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31st Dec 2113

Having failed to sell GAT or Helen anything before Christmas (see 27th Oct), the door-to-door Salesbots turned up again today peddling:

- 2114 Calendars

- 2114 Almanacs

- 2114 Stock Forecasts

- 2114 Racing Tips

- 2114 Tide Tables

This time they were accompanied by a small bot with withered single skin tin-plate arms - presumably to generate some sympathy in the target market.

Best offering (I thought) was the 'Cross Section of your Brane' calendar. Apparently they were offering a 'while u weight [sic] brian scan', but GAT sent them packing.

 

 

 

 

28th Dec 2113

Great announcement by local TV today:

'Take care on the M5 as there is fog in both directions between junctions 19 and 20, Portishead & Clevedon.'

 

Really? And I always thought fog was optically anisotrpic!

          

View Northwards        View Southwards

 

24th Dec 2113

 

Happy Christmas blog-readers.

I was hoping to have some witty Christmas blog for you to read, but we're in (yet another) crisis. Two days ago our entire installed base of Cleanbots suffered a Bot-attack when some hacker broke into the Globalbot Botnet. Cleanbots with vacuum capability started running backwards and blowing filth all over their owner's homes and as for wet Cleanbots, well, I don't know where to start. All leave is cancelled in an attempt to prevent Christmas itself going under and, more to the point, Globalbot being sued for lack of Christmas. I believe the Globalbot board are in consultation with Governments on slipping Christmas a few days, say to the  28th or 29th, to allow people to clean up, but apparently the 25th is a fixed milestone.

Sorry! I've just got to go - there are reports that refuse Digbots are digging up landfill sites in preparation to return rubbish to households. I've desperately trying to impose some kind of mitigating personality on the Bots to slow them down - things like making them scared to carry on, or to have the work ethic of a teenager.

 

20th Dec 2113

Exhibit A: GAT's Badminton Club Accounts:

      Audit this!

 

19th Dec 2113

 

Excerpt from recent Globalbot Management-Staff Committee Meeting minutes:

 

Item 4.3.4.1 - Canteen Subsidy Review

Mr Knell informed the committee that the canteen subsidy will be adjusted from 45.008% to 43.651% due to the deepening economic crisis.

Mr Knell then shouted, 'What the %^&*!' and pointed out of the window.

The committee adjourned temporarily to observe 3 horses wandering past the conference room windows.

Shortly thereafter a tannoy announcement was made: 'WOULD ALL STAFF NOTE WE HAVE WILD HORSES ON SITE.  PLEASE TAKE EXTREME CARE.'

Shortly thereafter Pot Noodle emerged from the robot test area claiming that an announcement about there being 'armed forces on site.'

The meeting was deemed irreparably damaged and terminated after point 4.3.4.1. Mr Knell stated another meeting would be set up to cover points 4.3.4.2 to 23.4.1.2 at a future date.

 

 

17th Dec 2113

RIF = Downsizing = Rightsizing = Restructure = Resourced for Going Forward = Headcount = Rationalisation = Reduction in Force = Oh £#@& !!

 

Headcount deflation will apply to all areas of Globalbot organisation including robots!

   

Safe! No head!

It can go home and signal its Botwife and Botlets the joyful news.

 

And the 'Best Innocent Inappropriate Question of the Year' Award goes to Earthear for his entry:

'Is there any chance of a pay rise?'

 

14th Dec 2113

 

A day of great excitement at the DIRT Laboratory - I activated my latest personality development: 'The Bufflebot'. Without a moment's hesitation it launched into a monologue that any VP would have been proud of:

 

'We need to touch base on the 360o thought shower for the out of the box downsizing heads up. Going forward, the ducks have to be brainstormed into a row and straight-lined into quacking from the same hymnsheet. At this moment in time, all the stakeholders need to be in the loop so we can flag it up to the blue sky thinkers. At the end of the day, we must have a level playing field and be pro-active in pushing the envelope of joined-up thinking.'

