Newsletter Insert September 2015

Drew’s Automation Insert

Drew Baryenbruch

Video Games

I’m not afraid to admit I really enjoy video games. I don’t think I fit the mold of hardcore gamer (my twitch reflexes just aren’t quick enough), but I enjoy gaming. I enjoy first person shooter games but my real passion is for puzzle games, real time strategy games and role playing games. I try my best to avoid video games over the short Wisconsin summers but come fall and winter I go into a digital gaming hibernation of sorts. Everyone needs a release. Some people have sitcoms, some love movies, music, romance novels or Facebook stalking, I enjoy gaming. To each their own, but here is why gaming is better!

You can learn a profound amount about a person watching them play a game:
We give far more credit to great poker players or chess masters who can read their opponents than we do to video game players – and for no good reason. If you watch someone play a video game you will learn about their problem solving skills. The puzzles built into games today are pretty mind blowing. You will learn how they deal with failure. In video games there is always failure. After failure does the person throw the controller, do they jump back in and die the same way again, or do they learn and adapt based on their failure?

You also see how aggressively or conservatively a person handles risk. Do they inch through a level poking around every corner slowly or do they go in with guns blazing after throwing a grenade?

Give me 5 minutes in an arcade with a man and I’ll tell you his story…

You have to be really good with people:
I know the stigma is that gamers are anti-social, basement dwelling creatures that would rather read a book on elf lore than talk to a girl. Some of that may resemble the truth for a decent majority of the culture but many games today not only encourage, but require team building and social interaction.

Team or clan based games require you to attract people to your group to compete. Unless you have 50 real life friends willing to play a game with you, you have to market your group to find members. All you have to do this marketing is often a group banner (a single image) and a paragraph to explain why wandering souls should join your group. To do this successfully, you need to find a niche to get likeminded people together with some semblance of common ground glue.

Then after you have established a group you have to get the clan to adhere to some group rules and strategy so you can accomplish your objectives. This is leadership over a chat line or message board. The only discipline for those who don’t fall in line is to boot a player from the group. How will you wield this power?

Power will illicit all the politics of people. Can you be a good leader? Do you banish a popular member if they refuse to fall in line? What if that is risking half the team will leave with him or her?

It’s like a business with unpaid employees. You have the choice to churn and burn people, invest your time in training to grow talent from within, or even scalp other teams’ talent. If you are successful you also have to deal with growth.

In games that means higher rankings which greatly increases the difficulty of your opponents, can you lead at the next level or do you have to cut some of your better players to get the team stats below a cap?

For being anti-social these games require marketing, leadership, politics, analysis, dedication and talent evaluation. It’s a lot like a job but with no real world consequences.

Games today are a unique form of storytelling and the only truly interactive one I know of:
Story telling in video games has come a long way from the days of two random Italian Plumbers saving a princess from a fat fire breathing dinosaur. The new open world role playing games are expansive and have amazing deep stories. The best analogy I can think of for someone who does not play games is that these games are literally play along novels now.

There is lore and history around all the friends and foes you meet in the game. There are literally books within the game you can read about the world you are experiencing. I can say I have never gotten to the point of turning on a video game to read a book within the game, but it does exist.

My favorite part is that you are a decision making part of the story. Many of the decisions you make dramatically alter the world in which you are playing. I find it almost absurd how emotionally tied you can become to the events on the screen. I think it’s a lot like the best novels I have read, the ones you can’t put down and literally feel part of while reading.

Gaming is an Amazing Workout!:
My wife is ok with my gaming but she doesn’t miss a chance to give me crap about it. I’m OK with that. Our deal is simply that I don’t hog the TV because she is not going to watch me play a game.

To end the quarrels over the TV and make sure I didn’t become a grease stain on the couch, I put the gaming counsel in the basement. It’s connected to the TV over the treadmill. No gaming if I’m not walking. Look for my weight loss video coming out in 2016 – it will be called, “Body by Mario.” We gamers are going to be more than just a set of abnormally well formed thumb muscles. (And yes I know the thumb doesn’t really have muscles in it)



John Rinaldi Needs your Help!

John Rinaldi is looking for system integrators and machine builders interested in getting exclusive access to a new automation historian featuring a rules engine, enterprise communications, a notification engine and more.

If you’d like to be one of the first to get their hands on such a device.

Go to:

In the question box enter “Get me connected” Not only will you get first access to the device you will also get a free copy of John’s book on OPC UA.



Survey Says:

Last month in our free gift survey we asked:

If you were a character on a remake of the original Star Trek series, who would you want to play?


  • 44.27% Chief Engineer Scott
  • 21.37% Captain Kirk
  • 15.27% Other
  • 14.50% Mr. Spock
  • 4.58% Lieutenant Uhura

45% of respondents staying true to profession as Chief Engineer Scott is not a huge surprise.

What was a surprise was the 15% who responded other. This allowed you write in any name. I would have expected a random lot of write in candidates. Instead more than half (roughly 10% of all responses) entered some form of the “Redshirt guy.”

For those not in the know, the Redshirt guy is a random engineer often killed in the opening scene of the show.

That fact that 10% of our customers come up with such a cryptic reference unencouraged is both awesome and frightening.

We also asked…

How important is the security of your factory control systems and automated devices today?

  • Not Important – 4.6%
  • Some Importance – 13.7%
  • Medium Importance – 16.8%
  • Important – 34.4%
  • Very Important – 35.9%

How important will the security of your factory control systems and automated devices be in 2 years?

  • Not Important – 0.8%
  • Some Importance – 13.0%
  • Medium Importance – 10.7%
  • Important – 26.0%
  • Very Important – 49.6%

Assume you’re buying a product that various vendors have for $250 to $500, choose the one you would buy:

  • The lowest priced unit from a vendor with hard to get, average quality product support
    – 16%
  • A higher priced unit from a vendor with easily accessible, very high quality product support
    – 84%

Assume you’re buying a product that various vendors have for $1250 to $1500, choose the one you would buy:

  • The lowest priced unit from a vendor with hard to get, average quality product support
    – 9.2%
  • A higher priced unit from a vendor with easily accessible, very high quality product support
    – 90.4%