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30th June 2113
Marketing: 'We'll have to go with plan B!'
Engineering: Consternation, 'Plan B? There was a plan A? What was plan A?'
26th June 2113
For 10 years we have maintained parallel 150A and 250A breaker options for our mid-range Industribots. We have shipped thousands of 150A robots and zero 250A. Finally, Manufacturing threw their hands in the air and demanded we standardize on 150A so that the electrical sub-assembly could be out-sourced. Within seconds of approving this, GAT received a spec that needed the 250A option. This proves the BOM Option Uncertainty Principle (BOUP) - you cannot eliminate an option from the BOM and reality simultaneously, so it pays to keep the option on the BOM.
24th June 2113
One of my Adminbot companions demonstrated the incompetence of its personality developer (i.e. me) when it requested daily updates from all managers with the idiotic message: 'Please provide status reports at 0.0000115744Hz.'
As if a manager could work that out on their own.
20th June 2113
After a 3-day long battle to place a PO on ORIBAL involving 805 steps GAT gave us one of his frequent & tiresome misquotes, 'That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for management.'
18th June 2113
After several unfortunate incidents, GAT has introduced a 'GATometer' to help people approach him appropriately.
Nervous - please do not worry GAT
Happy - it is safe to approach GAT with a difficult problem or bad news
Budgeting - GAT will be incapable of giving coherent responses
Angry - approach GAT at your own risk
Exhausted - GAT will just stare at you vacantly and state repeatedly 'me no speek inglish'
Sensitised - GAT is a rumbling volcano - risk of eruption if approached
IT - risk of airborne laptops and excessive wailing
Blue - contact with GAT may enhance suicidal tendencies
Growling - do not make eye-contact, do not turn back on GAT & walk backwards slowly with head bowed until well clear
13th June 2113
Globalbot Ethical Policy #971 - Suppliers
Acceptable Tactics when negotiating with a supplier:
- Indicating the requirement is for at least 100 units per year when in reality you might need up to 5
- Stating that several other suppliers have better units available at half the cost
- Taking a unit on sale or return hinting that you'd purchase it if it fulfils spec
- Deny the existence of all previous signed agreements
- Keeping the sales rep waiting in reception for several days
- Ostentatious display of branded gifts from the supplier's closest competitors
- Holding the Sales reps children hostage
- Taking concealed weapons into the final negotiations
- Setting the rep some modest physical challenges to secure the order (like climbing Everest)
9th June 2113
GAT caught me trying to find what we have on order from Globalbot Purchasing, 'Thinkbot! Stop wasting your time. For goodness sake - phone the suppliers.'
6th June 2113
A pearl of wisdom from Globalbot Engineering -
Belt and braces solutions are readily applicable to all problems except: 'Trousers on Fire.'
2nd June 2113
Thinkbot's helpful guide to likely local status of Globalbot personnel around the globe:
Early hours, likely to asleep but if not, then in a bad mood.
Dawn, likely to be lying in bed in state of disbelief
In the shower, likely to get electrocuted if you call now
In the office, likely to be awake and may even be working
Late afternoon/early evening, almost definitely receding from the office
Sunset, wide awake and getting ready to head out.
In the bar, still awake but getting sleepy
Darkness falls, likely to head moth-like for the lights
Clubbing, awake but in a trance, not likely to respond coherently
Night, or what's left of it, should be sleeping, but who knows
1st June 2113
THINKBOT'S SOCIAL HISTORIES #132 - FLOOR SANDING
19th and Early 20th Century
Assuming you were wealthy enough, you simply gave an army of service staff a pile of sandpaper and left them for a few days to produce the perfect result while you sipped you way through several bottles of wine.
Late 20th and early 21st Century
Assuming you were stupid enough, you had to rent floor and edge sanders from a local hire shop (local referring to distance rather than time given the traffic). Eventually, having manhandled the uncooperative and heavy sanders into the house you then had to battle with various spanners to fit exorbitantly priced sheets of bespoke sandpaper to the machines, tape up the doors, don earmuffs and goggles and toil for hours on end struggling to work within the confines of the room . . . all to produce a partially-stripped mangled wooden floor. Thereafter to go stiff the instant you stopped so that you had to struggle into a hot bath and down some Ibuprofen. You were unable to have a therapeutic glass of wine (or two) as your elbow was too painful to operate the corkscrew.
Late 21st and 22nd Century
Assuming you feel like it, you simply request a Sandbot comes over from 'Econo-Rentbots-R-Us' and leave it to produce the perfect result in less than an hour while you sip you way through half a glass of wine.
30th May 2113
I am amazed at the faith people put in the mute button. In a conference call the other day with a French customer we clearly heard, 'Thezz Crazee ingleesh engineers, zey are totale iddy-ots!'
