THINKBLOG         Jan - March 2112

 

BACK TO THINKBLOG

 

Contact Thinkbot @: thinkbot@thinkbot.co.uk

 

30th March 2112

  

Lunch and launch - two words you must never get muddled if you work in a missile silo.

 

29th March 2112

              

Do two 'wrongs' make a 'right'? Sometimes I guess.

And now, the Engineering version: Can 27 'wrongs' make a 'right'? It appears so:

 

1.  Kit 708936 has M5 bolts with M4 nuts.

2.  But it does not matter because kit 708453 has M4 bolts.

3.  708453 specifies a bracket that's the wrong length.

4.  The incorrect bracket 765209 does not matter because the PCB A29290 was designed with the connector on the wrong side, so that:

5.  The cable harness 711234, which is actually too short, can just about reach the connector, but this has the wrong plug on the other end:

6.  Which fits the incorrect socket in the kit with the female VCR  union that should be male:

(7. - 26. Blah . .upside down  . .  blah  . . back to front . . . blah . . . made of white chocolate not 304 steel . . . blah . . . usually only used in sheep dips . . . blah . . . delivered with rocket side salad . . . blah blah . . . manufactured in Bolivia by albino donkeys using a proprietary process . . . blah blah blah)

27. But, luckily, 709288 has exactly the incorrect number of M5 nuts to match 708936's bolts (see 1.)

 

Result? A wobbling pile of glaring errors that cancel each other out and, beyond the wildest realms of probability, produce a perfect Digbot temperature control sub-assembly (A36182) every time, on time. The absolute last thing you need is an ENGINEERING CHANGE REQUEST (ECR) that fixes one of the errors in this exquisitely bungled routing. This will inevitably result in a further 51±2 ECRs (since only 50% of ECRs get implemented correctly first time), not to mention the 51±2 Digbots that will suffer hot or cold flushes during final test, possibly attack their test engineers, and miss their allocated shipment slots by weeks, if not months (depending on the judicial sentence).

 

And all because someone spotted and tried to fix a seemingly innocuous M5 bolt quantity error.

 

27th March 2112

           

Sunday again. After two dry sherries and half a bottle of red wine (before dinner) GAT entertained us all at the table with a H&S Globalbot stand up routine. The yarn was that Laidback had asked about installing sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) in the test lab. The response from H&S was immediate - not without a full safety investigation.

'But we have argon and nitrogen in there already,' muttered Laidback.

'Don't be ridiculous! There's no comparison.  SF6 is a dangerous gas.'

By which it was meant it sounds like a dangerous gas.

So, off to Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) where we are told:

'50 rats lived in a gaseous mixture of 80% SF6 and 20% O2 (oxygen) for 5 days with no ill effects.'

'Wow! That dangerous?'

However, it did warn that it was an asphyxiant.

In fact in exactly the same way as Ar and N2 are asphyxiants, but they don't sound dangerous so they can go in the test lab. At which point it was suggested we fill in the accident book.

'But we ain't had an accident yet!'

'But I thought you said you have already had incidents involving argon and nitrogen?'

Whatever. The accident book duly appeared but was found to be blank, in spite of an issue date  of 17th April 2103.

'Looks like an accident book waiting to happen,' observed Doom.

Eventually we got H&S off our backs by getting someone to report the discovery of sodium and chlorine in the canteen. Now, those really are dangerous chemicals, no kidding!

So dangerous, in fact, that you can sprinkle them on pet food and offer it to rats living in SF6/O2.

Poor things don't stand a chance do they?

 

25th March 2112

The eagle-eyed elite amidst the eagle-eyed have pointed out that the human hand in the handshake image shown yesterday bears a wrist-watch shadow. Since most people are right handed and wear their watch on the left wrist, we are forced to conclude this was probably a minority left-handed robo-human handshake and the picture has been mirrored. Of course, it may well be that the human was left handed and therefore wore a watch on the right wrist and this is a genuine image. However, it could be that this is not a handshake at all - rather a left-handed human has assumed the robot is also left-handed and is grabbing the right robo-hand to check it's not wearing the watch, which I conjecture has been nicked. Why a left-handed robot would nick a wrist watch from a left-handed human I know not. And . . .oh yeah . .  I forgot . . robots aren't right or left handed.

No, this does not mean they need to wear two watches to tell the time.

THEY DON'T NEED WATCHES! THEY HAVE A CLOCK IN THEIR HEAD, ALTHOUGH IT'S OFTEN WRONG. wHY? wHY?

Look! Let's just drop the subject shall we?

 

24th March 2112

A few of you picked up on the Globalbot Motto in the document from 22nd March:

  I Can't Believe it's Not Human!

The eagle-eyed will have spotted that the image in the document footer is a mirror of that above - i.e. it shows a left-hand robo-human handshake. This was a cock-up and has been amended since to show a right-handed  handshake. But not before 100o's of 'left-hand' documents had been created and which are now all mixed up with 'right hand documents'. Right and left hand issues in design are a common occurrence, but I think we're the only company in the world with right and left hand documents.

 

22nd March 2112

Click here to see document I discovered on the Globalbot Intranet today.

Interpretations welcome.

 

20th March 2112              

Yippee it's Sunday! Which means I get to play all day. I ended up spending a few hours helping Gerald on his 'Moodpod' project. This is a hopelessly ambitious attempt to develop a telepathic iPod personality that can sense the mood you're in and play appropriate music. This will save on all that fiddling about with that silly little dial, or fumbling about for reading glasses, or vainly trying to figure out how to turn on the backlight.

But we didn't get on too well, even with the most basic test:

Mood Song Selected
Happy "When I am laid in earth", from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas
Depressed "You’re no good", by Carly Simon
Angry Theme tune to Thomas the Tank Engine on repeat
Scared "Who let the dogs out?", by Baha men
Stressed "Bad day", by REM

 

18th March 2112

     

Today I wish to cite an example from personal experience of how difficult it is to develop robot personalities that will cope with humans giving them stupid illogical instructions. Helen instructed the Kitchenbot to tidy up after dinner and left it to get on with it. A couple of hours later she returned to find it had emptied all the kitchen cupboards and then locked up. Boy, the place was a mess and Helen was not impressed. I downloaded the eventlogs and had a look at what Helen had said to it. Most of it was fairly sensible stuff:

 - Check the Dishbot salt level, unload and reload it and set it going if nearly full*.

 - Handwash and dry non-stick and wooden items.

 - Take the crumbs out of the Toastbot.

 - Empty compost bin into the Compostobot.

But then:

 - Put leftover food in seal-proof containers

Oh dear. This was the cause of the disaster. In Portishead it's not unusual to suffer infestations of ants or woodlice, but I've never heard of anyone suffering from a seal infestation. One would have thought these would be fairly easy to spot in the average kitchen. Anyway, the Kitchenbot had spent an hour emptying cupboards in a futile search for 'seal-proof' containers and then crashed when it ran out of cupboards to investigate.

