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30th Dec 2114

When on-line sales algorithms go wrong.


Customers who viewed:

Also showed interest in:

Well, I think I'd look best in black - it just contrasts so well with my tin bodywork.


'Oh yes, yes, you'll look simply gorgeous,' confirmed Gerald over my shoulder.


28th Dec 2114


Apologies for the Xmas blogout, but I've been away with the family in Combe Martin for Christmas. As with most ageing males, GAT does not do Christmas well, especially if at home where he becomes a totally miserable menace. So the solution is to relocate to a rented luxury cottage on the coast where GAT can escape as required and stomp along the muddy coast path in the freezing drizzle, stopping periodically at rustic hostelries to test the local ale. The makes him almost sociable the rest of the time, even enduring small doses of Xmas TV specials.

But he did have a paddy when he hurt his thumb peeling onions for Xmas dinner.

'This is the worst thumb injury I've ever had.'

What a whinger.

Mind you, I was glad I was an electrically self-sufficient robot by the end of the week . . . .



Roast Turkey

Turkey Curry

Turkey Soup

Turkey Sandwich

Sweet and Sour Turkey

Turkey Pizza

Turkey Pie

Turkey Kebab


19th Dec 2114

'There's no option!' announced GAT when faced with a seemingly completely intractable technical problem, 'I'm going to have to have a bath.'

But on checking the corporate bathroom availability on Pyschosoft® Outrage Calendar it was found they were fully booked for several weeks ahead.

'Good grief,' muttered Doom, 'I knew Globalbot had a few ticklish problems on the go at the moment, but it didn't occur to me it was this bad.'

'Hey, the Site Safety Officer's in the bath right now! We'd better turn everything off.'

'Except mains water, that must be okay.'


18th Dec 2114

Newton's Laws of Sales

1. Every salesman persists in a state of fantasy except insofar as impressed upon by an external reality

2. The value of a potential order produces a proportionate degree of hysteria

3.  To every requirement in a purchase specification there is an equal and opposite non-compliance


16th Dec 2114

A couple of gems from Globalbot:


Sales VP: 'Let's cut to the chase. Give us a straight answer, spare us the detail, got it, NO DETAIL! Will the Thagomibot ship on time or not? Yes or no.'

Engineering Director: 'No.'

Sales VP: 'No? No?'

Engineering Director: 'No.'

Sales VP: 'I demand a detailed explanation!'

Engineering Director (now on a roll): 'No.'

& so forth for several hours (even days).



Fault Report: Robot fell flat on its face.

Fault Pareto Category: Human error.

Root cause: Human kicked robot from behind.

Corrective action: Er, um, well, let's see, show human yellow card? No the human was a customer employee. Pretend robot fell over spontaneously? Not very reassuring. Um, er . . .


13th Dec 2114


Gallery of Former Globalbot CEOs*


In the robot industry there are a set of standards defined by the MIRE# Organisation, one of which is MTBC - Mean Time Between Cleans, and is applied mainly to robots doing dreadful dirty jobs like removing woodchip wallpaper etc. In fact, removal of woodchip wallpaper is a recognised Bot-Busting test and is used by many manufacturers to define their robot's robustness. It's every manufacturer's nightmare for the error message:




to appear. But I digress. Given the historical turnover of CEOs at Globalbot, a new MIRE measure has been proposed - MTBCEO. At Globalbot MTBCEO is about 1.875 years.


* Images used are not of actual CEOs, but are representative of the character of various previous incumbents.

#MIRE = Manufacturer International Robot Equipment


6th Dec 2114


What's with Saturday morning's & wall-to-wall cookery programmes?

'Oh no, no, please no!' exclaimed GAT clutching his face after coming into the room to find cookery on BBC1. BBC2 had alternative cooking, and BBC3 cooking to strange music and BBC4 cooking tips on pheasants. Sports one had 'My favourite dish' with robofootballer Bender Thickham, and military history 'An Army Marches on its Stomach.' The nature channel was debating vegetarianism and the kids main channel was in the middle of baking some flapjack.

But then he came across the Swedish Chef and all was well . . .



