Tetrads: McLuhan’s Laws and SQL

I have been going over all the past material in this blog as I am now working on my book. One of the things I am clearing up is my understanding of McLuhan’s Laws of Media known as Tetrads. All that McLuhan discovered and I don’t mean to diminish his work is discover the four manipulations that are possible with any form of media including data.

McLuhan’s four Laws of Media were:

  1. Retrieve
  2. Enhance
  3. Reverse
  4. Obsolesce

The four correspoding manipulations are:

  1. Select
  2. Insert
  3. Update
  4. Delete

Please dismiss any past correlations I made between the Manipulations and Laws of Media with the Six Interrogatives.

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The McLuhan “Hexad”

When two systems encounter one another they make contact through a medium.

systemasystemb.jpg

What that medium is is actually irrelevant.  All media are prone to the same set of costs, benefits and violations within their context.  For example whether you medium is sound, documents or email it is possible to commit identity theft, generate spam or hold a constructive exchange.

In my previous posts I made the case for hexads over tetrads.  Then I cleaned up my insideness and outsideness concept.  I am now, going to make an intuitive leap now in dealing with Marshall McLuhan’s Laws of Media Tetrad and convert it into a Hexad as follows:

sixmcluhan.jpg

As you can see the additional two things that media does is recieve-transmit and translate.  I have modified McLuhan’s Figure-Ground binary model into a Figure, Figure-Ground, Ground trinary model.  I may be excommunicated by the media theorists, but I think it is worth the risk.

Code Slobs

I have been having quite a time at work these days as I have been assigned the task of doing an impact analysis on the addition of a column into the database schema.  I have found myself without documentation and having to go into the source of hundreds of programs and scripts looking for the implications of the change.  The code is completely unformatted and trying to rectify the situation to save my bleeding eyes has been hell.

What obstacles do I face?  My Team Leader says she doesn’t look at code so she doesn’t care what format it is in.  My Senior Oracle Developer says he formats all his code, but he doesn’t consider code formatting important.   The remaining development team writes functioning code, but has no education in how to format PL/SQL so it’s readable.  In otherwords, I am surrounded by Code Slobs.

How do you deal with code slobs?  First, automation.  I have persuaded all of them to use the TOAD code formatter in the future so people without TOAD can make some sense of their product when doing maintenance.  Second, roll up your sleeves and clean up the legacy code.  I have to go through the code looking for the impact of a column change anyways, so along the way I am formatting all the code I read.  I know there will be more impact analysis tasks and code maintenance, so I am hoping to make it easier for future code readers and maintenance programmers.

So, look out code slobs, I am going into every nook and cranny and sorting out the detrius,  so someone, anyone can have a better chance of giving your work a longer life span, simply by making it readable.

Tetrad Theories

Here is a table to describe some of the tetrads we have discussed so far in this blog.

tetrad3.jpg

The first column is our friend Structured Query Language (SQL). The second column is the four components of physiological and psychological health. The third column is the tetrad of McLuhan’s Laws of Media. The fourth column are the Zachman Framework’s four perspectives. The fifth column are the first four Structured Development Lifecycle (SDLC) phases.

The rows in the table correlate the similar facets of each of the tetrads. I will go into detail in a later post. How does energy, matter, location and event correlate? How do the Secrets of the Universe of Discourse correlate? How does data, information, knowledge and wisdom correlate? How does colon classification correlate?

Take a moment and let yourself stretch.

More McLuhan and Media as a System

After Marshall McLuhan’s death, his son, Eric McLuhan, completed a remaining work entitled Laws of Media. In it McLuhan lays down four laws as questions:

  1. What does it enhance or intensify?
  2. What does it render obsolete or replace?
  3. What does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
  4. What does it produce or become when pushed to an extreme?

Marshall McLuhan called this a “tetrad” and said it could be applied to any human artifact.

If we think about evolution and systems the tetrad can be applied to anything.

Consider this: you have an ecological system and a new organism evolves. How do you assess the impact? McLuhan’s tetrad is a perfect template for that analysis in the same way you would assess a human artifact.