SOA, laptops, and coffee

SOA is one of those things that is really tough to explain.  I’m often on the look out for new metaphors to help me explain it ways that don’t inflict too much pain and suffering on my typical HR audience. HR people normally have a high tolerance for pain, but talk to them about SOA and you can get them confessing to all sorts of things, just to make you stop.

Anyway, this morning on Twitter I noticed that several of my online connections had recently spilled beverages, adult or otherwise,  on their laptops.  Closer to home, my wife’s macbook still works after a coffee incident, but only when plugged in to the wall socket, also the range of the wireless has decreased to a few metres, and one of the shift keys doesn’t shift.   To fix the laptop would cost more than replacing it, and would mean being without it for a couple of weeks. It limps on. It is the Bruce Willis Die Hard  of laptops.

Tom provides advice that only experience brings.

Don’t leave a 2 year old alone with a laptop.

What does this have to do with SOA?

Well, one of the alternatives to a laptop is a desktop.  Here the main parts of the computer are separate but connected.  If I spill coffee while working with a desktop, I just end up replacing the keyboard.  The rest of the system goes on working fine. If you are accident prone, buy a desktop.

SOA is software’s attempt to limit the damage that a cup of coffee does. Much clearer now isn’t it. hmmm.  If you are looking for something more sensible on SOA and HR technology, my colleague Jim Holincheck has written a series of notes on this.

Moving swiftly on from SOA.

ASUS and Intel are asking users to help them design a better computer. Have a look at the site I think a coffee proof laptop would be a winner. Not sure that anything can be made to be  2 year old proof though.

This reminds that I have been planning to do some more research in to user led design in an HR context. TIme to get out the Von Hippel.

(cross posted on my Gartner blog)