Click Caltech Car: No CD Player, No Seats, No Driver

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Jerry VanEe [Jerry.VanEe@conocophillips.com] provided some insights into the reasons for high executive salaries:
    "One of the reasons that executive salaries have risen to such stratospheric heights, is that North American society is enamored with the concept of "superstardom". We have convinced ourselves that certain people, in certain situations, are worth whatever they demand. This is why some people are paid millions of dollars for their ability to throw a baseball, or shoot a basketball. The lavish salaries of our highest paid athletes and entertainers are highly publicized; perhaps the CEOs of billion dollar companies feel they deserve as much, or more than these other "superstars" are getting.

    "All of this is predicated on the belief that the individual can return more to the organization than the organization pays for the individual's contribution. In big business and big entertainment, this can very often be true. However, if the business or sports team is losing buckets of money and the people who are supposed to have some direct influence on the bottom line fail to deliver, they should be held accountable.

    "A company that loses millions of dollars a year and continues to pay its top executives exorbitant salaries probably deserves to go out of business. The problem is that, when it does, the big losers are usuallythe working drones. The people that were in a position to save the company have already retired to Bermuda with millions in their personal bank accounts.

    "But, if you expect me to have an answer to the problem, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you. If I were that smart, I would be one of those CEOs, retiring with millions in the bank."

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Ted Mohns MD [tedmohns@yahoo.com] gave his opinion of the suggestion that white-collar workers should unionize and cause trouble for errant executives:
    "Roy Slavin's bleak depiction of workforce-versus-management and the need for organized job actions rings true. Unfortunately he stops short of outlining any approach to the next step, i.e. how to get workers organized. The old-fashioned union organizers no longer exist. People who might undertake a start-up effort of that kind would themselves soon be out of a job, yet still have to live.

    "Safe communication between dissident workers, eg: about organization and about actions to be taken, would be a sizable challenge since corporations have the ability to monitor in-house e-mail and phone traffic. Workers' homes no longer tend to cluster in surrounding neighborhoods, making it less likely to easily interact during off-hours. Further, the classic pattern of betrayals to management would doubtless repeat itself.

    "If the rich-poor disparity becomes great enough, desperation will presumably motivate workers to absorb the human and financial costs of organization, and to overcome any obstacles. That very late and extreme-case remedy, however, would generate problems of its own in addition to proving hugely costly to workers and corporations alike. Is there any strategy which might be more timely and less costly?"

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Mike Marullo [MAM@oncfari.com] says that users want information, not ownership, of large automation systems:
    "In my opinion, the very best applications of technology are the ones that simplify. Solutions may be highly complex internally, but if they are easy to use externally, that is the real value. Unfortunately, we have become preoccupied with complexity as an implicit part of technology-based solutions (e.g., the infamous flashing 12:00 on VCR’s). By contrast, cell phone and ATM users don't need to understand technology.

    "My own prediction is that future SCADA and related automation systems will become much more sophisticated internally, yet much simpler externally. Similarly, users will eventually realize that what they want is information, not system ownership. Ownership embodies a huge, ongoing responsibility that most users are increasingly ill equipped to handle. The first indication that such a shift is coming is the purging of the experienced technical talent from the user community, which we have all (sadly) observed.

    "Once that impact is fully realized, the operation and maintenance of highly sophisticated systems will be transferred to companies equipped to do that. This will become a fiscal and operational imperative. Example: look at the new cyber-security requirements for electric utilities; most user organizations have an extremely hard time trying to achieve and maintain compliance. Quite simply, they no longer have the talent pool necessary to plan, design, implement and maintain such discipline long-term.

    "In my view, companies selling automation systems today must adapt to these changing needs - or die!"

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