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As you navigate through our site, or sites linked to us, you may run into a few unfamiliar terms.  We have put together a Glossary of Terms for you consisting of the most commonly used within the Software and hardware industry.

ACTIVEX - A development language created by Microsoft for building Software for Web sites.  Microsoft is working to establish ActiveX as an industry standard.

ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) - A language-neutral object model that provides simplified programmatic access and generic format for service requests to database servers for data access.

Agent - An automated task or process in a workflow system that can be performed without human intervention.

API - Application Programming Interface, a series of hooks in a Software program that allow other programs to invoke it directly without interference from the user or system administrator.  A way to have Software programs talking and exchange data with each other.

Back Office Applications - Applications designed for an organization's non-customer interfacing departments, such as manufacturing and accounting.  Many organizations integrate their front and back office applications for a true enterprise-wide solution.

BLOB (Binary Large Object) - A database data type used to store relevant information that can be represented as binary data. The BLOB data type is part of a database that provides complete DBMS functionality for the manipulation of the BLOB item.

C++ API - C is a programming language that has become the standard in the Client Server architectures. C+ was developed after C, and C++ is the last version available.  When a Software product features an API, it means it has opened up itself to communicate with other Software, and can be activated by other Software programs, not just the user.  This is a very powerful feature when you want to integrate Software products with each other and automate procedures.

Cache - A temporary fast storage area for data which would normally be accessed from a slower storage device.  A cache management algorithm monitors the data access patterns and selects which data from the slower device is to be kept in the cache for quick access.  Caches are normally transparent or hidden from the accessing device.

Calibration - A process that ensures that equipment and measurements correspond to universal standards.

Car (Corrective Action Report) - This report is issued to trigger a corrective action.  Customers who have experienced problems may demand to see a CAR in order to continue the relationship.

C-CIM (Complete Cell Information Manager) - A system designed to provide informational control, access, and management of a manufacturing cell.

CD-R (CD-Recordable) - A system that uses a CD Writer to write an image onto raw media.  CD-R is most economical for smaller quantities (less than 125 units), and still has some visual limitations.  A CD-R is the most common Golden Master for CD-ROM replication.

Change Control - The process of planning for and managing change in a manufacturing or engineering environment, such as changes to product, product components, assembly procedures, and documentation.

CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) - The integrated suite of design, manufacturing, and informational tools required to designate a company as a world-class manufacturer.

Client - A Software program that is used to contact and obtain data from a server Software program on another computer, often across a great distance.  Each client program is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server programs, and each server requires a specific kind of client.  A Web browser is a specific kind of client.

COM - The Component Object Model is a platform-independent, distributed, object-oriented system for creating binary Software components that can interact.  COM is the foundation technology for Microsoft's OLE (compound documents), ActiveX (Internet enabled components), as well as others.

Compound Document - A document that contains information in several formats: text, graphics, and image.

Data Wharehousing - A Software strategy in which data are extracted from large transactional databases and other sources and stored in smaller databases.  The information is then reformatted so IT professionals can easily access and analyze it to make quicker and better decisions.

DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) - DCOM is the distributed implementation of COM.

DIMM (Dual In-Line Memory Module) - Very much like a SIMM except that they are larger and you need only one in place of two SIMMs.  DIMMs are 64-bit memory devices, so you just need a single DIMM for a processor with a 64-bit memory path to work properly.

Discrete Manufacturing - A production process generally involving the assembly of component parts resulting in discrete units of production, such as cars, airplanes, appliances, computers, etc.

Distributed System - A system made up of many personal computers spread throughout an organization, instead of a few very powerful ones at a central location.  The term often refers to client-server networks, which split computing tasks between desktop PC "clients" and special network computers called "servers".

Document - A collection of information objects formatted for presentation and consumption by an end user.

Document Control - A function or department that keeps track of all documentation, specification, and processes.  The purpose is to ensure that everyone uses the correct, updated information about processes and product.

Documentation - Information on how to perform a task, a process, or use a machine to manufacture a product that has been captured and committed to some form of media (paper or electronic) so that it can be referenced, communicated, shared, and preserved.

DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) - The standard and least expensive memory available. The fastest DRAM is about 60 nanoseconds.  This is the most common form of computer memory.   It needs to be continually refreshed in order to properly hold data, thus the term "dynamic".

ECC (Error Correction Code) - An algorithm which tests for and promptly corrects errors in memory on the fly. The algorithm normally used will take checksums generated by hardware circuitry to correct memory errors greater than one bit. Also see Change Control.

ECN (Engineering Change Notice) - The official documentation of an engineering change to a part, product, or procedure.

ECO (Engineering Change Order) - A form used for changes in documents such as processes and work instructions.  It may also be used for changes in specifications.  Also referred to as ECN.

