Thursday, 26 December 2002

Fine Food, Fine Wine & Fine Friends

Couldn't have been a better Christmas Day than today. It started at just before 7am (as every year) with the kids and their stockings on the parental bed. (yes, the 17 and 18 year old still like theirs too)  Then the binge begins with a hearty english style breakfast (in the pyjamas), followed by getting dressed up for theday and then the traditional opening of the presents around the tree (to the sounds of Benjamin Britten's ceremony of Carols)

Today there was some big stuff, and as before we secreted this or parts of it around the house and wrote little riddles to help the recipients find their presents, thus providing the only exercise or the day :-). Following this a retreat into respective corners to contemplate the new aquisitions (I love my new iPOD, thanks Carol)

Then onto the dinner preparations, in readiness for the arrival of our guests around 2pm, who arrive promptly allowing binge part 2 to take place: Paté & Champagne -> Turkey & Barolo -> Christmas Pudding & Coffee followed by a reassesment of stomach expansion capabilities
Combined with the company of old friends makes for the perfect dinner. Three hours after the start, we finally drag ourselves away from the table to continue our celebrations on more comfortable chairs ..... and so on to the end of the day.

Thanks go to Nils & Christine for sharing our Christmas day with us and making it all the more enjoyable for the sharing.

I hope your Christmas day was as joyful as ours.

Tuesday, 24 December 2002

Merry Christmas All

Just 9 minutes to go here in Switzerland

Sunday, 22 December 2002

Tree is Up

Last bit of christmas shopping, a couple of hours in the (home) Gym for the first time in nearly 2 weeks due to the cold and then finally up with the christmas tree makes for a satisfying day.
I love putting up the tree with the family right from the potting to the final placing of the star atop. I think it looks rather grand in its Red and Gold attire, dont you?

Saturday, 21 December 2002

I Hate Copy Protected CD's

I have just bought a copy of Gregorians "Masters of Chant III" only to find that it will not play on my PC. As I primarilly listen to music at my PC and on my MP3 player which requires the use of a digital transfer, this CD is next to useless for me.

The only warning on the package to indicate the problem was an almost unreadable copy protection message. I consider this an infringment of my rights to play this music in the way I feel appropriate. The CD is unfit for the purpose for which it was sold.
Since the advent of electronic music distribution on the Internet and the availability of PC playable music I have personally purchased more CDs than previously, and I know this is true for many of my friends and aquaintances.

When will the music industry realise that it is cutting its own throat with this stupidity.
Of course, this didn't actually stop me from copying the CD, and their is always the analogue record which with my nice quiet Audigy card and a bit of Wave editing I'm pretty close to the original digital. Anybody want to exchange their purchased CD's for rippable versions?

Thursday, 19 December 2002

Hypocrisy or What?

Getting pangs of guilt for going on about preparing for Christmas, because actually I'm an atheist (or maybe agnostic, I just can't be sure) and I guess in many people's eyes that would make me a hypocrite or just somebody who rides the bandwagon of modern commercialism.

I look at it differently:
I believe that Christ was a man who did a whole lot of good during his life, and taught a lot of people some pretty good rules for good behaviour either while he was around or through his followers. Celebrating the life of a good man who died because he was a good man would probably be enough reason for celebration. More than this I think Christmas is a celebration of all that is good in us, and of all the things that should make us thankful for being humans, and most of all for celebrating and showing peace and goodwill to our fellow man.

Hey, its got to be good to do that once a year regardless of religious persuasion.

Prague at Christmastime

Just had the dubious pleasure of a day trip to Prague on business (the inside of a meeting room in Prague looks pretty much like the inside of a meeting room in Zurich or London or .....). I did however get the chance to walk around the city late last night and it does look rather splendid in its Christmas attire. The squares all have their grand Christmas trees and their numerous market stalls all selling their local wares and plenty of "Grog" to ward of the cold. I especially liked all the old style lamposts with their yuletide stars atop, and of course their is Wenceslas square, but no sign of the good king stepping out.

Glad to be home though with only two more whole working days to go before a nice break from the daily grind!

