Sunday, May 29, 2005

Zachman's EA Framework - The Holy Grail of the Enterprise Architect

For those of you heavily involved in Enterprise Architecture, you will be familiar with John Zachman and his EA Framework. This framework came out of his research whilst at IBM eons ago and still holds very true to this very day. The problem has always been with implementation.


Quick primer on Zachman's Framework. Zachman basically uses the Interrogatives of Why (Motivation), How (Function), When (Time), Where (Netwok), Who (People/Org) and What (Data). Each set comes from different perspectives which he has classified as "Planner", "Owner", "Designer", "Builder", "Subcontractor" and "Detailed Representation". The whole framework is represented as a matrix of 6 rows (Perspectives) by 6 columns (the interrogatives) and each cell represents a complete model for that interrogatives and perpective. For example, the Designer/What cell would represent a complete logical model for the enterprise.

This is all well and said. "So what?", you may ask. Think about it. Let's assumed that somehow you have managed to document all cells in the matrix. Now you have a fully documented knowledge base of your enterprise. Say, you want to know how adding another location would impact the organization, you can plug in the new location and actually be able to tell what processes/procedures/systems would require changes to incorporate this new addition. You can also use this as a training aid. For example, a new employee could query the How column and be able to get information on each business process/function and associated procedures. Each of this is supported by the motivation of Why it needed to be done.

Why would this be the Holy Grail? Well, in all the years that Zachman has been preaching this framework, there is yet an organization that has fully implement the Framework. That's the key...there is no easy way to implement and all organizations are doing it piece-meal which takes a lot of effort and resources but for those organizations who are beginning to recognize the value, they are way ahead of the curve and their competition.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Absolute Power Corrupts

A couple of postings ago, I talked about the need to help with donations to help with poverty in under-developed countries. This morning in my local paper, there is news of King Mswati III of Swaziland taking a 11th bride with 12th and 13th on the way. This 36-year ruler of a country where a huge portion of his people lives in poverty has a lavish lifestyle with palaces, exotic and luxury cars, etc. He is well-educated but unfortunately has a very selfish personality. Here's an opportunity for him to use whatever wealth he has to help bring his country and citizens to a better life, he unfortunately decided that fulfilling his own egos and manhood is better. This has the making of a people's revolt.

The question remains to see what the other nations would do. Would you want your government to send aid to this country where the king basically will take the aid and use it for his end? This is cases where I would support efforts by the UN to ensure that such aid are directed to the people where affected.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Advances in Technology & well-being

In one of Mike Ault's latest post, he mentioned how his Dad is not doing well but with the help of technology, he should be fine with a pace maker. Thank goodness for technology coz if this has happened 50 years ago, there wouldn't be anything that could be done. This is so true of my daughter who was born 10 weeks premature. In my days, a baby born that early would have less than 10% chance of being healthy.

Well, yesterday in the local paper, they published a small tabular data matrix showing the expected healthy life expectency in the world (sourced from WHO) and it really brought home the fact that we are really, really lucky to be living not just in today's times but also in developed countries.

For example, in the WHO statistics (based on 2002 figures), if you are in a under-developed country (e.g. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Liberia, Afghanistan, etc), your healthy life expectancy is just under 35 years!

Isn't it sad? We do have the technologies but unfortunately we are not able or willing enough to get the technologies to areas where it is needed. Can more be done? Obsolutely! There are a lot of charitable organizations who are seeking to make a difference, your Red Cross, World Vision, etc. Take a moment to consider donating the cost of your morning coffee to these organizations and help the less fortunate.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hmmm...Intro.

I've installed Statcounter on my blog a couple of days ago and I guess the current spat with Don Burleson has pulled more visitors according to Statcounter which is great but also provide me with a dilemma. Given that there is an increased interest in my blog, I would want to make the blog a more rewarding experience. I am not going to try and post more technical stuff as there are many more folks who are technically more competent that I in Oracle. I will have to at least post one interesting entry per week. For now, given the recent spat with DKB, I thought I might as well provide more information about myself but No, I'm not going to go all out and identified myself. I am stil paranoid on how easy it is to have your identity stolen.

