I'm on the hunt for web based inventory management and light ERP systems, and will be testing a few user-submitted entries over the coming weeks. If you've got a system that can track mechanical & electrical parts, convert them into finished products in inventory, and then track inventory as orders are fulfilled, holler! BIG bonus points if it has a RESTful API so that we can integrate it with the rest of our order management system.
And! Next week is the second annual Prepared Tool Guide! If you've got recommendations, send 'em over.
Planning & Strategy.
- TechShop, which opened a New York location about two weeks ago, shut down completely and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- "Tesla’s Elon Musk is turning to a tried-and-true source of financing for his money-losing car company -- customers willing to wait years for him to deliver shiny new wheels to their driveways."
- A petition to rename the Tappan Zee Bridge *back* to "The Tappan Zee Bridge."
- Anheuser-Busch InBev's venture capital arm is buying up beer review sites; craft brewers (predictably) object.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A Chinese dredging vessel specifically made to build islands.
- The Giant Magellan Telescope's Mirror Lab site is very nice, with lots of photos of the 7, 17 ton mirrors (which take days to melt, months to cool, and years to grind and polish) being manufactured.
- On Olin College's machine shop, where women are welcomed. Note: the idea that basic tool organization is something to accommodate women is crazy. A disorganized shop is irresponsible and unproductive, full stop.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- The NYTimes utterly guts the MTA's management and maintenance planning. The first thing that comes to mind for me is how to incentivize politicians to care about maintenance that won't truly matter for decades; the next thing that comes to mind is that where there's a need like what New Yorkers have for public transit, there must be ways for private businesses to fill that gap profitably and effectively. I'd love to talk to smart people on this subject; holler.
- Related, a very good service tracker for the MTA.
Distribution & Logistics.
- Honda keeps only one hour's worth of parts on hand at any time at it's Swindon (UK) line, with 350 trucks coming in from Europe every day to keep the line running. Shifting away from its JIT model (to avoid the inevitable shipping delays that Brexit will cause) would take 18 months.
- On how the Department of Homeland Security is expanding PreCheck "to create a 'biometric' pathway that would use face recognition to track all travelers—including U.S. citizens—through airports from check-in, through security, into airport lounges, and onto flights."
- A review of the cockpit controls on the Boeing 777x. See also this video of the folding wingtips being tested in Everett, and this marketing video of the 777x's big features.
Inspection & Testing.
- A remarkably thorough review of $1 microcrontrollers.
- The Farm Bureau says that Thanksgiving for 10 people costs $49.12. Worth pointing out that 1) shoppers are asked to find the cheapest version of everything on their list, and 2) there's no alcohol included, and 3) their "bread stuffing" sounds lame.
- I blasted through Lonesome Dove and Between the World and Me, and am now reading Snow Crash.
- Dale Dougherty & Make's (pretty good) apology to Naomi Wu.