Thursday, January 31, 2013

Concept Rounding Off

Number are nice. They round off nicely. But concepts are a different ball game all together. When concepts are rounded off, the results are spread all over the spectrum. The idea is that we understand new things in terms of things we already understand.  So no matter how accurately we define a new thing, the listener is going to do a concept rounding off to the nearest thing they understand. The implication is that being accurate might land you much far off in the listeners mind and being inaccurate  might help you reach close enough to the desired conceptual position. When I say being inaccurate, I mean choosing those concepts to describe your new concepts which are likely to be present in listeners mind and not some ideal abstract picture.

 Marketing people understood this all the time. Big data now universally means a Hardoop Cluster. Cloud is client server, though SaaS also meant the same. SOA, ESB and now finally people understand it as web apis. So Apigee became API Gateway. I had hard time explaining people why we wrote HTTP proxy at Apigee because everyone thought apache acts as a good reverse proxy.  It is even hard to explain that I work on high performance systems but I never do thread pool size tuning. LVS is a proxy but you don't see it opening any ports with netstat. Saving cream, shampoo, handwash and soap are all soaps.
I am tempted to call it Uncertainty Principle. The more accurately you describe something, less likely it is to be understood.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snapshot and History

I was searching for parking in Forum Mall. I found one, but it was hard to park because someone had not parked the car properly in the slot. Almost half of the car was in the slot I was thinking of parking.

The first obvious reaction was WTF, but later it occurred to me that all I was looking at is a snapshot. May be someone else had parked some other car in the wrong slot, leaving no choice for the driver of this car. And now since that other car is gone, it looks like the driver of the current car is at fault. The point is one persons wrong parking could lead to multiple people parking wrong all day long, long after that first person in gone.

Sometimes we look at a snapshot and decide something, but it could be far from truth.