Business Requirements and Logical and Physical design

I am often asked what is the difference between a logical design and a physical design. And sometimes, whether it is necessary to separate Business Requirements from Technicasl requirements. Some feel that an attempt to separate these aspects is unnecessary. While I will not let myself get bogged down in obsessive hair splitting of a purely academic or linguistic kind, I believe the ability to make the distinction is crucial to the successful design and implementation of new business requirements. And how many requirements are not “new” and unique, even when it seems to be a modification of existing software.

HK Tram 2types

HK Tram 2types

Take a look at the two pictures of two different trams I was in today, in Hong Kong Both have single seats on the left and double seats on the right. Fit a business requirement for there to be maximum seats without sacrificing reasonable comfort. Three seats per row is the logical design. That it is one on the left, a pathway and two seats on the right, is somewhere between a logical and a physical constraint. (I know, textbooks don’t admit that it may not be a clean cut separation between logical and physical, but hey, we live in the real world, and I am not going to kill my project by spending days just arguing over the theory. The actual material used to make the seats is of course very much purely physical design. Look at the handle bars for the standing passengers. One version has only bars on the left hand side, while the other has them on both sides. That is a physical design choice, for a business requirement that standing passengers should be able to steady themselves. A different design choice could very well have been straps instead of bars, or verticle posts.  The reason why we should have some idea between logical and physical choices is to give ourselves a lot more room for creative problem solving. 

Do animals have emotions?

Just revisited a book I bought sometime ago. “The Pig Who Sang to The Moon” by Jeffrey Mason. Subtitled “the emotional World of Farm Animals”.

I know, you’re wondering why I’m mentioning this book out of the blue. The title struck me as interesting when I came across it in a London bookstore. I certainly would not find this book in a religiously sensitive country where the animal or even the mere mention of it is considered offensive. (Won’t go into that at the moment except to say that not all followers of the religions that avoid pork are so ### but many governments pander to the whims of the insane minority).

The book really is not about pigs per say, but use the animal as one example among others, of the view that animals have the same ability to feel, and think, as humans. I am not against eating meat, and I do eat meat, although in much smaller quantities than I used to, as I grow older. Not because of the book or any belief system.

The book uses studies and examples of how certain animals in the studies, were found to be able to have fun, think feel, and therefore possibly anticipate the future. The horror of living a life in anticipation of being slaughtered in the prime of your life.

Death is not the only concern expressed for animals in the book. It is about the immense suffering we put animals, pigs, cows, goat, chicken, etc, when we breed and raise them in the sort of commercial farming systems so widespread today.

DOG

One interesting question raised in comparing dogs and cats (which we abhor the thought of harming, much less of eating), with farm animals is that the farm animals do not show an interest in us like cats and dogs do. “Can we only be interested in an animal who fawns on us? Is our vanity so terribly fragile that we require adoration before we accord even the faintest interest? It is not true that farmed animals are indifferent; they are frightened. It is true that all farmed animals are standoffish with us, because there is always a deep basic justified mistrust”.

Towards the end of the book the author asks the question of whether we mistreat animals we breed for food, because They are different from us. It seems a stretch of logic to go from here to inter human relationships.

But my own question is whether there is a connection with all forms of negative discrimination among groups of humans. I remember that at one time the term “positive discrimination ” was bandied around as the justification for some forms of racial discrimination. I am glad I don’t see this term in common use anymore, as it is one of the most ludicrous terms invented, to justify bad policies. Presumably it didn’t achieve the purpose of avoiding embarrassment in mixed company or the world is grown so immune to shame that you can call a black sheep white and to hell with anyone who disagrees.

How big or small, is the step, from ritual slaughter of animals, to that of human? What does it do to our own minds and psyche!

No pain no gain?

There is a common perception that in order to benefit from exercises all from sports we need to suffer pain.at the same time, there is also a belief that pain is a warning by our system, the body system,  that something is wrong somewhere and that  we need to protect the part that is suffering pain. 

Clearly, there is truth in both of these statements. The difference is the situation under which we will apply either one of these beliefs. I should not use the word belief, because we need to look at the facts of the individual case.

There must be some sort of criteria, guidelines, that we can make use of in deciding whether the pain that we are currently suffering from, in a given situation, is one that we should try to minimize or try to remove the source of pain in any way.  We ought to, perhaps even increase the pain significantly, in order to take away the problem permanently.

Give this matter some thought, because all of us will at some point or other, face this decision. Leaving the decision to others to tell us what to do is not a good idea. Because the pain can only be felt by we ourself and the way that we verbalize the condition to another person, even a doctor, may not do justice to the actual condition. 

My Injured ankle. X-ray MRI did not help the “specialist” doctors diagnose the problem let alone the cure. More on this on a later post. 