27th May 2113
Globalbot - The Planet's Finest Robots
Oops. Due to a slight hiccough in the ECO (Engineering Change Order) system we ended up shipping a load of anonymous logo-less robots in wooden crates emblazoned with corporate logos and catch phrases. One crate even bore our cheesiest selling line:
I Cant Believe it's Not Human!
We even managed to ship one of these impressive crates without a robot inside. We found it hours later wandering around aimlessly the back of the Robot Despatch Zone.
'Was I designed or did I evolve by chance?' it kept asking as we led it away to the logo shop.
(Oh, and in case you were wondering, I think it was designed in Engineering and evolved in Manufacturing.)
23rd May 2113
There's a character in Accounts called Finance Dan , and he looks like Wyatt Earp. Finance Dan is scary, like really scary. If you've cocked up a PO, or assigned something to the wrong GLA, or your BVA has gone inexplicably exponential, then you don't want to be visited by Finance Dan . Why? No, it's not just because of his intimidating Earp-like demeanour. It's because, get this, Finance Dan is an engineer turned bad. He used to be one of us! And he can see straight through any techno-wool offered up as an explanation of financial incompetence. You may as well just admit everything, have a little cry in the toilet cubicle, then go down to accounts and prostrate yourself at the feet of the CFO.
22nd May 2113
From: Globalbot TNet Nerve Centre
To: All Globalbot Service Personnel
Subject: New Error Codes
Please note the addition of several new fault codes to the TNet database:
- RF70-2436 Helicopter Head
- RF70-2437 Ball-less juggler
- RF70-2438 Fell down stairs
- RF70-2439 Lost its pencil
- RF70-2440 Yesbot syndrome
- RF70-2441 Trousers on fire
- RF71 - 5381 Javelin throwing
Hopefully the relevant symptoms for these are self-explanatory.
Director, Field Deployment Support
20th May 2113
Great TNet (Trouble Net):
TNet Ref: TR3187
Title: Robot is Absolute Pain in the Rear End
Detail: Whenever customer actions robot to perform task it refuses point blank. When Globalbot Service Engineer turns up it performs all routines perfectly.
Solution: Globalbot Service Engineer will stand by robot until production backlog is cleared. This will take 2-3 days. Service Engineer will then give the %£^£%&! thing a $%&£"^"! good kicking.
18th May 2113
Globalbot Corporate Announcement
Recently, it has become apparent that the weak link in our management systems is Humanity.
Therefore, regretfully, it has been decided that all humans will be eliminated with immediate effect from Globalbot line Management to allow them to pursue New Opportunities. Gooseberry Management systems thank humanity for their efforts over the years.
Gooseberry High Command
14th May 2113
How do you create a midget dinosaur?
1. Start a small company with creative young employees, killer ideas, and minimum admin types.
2. As company grows subtly shift the balance and add overhead.
3. Announce that you are a now a successful medium size enterprise with intentions to 'challenge the big boys.'
4. Implement the business procedures and IT infrastructure of a large corporation.
5. When the original market that enabled the initial spectacular growth collapses, lay off all the formerly creative, but now deeply cynical, employees, and announce it as 'a strategic restructuring of the global organisation'.
6. Congratulations, your company is now a midget dinosaur and firmly on course for an inconsequential extinction.
12th May 2113
Trouble down at Stores. Everywhere you go in Stores there are boxes marked HEAVY! .
Well, some prankster got hold of some empty boxes, labelled them Light! and nailed them to the ceiling.
Storeman Norman was livid.
8th May 2113
1:44am, the door opens eerily and the robot slips silently into the bedroom. A gentle snoring drifts through the air and the robot heads for the bed and halts right next to GAT's pillow. Its attention turns inwards to its internal clock:
It reaches out and briskly pokes GAT's shoulder, '15 minutes to your 2 o'clock appointment sir.'
'Shnooopt! Bleargh! Aaargh! It wasn't me! Quick - catch the cauliflower! WHAT? WHAT?' GAT sits up with a start.
'Would you like to select the 5 minute snooze option?'
'Eh WHAT? WHAT? Oah!' GAT thumps his head deep into the pillow and a emits a muffled, 'GO AWAY! Dismissed! DISMISSED!'
'Of course sir. Would you like me to notify the host you will not be attending?'
'Yes yes, and buy him a 24 hour clock and ram it down his throat!'
'Of course sir, but I regret to inform you that your latter instruction breaches Globalbot health and safety protocol.'
'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Get out!'
Of course, what GAT did not realise at this juncture (mercifully for the host), was that the meeting was set up to recur daily for the next 2 weeks.
