Newsletter Issue # 13

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 


IN THIS ISSUE
3 Stories of Real Men
10 Things You Should Know about SNMP
Fun Facts and Trivia


STEAL OF THE MONTH...
Get a free pair of RTA sunglasses this month only!

Email your name and address to: jladd@rta- automation.com by August 9th to claim your steal of the month.


SIDE BLOGS
7/8/13
Profinet to Allen-Bradley PLC
6/27/13
Service
6/19/13
KE Show June 2013
5/6/13
When is EtherNet/IP Not the Right Choice?
4/26/13
EtherNet TCP/IP Stacks Part 3
4/25/13
EtherNet TCP/IP Stacks Part 2

 

YOUNG GUN AUTOMATION INSERT - Practical tips and information for young engineers.

 

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3 Stories of Real Men


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

I have three amazing stories that I am absolutely compelled to tell. They’re stories of professional disgrace, bone chilling personal heartbreak, and utter and complete defeat followed by resurrection, redemption and ultimately, success and happiness.

We all know famous stories. Famous people doing famous things. There’s the story of Kurt Warner, former quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. Kurt was undrafted after college. Not a single NFL team wanted him. With no NFL prospects, he took a job bagging groceries for just $5.50 per hour. From there he won a spot on an Arena Team. That eventually led him to the NFL and two Super Bowls, both which he not only won but took home the MVP award.

And, of course, you can’t talk about failure and redemption without mentioning Ulysses S. Grant or Abraham Lincoln. After West Point, Grant suffered from a tremendous loneliness at his exceedingly secluded post in the new Oregon Territory. He left the army and then failed in a number of businesses before eventually rejoining the army and leading the North to Victory. And Lincoln? Lincoln utterly failed at two businesses, lost a bid for Congress, lost twice for Senate, and lost a vice-presidential bid. He should have given up. But he didn’t.

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”

-Author Orion
Swett Marden

It’s fine to look at these famous figures from the past, but today I am going to tell you three stories of three ordinary men whose stories have that same kind of impact. Stories that illustrate exactly the kind of mindset you need to deal with tragedy, overcome impossible heartbreak and deal with personal and professional adversity.

The first story is of Tim, a guy with a pretty colorful story involving professional gambling, heavy drinking, guns, hookers, strippers, scams, and swindles before realizing he’d never see thirty with that lifestyle. For a time he owned a car dealership with up to three hundred cars on his lot - and a pretty big monthly bill for financing that inventory.

One day, his partner emptied their joint bank account and high tailed it to Mexico. He left Tim with misery, bankruptcy, and near divorce.

Tim lived with attorneys hounding him day and night. Every day he worked two full time jobs – one for income and one cleaning up the mess. And little by little he succeeded. One day with no letters from attorneys. A little later two days. Then a week. Now he’s not only restored his professional standing, his career, and his income, he has a patent on one of the most exciting new technologies I’ve ever encountered.

The second story, of my friend Kyle, is more of a personal nature. At just thirty three years old, Kyle found himself shaken to his core with not one but two divorces and two very messy splits with two successive business partners. The second divorce after just three months of marriage. Four failures; two business partners and two women. They shook his confidence and left him emotionally shattered and utterly devastated.

Though emotionally broken, he wouldn’t let that be his legacy. Instead, every day he went about his business of building friendships, expanding his business contacts, and improving both his personal and professional life. Today, he’s succeeded in business beyond anything he ever imagined, and has a wonderful woman and a great relationship.

The last story is the most tragic. I’m sitting across a breakfast table from Mark, a guy I barely knew. He lets go with both barrels, “John, I’ve lost my house. I’ve lost my wife. Can’t see or talk to my three kids. I’ve lost all the money I had in the world, and just spent the last three years in prison. I’m 36 years old and I am starting my life over. Will you help me?”

Of course I did. And over the years I’ve watched him resurrect his career, establish his finances, build a gorgeous house, and attract an incredible woman into his life. He is one of the most intelligent, nicest, most capable men I’ve ever met in my life. I am proud to know him and very honored to count him as a friend.

Each of these men had horrible disappointments, devastating experiences, and tragic failures. But none lost hope. None succumbed to alcohol, drugs or worse. None were paralyzed by fear. Tim went on to form a much more successful partnership with a more reliable partner. Kyle was able to love again despite that double disappointment. And Mark rebuilt his finances and his career.

What fortitude these guys had. What hope they had for the future. What focus they had not on today but on the future. A truly amazing group of men.

Each one is a friend of mine. I’m very lucky. I’ve had my share of disappointment and personal failure over the last year – I’ve hinted at that in these pages but thinking about these guys I can’t disappoint them by succumbing. I have to persevere. I have to have hope. I have to fix what’s wrong as best I can.

I hope that you’ll do the same with whatever challenges you have in your life.

 

Trivia Challenge

· In the U.S. what is the most popular selling grilling meat throughout the summer?

· Using their sensors, mosquitoes can detect mammals from how far away?

