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Wrapping up…

We have been victorious, my brethren! Our enemies have been vanquished, their lives taken and their homes ransacked! Drink and enjoy your ale, my brothers and sisters, for tomorrow we march! We march to the Deep Paths, to face the mighty Ash’Garoth and put an end to his dark sorcery once and for all!!

Hm, that wasn’t what I wanted to say, was it? Oh well, let me start again.

It is now a day after we submitted the final hand-in for the assignment and I feel… relieved. Good. Tranquil. And at peace. But mostly, I feel proud. Proud of my team and how well we organized and pulled off a wonderful team work, even though we came to work together litteraly when the gun was pointing at our heads. I was… amazed… to see that my teammates managed to do their work on such a short notice and to such a high degree of quality. It’s not even funny, the way I forsake my leadership duties due to my world-famous laziness and sunk into a blissful dream, free of all assignment-related work. But when reality woke me up, my teammates were there to take the work load I threw at them, and simultaneously bash my skull in for taking so long. Oh well – they were right.

The project itself was very enjoyable. To be honest actually, it was the first project I really liked during my whole year. The first project I really felt I was “in charge of”, the first project I really knew what to do, and better yet – how. The whole thing went smoothly – once we got our act together and started to scheme our plan for world domination through extreme torture and execution, the pact was sealed. We were like tiny restless little squirrels, never giving up and always on the move. The project was done with an effort from the whole team. And trust me, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. Not. A. Single. Thing.

Well, maybe I would have made my peons get to work a little early, but still…

The thing I learned from working with my teammates, is that beating them with an iron club on the head does not increase the team productivity. No sir, not by one bit.

I jest, of course. I have always been a good team leader, mainly because I assumed the role of one ever since my first kindergarten lesson. I think I have the basics pretty much engraved into my mind – the most important one of all is “Inspire”. People follow you if you are an example. If they know that you can get the job done; if you are confident… if you are their friend. I have yet to see a productive team who has a dictator as their lead.

About motivating my minions… I was cheerful. The key of making something work is if you seem to not give much thought about it. Even if you know that everything is going to (pardon my Bulgarian) hell, if the whole world around you will collapse in the next three seconds, you have to keep smiling. You have to ensure your co-workers that everything is going to be fine, that you are going to make it fine. And that’s it. That’s all there is to it. Confidence. Even if you feel you’re drowning on the inside. People don’t need much, they just need a little guidance and a tad push in the right direction. That’s what I did with my homies. And they listened. We did the whole project together, as a team. And I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Best moment of the group? The presentation. Everyone agreed on that one. The presentation rocked. Hard. And we rocked with it.

Worst moment was when I swallowed a big spoon of ice-cream on one of the meetings and got a brain-freeze. Everyone laughed at me. Damn them. I’ll get them in their sleep.

About what Karl said – for putting more of me in the project than I had to – well, I was the leader. It was natural that the responsibilities that would bear were significantly more than my fellow teammates. But I enjoyed it with every fiber of my being, and I would not give it for the world.

Now, about me. I am currently involved in studies to become the world’s next brilliant games designer/story writer. And I am going to achieve that goal, because let’s face it – I’m awesome. Either on of those professions would suit me, and I don’t care which one I get to first – so long as I work in the industry, I’ll be happy.

I like to play video games, that’s why I am in that course. I especially like Role-Playing Games, they are my life-long passion. Mainly because the stories in them are so wonderfully woven with the whole game concept.

I dislike liver. Can’t eat it, never could. Don’t ask me to.

What do I look forward to everyday? Talking with my brother. He’s my best friend ever since we were little kids. There’s not a person in the world that understands me more, not even my mother is on the same mind-set as me and him. And thank God for that. 🙂

And that sums it up. The epic tale of four knuckle-heads coming together and doing an awesome project for their project management class. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. See you next year, Jailbait Productions!

P.S. Sorry for the “humoristic” part of my writings. Ignore it. In fact, ignore the whole thing. It will only rot your brain.

Big DSI. That’s Delyan Ivanov for ya, if you didn’t catch the initials. 🙂

Phew

Sat in the lecture room listening to another groups presentation and enjoying the fact that ours is done and dusted. It went ok and our idea was well received.

I was surprised at the level of knowledge we had about the game as I felt beforehand I knew nothing, but once we were asked direct questions in relation to the game the knowledge flowed. We could have rehearsed the presentation more, but all in all it went well and exceeded our expectations as we were all very nervous beforehand.

