THINKBLOG         Oct-Dec 2112

 

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Contact Thinkbot @: thinkbot@thinkbot.co.uk

 

31st Dec 2112

'Tis the season of frustration, la la la la la, la la la larrr.'

Today, I was subjected to an angst-ridden yarn from a grumpy old primary school teacher (one of Helen's friends). Her 3-lesson pre-Christmas strategy was:

 

Lesson 1 - Giving gifts at Christmas - how to figure out what people would really like.

 

Lesson 2 - Great red wines of the world with examples -  Sauvignon, Shiraz & Merlot.

 

Lesson 3 - How to spot clues and put 2 and 2 together.

 

But, alas, she clearly failed to achieve the primary learning objective and received the usual collection: tins of chocolates; teacher mugs; toxic bathing chemicals; etc.

 

     

 

28th Dec 2112

Ho hum, I'm back. I did eventually escape the workshop and went away for a Christmas break with the family to a barn in Brownsham. Now this is a challenge for the Mapbots - and for those that try, it's the Brownsham near Mill Mouth close to the town where Tigger dances in the rain with Santa every Christmas Eve (as if that helps . . . ):

 

Anyway, got back today only to find my inbox had been overwhelmed by urgent post-Xmas HOMEBOT sales messages:

10% DAY!  3rd January - 10% off everything, even the items already in the 20% WEEK!

Save G 6 off a Sawbot if you spend over G 150 on selected doorknobs.

Earn 5000 HOMEBOT bonus points (worth G 5) on your Panic & Spend Card when you spend more than G 50 on anything that would have been 10% off if only you'd come on the right day in the first place.

Need a new bathroom?  20% off* carefully selected ranges! (* Valid for 10% DAY! AND earn 10,000 Panic & Spend bonus points).

Can't make 10% DAY? Fear not, print and bring along the attached 'Sorry, couldn't make the 10% DAY' voucher and we'll give you 10% off (offer valid 4th January to 31st March 2113 inclusive).

     

Gerald reckons there's a combination where HOMEBOT will credit you 5,000 Panic & Spend bonus points for not turning up on a non-10% DAY, but I think he's winding me up.

All in all, I think it's all a bit challenging for the hard of maths - are you sure how much those doorknobs really cost you if they were 10% off the 20% and you got G 6 off a Sawbot that resulted in a grand total of 20,000 Panic & Spend points (worth anything from G 0.2 to G 2)?

GAT once shouted, 'I want to pay full price and you can keep your blasted points!' when attempting to purchase a G 0.5 pack of wavy washers from a Storebot that insisted that if only he had a Panic & Spend Card he could save 10% and receive 1 bonus point. He ended up being removed from the premises by the store Securibot (minus the washers).

 

21st Dec 2112

Disaster! A joint has failed in my hip and I'll be spending Christmas in the workshop, tended by moronic Servicebots as all the human repair operatives  will be off guzzling beer etc. I was hoping the Repairbot could get me sorted but when it offered the repair options:

TIG weld

MIG weld

Plasma weld

Flux weld

Laser sinter

Resistance bond

Friction bond

Diffusion bond

Brazing

Solder

Explosive weld

I asked in reply: 'Which will hurt the least?'

Clearly the bot's normal robotic patients do not ask this and its control algorithm crashed. Worse, it then took the whole automated repair operation down with it. So now I'm imprisoned in the repair shop with my hip assembly partly disassembled and no idea how to get out as the IT dept have gone home to wrap presents.

 

20th Dec 2112

Like many men, Doom does not do Christmas well. He's the sort of person who would tell a small child that it's all off as Santa had passed away peacefully in the past year.

              

 Claus shock!  Dead & buried?

 

19th Dec 2112

Let me give you a piece of the corporate wisdom of GAT.

'I've stopping doing things at Globalbot on the basis they make sense, rather I do them because they make someone else happy; happy enough to leave you alone. For example, timesheets, you just fill in 7.5 hours for every day against a default number irrespective of what you've been doing, or how many hours you've actually been at work, or how many tea breaks you've had. There's no Saturday or Sunday to fill in, so if you do work the weekend then you have to put 7.5 hours against a weekday and stay at home. But don't worry about it, all this nonsense makes someone somewhere in the organisation happy enough to leave you alone.'

 

17th Dec 2112

Obsolete design.