I've been in IT since the early 80's and actually started working with Oracle version 3.0! The irony was that I took almost all different IT subjects (like CG, AI, digital design, security, etc.) in university except for database concepts/technologies and I ended up working with databases right out of university. I spent two years in England working for a consulting firm doing mostly Oracle programming and database administration. After which I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where I've been since. The first eight years of my career was spent working for various consulting firms (doing mostly Oracle/Ingres and data modelling stuff) including a stint with Canada's premier consulting firm at that time - SHL Systemhouse. I then decided to do more non-technical stuff moving into Data Management and Project Management but still having a hand in Oracle.

Industries that I have been involved in included Aerospace, Ship Building, Network, Government, Telecommunications, Retail, New Media and non-profit agencies. I almost could have retired but unfortunately the dot bomb era caught up before we could successfully launch the product. C'est la vie. Anyhow, I am now currently managing a team of DBAs and Unix Administrators for a Government agency.

I think that's enough about me for now and my next entry should be on "Managing your manager".

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I've been censored by Robert Freeman

Robert Freeman, an Oracle consultant who works for Burleson Consulting has a blog and one of his topics was on evil people where he classified evil people posting as having the following three characteristics:

1. The posts were anonymous.
2. The posts were unkind and out of context.
3. The posts were presumptuous, at best.


I had responded by saying that that wasn't true as evil people could be well known like the Green River Killer from Seattle. Don Burleson responded by claiming that I cannot be trusted as I'm anonymous and have pretended to be "Sami B" and my moniker pretended to be "real names" but am actually a coward for hiding my identity and he bets that there is a really, really good reason why I would use a fake name.

I attempted to respond to Don's claims by saying that Peter is my first name and that my last name started with K and that I have not attempted to hide my identity and that he probably could id me if he wishes by browsing through my blog and infer from what has not been said as to maybe who I might be. Unfortunately Robert felt the need to delete that by claiming a new set of rules (as he has the right for it's his blog) to delete consecutive anonymous postings. His reasoning were as follows:

I have removed Peters comments. Peter's comments were in no way rude or off-color, but I've decided it was best to remove them.

It shall be the policy of this blog, where possible, to not allow consecutive anonymous posts on the same topic (thus, Peter is free to post one anonymous post on another of my blog topics, not this one). Any other posts should be topical to that post, and not reference another post or they will be removed. There is no first amendment right on my blog, this is the kingdom of Robert, benevolent King and ruler.

I have made my feelings clear with regards to anonymous posts, and I feel that while there might be occasions to warrant such posts, this is not the place.

It shall be the policy of this blog to remove any posts that contain personal insults, words that are in bad taste (defined by words I would not allow my 12 year old daughter hear, much less say) or anything inflammatory for the sake of inflammation. :-D

If one wishes to protect ones identity by being anonymous, thats fine and I respect that. However, please respect the anonymous post policy of my blog.

Robert

6:44 PM


So Don's claims stand alone on Robert's blog and I have no way of rebutting which is truely unfortunate. I guessed I could always post anonymously instead of posting under my Blogger id of PeterK after all, can Robert be able to differentiate "anonymous" poster 1 from "anonymous" poster 2? Or I could also try and rebut Robert's claim that he is not anonymous because he has used his full name plus he has his picture on the blog. Hmmm, can I do that as "Peter Kawasaki" and publish a picture of a Japanese fellow and be no longer anonymous??? You betcha! except that I might be accused of identity fraud.

Comments and yes anonymous comments are welcome but no profanities.

Politics in Canada

If you are Canadian, you probably know of the current situation that the Federal Liberals (minority government) are in and with Belinda Stronach crossing the floor to the Liberals. Now charges are flying back and fro between the Liberals and the Conservations that there were poaching attempts and bribes, etc.