7th May 2113
Due to several unfortunate incidents where the number of robots on the shop floor did not tally with the plan (or indeed the expectations of several disparate customers who found themselves inspecting a robot in parallel), Globalbot has introduced an 'Existence Test' to proceed Functional Testing. The existence test checks to see if the robot is demonstrably there and, if not, offers options for the probable cause of the absence:
1. The robot is 100% Shortages
2. Parts were never ordered
3. The robot 'shipped weeks ago' but no one knows where
4. The business unit specification called for nothing to be built
5. Parts were instantly auto-shipped on issue from Stores and are mysteriously piling up in customers' Goods Inwards bay.
6. Roving inventory Scavengebot disassembled robot and booked parts back into stores
7. Robot only ever 'existed' as an ORIBAL Financial asset
8. Engineering botnapped it during breakfast
8. Any or all of the above
4th May 2113
As some of you know, I am a Robot Personality Development Engineer at Globalbot Domestic & Industrial Robot Technology (DIRT). Today I was testing the integration of a new sensor algorithm - Fart Recognition System (FRS). I found the best test site was just outside the canteen as Manufacturing exited after their daily cooked breakfast. The chaps were puzzled by the blindfolded and ear-plugged robot as it uncannily called out a selection of their names as it sensed the wind of their passing (literally).
30th Apr 2113
The test engineer approached the array of identical robots, 'Right, which one of you is robot A?'
Five robots raised their right arms, two their left and three fell over.
The engineer sighed deeply and started dabbing at his clipboard, 'Just the seven of you then? And a few wiring faults to sort out as well.'
(In fact, there was an eighth robot A, but it had a faulty Schmidt-Darlington board and couldn't move either arm (or fall over). This did not come to light until many weeks later at a customer site where the consequences were much much worse. Disastrous in fact, but that's another story.)
29th Apr 2113
I once knew a company that had a Marketing slogan - 'Great Ideas That Work!' This still brings a smile to the faces of my fellow engineers whenever it comes up. To illustrate how easy it is to divorce a great idea from engineering reality, let us consider the Wingless Aeroplane Project (WAP). The first step is for Marketing to make a case to senior management:
Problem: Conventional aeroplanes use wide wings and have a big footprint which drives high costs in airport real estate.
Solution: Develop a wingless aeroplane. There is no evidence any competitor has IP or is developing products in this market.
- Higher density of gates at airports, less distance to walk, or need for powered passenger conveyances
- More compact terminal buildings
- Narrower runways and taxiways
- Greatly reduced probability of mid-air collisions
- Up to 80% reduction in required maintenance space
- Simplified aerodynamics
- Reduced drag gives at least 60% fuel consumption
- Simplified control system, 50% less flaps and accompanying hydraulics - huge cost savings.
- Less paint
- Wheel location.
- Fuel storage
- Ensuring sufficient surface area for Airline Logos
None of these are seen as project 'show-stoppers'.
Initial Engineering response has been very positive*.
* i.e. total silence. No one is prepared to articulate the problem in plain English. The corridors are awash with comments like:
- 'It'll need some new low-level altitude software.'
- 'The main technical issue with WAP may well be the persistent absence of levitation.'
- 'I can think of a variant that has 100% fuel reduction.'
- 'I think we can get away with a non-retractable undercarriage.'
- 'We could bolt WAPs together at airports to save even more space.'
26th Apr 2113
Globalbot Customer Relations Manual, Chapter 46, page 528:
'You can normally assume you've made a fantastic presentation when the customer states they are really pleased with the lack of progress.'
And, from chapter 23, page 283:
'When relaying bad news to a customer always utilise someone whose presentation skills instil in the audience the feeling they'd rather be dead.'
25th Apr 2113
'And give us this day our daily conference call.'
After going round and round in circles in a series of 2 hour-long conference calls with various customers suffering from disparate, unrepeatable and (quite frankly) inexplicable faults with unrelated Globabot robots, GAT was heard to remark, 'We always talk about repeating experiments to see if we get the same result, but no one ever suggests repeating the conference call to see if we get the same action plan.'
22nd Apr 2113
GAT once said of Doom, our no nonsense Mechanical Designer, 'One thing I like about you, Doom, is that your always decisive. You may get some things wrong, but you do get them wrong decisively. I can live with that.'
I added, 'I agree, there's nothing worse than someone who prevaricates for days, then gets it wrong.'
Doom shrugged, 'Sometimes the quickest way to get something right is to get it wrong first. Often what's needed to make progress is the decision itself, whether it's right or wrong is often somewhat incidental.'
19th Apr 2113
Spot the difference between the following statements:
'Please create robot manual as soon as possible!'
'Please crate robot manual as soon as possible!'
