07262017Wed
Last updateWed, 26 Jul 2017 7pm

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How to Choose the Best Rapid Prototyping Method

How to Choose the Best Rapid Prototyping Method

As new products are designed, including ...

Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet

Monitoring Valve Health via the Internet

Most valve end users are already using s...

Valves in Oxygen Service

Valves in Oxygen Service

In his presentation at VMA’s 2017 ...

Thermal Spray Coating

Thermal Spray Coating

Q: What are the pros and cons of us...

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Industry Headlines

TAQA Awards Schlumberger EPCIC Contract for Otter Field

Wednesday, 26 July 2017  |  Chris Guy

OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company, has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract for a s...

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The Actuation Selection Process

The Actuation Selection Process

Tuesday, 25 July 2017  |  Carlos Gamero

A common misconception in our industry is that actuating a valve is as simple as putting the most cost-efficient actuator on top of your valve of choi...

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Industry Headlines

TAQA Awards Schlumberger EPCIC Contract for Otter Field

20 MINS AGO

OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company, has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract for a subsea multiphase boosting system by TAQA for the Otter field in the UK North Sea. OneSubsea leverages Cameron flow control, process technologies and m...

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Crane Co. Reports Second Quarter Results

23 HOURS AGO

Crane Co. reported second quarter 2017 earnings of $1.14 per diluted share, compared to $1.15 per share in the second quarter of 2016. Excluding Special Items, second quarter 2017 earnings per diluted share were $1.17, compared to $1.21 per share in the second quarter of 2016.

Second quarter 2017 sale...

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Shale Sector to Be Cash Flow Positive by 2020

47 MINS AGO

The tight oil sector has struggled to generate positive cash flow since 2010. Last year, only one company in the sector posted positive cash flow. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Wood Mackenzie’s new report " When will tight oil make money? " calculates that the five largest tight oil...

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U.S. Chemical Production Moved Higher in June

1 DAY AGO

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) edged higher by 0.3% in June, following a 0.3% gain in May, and a 0.4% decline in April, as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. During June, output grew in all regions except t...

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U.S. Consumer Confidence Rebounds in July

5 HOURS AGO

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined marginally in June (a downward revision), improved in July . The Index now stands at 121.1, up from 117.3 in June. The Present Situation Index increased from 143.9 to 147.8, while the Expectations Index rose from 99.6 last month to 103...

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IHS Market PMI Index Reached Four-Month High in July

1 DAY AGO

July data revealed a further acceleration in business activity growth across the U.S. private sector. At 54.2, up from 53.9 in June, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index signaled the strongest rate of expansion since January.

The pickup in business activity growth ...

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Solving the Problems in Front of You

vmsum11_social_media

Engineers are problem solvers and today, they have some pretty amazing tools to help them with that problem solving. Here’s an example from a recent trip.

I went to a station to refill a rental car with gas before returning it to the agency. As usual, I guessed the wrong side for the gas tank and had to circle around to put the car at the right angle to pump the gas. I couldn’t figure out where the latch to open the gas cap was located, and there was no owner’s manual in the glove box to help.

On my smart phone, I did a quick Google search by voice command using the car make, model and “gas tank door latch” as keywords. The results were an online forum with my answer: the door was latched magnetically and required a gentle push to open. This simple voice search saved me 5 to 10 minutes of hunting around for a non-existent latch and a lot of frustration.

These searches from our PCs, phones, tablets and other devices help us solve problems quickly and painlessly every day. Google and the other search engines, along with the right selection and number of keywords, often help us get an answer to a problem in front of us. Although it’s not foolproof, most times, these methods of finding what we need work great.


IN THE INBOX

For businesses, an important issue today with searching is that a lot of wisdom is trapped in email inboxes and “sent items” folders. Desktop indexing and search software such as the search built into PC operating systems or desktop search applications can find some information. But such tools don’t help us with the information that hasn’t reached our inboxes.

Different approaches ranging from content management systems to blogs, wikis, online collaboration and community software are being tried as search destinations with varying degrees of success. The key element to that success seems to be the number of people willing to participate in each approach and the community that naturally forms from this participation.

Metcalfe’s Law states that: “The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).” Robert Metcalfe, who is responsible for that principle, also offered this:

…a more insightful and, I think, important contribution to the conversation — that to understand the value of a social network we need to consider not just the number of users but also the affinity between the members of the network.

My take on this is that the fastest path to the information you need is to solve the problem in front of you. If a Google search or question posed to your immediate colleague does not yield a quick answer, you should try your social network. That is, provided you’ve built this network to sufficient size to realize the exponential effects described by Metcalfe’s Law.

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