Old and New buildings contrast reflects some inate human nature?

When I saw this old building in front of the modern glass walled skyscraper, I thought of whether it reflects the changing taste in society of this place. If so, is it due to evolving ideas of what is desirable in a building? Or is it a change brought about by advances in technology. That is, limitations of technology determine what is desirable, to an extent.

Increasing rates of change in our environment and technology has led us to believe that what is impossible today, may one day be possible. Often within our lifetime. Science fiction has become reality.

What then is the next step-wise change in our thoughts? When there is the self confidence that what we wish for, can be achieved, with time and resources, what then is the next level of expectations?

A philosophical question? A moral question? Or is even the type of question yet to be understood and given a name!

An old brick building in front of a towering glass clad tall building.

Old short, New tall, building technology reflected here.

Hong Kong airport express train to town discounts for group travel

Hong Kong has an efficient transport system. There are buses from the airport going into town, and there’s also an express train. One thing I learned from someone In the hotel I stayed in, was the discount you get if you buy a ticket for two or more people traveling together.

This discount for more than one, offer is found in some other places and countries. The purpose usually is to encourage more use of public transport, reducing the number of cars on the road. Hopefully. 

Thinking out of the box is incorrect.

Thinking out of the box may be a good thing. But there’s a problem when it’s applied. In order to think out of the box, you have to be able to know where the box is. This is often missed out. The box is different according to the scenario and the area of study. There is no such thing as a universal box where you can say that “this is the boundary of the box” and apply that to all situations. Photo-2016-12-5-07-45.jpg

What’s in a name?

Names are important in helping us to be clear about what we mean. And the same the other way around. If we wish to convey some piece of information the choice of words is one factor that determines The success or failure of our communication. 

This is easier said than done. Many other factors have to be considered  in tandem. The listener and the speaker may attach different meanings to a particular word. The context of the moment and place of the interaction is another factor. The mood of each person may also change by the minute. Body language may be correctly or incorrectly interpreted. 

IMG 1797 SSlookLadderOnGroud

What does this mean? Is the guy thinking deeply? Puzzled? Starting to get a heart attack? Wondering what the ladder is doing on the ground? Angry with the ladder?

 

This is a topic that we can revisit many more times with further insight. 

Manager of one? Dangers.

Many people have the job title of manager although they do not have anyone under them in the organization chart. That is they do not really have any staff reporting to them. So, we get into the definition of “manager”.Perhaps it’s to prepare for a section or division to be set up. Perhaps the title is just to get past some legacy reasons why salary scale is tied to job title.

This subject is worth a detailed analysis by itself.

But getting back to the gist of the title of this post. Is it possible to manage just one staff?

There’s nothing to stop a company from giving you the manager title and allocating one person to report to you. Or you are an entrepreneur and you can only afford to employ one staff.

The problem arises when the job definition and boundaries of power are not defined. The one person will, over time, develop a negative attitude towards you. You will see a role reversal. The managed becomes the manager. If you do not check this at an early stage, the role reversal is irreversible. It’s an interesting psychological phenomena that warrants more investigation and analysis of the things that go on in the mind of the staff, which develops into this power reversal. Why does it happen, and what are the factors that make it possible. And what are the solutions open to you?

 

Work ManWoman Pr 25  TRS  23 04 10 0060

Heat Wave

I’m sitting in my lounge at home, drafting this blog entry. The air conditioner is on, which is unusual for me, as I much prefer natural ventilation though it my be warmer than dos people would like. 

It occurred to me now that we go thru life facing many conditions that are “natural”. Not just the elements of nature, but events and people who we find disagreeable in some way. Having a strategy t cope with recurring situations helps. Once we classify them, we can match each new unpleasant encounter with our categories list. If it fits one of the categories, then we can go on auto pilot in the way we handle them.

Autopilot only works if we have settings for each variable that is relevant. The variable for heat is temperature. So, if the temperature goes to a certain level and beyond, the air conditioner gets turned on. It also means we need to know what the level of discomfort is that we are willing to put up with temporarily. Otherwise the thermostat will keep kicking in and out and the body will wear out much faster.  And you will be seen to be too fickle.

Revolution and perception

The time it takes for something to happen is very much a matter of perception and sensitivity.

We like to give names to things that happen. The French Revolution. When did the revolution actually happen? It depends on what you choose as the defining moment. If there is a sequence of events that led to it, it become quite arbitrary. Even if we choose a particular recorded event, like the storming of the Bastille, ambiguity still remains.  Is it the moment the order to attack was given? Is it the first shot?

Or do we just say that it is the whole bunch of things that happen collectively, and accept that there is a degree of ambiguity necessary. It’s like saying you’ll recognize it when you see it, but it can’t be defined.