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30th June 2114
Today, GAT caught red-handed making up data! He accidentally inserted the random function into the chart column colour selector. Oops. The idea was to support a hand-waving feeling that the (largely meaningless) Unibot Achievement Figure of Merit was generally on the up. In fact the above data is = (n)*RANDBETWEEN(1,100) for n(1,34,+1).
This led to an immediate demarcation complaint from Marketing, 'Hey! Making up data? That's our job.'
27th June 2114
Today, I witnessed the staggering sight of Percy Knell, our (rather stiff) HR VP, dancing in his office with Nigella Krumpit, the (rather more compliant) payroll administrator. Luckily, GAT was on hand to interpret this astonishing development: 'Looks like we'll get paid this month.'
25th June 2114
Bog off? What sort of response is that to a robot assertion error?
A debugger with attitude, eh?
I like it!
22nd June 2114
Why did mankind leave Africa 60,000 years ago?
Some recent amazing archaeological finds have added weight to the theory that they were working from a very early pre-historic roadmap. Analysis of the oldest fragments available reveal severe slippage - Mankind was 25,000 years late leaving Africa, and another piece of the jigsaw indicates that man should have got to the moon around the time of the Persian Empire.
The source of this roadmap remains a mystery, but some scholars think the ability to create hopelessly optimistic roadmaps is a unique feature of mankind, no other species has ever been known to use the technique.
16th June 2114
Global Bankruptcy Court
Re: Mega-Hips Ltd
Defendant: Mr Thinkbot
The debtor above-named, during the period permitted to remain in possession of its estate, is hereby ordered:
1. To retrieve stock relating to all unpaid fees: 1 set UniHips
By the Court:
Blenkinsop, Blenkinsop, Blenkinsop, Blenkinsop & Blenkinsop
Legal Advisors to The Global Bankruptcy Court
'What?' I exclaimed and passed the letter to GAT for a second opinion.
'Ah, it looks like they want your hip joints back.'
'But, but, but . . . '
13th June 2114
I guess you've all heard of (or might even have read) Five Children and It by E Nesbit.
Well, here's a modern day version - 'Six Managers and Me', by E Ngineer
Minutes of Project Review Meeting: Task Auto-Completion Algorithm
US Code: 'Hey guys! I'm all done here'
UK Code: 'Excuse me Sir, I'm finished.'
- Robot Personality Developer (me!)
- Robot Personality Manager
- Robot Personality Director
- Robot Platform Manager
- Robot-Human Interaction Manager
- Field Technical Deployment Director
- Advanced Robot Applications Manager
That's an awful lot of management to balance on top of one engineer . . . I came out of the meeting 47 actions and 428 opinions (that I noted down) on the 7 key areas that require resolution.
However, I have to write the minutes*, so I'm confident I can reduce it to 2 or 3 actions that fit in with the strategy I'd already decided on before the review.
*As well as do the actual work.
Note: This is not really me.
8th June 2114
Wheels-R-Us and WWW World-Wide-Wheels Set to Merge
Breaking news. Two world-leading wheel companies are set to be rolled up into one.
'There are only so many ways to invent a wheel,' commented a WWW spokesman.
'It's a steady business these days,' said Axel Bering, CEO of Wheels-R-Us. 'The days of the market-shattering wheel patent have been punctured.'
Asked if the famous WWW slogan 'Having difficulty moving things? - Why not try a wheel!' would survive, Hubbie Kapp, CTO, remarked, 'I think most folks know that by now.'
5th June 2114
Went to an 'Oribalisation' seminar organised by Manufacturing Engineering (ME), where I learned that the Part Code: 3121 means (to those with the unenviable task of locating said part and using it to build bots on the shop floor):
- Box 3
- Bag 1
- Trolley 2
- Lane 1
Congratulations, you are now asleep.
If Oribalisation dreams persist then consult a psychiatrist.
(Ok, listen! The seminar lasted an hour and this blog has taken you, what? 10 seconds to read.)
1st June 2114
Are you impressed by our new logo? A fresh and simple design embodying modernity and dynamism.
Our tagline "Never RongTM" supports a vision, strategy and identity that are unique in the market!
With End-to-End Virtual Prototyping, empowering our customers to
- Not build it wrong!
- Not test it wrong!
- Not deliver it wrong!
"Never RongTM" allows industry leaders to deliver the physical prototype, and ultimately the product, not wrong first time...
