Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Your Name {Here}!

A good day.
I have been invited to submit some articles on a regular basis to a technical paper. It's not the first time, but it has been a long time since ….
"Anything to do with enterprise IT" says The Editor, and I will comply.
My work rarely involves the latest buzz-words, so my first task was to research what people are talking about.
I have amassed a short list: Enterprise, Information Technology, Enterprise IT, Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing, Looking At the Bigger Picture, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Infrastructure, Crucial Data. The list is not endless, but it may as well be.
Crucial Data got to me.
What data is not crucial?
If you own data that is not crucial, why are you hanging on to it?
I liked the joke that circulated three weeks ago "According to recent reports, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are going to merge. The new network will be called", but I have doubts that The Editor would entertain that.
Everything else seems to be old hat with a new name.
Enterprise is, after all "Between-Take", if you look closely. An entre-preneur is an in-between-taker, a middleman; not very productive except as a link between two parties who would like to exchange assets. My friend Howard shuttles between clients who want printing done and print-shops that do it. Who needs Howard anyway?
Information Technology reminds me of Ian Sharpe, and his definitions: We Process Data to get Information. There was a nice diagram with "Data" on the left, "Information" on the right, and a big fat arrow pointing from left to right. Above the arrow was "Process". Made sense to a functioning mathematician like me. I don't use an IBM 407 any more. The technology has changed. New skills. So what? I don't program in FORTRAN II any more. Soon VBA will be passé, if it isn't already so.
Architecture sounds a lot like Design: what we didn't do forty years ago until we learned that we had to.
Cloud Computing is still a bit of a struggle. My Dad told me in 1959 that HIS dad, a headmaster, had the first crystal set on the street. Big deal! In Southern Cross 1959 I listened to the AM wireless (I never understood that because we had to plug it into the wall), and wanted one of those tinny little transistor radios that Ron Roccicielli had. Now the wireless comes by cable or DSL, I know, because Jazz FM 91.1 tells me to browse to their radio station. But I don't. I have 20+ gigabytes of music playing on an old Big Beige Box 24 hours a day. No announcers, no commercials. But with 20 gigabytes, lots of surprises!
Looking At the Bigger Picture is obvious once you start moving out of a cubicle. In a cubicle your job is to transfer ideas to punched-card coding-forms and compile the program. Outside of the cubicle but in the same room, your job is to make sure that all the cubicles talk to each other, and deliver a, well, a deliverable upstairs once a month. Upstairs, of course, the job is just to see who is behind schedule, aggravate them, and then go for lunch and/or a round of golf – the weather's lovely today.
Time for my bike-ride.

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