Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thesis update

The only good thing for me about being at home because of Corona is that I have plenty of time to work on my thesis. Over the past week, I've worked between 1-3 hours each day, including a very productive talk with my supervisor, which I recorded. Today I completed everything that I wanted/was required to add (except something to do with the literature review), and this morning two new ideas popped up for the conclusions section:
  • It would be very interesting to determine a time-line of enhancements, to try and see when each enhancement was deployed and what each enhancement does. The idea is to try and see when more essential enhancements are made as opposed to less essential. On the other hand, essential enhancements can appear at any time due to changing market conditions (this is one my major points in the introductory chapter). Doing so would of course require several longitudinal studies which is a bit beyond my capabilities at the moment.
  • Should enhancements be developed and deployed in areas which are not part of a company's core business? One can argue that it is essential to optimize the core business (normally production) and that it is a waste of resources to improve non-essential functionality. This researcher believes in empowering all employees, and the improvement of non-essential functionality can free time which can then be spent on more important matters.
Out of curiosity, I also noted down for the past eight versions how many words each version contains.
DateNumber of wordsWords added
06/11/201834,557
19/04/201933,891-666
18/08/201942,4428,551
09/09/201945,3602,918
08/02/202050,2824,924
29/02/202053,6723,388
09/03/202056,2382,566
28/03/202060,9174,679

The version from 06/11/18 was the intermediate submission which was accepted by the research committee. There are a few reasons why there was a five month gap before the next version, which strangely had a decrease in the number of words: one reason was that the thesis underwent an almost complete rewrite and one section was discarded. Since then, "the only way is up". Note also that there have been four versions in the past two months whereas previously there had been four versions in fifteen months (this is partially because I was performing the actual research in the first half of 2019 so I couldn't write about it). After splitting the introductory chapter into two, the section which was discarded earlier has returned to what is now the second chapter which is all about ERP.

My supervisor wants me to improve the literature review chapter, not by adding more subjects or papers but by adding links between the papers. I don't quite see how this can be done.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Days of Corona (2)

I wrote ten days ago that I underwent a surgical removal of a cyst on my neck. If ten days have passed then it's time to have the stitches removed. The surgeon told me (half in jest) that next time I should try and have the cyst in an easier place to get to. The same thing happened today: the nurse couldn't access the stitches which had intertwined with the scab, so she had to call the doctor (GP) who also had problems but eventually succeeded.

So it's another couple of days of antibiotic cream covered with a plaster.

The accompanying picture is just to give an idea of what it is like to visit the clinic these days. One has to call the nurse in advance in order to book an appointment; they call back to say when to come. Outside of the clinic I was outfitted with gloves and mask, which I removed after the treatment had been completed. The gloves go into a bin, then it's wash the hands with alcogel. Incidentally, someone sent me a warning film about alcogel this morning: one has to wait a minute or two after applying before being next to a flame (cooking on a gas stove, lighting a cigarette): people have applied alcogel, lit a flame and then gotten burnt. I don't smoke and I haven't used the stove all week.

Back at home, we've just had a visit from the grandchildren: my wife and I stood on the balcony and waved to our grandchildren who were on the path outside. We can't come any closer than that. I miss them.

Counting beats with van der Graaf (2)

Nearly 11 years ago I wrote a blog entry about the used of varying time signatures appearing in the album 'Godbluff' by Van der Graaf Generator, noting that "I haven't figured out yet in which time signature the opening verse" of 'The Sleepwalkers'. Yesterday I heard the song once again and this time I made some progress in deciphering.

I wrote then that the final verse has the structure 4-2-4-4 (as also appears in "My room"), and this section has always given me the feeling of 'arriving home'. I now understand why I feel like this: the opening verse appears to have the following number of beats 6-3-6-6 (although this final 6 seems to be truncated); it's so fast that it's hard to count. The 'cha cha' section is definitely in 3/4. Looking at the first verse, if one takes the beats to be crotchet triplets, then the structure is 4-2-4-4! Very familiar.  In other words, the opening verse is the same as the closing verse but metrically is played as triplets as opposed to 'straight' crotchets. I wonder who is the clever dick who thought this up.