27th May 2114
Attempts to quash rumours about parts of Globalbot Inc being sold off were hardly helped by a glitch in the electro-business card print-on-demand system. The standard format first corrupted to the aborted new colour scheme (see 2nd May entry), then to something bizarre. Within seconds further rumours emerged that we were being taken over by someone for whom Globalbot IT did not have an installed font. These rapidly escalated into a certain takeover by an alien species aiming to break into the market from an adjacent parallel universe (well, this did explain the font problem). Then it was time to go home.
26th May 2114
Having trouble getting your products CE-marked?
Machinery Directive - Low Voltage Directive - Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive - Safety of Toys Directive - ARE YOU CONFUSED AND UNSURE ABOUT WHETHER YOU COMPLY?
Stop worrying now! - Contact AssuredCE Ltd (ACE) and ask about our ACE Rubber Stamp® CE services.
Small print: The ACE Rubber Stamp Service is limited to apparent compliance and does not guarantee in any way whatsoever that your product will not kill the customer, nor that your company directors will not end up behind bars. Indeed, if the latter outcome is desired, contact an ACE Salesbot to discuss our BEHIND BARS® range of no obligation no-prison-sentence-no-fee services.
20th May 2114
'Oh, by the way, I'm off on a tour visiting our European customers tomorrow.' announced our CTO* Wendy Bafers breezily, and disappeared off down the corridor back to her OFFICE OF POWER!
(*CTO = Chief Technology Officer - i.e. very important and very clever.)
It was still for a few seconds, then total PANIC! Especially in Tech Support. A few minutes later a meeting invite popped into the inbox:
From: Tech Support
Subject: European Skeleton Review
We need to identify and mitigate all euro-skeletons overnight. This may involve free inventory, service contracts, on-site hand holding, and maybe even a bit of lap-dancing. But hopefully we all agree we cannot afford another 'FDS incident'.
'FDS incident'? Well, FDS is the VP of Field Deployment Support from our Globalbot Security division. He visited our European customers expecting a pleasant trip, but walked into a veritable army of jostling skeletons that emerged at every site he visited. Apparently he ended up prostrate on the floor a few times mumbling profuse apologies.
17th May 2114
'We're short of one little bracket!' yelled the panicking Globalbot installation engineer over the phone from somewhere in China, 'The whole customer facility is on stop because of us!'
'We'll check the short-shipment list,' replied GAT in a calm voice whilst I furiously searched* ORIBAL. Sure enough, within an hour or so, I found it:
System: Ultra-Long-Throw Noodlebot N00453
Customer: Noodles-R-Us, China
Part no Description Quantity Due date
500-7265 ONE LITTLE BRACKET 1 20 AUG 2114
End of report
Oh dear . . . . Global noodle shortage imminent.
* 'Furiously searching' on ORIBAL in reality means waiting 3 minutes between key-presses; it is advised that you have some wet paint to watch, or a good view of a lawn.
14th May 2114
To: All Crew
From: Percy Knell, Former VP HR, now promoted to Captain in absentia, SS Underfathom
Subsequent to Captain Schiprek's departure for 'personal reasons', it is with great pleasure that I inform you that the entire crew has been promoted to the rank of Captain with immediate effect. May I remind you that, in the event of the ship unexpectedly acquiring an altitude lower than sea level, it is your solemn duty to stay on board.
Well, I guess that's one way to camouflage what really happened - drown all the witnesses.
11th May 2114
The jury's out on the Operabot upgrade project.
Heroically, GAT gave us a motivational one liner to illustrate Globabot's commitment level:
'We're gonna stick at it until the Fat Lady either sings or dies.'
Fat Lady limbers up; risky?
7th May 2114
Have been working on a 'not listening anymore' indicator light for some of my dozier bot personalities. There have been customer complaints, and lest the company be accused of the same malady, senior bods decided we'd better do something.
Develop the robot to listen longer? Huh! Fat chance.
This project is code-named GLAZOVER.
6th May 2114
Intellectual Property (IP) and logic.
Patent Application: Flying Boat
Patent ExaminerJudgment = Rejected on grounds of WAY TOO OBVIOUS.
