It was dark, early morning, and as I drove my daily commute I suddenly became aware of a long white streak forming across the black sky. Is something on fire? Are we under attack? I immediately tuned to the local news station which was receiving numerous calls from concerned listeners. The news station reported that Boeing was testing their new Starliner astronaut delivery spacecraft. It had launched that morning from Cape Canaveral and was visible for a large part of the eastern coast. It’s awesome how space travel is being revolutionized by companies like Boeing and SpaceX and pretty cool to get to see it, even if by accident. But it got me thinking about the many innovations that have changed our everyday lives. How many people have VCRs today or know the name Blockbuster? When’s the last time you turned a key to start a new car? Who knows where the nearest pay phone is or has the change in their pocket to use it? I could go on and on and that’s just the consumer world. Industrial automation has also changed quite a bit over the years with many advancements still to come. But no matter what new innovations develop in the industrial automation realm, you can trust AutomationDirect to make them affordable and accessible to everyone.
This issue of NOTEBOOK is loaded with informative content such as the Tech Thread, which takes a closer look at open-source controllers and the new ProductivityOpen CPU. We also have a great Cover Story on the benefits of connecting PLCs to the Internet. The User Solution shows how the CLICK PLC brought new life to an ageing roller coaster, and our Student Spotlight showcases the University of British Columbia (UBC) Student Rocket Team and their Productivity2000-based rocket design test stand. In the What’s New section, you can see a roundup of our newest eBooks and video content, the New Product Focus details the new ProductivityOpen controller, cut-to-length cable additions, and thousands of newly added Hammond enclosures, and the Business Notes section discusses many of the happenings here at AutomationDirect. As always, the Break Room is stocked with fun brainteasers so see how many puzzles you can solve.