Friday, December 21, 2012

Hakko FX-888D Digital Soldering Station on Flickr

We couldn't be more excited! A few days ago we got our brand new Hakko FX-888D (FX888D-23BY) demo unit! This is the digital version of Hakko's famously-popular (and now discontinued) FX-888. It has everything its predecessor had, plus a little more. (Did we mention it's digital?!?!) Be sure to read our earlier article and check all the specs on

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Information Management as a Means for Dynamic Communication: Guest Blog

by Marlon Davis, Brady North America Business Lead, Tiscor and Software Portfolio

Link 360 Our guest blogger from Brady Worldwide writes about the growing necessity for software applications like LINK360 to manage visual information in the workplace and ensure that users can access important, up-to-date information at all times.

Traditionally, individuals shopping for signs or labels think primarily in terms of the physical properties such as material, adhesives, and ink. This focus on form often causes the actual messaging, or function, to fall in second place. However, with the increase in popularity of interactive communication vehicles, like computers and smart phones, the emphasis on the viewer or reader experience is rising. In these instances of interactive communication, computer monitors and smart phone displays become user interfaces (UI) by pulling information from one data source to another, to present changing information to the viewer. As signs and labels also become more dynamic, I predict they will eventually be pulled into IT's information management scope of responsibility. To quote Marc Andreessen, "software is eating the world."*

A quick look at advertising media gives an applicable example of the transformation that occurs when dynamic content is introduced. Traditional information vehicles and venues like billboard advertisements, movie theater posters, and other forms of indoor advertising are currently undergoing this software transformation with the introduction of electronic displays.

For example, old school movie posters have morphed into graphic movie trailer displays. What once were paper-based roadside billboards are now electronic displays that can shift every few seconds between product advertising and official AMBER alerts. Even the murals and posters once lining airports are now being replaced with interactive UI.

While static posters, billboards, and other signage may never fully be replaced, it's important to understand the benefit of dynamic media. Simply put: dynamic media can convey much more information to the viewer, in an impactful way, and in a timely fashion. This same change in advertising signage can also be applied to visual workplace information in the form of what we consider an information management system.

LINK360 can communicate changes in equipment such as these lockout devices.
A great example of dynamic communication in action within the regulatory world is a lockout/tagout program. When physical changes are made to a piece of equipment–in this case a lockout device is added or taken away–a host of other necessary changes are triggered to communicate with those who interact with the machinery.

An information management system, like Brady's LINK360® software, alerts the appropriate individuals when warning labels, lockout procedures, and inspection procedures need to be created or updated. The purpose of this is to ensure that ongoing dynamic communication is occurring with a company's workers to increase safety and efficiency, and remain compliant.

How the influx of software will impact less mutable signage needs, like exit signs and warning labels, is unknown, but we know it will come eventually. Electronic displays, including cutting edge tablets and those mentioned above, are becoming more varied and popular among the mass audience. Therefore, it's smart to keep an eye toward dynamic communication and information management systems.

We are grateful to our guest blogger, Marlon Davis of Brady North America, for his insights into the changing needs of visual documentation.

* Marc Andreessen, "Why Software is Eating the World," The Wall Street Journal Online