Gary Mintchell

September 4, 2023

Why Do We Work?

Why do we work? Labor Day weekend in America celebrates working people. Or, at least it was supposed to. The actual purpose is to have a last 3-day weekend of summer before all the fall activities around school begin. As Don Norman writes in the beginning of his latest work, Design for a Better World: Meaningful, Sustainable, Humanity ...
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August 27, 2023

Productivity or Doing What's Important

I have worked part-time as a soccer referee assignor for 35 years. In the early years, I used Microsoft Excel. Entering games and referees, making changes, sorting and sending assignments, were all fast. Some things could be automated. Productivity was key to getting done and back to my regular job. Then we were forced into systems wit...
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August 15, 2023

Technology Market Cycles

My career spans three technology/market cycles. I’ve seen the excitement of new companies, new technology adaptations, new markets three times. All as user and marketing/sales and writer/influencer. I got involved thanks to a boss with the IT world in the late 70s. At the same time I started playing around with PCs—a Timex Sinclair tha...
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July 15, 2023

Doing Significant Work

What is productivity in this age, not only in manufacturing, but also in knowledge work? Do the old rules still apply? And, above all, how can we bring humanity into the workplace? Seth Godin has written many books worth your time reading. His latest book, Song of Significance, is packed with thoughts that both inform and prod into act...
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June 11, 2023

What Is Reality, Anyway?

Companies and media rush us from one catastrophe to another--actually one anticipated catastrophe to another. Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens were going to numb our brains with Augmented Reality overlaying digital stuff over the physical world. That's if our brains weren't fried with complete escape with Virtual Reality wafting us ...
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May 6, 2023

Fresh Thoughts for Electricity Generation Tech

I’m installing solar panels to generate electricity to charge my new Ioniq 6 electric vehicle. Conservation efforts of various kinds have long occupied part of my volunteer efforts. So, going electrical when circumstances convinced me it was time for a new car, it was a no-brainer to go for electric. Not all electricity is clean energy...
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April 18, 2023

Autonomous Manufacturing

Autonomous The media are going all things AI crazy. I see it on LinkedIn, Twitter, rss newsfeed. Then I see some manufacturing specific references discussing autonomous plants. On a recent podcast episode, Seth Godin just spoke about the two ends of a spectrum of everything on our online or human touch. He was talking about retail busi...
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March 25, 2023

Will ChatGPT Destroy Us?

Of course not. Many writers in mainstream (and not so main) media are rushing to get (mostly) unfounded opinions published about the power and future of these artificial intelligence (machine learning) apps, especially ChatGPT. Will anyone human ever write anything anymore? What will become of education? Will humans become slaves? Ther...
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February 27, 2023

Why Do Open Systems Work in IT but Have Not Made It in OT?

Curiosity of the week—why have open systems worked so well in the IT market but failed to gain traction in the “OT” market? Thoughts? Send me a message at One of the meetings I look forward to these days at the ARC Forum in Orlando concerns updates from The Open Process Automation Forum, a working group of The Op...
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February 20, 2023

Look For Good Writers When Hiring

When we go to high school and university, we think we’re supposed to memorize many facts. It’s not a bad thing to learn and remember. The essential characteristics and behaviors of an educated person are these, however: • Ability to learn on your own • Ability to think clearly • Ability to express yourself clearly Many people learn tha...
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February 14, 2023

Further Thoughts on Emerson Acquisition of NI, ARC Forum, Search

The annual ARC Industry Forum was last week. It was great to catch up with many people I have not seen for a while. Attendance was good considering there is now a Forum in Europe as well as Asia. Many do not have to travel so far. Attendees were energetic in the initial receptions and the conference tracks I attended attracted interest...
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February 3, 2023

Gary Mintchell Newsletter--Attention Deficit or Attention Span

The seeming chaos surrounding Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has faded. His tweets have become more infrequent and less bombastic. His apparent panic to fund the takeover keeps finding new paths to cost reduction. They’ve reduced the gross algorithm feeds, but the “for you” and “following” tabs don’t seem to work that much and noti...
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January 16, 2023

Twitter, Creativity, and a new Podcast from Gary

Twitter suddenly turned off APIs for 3rd party apps to access its stream. They went down a couple of days ago. Word from a Twitter engineer was that it was intentional. I have heard nothing today about the situation. Meanwhile, clicks to my other blog have declined over the past four months until this month down to almost nothing this ...
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January 8, 2023

Digital Transformation Remains An Important Topic

Digital Transformation The subject lines on the stream of press releases coming my way tell the story of current trends in industrial technology. Cybersecurity remains the one constant as new companies pop up like mushrooms in the spring, and we all fear the next big hack may be on us. The past few years have witnessed the progression ...
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December 20, 2022