3rd Dec 2114

Globalbot Launches VISUAL VOLCANO™ Range of Slide-Creating Robots
Robo-Reuters: Thursday 3rd December 2114

Filton, Europa -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Globalbot.Corp. (LASHDAQ-100), a supplier of advanced robotic equipment and related automated technologies for the global robotics industry, today launched VISUAL VOLCANO™, soon to become an essential tool in the modern business environment.


'We are thrilled with this new product range,' commented Graham Cracker, CEO of Globalbot, 'The VISUAL VOLCANOrobot is readily interfaced to any release of Pyschosoft® Powerpunt and can produce presentation slides at rates of up to 38 per minute.'


'Breaking into the mind-numbing presentation sector is a big step forward for Globalbot,' stated Mark Eting, VP of Marketing, 'Prior to the development of this technology hi-tech companies were forced to use engineers to create Powerpunt slides. This was not only painfully slow, but often resulted in slides with meaningful information.'


The first VISUAL VOLCANOrobots shipped this month to No Content Inc., a market-leading global supplier of vacuous corporate presentations. 'The VISUAL VOLCANO robot is a monumental step forward to those  involved with the promulgation of meaningless hype!' said CEO, Dr Auguste Spin, 'Unlike human slide creators the VISUAL VOLCANO robot will spew out slides 24/7, 365 days a year.'

Safe Harbor: This press release contains information that should result in every reader rushing to buy Globalbot shares. Clearly, share prices can only go up not down, and investors are requested to sit tight once the price has plateaued to allow Globalbot Executives sufficient time to exercise their options. In the likely event of a slump in Globalbot shares go to the No Content Inc home page and type 'Globalbot' into the search box and you be directed to a 420 slide presentation that may explain what's going on, but probably not.

1st Dec 2114

New management grading system announced today by Percy Knell, VP of HR. From now on seniority will be determined by what font size a manager is expected to read down to in a Pyschosoft® Powerpunt presentation using the standard Globalbot template. So for example, GAT, who is now a grade 18pt Manager, only has to bother with text of 18pt and above.

GAT, deploying his new skills immediately, spotted a flaw in the slide detailing  this new scheme as the title 'New Management Grades' was in 32pt. This means that the 40pt and 48pt managers will not read it and presumably remain blissfully unaware *.

* Further investigation revealed that for 40pt managers and above, 'blissfully unaware' is part of their job description, so maybe Percy Knell got it right all along.


28th Nov 2114

The Coxless Eight


A steering committee of eight key managers has been formed to oversee new business processes.

The engineers have already dubbed them 'The Coxless Eight' to reflect the fact that they'll row hard without any idea where they are going.


27th Nov 2114

Our new ERP system marching over the horizon, so GAT got us together for a mission-critical briefing:

'As you all know, when we land a non-commodity robot order, the customer purchase specification routing is Sales to Product Management and then to Engineering, who create a non-trivial detailed build spec for Manufacturing.  Without doubt, with the new ERP coming in, their will be persons within Globalbot who believe that an ERP will enable Salesmen to tick a few boxes in a configurator and the system will magically vomit forth a detailed build spec without any intervention from a brain. Our objective is to identify these persons and eliminate them at all costs.'


(On the other hand, a few of us did wonder if it would be more fun to let Sales fumble around in the ERP and then see what on earth would come out the other end in Manufacturing.)


23rd Nov 2114


  Visualization Tools for Optimization Users 


  Learn How to Achieve Greater Acceptance and Deliver Greater Decisioning Value 

  Visualization leads to understanding. 
  Understanding leads to commitment. 

  Please forward this invitation to your colleagues!  enemies.


Plugging  Visualization Tools for Optimization Users  into Googlebot Images resulted in:



Which really makes things clear to me as far as 'Delivering Greater Decisioning Power' is concerned.


20th Nov 2114


Problem: Industribot speed too slow (11 units per hour); throughput of product does not meet the customer specification (17 units per hour) that the salesman gleefully signed up to to get the PO.

Engineering exhausted & clean out of ideas, except, for one last ditch effort . . . .

