School supplies have been purchased. New clothes, new shoes, boxes of unbroken Crayola’s and fresh bottles of Elmers glue without crusted over caps. Classroom assignments received and the frensied phone calls to see who got Mrs. Bretag and Ms. Walker are, thankfully, complete.
As always, I’m plagued with mixed feelings when we hit the end of the summer holiday and the kids go back to school. Fleets of lumbering yellow busses forecast the end of those summer camping trips and football games - a stark reminder that we’re marching slowly towards another winter season.
Do you remember those “what I did on my summer holiday” assignments? Sure it’s been a few years, I’m always mindful to have plenty of good stuff to write down. Hopefully you have good stories to tell as well.
Cooking breakfasts in a cast iron skillet over the fire. Solitary morning runs on one of the best beaches on the continent. Filtering tea-colored drinking water from deep and cold northern lakes. Sticky-fingered kids roasting marshmallows over the campfire. Portaging a canoe through hundreds of rods* of secluded trails leading to that next pristine waterway. Football games, lots and lots of kids football games.
And like you, my summer was disturbed by the occasional work day. The results were that quite a few things actually got done, including some exciting new products that have hit the shelves in time for your own back-to-the-grindstone projects.
Here’s a new version of what was already a best seller. A mini Ethernet serial server. “Serial server” is such a stuffy name - it’s really nothing more than an RS-232 to Ethernet converter. Fits right in your pocket, yet wields the power to put any serial device on your LAN. Scales, scanners, displays – you name it. If it has a serial port on it, it’s now easier (and cheaper) than ever to connect that equipment to your network.
And what if your LAN happens to be wireless? What if you’d like to take your favorite load cell with you for a vanilla latte at Starbucks? We’ve got an excellent new family of WiFi serial servers that will get your serial devices up and talking over your wireless LAN. This is great for mobile equipment or applications where you’re forever reconfiguring your manufacturing space.
Not a bad summer's work! And there were other projects too. One biggie was welcoming N-TRON as new supplier to the B&B family. N-TRON adds the most rugged Ethernet switches you’ll find to the B&B mix. These aren’t just industrial grade. We’re talking 1964 Tonka truck tough. EMC specs strong enough to withstand demanding electrical substations. Shock and vibration ratings so high you can strap them right to your meanest, nastiest machine - even if it’s a locomotive. Hazardous location rated. And (this is the part I like the best), the secret sauce in an N-TRON switch is that it’s the only Ethernet switch available that can truly plug and play on an Ethernet/IP network. Use anything else and you’re throwing away serious time as you decipher how to configure IGMP snooping, VLAN’s and QoS to support your Ethernet/IP application.
Do you remember the sneak preview I gave you to our new wireless range estimator tool a couple months back? I got a lot of great feedback and the bacon-saving success stories have been building. Don’t forgot to check it out at http://www.bb-europe.com/wirelessrangeestimator/
Yet another school bus lumbering down the street signals a wrap on my summer. What did you do on your summer holiday?
*A rod is a centuries old unit of length apparently only recognised or used by recreational canoeists and English literature majors enamored with Thoreau. Canoeists like the measure as its 5 meters is similar to the length of a canoe. So, 199 rods per kilometer - a long hike with an upside-down canoe on your shoulders.