Metaverse Fedaverse Where the Heck are we Going

OK, it has been a while. I had a late summer project that sucked up time like a black bear sucking up honey at a bee hive. November was filled with trips, Thanksgiving, and a little outpatient surgery (nothing serious, but fixed an anomaly as we say in process control). Time to get back into the rhythms of newsletter, podcast, and blog...
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June 24, 2022

Travels In Manufacturing Land

I’ve been on the road three of the past four weeks. After two years of short drives with a couple of exceptions, airports and planes became a strange sensation. I went to the Honeywell User Group, ARC Advisory Group Industry Forum, and Rockwell Automation ROKLive (its software event). Unfortunately, all in Orlando. And I really don’t w...
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May 7, 2022


The last newsletter I referred to the latest book I was reading, “Steel Toes and Stilettos,” by Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller, subtitled “a story of women forging a path in manufacturing management.” What “The Goal” by Cox and Goldratt was to the previous generation of manufacturing operations managers, this book should be for the ne...
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April 18, 2022

Random Thoughts from Gary

Quote of the day: If you hurry to get to the future, you always get a punishment for it. For example, instant coffee.” Alan Watts === Book I’m reading: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. My introduction to time management was 1977 at a company management conference when the speaker sent us all DayTime...
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March 14, 2022

In Person Meetings, Cool Podcasts, IoT Changes

The ODVA held its annual general meeting last week in San Diego, and I was there. It was my second post-pandemic business trip. People greeted each other happy to be in person. My take on information shared was posted last week on The Manufacturing Connection.
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January 24, 2022

Data and Automation Trends

Journalist's ability to accurately report on all the statistics and research floating around, as well as the general public's deficiency are appalling. I found this book by Tim Harford and reviewed it. The Data Detective - . Companion to that were thoughts I assemb...
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November 24, 2021

What is AI?

Welcome to my new occasional newsletter. 1. What is AI? A podcast from MIT Technology Review. I really like this new podcast from MIT. It's brief, but strictly to the point. This one explains AI in an energetic game-show-like presentation. or
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November 10, 2021

Web 3 and the Metaverse

I can't believe how much information I've been collecting the past couple of weeks. Almost so much time on Zoom that there is no time to write. And the blurring of the so-called IT/OT line continues unabated. 1. Software PLC versus Traditional PLC. A research firm from Denmark recently called me to pump my memory about control systems....
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October 25, 2021

Newsletter 10/25/21

Here are four pieces of wisdom for living I compiled over the weekend. Experiment. Life is an experiment. You try something. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, then you try something else. Always. Invent. Look for new ways to do something. Invent a tool, a pattern, a lifestyle. Go on a new path beyond the same o...
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October 7, 2021

International Maintenance Conference and Reliability 4.0 Digital Transformation Conference

The 35th International Maintenance Conference and the Reliability 4.0 Digital Transformation Conference are meeting concurrently at Marco Island, Florida December 13-16. Now that I’ve attended one in-person trade show and conference, I’m ready for a few more. I met Terrence O’Hanlon almost 20 years ago at a conference he assembled in C...
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July 16, 2021

Complexity v Simplicity In Your Manufacturing Thinking

“Complex systems require simplicity. Yet, simplicity has been difficult to implement in modern life because it is against the spirit of a certain grand of people who seek sophistication so they can justify their profession.” So states Nicholas Nassim Taleb in Antifragile. Many physicists have stated similar thoughts about developing th...
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July 9, 2021

News from Manufacturing Connection

Welcome to my new newsletter from Hey is a new (well a year old, now) email service from the company that brought you productivity suite Basecamp. It's better than any of the other gmail alternatives I've tried. But moving an email address is very difficult. You can find me here at My latest podcast is 2...
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June 27, 2021

The Manufacturing Connection - Clear Your Mind for Better Thinking

I've been pondering this thought from first century Stoic philosopher Epictetus. First, get rid of self-conceit. If your mind is filled with what you think you know, there is no room for learning what is. One problem we have as humans is the tendency to fixate on one idea, therefore, not seeing the obvious new facts which lead to an el...
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June 5, 2021

New Email Newsletter Service—from MailChimp to HEY

I am switching newsletter services from MailChimp to HEY <>. You will receive a notice from HEY asking you to opt in. You already “opted in” by registering at my blog The Manufacturing Connection. But you will be asked to opt in again. I’m not in a numbers game, so if you wish not to opt in, OK. I wil...
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March 28, 2021


A machine goes down on an automated assembly line. You're out on the shop floor with a group of operators and technicians. It's costing the company a ton of money for every minute the line is down. The plant manager hovers over you reminding everyone of that loss. Worse, the news hits national media. The celebrity CEO camps out in the ...
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