'Oh for goodness sake! It should've known what I meant!' wailed Helen.

Alas, not if the personality developer has somehow failed to cover it in the Subjective Intuitive Command Knowledge (SICK) Logic structure.

 

*You may well ask how the Kitchenbot knows what 'nearly full' means. In this case there is some SICK Logic in place - the first time Kitchenbots are instructed thus they run through a brief customer-specific setup:

Please define percentage that defines Dishbot as full.

Please define if percentage refers to slot usage, weight of contents or volume of contents.

At this point the human owner usually gets confused and presses 'default' which sets it to 95% by item slot. Of course Helen's input on this was, 'That's ridiculous! It should have known that before asking those stupid questions.'

Well quite. Humans have truly wondrous default logic - it's called common sense, and it's almost impossible to replicate in a robot.

 

17th March 2112

  

Got roped into helping Opal with an essay assignment for her EPR* GCSE:

Jesus turned water into wine.

'Water Office Technology Inc' turn water into Advanced Water™.

Discuss and compare these statements in terms of the concept of 'miracle'.

(3000 words).

'Any thoughts Thinkbot?'

'Um, well, Jesus processed water into wine at point of use. He didn't need to have a distribution network of water carrying Delbots# grinding up and down the motorways adding to congestion and global warming.'

'Yeah, good! Anything else?'

'Er, in the Jesus miracle it was the wedding guests that said the wine was the best they'd ever tasted, whereas for 'advanced water' it's the WOT Inc marketing department who say it's the best you'll ever taste.'

'What about the miracle aspect though?'

'In the Jesus case the guests still noticed the quality of the converted wine even though they'd guzzled all the cheap stuff first and were presumably legless. In the WOT Inc case I think you should develop the 'Miracle of  Marketing' theme that can re-brand one of the most common substances on the planet and sell it.'

'What about meaning?'

'I think the Jesus types will claim that water into wine is symbolic of taking the ordinary and transforming it into something special. For WOT, I think it's more about the post-modern emptiness that transforms nothing of substance, rather the ex-nihilo creation of a money-spinning mirage.'

'Thanks TB!'

*EPR = Ethics, Philosophy and Religion (aka Endless Prevarication and Regurgitation)

# Delivery robot.

 

16th March 2112

  

Typical email from Sales today, which was suitably abused at the Wednesday DIRT engineering meeting:

To: GAT

cc: Thinkbot

Subject: Personality instability in high productivity Axebot.

In the light of the current situation I propose I visit the customer in Oslo next week and show a friendly face :-), and maybe organise a regular multiple webex. I must say if I'd been informed that this modified Axebot personality was likely to be manically unstable I may have had second thoughts about this sale.

I also think we need to present a solid roadmap for improving the Axebot - maybe we can add capability for a second axe - GAT what do you think?

Bottom line tho is we need a clear plan to solve Personality issue quickly :-)

Regards,

øks Menneske

'He's not interested in our wobbly roadmap and the unclear plan then?'

'I wonder which part of our original response:  'DIRT do not recommend the use of potentially unstable robot personalities to gain work rate from heavy duty toolbots' he didn't understand?

'Okay, okay, we've got an unstable robot with an axe. What can we do? I know! I know! Let's give it a second axe!'

'Oh no, I was planning on solving this issue slowly.'

'So, it is theoretically possible to make a salesman have second thoughts about a sale?'

'So, just what is a regular multiple webex?'

' :-( '

 

14th March 2112

           

Globalbot Service Support (somewhat unkindly dubbed 'International Rescue' internally) offer a 'Fit Any Budget Flexible Robot Optional Global Service Support Packages, better known as  FAB FROGs to the owners of our superlative robotic products:

1.     <4 hour on site callout (24/7)

2.     <4 hour on site callout (within local working day only)

3.     Next day on site call out (7 days)

4.     Next working day on site call out

5.     Next week on site call out

6.     On site eventually call out (best efforts <1 month; guaranteed <1 year)

7.     Hope for the best call out (no guarantee)

8.     24/7 telephone support

9.     Working day telephone support

10.   Indian Robot call centre support

11.    You never know, someone may answer if you let it ring long enough

12.    Txt suport 4 quik rspnz whl u wat + wot t hll u on abot?

 

And are offered for a variety of times: 3 months; 6 months; 1-5 years; 100 years; until the robot is obsolete or the sun expands (whichever comes first).

 

All this leads to some comical riddles for Service Support to unravel. Like the customer who wanted a quote to upgrade, or maybe downgrade , to 1 year 'Next Day on Site + Indian Robot Telephone Support' from a part-expired 6 month 'Hope for the Best + 24/7 Telephone' contract. This sort of thing causes a lot of anguished muttering in International Rescue HQ.

 

12th March 2112

Green

Blue

Purple

Red

Yellow

Turquiose

Pink

Orange

 

Corporate Marketing announced a 'great new idea' today: that different robot product lines should be denoted by specific colours (and not any old colours either - we're only going to use Dynamic Colours apparently).

Okay so far, except it did not seem to occur to them that someone might have already had this 'great new idea' at some (or even several) point(s) in the past. No, apparently not, and they'd already gone past the point of no backing down by pre-ordering masses of publicity material in the new colour schemes. The trouble is that the existing colours are everywhere already, and have been for years - documents, folders, posters, product logos . . . .

 

Digbots, which have always been been denoted by orange are now blue. Kitchenbots were red but are now green. Hortibots: green, now turquoise. Execubots: purple, now yellow. And so on. I can hear the frustrated conversations now - 'No, no, no! The purple documents go in the yellow folder. The yellow documents go in the red folder.' - and all in that tone of voice that indicates it's all blindingly obvious. I'm sure this will reduce some fresh-faced bushy-tailed graduates to crying quietly at their desks.

 

Inverse Disability Statement: Thinkbot apologises sincerely to non-colour blind readers who may have been disturbed by the content of today's site. In other words - if you're colour-blind, and you work at Globalbot, then you're the lucky one!

 

Still, I guess this is somewhat less daft than the last Marketing regime who came up with the worryingly undynamic mint green-on-chocolate slogan:  Globalbot - Great Ideas that Work!

 

10th March 2112

  

Managers at Globalbot are fickle creatures. GAT organised a 'heads up' briefing session covering up and coming robot developments and invited managers from the rest of Globabot. So many turned up they couldn't all fit in the room. The debate was wide-ranging and there was universal agreement it had been a very worthwhile exercise and a second session should be organised forthwith.

The attendance at session II a few weeks later was . . . . zero.

Nevertheless GAT declared session II a 'major success' in that it indicated everything must be just fine.

This precipitated a mass demented outcry and demands that a third session to be organised ASAP.

