Subject: PC Card / PCMCIA
From: "Cobb, Bryan K (B. K)" <bkcobb -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 08:42:10 -0600

In the interests of clarity and precision, some notes about PCMCIA and PC

+ PCMCIA is an organization -- the Personal Computer Memory Card
International Association. The PCMCIA sets standards for certain types of
personal computer (PC) peripheral devices based on a removable card form
factor that is different from what is typically called a "PC card" or "PC

+ "PC Card" (note the initial cap on "card") is the PCMCIA's designation
for a PC peripheral device that adheres to their standards for such
devices. You can have a PC Card modem, a PC Card memory module, a PC Card
disk drive, and so on. I don't know if "PC Card" is a trademark of the
PCMCIA, but I'll find out and report back.

+ Technically, "PC Card" is an adjective modifying something -- a modem, a
memory module, a disk drive, and so on.

+ It took the PCMCIA a couple of years to come up with a "catchy" name for
devices that adhere to their standards. (Of course, whether PC Card is
"catchy" is up to you.) During that time, people began calling those
devices "PCMCIA cards" by default.

+ Microsoft did not try to push the name "PC Card" as a de facto standard.
They worked with other members of the PCMCIA to come up with the PC Card
name. (Not that I'm a Microsoft fan, mind -- I just want to set the story

Whether or not you like the name "PC Card," it's here to stay, since the
members of the PCMCIA are pushing it, and the industry is responding
(albeit slowly). If you're looking for a way to decrease confusion over
"PC Card" versus "PC card," here's what we do -- take it for what it's

+ Refer to "PC cards" as "option boards" rather than "cards." For example,
refer to a "PCI option board" or an "EISA option board."

+ Refer to "PC Cards" as "PC Card devices."

Hope this helps clear the confusion, put the rumors to bed, and return this
list to more productive discussions of boredom and ignorance. :-)

Bryan Cobb
Intergraph Computer Systems
System Documentation
Huntsville Alabama USA
bkcobb -at- ingr -dot- com

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