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28th Sept 2114

 

Two philosophies for document management:

 

Engineering

- All documents held in fully password protected Electronic Document Management System (EDMS)

- Check out

- Up-issue to new revision

- Amend as required

- Submit for approval

- Document follows prescribed approval routing

- Up-issued document is released with full traceability

ELAPSED TIME: Often >30 days to correct a simple tpyo, during which time everyone is locked out from making further changes.

 

Marketing

- Multiple versions of all documents held in various places: network drives, local drives, Amnesia™ sticks, etc.

- Open most conveniently accessible version of document

- Amend it to say whatever it needs to say today

- Anonymously save and overwrite original file even if not yours

ELAPSED TIME: Less than 30s to change an entire product strategy, and then <30S to change it back again. In fact you can just go on all day . . .

 

Which is best? You decide . . .

 

26th Sept 2114

Globalbot Job Description

VP of Hindsight

The role involves identifying projects that are failing, or have failed, to achieve their main objectives and retrospectively point out the blindingly obvious as to why it turned out that way.  The incumbent should create the impression that if he or she had been in charge of the project from the start it wouldn’t have ended up in the mess that resulted, irrespective of the sequence by which new information had become available during the project. In the event a project manager accuses the VP of Hindsight of being only a retrospective expert, the incumbent should state clearly that all the unanticipated outcomes and impossible conundrums should have, well, quite frankly been anticipated and resolved at the time and state 'failure wasn't an option!'

The VP of Hindsight shall also use statements of the form: 'Last week's lottery numbers are readily available. It is unacceptable that the entire Engineering Design Group failed to procure a single suitable ticket'.

 

21st Sept 2114

 

Group Motto Time! Someone (too) high up in Globalbot's totem pole of management has decided that individual groups should have Group Mottos. This led to an equi-balanced outbreak of hilarity and cynicism amongst the engineers. Amongst my favourites were:

 

Software Group - 'Make Sure You Have the Right Disc.'

Mechanical Design - 'Metres? The Drawing Says Millimetres.'

Electrical - 'The Rubber Boot Brigade' or 'A Loom Can Never be Too Long'

Engineering Control - 'Revision Z is Our Final Offer'

 

17th Sept 2114

 

Globalbot Inc

 

CUSTOMER SERVICE UPDATE

 

Problem: Minimising the effects of water leaks from Robot cooling hoses and compression joints

 

Solution: A number of strategies are applicable:

1: Sponge (small leaks): Part 866-2876

2: Bucket (large leaks): Part 841-0098

3: Hairdryer (seepage): Part 822-1152

4. Life jacket (uncontrolled discharges from large robot facilities): Call 1-800-RNLI

 

Contact your local Globalbot Office for further information and quotations for the above items.

 

 I Can’t Believe it’s Not Human!

 

14th Sept 2114

WARNING! - It's budget season at Globalbot!

And this year's bright initiative from Globalbot Accounts is to get rid of quarters and run the year in thirds, on the basis this will be 'both clearer to follow and 25% cheaper to administer'.

'I hope they don't change back next year,' opined Doom, ''cos it will be 33% more expensive then.'

Everyone's used to the 'quarterly shipment & sign off panic'; somehow a thirdly panic does not quite work for me.

'I'm sorry chaps,' announced GAT at our weekly DIRT group meeting, 'but I think we have no option but to work in twelfths so we can keep our thirdly quarters in line with our customer's quarterly quarters.'

'What's a 'thirdly quarter'?' wailed Halfhour.

'The last two sixths of the first half!' an irritated GAT snapped back.

Mass puzzlement.

As for 'clearer to follow', this is the accounts Dept who thrive on serial cross-departmental recodes:

1 Sept  DEPT 760010    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration 4,500.67

3 Sept  DEPT 760010    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration recode -4,500.67

4 Sept  DEPT 760010    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration 4,500.67

4 Sept  DEPT 760011    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration recode -4,500.67

6 Sept  DEPT 760011    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration recode -4,500.67

7 Sept  DEPT 760010    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration recode -4,500.67

10 Sept  DEPT 760010    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration 4,500.67

10 Sept  DEPT 760011    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration 4,500.67

12 Sept  DEPT 760011    GLA 0353 Androidolometer Calibration 4,500.67

'It looks alright to me, I think,' said Rabbit, 'looks like 760010 have been debited 3 times and had it credited twice, but 760011 has been credited and debited twice.'

