Things I don’t understand…

I don’t know everything. In fact, I’ll admit I am in awe of a few people that seem to know everything. I was wondering the other day about the last person who did know everything known to man or at least western knowledge. It was probably someone in the 15th Century. That’s when the printing press was invented and knowledge could be more easily disseminated.  There were so few books that an educated person could have read every one. It’s Hard to even read every copy of one thing today.

There are a number of things I just don’t get. In fact, I am ignorant about a lot of things. This is my annual display of just how ignorant I am by cataloging the current list.

I just don’t understand:

  1. Why was the EtherNet/IP Application Layer Protocol designed as a completely Master-Slave system? Why not provide a framework for slaves to send data to other slaves? All it provides is the connection but you can do that with any TCP device.
  2. What’s the value of carrying Modbus packets in a CIP container? Who is going to use that? I don’t get that application at all.
  3. What’s the difference between a Soft Starter and a Drive? They do much the same thing as I understand it. Why doesn’t everyone just use a drive?
  4. Speaking of drives, why do they call it an inverter? Where did that come from? What’s being inverted?
  5. Anything mechanical…nuff said.
  6. Will PCs cost zero dollars in the future? Will you get one with a pack of gum? If you buy software, will they throw in a free PC? How low can it go?
  7. Why is it so hard to buy things today? Yesterday I wanted to buy 2 Modbus devices, so I called StoneL. Got automated attendant. Then a woman who put me on hold twice and made me call the distributor 100 miles away from me. Automated attendant again. Then the live guy put me on hold twice because he couldn’t find my part. I had to ask three times for the price of the unit. Then he didn’t have delivery info. What an awful experience. I bought them from ASCON and had them shipped to me next day and paid half as much.
  8. What’s the attraction to Lon? It is a novel technology. Yes, it does not need a controller. Everything can talk to everything but what is the advantage. You do want centralized control. Something that knows more than the local air duct knows to tell the air duct to open or close. Why is it so popular?
  9. Can someone tell me if switches are going to be gone in ten years? Or five? Won’t every Ethernet device have a switch in it in a few years?
  10. Are there two better, more capable, personable, smarter guys working anywhere together than Mike Bryant and Carl Henning at the PTO? They are the best I’ve seen anywhere in industrial automation.

So, that’s my quick list of things I don’t know mid year 2009. I stand ready to be enlightened. Let me know what you think.