That was a pretty arduous task!
I certainly understand your frustration with the program material. I certainly wasn't happy with it. I felt it was too broad in nature for actually mastering specific tactics. But what I have come to understand after taking a step back from the program and keeping a watchful eye on the other Knights/Non-Knights is what purpose CT-Art serves really well. It came to me while reading a post from Takches about pattern recognition versus calculation muscle. That really got me to thinking about the importance of each, and their dependence on one another. Mainly it got me to thinking about what would be the best way to train each of the disciplines effectively. This is where CT-Art in a sense is useful. Not the best of applications mind you, but used with MDLM's training plan it will bring about improvement results.
CT-Art and the 7 circles build calculation muscle, plain and simple, and of course it does help with pattern recognition too. (If one really wanted to train calculation muscle exclusively the study of endgames would be a great way to start.)
This is something Don and I differed on initially approach wise. I like you, found CT-Art full of holes with the programming errors, duplicate exercises, etc. Drove me batty. I had little faith placing that much effort in something so flawed and at the time seemingly haphazard in its ability to teach patterns. Impatient was I, to the dark-side I turned... oops, wait wrong story.
I simply chose to take the path of training pattern recognition first, and what turns out to be calculation muscle second.
This is not to say one way is better than the other, you have to have a solid grasp on both if you want to make it past a certain level of playing strength. Matter of fact I don't believe either one would last very long without the other.
I found starting with something simple as a basic forced mates CD and working through that also holds the ability to train calculation muscle.
Of course the variations are much shorter, and the number of candidate moves one has to list is much smaller. But is this really a bad thing?
How can one isolate and identify a thought process error if he/she is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities present. Likewise how can one build a check list of search patterns/to-do list unless you can clearly identify the strongest move or threat in a given position? Doesn't it make sense to hone one's ability one move at a time? Then expanding the depth of search move by move. Studying mates allows you to filter out the “noise” found in the position. Personally I don’t mind solving exercises with the same mindset as practicing scale patterns a million times, or shooting a million free-throws if it gives me the ability to do said exercise blindfolded and upside down. As long as I get the correct answer and without hesitation.
So anyway I hope my obtuse ideas about training methods will be enough to persuade you to stick around, or at least get you thinking about coming up with your own plan.