Blog Posts from February 2004 (page 1 of 5)

In Support of Gay Marriage

Scoble and Chris have blogged their support for homosexual marriage, so here’s my +1. Unlike Chris, I’ve known quite a few homosexuals in my life. Several of my best friends (as in, would seriously consider donating a kidney to kind of friends) are gay. I grew up hanging around the theater world where homosexuality is much more pervasive (and accepted) than “mainstream” society. I used to have a bunch of friends on a gay hockey team (it sounds cliché, but they were called the Gay Blades). And this past summer, my wife, our then-six-month-old son and I went to Victoria, Canada to see my two uncles get married after a lifetime of commitment to each other.

As part of the ceremony, my uncle told me how much my involvement in his life has meant to him and husband. I wasn’t told that he was gay until I was going to college at USC, which was about an hour drive from my uncle’s home. For reasons they would have to explain, my parents didn’t tell me until then. When my mother finally told me my uncle was gay, she was in tears, so I naturally assumed he had AIDS and was dying. I mean, why else would she be crying? He wasn’t dying, she was just worried how I would react. As far as I was and still am concerned, being gay doesn’t change anything. Since I couldn’t fly back to the east coast for long weekends, I got to spend them with my uncles instead. I don’t get to see them as often as I did back then, though they have come up to see us twice since my son was born. But they will always be a major part of my life and I will be forever honored that they asked me and my family to be a part of their wedding.

I’m a huge Bill Maher fan and I only just recently discovered Real Time. He talked about gay marriage in the Valentine’s Day edition of his New Rules. As a Democrat, it really struck a cord with me.

Republicans used to be the party that opposed social engineering. But now they push programs to outlaw marriage for some people and encourage it for others. If you’re straight, there’s a billion-five in the budget to promote marriage, but gay marriage is opposed because it threatens or mocks or does something to the “sanctity” of marriage, as if anything you can do in Vegas, drunk off your ass in front of an Elvis impersonator, could be considered sacred.

But at least the right wing aren’t hypocrites on this issue. They really believe that homosexuality is an abomination and a dysfunction that’s curable…But I have to tell you, the greater shame in this story goes to the Democrats, because they don’t believe homosexuality is an abomination. And therefore, their refusal to endorse gay marriage is hypocrisy. Their position doesn’t come from the Bible. It’s ripped right from the latest poll, which says most Americans are against gay marriage.

Well, you know what? Sometimes most Americans are just wrong. And where is the Democrat who will stand up and go beyond the half measures of “civil union” and “hate the sin, love the sinner” and say loud and clear, “There is no sin; it’s not an abomination and no one can control how cupid aims his arrows.”

I’m not running for office, but I’ll say it: Homosexuality isn’t a sin, an abomination or wrong. Letting homosexuals get married isn’t going to weaken society, change the most fundamental institution of civilization, cause the sky to fall or any of the other things that Bush claims it will cause. Legislating discrimination however, which is what Bush’s proposed amendment to the Constitution amounts to, actually will weaken society and change what is really the most fundamental institution of civilization: freedom.

Bush certainly talks a lot about freedom when he’s trying to justify the invasion liberation of Iraq. However, in calling for a amendment to outlaw gay marriage, the only reference to freedom was when he said that “commitment of freedom…does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions.” Actually, when these “basic social institutions” are inherently discriminatory – take slavery and women’s lack of right to vote as examples – it is absolutely required that we redefine them to eliminate the discrimination. Otherwise, we become the kind of a fascist society that our founding fathers were trying to avoid when they wrote the Constitution in the first place. That’s what establishing Justice, insuring domestic Tranquility and securing the Blessings of Liberty is all about.

Government Online International Network

While digging thru my referral logs, I found a link to a SOA news page from the Government Online International Network (or GOL-IN for short). I have no idea what this site is about, but it’s an interesting news feed on SOA. For example, I found this interview with Bob Sutor, IBM’s director of WebSphere infrastructure software titled “SOA Is So Necessary“. GOL-IN gets their news via News Is Free, too bad then they don’t in turn provide their own  RSS feed.

Strategy Series on Longhorn Dev Center

Chris Sells is featuring the Architecture Strategy Series as the headline on the Longhorn Dev Center. Thanks Chris!

Is BAIT Out of Date?

I was re-reading the Microsoft Architecture Overview by Michael Platt that’s up on Architecture Center. It’s a little old, but still very valuable. In the overview, Michael discusses four perspectives on the enterprise architecture: business, application, information, and technology which are commonly collectively referred to as BAIT. (Note, I think it was Meta Group coined the term BAIT, but I’m not sure. Whoever did come up with the term, I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t MSFT). However, as we march forward building services, I wonder if we need to regularly consider a couple of more perspectives.

I don’t think service-orientation dramatically affect business or technology architecture. One of the big advantages of using web services to implement your services is that you can reuse a lot of the web-based technology infrastructure that companies spent the later part of the nineties building out. Likewise, while services will enable organizations to be agile and better achieve their business goals, I don’t think it changes the actual goals significantly. However, application and technology architecture change radically when moving from an application-centric to a service-oriented approach.

When considering services, the application perspective is broadened to include both applications and services. According to our conceptual architecture, an application implements a user interface while a service is a discrete unit of logic exposing a message-based interface. Even though they are both typically written in code, I’m not sure lumping them together is the right architectural approach. Building a single service has many architectural similarities to building an application, but an SO design also has to tackle the architecture as a system-of-systems which the application-centric approach never had to worry about.

Likewise, the information perspective currently covers data both inside services (or apps – here the distinction is less important) and inside messages. Obviously, the approach to data private to a service will differ greatly from the approach to data inside messages. Things like transactional integrity, immutability, extensibility and encapsulation apply very differently to data and message architecture.

Each of the perspectives covers many different subtopics, so maybe there’s no need to break services out from applications or messages out from information. However, I’m on record stating that I think using services “represents a fundamental change to the architecture model that the vast majority of systems running today were built on”. Thus, I think that fundamental change should be surfaced in language we use to describe the architecture, since language influences thought. Granted, BSMAIT isn’t as cool an acronym as BAIT, but it’s far more representative of the way the next generation of systems are going to be architected.

Don’t Read Sldies. In Fact, Try Not To Use Slides.

I’m behind on my blog reading (it’s been one of those weeks) but I just found Scott’s post of PowerPoint Advice. He couldn’t be more right about not reading slides (and not just because he linked to me). This is a sure sign of a presenter who doesn’t know the material. Back when I was explaining .NET to customers 3-5 times a week, I could do the presentation on a whiteboard while hanging upside down blindfolded

I actually try to avoid slides when possible and just explain everything with words and a whiteboard. The nice thing about this approach is that I can be flexible when the audience needs me to be. Today, I presented to a group of architects from an ISV on Metropolis and SOA. I had slides at the ready, but I spent most of the time just talking with the audience, not to them. When I finally did go to the slides, I found I had covered the vast majority of the information I wanted to explain and the slides were more of a hiderance than a help. I shut down the projector a few minutes later and went back to just talking.

Granted, for larger audiences (like TechEd), you need to use slides, but they should be a fall-back position when needed, not the first tool out of the toolbox. If you have to do slides, please follow Scott’s advice.