Monday, May 12, 2008

Data Hublet


It was one of those relaxing Saturday mornings where I had a chance to look at my loveable geek sitting behind something other than his souped-up laptop computer. Actually, he was slumped behind the kitchen table and was sipping tea, not his usual double-strength French roast.
“What’s wrong?” I asked the geek.
He placed the porcelain cup that I’d bought at a local garage sale on the bridge table. Despite all stereotypes, not all geeks make a lot of money, at least not this one.


“What do you mean?” he crinkled his one brow at me that the boys on “Gay Eye for the Straight Guy” would’ve just loved to wax.


I stepped up to the plate. “Well, I said, two things,” having learned to enumerate things clearly enough so that my geek could go right to the source with a minimum of distraction. “Number one, you’re sitting here instead of your office. And number two,” I said, stirring the half-and-half into my own coffee cup, you’re drinking tea. Tea!”


Behind his hazel eyes, I recognized slight hurt. “Today I’ve decided I like tea. Besides, I’m designing a data hub,” he said softly. “And I need to drink something different.”


And was I chopped liver? Last night he’d had a glass a wine with me, but had disappeared for the rest of the evening to “think about things.” I should’ve known better than to even ask, but then again, I’m a glutton for punishment. “A data what?”


“It has to do with business objects.”


I hated when he did that, rolling something out there to tease me, and then leaving it alone again। He knew I’d bite. “Okay. I’m listening.”


“A data hub guarantees a master identity for a given business object, such as a customer, or a product.”


There was nowhere to run or hide. “Say again.”


“Say you’re in the supermarket and you have a bunch of stuff in your shopping cart.” I’d heard enough about shopping carts to last a lifetime. “I mean a real shopping cart,” he interjected, recognizing my blank stare. “Say that each item in your shopping cart has a memory about the exact place it had come from on each aisle, and from any section of the shelf.”


I nodded appropriately. “Well,” he brightened, “your shopping cart would be a data hub with the ability to unify and reconcile common data across a collection of information systems.”


I could see that something had clicked for him. Today it wasn’t me. But there was always tomorrow. He put down his tea cup, and went to his desk.

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