Tag Archives: safe computing

Technophiles or techno-idiots?

In the last 10 years or so, our lives have become more and more dependent on technology. The PC, the World Wide Web, blogs etc. have all created this new kind of human being, that has 3 parts of the brain: namely, the right side, the left side and the wired side… It is the wired side that I’m concerned about. There are ways to determine how right-brained or left-brained one is. The outcome of such a test can help you decide whether you are better at creativity or logic. This information can then be used by an individual to decide, in everyday life, which situations one is best equipped to handle and more importantly which situations one is not as apt at handling. So, if you are told that you are left-brained, creativity is obviously not one of your strengths and if you’re right-brained, you’re not going to be as effective at reason and logic. Most people commonly accept this theory. I wish there was such realization about one’s basic aptitude for technology, a sort of a test for the wired side of your brain so that we humans could respect the limitations of our aptitude and use technology more responsibly. If that made you wonder why something as profound as that needs to qualify as a treatise on technology and why somebody like me wants to categorize the human race into several levels based on technological aptitude, allow me to explain. Most of us find ourselves extremely comfortable using a PC and basic functions like browsing the web, accessing electronic mail, installing our favorite applications and so forth. In the information era, most of us also pride ourselves on our knowledge of viruses, worms, Trojans, phishing and the like. And still, when was the last time you met somebody recently who has complained about spam, viruses, worms and dangerous attachments, someone who worried about their identity getting stolen and their bank accounts emptied? Even though I spend the most part of my day in a technology-centric environment, and even if I discount all the people I meet in my line of work, I still meet such people constantly, approximately, at the rate of one every couple of days. Though I understand their concern, and appreciate their level of awareness, I constantly find myself frustrated at what they themselves were doing (or not doing) about it. If you owned a weapon, would you limit your knowledge to understanding just how to use it, or would you also want to know ways to prevent it from being used against you or others? Why, then, do people find themselves not practicing what they know and preach about responsible computing? Somebody tell me why?
This post is for anyone who likes talking of a new virus that’s spreading across the world when forwarding a nice looking screen-saver to his entire contact list… anyone who writes a blog slamming spammers and leaves his email id on the web for comments. If you think N*****M as the umbrella organization for software-oriented companies in India would be responsible about safe computing, dismiss those comforting thoughts, the N*****M website is super spammer-friendly, just don’t ask me how! This post has it’s origins in several tons of frustration I have accumulated in the last few months watching people unwittingly fall prey to hazards of the wired world, precipitated by watching a well managed (apparently) 100 PC network, collapse before my eyes to a measly worm that is happily spreading around the place under our noses.

[Disclaimer: This is one of the posts from my first ever blog, that is now defunct. Though amateur, and in some cases silly, I did want to retain an archive of everything I have ever written in the blogosphere. Thank you for your patience]

Of NetWeaver and the virtues of bigamy…

If you’re wondering why the topic sounds so out of place, don’t… because I assure you, the meaning will unfold in politically correct ways in the course of this post. Today, with this weblog, I take a very excited first step into two new worlds, NetWeaver and Weblogs, both of which I no doubt feel extremely privileged being a part of. I have been writing technical and non-technical articles for a variety of subjects for some time now, but something about SDN spurred me to jump headlong into it, something similar to what happens when you finally reach an untouched, uninhabited pearl-white beach with heavenly emerald surf after having to go through great pains to discover it. You just have to take a plunge to complete the experience. So here I am… taking that very plunge!

Several years ago, my decision to enter the SAP ABAP and Basis world had just one negative consequence, or so I thought at the time. That consequence was – keeping a long story short – to let go of 4 memorable years of a passionate love affair with a programming language that had grown to become my lifeblood, Java. Even as I type this, I am violently resisting the temptation to write a few decent-sized paragraphs about my adventures with this beautiful, object-oriented, platform-independent, forever evolving language. The reason I resist is simply because I’m aware that this forum is not about programmer’s relationships with programming languages (Somebody I know who’s married to a programmer said to me once, that if somebody took a poll involving programmers seeking to know who they would love to have an affair with, programming languages would top the list!). Well, for me, the transition from Java and J2EE to SAP and ABAP/4 was less painful than I thought it would be, but yes, I missed Java. As I dived deeper into the SAP Application Framework, I was continually overawed by the sheer complexity of the various components and how, they plugged so simply and seamlessly into each other. Soon, I was having a new affair, this time with R/3. After gaining some experience with R/3, I had the opportunity to sit back and summarize the world of R/3, like when you see Earth from space, you may not see the houses and the trees and the people, but in one glance, you grab a snapshot of how everything fits in the complete, broad picture. That was when I realized that there’s something amazing about keeping a monstrous collection of heterogeneous components working together like clockwork across multiple hardware, software and database platforms… across multiple, otherwise incompatible legacy and other third-party applications, programming environments and protocols… across all departments, people and languages of the enterprise… across the world, 24x7x365!

When the impending concept of NetWeaver managed to find it’s way to my observation, the first thing that struck me was the fact that the words “Java” and “ABAP” were coexisting in the same sentence. I smelt opportunity and believe me, it was one hell of a strong scent. I read ahead and was impressed by the possibilities that presented themselves to my imagination. The combination of business level application components built on ABAP or Java using the myriad tools that are and will be part of the framework, and making them work together, providing performance and scalability far beyond what either Java or ABAP would be able to achieve individually, is the kind of stuff that defies mathematics. 1 + 1 in this case is definitely far greater than just 2!

As a result, what I have done in the recent past is: pulled out my Java arrows from my quiver, wiped the dust off them and prepared them to be shot from my SAP R/3 bow, knowing fully well that my armory is now, definitely enhanced. I can almost see the hordes of Java and ABAP fans preparing themselves for what is sure to be the rendezvous of their lives, NetWeaver. Java and ABAP is a combination that’s here to stay. And to everybody intending to be bigamous like I am, enjoy the combination…

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Weblogs about NetWeaver and other technologies on SDN and I must say, the webloggers here set great examples and some high standards. I intend to keep this in mind whenever I contribute my bit to the great compendium of knowledge this forum is destined to become. Keep the good stuff coming at SDN and hope you find my posts tolerable!

[This is cross-posted from my blog at SAP Developers(or Community) Network at http://scn.sap.com/people/dushyant.shetty/blog]