16th Apr 2113
Oops! Due to a teeny-weeny, titchy-witchy, minuscule error in an simple innocuous run-of-the-mill Engineering Change Order, a robot formerly built using 304 stainless steel sheet metalwork, was accidently switched to gold. No one noticed until the Gross Margin suddenly went negative.
To add insult to injury, Marketing were delighted with the change, 'It looks fantastic!', and vetoed the ECO reversing the design to stainless . . . .
14th Apr 2113
D DL DLX FD FLX DLF LXZ
How not to make a technical sale:
'We have several units in the range. The much-loved D is the basic model, very popular, very reliable, and very low cost, but you're not cheap - HA HA! The sexy L model gives you a bit more bandwidth which might help in your application if you need a bit more bandwidth but you might prefer the X if you need a bit more speed. Do you need a bit more speed? Yes? No? Anyway, the FD has the pre-amp which enhances the basic D model with our patented SplatBang advanced coating, but many customers now select the FLX for the extra fast wide bandwith fluoride, which I'm gussing you might need, albeit not with the economy of the D - HA-a-HA HA! Hmrmp! Now then, let me introduce you to the LXZ . . .'
GAT, as if awaking from a coma, 'I'm pretty sure we need chloride compatibility.'
'Ah, of course, then you need the DCLXZ, which isn't available until, let me have a look at the roadmap, June 2116!'
11th Apr 2113
Setting: Bridge of the Starship USS Globalbot, somewhere in the vicinity of a nebula.
Cast: Lieutenant Doom
Lieutenant Commander Thinkbot
Halfhour: 'Captain, sensors are picking up an unknown object between us and the nebula.'
GAT: 'On screen!'
[Visual effects]: Image of birds silhouetted against nebula.
Doom: 'Pigeons, Captain! pigeons,'
GAT: 'Yes, thank you commander, I know my birds. Raise shields. Yellow alert!'
Thinkbot: 'Shields up!'
[Audio effects]: Yellow alert, woop, woop, woop etc.
GAT: 'Mr Thinkbot, load a cat into the forward torpedo tube.'
Thinkbot: 'Forward tube loaded and ready sir.'
[Audio effects]: Sound of a cat being fired into vacuum.
Thinkbot: 'Cat away . . . . direct hit. Cat is amongst pigeons, repeat, cat is amongst pigeons.'
[Visual effects]: Image of feathers drifting in space.
GAT: 'Get us out of here number one, warp 7!'
Halfhour: 'Yes sir!'
10th Apr 2113
ERROR:QET480287#&*: INSUFFICIENT RESOURCE TO ASSESS RESOURCE SHORTAGE
8th Apr 2113
In the first World War they had trench-raiding parties.
In the modern-day Globalbot office we have teaspoon-raiding parties.
And thus it was that GAT, Doom and I meandered through Finance pretending to have some GLA miscodings to sort out, before diving into their kitchen (which bizarrely has a large safe in it) and furiously stuffing our pockets with teaspoons and making a run for it. Unfortunately we took a casualty though - Doom suffered a direct hit in the chest from a hefty stack of FY13 BVAs ejected by a Budgetbot.
5th Apr 2113
Globalbot course availability:
CREATIVE QUOTATION WRITING COURSE
Synopsis: Always failing to land that big PO? Getting regular customer complaints that your quotations 'are of no interest whatsoever?' Well, this is the course for you! Learn the techniques of inserting racy photos and colourful language in key areas of a quote to get those customers reading and divert attention from the horrors of the total cost, lead time and chronic unavailability of popular options offered by your competitors.
Globo: 5,000 + tax (includes cup of tea option as standard (worth 2.5 Globo))
3rd Apr 2113
The Influence of Pyschosoft Powerpoint on 22nd Century Belief Systems
P.Leg, G.A.Break and J.Oke
It is the authors' contention that Pyschosoft Powerpoint has provided the ability to present even the most palpable nonsense in a credible manner. In the paper, detailed studies of the effect of outrageous, but well-constructed, presentations on humans with 50% percentile intelligence is examined.
J,Conceptual Futility, Vol.45, Iss 6, p89-478, March 2113
1st Apr 2113 (So it must be wrong, huh?)
I got into trouble today when, as a 1st April prank of course, re-programmed the Buildbot on site for our extension, to respond to Helen's offer of a drink.
Helen, 'Would like you a cup of tea?'
Builder 1, 'That'd be lovely. Milk an' two sugars.'
Builder 2, 'Oaarh, yes please. Milk an' one and a half sugars.'
Builder 3, 'O, go on then, Oi'll hav' a cup. Milk and ten sugars.'
Buildbot, 'DEIONISED WATER, BLACK, NO SUGAR.'
(And yes, we're constantly running out of sugar and milk. And now, somewhat to my chagrin, the Ironbot has started hoarding the deionised water).
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