Put a fork in it, cos it’s done 😀

So then… tomorrow we charge over the trench wall and face a machine gun with a small wooden stick. Or at least that’s what it feels like anyway. To say I feel slightly underprepared would be an understatement of nuclear proportions. I’m writing this blog in an attempt to quell the rising panic that is currently attempting to convince me that I’m definitely cut out for the French Foreign Legion and that I should sign up now. Anyway, this blog is going to be based on the template given about how the project has gone so far… so here goes…

Project Reflections
All in all I would have to say that I have not really enjoyed this project as I haven’t really been involved enough. I have spent an awful lot of time recently dealing with stuff that I would much rather not have to and it has taken up most of my time. I like to be involved in shaping the direction of group tasks and I enjoy working in groups, but this has just not been possible so this project has been a bit difficult.
If I was to approach this task again, I would hopefully have none of the problems I currently have and as a result would be much more involved in the whole process and have a lot better time going through the creative process.
Co-Operative Learning
The group I’m in is a good group with good characters all with interesting ideas. We are four very different individuals, but we have all got on well. Delyan is the team leader and he has done a good job of moving things forward. We were a little late in getting stuck into the work, mainly due to poor time management on everybody’s part I suppose. The workload should have been shared around to a much greater degree as Delyan took on a lot as team leader, but as a whole the group functioned as… people who… met.. and functioned in a group… function.
About Me
I am mainly involved in international espionage, issuing medicines to the elderly and playing Risk with an old Polish gentleman who needs his mind taking off things.  In the future I would like to work in the games industry, although I haven’t really worked out in what capacity yet. I assumed I’d be a programmer as this was something that I have already done for a living, but I now find that I really don’t enjoy it, and to be honest it has changed a lot in the last ten years. I enjoy art but I’m too shoddy to become an artist. I enjoy designing games and the process of creating an idea and watching it develop and I also enjoy sound and music so maybe I’ll try and do that. Who knows, I’ll leave it to the gods and see where they put me should I get through this first year.
I like Buffalo Chicken Wings… a lot.
I dislike far too many things to even contemplate, I like a moan you see 😀
Every morning I look forward to the prospect that the day may be better than the one that preceded it… hope is important 😀
So there you go. Template followed, time killed and rising panic still rampant. Mission not accomplished but we all had fun didn’t we ?
Into no mans land we go…
Karl Jazwinski

Project Progress

So, the work is finally coming together after a slow start. Our game currently known as “Jailbait”, will be fully design in the next few days and hopefully the project management document to go with it! Ill try to keep you posted.

-Thomas McParland

Going Down With The Ship

There is an old maritime tradition that a Captain must stay at the helm and sacrifice himself should his vessel fall foul to the perils of the Ocean. This is something that I have recently come across in University life, although in a slightly different way. The idea that no matter what the cost to yourself you should stay steadfast and pay the price alone is a noble, but ultimately futile gesture. When the work load is heavy, and the time is getting ever shorter, the Captain should attempt to share the load. Delegate the work, put a plan in place and allow the team to work together to achieve the common goal. People will not think less of the leader for needing to utilise the skills of his comrades.

During an earlier task I myself found that I wanted to just do everything, as I was in charge. I felt that I was letting the team down if I didn’t manage the workload so that everyone else had as little as was possible to do. I also though that it was weak of me to need to ask for help from my team mates. But this thinking is flawed. In the long run it was probably to the detriment of the end product to not allow greater input from those around me.

The great thing about being in a team, is the chance to learn from those around you, lean on them when you’re struggling and share the joy of a completed task well done. Leaders are always needed, but without the help of those around them, the task will always become harder than it needs to be.

Karl Jazwinski

Following last weeks Project Management lecture I decided to have a look at some of the Wiki News pages that we had put up for approval.  Every single one of them was rejected. The main reason given was “Not News”. One however had something a little more detailed in its explanation.

The Wiki News entry of JailBait Productions very own Tom McParland was rejected and the following text was added.

‎ (BLAM! BLAM! iz ded. content was: ‘{{Notnews}} {{delete|Please put this “article” out of its misery.}} {{date|March 4, 2010}}

Very professional work there from the moderators at Wiki News.

It’s not really surprising that Wiki News  is a struggling site if this is the kind of levels of professionalism they are working to 😛

I attempted to create my first wikinews post on the news that the new game within the Tomb Raider franchise will drop the Tomb Raider name. I found creating this post fairly easy as it has helpful hints throughout the site.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Lara_Croft_and_the_Guardian_of_Light

As of time of post, the article is still under review however I am optimistic of it being accepted.

– Thomas McParland.

Ubisoft’s DRM system hacked?

Ubisoft’s recently announced Digital Rights Management system was hacked, says renowned games site Destructiod.

According to the article, the successful “murder” of the system was done by none other than the famed group ‘Skidrow’. The game that was submitted under their scalpel was “Silent Hunter 5”. The correct instructions posted in the .nfo file are:

Don’t use/install Ubisoft launcher, or block any connection to the internet.

Install game and copy crack, it’s that simple!”

Ubisoft’s DRM system is based on the concept that each user must have a constant contact with Internet in order to play the company’s products. Quite simply put, in order to even save your progress in the game, the user’s platform must be connected to Ubisoft’s servers at all times. If by any chance the Internet connection is lost, the game shuts down automatically.