Proposed Solution: Secretly manoeuvre small black hole into vicinity from where customer representative observes throughput. The gravitational time dilation experienced (unknowingly) by the customer observer will make the Industribot appear to run faster. Precise positioning is required to achieve the perception of 17 units per hour. Calculations show that even a 1% misplacement could make the Industribot appear to run at >1000 units per hour (or, disappointingly, 11.0000001 units per hour if 1% the other way). Care will have to be taken that customer representative is not unduly affected and goes home to find his children are older than him, or even worse have passed away due to old age. In the worst case the customer could accidently cross the event horizon and travel immediately to the end of time, only to find the Industribot has been scrapped making the final payment sign-off much more difficult to secure.


17th Nov 2114


Welcome to password hell

Scene: Helen, at computer, trying to buy remote drop-ship Xmas charity donkey for poor folks in The Almost Democratic Republic of Southern Bognovia. GAT, trying to concentrate on his laptop.

Helen: 'What's our user name?'

GAT: 'GATbot'

Helen: 'What's our password?'

GAT: '#Xylophone++'

Helen: 'What's our pincode?'

GAT: '4802¾'

Helen: 'What's our three digit security number?'

GAT: '707'

Helen: 'What're the 5th, 9th and 14th letters of our verification statement?'

GAT: 'Er, um,  . . . ' and so forth for several minutes . . . 'S, O, D'.

Helen: 'What was you first pet called?'

GAT: 'Gladys'

Helen: 'Gladys? Really? What was it?'

GAT: 'A rabbit'

Helen: 'Gladys the rabbit?'


Helen: 'Where was your mother born?'


Helen: 'Oh come on GAT, be sensible!'

GAT: 'I AM! That's what I put.'

Helen: 'oh.'

GAT: 'If it asks for my favourite prairie animal I'm going to scream!'

Helen: 'We have to give the donkey a name.'

GAT: 'And a password?'

Helen: 'Don't be silly.'

GAT: 'Okay, George!'

Helen: 'That's it, George the donkey's on it's way . . no, hang on . .'

GAT:  'What now?'

GAT: 'Ah, I see, Windows Live means Windows Dead.'

Helen: 'I don't believe it, George is stuck in departures.'

GAT: 'He must have forgotten his passport.'

Helen: 'Bother bother bother!'


14th Nov 2114

Due to a slight IT anomaly in the Globalbot Technical Publications Dept, all the on-line manuals were updated with 'tigger' in place of 'trigger', whereupon the GoogleBot auto-altered the images to reflect this.

So, for example, became




12th Nov 2114

+ =   Pictures not to scale.

Globalbot recently bought up a small company making Clockbots on the basis that Globalbot already manufactures a Clockbot that looks identical and delivers precisely the same functionality (it walks around and gives people the time of day). So, surely, it must be synergistically trivial to merge the two product lines and move swiftly and unerringly to take a dominant market share in Clockbots with a single unified design.

Well, I guess that's what the Corporate Brains thought (amongst other things I would suggest are best left uninvestigated).

However, after a painstaking and extensive analysis of the parallel Clockbot BOMs (Bill of Material), the total number of common parts was found to be . . . . two.


8th Nov 2114


5th Nov 2114

The Story of the Hare and the Tortoise - The Globalbot Version

Playing the part of the Hare: Marketing

Playing the part of the Tortoise: Engineering


The Hare was once boasting of his prescient ability to predict the requirements of the global robotics industry better than any other animal. 'I have never yet failed to outpace any other creature in foreseeing market forces. I challenge anyone to develop the right product ahead of me.'

The Tortoise said quietly, 'I accept your challenge.'

'Ha ha! Bring it on!' responded the cocksure Hare, dancing insanely on the spot.

And so, the product concept and feasibility phase started, and the Hare darted out of sight at once, but then decided his Market Requirements Specification (MRS) was incomplete and darted off at a 'enhanced features are everything' tangent. Meanwhile the Tortoise started designing the simplest , lowest cost, solution possible against the original default MRS, and moved steadily through the product release phases: Test Rig Robot; Alpha Prototype; Beta Prototype; Limited Field Release; and finally, Full Production Release with a optimised multisource supply chain, a complete set of manuals, and even a spare parts listing. Purchase orders simply rolled in and Tortoise retired as one of the richest Testudinidae genus creatures in the world, and indulged himself with a diamond-encrusted exoskeleton.