Press Release

17 DEC 2112; 14:20:41

Due to the increasing costs of employing highly skilled Euro-Elves and the logistical difficulties of manufacturing at the North Pole,  Claus Industries Inc.  today announced the 100% outsourcing of production to China. Correspondence to Santa Claus, North Pole, will be automatically directed to Santa Claus, China for 12 months after which the original address will be voided.

Copy-exact (well, almost).

 

15th Dec 2112

When given a choice between some pain today or much pain tomorrow, there's a certain project manager at Globalbot who always chooses tomorrow. As a result he's constantly in severe pain since today is merely yesterday's tomorrow.

 

12th Dec 2112

  

Peidiwch yfed a gyrru

Declared the sign brightly.

'What does that mean?' I asked GAT, who speaks roadsign welsh.

'Don't drink and speak welsh,' he replied dead pan.

Is he winding me up?

 

10th Dec 2112

Doom got a call from Globalbot Tech Support today:

TS: 'You know that special bespoke tool we supply with Drainbots?'

Doom: 'Er, um, maybe.'    [seriously considering hanging up straight away]

'The one that's needed to do just about everything - commissioning, maintenance, adjustments, calibration?'

'Hmmm, yes  . . . '     [non-committal agreement]

'And you're aware we've just delivered some critically urgent Drainbots to Taiwan.'

'Have we?'  [pleasantly surprised]

'Yes we have, and you'll never guess what.'

'No, what?'  [air of false excitement]

'They accidentally dropped the special tool inside the main drainpipe.'

'Oh dear.'    [oozing false sympathy]

'And the Hsin Chu drainage system is within hours of catastrophic failure unless the new Drainbots can be deployed.'

'Ah, I see. How many Drainbots?'  [polite enquiry; it would be rude not to ask]

'349.'

'And how many of the special tools did you ship?'  [withering condescension]

'One'

'Really? That wouldn't, perchance, be the prototype I loaned you would it?' [outright sarcasm]

Yes, the production tools are all shortages not due until mid-February.'

 

[pregnant pause]

 

'Are you asking me if I have another tool?'   [utter amazement]

'Yes, yes, it's critical.'

[CLICK]

 

8th Dec 2112

 

Oh dear! Major UOM* failure. Customer ordered one 5m tall robot; but Globalbot built five 1m tall robots. Unfortunately this was not picked up until the customer was taken into the Final Test area to inspect his purchases prior to shipment, whereafter the chances of said customer signing the 'authority to ship' document receded rapidly to zero.

 

*UOM = Unit of Measure in our info system (ORIBAL). For example:

Description: Hose, silicone, red    Quantity:10   UOM:1m

Like the robot, ordering the above would be a lottery. You might end up with a 10m red silicone hose, or then again maybe ten 1m red silicone hoses.

 

P.S. On the patent front I got off on a philosophical technicality - apparently thinking robots cannot exist. I was about to argue that on this basis thinking humans cannot exist either, but GAT told me to shut up, 'Do you want to end up powered down or what?'

Anyway, if I'd been allowed to continue, I would have argued that as humans cannot exist, patent lawyers cannot exist. Doom later commented on this as 'unwise' since, in his opinion, non-thinking human patent lawyers have been proven to exist.

 

6th Dec 2112

     

Utter and total outrage!

I've been done for infringing a patent by a patent troll!

(Click Here to Read About Patent Trolls)

Literally, it's me! I'm the infringement. Some %&*$% filed a patent called 'Thinking Robot' in which they claim:

1. the concept of a robot that thinks like a human.

And now they are after me to pay a 500 million Globo licence fee! If I don't then they will go to court to try and get me powered down permanently.

GAT has been really supportive. 'Don't worry Thinkbot, we'll find some prior art to nullify it.'

But all the prior art turns out to be fictional robots set on the future. I'm not convinced one can claim prior art for something that's set in the future, or indeed that's fictional.

Click Here to try the 'Prior Art' Name-the-Robot-Quiz

And now I've just heard that there are some legal thugs in Reception insisting I'm impounded and immobilised pending the court case, which is scheduled to be heard sometime in 2115.

So this may be farewell for a while . . . .

