Coping: With Robots, Software, and Vodka

imageSay, that does sound like a power breakfast, doesn’t it?

Naturally, we don’t condone drinking before 5PM at the absolute earliest.  This may explain the numerous globes I keep on hand… (kidding, of course…)

But the three concepts do all tie together.

The first point is that the Robotics Industry Association issued a mighty savory press release Wednesday which we want you to read carefully because, in case you haven’t noticed, there is a future coming.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA – Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in 2015, according to Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group.

A total of 31,464 robots valued at $1.8 billion were ordered from North American companies during 2015, an increase of 14% in units and 11% in dollars over 2014. Robot shipments also set new records, with 28,049 robots valued at $1.6 billion shipped to North American customers in 2015. Shipments grew 10% in units and nine percent in dollars over the previous records set in 2014.

The automotive industry was the primary driver of growth in 2015, with robot orders increasing 19% year over year. Non-automotive robot orders grew five percent over 2014. The leading non-automotive industry in 2015 in terms of order growth was Semiconductors and Electronics at 35%.

According to Alex Shikany, Director of Market Analysis for RIA, the fastest growing applications for robot orders in North America in 2015 were Coating and Dispensing (+49%), Material Handling (+24%), and Spot Welding (+22%). RIA estimates that some 260,000 robots are now at use in North American factories, which is third to Japan and China in robot use.

The recent record performance by the robotics market in North America is concurrent with falling unemployment. Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate in the United States reached 4.9%, its lowest level since February of 2008.

“Today there are more opportunities than ever before in the robotics industry,” said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. “The continuing growth in robotics is opening many new job opportunities for people who can program, install, run, and maintain robots. In fact, if you look closer at the jobs discussion, automation is helping to save and create jobs. A lot of companies tell us they wouldn’t be in business without robotics and related automation.”

Burnstein noted that the RIA and its sister group AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, are seeing the impacts of the growth in demand for automation in upcoming events like the International Collaborative Robots Workshop and The Vision Show, slated for May 3-5, 2016 in Boston. “Collaborative robots are the hottest topic in robotics today, and we are expecting a strong turnout in Boston for the workshop,” he said. “With interest in vision and imaging at an all-time high, AIA expects its flagship trade show, The Vision Show, to draw record attendance this year,” Burnstein added.

Now for my 2-cents worth.

1.  I love robotics.  I did a project in my spare time when Elaine and I were out in California about 10-years back when I was doing a turnaround for a recording engineer school in the L.A. area.  Damn fine school and all…

But they had a Frye’s electronics (locals joked about fried electronics) and they happened to have a wireless camera on sale.  And right next to it was a radio-controlled car.  You know what?  That turned into a video on R/C controlled vehicles that I plan to roll over onto Youtube one of these days.  I think it’s it the Master Index somewhere.

2.  I am not kidding you when I tell you that if you don’t get on this bus, you’re going to be under it in 20 years—if that long.  Robots are coming and they are going to be mind-numbing and work replacing.

3.  They are also going to be hugely disruptive to the job picture and this gets me around to the question of taxes which we will get into on the side of the house on Saturday – as yet another chapter in our Second Depression Handbook which is being written on the fly for subscribers and which will be rolled out at a 2.99 ebook one of these days on Amazon.

The subscribers get the book first – just another bonus deal for them.

But let’s just say that the progenitor Ure (Andrew N. Ure) was on the wrong side of the argument with Karl Marx.

Marx thought that the workers should own the means of production and the elder Ure thought no, the factory ownership class should remain in control.  Obviously, the Ure side won the argument but there is this residual leftover problem with a capitalist system that require growth in order not to have devastating pullbacks.  And along the way, the ownership class just keeps on squeezing the nuts of the working class, ever more, while upping our taxes to give government money to hand back to the squeakiest wheels in society…

So when I share an occasional robotics press release, right out of the industry’s press releases, I think you’d have to be a damn fool to ignore them.  There’s a reason the automakers, Apple, Google, Boston whatzzit and others are all scrambling. 

The human replacement industry is going to save us…except it may not save you exactly, so get on the bus.