'How does that match up with last month?' asked GAT . . . .

(Ed. That's enough on the wonders of Globalbot Accounting.)

 

10th Sept 2114

To: Engineering

From: Marketing

Project 41 is critical, as are projects 20-26, and 31, and of course 51. Please ensure 100% focus on each of these.

To: Marketing

From: Engineering

We can't have 100% focus on 20 projects.

To: Engineering

From: Marketing

We have to find a way - can we not increase focus to 2000%?

To: Marketing

From: Engineering

We have referred your request to an economist to see if that's theoretically possible.

 

6th Sept 2114

Sorry about the Blog Blackout! My link to the blogsphere suffered an unexpected unplanned unwanted 100% disconnectivity trauma event.

 

In spite of the ailing budget, I've been in Copenhagen to present a paper at:

 

BOTS2114

 

There was some muttering from Accounts as to precisely why a robot needed a hotel room and couldn't it just stand outside the Conference Centre at night, but I got there in the end by explaining I wouldn't have to charge for eating or drinking anything.

The conference itself was very modestly billed:

 

For everyone concerned about future economic and business development through the full exploitation of Robots, BOTS2114 is unmissable.

 

Of course, this was from the perspective of:

a) A load of humans exploiting robots to make money . . .

b) An assumption that a Robot would not submit a paper . . .

 

My paper was entitled: 'S7C4. Socio-Economic Exploitation of Robots and Androids With Advanced Pseudo-Human Personality Sub-Routines - Moral and Ethical Reflections on the Theme of Techno-Slavery.'

 

One feature of the conference was the instant audience feedback via smartphones along the lines of:

 

Paper: S7C4 Mr T Bot, Advanced Robot Personality Designer, Globalbot Inc.

Please indicate one feedback statement that most closely matches your reaction to this paper:

a. Thrilling! A life-changing experience. I will not sleep tonight.

b. No idea what he/she/it was talking about; my life is ruined.

c. Fell asleep at slide: ___ (Indicate slide number as shown in bottom LH corner of slide)

d. Off with his/her/its head.

 

I won't tell you my feedback scores . . .

 

28th August 2114

What could possibly link a pair of Wellington boots with lemon curd?

Well, a defective Cookbot did, much to Helen's horror.

In fact, the wellies were filled to the brim and carefully placed in the Fridgebot such that they toppled out the next time the door was opened.

What a mess.

Sadly Mike had noticed and announced, 'THE COOKBOT HAS FILLED DAD'S WELLINGTONS WITH YELLOW SLUDGE AND PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE.'

Of course, no one believed him.

 

Reminded me of the time that the Housebot took the laptop to the vets for de-worming, and the dog to PC world for an upgrade.

 

24th August 2114

   Risk Assessment

Risk: Trousers might catch fire

Additional risk information: Due to slight design error, trousers are made from highly flammable material barely stable even at room temperature under normal ~ 21% O2 atmospheric conditions.

Immediate action: Recall all trousers and add 'Danger Highly Flammable' warning label. Amend user instructions to indicate trousers are best worn wet.

Mid-Term Risk Mitigation:

1. Redesign trousers to have nitrogen purge (note: up-issue user instructions to warn against dangers of wearing in an enclosed space where there is a risk of asphyxiation).

2. Install on-board fire extinguisher (note: up-issue user instructions to warn against dangers of cold burns to reproductive organs and anal regions).

Long Term: Amend trouser material specification to call for manufacture from a non-flammable material (for example depleted uranium).

 

20th August 2114

Globalbot Shipment Quality Control

Delivery of Complete Robot - ok (for the most part anyway).

 

Delivery of Nothing -  100% on time & complete *

 

Delivery of Robot Upgrade Kit - somewhat less than exemplary. Usually results in a box of random bits arriving at the customer with nil documentation.