 

4th Dec 2112

                

A core competency at Globabot is our inventive procurement of difficult to buy items. For example we are developing a new industrial Bottlebot, but needed representative bottles, tops and contents to test the prototype in the development lab. Both ends of the chain were willing to do a deal - customer would supply the bottles etc, and Globalbot would commit time on the prototype Bottlebot to develop their specialised bottling process. But in-between there was an apparently insurmountable series of purchasing, accounting and invoicing barriers to overcome.

Solution? Well, the customer ships some empty crates to a third party who then invoices a banana company via a guy who sells cheap towels on the High Street. He then arranges for a shipment of iPhones to leave Bolivia releasing several million Globos (in fake used notes) to be deposited in a bank in Ascension Island. On delivery of some cheap towels to the banana company the iPhones are given out to employees at the bottling plant as they hand over bottles smuggled out at the end of the night shift. These are loaded onto a Globalbot Freightbtot which, on arrival at Globalbot Filton triggers an auto-email to Ascension Island instructing the bank to burn the fake notes.

What can go wrong?

Well, Accounts finding out I suppose. Strangely enough an Accountbot did become aware of the deal but to our total amazement deemed it 'completely legal' and declined to report its discoveries to any human accountants.

 

2nd Dec 2112

GAT and Helen attended a school parents' evening where they were told, 'Opal gets most things correct but needs to explain her answers properly.'

GAT later commented to Opal on how such valuable skills could be adapted, 'In the real world you will get most things wrong and will need to prepare your excuses properly.'

 

1st Dec 2112

                                            JOB VACANCY

 

                                                     HAPPY CUSTOMER

 

To enable further rapid growth in its key products, Globalbot Filton is seeking the immediate appointment of a Happy Customer reporting directly to the Globalbot Sales and Marketing Department. Key responsibilities include:

- signing important pre-shipment, revenue and final payment cash-releasing documents;

- approving joint named press releases

- dining endlessly in the Globalbot canteen and a variety of restaurants local to the Filton site

- a long term commitment to making jolly small talk with key Globalbot senior personnel

- attend Premiership Footbot matches and other major events as a corporate guest

No experience necessary. Access to a large approved budget an advantage.

Applications should be made in writing to Percy Knell, VP Human Resources, using form HC001.

P Knell

1st Dec 2112

 

28thNov 2112

Today, I was 'lucky enough' to attend a talk by a Robot* CEO of a Marketing Analysis Consultancy.

(* 'Robot' in the sense of a human talking about the global robot market).

One of her most significant charts was the 5-year Digbot shipment forecast:

Assumptions:

1. that Digbot shipments will grow as indicated in the above forecast;

2. that all Digbot shipments are made public (typically we estimate that <10% are made public within 5 years of shipment);

3. forecast assumes reasonable growth in Digbot scoop size and arm speed;

4. but excludes the imminent introduction of multi-arm cluster Digbots rumoured to be under development by all major Digbot suppliers but vehemently denied by selfsame suppliers;

5. that the demand to dig holes in the ground will continue to grow for the next 5 years at the rate observed during the past week.

 

In other words, they ain't got a clue. When pressed on this point, the CEO shrugged it off brilliantly - 'We haven't got a crystal ball.'

 

And then she put a fact amongst the marketeers by declaring that the Worldbot Digbot Division had shipped their prototype Monster Scoopbot somewhere, but no one knew where. The Globalbot Digbot Marketing man underwent an immediate and severe panic attack since the annual predicted market for giant scoopbots is 'almost 1 per decade'. Bit of an all or nothing revenue sector I guess. Anyway everyone was immediately diverted onto searching for the blasted thing using Googlebot Earth. Based on a 'well-informed wild guess' we concentrated on searching Korea and Belgium for several hours, but no luck.

'Come back! Let's try Bolivia and Kazakhstan!' wailed the sweaty marketing man as we tried to sneak away.

 

Should be easy to spot on Googlebot Earth?

All hail the Googlebot, who art omniscient and who doth know all.

Thy ways are beyond mortal man's searching.

Blessed be the Googlebot who art high and above all other searchbots.

 

26thNov 2112

In a recent vendor visit, when asked what management model Globalbot follows, GAT answered: 'The Jungle Book Vulture model'.

 

{fade to the managers sitting on a dead company}
Buzzy yawns: Hey, Flaps, what we gonna do?
Flaps: I don't know. What you wanna do?
Ziggy: I got it! We could implement a few more management information systems.
Buzzy: Ah forget it, I can't log into the ones we got now.