(I’ll send this to my son…curious if he can read anything but medical papers anymore…)

Booting Up History

Now let me tell you another data point that whizzed by as I looked to the future from out her in the pasture.

I am down to my last computer that has a diskette drive in it.  And it’s only being used as an electronic microscope tool over on the electronics bench, and even the old XP machine is going away because the little 10.1 tablet (that $155 iRULU Walknbook 10.1 Inch Tablet PC, 32GB Hybrid Laptop, 2-In-1 Tablet, Microsoft Windows 10 OS, Quad Core,1280*800 Resolution, Detachable Keyboard With Stand (Grey)” is much less driver intensive. 

Which gets me to the point of cleaning out one of those banker cabinets for CD’s which is chock full of the software that has run my digital life around here for the past 20-odd years.

Here’s a sample of some of the software that I deem to be signs of digital hoarding.

SpaceExplorer II  (Win 95)

Skycom 2 for Win 3.1 and 95

File Express – yessir, original diskettes from Jim Button’s legendary Buttonware operation.

I hate to let any of this stuff go.  I have one Win 7 machine with a diskette drive and maybe I could get it to….ah, but you see where this goes?

It’s like the guy who’ve driving around a new Ferrari but secretly longs for the simpler days of his 55-Chevy with the three on the column.  (Don’t laugh, I had a 64 Ford Falcon with precisely that – and bucket seats, so I mean this honestly…)

I don’t have such troubles with leftovers in the shop.  Tote things down to the burn pile, get some hotdogs and sticks and roast dinner over the embers.  (Hotdogs gross out Elaine, but we’ll get to that later…).

But when it comes to things like old ham radio gear or old computers, OMG I wish I still had a VIC-20 in a box and my old Commode 64 with the external floppy drive.  Now Ure talking.

Intellectually, I realize this is just me longing for a time when government wasn’t as F/U’ed and back in the days when software actually came with set-up instructions.  But that’s another mind bender for you:  Everything today is either help menu or you click-to-find.

So pardon me if I’m not a trifle on the blue side this morning.  Cleaning up the office and getting pared down to something reasonable?  My only criteria should be “Will the kids find any of this useful, or could they make a few bucks hawking it on eBay?”

Ah, but Buttonware and dBade IV on my old Novel network…yes indeedy.  When file-locking applied to everyone and didn’t have back doors for the people at the castle up in Provo, if you follow.


Roll with me now, into the time-machine and back to Wednesday afternoon at the ranch:

I knew it wouldn’t last forever unopened…so when Elaine’s curiosity (remember he nickname is “Cat” right?) had to compare the Trump vodka she spied the other day, I insisted that she send us a report:  This may be early, but it’s an interesting enough tale to share…

Yesterday, there I was, in the local liquor store staring at a lone bottle of Vodka.  It was a piece of art. I stood there and stared. The bottle was over a foot tall two sides gold plated and two clear glass.  The  bottle shape was reminiscent of a New York tower if viewed from street level.  Below the neck (the widest part of the bottle) the upper part of the four-sides,  two of them had a big letter “T” beveled out of the gold and the clear sides had gold “T‘s”.  I immediately thought, “Trump“, no way! 

I gingerly picked it up and turned it like studying the facets of a jewel enjoying the feel of the shape … and there it was. The word TRUMP in small white letters in the cross of the “T“.  Immediately I had poor thoughts about this off- the – grid town; no way could this town have a sense of “class”! This was $30.00 worth of “class”.  

Class called to me, so did curiosity.  A.H. Wanders B.V. of Rotterdam Netherlands created this vodka. The vodka was launched in 2006.  It is 40% /80 proof not aged. It is called a wheat vodka. The flavor is described … mineral nose with faint soot and fennel … very clean with slightly oily mouth feel. Toasted grain with faint aniseed and mild cracked black pepper (sampled 8/01/2012).  My report is pending as soon as I get up from my desk and take a sip right now.

(We assume a sip or two happened in here…which is why this took place in the afternoon, not before breakfast…ahem…)

I can tell you right now my response won’t be a wordy description of the flavor of Trump. For comparison I took a sip of Extra Smooth Seagram’s Vodka and I am still coughing from the strength of that! As for the Trump – very pleasant and smooth. No need to talk about plants, and seasonings. I liked it!

