Thursday, April 21, 2011

Don't Trust Robots. Just FYI

So I got Portal 2, and it didn't work for the last two days. But its patched now!

Haven't beaten it yet, I'm in the midst of moving back home from school. In fact I'll probably be on the road by the time anyone reads this or already there.
So I guess if you are reading this, I'M BACK HOME!

I've gotten to the second last bit of High School of the Dead for anyone looking forward to that. I'll be starting up that teacher thing soon after it is uploaded. Still waiting on Krimsin's last bit before I can release 13. He's a bit busy with...things. So I don't want to see anyone bugging him about this. Maybe bug him about doing his own episode faster but no more than the usual amount of bugging!

Nothing more interesting than that right now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No More!

No more of that stupid crappy vampire thing or posts about school.

Last of the 1.0 series will go up shortly and you guys won't have to get confused by those blogs about my textbook chapters anymore. Its over.

This leaves the last bit of High School of the Dead, followed by the 3.0 series for some show called Onegai Teacher. Sounds like a comedy or some kinda porno for those with teacher fetishes. I don't, so I'm not sure what I'm going to think of it.
Someone also mentioned I should watch that Evangelion thing too. I am aware of that show but never watched it personally. I'm pretty sure the guy who suggested it wanted me to watch it because it is good. I'll be honest right now, and I know I'm pre-judging things, I probably won't like it.
It seems like the kind of moronic "I have a thesaurus and use the words 'self' and 'truth' a lot" bullshit I found in the Matrix sequels. I could be wrong granted, but I'm not getting that impression.
I'll still watch it but don't expect me to love it.

The point man's mind still has that last bit to add in before I can release it. So this anime stuff will have to tide you over until then. Again, sorry.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Project Management Class: Procurement

Procurement didn't really seem like the right word for this chapter. The majority of our discussion was about outsourcing work or purchasing from outside sources. Outsourcing sounds a bit more accurate in my opinion.

I actually worked in a call center for about a year before college, so I know about outsourcing pretty well. My job in fact was outsourced from Ontario as most call centers are.
The call center I worked for was hired by Rogers Cable. Why a call center in Nova Scotia I wasn't exactly sure, but the reason we were fed by management was because of our "quality service". I never bought it, it was a few months later that I found out how cheap our center was compared to others. Another factor I think was how relaxed the coastal provinces are compared to Ontario. Listening to all those customers over and over again I came to realize that for some reason people who live in Ontario are really wound tight. I noticed this whenever I spoke to customers who moved there from the maritimes. In fact a number of customers mentioned this fact themselves.
Maybe it wasn't a conscious decision, but seemed to help customers relax a bit themselves.

There were a couple times where that wasn't the case, but that isn't worth getting into.

Of course with outsourcing comes that whole political stink. Support local vendors and such, as if it was was your patriotic duty or something. I personally never cared for that, being as anti - patriotic as I am. What I get worried about is the balance of power that comes from outsourcing work. It was mentioned in class that India is ahead of the curve by taking the jobs North Americans don't want. Which makes sense, but it also means India and even China are going to be bigger driving forces in world economics than the western world. Which may cause trouble down the road, though that is assuming any trouble occurs at all.

Point is, I found it surprisingly interesting this time. A pity it was the last one we are going to discuss, things only just started to get really good.

Project Management Class: Risk Management

Risk management was one of the few chapters that surprised me.

At first I thought it was all about managing problems that occur during projects. But in actual fact it was about lowering the number of problems by estimating possible threats.
I never really did that before, or at least not consciously anyway. I guess the closest would be the type of bank savings account I chose. Mine has a bit more risk of losing more money than others, but the the chance of making more money than I could lose is also pretty high. Weighing the two I chose the account I have now. Though it wasn't really a decision I thought hard about.

I'm just not into banking and stocks. My dad adores that subject but I don't see why. It was actually his suggestion that I try a riskier account, but I didn't feel like I should. It just never really interested me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Project Management Class: Communications

This was again, one of the more straight forward chapters.

The main thing it talked about concerning communication was that generally IT students and workers don't have many communication skills. Basically sticking to the stereotype that computer geeks are shy or just can't handle social situations. Which I guess in a way might fit me well. But it was still a little annoying that a textbook was promoting a cliche like that.

I've actually been more social this year than I ever have before. Granted its been mainly with the same group of people but normally I wouldn't even have people to talk to in the first place. That was definitely the case in public school.
Never been called a social outcast by a textbook before though. That one was new.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Project Management Class: Human Resource Management

I was again aware of most of human resources due to my entrepreneurship course in high school.
Weirdly enough I learned about the hierarchy of needs first from a youtube video about using the bathroom.

The principal remains the same no matter what situation though. Physical needs such as food and hygiene will always need to be fulfilled before anything else can even be thought about properly. Missing breakfast or a shower because of waking up too late in the morning is the perfect way to experience this principle.
Motivating workers to, well, work follows the same rules. In fact I preferred this lecture to all others so far because of a video we saw that day.