Flaps: Ah, come off it! Things are right dead all over the network.
Buzzy: Okay, so what we gonna do?

Flaps: I don't know, what you wanna do?
Buzzy: Look, Flaps, first I say, "what we gonna do?" and then you say, "what
you wanna do?", they I say, "what we gonna do?", you say "what you
wanna do?", "what you gonna do", "what you wanna" - let's do
something!
Flaps: Okay. What you wanna do?
Buzzy: Oh, blimey, there you go again. The same once again!
Ziggy: I've got it! This time, I've really got it.
Buzzy: So you got it. So what we gonna do?

Ziggy:  We can have a departmental reorganisation.
 

23rd Nov 2112

  

GAT has come up with a theory that it's far better to have a lucky manager than a good manager. It goes something like this:

1) Managers at Globalbot often have to make vital decisions with horrendous consequences based on near-zero data.

2) Even at 50:50, 10 such decisions in one day leads to outcomes of 1024 possibilities ranging from the undeniably miraculous to total catastrophe.

3) Over a year GAT calculates this makes the lucky manager at least 250,800* times more effective than an unlucky one.

4) Even if one manager is only a tiny bit luckier than the rest, the divergent effects make this a significant factor in any project.

5) The effect of one lucky manager high enough in the organisation can negate the combined effects of inadequate & fragmented IT systems, bureaucratic business processes, lean manufacturing initiatives, cost reduction, five year plans, etc etc etc.

6) It is almost certain that using dice to determine promotions and external appointments is many millions of times more effective than thinking about it, simply because the lucky manager will get the job. The problem is often getting said lucky manager to apply since the individual's intrinsic luckiness usually prevents the individual becoming aware of a crap job that is almost certain result in a variety of psychological illnesses and an early grave.

 

* I made it that the lucky manager is actually infinitely more effective (or at least more effective than any calculator I can find will cope with).

 

 

20th Nov 2112

  

Today, in the middle of a long silence in the midst of a long meeting about why Engineering projects always take way, way, way longer than planned (or could ever be imagined), the Adminbot taking the minutes unexpectedly cheered us all up by announcing loud and clear, 'ROBOT GOING TO SLEEP' and then slumped onto the conference table.

 

19th Nov 2112

   

Due to a certain amount of dispute between groups as to the veracity of certain corporate and engineering FACTS, and the implied imperative of belief in these said FACTS, Globalbot has organised a compulsory 'Interdepartmental Faith Conference.' for all staff. Here, we are to learn to have faith in the pronouncements of other departments. Examples of the sort statements we have to accept through faith as FACTS are:

1. It'll be delivered on Friday.

2. We are completely on top of Engineering Change Orders.

3. Revenue will quadruple over the next 2 quarters.

4. Only good can come of the ORIBAL CRIPEL merger.

5. Globabot is not 'that sort of company'.

6. The PO will be placed by the end of tomorrow, at latest the day after.

7. 7.4% is effectively 10% to all intents and purposes

8. No data available.

9. There will never be a V15.00 software version.

10. Our Penguinbot will definitely be capable of flight.

 

 

 Leap of Faith

(Engineering later admitted that flight was always a long shot. And we're on V19.05 software by the way.)

 

17th Nov 2112

                

Further to sad event reported on 14th Nov, and as a result of a prolonged sequence of impossible-to-fulfil promises made by senior Globalbot management without consulting engineering, GAT was heard to observe: 'The headless chickens have come home to roost.'

I leave the rest to your fertile imagination,

 

14th Nov 2112

Sad event today at Globalbot. In the middle of a rambling Domestic Decorbot project review, an engineer suddenly lost it and yelled, 'How much longer can we keep up this illusion we know what we're doing?'

And ran out of the room.

We called the first aider, but it was too late.

 

12th Nov 2112

     

We have an office Adminbot, affectionately named 'Ol' One-Eyed Clumpy', with a wooden leg and a glass eye. This was constructed in Manufacturing due to a stores cock-up and was deemed uneconomical to rework, but otherwise deemed functional. So poor old Clumpy has ' IN-HOUSE USE ONLY - NOT TO BE SHIPPED ' emblazoned on his chest and isn't allowed outdoors. (Although Globalbot has contrived to ship robots bearing this sticker several times before, so there is hope for Clumpy).

