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Newsletter Issue # 41

Being a Gentleman
Revisiting the Top 10 Myths of IIoT and a Mea Culpa...
Fun Facts and Trivia
May Training Event Exclusive

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February 27, 2018
PackML Application
February 20, 2018
ASCII Device Communication in 2018
February 13, 2018
CIP Terminology
February 6, 2018
I Want OPC UA...
January 30, 2018
MODBUS - Glad You Asked! (Part3)
January 23, 2018
Future of ASCII Data

Being a Gentleman

A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have met a few true gentlemen. These men are thoughtful, respectful and self-confident. These men pride themselves on their self-restraint and self-respect, arising from well-understood and deeply cherished values. These are men that have made the decision that righteous action and moral heroism yield far more than illicit affairs will. They truly understand their masculinity and their duty to respect, honor and protect. These men are largely unheralded, but those of us lucky to know one or call one of them a friend find them to be an inspiration.

It’s unfortunate that instead of honoring men like this, we are more often exposed to their opposite. I am reminded of this as Dr. Nassar, the long-serving (abusing) USA Gymnastics doctor (pedophile), was sentenced. He is unfortunately one of a long, long list of powerful men who, acting nothing like a gentleman, abused their status to degrade themselves and their victims. Men like Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein are clueless to the exercise of self-restraint and the benefits of moral heroism.

I am deeply concerned by how little young men know of gentlemanly behavior, self-restraint, fidelity and honor. I am concerned that the current generation of young men lack exposure to any of these values. How do we develop gentlemen in a society where there are few role models and a media where the message that self-worth and self-respect are products of virtuous self-restraint is absent?

Women are certainly not to blame for this mess, but they are not guiltless either. Some young women seem to believe that the road to equality includes emulating the worst behaviors of men. They regularly use vulgarities, act boorishly, and demonstrate the same bad behaviors. That’s never been a recipe for finding true love and commitment.

What’s truly unfortunate is how this sorry situation has damaged relationships in both the workplace and our personal lives. I’ve read that 65% of Millennial men now think approaching a woman and asking to buy her a drink is sexual harassment. Some male executives are now fearful of mentoring female colleagues. In trying to avoid false harassment charges, these executives are forced to refute charges of sexual discrimination.

What’s common to the true gentlemen I know is their strong religious convictions, firm values and a morality arising from their religious traditions. Admittedly, I have an insignificant sample size, but I can’t think of a single man I’d call a gentleman that doesn’t believe in a creator and regularly practice a faith that is the core of his deeply held values and shapes his daily interactions.

We can argue about the value of excising religious values from daily life, but not that our society has grown more coarse, venal and self-indulgent. This is inconsistent with gentlemanly behavior. What to do about it? I think we men need to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard with more accountability. We need to act like gentlemen and call out other men who fail to act with respect for themselves or others. We need to praise men who act properly out of cherished values.

I am making a commitment to engage with cousins, nephews and other young men to teach these lessons. I hope you will join me and work to defeat this anything goes, valueless bent in our society which has done so much damage.



- John





· The idea of the Easter Bunny originated in Germany in the 1700s – but it was not originally a rabbit. What was it?

· The Easter season begins on Easter Day and lasts for how many days?

· The date Easter is celebrated changes based off of what?

· Rabbits and eggs are often associated with Easter because they are symbols of what two things?


Answers located on bottom of page.


Revisiting the Top 10 Myths of IIoT and a Mea Culpa...

It’s been a rough six weeks since my last newsletter. First, I had a well-respected industry analyst disparage my OPC UA book. I don’t claim to be a professional writer, but I’d argue despite his comments (hopefully not lodged with Amazon), it’s still the best OPC UA book available. Secondly, many, many of you wrote and called about my Industrial Internet of Things Myths article. More than one guy cornered me at trade shows and one especially offended individual spray painted my garage with “MQTT Lives.”

If I had to characterize all the comments, I’d say these people suggested my ten myths of IoT were “less than accurate.” [Editor’s note: You can find the original article in Issue 40: Jan. 2018 at]

I’d like to say what I wrote about IoT and specifically MQTT in the last newsletter was a test of the audience to see how closely you are all paying attention. It looks like a lot of you do pay attention – close attention. But I won’t say I purposely misstated those things because it wouldn’t be true.

I’d like to think that I have an open mind – some would characterize it as an inability to focus. In my defense, I try my best to call them as I see them, and offer information that is the best I know at the time. I have no reason to engage in hype or carry water for any technology or vendor. My job is to offer the best advice I can on issues and technologies pertinent to networking in the manufacturing industry.

I’ll admit to this hasn’t always worked out well for me. I am on what some might term a blacklist at one of the biggest companies in manufacturing. Profinet International and the Open Device Vendor Association (ODVA) have both written me nastygrams at one time or another - most recently when I made fun of them for proclaiming EtherNet/IP and PROFINET IO were IoT technologies. Even the OPC Foundation sent one of those missives to me in 2016 concerning my complaints about the PubSub development. About 15 years ago, some DeviceNet vendors wanted to throw me out of one of the ODVA. “Loose Cannon” was the term they used.

