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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Systemic Reflections from the Obama - McCain Race

There is no doubt that Obama not only won the elections, but also smashed his opposition. Looking at the Electoral votes we see a torrent gap 349/163 and a popular vote of 53%/46%... what a surprise... totally unpredictable... I personally thought he might win 51%/49% and maybe an electoral vote ratio of 1.1/1... not 2.14/1..

So this tells us that human systems are totally unpredictable.. engineering a system with a human as part of it might be suicidal in some cases. So lets take the example of engineering a commercial aircraft, is the pilot part of the system or not? Most system engineers will say.. not really ... the system is the plane (structure, mechanical, electrical, etc..) we can model those, but we can't model the pilot, what if the pilot is too slow to land, or fell asleep during take off.. so many soft factors to model, so lets take the pilot out of the picture.. and then we test (verify) out plane with an average pilot... that is a pilot who did not have a bad day, did not lose a loved one the week before, is not tired, has no spousal problems, etc.. So the test passes, aircraft declared ready for production, sold and used for years, without a hitch...

We recall the Egypt Air flight than mysteriously dropped out of the Eastern US skies on Halloween night 1999, until our date we have theories and thoughts of why the sky bus blew up and perished in the air... some say the pilots walked out of the cabin to stretch, when the senior pilot walked in and committed suicide, other theories are cracks in the wing, a third fuel leakage, and a fourth contribute the root cause to a strike 10 yrs ago when that batch of 747s where in Seattle on the assembly line, and that because they were not in a good mood the quality of manufacturing standards was below nominal.. who knows.. it could be all the above, or none of the above.. bottom line is that many of these root causes include a human factor.. totally unpredictable .. just like the American voters.. the time has come to include soft factors into engineering problems -- Point 1... we can't ignore soft factors

Now, wasn't it the McCain campaign that distributed those millions of DVDs in swing states to tell them about how radical Islam is? Covering up truth, and smearing others does not work anymore... the people are more educated nowadays than the 80s, 70s, and 60s.. thanks to the so called Internet, and its myriad of facebook, you tube, google and countless other applications.. --- Point 2... Fooling customers never works, eventually they will know that you are marketing a 747 and selling a prop.

Finally, end users buy and use what they want, not what you tell them they need... Americans don't want their daughters and sons in Iraq, Americans don't want their 401Ks wiped out, they don't want to lose their jobs, telling them that pulling out of Iraq is not only stupid, but irrelevant.. regardless whether it is a good idea or not, its not what they want to hear. End users want to hear solutions to their problems, they don't want solutions to other problems, and they are not smart enough to know where root causes come from, you where there when the plane crashed.. then you must be involved. --- Point 3... It doesn't matter how brilliant or great your idea is, if it does not solve my problem, its worthless in my perspective [1], also I don't care why the system crashed, the point is that you did not do a good job designing it. Don't blame the storm, blame the plane [2]

We can wish as much as we want, model as much as we want, take the means, but at the end whatever Allah ordains will happen...

Now whether Obama will deliver on his promises is a completely different story, history will let us know.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

SOA Programming Allows Independence

The SOA programming model is to embrace underlying programming languages that are already deployed in the enterprise. It does not mater whether applications are .NET, CICS, Java, SAP based, or based on any other technology, these technologies are all transparent to SOA.

SOA allows the architect to hide any variations or differences between languages and programs to maximize reuse. Additionally we can drill down into unique aspects of a specific language or program only when needed, without exposing the details.

One of the major benefits of this programming model followed by SOA is to program and develop business and service design rather than a technology. For example the programming focus would be on a student grade verification process, rather than a .NET session.

Any experiences to share?

XML's role to SOA

SOA leverages the standard XML data representation to reduce underlying complexity of application environments. Some are examples are;

- Passing XML documents and schemas between applications allows for the standardization of data format and type, which this improves predictability and performance.

- XML documents are easily understood by different stakeholders such as architects, analysts, developers and users, leading to enhanced data maintenance, traceability and clarity.

- XML allows the support of standardized vocabularies across the enterprise, hence reducing mis-interpretation of corporate data and data models.

- XML allows a SOA based system to realize a foundation data representation and data management layer.

For SOA to leverage the benefits of XML, a solid XML architecture should be developed and implemented. Such architecture should include architectural components for data transport, structure, validation, verification and modeling. Accommodations for RPC-style messaging needs to also be considered if an environment does not support document-style messaging (SOAP). In such cases we need to ensure no conflicts exist between usage of RPC-style SOAP messages (from shaping XML documents around a parameter data exchange model).

A Slotting System for Misery, Poverty and Crime

It was a bit of a shock to see that Marylanders favored bringing slot machines to Charm City, and its suburbs. It is no more than a call to bring crime, prostituition, and long term economic failure. This is not just my opinion as a Muslim Systems Engineer, but that of any person who has some basic knowledge of economics and social reform will have the same opinion.

What comes easy goes easy. Slots brings a system of vapor to Maryland. No true productivity, no true growth and no true value proposition, other than greed to the operators.

We should not be surprised to see more bankruptcies, shattered households, and chaos similar to the global financial crash pretty soon in the Free State.