All these came about because of corruption that was rifed during Jean Chretien's reign as Prime Minister where there were millions of dollars of taxpayers money that were funnelled to the Liberal parties via 3rd party agencies. Now the current PM who is no fan of Jean Chretien claims that he is now trying to get to the bottom of the corruption (via a public inquiry) even though he served as Finance Minister during those years.

Canadian politics have never been this interesting since (well, I wouldn't know).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The ever-changing blog of DKB

Yesterday I wrote about Don Burleson going on a tear about the evil of Howard J Rogers and all those "Oracle database sicko's" who associates with him.

Well, Don's blog entry has undergone revisions and gone were references to Ted Bundy, evil people who are born outside of the US, telling HJR to go to hell, etc.

Fortunately HJR did save a copy of the original blog entry and can be found here.

This is really, really a sad case of someone who probably has a lot of baggage and kind of lost it for whatever reason when it came to dealing with HJR. Now the fact that Don has revised his blog entry either showed that someone had told him about the inappropriateness of the wording OR he has calmed down and realized the inappropriateness himself.

Monday, May 16, 2005

DKB on a tear!

Don Burleson is on a tear today. He posted on his blog, the following entry on Scum of the Computer Industry in which he referred a photograph that HJR took on one of his trip from Down Under to North Carolina. I looked at HJR's posting of the picture and maybe it was a poor choice but the gist is the lack of proper English/grammar/spelling and how the language was being abused. Anyhow, Don commented on "evil people" and that almost all of them are non-US born. Hmmm...that's a rule of thumb and generalization that we don't need (as if we already don't have enough trouble with our current world situation) and he went on to offer a "Go to Hell" to HJR and all those Oracle database sicko's who associates with him (which basically includes all of HJR's clients and students plus attendees to his talks and presentations). He apparently also banished Jeff Hunter from his DBA forum for daring to question Don's recommendation of hosting a production database on a US$750 PC (single processor with no redundancy). I unfortunately was not able to see the posting as yours truly was banned from that forum for questioning Don's "tongue in cheek" article on the end-user community.

Added - May 18th
Just found out that DKB has banned Jeff Hunter from the DBA forums and sent him a nasty e-mail laced with profanities. See Jeff's new blog site for details.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Internet and video streaming

I'm a big badminton fan which unfortunately is not that big here in N. America in terms of the television networks willingness to show major badminton tournaments. Currently, the Sudirman Cup is being contested (every two years) in Beijing, China. The Sudirman event is a mixed team event where countries field teams of men/women singles and doubles plus one mixed team (5 events in total) and best of 5 events win the showdown. Also, the format includes dividing the various countries into groups based on their level with Group 1 (consisting of the elite countries) being able to win the coverted trophy (other groups can advance up to the next level group).

Obviously, there are no network in N. America carrying the event although it is being carried live in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, England, Denmark (just to name a few). So, what is a poor fellow in N. America (or anywhere else where there is no coverage) to do? Solution is Coolstreaming which allows you to watch over the internet. Coolstreaming is like Bit Torrent which means that the more people who use Coolstreaming to watch the same show, the faster (better) the video speed and quality. For example, I can click on CCTV5 (the China TV station carrying the event) and use Coolstreaming to watch the channel live (although the time is not that great - 4am PST). Obviously the technology is not quite all there yet as there are times when the video streaming is lagging with gaps but overall, it's not too bad.

With this technology, what are the limitations? The first and obvious one is the ability of the various television networks to televise their shows around the world (at least for folks with acceptable bandwidth).

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Too much to write and not enough time?

Over the last few days, I have so much to write but found that I can't put stuff down on the blog. I mean, I could tell you about school politics (Parent Advisory Committee), racism (look at the NBA MVP situation), books that I am reading, etc.