If I ever open a management school I must remember to cover these various types of meeting:

1.    Herd Instinct

2.    Bermuda Triangle

3.    Synchronised Knee Jerk

 

8th March 2112

  

I think one of the most dangerous items in the workplace is a brand new pair of safety shoes. They have the elasticity of sprung steel and the grip of a formula 1 tyre. In combination with freshly cleaned lino or a carpet with even the barest hint of pile any slight bipedalogical misjudgement can send you sailing through the air. They are especially prone to getting you airborne whilst descending a flight of office stairs. I think a safety parachute would not be out of place.

And why do the laces never stay done up? Are they Tuflon or something?

Seems to me Safety Shoes are out to get you one way or another.

Still, you can sign them out of stores and they are recognisably shoes, albeit somewhat unfashionably Mr Plod. This does not stop GAT wearing them socially to weddings and funerals. As he quips, 'It'd be okay if they dropped the coffin on my foot or some gravitationally-challenged bride stood on my toe.'

And now, worst of all, I've been told I have to wear them in the Manufacturing Area. Me? I've already got metal feet for goodness sake. And Manufacturing is full of Unibots just like me - but they don't have to wear them!

'But you're a Unibot that thinks,' was the reasoning of the Safety Officer.

So, let me think about this, I'm a thinking Unibot so I have to wear safety shoes.

Have I missed something here? Does he think I think with my feet?

 

6th March 2112

Today I would like to discuss the latest development in elementary accountancy - The Large Audit Collider (LAC). Within the LAC, sophisticated cascades of budget non-conformances accelerate teams of auditors in opposite directions around a purpose built circular office building. It is hoped that debris from any collisions will reveal information about dark money and maybe even create some microscopic fiscal black holes. The LAC, which has so far taken over 20 deficit years to plan and build, uses advanced Excel containment fields to keep the auditors moving in circles. The more optimistic researchers believe the LAC may even confirm the existence of the Higgs variance, the peculiar properties of which many theorists believe are essential to the development of a GUB (Grand Unified Budget), which may underpin the entire observable economy of the universe.

'The LAC is an exciting development with major implications for understanding stock markets, discrepancies in wealth, and could answer many questions about how credit cards evolved' commented Professor and former General, 'Red' L. Edger, 'For pairs of auditors that collide at maximum velocity we hope to be able to resolve budget turnouts to at least 1015 cost centres. This is an unprecedented step forward in the field.'

The LAC displaces the High-Value Budgetron (H-VaB) as the leading elementary accountancy collider on the planet. The H-VaB, which has been in operation for the last 15 years, is famous for unravelling the laws of Consumable-Capital expenditure and the remarkable property of fiscal reality where capital items tunnel through administrative energy barriers by splitting into multiple entangled consumable purchase orders. These then recombine into the original capital item during the subsequent delivery process. There has been fierce debate amongst theoretical auditors as to whether this fundamentally violates any rules or is the root cause of a phenomena known as 'clawback'.

 

4th March 2112

        

I refer you to a recent Globabot Marketing announcement:

 

Newswire 4 March 2112: Gobalbot is pleased to announce the launch of Futureproof III Robot Control Technology. Futureproof III is a no risk advance over the previous versions Futureproof I (June 2110) and II (October 2111), which are now obsolete (contact your local Globalbot service representative for information on support packages for legacy products). 'We are very pleased with this new technology which we believe will provide a sustainable platform for our customers for many years to come,' commented Mark Eting, Head of Marketing at Globalbot Filton.

 

For Final Fantasy fans (who I suspect may well be owners of Futureproof I & II technology), I noticed that 'Final Fantasy MCMXVII - The Reality of Serial Profitability'  will be in a cinema near you very shortly.

 

2nd March 2112

  

A few m0nths ago GAT set us a series of objectives as a character-building exercise in overcoming insuperable odds, one of which was to incorporate a packet of digestive biscuits into the ship kit for production robots. Ship kits contain things that the customer will need to look after it's precious new 'bot such as spare parts, tools, additional optional attachments, and so forth.

Well, Doom succeeded (he would wouldn't he), and duly claimed his free crate of Badger Beer in a moving ceremony during the weekly engineering meeting.

All well and good, until an irate Customer Support Manager came storming up to remonstrate with GAT as a Lumberbot shipment critical to the Wood Product Division's February monthly revenue plan had fallen foul of the Euro-Food Directive (2102/46/EC), and had been duly impounded in Rotterdam.

Poor guy, until the Digestive Biscuit Moment he thought he was onto a winner as Manufacturing had forgotten it is a leap year and had dispatched the usual last minute shipments with > 1440 minutes to spare.

 

29th February 2112

It's a leap year, and as a consequence can I introduce you to Leapbot.

Leapbot is a leg efficiency test rig we have in the development area at Globalbot.

Leapbot is a lot of fun, especially when things don't quite go according to plan, which is actually pretty unusual at Globalbot  . . . Hey! What's happening to my nose?

Anyway, working with Leapbot is a lot of fun when things go wrong. It Leaps into the wall, the ceiling, other development robots. Even when it's going okay the blessed thing just hops on the spot as if it's cold or desperately needs a wee.

 

28th February 2112

        

Spent a lazy day watching ancient Star Trek repeats with Gerald & Opal. What I want to know is why no one ever mentions budgets, and is there an Accounts Department or a bursar on the USS Enterprise. Captain Picard never seems to get trapped on the bridge by some ensign quizzing him about accruals and budget variances:

'Sir, were the eight photon torpedo launches on star date 45.23.56 budgeted or unbudgeted? You do not seem to have allowed for depreciation of the new transporter. There have been numerous miscodes including an incorrect allocation of personal holodeck time as 'laundry'.

  

The other uncanny similarity I noticed is between a Borg Cube and Globalbot Stores (at Filton). In both cases you seem to be able to walk in and wander around unnoticed, as if you were invisible, but the minute you interfere and become a threat, say by shooting a Borg with a phaser or sneakily moving bits between the bins in stores, Borg/storemen (delete as applicable) instantly close in on you threateningly from all directions.

 

26th February 2112

                                               

 

GAT loves a good beer, and a bottle of just about any Badger ale soon perks him up. Once, after a Tangle Foot, a Champion and a Golden Glory in quick succession on an empty stomach, I foolishly tried to find out what it was he liked about Badger beers.

Was it:

1) The deceptively strong ales with distinctive tastes?

2) The fruity notes, balanced with a smooth hoppiness?

3) The full-bodied spicy finish?

4) The delicate floral peach and melon aroma?

5) The distinctive labels?

6) Other?

'Hic! Other-erph!' he belched colourfully in my direction.

'What then?'

'Oi loike bad gers.'

'You like badgers . . . . ?'

'Yef, oi loike badj-gerers.'

