NET-ENI Upgrade

Sometimes you just have to say sorry…

I don’t know how many of you have been in fast growing companies, but it’s not always an easy ride. I liken it to a Ferris wheel where the cars aren’t fastened properly to the big wheel, the axis that the big wheel turns around isn’t real straight so the wheel wobbles, and the base isn’t solidly anchored to the ground. The wheel turns, and sometimes things go well but often it’s a little wacky. Sometimes people jump off to find a different Ferris wheel and sometimes as we fix things, there are people we ask to leave.

It’s how small growing companies work. I don’t know if the staff really understand that chaos is kind of normal. You get it in big companies – it’s a more insipid level of chaos – and in small companies. I remember visiting a company that made a product for Rockwell many years ago. They had thirty or forty products in their catalog and lots of customers used them with Allen-Bradley PLCs. I wasn’t surprised when they told me that for 60% of them, maybe twenty to thirty products, they had no source code. Someplace along the line as they changed servers, the code just disappeared. They lived in fear of finding a bug that meant that they would have to redevelop the product from scratch to fix it.

That’s how it goes, which leads me to a heartfelt apology to our 515RTAENI customers. We screwed up. Not as badly as the company that lost the software for most of their product line, but bad enough. After announcing that we had a solution for the obsolete 1771-NET-ENI, we found out that the solution specified in the datasheets was, I’ll say, inaccurate.

We (OK, me, myself and I) specified in the datasheet for the ENI product that we had full compatibility with the Rockwell ControlLogix and CompactLogix PLCs. This, it turned out, was kind of a half-truth.

So, what happened is that I built the datasheet for the product, I specified full compatibility with the Allen-Bradley PLCs, but I didn’t include full compatibility it in the technical specs the engineers used to build the product. Instead I only specified compatibility over the Ethernet channel. I completely forgot to include the serial channel. So they built the product to my specifications, which is an inadequate product development process: they need to build the product that I want, not what I specify (do you see the Ferris wheel tilting and wobbling?).

But it’s fixed now. Anyone who wants to replace their product can get a free upgrade to the more complete product that we are currently shipping. Here’s how you’ll know which one you have:

Start your browser and connect to the 515RTAENI module. Look for the revision number at the bottom of the main web page. If it is anything higher than 4.02, then you’ve got the updated RTA-ENI. If not, then contact our customer care team at 262-436-9299 to get an update. And if you mention you read my blog, you’ll get a surprise gift from my padlocked gift closet. It’s where I keep the really cool gifts I don’t want the engineers to take or the sales guys to give away.