 

The other DIRT engineers burst into a spontaneous round of applause and I have to admit there was a tear in my image sensor.  And then we played several games of cliché bingo with it.

'This is great!' said Halfhour, 'Cliché bingo with zero content!'

The only downer was that it didn't claim to have a 'gut feeling', since this is a favourite of one nameless VP at Globalbot who makes frequent statements of the form:

 

'I know that, I know that, [facts dismissed] but I have a gut feeling that [irrational statements].'

 

7th Dec 2113

 

It's advent and that means . . . charity bombardment.

 

 

 HELP THE DALEKS  Christmas Appeal 2113

 

Dear GAT,

This Christmas, you could make something truly wonderful happen. By supporting  HELP THE DALEKS  once again at this special time of year, you could touch the life of an evil creature that's suffering real hardship.

Just imagine if you relied on death and destruction of other life forms to feel fulfilled, but are always denied by some jumped up Time Lord who always wins in the end. We know you have been generous in the past, and we can't thank you enough, but this year the vulnerable Daleks we work with need help more than ever this year. Please give generously - every Globocent counts!

Yours sincerely,

 HELP THE DALEKS

Registered  Charity 70033781293687

Full Member - Fund Raising Standards Board

We will use the information you have supplied to update the Dalek central database in contravention of the Data Protection Act. Data will be used to identify collaborators for the next Dalek invasion. Help the Daleks may offer your details to other similar charities such as our sister group'''The Salvation Cybermen', if you do not want this then hard luck.

 

3rd Dec 2113

 

  

 

Excerpt from the Globalbot Health and Safety Minutes:

 

There were two incidents reported this month:

1. Coat hook fell off wall, no injuries, 0.08 Globo damage

2. Parkbot ran amok in shopping centre car park, 34 injuries, 4 serious, 9 million Globos damage

 

Talking of coat hooks:

                  

Design          Prototype       Beta site        Project Cancelled

 

30th Nov 2113

 

Not sure what sort of straw is implied in the idiom 'Clutching at Straws' but Globalbot Management Services nonetheless launched a new procedural service kit today:

 

30th November 2008

Globalbot is pleased to announce the availability of a 'Management Straw Clutching Kit':

 

855-3888-T Management Straw Clutch kit

    855-3856  Straw,  Qty 1

    855-4582  Bungee rope,  Qty 1

    855-0129  Plastic sheeting,  Qty 10m

    855-0130  Pegs,  Qty 10

    855-0972  Grease,  Qty 1 litre

    855-3109  Anchor Spike,  Qty 1

    855-3110  Mallet,  Qty 1

    872-0029  Manager,  Qty 1

 

Instructions for 855-3888

1. Secure anchor spike (855-3109) in ground with supplied mallet (855-3110).

2. Lay plastic sheeting (855-0129) on ground adjacent to spike and peg (855-0130).

3. Using suitable disposable gloves (not supplied) spread grease liberally on plastic sheet.

4. Place straw (855-3856) at end of sheet furthest from spike.

5. Attach bungee rope (855-4582) to spike.

6. Attach bungee rope to manager (872-0029).

 

Manager should now automatically start attempting to run up the greased plastic sheet towards the straw.

Sit back and enjoy.

  WARNING. If manager succeeds in clutching the straw then use supplied mallet to stun manager and shorten the bungee rope. Note that allowing the manager to keep the clutched straw will result in a poor outcome.

 

In the event the manager tires, then a consumable resuscitation kit is available from your local Globalbot Field Support Office:

 

855-3889 Supplemental Resuscitation kit for Management Straw Clutch kit

    855-3017 Mars Bar,  Qty 3

    855-3018 Red Bull,  Qty 4

    855-3019 Megaphone, Qty 1

 

25th Nov 2113

Is your company suffering from an infestation of micro-managers?

Do you get the same trivial emails forwarded to you via multiple parallel management pathways?

VP of Engineering constantly checking there's enough bubble-wrap in stores?

Don't put up with it! Call 1-800-MICROPEST for a free one line quotation.

