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DRAFT - March 27, 2003
Windows ME (This OS should be replaced with another, if at all possible)
Windows 2000 and XP (and NT, usually)
Messenger Service -- the Messenger Service is designed for use
by system administrators in Windows server-client networks. System administrators
use the messenger service to send messages that notify you of conditions
on or give status about your network. However, some advertisers have
started using this service to send their information via the Internet.
If you have Windows XP with Service Pack 1 installed, turn on Internet Connection Firewall.
IIS (Internet Information Server)
Windows RPC (Remote Procedure Call)
Windows Messenger (NOT the same as "Messenger Service" above)
If the word ďabstractionĒ sets off your meaningless-buzzword detector, silence the alarm for a few seconds while I explain. Abstraction is the underrated process of managing complexity with a whiteboard eraser. You erase the small boxes inside the bigger boxes and the twigs from the trees until the diagram reflects what you can (or should) control. That doesnít necessarily alter the architecture. It doesnít send the message that the details are unimportant. What it says is what my boss should have said to me five years ago: You keep your job (or, if youíre a vendor or service provider, get your annual contract renewed) as long as I donít care about what happens inside this box. If I have to get involved in the details I entrust to you, you will compete with everyone who wants your job (or your contract) to define and implement a solution that takes this off my radar again.
Letís make the concept simpler by making it personal. I buy the groceries for my family. My wife doesnít tell me what kind of paper towels to buy. Iím free to choose the brand I like and switch when thereís a sale. But if I switch to a brand that doesnít work for her or to old T-shirts because thatís the latest thing, sheíd applaud my willingness to change but tell me to stick with what works. If I didnít switch after that, Iíd soon be buying the brand of towels she tells me to buy.
If executives are involved in implementation details, they canít help their companies evolve. Would I reduce every CTO, CIO, vice president, and project leader to a hands-off paper shuffler? Certainly not. But understand that the closer you are to the top of the IT org chart, the more you have to think about business realities such as doing more with less, eliminating dependencies, and keeping track of what your customers and partners actually need. That last bit might be the toughest to accept. What matters most to people and businesses you serve might have little in common with what you think they should care about. And that is the heart of the concept of abstraction. To use abstraction as a tool to focus your effort, whether you abstract technology, roles, or business processes, you have to accept that others will use it, too. Theyíre not going to map out their worlds the way you think they should. If youíre upset with your customers or users because they wonít use the brilliant technology youíve put in their hands, itís likely you are looking the wrong way at them and your role in the company.
When IT execs draw boxes inside boxes and push down decisions for which others are accountable, the business cannot evolve. In that setting, evolution only happens in a crisis, when something breaks, or when someone quits. Why abstract? Why keep raising the line that separates what you care about from what you entrust to others? Because you will never finish dealing with those details.
From Tom Yager's article at