ECPL (Energy Control and Power Lockout) - Another term for ZERO ENERGY STATE.  This is the planning and procedures for the safe control and lock out of all forms of hazardous energy existing in and about a piece of equipment.  Refer to OSHA 1910.147.

EDMS (Electronic Document Management Systems) - An umbrella term for electronic document technologies, such as imaging, document management, workflow, content-based retrieval, etc.

EEIS (Engineering and Executive Information) - A decision making and information sharing systems that allows engineers and executives to view and "mine" the data coming form the ship floor manufacturing environment.  It provides both logical and drill down capabilities to facilitate decision making.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) - Applications that integrate manufacturing, financial, human resources, and distribution functionalities to keep track of and optimize an organization's resources.

EVAC (Evacuation Plans) - Basic plans to facilitate the safe egress from a building during an emergency.

Ethernet - A LAN cable-and-access protocol that uses twisted-pair or coaxial cables and CSMA/CD (Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection), a method for sharing devices over a common medium.   Ethernet runs at 10 Mbps; Fast Ethernet runs at 100 mbps.

Event Logs - 1) NT keeps files that log what kinds of events have taken place, for example, people accessing files and fumbling up when entering their passwords.  These files are event logs and get real big real fast. 2) NT keeps log files of all important events on the computer it runs on.  There are three event log files: Security, System, and Application. (Go to START, PROGRAMS, ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS, EVENT VIEWER, to look at these events.)

FAT (File Allocation Table) - This is one of the two ways data can be written to a disk under NT. It is the old way of writing data, like Win95 and DOS before. Mostly used to remain compatible with other older systems in the company, but a lot less reliable than NT File System (NTFS).

FAT Client- An implementation of a two-tiered client/server architecture where the business logic and presentation layers are combined in the client on the desktop.

Fault Tolerance - An error in a certain piece of Software or media that causes the system to crash or the job to fail.  Fault Tolerance is built in redundancy to make sure that the system does not fail or the job completes despite the error.

Floating License - A Software licensing scheme where the number of concurrent users (licensees) is fixed, but the licenses are not assigned to a specific named user.  Licenses are allocated to users on a "first come, first served" basis until all of the floating licenses are checked-out (in use), at which point subsequent users must wait until someone releases (logs off) the license so that they may use it to gain access to the system.

Front Office Applications - Applications designed for an organization's customer-interfacing departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service and support.

Groupware - Network Software designed for use by a group of information workers collaborating on a project. Provides a system to track versions of a project and changes made in documents, records, or designs.

HSIS (Health and Safety Information System) - A system designed to work within the health and safety organization that provides coverage for such programs as MSDS, DES, and personnel restrictions.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) - The coding language used to create hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web.

Hot Spare - A spare disk drive which, upon failure of a member of a redundant disk array, will automatically be used to replace the failed disk drive.

Hot Swap - The operation of removing a failed disk drive which is a member of a Redundant Array and replacing it with a good drive, while transactions involving other devices are occurring over the bus.

HUB - Part of the network infrastructure. Basically a box that is connected to the server, with one cable on one end, and 8 or 16 cables coming out that go to workstations.

ICR (Intelligent Character Recognition) - An advanced form of OCR (optical character recognition) technology that typically uses sophisticated lexical tools that increase the success rate of the data conversion process.  It generally is used to describe the ability to convert handwritten characters into computerized text.

I/O Bottleneck - Data needs to always come from and is written to the hard disk.  This is a magnetic device and much slower than the CPU and memory, and thus by definition the bottleneck in a computer.  The CPU and RAM are waiting for Input/Output data from the disk.

I/O Pipeline - The combined devices that let the disk data flow to a computer; the disk, the disk controller card, and the local area network connections.

IP Addresses - The name of a computer on an Internetwork.

ISO 9000 (International Standards Organization 9000) - A certification process for the quality and standardization of documentation of procedures and practices in a manufacturing operation.  Periodic ISO audits by licensed auditors confirm that the documented procedures are being followed in the production of goods and services.

ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) - The term often used to describe a Software company's partnering organizations that develop complementary Software solutions to integrate or work together with the first company's solutions.

Imaging - The process of capturing, storing, and retrieving information, regardless of its original format, using micrographics and/or optical disk technologies.

Internet - The vast worldwide collection of interconnected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60s and early 70s.

Intranet - A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of Software found on the public Internet, but this network is for internal use only.

Intrusion Detection - Software that looks at anyone that opens or tries to open the chassis.

Java - A programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that claims to be hardware independent and can run on all platforms without the need to change anything.  Used to create Software for the Internet.

Javascript - This is Microsoft's flavor of Java, and works slightly different than Java.

Knowledge Management Software - Systems designed to manage knowledge within an organization, such as a database of answers to frequently asked questions to be used in a customer service/support center.

