Engineers vs. Architects

An Engineer often starts with designing and building a machine or structure, and then plans on finding ways to integrate it with the people’s lives. Architects, on the other hand, start from outlining the user needs and experience, and plan on designing a machine or structure that caters to those needs.

Firenze, Italia - Santa Maria Del Fiore

Great architecture doesn’t always mean great performance. Great engineering and performance don’t always mean user friendly. There has to be a balance of the two, and that’s one way to find out how well an idea has been executed.

When I was a university student, for a Software Engineering project we would often start from designing the database which is considered to be the core DNA of an application software, and then we would add piles of code and the user interface (UI) on top of that. The result was something more or less functional but something that only a computer engineer could appreciate! That approach worked because as students we couldn’t afford losing marks if the software didn’t meet the requirements.

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The economy of the early 21st century

Christmas shopping season is approaching and online sales will be soaring in the same time. As we know it a lot of the purchases are done using credit cards, and specially when it gets to online sales, not all products are actually physical, and not all of those virtual products bring much value to the buyers.

I guess one of the characteristics of the early 21st century economy is the fact that many people spend money that doesn’t exist, on products that don’t exist, but they still have to work their behinds off to pay the bills with real work, or accumulate real debt!

I love Capitalism! 😀

[tags]economy, commerce, ecommerce, Christmas, shopping, debt, credit card, consumerism, online sales [/tags]

When corporate IT resists the Open Source

Larger companies are slowly introducing Open Source technologies to their organizations and, as most of us know, change even for better isn’t often very easy, specially if they had already invested in technologies such as Microsoft .NET and Windows Servers and subsequently hired staff who are only specialized in those technologies.

Many of the cutting edge Web2.0 innovations are happening in the open source world and they have been developed in technologies such as the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) and Ruby on Rails. The problem is, when the management decides to utilize some of these technologies they immediately face the resistance from the internal IT team.

Reproducing many of the Web2.0 sales and marketing tools in the proprietary world is very costly and expensive and the results are often not so impressive either. In fact I see many smaller companies who are utilizing more advanced web applications with slick user interfaces to power their blogs, content management driven websites, online forums, and Intranets, all thanks to the open source technologies. On the other hand, some larger sales and marketing companies with much larger budgets are starting to feel deprived from the new wave of internet applications, because utilizing one means exposing the internal IT staff to things they aren’t used to see!

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