Insider manages to come out on time!

Battles with hardware and virtual software overcome as leading independent automation and process control publication meets deadline even with a new format.

One of the publications we look forward to, and we know we are not alone in this, is the arrival of Industrial Automation & Process Control Insider.  Indeed we have been receiving this since it was first published under the editorship of Andrew Bond. For some years now it has been edited by by his worthy successor Nick Denbow.

A few days ago something happened.  Nick wrote, “This month the INSIDER comes with a new format and style, basically because of a PC failure that meant the aging software did not run properly any more…” Our heart went out to Nick as one of the great fears in using computors is the dreaded “update.” Invariably one finds that not all the programs which  have jollied along together smoothly suddenly up and complain.

I’ll let Nick himself explain his problem:

VMware comes to the aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware


Topics in this issue!New management
appointed at
Endress+Hauser

Closures and future
plans in the UK power
industry

Natural gas offshore
for Cyprus and Japan?
Plus developments in
Australia

RuggedCom for the
power industry

Honeywell responds
over ISA100

Siemens targets
improved margins

New high-efficiency
motor designs

Major PAS conference
on human reliability

Blame the cold weather, or even the run down state of British industry, but actually a couple of computer failures brought forward a change of format and operating system for the INSIDER this month.

The new two column rolling format on a smaller page width should hopefully make this newsletter easier to read on a hand-held device, while for those who wish to read a printed version, the text is still legible after printing a group of four pages on one standard sheet.

VMware used to run the INSIDER More interesting was the procedure needed to make possible a simple transfer of the original Pagemaker publishing programme onto the currently available Windows 7 software, a problem possibly faced on various plant operating systems when updating servers. This has currently been solved by creating a virtual workstation on the new PC, using the free of charge personal use VMware Player, a component of the VMware Fusion Professional system. More often used perhaps to create new operating systems on old machines, to test out the operation of current software on the next generation system, this time the need was to go backwards to either XP or Vista to run the Adobe Pagemaker adequately, because despite what the screens might suggest, Windows 7
does not want to run this older generation software.

The result was interesting, in that it gave an on-screen instant demo of how operating systems have progressed, and become smoother and faster. For the moment it is just reassuring to have the INSIDER editing process up and running again.

Talking to him later he recounted his adventures including frustrating PC failures, and incompatabilty issues. He eventually stuck at it making his deadlines.

The full page version

The full page version

So why did he do it? With the proliferation of mobile appliances, intelligent phones and tablets, he sensed a certain demand for a format which satisfied this cohort of his readers. He thought a 50:50 ration would be there. 50% for full page size and 50% for the smaller “mobile” version. “At first it was US people and editors who wanted the mobile version, and Europeans who wanted full page or paper format. These latter were maybe office based people. But then the whole response pattern reversed, and quite a few Americans went for the paper version!” The new format lacks pictures a he feels the quarter page format can’t display pictures well but this may change.

In short as he says himself “VMware came to his aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware!”

He has learned a lot in developing this new format, and no doubt earned a few more grey hairs. Mercifully the quality of the articles in this issue are up to the usual high standard as can be seen in the list of contents in the box on the right.

He ends his item on the traumatic experience in getting this issue out with the request, “As ever, write in and say what you think! And whether you can read it – at all!”

 

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