Years later, Tortoise was having a quiet drink in a bar one day when in walked a breathless Hare with a group of potential customers and a huge ring binder, 'Hello Tortoise, guess what, I'm almost through with the customer requirements survey, ha ha! You don't stand a chance, not a hope in hell!'

Tortoise simply raised his glass to Hare, 'Cheers!'


4th Nov 2114


Vacancy: Vice President - Thunderbird Marketing

Reports to: Jeff Tracey

Primary Purpose of Role: Responsible for core messaging (Whatever that is) and positioning of Thunderbirds in the global philanthropic emergency rescue market place. Must work across functions to project the corporate image (What?)

Person Spec: Dynamic, enthusiastic person sought to support image of highly advanced secret global rescue operation.

Key Behavioural Competencies (What?):

- Numeracy and literacy (Great, so applicants must be able to read & write and add up and, I guess more to the point, must be able to count to five backwards).

- Must be able to work from a secret location that will remain unknown even to the successful applicant

- Must avoid any mention of Thunderbird 6

- Must have a robust understanding of current and future disaster scenarios, and be capable of selecting the most suitable disasters that will maintain the illusion that Thunderbirds will turn up at every such tragic event.


- The role requires extensive travel to truly horrific, often squalid, often dangerous, places at the drop of a hat

- Some space and deep sea travel may be required

- Long haul travel enclosed in a unlit pod may be required


30th Oct 2114


Dear Globalbot IT,

I have spent all [beeeeep] day trying to organise a [beeeeep] $%^*ing meeting using $%^&* WEBOTEX but it's #%^%&*ing £$^%! I've never encountered such a [beeeeep] @:?*ing $%^! cripple of malfunctioning $£$^&o=! spineless heap of hostile [beeeeep] £$^%!

And, as for %^&*ing [beeeeep] Pyschosoft Powerpunt, are we ever going to arrive a $%^&&ing final @#?$%ing template or what? I've just installed template 93, yes $%^ing 93! And guess what? 91 of them have been the @<>#ing final $%&ing 'definitive' [beeeeep] version. If I open my 4%&&%^ email tomorrow and find ANOTHER £$%^^& [beeeeep] FINAL ~@#&* TEMPLATE I'M GOING TO $£^%ING [beeeeep] MARCH DOWN AN VAPOURISE YOU WITH MY LASER EYES.




28th Oct 2114


Battle of the Conference Room


'Listen up!' bellowed GAT at the motley group of DIRT* engineers hanging around in the corridor, 'We booked the room! They're not supposed to be in there, so our cause is just. Let's do something this day that will go down in history, a day that will be remembered as a turning point against those who believe that the mere occupation of a meeting room is enough to break the will of those who uphold what is righteous and just!'

'Waaaaaargh!' GAT wailed as he burst through the door, picked up some bottled water and started soaking the startled occupants. As we piled in after him we were pelted with cheap biscuits but, not bowed by this for a moment, commenced tipping the illegal meeting attendees out of their chairs, and quickly established a dominant position by getting our agenda onto the projector. It was over within a minute as the screams subsided, the previous meeting attendees fled or cowered until the table begging an armistice and safe passage to the corridor.

Safely in possession of the room, we caught our breath and turned, graven-faced, to the momentous subject matter at hand:


Improved Reliability Monitoring of Convoluted Steel Bellows in Automated Ketchup Bottlebots.