All Micropest removal techniques are completely harmless and use benign rumour-baiting techniques such as a fictitious shortage of safety shoes, or inexplicable dots on flatscreens to attract the culprits into a organising a series of permanent dead-end meetings resulting in effective functional termination.

 

22nd Nov 2113

 

'Blast! The Laundribot has mismatched all the socks again' wailed Helen at GAT for the millionth time (GAT runs a robot engineering design group, so it must be his fault - right?)

Much to everyone's surprise, GAT did not feign unconsciousness, or claim not to speak English, but rather  answered 'Fear not! I bring you glad tidings of the Virtual Sockbot™'.

With that he brought up an ad on the screen of his laptop:

 

Laundribot always muddling your socks?

It can't seem to understand that one size 3 and one 11 don't make a pair?

Always faced with that dilemma of being late or going to that vital meeting with odd coloured socks?

Well, Globalbot Inc. has the product for you! - The Virtual Sockbot™.

The Virtual Sockbot is not another robot that'll clutter up your home and lead to endless email demands to take out an extended warranty. No, it's a sophisticated add-on sub-routine that works with any make of Laundribot and guarantees 100% accurate sock correlation using Globalbot's patented Six Sigma Sock Sort Solution® - don't delay, not even a day - feel the power of S5 (see below for dramatic artist's impression of the S5 sub-routine.)

Helen was sold, 'Wow, can I try it?'

GAT was non-committal 'Er, um, well, you see . . .it's  . . .possibly . . . .'

'Well?'

'Er, the advert is a little premature.'

'Hah,' interjected Gerald, 'the project hasn't even started, has it?'

'Er, no, it's underway, but . . . well  . .  initial tests have not been promising. Pot Noodle programmed it to throw away any socks with a hole in. Well, they've all got one hole in haven't they?'

'Have they?' queried Opal.

'Yes, where you put your foot in.'

'Ah, yes, I see.'

GAT continued, 'And then having got that sorted out, we ran in the best-efforts matching fiasco.'

'What's that?'

'Well, one usually only throws out one sock from a pair when one has at least two holes, which leaves a motley collection of odd socks which the Virtual Sockbot was instructed to match up on a best-efforts basis. It didn't go well.'

 

21st Nov 2113

 

Principle of Conservation of Problems

 

Problems may change their form but are neither created nor destroyed.

 

Or, in other words,

 

The total number of problems in the universe is constant.

 

Example

Robot fails due to dodgy diode.

Diode not available from stores

Bodge robot to work with alternative diode

Alternative diode turns out to be vital for robot in build

Customer escalates situation when delay becomes apparent

Senior management demand diode is extracted from previously failed robot

But robot has been shipped to Taiwan due to despatch paperwork error

Telephone call to shipper results in crate being returned from airport

But on opening crate it is found to contain 36 hat stands

And so forth . . .

 

19th Nov 2113

 

Engineering Versicles and Responses No 129,701

 

The manager presides.

The engineers (& any robots present) kneel and bow their heads.

 

Manager: The Toxibot interlock was not configured correctly

Engineers: Indeed it was not

M: It is right and proper that we review the design

E: Verily, verily, the design doth need reviewing

M: State now why the interlock was not configured

E: The required cable was missing

M: State now why the cable was missing

E: The cable has not been designed

M: State now why the cable has not been designed

E: None of us, not even one, hath thought about Toxibot interlocks

M State now why no one has thought about the interlocks

E: The risk assessment hath been writteneth not and is mightily conspicuous by its non-existence

M: State why has no risk assessment has been written

E: Thou should tell us that as thou art the Toxibot project manager

M: State now the corrective action plan

E: We shalt go forth and implement an interlock forthwith and immediately

M: The manager is pleased with thy initiative

E: We carest not about thou, rather we desireth not to stand in the rain for an hour with no coats or umbrellas in the highly likely event of another evacuation caused by a Chemical Toxibot mishap.

M: Glory be to self-preservation for ever and ever

E: Amen

 

16th Nov 2113

 

Found Opal in tears today as her Cosmetibot refuses to issue her any silver lipstick (even though the silver lipstick icon was available).