Slowly, as GAT slipped away into the land of nod, it dawned on me - GAT really believed that these beers were brewed by Badgers.

 

24th February 2112

     

Took part in 'Operation Lino King*' today.

This involves GAT taking a day off work and catching the Trainbot to London to see a West End show.

The objective is to have a jolly good day out with minimal intra-family warfare.

We didn't get off to a good start when Helen (mission diet expert) returned from the buffet with 3 Chocolate Muffins. Instant complaints were rebuffed by Helen's 'Stop moaning - they only had three left.'

So ,that's three to share between Gerald, Opal, Mike and GAT. In spite of Helen's best efforts to mangle 3 muffins into four equal portions, strife broke out again when GAT was accused of having the biggest pile of muffin fragments.

He rebuffed the complaints with his usual, 'Remind me who's funding this operation?'

'Oh no', muttered  Opal, 'we're gonna get the funding fathers lecture.'

And so we did. GAT ranted for 15 minutes about how children should have 'respect for funding fathers'.

And all this happened before we'd even reached Swindon.

*Says it all. 'Lino King' is a kitchen flooring company. I sure hope we've booked tickets to watch the right thing. If not, I think the muffin incident will fade into insignificance. London's a long way to go for a 'no obligation' sales lecture on kitchen flooring.

 

22nd February 2112

Great Telephone Surveys of Our Time, # 198

Phone rings. It's a girl with a hairdresser's voice complete with the Australian inflection.

'Hello'

'Good morning!?  Am I speaking to a Mr T Bot!?'

'Yes'

'Hello!?  My name is Wendy!?  I'm calling on behalf of TeleBOTCH!?  Have you got a few moments to answer a few questions!?'

'Er, okay.'

'Excellent!?  Right!?  Okay!?  Would you prefer never to hear from TeleBOTCH again!?'

'Yes'

Click - b z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z

 

20th February 2112

            

Continuing on yesterday's theme of repetitive thumping in the workplace, I was working late at Globalbot the other day. In the dusty calm after the post 5pm daily departure stampede I found I could hear a steady thump-rustle in the distance:

'thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle-thump-rustle'

After a while this got on my nerves a bit so I set off to investigate. Eventually I tracked it down to Accounts. In the corner was a newly installed robot arm laboriously rubber-stamping a monstrous pile of invoices one at a time.

WHY?

Are we not in the electronic age?  - The age of the paperless office?

How much had the blessed thing cost?

When Antspants, the Globalbot CFO (Chief Financial Officer), recently announced that a new 'automated and intelligent' accounting system was to be rolled out, I think most people had something a bit more sophisticated in mind.

The wall behind the arm was covered with a single stamp image:

 

 

Without warning the arm stopped and spoke to me enthusiastically, 'Do you like my wall?'

'Er, yes, very nice.'

'I did it all by myself!'

'No, really?'

'Would you like to be stamped?'

'Um, er, no, but thanks for the offer. Another time maybe.'

By this point, I was slowly backing away. The arm became distressed.

'Please don't go. Here I'll do some stamps for you.'

Whizz rustle bang bang bang bang!

        

'Er, right, thanks. They're, um, er, really, very . . . look, I've got a few things I need to get on with.'

The arm went all limp and morose.

'You don't like me. Nobody likes me.'

Oh brother! I cut my losses and legged it. Behind me I heard it start up again.

'thump  -  rustle  -  thump  -  rustle  -  thump  -  rustle  -  thump  -  rustle  -  thump  -  rustle  -  thump  -  rustle'

Was it my imagination, or did it sound a bit slower and sadder?

I dismissed the thought immediately realising that I'd probably helped it settle into its new roll and adjust to the usual pace of life in Accounts. But I did make a mental note to check the stability of the Stamp-arm-bot personality files.

 

18th February 2112

 

PLEASE CLICK HERE!

 

16th February 2112

         

"The Eye: that horrible growing sense of a hostile will that strove with great power to pierce all shadows of cloud, and earth, and flesh, and to see you: to pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable. The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing."

 

The above is not only an excerpt from both Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, it also appears in Mark Eting's Design Concept Brief for a 'Sauronbot'. The Sauronbot concept is aimed at the espionage and private detective agency market. Whilst I'm sure potential purchasers would be mightily impressed by the promised features above, I suspect they'd be less impressed with the development prototype.

However, with a lick of black paint and on a suitably dull cloudy day I think,  from a great distance, one could almost imagine the prototype Sauronbot as the dark tower itself - Barad Dur, or even Barad Durbot.

Then again, maybe not.

And there's a problem on the movement side as well - Sauron's eye is described as 'constantly moving' whereas the Sauronbot is rather more along the lines of 'pro-actively static' or 'filled with latent dynamism' or, best of all, 'moves faster than the human eye can see.'

 

14th February 2112

I've been involved with the team sorting out a new look for Globalbot products. Recently we asked Globalbot Corporate Marketing for their views on robot aesthetics - colour scheme etc.

The amazing reply from GCM was:

 

GCM are heavily engaged in a number of vital tasks at this time, such as designing a new Psychosoft Powerpoint® Corporate Presentation Template. Engineering should use their initiative and come up with something suitable on this minor issue. Please submit a proposal for approval by GCM.

 

So we did:

 

I'm afraid the reply from GCM was both instant and unprintable, but it did make them elevate the issue up into the 'vital tasks' category:

 

GCM suggest a scheme based on the said new corporate Psychosoft Powerpoint® Corporate Presentation Template and so further leverage off the 47 man years of effort invested in developing this exciting new corporate image.

 

Everyone agreed this was a jolly good idea!

So we created a silkscreen, but this took rather a long time and the date for the launch of the new look was brought forward (our own fault really as we'd provoked GCM so much).  We we took a risk and skipped the prototype stage and jumped straight into production. Even then the first 30 only turned up the day before the grand launch, for which the national press had been invited. They looked absolutely terrific except, unfortunately, they had:

 

'Click here to add text''

 

written right across their chests.

 

13th February 2112

   

    Mark 78            Mark 79

Today, I was lucky enough to be party to the sort of vibrant dynamic technical email exchange that makes Globalbot the leading-edge forward-looking company it is, was, and ever shall be: confusion without end, for ever and ever, Amen:

 

13:Feb:2112 10:31:14

To: H Henry

From GAT

cc: Thinkbot

Re:Re:Fw:Up:Er:Bk:Dn:Re: Mark 79 Cordless Semi-Robotic Salad Spinner Inner Tube (737492)

Dear Hoorah,

Please see required confirmations in blue.