In light of the announcement of the system, Ubisoft came under heavy fire from fans and critics alike. “The main reason for this righteous anguish”, says Peter Blackley, a 19-year old teenager from Ohio, “is the occasional inability for some of us to play on a computer with access to Internet. I like to play my games on my laptop, out in the open, where there is rarely a solid wireless network. And I won’t be able to do that if the system gets implemented in every damn game Ubisoft releases”.

But despite reports that Ubisoft’s PC DRM has been cracked, the European publisher has maintained that its unwarranted and unfair punishment of paying customers is still currently foolproof. Ubisoft has updated the DRM so that if the Internet connection drops and the game shuts down, it will always start at the point of kickery once it goes back online.

Only time will tell if this system gets accepted by the players or it will remain in history as one of Ubisoft’s most irrational decisions.

Source: http://www.destructoid.com/ubisoft-updates-pc-drm-claims-it-wasn-t-cracked-165793.phtml

Successful Project

Shared Information Technology (IT) Services

The Community Health Network was formed to share information technology (IT) resources among varying sized community health organizations across Tennessee, from one doctor, one location, to much larger groups in multiple locations. A Rural Health Network development grant funded the startup of the state wide area network (WAN) and a shared practice management system.

This program began out of need of the smaller centers to share IT resources available to the larger members. A willingness to share is a crucial ingredient.

Currently the services that have been offered are four centers operating 17 clinics share the practice management system while four others utilize some of their other services such as internet access and email. They do IT consulting for all 14 members of the group and are implementing an Electronic Health Record at two member sites. They are also implementing a state wide Telehealth Network in over 40 locations.

The network may have struggled in the early years due to bad leadership, but presently they’ve been stable for nearly four years., acheiving sustainability and expanding services. With consistent stable leadership and member commitment have been keys to network success.

The project goals are ever evolving as the membership grows and as the members within grow individually. The major goal of working together and sharing has been achieved and the group IT resources serve the stated purpose of keeping the group ahead of the IT curve.

Empire State Building – A Lesson in Project Management

 

Delyan Ivanov


 

One of the historical landmarks of New York City is the Empire State Building. A 102-story massive Art Deco skyscraper, its process of building and completion can be a valuable lesson as successful project.

The building was the brain-child of John J. Raskob, the vice-president of General Motors, who wanted this new building to exceed the height of the rival car manufacturer’s Chrysler Building, still under construction when the plans were released on August 29, 1929. The program given to the architects called for a tight schedule of completion one and a half years after the start of the project.

Empire State Building was designed by William F. Lamb from the architectural firm “Shreve, Lamb and Harmon”, which produced the building drawings in just two weeks, using its earlier designs for the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio as a basis. It is interesting to note that every year the staff of the Empire State Building sends a Father’s Day card to the staff at the Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem to pay homage to its role as predecessor to the Empire State Building. The building was designed from the top down. The general contractors were The Starrett Brothers and Eken. The construction company was chaired by Alfred E. Smith, a former Governor of New York and James Farley’s General Builders Supply Corporation supplied the building materials. John W. Bowser was project construction superintendant. It is worth mentioning that the project required 3, 400 workers, and according to official accounts, five of them died in accidents before the building was finished.

From a certain point of view, such a large-scale project was scheduled to be completed in an unrealistic amount of time. But the Empire State Building in New York City was completed in one year and 45 days, ahead of schedule, whereas official timetable pointed out that the project was to be completed in one year and a half. The total cost for the project was $40,948,900. The Building alone cost $24,718,000. Upon the completion of the skyscraper, it effectively became the then-tallest building in the world, surpassing its rivals, the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street.

But those are just the bare, dry facts. I would now like to speculate on why the project was completed successfully in such a short amount of time, with barely any hindrances in the process of its construction.

As with everything else that humans do, we would first like to go to the core, and that is the project planning itself. Obviously, the project developed extremely rapidly, with before-mentioned William Lamb delivering the drawings for the buildings in just two weeks, heavily inspired by the Reynolds Building. We couldn’t exactly say that plagiarism was the cause for his fast work, but in my opinion, a project of this magnitude should be more carefully planned out, instead of passing out a more detailed sketches of an already-existing construction. Also, we could delve in the matter for the building’s rapid construction by looking at the workers that worked on it. Most were immigrants from Europe, along with hundreds of Mohawk iron workers, many from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal. And as far as speculation goes, the conditions for their working contracts could not have been all-in-all, pleasant.  For this matter, I believe that Lewis Wickes Hine’s photos of the construction at that time speak more clearly about the regulations enforced on the workers than words.

Nevertheless, whatever we may think, the facts speak for themselves. The Empire State Building is a clear example of a successful project, becoming the then-tallest building in the world after its completion, finished ahead of schedule and with minimum casualties prior its construction. The symbolic day on its opening in March 1, 1931, will always remain in history as the day the most iconic building of New York was completed.