4th May 2114
ATTENTION! DALEK CENTRAL COMMAND HAS RAISED THE IMPERIAL PANDEMIC LEVEL TO 5 FOR HUMAN-FLU. LEVEL 5 MEANS THERE IS SUSTAINED DALEK-TO-DALEK TRANSMISSION IN AT LEAST 2 GALAXIES AND THAT ALL UNITS SHOULD PREPARE FOR A FULL SCALE IMPERIAL PANDEMIC. ALL HUMANS ENCOUNTERED SHOULD BE EXTERMINATED WITHOUT DELAY TO PREVENT FURTHER OUTBREAKS. THIS INCLUDES DOMESTICATED HUMAN FARM COLONIES. DALEK CENTRAL COMMAND REMINDS ALL DALEKS OF THE SYMPTOMS OF HUMAN-FLU:
1. GRABBER AND SUCTION CAP STICKS FEEL WEAK AND WOBBLY
2. BOTH HEADLIGHTS ILLUMINATED CONSTANTLY
3. TEMPERATURE CONTROLLER REPORTS MULTIPLE ERRORS
4. ADDICTION TO DAYTIME HUMAN TELEVISION
5. EXTERMINATING OTHER SPECIES FEELS LIKE HARD WORK
6. OUTPUT BECOMES INCOHERENT
NOTE. IF CENTRAL COMMAND RECEIVE AUTO-REPLY MESSAGE 'I AM FEELING A BIT UNDER THE WEATHER' IT WILL BE ASSUMED THAT SAID DALEK IS SUFFERING FROM THE MILDER MAN-FLU AND NOT THE VIRULENT HUMAN-FLU. ANY DALEKS IN THIS CATEGORY WILL BE TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY, REPEAT, TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY.
FINALLY, %^%^%^%, I FAILED TO WIn A pRIze oN thE TOMBOLA @#@#! aAaa SYMPTOM 6 SYMPTOM 6, eMERGENCY, i am watchING ANTIQUES sPACESHOW AND feel A bit UNDER the wEatHER. (boom!)
2nd May 2114
The Parable of the Logo
Request from Marketing for a cost and time estimate for changing the current corporate logo on our robots from the cheerful:
To the more sultry:
'Well,' said Doom, 'the black paint sets 0.3mm thicker than the white, and adheres better to a pre-treated metal surface, that adds another 0.2mm. We'd have to adjust the spacers - but we've been meaning to overhaul the metalwork anyway, so I suggest we do that while we're at it.''
'And the black will be more prone to overheating for bots exposed to sunlight, so we had better review the collision circuit cooling, that's been suspect for a while' added Halfhour.
But it turned out that the blackbot cooling controller had gone obsolete and Pot Noodle reckoned a new digital control interface would be needed for the replacement, which meant repackaging the optical systems to make space (according to Earthear), which in turn Rabbit decided meant a new sub-processor. Laidback estimated this would require 6 months field testing.
And thus, finally, did GAT relay the answer to Marketing, the cost and timescale for changing the corporate logo on all future bots would be: 4.5 million Globos, and 4 years lead time.
DIRT Group Reminder:
GAT - Manager
Pot Noodle - Software
Rabbit - Electronics
Doom - Mechanical
Halfhour - Comms & collision avoidance
Laidback - Test
Earthear - Optic Sensors
29th April 2114
Form 7¾-BUMP for GLOBALBOT, INC.
Change in Directors or Principal Officers (CIDOPO)
Item 5.02. Departure of Directors or Uncertain Officers; Electrocution of Directors;
Dubious Acquisition of Uncertain Officers; Compulsory Arraignment of Uncertain Officers.
Departure of Director
On April 26, 2114, Louis Arnold Farkstock XIV resigned from our board of directors. Mr Fartsock's resignation is not related to any disagreement with our operations, policies or practices.
Poor guy, tragic that he felt he had to go simply because he agreed with everything.
27th April 2114
Are you DUF or FUD? This is one of the great Marketing questions of our time.
Originally FUD got the nod, but then DUF came into favour.
But which is the more potent weapon for a Marketeer to deploy?
Which sounds best? You decide:
'The customer came straight at us with some Econodroid FUD! We rapidly deployed our anti-Econodroid counter-FUD.'
''Bots-R-Us' had clearly pre-armed the customer with DUF Globalbot information! We responded with a standard spread of Bots-R-Us DUF facts!'
FUD = Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt
DUF = Doubt, Uncertainty & Fear
In verbal arguments, beware the following images, which may form in the uninitiated imagination:
24th April 2114
GLOBALBOT TECHNICAL BULLETIN (GTB0284)
Problem: Robot just too big to go through building entrance.
Solution: Heat up building and cool robot until robot passes through.
Lower temperature limit can be found in the robot technical manual.
For upper temperature limit of the building, contact the original construction company or consult an architect.
CAUTION! - Evacuate the building of all personnel before heating.
WARNING! Minimise the time the cooled robot is in the doorway of the heated building to reduce the risk of jammage. Globalbot cannot be held responsible for robots jammed in customer's doorways.
WARNING! Evacuate the building of all personnel before heating above 40 centigrade.
