Travels with Charley

The cool camping blog. Trying to find gear, supplies, adventure and activities for the 21st century camper.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

A Sad Note

Ok, not that sad. I wish I could post more, but instead I should be working on the project. I'll try to get caught up with the blog shortly. Oh how I wish I could just play games, chess, or write that Opera about sentient plants, "Love Amongst the Vegetals." Actually a Rock opera, or a concept album. Not sure which.

Had a Little Lull

Had a lull the in the Blog. "Freddie" sent some crap, I bitched about it, he bitched back, and then it got dropped. We met the Profs, then I met our Advisor with Carmine and "Sam." Our advisor thought that Carmine's write up was good, I personally think he copied most of it, yet "course" was mispelled to "coarse." Hmmm, something not right here. I wracked my brains all day Saturday trying to figure out how to go from chapter 3 to chapter 4. Go to school on Sunday to meet the guys. "Salvatore" tries, but is hampered by the same mistake all of these guys made, he has another class. Oh, and his wife went and had a baby. The nerve.

On Sunday we hashed it out and eliminated chapter 5 as being redundant. "Carmine" calls and says he has an emergency. Later we learn his replacement at work blew a timing belt and couldn't make it down to the restaurant. Carmine sends his chapter 8 (?), uh 7, uh whatever. It's nothing but a copy of a real article by an expert in the field. World for fucking word. I bitch, he says, it was only a draft!! Except, he didn't say that originally! I don't expect this to end well. I think thoughts of gloom and doom often now.

This Just In!

Whilst my wife is watching a show on Jim Jones, I'm on the Internet and run across a nice little article about Masons. Dumb, drunk frat boys pulling this shit is one thing, but being 76????? Woof. Groucho Marks was right.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Return of Professor "Tex"

"Tex" returned today. Now, he's one of the professors advising on this project. He'd been away, ahem, doing something fun for the last month, so he hadn't been sitting in on our sessions. The last couple of times he had been there, he had given us contradictory guidance from what the other profs had. Well, he didn't really go that far tonite, but he did "ask" us to give him an outline of what we had so far, totalling about 5 pages of work, on top of the scrambling we're doing right now.

And then he went on about how he'd like to see how we're capturing knowledge and then spitting it back out for usage. Too bad that's not what we're doing. Hope he isn't too disappointed when it's not in the report! Hope our grade doesn't suck too bad. There's got to be a better way.

"Tex" is, shall we say, a "wizened" soul (look it up). He was around when I think Henry Ford used his kitchen as a test lab, and he has some story from the good old days of Eisenhower and Dewey and the Edsel. I mean, this guy probably thinks Angie Dickinson is still hot. He comes off as a know it all, even with KM and is constantly throwing out what he'd like to see in our project. Often this leads to us taking some detour off of the roadmap. I will resist thee, Satan, this time.

Monday, March 01, 2004

"Carmine", not his real name

"Carmine" is an international student and a member of the project. I think he works about three jobs. At times I can't tell if there is a language and cultural barrier or if he's just lazy. I don't think he's stupid, because he is the only one that really has brought up counterpoints to any of the material I have presented to the team. "Carmine" is one of the team mates that seems to have had differing expectations about the project. He first objected to the premise by saying that it wasn't engineering. He said this during one of our sessions with the professors. The profs said that, no, this was just the sort of thing, since our degrees are engineering management. He acquiesced. And he has had objections to certain concepts and postulations in the project that I can't really condemn, since it at least shows that he seems to put some thought into it. If he would just show this spark of intelligence by putting in the effort in his writing and research.

A Tif

Here's an example of how this whole team thing has been going. I got an email from "Freddie" today. He had taken responsibility for two of the final chapters of the project report on motivation and training. Well, he intended to round up the two full time students and I think have them feed him valuable journal articles and he'd put it together. I heartily agreed, since I'd been trying to marshall the whole team and had watched as they all just did what they pleased, on their own schedules (now I'm not saying I didn't miss deadlines, but at least I'd send out works in progress that were more than cut and paste jobs). He hasn't gotten any help so far, and sent out a three pager today on one of the chapters, with cut and paste from journal articles to "point" in the direction he wanted to go. "Freddie" asked for comments, so I spent 10 minutes reading it over. The first two pages were going in the right direction, but the third page was a copy of article text that just restated knowledge management, without direction towards the chapter subject.

So I told him this in an email. Now, you have to understand my feelings on this. I am fed up with this cut and paste method. Either they have left the copied text in, as is, without citiation, or they have reparaphrased it so horribly it's unreadable. Furthermore, every person on the team has spent half of their chapters restating what KM is! In fact some of the chapters have contained nothing of the subject, but have just restated what KM is, over and over, badly. Well, I had enough, so I shotgunned my response to the group, saying that the first page seemed ok, but, for god's sakes, quit beating a deadhorse, chop it out and get on with it.

Freddie's response was that there was no info in the journals for training workers to use KM and motivation should be covered in earlier chapters. He said that he'd be in a holding pattern until Tuesday, when we met. WTF?!? Uh, this is the topic of the chapter that has been on the table for months now, since December. I don't ever remember anyone saying that they had a problem with the structure, except "Carmine." More on him later. So I told Freddie, essentially he needed to look harder, and that motivation was NOT embedded within those chapters, so get moving! He shot back that this was TEAM project (could have fooled me) and that he'd wait to hear what the team had to say about. Good f'n luck. The team will sputter and probably not even understand what he's talking about. And he still gets to sit around tonight not doing anything. Awesome.

The "Enhancements"

The professors wanted to see things like architectures and rules for data capture and categorization. In the spirit of the auto, it was suggested that we could recommend a Roadmap. A Roadmap for Implementation of Knowledge Management. Oh, boy was that a good one. It's what we went with. We wrote out project need statements and scopes that got chopped on and rearranged by our projessors, most of whom could not even agree amongst themselves what they wanted us to do. A Roadmap to Implementation of Knowledge Management. This was mid October. It took us another four months to finally figure out what that meant.