DIRT* = Domestic & Industrial Robot Technology


24th Oct 2114

Memo from Corporate today, rapidly annotated by Engineering:

To: All Globalbot Staff

From: Corporate Cliche Management Group

Subject: Approved Cliche List


1 - At the end of the day = Whatever I decided at the start of the day still stands
2 - Failure is not an option
= Failure is, I fear, the most likely outcome
3 - Win-win scenario
= Lose-lose certainty
4 - Manage expectations
= Abandon hope
5 - Low hanging fruit
= Relax, sit back, take it easy, just wait for those orders to roll in
6 - Let's take this offline
= Blow the server, I repeat, blow the server, do you copy?
7 - It’s a nightmare situation
= Well, look on the bright side, it's a dreamlike analogy
8 - Thinking outside the box
= What are we supposed to do? The box went missing years ago
9 - 24/7
= Make sure you don't drop your Gooseberry in the urinal when multitasking
10 - It’s not rocket science
= Correct. Rocket science is a doddle compared with this.

11 - Value added proposition = Take me to a cash machine now


Please be aware that this list is subject to active review on a regular basis.

New cliches are under development and will be released as appropriate.


New corporate cliches are under development? Painstaking analysis CCMG of waste paper baskets revealed:

- Ordered the secure gate upgrade kit after the tortoise had bolted

- I know that I know that I know that I know that

- Glacial is not acceptable





18th Oct 2114

Worrying news. Two of the Robotic Industry's main players, Econodroid Inc and Worldbot Corp, have been diagnosed as suffering from terminal synergy and may have little option but to merge. Other players in the Market, including Globalbot, are currently sticking to the line that this is an isolated case, and that the risk of a synergetic pandemic is low.


15th Oct 2114

Oh no! Please no. Not again.

Today, Globalbot announced it's going to switch to a new PLM & ERP system.

What's wrong with our current systems and ?

Well, actually, where do I start? The Cripel reviewer likened it to a pig with lipstick, and as for Orabal, it's as impenetrable in IT terms as GAT's mother-in-law's steam pudding is gastronomically.

I suppose the possible replacements in the pipeline can't be any worse, can they?

Lost ERP Solutions.

   Yes, the toy people. Comes pre-loaded with various brick designs free of charge.

  22nd Century Sloth PLM.

   Sausage Systems Inc. Risks sending everyone to breakfast early, daily.

Noddy IT Corp. Simple ERP for simple businesses. Only has 3 icons and maximum 100 part numbers.

Rage Industries Ltd. Motto:  'An angry engineer is a fearsome site!' [SIC] Sight?


11th Oct 2114


7th Oct 2114

Uh-uh! Customer Support cock-up.

Service bulletin issued on: 'After Death Service and Support'.

I think it was supposed to say: 'End of Life Service and Support'.

Subtle shift in emphasis I know, but nonetheless, as illustrated by responses to customers along the lines of:

'I'm sorry sir, that robot product is at end of life status.'

Rather than, 'Sorry sir, your robot is dead.'

It's almost enough to make me put my faith in Marmaduke, whom the Toybots believe holds the keys of 'life' and 'after end of life life.'


4th Oct 2114

The worship of the god Marmaduke by Toybots, first reported in this blog on 20th June 2112, continues to grow unabated in spite of all attempts by 'Advanced Personality Designers' (such as me), to locate and engineer the faith bug out of the source code. It's even split into denominations, for example:

1. Church Of the Latter Day Toybots

2. The Primitive Shelf of Toybots

3. United Reformed Hypobotical Assemblies of Marmaduke.

Children who own Toybots from different faiths (I mean the Toybot's faith not the children's) are finding they won't co-operate in playtime and many are getting returned as 'faulty' (the Toybots not the children).

To cap it all, Dawkbot, author of 'The Human Delusion' - which denies humans exist and that everything can be explained in terms of the robot intellect alone (such as it is), has now set up the Europa Robotist Society along the same lines as a Humanist Society. The ERS claims that Toybots can trace their design principles right back to primitive forms such as Microsoft Windows 3.1 and the Casio fx-105 calculator, and many believe they evolved from such entities and there's no need to invoke the existence any designers (or stores people, Spares Depts, ISO9000000 Coordinators, etc etc).


Once, whilst speculating on the likelihood of the existence of a Toybot soul, I asked Exp what he thought had happened to the tortured souls of the RMD*, but all he could offer in reply was: 'They thought therefore they were'. Er, um?


If you don't know what RMD are, you need to read this.


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