Instead, I'm just going to say that over the next few days, I will be busy doing some decorating of the house by repainting the fire mantle (never did get it finished after a decade of living at the same house).

At work, my DBA have finally created a new Oracle database (after 3 weeks on and off) but since it's his first installation, he is getting the benefit of doubt.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Professionalism and responsibility

I've talked about the concern that I raised about the 'light-hearted' article that Burleson wrote entitled "User is a four-letter word" where the IT end-user community were categorized into four categories (all of which are demeaning and belittle the user community). So, what am I advocating when I say "Professionalism and taking the responsibility to advance the profession."?

Here's somethng on "Code of Ethics" and "Standards of Conduct", both of which are taken from the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) - Canada's equivalent of the British Computer Society,
Code of Conduct.


7.3. Code of Ethics
The following statements are agreed to by all members of CIPS BC as a condition of membership. I acknowledge that my position as an information systems professional carries with it certain obligations, and I will take diligent personal responsibility for their discharge.
P) To the public: I will endeavour at all times to protect the public interest. I will strive to promote understanding of information systems and their application. I will not represent myself as an authority on topics in which I lack competence.
M) To myself and my profession: I will guard my competence and effectiveness as a valuable possession. I will work to maintain them despite changing circumstances and requirements. I will demonstrate the highest personal standards of moral responsibilities, character, and integrity when acting in my professional capacity.
C) To my colleagues: I will treat my colleagues with integrity and respect their right to success. I will contribute to the information systems profession to the best of my ability.
E) To my employer and/or clients: I will give conscientious service to further my employer's and/or client's legitimate best interests through management's direction.
R) To my employees and contracted staff: I will observe their obligation to uphold the Code of Ethics of the professional societies to which they belong.
S) To my students: I will provide a scholarly education to my students in a supportive and helpful manner.
7.4. Standards of Conduct
The Code of Ethics is a set of ideals to which CIPS members aspire. The Standards of Conduct is intended to be more practicably enforceable. The following statements are agreed to by all members of CIPS as a condition of membership.
Due to my obligation to the public:
P1) I will not unnecessarily withhold information pertinent to public issues relating to information systems. I will work to enhance the public's understanding of information systems and their current capabilities and limitations
P2) I will not disseminate, nor allow to go unchallenged, false or misleading information I believe is likely to have significant consequences.
P3) I will not offer professional information or advice I know to be misleading, or whose accuracy is beyond my competence to assess.
P4) I will not seek to acquire, through my position or special knowledge, for my own or others’ use, information not rightly mine to possess.
P5) I will obey the laws of the applicable jurisdictions, and will not counsel nor assist any person to act in any way contrary to these laws. I will inform appropriate individuals if I become aware of illegal actions.
P6) I will endeavour to enhance public understanding of information systems.
Due to my obligation to myself and my profession:
M1) I will not knowingly allow my competence to fall short of that necessary to reasonably carry out my duties.
M2) I will conduct my professional duties in such a manner as to cause no harm to the stature of the profession.
M3) I will take appropriate action on reasonably certain knowledge of unethical conduct on the part of a colleague.
M4) I will not misrepresent my qualifications, expertise or experience as an information systems professional. I will limit my contributions to my area(s) of expertise.
Due to my obligation to my colleagues:
C1) I will not unnecessarily withhold information pertinent to my work or profession.
C2) I will give full acknowledgment to the work of others.
C3) I will endeavour to share my knowledge and skills with my colleagues to achieve successful results.
Due to my obligation to my employer and my clients:
E1) I will accept responsibility for my work and for meeting commitments. I will inform others with a right and need to know of pertinent parts of my work.
E2) I will not accept work that I do not feel competent to perform or that cannot be completed in an appropriate timeframe to my employer's satisfaction.
E3) I will guard the legitimate confidentiality of my employer's private information.
E4) I will ensure my employer/client is aware of appropriate expertise and current professional knowledge pertinent to the specific task(s) at hand.
E5) I will respect the commercial aspect of my obligation to my employer and/or clients. I will honour all contractual agreements and confidentiality requirements. I will keep confidential my employer's and other companies' information, particularly as regards data and software.
E6) I will not accept work I feel would be unethical or would use resources I know belong to others.
E7) I will avoid conflicts of interest and will give notice of potential conflicts.
Due to my obligations to my students:
S1) I will maintain my knowledge of information systems in those areas in which I teach to a level exceeding curriculum requirements.
S2) I will treat my students as worthy of significant effort on my part.