I logged on and had look on the Globalbot Tech Support site, and found 4,106 similar faults had been reported in the past 3 months! But they had all been classified as 'Fault Code 88202 - Cosmetic Problem' and diverted direct into the fault archives (from whence nothing doth return - not even 'Fault Code AK47 - Robot Massacre').

 

12th Nov 2113

 

To: All Globalbot Employees

From: Percy Knell, VP Human Resources

Subject: Phantom Drummer

 

To Whom it May Concern,

If you are the uninvited phantom drummer logging into secure Globalbot conference calls then please note - WE WILL TRACK YOU DOWN IF YOU PERSIST. This sort of irresponsible behaviour only damages us as a company. If you stop now then no more will be said.

Regards,

Percy Knell

VP Human Resources

 

Well, it worked, after a fashion - the next conference call I attended was wrecked by a phantom xylophone player.

 

7th Nov 2113

GAT received the following message from Materials today,

Job No 23408283 has now been completed. DEVBOT can be received but if so then we have to issue it somewhere or it will remain SOH, we could cancel it but I don’t think that it’s right thing to do. Bugbot BUG001 can be received but again it will need issuing somewhere, this was originally built pre Orable & these Shop Orders were to convert it.

Having no idea what it all means, he fed it to the Babelbot and got:

Work 23408283 now does not realise. DEVBOT can be entered, but this sense must publish this sense then us he a certain part, or this SOH will remain, we it is cancellation in degrees, but I think then not; it is well it there at the thing. Nose-offered BUG001 can be received, but still he has need a certain public part must, this was at origin for the paper money Orable these organize.

4th Nov 2113

Which one(s) is(are) the top secret development(s)?

 

To: DIRT* Group

From: GAT

Subject: Mystery Visit

 

Dear Ones,

Over the next two days you may notice some unannounced visitors in the DIRT development area. Please ignore them. I cannot reveal why they are there or what they are looking at, but can say there are things they should not be allowed to see but I cannot tell you what those are either. Since no one is allowed to know what they are here for, or what they are not allowed to see, we have no option but to rig up some distracting rigs and things with flashing lights to distract them from what they cannot be allowed to see whilst being guided by someone from Globalbot towards what they are here to see, whatever that is. To give an air of realism I need a few of you to be working on the false development rigs during the visit. If they try and communicate with you then claim you cannot speak English.

 

* DIRT = Domestic and Industrial Robot Technology

 

2nd Nov 2113

Liturgy for the electronically frustrated:

I hate the Psychosoft® 'Please wait icon'

I hate the Psychosoft® 'Please wait icon'

I hate the Psychosoft® 'Please wait icon'

I hate the Psychosoft® 'Please wait icon'

I hate the Psychosoft® 'Please wait icon'

 

29th Oct 2113

Possible mottos for Materials:

'We just knew you wouldn't need it when you said.'

'Just because it's got a delivery date, don't assume it's on order.'

'Remember to specify the century on the required date field.'

 

All Hail MRP! Master of the Purchiverse!

Great and mighty omnisupplier, we knoweth not thy ways, not shalt we question thy all-knowing schedule. Blessed be the due date, for although it is oft in error, it giveth hope to mortal engineers that something is happening. Cursed be the reschedule, which never bringeth our desired objects forward in time. Give us this day our daily delay, and forgive us our project deadlines, for thou make doth make us wait for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and doth teach us great patience, in particular for parts ordered before the dawn of time.

 

27th Oct 2113

It's that time of year again. Magazines peddling gift subscriptions under the pretence of goodwill and climate change to all mankind.

I have two problems with the above:

1. IT'S THE 27TH OCTOBER!!!! (Even the Portishead Christmas Lights Committee hasn't had its last meeting yet.)

2. Are these the best 3 robots that News Scientist could find? Would you invest in a subscription to a serious science magazine if these three characters turned up on your doorstep?

 

22nd Oct 2113

Apologies dearest blog-readers, I've been on a trip with Marketing to see some key customers*

(* That's important customers, not customers who are looking to buy keys).
 

