Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog

August 2008 Entries

Lessons From Flying With A Four Year Old

My children always teach me so much.  I got back recently from a vacation with my family.  We were coming in for a landing on our 2.5 hour flight when my youngest son asked what was behind the wing.  It was a condensation cloud forming right behind the trailing edge of the wing.

So how do you explain condensation and vortices in terms that a four year old will understand?  You have to put it in terms that they already understand.  Describe the swirl that they see in a bath tub when you let the water out.  Now put some glitter in the still water and it really isn't that noticeable until you create a vortex which brings it all together.  It isn't exactly accurate, but at least it is something that they can relate to.

This got me to thinking about talking to stakeholders.  No, I am not suggesting you talk to them like four year olds.  You do need to talk to them in language that they understand though.  If you talk in technical jargon you might as well be explaining physics to a four year old.

The important thing to do is learn the language of the business.  It is your job to turn that business need into a technical architecture.  The bonus that is gained from this effort is a better understanding of why the company is going through the trouble of building the systems in the first place.  It also allows you to anticipate areas that could produce a competitive advantage from the implementation of a software system.

Soft skills are always our greatest asset as architects.  Take every chance you get to improve them.

No One Is Immune

I guess it can happen to anyone.  This weekend I started getting emails from friends and automated rejections form mail servers.  It seems that my Yahoo account got hit with a virus that sends spam from my mail account to everyone in my address book.  Now the surprising part is that this happened while running a web mail browser session which did not give an indication that a message was sent either visually or leaving a message in my sent mail.  It also occurred without setting off warnings from either my local virus software (which is automatically updated) or any software that may or may no exist on Yahoo's servers.

So what can be learned from this experience.  Nothing is ever 100% safe.  We need to improve our detection systems to keep this sort of incident to a minimum.  I know there has been talk of software that will search for virus patterns instead of specific virus signatures. 

The whole experience left me feeling vulnerable.  As a result I ended up checking all of my online accounts and changing passwords to make sure that nothing else was compromised.

Stay safe (or at least try).

August Chicago Architects Group Meeting

The August Chicago Architects Group meeting will be held on Thursday the 21st.  Carl Franklin of Triton-Tech will be speaking at CDW downtown.  For more information and to register please follow the link below.  See you there.