Rearguards

DAT

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

13:Feb:2112 10:31:04

To : GAT

From: H. Henry

cc: Thinkbot

Re:Fw:Bk:Er:Up:Dn;Re: Mark 79 Cordless Semi-Robotic Salad Spinner Inner Tube (737492)

To accept your proposal to offer the Mark 79, I need you to 100% confirm the following:

(a) It will be more reliable than the Mark 78 It will be more reliable than the Mark 78

(b) It will not affect the on-plate flexural modulus of ice lettuce in anyway whatsoever It will not affect the on-plate flexural modulus of ice lettuce in anyway whatsoever

Regards

Hoo

 

The sad thing is that I doubt that Hoorah noticed.

 

11th February 2112

     

Snow! Snow! Snow! It snowed all day at Globalbot.

About midday a panicky announcement came over the Tannoy: 'Someone! Anyone ! From facilities! Please respond. Yellow gas alert. I repeat yellow gas alert! Facilities please respond! '

I leapt up and looked over at the toxic gas monitoring system . Sure enough the amber light was flashing. If the red one started flashing it'd trigger a building evacuation and we'd all be outside in the blizzard.

'TWERP* will thrash DIRT# at snowballs!' yelled Rick Nimmer, head of TWERP, at GAT as everyone was fumbling with their coats, shields umbrellas and gloves.

'Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrng' + FLASHING RED LIGHTS!

The battle lasted over half an hour, in spite of Percy Knell wandering around yelling 'FALSE ALARM' and 'PLEASE COMPLETE THE ROLL CALL!' on a tinny megaphone (in-between being pelted with snowballs from all combatants).

(* Terrific Work Ethic Robot Process group).

(# Domestic and Industrial Robot Technology group).

 

Eventually, the engineers diffused back into the building, only for Percy to send round an email:

 

From: Percy Knell

To: Globalbot Managers

The conditions do not seem to be improving, therefore use your discretion with respect to employees leaving early to get home.

 

What sort of an email is this? The result was an immediate and  unseemly rush towards the exit, managers to the fore, in which 4 employees were trampled underfoot in the corridor. They were the lucky ones. The rest of us spent up to 6 hours trying to get out of the car park.

 

9th February 2112

 Standby

HELP! HELP!

Some Global Warming Crusader has worked out that Robots left in idle with their little red standby lights glowing, cause emissions of 700,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. So now Globlabot has leapt unashamedly onto the bandwagon and crowds of company security vigilantes scour the Filton site for robots innocently standing around peacefully in idle.

Including me.

BUT PLEASE CONSIDER:

 

Humans exhale about 1 kg of carbon dioxide per day (http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html). The exact amount depends on age, sex, size, and most importantly activity level. Multiply that by a world population of fifteen billion and you get a very large number.

SOURCE

 

Let me see . . . 15,000,000,000 x 1/3 day in standby x 1 kg  x 365. . . that's . . er . . um . . .

1,800,000,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.  There's only one conclusion to be drawn:

 

HUMANS SHOULD BE SWITCHED OFF AT NIGHT!

 

8th February 2112

Do you ever suffer from hearing a fragment of a conversation and then wondering what on earth the context could be?

This happened to me today at Globalbot. I was walking down the corridor with Rabbit when we passed a petite oriental sales girl chatting with an enormous engineer. The girl was speaking:

' . . . . . smearing things on the bathroom walls . . . .'

That's all we heard before they dropped out of range again.

I turned to Rabbit to give him a suitably quizzical look, but saw immediately from the distressed look on his face that he'd already lost control of his imagination. Poor Rabbit. It took 5 cups of tea in 25 minutes to calm him down again.

 

7th February 2112

        

 

A lazy Sunday, but greatly enlivened by the 'Beta' Cookbot GAT brought home for the weekend for what's known in the industry as a Beta-site test. For those not in the robot industry:

 Development Prototype Robot  means an absolute jumble of parts and wires that may or may not look like a robot and is very unlikely to ever do anything useful. Most end up in the recycling robo-skip, but the odd one may have its batteries (and brain) removed and end up in a museum.

An  Alpha Robot  is a robot that probably does something resembling the design requirements, but nonetheless has to be kept in a high-security cage in the development laboratory.

A  Beta Robot  is a version that can be taken off-site for testing under strict supervision.

A  Production Robot  does what it says on its tin skin (within experimental error - i.e. no more dangerous that the average human, which is admittedly a pretty soft target).

 

Anyway, GAT had brought home a Beta Cookbot for the weekend and it had been doing simple tasks like making porridge, chopping veg, and brewing cups of tea. It had made one mistake when it misunderstood a command from Opal and spent an hour removing the 'bubbles' from a glass of lemonade with a fork so it could give her a 'diet flat lemonade.' But this was nothing compared with the error it made when Helen asked for a herbal tea. Mysteriously, it spent 15 minutes scouring the floors of the house, before boiling some water and supplying Helen with a mug of steaming liquid . . . which she promptly spat out with a look of pure disgust on her face. Getting a teaspoon, she fished out a load of hair. Ugh! Truly yuck. Stretching out a withering finger at the Cookbot she screamed:

'I said herbal tea not hairball tea you tin freak!'

The rest of us were in hysterics.

 (Except for GAT, who was facing up to the fact that it may well be 'back to the drawing board' for the Cookbot project on Monday. Even worse, explaining to Globalbot senior management why the Advanced Cookbot project, already 3 months behind schedule would now have to be delayed again).

 

5th February 2112

              

 

Globalbot Filton is hosting a world-wide sales meeting this week, which lead to a lot of discussion amongst engineers as to the correct collective noun for Salesman. You know, pride of lions, gaggle of geese etc. My favourites were:

An aftershave of salesmen

A blackberry of salesmen

A handshake of salesmen

A discount of salesmen

A commission of salesmen

A fantasy of salesmen

But, I dread to think of what they would suggest for engineers . . .

A pain in the backside of engineers

An un-ironed shirt of engineers

An pig's breakfast of engineers

An out of tolerance of engineers

A lumberjack of engineers

A 'not a cat is hell's chance' of engineers

 

3rd February 2112

     

     

 

Globalbot, like many complex hi-tech organisations, has a variety of speed settings.  The majority are variations on 'dead slow and stop' but once in a while, we seem to get stuck in 'gallop'. Everyone's galloping but no one knows why. Gallop Mode is usually triggered by events such as a service engineer sending in a report, copied to multiple managers (all of whom sincerely believe they are in charge of the project), stating that there's probably no need to panic, but the head of a recently delivered toxic waste robot (Toxibot) has caught fire for no apparent reason, resulting in the forced evacuation of Paris. In this particular scenario it is entirely possible the Globalbot email server may melt, but not before GAT's in-box has crashed whilst trying to shout '! Urgent New Message !' several hundred times in parallel - 'Ur-ur-ur-ur-ur-urge-urge-urge-n-n-n-n-n-new-sage-n-n-n-n-new-s-s-s-s-s-g-g-g-g-m-m-m-m-m-m-mess'. Thereafter we enter Gallop Mode - which involves rushing around speculating what might have gone wrong and how to fix it, often in the absence of a single pertinent fact. Technicians will track down other Toxibots not in service and try and make their heads catch fire.