I don't remember or have the link myself but the video was about the motivations for workers.
In the last few years, especially since the american tea-party group got so popular, I've had to deal with Libertarians a lot.
For those who have the luxury of not knowing. A libertarian is a political ideology that promotes, to an almost fanatical degree, the rights of individuals over everything else. Something that sounds good on paper, but this translates into a doctrine of extremely liberal cultural ideas combined with extremely conservative economic ones. To break it down simply: Capitalism is perfect in every way and the government hates all freedom.
That is an extreme straw man example I know, but it generally comes off this way.
The point of bringing up the topic of Libertarianism is that the video we watched talked about a study that completely debunks their train of thought economically. Basically saying that paying people more money for more complicated and knowledge intensive jobs is not enough to motivate a worker to work harder. Something else needs to reward them and drive them onwards.

Just on a personal level I liked the fact that an entire political group had just been shown as the delusional jerks I knew they were. On the other hand I was entirely surprised by this. I assumed money would be more than enough reason to work for any job. But as I thought about it, most jobs I've worked for have been mainly grunt work. Which the video actually said monetary reward worked perfectly for.
I also worked for a few call centers as well. And looking back at it now I find that I generally liked going back to that job day in and day out because of the colleagues that I worked with. Meaning I liked the job because of the social opportunities instead of the monetary value of working.

I just found that interesting to think about.

Project Management Class: Quality

Quality management was a bit of a weird one for me.
The only real way I could relate it to anything was to how I write. Which has been noted to me several times but I never really took it to heart.

I've been told I'm really hyper critical of myself sometimes, which causes me to almost constantly edit and correct everything I do. The same goes for when I write stories or essays. I've read and heard that a lot of writers and reporters including my own dad tend to just write out what they think is correct at the time and later edit and revise. I can't do that.
For me, if I don't think something works at a given time I always go back and correct it. In fact there has been a story idea that has been in my head since the end of Jr High, but I've edited and restarted it so many times I've barely gotten past one chapter. Not to say its completely a bad thing. The reason I've edited and restarted that story has been because it really wasn't any good that way. In fact this iteration (I think the 8th one) feels and reads much better than the previous attempts.

I guess one could interpret this as planning quality, assuring the consistency and quality of a product as it is developed. The only problem is that I've never really submitted anything for review or to be edited by anyone beyond school work. So it works as an example only slightly.

Project Management Class: Cost

Unlike the time management section, cost is definitely something I can relate to better.

I've taken classes in high school where the profit and measuring cost were high priority. Granted they were more geared towards business than an IT project, but the info is the same here as it was there.
Estimating cost and potential profits over the course of a business venture was something I did experience however. The principals are the same. The cost of production, the resources needed, what and who our market base was. What it came down to was that we needed to find out what the resources we needed were and how much it would cost to purchase and use them.
This was again in high school, during an entrepreneurship course. So we were only allowed to create a business on school grounds and sell only to students and staff. Naturally of course this took place during lunch hour so it became obvious to us that having some sort of food would be a good idea. We played around with a few ideas but after we saw that we had to fund the entire thing ourselves any and all of our grand ideas were thrown out.
Eventually we settled on making pretzels as we knew how to make them and the ingredients were relatively inexpensive. Once we settled on that we tried calculating how expensive each pretzel would be and what our expected gains would be. That took a while and its been so long that I forget the exact amount we came to. But using that info we estimated what our profit would be, and after we went and looked at it from a more realistic perspective we found that we could break even.

That second estimation turned out to be correct. We did break even, which was a lot better than a few other groups that were with us. Though a few actually made around $50 in profit, which we thought was really impressive.

All in all the cost management and estimation for a project was pretty similar to how it worked the last time.

Project Management Class: Time

Managing time was pretty straight forward.
Basically it came down to the fact that projects need deadlines and to meet those deadlines the time worked on the project needs to be managed.

Like I said, straight forward.

I personally have a hard time managing time for projects or pretty much anything really. I guess you could say the stress of something being last minute is what makes me work harder. But I'd like to hope this isn't the only way I could do things.
This chapter mentioned a few things such as milestones. I've been aware of what they are but never exactly applied them in my own life. This might be due to my lack of knowing what the end goal really is at a given time. It makes it hard to really determine milestones when you don't know the end goal yet. I guess the perfect example is what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life. When I left high school everyone I knew in my grade already knew what they were going to aspire to. A couple guys wanted to be doctors, entrepreneurs, a girl I had a crush on wanted to be a librarian of all things. Point is they knew what initial goal they had when they left, even if they found something else along the way.
I never had that. In fact I still don't think I do. Having a goal like that probably would have made me a bit more confident, or maybe its a lack of confidence that prevented me from figuring out some sort of career path. Either way, whatever milestones I may have achieved right now seem more like random daily accomplishments than working towards a final product.

Time management for me, though straightforward, has always eluded me in some way.
It was a little depressing as a result