Anyway, during this trip it became apparent that one thing prospective customers are looking for is for Marketing to jump through the 'same old hoops' over and over again.

'We get really good at it,' bemoaned my woebegone Marketing companion, 'I sometimes think we should introduce regular hoop-jumping practice.'

Globalbot Marketing Girl struts her stuff.

 

14th Oct 2113

Was watching the news with the family today when a 'renowned international financial expert' came on to give us his priceless insights, examples:

'If you spend more than you earn, and don't have any savings or any other income, then you'll get into debt.'

'If you salary goes up by 3% but inflation is 5% then you are worse off.'

'If you do have to borrow money, then borrow at the lowest interest rate possible.'

'Likewise, if you are saving, then go for the highest rate.'

'Remember! You can only save if your income is bigger than your out-goings.'

'When budgeting, make sure you include all your income and out-goings, otherwise it'll be wrong.'

'Don't worry if this is too difficult to follow, you can get my book 'Easy Money' at all good bookshops.'

This all got a bit much for GAT, 'Wow! This guy's a genius. I never knew any of this, did you? I can't believe how lucky we are to get his advice for free.'

 

It reminded me of a recent Marketing Consultant at Globalbot who, after six months at an extortionate hourly rate, finally reported his findings back brilliantly to the management team in a single succinct slide:

 

 

9th Oct 2113

Pandemonium in Marketing today when a coastline unexpectedly appeared in a product roadmap.

'This is completely unacceptable!' wailed Mark Eting, 'the domestic Shopbot design brief doesn't allow for amphibious operation. What are we going to do?'

I thought he was going to cry.

Intriguingly, passing the cursor out to sea brought up the image:

No one in Engineering took this as a good sign, but Corporate came to the rescue with some political spin:

To: All Staff

From: VP of Globalbot Corporate Imagery, Hugging and Pleasant Odours

If you are approached by any external parties (suppliers, customers, press, aliens, etc) regarding the above image please inform them that the ship is surfacing.

 

7th Oct 2113

 

Oh dear, it's not looking too good.

 

 

And the Bankbots didn't help too much by sabotaging statements made by various human Finance Ministers:

Finance Minister: 'No bank user will lose a single penny!'

Bankbots (in unison): 'That is wholly incorrect. All account holders are doomed.'

And all this on live TV as well . . . .

Then, apparently taking leave of his senses, the hapless Finance Minister tried to withdraw some cash from one of the Bankbots (again, live on TV).

Bankbot: 'Sorry, the bank has insufficient funds in any account. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.'

 

5th Oct 2113

Got involved in some product Marathon testing. This is supposed to cycle a robot, typically a million times, to identify weaknesses and improve reliability. However, by the time a project reaches the marathon test stage it is usually months behind schedule and hence the concept of the mini-marathon, or in extreme cases, a micro-marathon (i.e. It manages 1 cycle and the QA man signs the product reliability release at gunpoint).

Amazingly, one robot variant even failed to complete a micro-marathon but was officially designated as having 'almost completed a micro-marathon'. The gun had to be fired twice into the ceiling to prove to the QA man that it contained live ammo before he signed for that one.

 

1st Oct 2113

Marketing Mathematics Part 1

Scenario: There are 4 customers interested in visiting Globalbot to test robots prior to purchase. The tests will require 1 robot and 1 engineer to be assigned per customer.

Question 1: How many robots are available?  4

Question 2: How many engineers are available? 2

Question 3: How many tests can we run? 4

Or, in Marketing Math, 4 - 2 = 0.

 

Marketing Mathematics Part 2

Maximum speed of Globalbot robot: 8 m/s

Claimed maximum speed of competitor's robot: 20 m/s

Customer will select supplier on Monday

Question: How much slower is Globalbot's robot than the competitor?

Answer: Well, if we set a milestone for Engineering to speed the Globalbot robot up to 18 m/s by Monday, it's 10% slower. This should secure the sale since speeding up by 10% can be assumed to be readily achievable.

 

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