I had one of those calls the other day. I’d actually love getting these out of the blue calls. You never know who they are, where they are or what they might say.
Most of the time these people are pretty capable and smart, sometimes they’re whack jobs.
One time a guy asked me if I could go to Malaysia. Well, I like to travel and don’t really know for sure where Malaysia is, so I said sure, I’ll go. If he thought I could help, who am I to deny him?
Then he tells me that I have to fly in on a helicopter. Oh – Oh. I am just terrified of helicopters. I have this perception that in a jet, we can just glide to a landing but in a helicopter I’m just gonna drop out of the sky. It turns out that I once, a long time ago, knew a dancer (ok, a stripper) that was a helicopter pilot. She assured me that they can “freewheel” or whatever the term is without an operating engine and land safely. In fact she practices that every week. I didn’t believe a lot of what she told me and I really didn’t want to experience a helicopter ride in which the pilot is going to turn the Engine off.
So the next thing out of his mouth is that the reason for the helicopter is that it’s too dangerous to go in on the ground. So, now I’m thinking that if I survive the crash, they’ll be a bunch of people who want to torture/eat/kill me. My rule of foreign business trips is to try to come back alive – you can’t tell a great story at a cocktail party if you’re dead. So, in the end I passed on the trip.
Anyway, the guy the called the other day asked me to tell him what the input and outputs were. “What inputs and what outputs?”, I said. He says he wants to implement his own embedded EtherNet/IP device and needs to know what the message in is and what the message out is.
After a few minutes of this it finally occurs to me that this guy thinks that EtherNet/IP is just some sort of Modbus messaging system. There’s a Master. The Master sends a message. The device responds to it. It’s no big deal.
Well I start to tell him about CIP object Models, Forward Opens, IGMP Multicasting, IO Messaging and all the rest but he doesn’t want to hear it. He just wants to know what the GUZZINTOS and GUZZOUTTOS are. I tried to tell him that’s it a 6 or 8 inch specification of how all this works. That it took us almost 2 years to get it implemented and that we went through 2 years of field trials before we did this.
He was kind of shocked by that. But in the end, I really think he didn’t believe me. So I told him he could get the free version at the ODVA site. It’s not really up to date, there’s no one to tell you how to customize it for your device, how to build an object model with it or support you at the ODVA lab or when your product doesn’t work at a customer site.
Finally, he terminated the conversation. Probably to throw darts at my picture (which you can get at rtaautomation.com). Some folks just want to believe that life is simpler than it really is.