Today, I tried to track down what when wrong when Clumpy was created. I didn't get to the bottom of that conumdrum, but I did discover the stock entries:

2350384 Wooden Eye

3066520 Glass Leg

on both CRIPEL and  ORIBAL. A quick trip to stores, and dodging the Borg-like Storebots, established we had a far stock of each. It's an accident waiting to happen. At least Clumpy can see where's he's going. If we ever assemble any inverse Clumpys we'll have to book the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) officers into a local hotel. Blind robots with glass legs? Just try to imagine the risk assessment.

(P.S. I heard recently that CRIPEL and ORIBAL have merged to become ORIBAL CRIPEL INC.)

 

10th Nov 2112

  

To: All Globalbot Managers

From: Percy Knell, VP Human Resources

Subject: Management Training Courses

Dear Managers,

As a result of the frequent and often catastrophic management fiascos in recent months, I am pleased to inform you that Globalbot has arranged the following management training sessions that will run over the next few weeks:

- Changing your PhDs into PAs

- How to Organise Hourly Conference Calls

- Continuous 24/7 Decision Making

- Coping with Incomprehensible Budgets

- The Art of Blame Transfer

- The Effects of the Earth's Gravity Field on Employee Motivation

- The Minds of Engineers and How to Tame Them

- Universal Prioritisation: Making Everything #1

- The Law, and How to Avoid it

- Corporate Procedures and Policies: Making Ignorance a Valid Response

- 'Enigma' GLA and Cost Code Theory: Application of Turing Techniques

- Micro-Managing with Style

- Contract Killing; How to Spot a Plot Forming in your Direct Reports

- Creation of Apparent History: Organising Meetings in the Past

- Orwellian Contradiction Political Techniques

- Purchasing: The Use of Transcendental Meditation to Verify Delivery Dates

- How to Avoid Irrelevant Training Courses

Best Regards,

Percy

 

7th Nov 2112

 

Due to a chronic lack of parts in stores, storeman Norman* came around the DIRT group with an anti-requisition (this is a fundamental stock control particle usually created by the high-speed collision of beams of PO-trons and anti-ERPicles; if you don't know what I'm talking about then don't worry, no one does).

Anyway the anti-requisition will hunt down and annihilate any requisitions created in the recent past and issued material will quantum-tunnel back into stores of its own accord.

Apparently, more than one Materials Controllers have had cyanide teeth installed as a last resort in case they get cornered by an aggressive pack of sales and marketing types.

 

*

Storeman Norman, not to be confused with Stormin' Norman  , who might well cause you to bite just a bit too hard on that dodgy tooth.

 

5th Nov 2112

Bonfire night! British people let of loads of fireworks celebrating the failure of the gunpowder plot and eventual incineration of Guy Fawkes. Given all that happened 507 years ago and involved intractable 17th century religious Euro-politics, a subject of monumental disinterest to most folks, one can only attribute the lasting success of this 'festival' to the fact that people like letting off fireworks. And, I suspect, based on the current ramblings of contemporary politicians, the vague feeling that blowing up parliament wasn't that bad an idea really.

Anyway, the Firebots will have a busy night.

Of course, it would never cross the mind of a robot to blow up the government and take over the planet . . . . or would it? Techno-politics!

You need to click on Thinkbot and read all about it.

 

3rd Nov 2112

     

GAT told me that he had once worked for a company that had shunned computerised business systems in favour of writing on whiteboards. The advantages were that every engineer knew what was going on without the overhead of IT, ISO9000000, project numbers, Outrage e-task lists, armies of Adminbots, etc etc. GAT said that if they had too much to do they simply had to agree which tasks to wipe (literally) as the whiteboard had a finite capacity. The main downside was the danger of someone walking past the whiteboard and wiping the entire plan onto their shirt sleeve. If this happened, the backup system was getting the team together and trying to remember what they thought they were supposed to be doing. The company's logic on this was difficult to argue against - if no one could remember a task, then what the $%#! was it doing on the whiteboard in the first place?

