Thursday, July 3, 2014

Goodbye but not farewell!

Many of us have enjoyed reading the periodic missifs from the virtual pen of automation pioneer Jim Pinto. Many will remember his incisive, sometimes controversial but always interesting commentaries of the Automation industry.

His e-letter, published first in 2000, was a "must-read" in many mail boxes throughout the world though some of us realised that he was wondering how to disengage from this as he realised, as do all of us, that perhaps the information which he gathers is already available to the serious reader on other platforms. Nevertheless the decision he has made will make our e-boxes more empty and our busy business lives less interesting without his incise commentary.

This is how he relays his decision.

Jim Pinto, the godfather of the HMI and PLC integration industry, is the founder (formerly President & CEO) of Action Instruments. He has also been called the poet Lauriate of Instrumentation & Automation.

He is a well-known industrial Automation.commentator, and analyst and consultant.

Jim Pinto is an Electronics Engineer by background. He was born in India, lived in England for about 8 years, where he founded KPE Controls. He moved to the U.S. in 1968 and worked for Burroughs Corporation, in Pasadena, California. He then moved to San Diego, where he founded Action in 1972.
"My very first eNewsletter was e-published May 10, 2000. It included features on industrial automation - news and analysis of major companies plus future-related analysis. I reviewed major new books and reports and wrote on a variety of technology and management topics.

Stimulated by lack of critical analysis of major automation companies I started the automation weblogs. Because companies don’t do editorial releases with bad news, participation quickly escalated and daily “hits” jumped into the thousands.

Circulation grew quickly. Within a couple of years eNews was being read by over 6,000 thousand direct sign-ups plus lots more RSS and web views.

The weblogs value came from news (mostly negative) that was aired months before it really surfaced. Still, it generated a lot of work for me and I got nothing positive in return. In March 2012 I discontinued the weblogs. Readership declined slightly - but a large following remained.

I continued to publish eNews with topics relating to wherever my “nose was pointing”. I wrote about subjects that I enjoy - futurist topics, philosophical and sometimes political analysis. The feedback, both positive and negative, was worthwhile.

But more than a decade later, it still takes a lot of effort to pump out eNews every month - selecting items, formatting text, preparing webpages and generating podcasts, all of which I do myself. The monthly deadline (albeit self-generated) is a chore that's outgrown its purpose.

Today, with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube and Google+ its a whole lot easier to generate eye-ball traffic and individual feedback via the web. So, that’s what I plan to do.

I’ll continue to write about whatever I think is worthwhile and publish electronically. When I have collections of essays that merit bundling together, I’ll publish via Amazon’s Kindle. That’s how I (and many others) enjoy reading today."

Good bye Jim, and thanks for your work in the automation and engineering sector. Your insights have been useful, enlightening and always entertaining.  Your sense of fun helps us not to take ourselves too seriously. Good bye I have said but not farewell because I and your many readers look forward to many more points and prognostications. What better words to complete this than some I wrote as a forward in Pinto's Points (2006).

Speaking of his poetry I said, "It makes us smile before we ask, "What does it mean! That I think is the essence of Jim Pinto. And it is nowhere more evident than in his poetry. It is funny, but it is serious!

"That I don't know of other Jim Pintos in the automation industry is not a little alarming. People who not only see what industry is, but can also see what industry is at, are rare."

Jim, we'll miss the e-letters but please keep writing, please keep us thinking but above all keep us smiling!

Thanks Jim.


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