I haven’t purposely tried to tweak anybody (except occasionally the ODVA and PI). I do my best to try to have an open mind on the issues. Given all the people that contacted me on last month’s issue – I engaged some really smart people in conversation about the topics I covered. And, I’ll admit I should have thought about it a little harder. I’ve now come to some new conclusions that are slightly different (170 degrees or so) from my earlier thinking.

My opinions as of February 2018 are:

1. Inside the factory floor, the best technologies to move networked I/O data from field devices to programmable controllers are EtherNet/IP and PROFINET IO. Nothing else makes sense.

2. At the sensor level, the best technology to collect I/O data from sensors and actuators is IO Link.

3. The best technology within the plant floor environment to move non-control data and general information is OPC UA. You should get my blue book on it and see if you agree with that industry analyst or not (you can get the OPC UA book on Amazon). When a noted industry analyst, who shall remain nameless, pans a book – it’s probably one you should get.

4. OPC UA is not the best technology to move data to the Cloud. It is probably second or third best (I’m sure a nastygram from OPC UA Foundation will follow shortly).

5. MQTT is the easiest way to move factory floor data over the internet and into a Cloud application. I retract my statement that MQTT is not a viable IoT technology, though I still have reservations on how to secure that data.

6. JSON and XML are standard, open and effective mechanisms for encoding MQTT data.

I’m glad to get all this off my chest. It’s been a rough few weeks. Took me half a Saturday to repaint my garage door (I’m joking about that – no one graffitied my garage door).

I hear a lot of customers and even some distributors discussing speed and bandwidth as if they are the same thing. They are related, but far from the same thing. It gets even more complicated (and confusing) whether we’re discussing WANs or LANs. With WANs we often talk bandwidth. With LANs we often talk speed. A good question to ask to see if you understand speed and bandwidth is to see if you can answer the question “What would you rather have, more speed or more bandwidth?”

Speed is the easiest to understand. Speed is simply the amount of time it takes to move a bit from here to there. A 10mb (10 million bits/sec) network speed means that 10,000,000 bits flow across the media every second. That seems like a lot, but it’s only 1.2 megabytes per second which is about the size of those floppy disks we used in days gone by. If you sent 1.2 megabytes over a 1 gigabit network (100 times faster); that would be like moving the data in 100 of those floppy disks every second.

Bandwidth is a tad more complicated. Bandwidth is the amount of usable data you can move over the network. You can think of it this way. I love German beer. Suppose the beer tap at my favorite Nuremberg bar dispenses a 1 liter mug every 10 seconds. That’s six mugs (6 liters) every minute with an overall rate (speed) of 360 mugs (360 liters) an hour.

If I’m drinking I could conceivably drink it all; one mug every 10 seconds. But now, if my friend Joe comes with me, I’m obligated to share my beer with Joe. He gets one, I get one. Now, I only get a mug every 20 seconds. My bandwidth, the amount of beer I am receiving, was just cut in half. That’s a 50% reduction in consumption even though the tap speed didn’t change.

But I need at least four beers a minute so this situation is unacceptable. To get my bandwidth back, I could ask the bar to double the tap speed. If they pour a liter every five seconds, my bandwidth is restored and both Joe and I are drinking a liter every 10 seconds again (12 total per minute). Another way to get that same result would be to double the opening on the tapper – doubling what can be consumed (bandwidth).

But the problem is they usually can’t increase the tap speed or the tap size and I really need to get a minimum of four beers a minute. My only other option is to limit Joe to one beer a minute. Once I do that, my bandwidth meets my requirements. I’m drinking five liters a minute – one over my minimum – not quite what it was before, but adequate since I’d feel bad if Joe didn’t get any at all. Limiting Joe like this is called QoS (Quality of Service) and I’ll discuss that in a future article.

In summary, speed is a delivery rate; beer through the tap or bit through some media. Bandwidth is what’s available to be consumed.

In most cases you should choose more bandwidth over more speed.










Fun Facts

·On any given day, 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world, but on St. Patrick's Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints.

·In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns.

·Irish is the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.

·There are more people with Irish ancestry in the US (34 million) than in Ireland (4.2 million).



Training Opportunity

The 2018 Real Time Automation Young Gun’s Factory Floor Connectivity Training Workshop is an educational event with in-depth training on the five most critical factory floor manufacturing technologies – technologies you must be proficient in today!

Held at Real Time Automation May 9-10, this two-day training will provide new factory floor engineers with in-depth training on the five most critical factory floor manufacturing technologies. We live in a totally connected world and with the right information, you can lower costs, improve quality and be more efficient. This event is aimed at manufacturing employees with five or less years’ experience, providing knowledge, tools and products they can utilize to gather the data they need to be more effective.

As an attendee, you’ll experience hands-on training where participants learn about technologies needed through your career. This is a great opportunity to become familiar with how to use RTA products and technologies to move data around the factory floor, into the enterprise and into the cloud. Attendees will be able to configure a device to move various kinds of data around the factory floor in actual use cases.

Key Learning Areas:

  • Basics of Industrial Networking
  • Factory Floor Networking
  • Hands on Demonstrations

What: Young Gun’s Factory Floor Connectivity training
When: May 9-10, 2018
Where: Real Time Automation - Pewaukee, WI

Reserve your spot today! Enrollment closes April 30th



  Trivia Answers: A hare; 50 days; The first full moon after the Spring Equinox; Fertility and rebirth

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