 

These days, it seems like the modern backup method would be to take a daily digital photo of the whiteboard then create a document number for the photo, and then write a procedure to document the process for taking the daily photo and raising a NetReq with IT to develop a business process to issue-control the photo and store in a suitable place in 'Globaldocontrol' with password protection so that those actioned can't see what's expected of them should, perchance, the whiteboard have got wiped (or in Globalbot's case) not existed in the first place. In which case armies of Adminbots spend ages issue-controlling a daily picture of a blank wall showing the rawlplugs where the whiteboard used to be before we introduced ORABLE, CRIPEL, Boteasydoc, T-Net, Globaldocontrol and Pyschosoft Outrage.

(I'm not coming across as too bitter, am I?)

This looks like a great company to work for!

  Weapons of pre-historic management (not to scale).

 Low cost add-on that enabled whiteboard management system to remain active during power outages.

 

1st Nov 2112

 

To: Everyone at Globalbot Filton

From: Percy Knell, VP Human Resources

Subject: Efficiency Improvements - Helium

Dear All,

In an effort to improve efficiency and reduce meeting fatigue, the atmosphere in all meeting and conference rooms will be switched from nitrogen/oxygen to helium/oxygen with immediate effect. This change will reduce the atmospheric viscosity from ~ 0.02 cP to ~ 0.009 cP, should double the speed of speech, and thus enable meeting times to be halved. If this initiative proves successful Facilities will investigate the feasibility of switching the entire site to He/O2; this will include a risk assessment to quantify the vulnerability of certain lightweight buildings to floating off site.

Please note that it is strictly forbidden for company helium to be used for private balloons.

Regards

Percy

Ah, so it's okay to use the He for company balloons then - must see if stores have got any in stock. I also found out that the viscosity of the canteen ketchup is ~ 50,000 cP, so just replacing that with helium would increase efficiency by a factor of over 5,000,000, assuming the bottle does not float off.

 

30th Oct 2112

     

A day of reckoning at work - The Annual Roboballoon Debate. As you can see, the field was not very inspiring. What we do is load up advanced robot personalities into embarrassing hardware and let them debate who should be left switched on. This is an interesting experiment since the personalities don't like being turned off, but on the other hand are usually horrified at their bodily form. This tests the relative effectiveness of their ego and survival sub-routines. on this particular occasion Doom had excelled himself digging out ancient and laughable bodies for the test. In fact, so good there was a furious three-way argument about being turned off ASAP rather than any arguments for survival. The final outcome was amazing, the bots ended up co-operating by creating a fourth robot hand entity from some of their own body parts which they were happy to let survive, and which clearly conveyed to us their feelings about the whole affair:

 

 

28th Oct 2112

  

   Abattoir             Arboretum

An easy mistake to make, especially if you are only 7 years old. Poor Mike excitedly told Granny that we'd been on a half-term family day out to an abattoir to 'see the vibrant red colours'. Oh dear. Granny was horrified.

Anyway, it was Westonbirt arboretum we went to, and it was packed. There were thousands of people (and one robot) taking hundreds of photos. I did get some odd looks - after all, robots don't appreciate beauty do they? I heard a few comments about how peculiar it was to see a robot taking tree pictures but, quite honestly, don't you think it's just as mysterious to have thousands of homo-sapiens milling around photographing trees? Evolution has gone off the rails recently - one would have thought tree-photographing would hardly enhance survival, and the folks at the arboretum hardly looked the fittest specimens either (unlike the trees).

CLICK HERE TO SEE THINKBOT''S TREE PHOTOS

 

26th Oct 2112

     

Here's the latest initiative from Globalbot Corp - 'Black Box Management Methodology'. This is how it works: first, all the managers are rounded up and herded into an secretly located conference room; second, they're all linked up to the network; third, engineers are invited to submit inputs; fourth, managers respond with outputs co-ordinated across departments.

Examples of inputs:

1. Should we divert resource off critical projects to support unplanned demands from a key customer?

2. We can reduce cost but only by having more options

3. Some key parts are not due until 3 weeks after the robot is due to ship.

4. A customer requires a full written specification of the sub-aqua all-seabed Digbot development; Engineering do not know what a 'sub-aqua all-seabed Digbot' is.

5. The robot in the box is substantively the wrong specification and should be unpacked.

And outputs:

1. All robots must be built to a standard spec at the cost of the lowest optional parts irrespective of which optional parts are selected by the customer.

