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BP Texas City-- Whose Fault Was It?

From the Wall Street Journal: "Federal investigators released a fresh list of safety shortcomings at BP PLC's Texas refinery, including a finding that managers authorized the start-up of a unit in March despite knowing key alarms weren't working. The start-up caused an explosion that killed 15 people, the deadliest U.S.

The "Directory of Lost Companies" Rides Again

In the mid-1990s, I started keeping a list of companies whose names and/or ownership had changed. When Bela Liptak started the project to re-issue the Instrument Engineers' Handbook for a fourth time, he asked me if I would contribute the list to the book as an appendix.

The PR Wall of Shame

Every so often, we get a press release that is so incredibly bad that we post it on the wall for everybody to laugh at. The laughter is rueful at best, though, because we know that somebody paid money to have this schlock sent out in their name.

New addition to the CONTROL team

I am pleased to announce that Jim Montague will join Putman on Wednesday, August 17th as Executive Editor for Control and Control Design. Jim has spent the last 13 years as an editor. For the past eight years, Jim worked at Reed Business Information in Oak Brook as News Editor...

ISA, Acting Global, Not Local

According to a press release from ISA, "Today, ISA has almost 9,200 members that live outside of the U.S." That means that close to 32% (depending on which membership figures you believe) of ISA's membership is "global." This is a great accomplishment.

Customer service lesson: more about Moftware

Not ten minutes after I posted about my troubles with blackberrystuff.com, one of the senior managers from Moftware called me. He offered to refund the five bucks, and apologised for my treatment. He also offered me anything, except bluetooth stuff, on the website as a gift.

A little bit OT, and a little bit NOT: Moftware Inc.

I've been buying online for years. I don't worry about security, and those other things. I do worry about getting value. The reason I worry sometimes is that it is possible to look a lot bigger and better than you are, on the web, and it is pretty easy and...

IBM and DOD and process automation converge

IBM and the Army have completed the testing phase of a solution embedded in military vehicles that wirelessly links with central commands and field units to not only let them know if there's a mechanical problem with the vehicle, but tell them what it is.

More from the Convergence Zone

It used to be that there was a straightforward demarcation line between process and discrete automation, and between process automation and building automation. There is no longer any such thing. Honeywell, Emerson, Siemens, and Invensys all have substantial building automation groups, and all of them are moving very fast to...

The Directory of Lost Companies

Why do intelligent people do dumb things? Yesterday I received a press release from GE. It talked about a new flowmeter. It was an interesting product, and I'll be running the release. But it made me realize that unless I editorialize on the release most people won't know (especially, dammit,...