LAN (Local Area Network) - A computer network limited to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building.

LOTO (Lock Out, Tag Out)- The second most cited OSHA regulation violation.  These rules require that all energy sources are turned off and either locked out or tagged out while service work is being performed.

Library (also Changer) - A device that holds numerous tapes or optical disks, that can robotically pick up, read, and write these tapes.  Libraries can easily hold 100 gigabytes of data or more.

MAPI (Mail/Messaging Applications Programming Interface) - A Microsoft standard e-mail interface protocol.

MCSE - Microsoft Certified System Engineer

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) - Software that controls the physical operation of production equipment across the production process.

MRB (Material Review Board) - The organization authorized to dispose of material that does not conform to specifications.

MRP (Manufacturing Resources Planning)- Applications that integrate inventories, schedules, plans, and logistical functionality to keep track of and optimize an organization's manufacturing resources.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) - An information sheet that provides both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a specific substance.

Middleware - Software that creates a common language so computer users on a network can access data from a variety of databases with different file formats and operating systems. (Source IBD 12/97)

Mirroring - Creating an exact duplicate copy in real-time.

NCR (Non-conformance Report) - A report issued when components or finished goods do not conform to specifications.  The non-conformance can be due to problems during manufacturing, storage, or transportation, or problems with specifications or raw materials.

NIC (Network Interface Card) - A hardware card that plugs into a PC.  The card hooks up to your local area network.

NTFS (NT File System) - This is the file system that comes with NT and is much more reliable, modern, and robust than the old DOS compatible FAT (See FAT).  NTFS is C2-compliant and is used a lot in government.

Network - Two or more computers connected together so that they can share resources.  Connect two or more networks together and you have an Internet.

Node - Any single computer connected to a network.

ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) - A widely accepted application programming interface (API) for accessing relational databases based around SQL.  It allows application vendors to program to the API and in doing so, communicate with multiple, different databases with minimal database-specific code.

OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) - A way to have Software products work together, and for instance, embed a graph into a word processing document.  A live link between two applications.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) - This agency's mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for every working man and woman in the U.S.  This involves the application of tools that enable employers to do this.

Open Architecture - An architecture whose specifications are public.  This includes officially approved standards as well as privately designed architectures whose specifications are made public by the designers.  It allows for easy extension and customization to meet a particular business need.

Outlook - Microsoft's desktop personal information manager. Outlook provides facilities for managing personal and workgroup e-mail, calendars, contacts, tasks, and shared folders.

PM (Preventative Maintenance) - A proactive maintenance program designed to keep manufacturing assets performing within specifications.

Portal - A marketing term used to describe a Web site that is or is intended to be the first place people see when using the Web. Typically a "portal site" has a catalog of Web sites, a search engine, or both.  A portal site may also offer e-mail and other services to entice people to use that site as their main "point of entry" (hence "portal") to the Web.

Professional Services Organization - A full-service consulting, education, and support team dedicated to optimizing customer implementations with respect to process definition, system integration, training, and ongoing solution maintenance.

Push - A technology tool for automated information dissemination to defined user groups (via mail lists).  Usually event-triggered, push technology automatically sends messages to targeted users via whatever delivery vehicle (for example, workstation, Web browser, pager, fax, TV monitor, etc.) the user finds most convenient.

RAS - Windows NT has a module called Remote Access Services.  It allows people to call via a remote phone line and work on the server as if they were on the LAN.

RMA (Return Materials Authorization) - A form frequently used for all returned product, whether authorized or not.  RMA administration requires the company receiving goods to sort the materials into three groups: Store-and-use-as-is, re-work, or scrap.

ROI (Return on Investment) - The total ROI of a system implementation is the total increase in profitability that can be attributed to the system, including cost reductions, increased productivity, and increased sales, minus the total cost for the system including license fees, implementation costs, maintenance, and training.

RAID - Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, but generally understood as built-in redundancy so that errors are caught before they happen. RAID comes in 1, 2, 3, and 5.  Each is implemented in a slightly different way.

Remote Diagnostics - Being able to determine problems by routing event log messages over a WAN.

Revision Control - The process of controlling and managing the document revision process by limiting the ability to change or edit the document to one authorized user at a time. This is generally accomplished by requiring the user who wishes to change the document to have the proper authorization (via security profile) and locking the document, limiting all other users to read-only access, while the document is locked or "checked-out" for revision.  See also VERSION CONTROL.

SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) - An organization that acts as a resource for technical information and expertise used in designing, building, maintaining, and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space.

SCSI (Small Computer Standard Interface) - A standard data pathway used mostly for hard drives and CD-ROM drives, but also a common interface for scanners and sometimes printers.  Currently the fastest (and most flexible) method of interfacing with hard drives.  It comes in two major varieties: SCSI-2 or WIDE SCSI.  Both can now be Ultra which doubles the speed.