2. Boxed product must be left boxed and reconfigured in-situ prior to delivery.

3. The required written specification is expected to clarify the 'sub-aqua all-seabed Digbot'.

4. We must support key customers without diverting resource off critical projects.

5. The key parts should be re-scheduled to arrive 6 weeks before the robot ships.

All the engineers have to do is work out which output belongs with which input and, hey presto, we reach the usual set of impossible and/or conflicting instructions a lot quicker than if it had all been done verbally by managers scattered all over the site. This is the key point to grasp - it's more efficient since the engineers get much quicker visibility of the true state of affairs and thus get more time to work out how to make it appear we are meeting all the output demands, and with reduced interference as a bonus.

 

23rd Oct 2112

Efficient slick IT systems? Even the skeletons have given up hope.

A few recent inputs from the Globalbot IT (GIT) Dept.

1. The form was submitted unsuccessfully.

2. ESCALATION: Please review and approve document 4592758C.

3. ERROR. Review request blocked: You do not have rights to review document 4592758C. Please approve this document ASAP.

('Great!', muttered GAT, 'I can't see it but I'm expected to approve it.').

4. Message from IT: 'We are aware that the Engineering wireless router has started singing again; we are working on this fault.'

(Doom was hopeful they could at least get it tuned.)

5. With immediate effect the phrase 'white screen of death' is no longer valid as a fault submission category.

6. The archive has been moved to the archive. To access the archive go to the archive area and type 'archive'. If this does not work then go to the Help Archive and type 'Archive Help'.

7. Message from IT: 'Please note that Globalbot IT dept are using themselves as guinea-pigs for a new email server.'

(We've not heard from any of them for weeks).

 

21st Oct 2112

     

Received an invite to GLOPS (Globalbot Operations) review to present on 'Robot Personality Development - The Hidden Revenue Driver'. I think this invite was more to do with the novel presenter than the subject, but hey ho - I'll have a go.

In preparation GAT has given me some training.

Executive question: Please explain why you are 20% over-budget on your canteen spend?

Unacceptable answers:

1. I neither know nor care.

2. I used it to feed my family and pets.

3. Is that the best question you can think of?

4. Accounts failed to allocate credit for uneaten food forwarded to the pigs.

Acceptable answers:

1. We recruited several excellent young engineers who eat a lot.

2. That's a good point, I'll take an action on looking into it.

 

The other dangers are walking into the 'Oo-er!' question trap or giving an invitation to drill.

 

The 'Oo-er' Question

'Two slides ago you said that your project was on schedule but now you are asking for more resource because you are way behind schedule. Please explain?'

(Only occurs for executives with >1 slide short term buffer memory retention)

 

Drilling

TB: 'This sort of robot personality works well with users over 70 years old.'

Executive: 'I thought we were not targeting the 70+ market sector?'

TB: 'Er, well, we spotted an opportunity and decided to pursue it.'

Executive: 'Where's the ROI analysis?' (ROI = Return on Investment')

TB: 'I, um, well . . . .'

 

18th Oct 2112

As part of a Globalbot Filton corporate announcement the VP of HR, Percy Knell, announced that there were 1439 employees on the Filton site. This led to a furious site search by curious engineers looking for the employee. Would he or she just be a pair of legs? Or a torso on a trolley perhaps?

 

16th Oct 2112

What the Dishbot always seemed to have:  

What the Dishbot was supposed to have:

 

Helped solve a domestic robo-mystery today. The mystery was why the Dishbot was always wandering around with a filthy rag in spite of the fact there's a pile of immaculately clean tea-towels always available. Turns out that:

 - Helen had programmed the Dishbot to always take the tea-towel from the bottom of the pile to avoid using the same one all the time.

 - GAT had programmed the Ironbot to always put laundered tea-towels at the bottom of the pile to stop the Dishbot taking the same one all the time.

Ah . . .

 

14th Oct 2112

On hearing the news that Globalbot had 'successfully' landed the order for the robot described by Sales as: 'a challenging specification, but I'm sure we can do it', Engineering make ready the emergency rabbit-out-of-hat equipment.

 

12th Oct 2112

        

Senior management enquiry: 'Is the project on schedule?'

GAT reply: 'Any particular project?'

SM: (Puzzled) 'The project! You know - is it on schedule?'

GAT: 'Did you have a schedule in mind?'

SM: (Frustrated) 'I'll be back in half an hour for some answers!'

