What’s In a Name?

You ever get tired of answering the same question over and over and over? Sometimes it seems that everyone has a question that they ask over and over. When I was growing up my Dad would ask why the more education I got the less intelligent I seemed. My wife would ask when are we going to buy fill-in-the-blank for the house.


The question I get from customers over and over again is “What’s A Client and What’s a Server again?” It’s maddening to me but a real need for them. The problem is that the terminology is different than IT terminology. A Client in a manufacturing system is a device that makes connections to a bunch of servers and starts a data exchange. PLCs are the typical Clients. Servers are everything else. All those devices that sit around waiting for a message from a Client asking to connect. Servers have one connection to one client. Clients have lot of connections to lots of servers.


While I’m on it can I complain about EtherNet/IP? Who came up with that? Everyone thinks it has something to do with the IP part of TCP/IP. And, of course, it’s hard to spell. I wish I knew how many times I’ve written it without the capital N.


Let’s not let ProfiNet off the hook. No, it’s not Profibus on Ethernet. The object model is similar but that’s where the similarity ends. Just Another stupid name that adds to the general confusion in the industry.


I can’t pick on the Germans but when they introduced Profinet that had all sorts of sub names for it. It was hilarious. There was Profinet RT, Profinet 2.0, Profinet CBA, Profinet IRT, Isochronous Profinet, Profinet Real Time, Profinet IO and probably a few more that I can’t remember. It took me a few months just to sort out all these names. It turns out that IO, RT, 2.0 are all the same thing. IRT really means isochronous. I’ll explain that sometime in the future.


Most industries have their own acronyms. The worst is NASA. I had a friend that did some work there once. [I worked there for 2 days once but after that incident in the I can’t go back]. My buddy told me that they actually give out a dictionary. He would sit in meetings and just keep looking up acronyms. Never really could follow the subject matter of the meetings as it was all one acronym after another.  We have our here for our employees learning industrial networking Industrial Automation Acronyms


We could talk about acronyms and stupid names forever but I’ll end this with a few of my favorites:

choke packet
No, it’s not the hold an irate IT Guy put on your Control Engineer last week. It describes a specialized packet that is used for flow control along a network.

color super-twist nematic
Is nematic even a word? If it is a word, what is it, and how does one super twist a nematic anyway? It’s actually something from Sharp Electronics usually referred to in its abbreviated form, CSTN.

Cuckoo Egg
I have no musical talent or appreciation. It’s just not in me so I actually didn’t know about this. If you download copy protected songs you might find a Cuckoo Egg. If you hear something other than the song; like a cuckoo clock sound effects you’ve found a Cuckoo Egg.  Cuckoo on you for not spending 99 cents and buying the CD in the first place!

This term actually has a couple of different meanings. In marketing circles it means a penalty that google imposes on your web site by ranking it really low. In search queries, a Googlewhack is a search quiery that produces just one result.

Send me your favorite acronyms – I’ll start a collection and post them. Later…