SCSI-2 - This version of SCSI originally came in two varieties: Fast-SCSI 2 and Fast-Wide SCSI 2.  Recent extensions to the SCSI 2 specification include Ultra SCSI, which comes in normal and wide.  It doubles the top data rates from 10 and 20 Mbps to 20 and 40 Mbps, respectively.

SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) - Like DRAM (see DRAM) but arranged with a more efficient data pathway which allows for faster throughput.

SIMM (Single In-Line Memory Module) - A standard way of packaging RAM on a small circuit board with a defined edge connector.

SMS (Simple Message Service) - The ability to send short text messages to SMS-capable devices such as cell phones, pagers, and PDAs.

SPC (Statistical Process Control) - A process used to measure quality and efficiencies during production.  Effective use of SPC will bring the quality level and the throughput up.

SPOA (Single Point of Access) - A computing philosophy that states that a user should be able to get to all the information he/she needs to perform their job from a single point of access, regardless of the user's physical location.

SQL Server - A large scale Microsoft database product, part of the Back Office Suite.

Scalability - A system's ability to adapt to changing conditions, such as a company's growth in number of users of the system.

Server - A computer that delivers data and Software to other computers tied into a network.  A server can assume a number of roles.  File servers simply store files for network users.  Database servers can manage large banks of information, while application servers store and distribute specific programs for users.  Remote access servers have special communications features that give many callers from disparate sites access to a network.

Switch - A more advanced version of a HUB. It is a box that workstations hook up with (see HUB).

TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) - The total cost of implementing and using a system over its lifetime.  It includes the total cost of implementation, services, maintenance, training, and upgrades.

TCP/IP (Transaction Control/Internet Protocol) - The protocol that has come up as the winner and is used on the Internet for data packet traffic.

32-BIT Application - An application that can process 32 bits of data at once.  This means the application can access larger amounts of memory and can take full advantage of the services provided by Win95/98 and 2000 operating systems.

TPM (Total Preventative Maintenance) - A comprehensive set of maintenance programs and policies that govern maintenance initiatives within a manufacturing organization.

TWAIN (Technology Without An Interesting Name) - A standard protocol and API for communication between Software applications and image acquisition devices (e.g., scanners, digital cameras) defined by Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, Documagix, and Canon.

Terminal Server - This is also a small box that usually has eight ports. Eight terminals can be hooked up to this server and this allows them to communicate with the LAN.

Thesis (Total Health and Environmental Safety Information System) - A system designed for the total integration of health, environmental, safety, security, and personnel systems to facilitate training, safety initiatives, audits, plan environmental and security issues, and reduce the risk of personal injury and accident in the manufacturing domain.

Two-Tier Architecture - A Software architecture in which the application logic is divided into two parts, or tiers.  The business logic is typically included either with the client or the database as one tier and the remaining logic as the other tier.

Ultra SCSI - SCSI that communicates twice as fast as standard SCSI-2.  Ultra-SCSI works its magic by transferring data on the up and the down stroke of a clock cycle, doubling throughput.

UNIX - A computer operating system. UNIX is multi-user and has TCP/IP built-in.  It is the most common operating system for servers on the Internet.

VFS (Visual Factory Solutions) - The proven methodology for improving production, quality, and the workplace through the application of visual feedback systems in the shop floor environment.

Viewer - A Software utility that allows the user to view files in native (as authored) format without using the originating Software package.  A viewer enables the user to make use of any document available to him/her, regardless of its origin.

Version Control - The process of managing and tracking successive versions of a given document so that the user can easily identify the current version as well as the order of succession of previous versions (the document's history).

WAN (Wide Area Network) - Any Internet or network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus.

Wide SCSI - An improvement to normal SCSI that allows for faster throughput by increasing the number of pins used to connect the drive to the controller from 50 to 68.  Wide SCSI doubles the throughput of normal versions of SCSI, but is generally more expensive due to the additional pins and marketing strategies.

Workflow Software - Software that sends files made on a computer to other people or systems that need them.  A set of programmed conditions tells the Software who gets the documents at each step of the paper-flow process.  The Software is often linked with a library, which tracks who has opened a document and whether it's been changed.

X.25 - An industry standard that determines the way packet switching networks operate.  The packets discussed here are data packets that are routed to the right computer on the network.

XREF (External Reference)
- An AutoCAD drawing or raster image linked to or embedded in another AutoCAD drawing in a parent/child relationship.  For example, an assembly diagram (parent) might include XREFs to component parts or sub-assemblies children) used in the final product.

ZES (Zero Energy State) - The process of bringing a piece of equipment down to a state of zero kinetic or dynamic energy in compliance with OSHA 1910.147.

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