GAT: (in his head) 'Bet you won't. That's one schedule that'll definitely slip into oblivion.'

 

10th Oct 2112

Breaking Sci-Fi news.

Daleks have been forced to postpone several key QDec 2112 planetary invasions after an aggressive lean-build & kan ban initiative went pear-shaped. Dalek CEO Davros glowed bright blue in a fit of apoplectic rage shouting unprintable observations after discovering the truth about the doomed project. The truth was that it was Davros who had initiated the whole thing 3 months earlier after suffering a severe case of congenital depressive micro-management.

Rumours that the recent switch in IT systems was a factor (see entry on this blog for 10th Sept) in this debacle was strenuously denied by a Imperial spokesdalek, in spite of being barely functional (as it was itself suffering from several critical shortages).

 

8th Oct 2112

        

And the CEO fell asleep at his desk and had a dream: he was standing on the shop floor when out of the build area came seven robots, complete and brimming with quality, and they meandered around the test area amidst relaxed cheerful test engineers. After them came seven other robots, clunking, greasy and with many optional parts missing, and stood beside those already in the test area. Then the test engineers turned nasty and a spirit of frenzy came upon them.  They stripped the complete robots and fitted the parts to the half-baked ones until there was nothing left but seven crippled incomplete robots. Then the CEO woke up to find the Head of Ops in his office with a feasibility study on 'Lean Manufacturing.'

 

 

A tad too far for the Lean Manufacturing initiative?

 

6th Oct 2112

Thrilling Insights from Globalbot Inc.

Part I: The economics of scissors.

By our special correspondent, Thinkbot.

Last week I kept track of how long I spent looking for the scissors in the office. Amazingly the total cumulative time was 1.72 hours. A trip to Finance established that my hourly rate at Globalbot is roughly 300 Globos per hour. But please, please, note that I do not get paid 300 Globos/hour (I wish), but this is the total cost, including overheads, of employing me to carry out my designated role of Senior Robotic Personality Engineer. Therefore my scissor-hunting last week cost the company 516 Globos. Now you can get a decent pair of scissors for 5 Globos, so I could justify buying 103 pairs of scissors a week to avoid the wasted costs of searching for the pair I used last time and that some $#%! has stolen. There are typically 45 working weeks and 250 employees in my area, so that's 1,158,750 pairs of scissors. Therefore I conclude the most efficient business model for the company is to cover all interior horizontal surfaces with scissors to eliminate this horrendous waste.

Watch out for future articles in this series:

- Running to the printer to intercept confidential documents; a great way to keep fit.

- Feeling lonely and isolated at work? Then organise a meeting.

- The Mandelbrot theory of chaotic business objectives and why you should always wait a week before doing anything.

- Cutting industrial glue sheets with office scissors - the hidden RSI wrist injury scandal.

4th Oct 2112

Can I introduce you to 'The Free-Fall' development project Gantt chart. This chart type applies to most projects at Globalbot. It is created by a combination of:

1. Committing to a firm timescale for a product founded on an imaginary technology

with

2. Senior management lopping months off the target Market Release Date every time they think about it (which luckily is not very often).

Here's the project manager.

And a post- R&D phase progress meeting.

Incidentally, I think task 9 in the chart above - 'Runt out of time', must be a typo. Of course, it could refer to a senior management appraisal of our smallest and feeblest project manager as in: 'Runt! Out of time!' but I think it's really supposed to be 'Run out of time' which I imagine must auto-fill on the chart for all Globalbot projects. 

Finally:

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving (or Globalbot project management)'s not for you.

 

2nd Oct 2112

  

Health and Safety training today. In which we had to perform a risk assessment:

 

Hazard: Health and safety training

Risk: loss of consciousness leading to worst case scenario of total cessation of brain activity

                    Still active . . .just!

Number of persons affected: Entire class (~10 people).

Control measures:

                         

 Wear hi-visibility jackets during training.

                               

Have rapid response ear defender team on standby.

 

Residual risk: Human race to be reduced to risk-free state by continuous Safetybot assessments.

                                      

Safetybots in action reviewing a totally safe environmental hazardless void.

                                   

Review: Residual risks eliminated; these employees are now immune and will each receive a personalised H&S certificate.

P.S. The trainer told us the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have the power to render things harmless; GAT is now investigating if this can be applied to Sales and Marketing.

 

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