A further expansion of the trilogy published earlier, in which Everything is seen as a System. It clearly shows that some mechanisms are seen on various levels in our everyday world, making the Grand Overall Design a thing of extreme Beauty...
Everything is a System
They say: "If you have a hammer, everything becomes a nail." Likewise, this document and its promise of a System Engineering & Design Architecture will turn everything into a System, by simply looking at it through System-colored glasses....
We already established that only fairly simple tools do not require software, just like only the simplest of our everyday technology doesn't use electricity. Most of our Systems are so-called Hybrid Systems, a mix of the following aspects:
4. Electrical (including magnetical)
6. Biological (sensory, manipulative and/or invasive)
Now describing it in terms of the constituent parts may be a simple thing to do, but with regard to the architecture of the whole it is hardly useful. We do not want to know the parts, but rather how they cooperate to make the whole. And that is quite another subject, given the fact that there are two sides to that whole, the view of the user, and the view of the creators of the system. For the purpose of this document, we must attempt to bring the two together, so the creators can create what the users want, instead of some distorted mirror image of it. But luckily for us, even design is a System. Just look at the SevenSphere below:
In this image, the creators are diagonally across from the users, who should be the ones the creators design their systems for. The users on their part form a stable triangle with the devices and interfaces they employ to use the system. They don't care which part is hardware and which is software! That is the realm of the creators: they know both the problem space and the solution space, and have the skills to realize a solution using specific combinations of these aspects to get things done. They may even have to go as far as to design a completely different system first, in order to get the user what he or she wants. Just think of the cell phone system: it has phones which the users use, and which interact with local cell towers that are only partially in the awareness of the users. Users may know they are there, but they are usually not able to tell you just how the connection between any two cell phones is made: that is an internal interface, known to the creators and implicitly trusted by the users. The one device users do bother with are their cell phones, and the interfaces on them:
1. the charging port, for when the battery is drained.
2. the SIM slot to connect their number to the phone.
3. The MicroSD slot to enhance its memory capacity.
4. The headphone jack to listen without disturbing others.
5. the keys that have certain functions, as the software assigns them.
6. The screen, which can give you pretty much any interface, if it has touch capability.
They may of course bother with the more technical interfaces of the phone too, but only if there is a need for it. So battery replacement, network connections, GPS capability, and other related stuff shouldn't be on the outside. Still, they are points of attention to both the creators and the users, and they show how interfaces are what connects both systems on the outside, as well as subsystems to the system under observation. I'll leave the exercise of creating a SevenSphere of the interfaces, both external and internal, to the users. Remember, this is an intuitive tool, so don't think about it too much... (and don't worry if it doesn't fit perfectly)