Back to the launching, 20 November 2007 “Overit Media” was selected to help launch Trump Vodka by promoting “The world’s Finest super Premium Trumptini “contest.

Trumptini became a .com with 6,823,929 views and 680 a month visitors. How successful was that?  Well, it’s one of Trump’s 44 (as of 4/29/2015) trademark applications.

As for trademarks, Trump was faced with the challenge to protect and (perhaps monitor?) his name from being used by people who would dream up something, anything and maybe even ignorantly use the word “trump” in the naming of their product.

Trump is very familiar word in our language, so it’s no wonder he has to trademark his name.  For example, suppose a “common person” put out a product in the public that was cheap, disposable, short-lived and worthless and the product name had the name “Trump”.  Mr. Trump’s concern was that he would be judged by “products” that were sold bearing his name, even though he had no awareness or connection whatsoever with the inventor, manufacture, or seller.

For many it is an oversight, while for others it is deliberately misleading. For Trump it is a matter of importance therefore, protection. Hence this may explain why Mr. Trump has 44 trademark applications. 

This may help explain the reality:  Trump vs. Point Pub Liquors was a fight for the right to this fellow to name his wine “Trump Wine”.  It was obvious Mr. Trump did not want that association once he learned of it. Trump’s argument was reality.  He won.  And in addition the court awarded Trump the name “Trump Wine”.  Just another fight for the top.

Gosh…are we a New Century Couple, or what?  She’s over in the house with a bottle of Trump and I’m over here in the office.  (The difference between V.O. and b.o. perhaps?)

It reminds me how old I am.  Why, I’m so old now I can remember when couples just told each other things like this.

But now to head over to the house and do some couple’s testing…

OK, out of the time machine and back into the blender for another Thursday:  This is TomorrowLand.  FrontierLand is calling.

But we should be back tomorrow unless we stay up all night …er…“trumping.”

Write when you break-even.


12 thoughts on “Coping: With Robots, Software, and Vodka”

  1. In an automobile production process with more and more robots installed along the line, each with programming for tasks that depend upon the shape and size of the part that is being handled at that stage of the process, won’t every change in auto design cause massive upheavals in robot programming?

    Is this why car designs all look alike, even now, from year to year?

  2. ANY grain-based Vodka is junk! …Trump or not. (You just bought a fancy bottle & prestige name.) Potato vodka is smoother. Polish ‘Chopin’ is my favorite, and there are some potato producers out in Idaho that have some dandy boutique potato vodkas.

  3. I just sold my VIC-20 (fully blown out to 28K of RAM) with all the accessories (printer,cassette, floppy, games) all in original packaging a few years ago to a lady in England. Shipping cost as much as the unit.

    Why weren’t you looking on EBay then?

  4. Loved the computer info. I still have all the disks for Windows 3.1 on 3.5″ disks. Never, ever going to use it, but there it sits in a box. Had the thought of loading an old box with Win 95 or 98 to play some old games on, but don’t have the time for that. Never got done.


  5. The vodka report was one of the most wonderfully written and most fun articles I have ever read. Thank you, to Georges Kitty! meow meow!!

  6. I threw out all the old baggage (ex included) when I got divorced in 2010, including the computer gear I had collected since the mid 1980s: tower 386 with 10 drives, multiple monitors, Compaq laptop, 10-year old Dell laptops with the 3-expansion slot docking stations, computers the kids grew out of, all versions of DOS from 2.0 and up, all versions of Windows 3.0 and up, Harvard Graphics, WordPerfect, several flavors of Office, Enable, Unix System V, and 48 linear feet of manuals that came with everything (the early stuff came in little 3-ring binders), ZIP drives, 8″ floppies (from my CPM days), 5.25″ & 3.5″ floppies, and hundreds of CDs.

    Sometimes, you just gotta let things go.

  7. I still own an Apple II with a 4 digit serial number and my C64 is in a box with the floppy drives. No telling how much software I have.

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