· The names of the key summer months have Roman origins. Who were the months June, July and August named after?

· What is the highest recorded summer temperature at the South Pole?

· What is a group of jellyfish swimming together called?

 

 

Answers located on bottom of page.



10 Things You Should Know About SNMP

I had a friend named Mark in college. Mark was one of the smartest guys I’ve ever known. I was thinking about Mark today since for the 50th time or so someone asked me what SNMP was. That’s one of those acronyms that gets thrown around a lot in the Industrial Automation industry. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who use it don’t really understand much of what it is since it’s really an IT term.

Mark came to mind because he worked for NASA for a while after graduation. At NASA everyone talks in contractions and acronyms. He’d hear things like “I’m working in G4 today on the LSI until PSA and then I’ll be OOT.”  He suspected it was more about being part of “the club” then useful shortcuts.

We have a bunch of that in our Industrial Networking corner of the world. We have all the acronyms for the protocols that comprise the TCP/IP stacks. There’s FTP, TCP, UDP, SMTP, ARP and on and on and on. I haven’t seen as many acronyms in Drives, Scales and even PLCs. Maybe these people aren’t as egotistical as the people that build spaceships. To be honest if I built spaceships I’d have Rocket Scientist stitched above the breast pocket on every shirt I own. Impressing women as a Rocket Scientist has got to be easier than being an EtherNet/IP Engineer.

The acronym I’d like to talk about today is SNMP - Simple Network Management Protocol. Why is it important, you might ask? It’s important for a couple of reasons. The majority of your routers and managed switches all support it, as do most of your UPS systems. It gives users an open way to monitor those kinds of devices for events that require some kind of action. For example, if the battery on the UPS has failed you’d want to know about it. You’d be an unhappy camper if the power went out and your UPS didn’t work.

SNMP is not a key technology for Industrial Automation systems, but it’s something you’ll want to know about. Here’s a cheat sheet with the top ten things an automation professional should know about SNMP:

1. SNMP is part of TCP/IP. It’s one of the standard protocol suites and it’s probably resident in many of your Ethernet devices. Each of those devices has a TCP/IP stack and SNMP is probably included in a lot of them.

2.   SNMP exclusively uses UDP to transport messages. That means that all SNMP messages are unacknowledged.

3.   SNMP is the way that most devices are configured, managed and monitored on IT networks.

4.   There are three versions, v1, V2c and V3. They’re just like the beds that Goldilocks found in the Bear house. V1 is too soft – it’s really simple without any security. V3 is too hard – it’s the complex specification with high end security. V2c is just right – enhanced over V1 with some security. All three are in use. Clients have to be able to work with any of them.

5.   SNMP is used to set configuration of devices and report back things like Temperature, CPU Load and Network Traffic.

6.   It has two modes; Request-Response and an asynchronous Alarm mode where it notifies a Client of an Alarm condition. Alarms are things like when there are only ten pieces of paper left in the Lab 2 Printer. Alarms are called Traps in SNMP.

7.   The Client side that resides on the IT guys’ desk is known as the Manger. An Agent is the interface software in a device that communicates with the Manager. The Manager is part of the NMS – Network Management System.

8.   Data is organized into something called MIBs – Management Information Bases. This is a tree-like structure with standard MIB data at the top of the tree. Each device is a branch of the tree.

9.   These are text files similar to an XML file that define the variables available to the Client. The data includes not only the name of the variable but Meta Data like the data type. These text files are loaded into a Manager so that it can access that device.

10. Variables in the target device are called Object Identifiers or OIDs. OIDs are objects managed by the MIBs.

So, is that any good for automation? Possibly. It does provide a standard, open way of accessing data in a device. There are any number of SNMP Managers (Clients) that you can purchase to use for accessing these devices. If you had a device that had a consumable, like glue in a tank, you could get an alarm (trap) when that glue level drops. You might use it if you were building your own control application as it’s easier to implement than EtherNet/IP or Profinet IO.

In general, SNMP is well-suited to monitoring applications, has low network impact, and is a standard, open protocol. However, there are security concerns with it so you wouldn’t want to have the Manager on the other side of the firewall from the Agents.

 

 

 

Fun Facts

·The first air conditioner was designed by Willis Carrier in 1902 to control the humidity in a New York publishing house. It helped ink dry faster and smudge free, as well as keeping the paper from expanding and contracting.

·The Eiffel Tower grows about six inches every year. In the summer the metal expands to make the tower grow but in the winter the metal contracts to shrink the tower back down.

·The frequency of a cricket's chirps fluctuates with the temperature. If you count a cricket's chirps for 15 seconds and add 37, you will have the approximate outdoor temperature (in Fahrenheit).

·Before the advent of artificial dyes, the most popular way people put the pink into pink lemonade was by adding a few drops of beet juice.

 

 

  Trivia Answers: Hot dogs; 100 feet away; Juno - the wife of Jupiter, Julius Caesar, and August was named after Caesar's nephew - know as Augustus; 7° F; A smack, bloom, or swarm
   
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