 

* Of course, when I decided to show an empty box I was attempting a joke but . . . it turns out we have delivered empty boxes to customers due to a Packbot glitch in despatch (a simple little programming error - it should have put the contents in the box then sealed it up and sent it, but . .  alas . . and it was a while before someone noticed)

 

Unfortunately one hapless customer suffered the ignominy of simultaneously receiving both a 'box of random bits' upgrade kit, and a large shipment of air in cardboard boxes. They worked off their anger by constructing a sad little Boxbot which they compelled to walk 3,478km back to the Globalbot site. Good grief! It was in a truly shocking state when it eventually wandered into Goods Inwards. We had no option but to burn it . . .

 

17th August 2114

or  ?

"Our business is not growing," Globalbot Chief Financial Officer Bill Fidlar said today.

"Consumer product buying is down. What are you going to do -- buy a new robot or a loaf of bread?"

"Even Cokebots aren't selling.'

 

Some Globalbot employees were stunned, having just guzzled a coke from the Cokebot, but then we realised - Cokebot POs = 0. Someone emailed Fidlar that we ought to develop a Loafbot.

 

15th August 2114

 

Some post-holiday-pre-return-to-work advice from GAT, 'Thinkbot, always check your employer is still there before setting off.'

After a few nervous moments when the computer would not connect, we established that Globalbot was still there, so all is well (for now).

 

14th August 2114

Hello, I'm back! Had a good break, more on that another day.

In the meantime I leave you with:

 

1st August 2114

OUT OF OFFICE

Please note that I am out of the office until 14th August.

If you need assistance on a Globalbot Robot personality issue then you could try contacting P-BOT.SUPPORT@GLOBALBOT.GROPE, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. They usually just call me anyway and, as you have already established, I won't be there.

Of course, the cheerful but clueless Globalbot on-line Helpdog will be available to keep you company if required:

Not really sure what else to suggest. If your robot personality problem is severe I guess the best option is to power it down. If it resists then get hold of a high-voltage electric cattle-prod to teach it a lesson pending a more permanent fix.

Regards,

Thinkbot

 

31st July 2114

 

Great Customer Visit Reports of Our Time #701:

 

Account Name:   Unified Robotics of Taiwan (U-RoT)

Meeting Date (dd/mm/yy): 29 July 2114

Product Opportunity:  Republican Unibots

Revenue ($US): Honestly, they didn't even have any loose change.
Meeting Location: 
Hsinchu

Book Date (dd/mm/yy):  Maybe by 2117 with a bit of luck.
 

Executive Summary

Aims:

1. Survive meeting and leave with trousers.

2. Assess whether U-RoT will ever buy anything

Conclusions:

Terrible meeting. U-RoT show no sign of buying anything and we left site in our underpants. U-RoT CEO Brian (formerly Frizzy) Lee stated that he 'hates us'.

Actions:

1. Recruit new innocent salesman for next visit.

Competitive Situation:

Apparently the Econodroid salesman started crying when asked to eat a chocolate-coated scorpion, and Worldbot's rep remains interred in the Hsinchu psychiatric Institute.

 

30th July 2114

One of the overlooked benefits of the Titanic sinking 75% into its first voyage is that the operating expenses budget was way underspent, and remains so to this very day.

 

24th July 2114

To: All Globalbot Employees

From: Percy Knell, HR Director

Subject: Market organ donations

Dear All,

As you know we at at risk of running out of air before the submarine surfaces (if you get my financial drift). So, it is of paramount importance to use any means at our disposal to secure orders in the current climate. It has come to the attention of Sales & Marketing that we have several large customers who have employees or employee family members in desperate need of an organ transplant. Of course, the only practical organ is the kidney, so the company has decided to amend conditions of employment to require all Globalbot employees to donate a kidney on request (exception: unless they only have one). Hopefully this will be received positively, especially by those who travel frequently - for this purpose only your kidney has to travel and you can enjoy more time at home with your family.

Any employees willing to donate a full set of essential organs for the benefit of all should discuss the Dignitas option with their line manager.

Regards,

Percy

 

21st July 2114

Just back from the airshow at Fairford - RIAT 2114. Great show, with one real moment of drama when a Transport Airbot threw a wobbly and refused to land. Unfortunately, the whole conversation between the tower and the errant Airbot was broadcast over the crowd PA system:

Tower: 'AB407 cleared to land runway 27 wind 5m/s north north west.'

Airbot: 'zzbee112946z84'

Tower: [after a short silence] 'Do not copy. Repeat message AB407.'