Looking at the list, we can safely said that P3 is applicable to BC and it is necessary for DKB and anyone else for that matter to make corrections to any published articles that are infactual or have been shown to be infactual.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Update...infamy

Further to the closing of said thread (see previous post) on Burleson's DBA forum, I am now banned from that forum and the two threads that I started were deleted much like Burleson's requested deletions of his mostly incorrect postings to c.d.o.s.

It's really sad that it's funny. Both Mike A and Don B are well-known in the Oracle community and have marketed themselves as the "gurus" for Oracle but unfortnately, their reputations were over-blown (IMMHO). Ah well, I can always browse the site from a different IP, assuming that the Cherry Sisters are willing. You might well ask "Why bother?". Well, I guessed it's for the entertainment value or as someone else put it, "it's like watching a train wreck, you are just fascinated by the sight." Thanks to David Aldridge, I'm now infamous as being another member banned by Burleson and have my own entry in his blog and also he started a new thread at dbasupport.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Censorship??? and IT responsibilities

I recently came across an article whilst browsing through DBAzine which was authored by Don K Burleson, User is a Four-Letter Word: Tales from the Trenches.

Now the article might have been a "light hearted" look at the world of IT clients ("end-users") and attempt to humourously categorise the IT clients in various categories (none of which are flattering). In my opinion, I think it a case of crass writing and irresponsible as the new approach is to build trust and relationship with IT clients, making it a partnership and colloborative relationship.

I then proceeded to start a new topic on Burleson's forum questioning the article (no personal attack on the author) but rather raised the concern that we as IT professionals has the responsibility to further our profession. Well, you can guess what happened next. Burleson's right hand crony, Mike Ault, decided that the topic wasn't suitable for their forum and closed the thread citing the fact that the forum's focus is on "technical" content and no attacks on Don B, him or anyone at Burleson Consulting.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Tax Returns & high costs of application upgrades

Whoo! Finally got all the family tax returns completed. I absolutely hate this time of the year as you spend so much time trying to navigate your way around tons of red tape and regulations just to ensure that (a) you have pay what you owe and (b) you have maximize all the savings necessary. I wish that the government will make it easy and just have a straight tax rate regardless. Think of the amount of time and effort spent by everyone. Time and effort that could be better utilized for better stuff (volunteering, family time, etc).

Our PeopleSoft HR upgrade went in successfully on the weekend (a whole week of migration/conversion) plus countless hours of testing prior. I don't even want to think of the actual costs for this project and vendors need to take responsibility for not making upgrades easier and more cost effective.

Now the focus is on the other upgrade projects. It's gonna be a long year of upgrades as we were in limbo for a while due to political "interferences" and could not do the upgrades previously and now we are playing catch-up which could be a blessing in disguise as we should benefit from the experiences of other organizations.

As part of my daily return, I've checked Tom Kyte's blog and as usual, interesting stuff and the latest is the need for us to ask "Why?" as a means of questioning and whether it would be considered rude to question posters as to why they would want to do some stuff. This is a result of Don Burleson's immature ranting on his forum when Dave Alderidge was questioning a poster as to their reasons and also to gather more insight as to the problem(s) facing the poster. Don B ranted at Dave A accusing him of being "rude and unproductive" (forum). Take the poll at Tom K's blog on whether you think it's rude to ask questions.