However, after a while people begin to forget why we are galloping:

'Why are we galloping?'

'What? I don't know. Just shut up and keep galloping!'

There are a couple of hazards to watch out for in galloping mode:

1. Someone galloping the wrong way (easily done since the initial direction taken by the majority is determined by a random quantum-managerial fluctuation+herd instinct, whereafter galloping in circles is common)'

2. Someone, suffering a crisis of confidence, and stopping instantaneously. This can cause terrible corporate pile-ups.

 

2nd February 2112

  

 

GAT went to a meeting with Finance today where he was actioned to 'sanity check' the build costs for the ever-popular Digbot. He came back bemused, and showed me (some of) the rationale by which things on the indented multi-level Digbot BOM (bill of material*) are costed:

 

LEVEL 1: Labour hourly rate C + 5% + material type A Average (standard + latest) + 11%

LEVEL 2: Roll up level 1 + 7% + Level 2 labour hourly overhead B +4% plus Material standard cost D + 6%

LEVEL 3: ((Any non -Level 2 Level 1 phantoms = level 1 + 50%) + Level 2 + 7% + material standard A + 3%) plus 15% overhead rate minus phantom phantoms (single level indented phantoms should be set to 0 cost).

LEVEL 4: Add level 1-3 costs as material + 5% (but not phantoms) plus labour at underhand rate, + material + 12%.

etc

 

Result? The Digbot costs way too much to build and no one knows why.

'They're asking me to sanity check madness!' wailed GAT in despair.

I suggested Globalbot Filton should invest in a few hundred of the handy little Cashbots as detailed above. Every employee could have one follow him or her around keep track of his costs and then they could have a meeting and tot it all up. I've no idea if they'd come up with a more accurate cost for the Digbot, nor that they'd be any better at explaining how they calculated it, but they would wave their arms, flash their lights and make encouraging upbeat statements.

 

*If you don't know what a BOM is, and really, like really have nothing better to do with your life then press the friendly button below:

 

 WHAT IS A BOM?

 

 

30th January 2112

                           

Brushed Stainless     With scratch                   White paint                        With ketchup

 

GAT got a no-brainer email today.

 

Dear GAT,

With respect to problems in Manufacturing with the surface finish on the outer metal skins of general purpose Kitchenbots, the plan is as follows:

1. A member of DIRT will inspect brushed stainless for scratch resistance, as well as the white paint finish for resistance to ketchup.

2. If DIRT representative deems either unacceptable, then DIRT Group will redesign all Kitchenbots to eliminate any further problems, even though this may involve a substantial amount of tedious work for DIRT Group.

Regards

B. Rush

Senior Principle Robot Surface Finish Coordinator (acting)

 

'I don't think anyone needs to go,' muttered GAT, 'I can see clearly from my desk that that the surface finishes are acceptable.'

 

29th January 2112

     

 

PIG FARM FORMS STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH MUSHROOM AND EGG DEVELOPERS

It was announced today that Organ Replacement Inc, which uses pigs to grow replacement organs for humans, has signed a strategic alliance with Egg Drug Inc, a developer of anti-immune drugs using cloned eggs, and the the multi-billion corporation Fudge Medical Mushrooms, the well-known developer of Global MushcurallTM. By working together the Alliance aims to provide a 'one-stop' shop for human health.

 

I showed this to Doom, who scowled and commented, 'Looks suspiciously like a strategic one-stop shop for breakfast alliance to me.'

'But, Doom, surely even you wouldn't eat eggs laced with experimental drugs, dodgy mushrooms and spare human organs?'

Doom gave me his withering 'idiot' stare, 'No, I would not. I'd eat the experimental controls. Nothing wrong with them. Those guys have really got it made.'

You gotta admit, his gut instinct is that of the genuinely starving cynical scientist.

 

27th January 2112

 

In my never-ending quest to further understand human nature, I wish today to briefly discuss the above chart. This shows the average DIRT Group Robot Change Request (RCR) backlog for the year 2111. RCRs are raised by other parts of the Globalbot organisation (Manufacturing, Purchasing, Field Support, etc) and targeted at DIRT Group for action.  I list examples below:

 

RCR Subject Originator Target
4582 Kit contains M6 bolts, M5 washers and M4 nuts Manuf Doom
4598 File DUCKcrap3423.bat.dung validation error R9.9.SP7.8.e9z7 QA Test Pot Noodle
4607 Brickbot jumped from 3rd floor gantry after false collision alarm Field Supp Halfhour
4610 Theodolibot failed eye test Field Supp Earthear
4623 Dodecaoctium arm processor obsolete Purchasing Rabbit
4635 Execubot self-test generates verbal 'get lost' error QA Test Laidback

 

(If it's red, it means the originator's trousers are on fire.)

Anyway, in GAT's weekly DIRT group meeting, he always moans/cajoles/pleads/berates with the engineers in an effort to keep the backlog below his ISO9000000 escalation level of 30 (whereafter the Borg (aka QA Dept) start paying him frequent visits).

Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that the RCR backlog fell sharply to below 10 RCR twice in 2111. Listed below are possible causes of this. Please have a guess which was the most effective:

 

1. 'You're all professional engineers - please deal with your RCRs!'

2. 'Please deal with your RCRs otherwise the Borg will be harassing me.'

3. 'We really need to be fair to other departments and deal with our RCRs promptly'

4. 'It's corporate policy that we keep our RCR backlog below 30.'

5. 'If we get our RCR backlog below 10 I'll buy a round at the pub,'

 

Got it? GAT offered #5 twice in 2111 - July and December as it happens. I would suggest that careful analysis of the graph is instructive at this juncture.

Note that the upward gradient between July and December is steeper than that between January and July. This is a fine example of adaptive behaviour in engineers.

#

25th January 2112

Of what possible use is a robot chicken?

You can't eat it.

It doesn't lay eggs.

It can't breed.

Indeed, what have the Robochicks ever done for us?

I guess it can have feathers glued on, be kept in a run and made to 'eat' chicken feed, be programmed to cluck, and it definitely won't give you bird flu.

But in my opinion it still comes a poor second to not having a chicken at all.

 

23rd January 2112

  

Slowly, very slowly, I learn about men and women. As a robot I am of course sexless, but tend to be treated as male. If I was a ship or a plane I'd be female however.

'She's a fine ship!'

'He's a fine robot!'

No, not quite the same is it.

One thing no one should ever do is presume to load someone else's Dishbot. I think we all know that. There's always a certain way to load the dishes and different makes and models of Dishbot auto-sort the dishes differently. That's fine. Everyone accepts this.

 But I've noticed GAT and Helen have a much deeper husband-wife shared Dishbot relationship. This typically goes along the lines of:

Helen, in a huff, 'Honestly, no one ever does the Dishbot.'