Hopefully I can get my voice back in form (cold still there) before the annual trip to church for christmas Carols. I can smell the Turkey cooking already. I reckon I'm almost as exited as my 11 year old.

Sunday, 15 December 2002

Birthday and Christmas Smells

Today was my middle's 17th Birthday and as usual the celebration was mixed with the preparation for Christmas which we like to celebrate with fervour. The house is therefore full of delicious baking smells revealing the ethnic mix of our origins and our current home.

This unique mix of Zimtsternen, Vanillegipfeli, Mince pies and Samosas and the numbing effects of G&T and white russians set the relaxing tone for the evenings celebrations at the local Chinese restaurant. I just hope the lingering cold doesn't destroy me before the day is over.

All this jollility has forced me to at least make the home page a little more seasonal and jovial. Hence the new theme complete with new photo (from this year's holiday in Bali).

Saturday, 14 December 2002

Blog Moved

Decided to move my blog onto my own server rather than having it hosted at userland, seem to have a bit of a problem with the resulting html though. All the images are put into an "images" sub-directory (as one would expect), but are expected in "blogimages" by the html. Hmmm must check out userland's support

Monday, 9 December 2002

Minimum Set of Architectural Models

So how many (static) models does it take to show an IT architecture without overcomplicating the issue?

John Zachman's framework  would have us using 30, but I am sure that John would not advocate quite such an array of toys as a fundamental architecture toolkit for system architects (although I would fully advocate using this framework as a coverage checklist). My team had developed a four model approach to recording and showing target IT architectures which cover

Business functionvalue chain elements
DataCore business entities plus Master / Slave relationships
Technical Application Layersmax 5  tiers, Presentation, Presentation Logic, Business Logic, Middleware services, Data

the reuseable component model including all the basic stuff like networks, O/S, file systems etc

This seemed to work well until along came the Web services model where we are supposed to think in terms of floating service interfaces around a set of business functions (objects). This led us to develop a new Interfaces Model which can represent these arbitrary connections between systems. In developing this model we have discovered that it is the key which can hold the others together by providing the mapping across the models which would normally be handled "in the head". I think we may be on to a canonical form for static IT models.
Is anyone else trying to figure out how to record, design and track architectural models at a high level of abstraction?
Next we need to tackle the problem of identifying quality and value proposition for a given interface.

Friday, 6 December 2002

Selling Architecture

Heavy week this week, but satisfying.

Selling IT Architecture into a business world that isn't really ready for it can be a challenge at times, but what it comes down to in the end is showing value (as for any businees change). The only problem we have in IT is that so many of the advantages are soft, and difficult to translate into hard cash, and if you suggest to "business" that maybe you should look after their Business Architecture too, well..... When will the great IT-Business divide go away? I guess it is down to us architecture evangelists
The key could be in finding the right measurable  Key Performance Indicators, and making sure that your ideas get to see the light of day through real projects. In fat multi-nationals, however, just finding a place to make the first incision can be a challenge.

Reminders to self: Removing the worry of backup through friends and family storage and don't forget the five models of architectural perfection.

Thursday, 5 December 2002

Who do you trust?

Who do you trust?

Something we are really missing on the Internet is a financial brokerage. I want to log on once and then be able to go anywhere and spend, spend, spend in both small (streaming media) and large (buy book, PC, securities) increments without ever having to worry about providing the next set of credentials. What is more I want to get a running summary of what is happening to my money. The technologies to enable this scenario are already around (web services & public key security mechanisms), but it seems that nobody wants to take up the challenge of being the broker.
Who should it be: ISP, Bank, Retailer. Who would you trust to be your broker?

12:53:32 AM    comment []

So here I am blogging, for those that care. Introducing myself quickly:
I'm  an Enterprise IT Architect in the financial services industry that needs an outlet from that dull life :-) I believe ferociously that the Internet and all it stands for will eventually change most everything we do.
What am I interested in?
  • Music, its production, reproduction and distribution (been active in MP3 since the beginning)
  • My beautiful family
  • Collaborative environments (a la Groove) and communities and how they are going to fix the Net.
  • Paying for the Net
  • Securing the Net
  • Architecture of course
  • Avoiding the overengineering of IT infrastructures