Friday, July 10, 2009
On the straw and the waterfall
Tarrytown, NY. I have left Nashville this morning and arrived to Westchester county, NY, to do some IBM meetings on the way back from DEBS. I think that the nicest analogy I got from the conference came from Alex Buchmann keynote address, he used some other pictures, but provided the analogy that while regular programming is like drinking with a straw, this is good when the data is standing, while the data is moving, like in event processing, using the same kind of thinking is similar to use a straw to drink from a waterfall. I like this example. It requires some education to understand that event driven is a different paradigm of thinking, and this impact the way we should think about the programming model as well as the execution model of these types of applications. This also links to the discussion on education that will create a critical mass of developers who understand this paradigm. It is somewhat different, but it is not rocket science, with some education, I believe that it is doable.
I'll end with some travel anecdotes: Today I rented a car in the airport, got to the car and did not find a car key, just a remote control; it took me two minutes to understand that the remote control serves also as a car key, there is a hole in which it has to be inserted to, and when it is there, there is a on/off button which turns the engine on or off. I showed it to one of the people I've talked with in the place I visited and he told me that he has even more sophisticated electronic key that he does not need to insert it anywhere, it is enough that it is in his wallet that the car identifies it and enables to turn on the engine.
Another anecdote that always puzzles me is hotels' superstitions regarding the number 13. My Nashville hotel was semi superstitious, it did not have 13th floor, jumped from 12 to 14, however I have stayed in room 413. Now I am in a different hotel, this time in room 412. For curiosity I have looked for room 413, and did not find it, it seems that the level of superstition here is higher... I never understood this superstition, but this is not the only thing that I don't understand... Go figure.