GAT, big sigh, 'Okay I'll do it.'

Clatter, clink, clink, tinkle.

Helen, watching closely, 'No that's wrong, the mugs need to go handle out so the gripper can reach them. It's easier to load the cereal dishes from the back. You've got the forks the wrong way up - it'll drop them when its sorting at the end. No, that doesn't go in the dishwasher - it's non-stick. Oh for goodness sake you could get the grill in as well.'

GAT makes a big show of correcting his errors and soldiers on regardless.

Eventually it's done and Helen leaves. GAT flops down, totally washed out (excuse the pun) by the experience, 'Hey Thinkbot, you ever heard of this philosophical question - If a tree falls and no one is there, does it still make a sound?'

'Um, er, sort of.'

'Well, how about - If a man loads his own Dishbot and there isn't a woman there to correct him, is it still loaded wrong?'

'Pass,' I replied diplomatically.

'Yes' said the Dishbot undiplomatically and with feeling, startling both GAT and me.

Neither of us knew it could talk (or indeed had feelings and female sympathies).

 

21st January 2112

Every now and again one stumbles across a robot where one just wants to say, 'Aaaawh, bless! Isn't it cute?' The passive midget roving Monitorbot  seems to be one of them. I mean, you'd feel sorry for a dog with no head that still has to be taken for a walk twice a day, wouldn't you? And no matter that it has some modest control hardware embedded in its body, the human anthropomorphic reaction is still, 'Its head is a flat screen therefore it has no brain.'

The manual says the arms (elbowess I notice - this robot would not be able to scratch itself) are for holding things - like cups of tea and chocolate muffins and points out the robot can be trusted not to eat them. Of course not - its got a flat screen for a head so how could it? And, oh yeah I forgot, it's a robot anyway.

But I couldn't find any explanation for why it's got such big feet.

 

19th January 2112

Yippee! My first peer-reviewed technical publication came out today.

 

Proceedings of the ABMS, Vol. 7, Issue 1, January 2112, Page 19.

 

Removal of Handle from Brown Mug using an Office Desk and Gravity

 

Thinkbot

Advanced Robotic Personality Engineer

Domestic and Industrial Robot Technology (DIRT) Group

Globalbot Filton

UK

Europa

 

Abstract

 

It has been found that the dropping of a brown mug from a standard office desk onto a carpet provides sufficient energy to detach the handle. A control mug located on the desk throughout the tests confirmed that the handle is unlikely to have fallen off spontaneously. Comparisons are drawn with Humpty Dumpty, and the relative efficacy of reassembly of a sentient egg by soldiers and horses is discussed in the context of mug reassembly by engineers.

 

Method

 

Two brown mugs were placed on a standard office desk, height 728mm, and one was then eased off the edge. Throughout the test the control mug remaining on the desk was inspected for signs of spontaneous handle detachment. In the event of a handle detachment from either mug the author stood by to attempt to effect a repair with Araldite.

 

Results

 

On striking the carpet the handle on the gravitationally accelerated mug was observed to detach, see Fig. 1, which shows the mug after recovery from the impact site.

 

Fig. 1. Gravitationally Accelerated Mug

 

The control mug showed no sign of handle detachment, see Fig. 2

 

Fig. 2. Control Mug

 

It was found that the mug could be easily reassembled using Araldite and a suitable retaining jig.

 

Discussion

 

The results clearly indicate that the gravitational acceleration incurred over a standard office desk height of 728mm, followed by impact into an office carpet, was the cause of the handle detachment. This was confirmed by the handle on the control mug remaining attached, indicating there were no universal mug handle-detaching events coincident in time with the fall of first mug. Subsequent re-assembly with Araldite using a trained engineer proved much more straightforward than the reported difficulties encountered by 'All the King's Horses and All the King's Men' in the H Dumpty experimental programme1.

 

Conclusion

 

Dropping a brown mug from an office desk onto carpet is sufficient to detach the handle.

 

References

 

1. 'Humpty Dumpty - The Wall Trials', King, I. M., Journal of Futile Royal Pastimes, Vol 28, p34.

 

Acknowledgments

 

I thank my DIRT colleagues GAT, Doom, Rabbit, Pot Noodle, Halfhour, Laidback and Earthear for their unstinting support throughout this work. I would particularly like to thank Cleanbot Serial CLN130984 for clearing up the coffee dregs that emanated from the accelerated mug during this trial. Finally I would like to acknowledge the moral support of the Globalbot chapter of the Anti-Brown-Mug Society (ABMS) for their help in the preparation of this paper.

 

 

17th January 2112

President Harry Truman was famous for having a sign on his desk which said - 'The BUCK STOPS here'. On this subject I was in the office of the Globalbot Filton Quality Manager, who goes by the colourful name of Quentin Archibald Fracas, where I noticed a sign someone had taped onto the front of his desk:

 

Q.A.Fracas

Quality Manager

The BUCK VANISHES here

 

15th January 2112

 

MBWA!

You don't know what MBWA is?

Management By Walking Around, sometimes known as Management By Wandering Around which, to our immense amusement, has been corrupted by one individual into Management By Wondering Aloud.

Reminds me of a Customer who was prone to delivering extensive and convoluted monologues who went off in huff after GAT, caught unawares by a sudden and unexpected silence, woke up and shouted 'very laudable'. I thought is was a good base-covering answer under the circumstances, but apparently the customer thought GAT had shouted 'very audible' and took it personally.

After a bit of soothing of ruffled feathers, the offended customer returned and delivered a multi-facetted technical question of such complexity that GAT found himself with no option but to reply, 'I want to be home by midnight.'

But his best verbal hand-off was to Duwkits, the Head of Manufacturing, who asked him, 'What's your impression of the situation at Infinibot Dresden?' To which GAT replied, 'I'm sorry, I don't do impressions.'

(PS the reason why engineers go home at 4:45 is that they finish at 4:45)

 

13th January 2112

     

  Globalbot        900mm                                600mm                     300mm

 Clusterbot      Engineers                            Engineers                Engineers

   Service

  Engineer

(Actual size)

 

Continuing on yesterday's semiconductor theme, the industry is just at the switchover point where 900mm diameter silicon wafers are more cost-effective for production than the currently dominant 600mm. On this subject, I overheard Mark Eting talking to GAT about a 'pitched battle' between the '900mm people' and the '600mm people' at one of our customers. On the face of it this seems a no-brainer, my money's on the 900mm people to come out on top. However, it then came to light that there were 4 times as many 600mm people as 900mm people, so maybe it's not a foregone conclusion after all. As it turns out Globalbot sent in a Clusterbot service engineer to keep the peace.

And spare a thought for the poor 'trailing edge' techies still running 300mm GaAs and oddball Si on ropey-old Clusterbots handed down to them after their colleagues were enlarged. Our service engineers have to undergo special training on how best to avoid accidentally stepping on them.