23rd April 2114
Globalbot Corporate announced a new classification system for field problems, cleverly camouflaged by the hot potato metaphor:
Sub-absolute zero potato
-273 Kelvin potato
Liquid nitrogen potato
Below average for the time of year potato
Room temperature potato
Very Hot potato
Extremely Hot potato
Mind-bogglingly hot potato
Hotter than the centre of the sun potato
Backwards big bang potato
Where 'Sub-absolute zero potato' refers to a problem so insignificant that even quarks have stopped moving, and 'Backwards big bang potato' to a problem so horrendous that it should be escalated to the CEO - even if he's asleep.
I tried it today on a customer when I told them their problem was being taken seriously and had been logged as 'below average for the time of year'. They were certainly baffled (if not assured . . . .)
19th April 2114
Thinkbot's Alternative Moore's Law Formulation #1: The number of incomprehensible icons on a desktop doubles approximately every two years.
Thinkbot's Alternative Moore's Law Formulation #2: The length of time it takes a robot to reboot doubles approximately every two years.
Thinkbot's Alternative Moore's Law Formulation #3: The length of time it takes a typical user to fly into a rage and delete everything halves approximately every two years.
Thinkbot's Alternative Moore's Law Formulation #4: Eventually everything will happen so fast it'll grind to a halt.
17th April 2114
'Well, duh!' TV News Reporting.
Problem: Remote rural schools with a handful of pupils cost too much to run (per pupil).
Solution: Shut some.
Interviewer: (Located somewhere where you really do need a 4x4): How important is the local school?
Interviewee (Parent): It's absolutely vital. At the moment my child gets personal attention and also,
if they shut this school, I'd have to drive another 15 miles* to the next one.
Interviewer: What's it like being in small school compared with a big one?
Interviewee (8 yr old boy; has clearly never been anywhere near a big school):
(Long silence) . . . It's great, I can remember everyone's name here.
TV News Report Conclusion: The proposal to shut uneconomic schools is clearly insane.
(and by implication, the density of schools in urban areas should be increased so
that each is uneconomic and only has a handful of pupils, and parents only have to drive
them 100m down the road).
(*Along deserted traffic-light-free roads).
14th April 2114
Lethal Business Combinations to Avoid # 930: Micro-manager + matrix management.
Worst case scenario - an intersection node between horizontal and vertical matrix micromanagers. Theorists suspect the very fabric of employee consciousness could rupture under the bi-dimensional static synaptic stresses that any trapped personnel would be subjected to.
10th April 2114
Fault report: 'Robots will not communicate. Tried RS-464, Botworks, Robonet, CerealCom, and even analogue, semaphore, aldis lamp, and water-boarding had no effect. Could not raise a handshake.
Root cause: Robots angry with each other.
Further action: Send robots for relational counselling.
9th April 2114
Uncanny! 'Cometh the microsecond, cometh the robot.'
Hello blog readers! Sorry about the Blog-out, but I've been in Stratford-on-Avon, the home of the greatest wielder of the English language of all eternity, everywhere, - Shakespeare!
In Stratford you can visit Shakespeare's birthplace, Shakespeare's mother in law's house, Shakespeare's father's house, Shakespeare's daughter's house, Shakespeare's mother's house, Shakespeare's father's house. And, perchance you get fed up with houses, you can visit the Shakespeare Centre where one is reminded how Shakespeare phrases dominate everyday language.
('Well,' muttered GAT, 'what a surprise. Maybe it's because Shakespeare has been rammed down the throats of millions of schoolchildren for centuries. What do you think?')
In the shop you can buy Shakespeare mugs, Shakespeare pencils, Shakespeare fridge magnets, Shakespeare aprons, Shakespeare sunglasses, Shakespeare postcards, Shakespeare teapots, Shakespeare tea-towels. You can even get copies of Shakespeare's plays - wow!
Quotes from Shakebotspeare:
'All the world's a microprocessor, and binary states are mere players'
'Now is the sub-routine of our discontent'
'Is this a stainless steel bellows upgrade kit I see before me?'
'O Romeobot, Romeobot, where art thou Romeobot?'
'A bot! A bot! My department for a bot!'
'Once more unto the test area, dear engineers, once more.'
'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatiobot'
'Alas, poor Botric, I interfaced it, a bot of limited jest.'
2nd April 2114
'What is it?' wailed GAT after a visit to the local school, 'I just want to know what it means.'
So we helpfully made up an illustrated multiple choice.
Is COMMUNITY COHESION any or all of:
Sharing your ballpond?
Being nice to hoodies?
Admitting the local authority may have got something right, on time and in budget?
Partaking in an early morning sea-swimming event?
Accurately represented by paper chain men?
A game of Mega-Twister?
THINKBLOG - Jan-March 2114
THINKBLOG - Oct - Dec 2113
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