Airbot: 'Fatal exception at 9270000000WHW7'

'Click'

The click was us lot getting cut out of the impending panic loop, but it was too late, we were gripped. What would happen? Would the Airbot just carry on obeying Newton's first law of gravity until it ran out of fuel? Or maybe it would fly itself off to somewhere sunnier?

As it happens they just rebooted it and enabled the emergency auto-land sequence. Still, you wouldn't want to be on board, or indeed on the flight path.

 

13th July 2114

Robofoot is not the only spectator sport played by robots. In the summer there's Crickbot to entertain the masses. And this summer it's the Weeeshes Series - England vs Australia.

 

Robots started playing cricket when some joker thought it would be great fun to pit the practice bowling robots (Bowlbots) against the practice batting bots (Batbots) - the result was a titanic techno-sporting struggle that gripped the nation, lasting 57 days from June to August. The statistics were staggering: 15,689 runs were scored in total and 65 new balls were consumed. 19 of the robots participating made multi-centuries in both innings and one made over 1000 runs in a single innings (this particular bot became known as Donald Bradbot after the metronomic Australian batsman of the 1930s). By the end of the game the Batbots were standing in depressions in the wicket nearly half a metre deep, and the Bowlbot run ups had seared trenches several cm deep into the outfield.

 

Engineers intervened before the second Robotest to tip the balance a bit more towards the Bowlbots. But they overdid it and the test only lasted 1 hour 12 minutes, 30 minutes of which was between innings time. Most of the population missed it completely. The highest individual score was 1. Only 34 runs were scored in total of which 29 were leg byes. A new depth of meaning was given to the term 'leg break' as 17 robots suffered irreparable broken legs whilst batting, including Bradbot.

 

Anyway, they eventually got it right and England challenged Australia to a Crickbot Test Series, the prize being the melted remains of Donald Bradbot after recycling in an incinerator - 'The Weeeshes' (After  Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the human cricket series 'The Ashes').

 

(Ed. That's enough on Crickbot)

 

11th July 2114

With the exam season over for another year, a survey of revision strategies has been published and some highlights are listed below.

 

Strategies Pupils Found Useful

1. Mind maps

2. Revision lessons

3. Revising at home

4. Revising after school

5. etc.

 

Strategies Pupils Did Not Find Useful

1. Mind maps

2. Revision lessons

3. Revising at home

4. Revising after school

5. etc.

 

Conclusion

The commonality between the lists is spooky. Careful analysis showed a strong correction between list 1 and 'successful' pupils, whereas list 2 linked strongly to the cohort of 'complete failures'.

 

Other Helpful Comments Made by Pupils

1. Reading the entire textbook the night before the exam does not help much

2. Revision is cheating

3. Spending hours colouring in mind maps with crayons does not help in the exam

4. For low ability groups use bullets* not mind maps

5. Poor teachers will never be rooted out if too many pupils achieve high grades

(*We assume this means 'bullet points')

 

7th July 2114

ATTENTION! DALEK CENTRAL COMMAND HAS ISSUED A POLICY ON COMMUNITY COHESION:

 

1. FAITH

THE DALEK FAITH REIGNS SUPREME. WE BELIEVE IN THE SUPERIORITY OF THE DALEK. ALL OTHER FAITHS WILL BE EXTERMINATED.

2. CULTURE AND ETHNICITY

THERE ARE NO ALTERNATIVES TO DALEK CULTURE. ALL NON-DALEK ETHNIC GROUPS WILL BE EXTERMINATED.

3. SOCIO-ECONOMIC

ALL SOCIETIES EXIST (TEMP0RARILY) ONLY TO FURTHER THE AIMS OF THE DALEK ECONOMY. THE DALEK ECONOMY REIGNS SUPREME. ALL OTHER SOCIO-ECONOMIC GROUPS ARE IRRELEVANT AND WILL BE EXTERMINATED.

 

DALEKS BELIEVE COMMUNITY COHESION IS AN IRRATIONAL CONCEPT; THE DALEK POLITBURO HAS ISSUED A RATIONAL NON-DALEK EXTERMINATION POLICY.

 

5th July 2114

 

When robotic journalism finally got a bit of editorial independence I rather hoped it would result in a quality paper. However . . .

 

 

 

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