And finally, for those who have read Thinkbot, there remains the Far Eastern mystery of the 'vertical' and 'horizontal' engineers:

Presumably the latter are wheeled around on flat-bed trolleys and can be slid under troublesome Clusterbots to carry out essential maintenance and repair tasks.

 

11th January 2112

  

We had a meeting with the Semiconductor Clusterbot Group today to discuss gasp & ogle at brainstorm a concept for the next generation of process Clusterbots for 900mm Si wafers (or '36" or Yarfers' ('Yarder Wafers') to our American colleagues). After a couple of hours of stultifying 'discussion' Mark Eting suddenly got all smug, 'I think we're all forgetting something.'

'What?' replied the puzzled masses (that were still compos mentis).

Mark just sat there with a smug marketing expression on his face.

'What?'

Mark pointed up, 'Aren't we forgetting we live in a three dimensional world?'

'What!' blustered GAT, 'Are you suggesting we have a process Clusterbot module suspended in mid air? They weigh 100s of kilos, and how are we going to maintain it? Install it? Get wafers into it? Clean it? '

'It would be a popular feature though, no one else does it.' beamed Mark in pure exultation.

Alas, GAT went into cynical mode, 'Why don't we engineer it to raise the dead? I'm sure a resurrection module would be a world-beater.'

'You're not taking this seriously.'

This was too much for GAT 'I  . . . I . . . I . . '

'Typical engineer, all you can propose is that we re-invent an improved wheel. No vision. Let me ask you, what's the equivalent Clusterbot product quantum leap that matches the replacement for the wheel!' Mark was on a roll.

GAT had no alternative but reversion to stupefaction mode 'But . . but  . . no one's invented a replacement for the wheel.'

'GAT, GAT, you need to think out of the box. Let your overcast skies become blue skies! Stop thinking in circles.'

Circles, wheel, on a roll, overcast skies, er, stop thinking, um. . . all too much for a poor Unibot.

However, we did nail down a name:  Globalbot Advanced YardbotTM Technology.

It was only later we noticed . . . . GAYTM Technology.

 

9th January 2112

  

Doom, the morose DIRT Group mechanical designer, came around for dinner this evening. After several tortuous conversations about the end of the world, why Christmas should be banned, why children under 10 should be locked up (and gagged), and why women are such suckers for fashion, Helen suddenly asked Doom if he'd ever had a girlfriend.

Doom huffed and puffed a bit, but eventually came forth with, 'Well, there was a woman I used to chat to when I saw her out walking her dog. I thought we got on okay, so eventually I asked her if she'd like a coffee. She just looked at me with a blank expression and replied curtly, 'The  dog does not drink coffee.'

Helen, who had, coincidentally,  just that very moment taken a mouthful of coffee, started snorting it from her nostrils and had to leave the room pronto.

If Doom was offended, he did not show it, but may well have taken his revenge when the whiskey came out. About 2am Helen announced pointedly (and loudly), 'I'm going to bed,' leaving GAT an almost zero time-window in which to ponder the highly divergent alternative responses:

1. 'I'm not going to have another glass of whiskey, I'm going to bed'.

2. 'I'm not going to bed, I'm going to have another glass of whiskey'.

Unfortunately, he was already heavily diverged and opted for 2 (known by Helen as  'THE WRONG OPTION' I believe).

Not long after they reached 'the singing stage' so I went and stood in the garage for rest of the night.

 

7th January 2112

It's that time of year- the time of year that organisations like Globalbot decide to do colourless non-essential tosh like Review Job Descriptions. To help things along a bit I drafted one for GAT:

 

Job: Robot Engineering Manager (Note: I think HR mean 'Robotic Engineering Manager')

Grade: Pretty high really, all things considered.

Key Responsibilities:

- To inspire, motivate and entertain a team of engineers.

- To remain calm and unflustered despite intense provocation from all directions.

- To liaise with other Globalbot Groups while secretly questioning their raison d'etre.

- To effortlessly switch between dealing with ego-crazed corporate despots and blinkered subordinate malcontents.

- To studiously avoid all pointy-haired management thinking.

- To mercilessly lampoon the efforts of Systems, Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, Facilities, Materials Control, Spares and Customer Support.

- To avidly consume the canteen's finest cusine.

- To obtain the most cost-effective haircut east of the Severn Bridge regardless of aesthetic consequences.

- To proudly proclaim enthusiasms for childish entertainments.

 

5th January 2112

           

Helen came home in a foul mood as she'd put up posters all around school asking for help with a parent's fund-raising event but not a single person had responded.

GAT tried his best to be a sympathetic husband, 'Well, I'm not surprised, no one ever looks at posters.'

To which Gerald, with typical teenage boy alacrity replied, 'That's not true! I always read posters 'cos they're usually about cake sales.'

 

3rd January 2112

Here we go again . . . my first Globish email of 2112:

Dear Kind Sirbot,

Thank you very much I hope of the your solution you to send, in advance. Windbot MACH-8 software crash issue I check to customer then operator running detail sequence, then finish wind process following feathering the lock and move out the stage, lackload lock lick luck will be perform blade clean (pump/purge windcycle active during then not), the operator just take out blade on this time on last Sunday, they are think about the Globalbot Windbot tool can be take out the shaft on the this time, then take out the blade must be trigger similar interlock, include lost some rotary page on the screen!So I will try to unselect never to not disable the blade clean function on the service windometer page, also operator climb out of the shaft then stage moving should be not occur software crash ?

Regards

Wondbango

Globalbot China

Only goes to show. Having a 1500 word Globish vocabulary is not much use if you can't put them in the right order.

 

1st January 2112

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

My New Year's resolutions are:

 

1. Check my hip joint lubrication regularly

2. Stop making fun of Marketing

3. Stop making fun of Sales

4. Stop making fun on Manufacturing

5. Stop making fun of Percy Knell & HR in general

6. Stop making fun of Customer Collapse Support (oops)

 

I think hair-straitening accessories for Hairbots will be popular again this year, except maybe for the HDG ones that always catch fire (these are the ones with the  Warning! You Head is on Fire sign  as below). Although I am told they are still the best-selling brand. Now that's what I call a marketing success - when customers care more about a brand name than their heads catching fire.

 

Also saw an advert for Dawkins' Extra-Strength Brain StraitenersTM whatever they are. Amazobot 'If you like this product then you'll like:' listed, amongst other things, 'Coulter's Right First Time Every Time Brain Curlers'. Duh?

Both these products must be classified as marketing failures.

 

BACK TO THINKBLOG

 

THINKBLOG  - Oct - Dec 2111

 

THINKBLOG  - July - Sept 2111

 

THINKBLOG  - March - June 2111

 

THINKBOT HOME