Sunday 7 May 2006

The first word was the slowest in coming

Back to school and tardy

After a long break, I am back on the academic trail to finish my last 2 modules and start on my MSc Dissertation.

Each module lasts 8 weeks that could be utter bliss or a complete ordeal and many things factor in between. You need 8 modules for the complete Masters in IT course.

Each week consists of a seminar, which includes a lecture a number of discussion question, probable assignments and project work for individuals or groups.

The seminar week runs from Thursday till Wednesday with the requirement that students must attend by effective contribution in at least 4 days.

So, work begins on the discussion question with ideas buzzing around in my head to distraction, I probably have written a whole conference in my head by Saturday morning but nothing committed to paper.

My head on a block

Writer’s block, they call it, more like an insurmountable mountain as I am drained of all energy to do other things and the clock begins to tick towards the deadline of midnight Sunday to get the discussion question contributions out and start commenting on the views of colleagues.

You might wonder how a person who seems to blog a lot can come to crossroads on writing decisions, well, it is probably like a hangover, until you’ve tried Hair of the Dog you might be nowhere near losing the headache.

From experience, I now find that I probably need 4 hours to knock-out decent copy and whilst the suggested time of study is considered somewhere between 15 to 20 hours a week, 30 of my waking hours are out there trying to be coherent and working to remain relevant.

Miss Marple’s assistant

The fun of study comes from the excitement of learning new things and ideas that one would not normally attend to in everyday life.

Currently, as we start with Computer Forensics, I feel I have just got a bit part in Miss Marple bites into an apple (computer) and she is investigating how the worm got in there.

Cite all sites

I was driven to complete distraction as I struggled to come to terms with the new citation guidelines that have become a nightmare that I acquired a tool – EndNote to handle all that stuff.

I am amazed that a tool that popular is so counter-intuitive and stodgy, most especially when in this day and age referencing from the web accounts for more citations than conventional books.

After a good 2 days of mucking around with the tool, it all began to make some sense, but a bit more practice is required before good value and consistent styles can results.

I fired a missive of 5 long questions to our librarian to help – methinks, the change would have less people citing references if so much time is spent trying to get it up to the demands and standards of the authorities.

Associating Computers with Manual work

More so, I am amazed that the Association of Computing Machinery that has a digital library to rival any large archive still requires that interfacing with contemporary bibliographical tools be a cut-and-paste activity – I am disappointed.

A hundred years of computing history and the largest archive still follows the bookshelf metaphor of a conventional library – something is definitely wrong if computing people cannot for themselves create a labour saving activity for their own use.

Methinks, I have a project to hand, however, I need a programmer’s brain for a radical lobotomy.

Study a-plenty means blogs a-few.

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