06 Jul 2015
I’ve been in this game long enough to leverage my share of synergies, I’m not averse to taking things offline to touch base, and I’m up to speed vis-à-vis what happens when I open the kimono.
But even a bleeding-edge business linguist such as me occasionally comes across a new etymological solution that totally knocks it out the park. The marketing department at one of my vendor partners recently rang to invite me to a high-end roundtable at which I and other channel thought-leaders could meet the manufacturer in question’s top-level execs and get a holistic overview of the industry.
“It’s going to be a great event,” pledged the vendor bod. “You’ll really get a 365-degree view of the market.” I’m not sure entirely what this would entail, but it sounds like it’ll be a whole new angle.
Sauce of the problem
The collective face of condiment maker Heinz was left as red as its flagship sauce recently when it accidentally directed its customers towards an online smut repository. In 2012 the company began a promotion giving consumers the chance to avail themselves of a personalised bottle of its ketchup.
To take advantage of the offer, shoppers were asked to scan a QR code, which directed them to a web page containing more information. Unfortunately for Heinz, once the competition was over, the URL was purchased by a German-based outfit offering internet users something decidedly more adult. And I don’t mean piccalilli.
Daniel Korell (who evidently consumes ketchup at a far more pedestrian rate than me) recently scanned the code on his aging bottle and found himself looking at images considerably saucier than his sausage sandwiches evidently are. As a gesture of goodwill Heinz pledged to provide him a free personalised bottle of ketchup. Which, from the sound of it, might qualify as a lifetime supply.
Taking the Mickey
If you’re anything like me, every time you see a selfie stick you will be overcome with the urge to banish every single one of the blasted devices within a five-mile radius.
Clearly the good folk at Disney feel similarly enraged by the photographic aids, announcing last week that they are to be banned from every one of its theme parks.
Selfie sticks were already prohibited from all rides, but they will now be completely barred throughout the various Lands of Disney across the US, Paris, and Hong Kong.
Children, wearied parents, and other aficionados of creepy giant mice will have to deposit the sticks in lockers at the park entrances and collect them once they’re finished having an infantilised approximation of “fun”.
A spokeswoman told the BBC: “Handheld extension poles have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and cast.” Got it – I’ll leave the handheld extension pole at home next time I visit. But what about my selfie stick?
All at sea
Despite the fact that it is approaching its 14th birthday, many users just can’t shake Windows XP. Over the past 18 months Microsoft has warned frequently and insistently about the potential security implications of staying on the operating system now support for it has ended.
If you’re not particularly tech-dependent, and only fire up your dusty desktop once a fortnight for a hand of hearts and a quick squiz at the sidebar of shame, it’s likely you’d think it’s not a major risk.
But if you’re the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, one might have assumed you’d take the warnings a touch more seriously. Military bods on the other side of the pond recently announced that they had agreed a $9.1m contract extension with Microsoft to continue to provide customer support for XP, as well as the almost equally senescent Office 2003 and Exchange 2003.
The Navy estimates that 100,000 computers across its fleet are running one or more of the aging applications. To be fair, it’s understandable that they might want to cut a few corners in the IT security area. So long as they haven’t skimped on the nuclear warheads.
20 May 2015
Dressing down was a theme at Cisco’s annual partner shindig in Montreal as the vendor tried desperately to be “a bit more software”. But it seems some in attendance took that message a little too literally.
The search is on for a blue-underpant-wearing Cisco partner who passed out on a hotel floor after stripping down to his smalls at the event. The half-nude reveller, who had clearly imbibed one too many maple shandies, was spotted and photographed by Jon Pickering, the managing director of UK Cisco Gold partner Block Solutions, who was also staying at the resort.
“We need to find this man… Which Cisco partner was it? Retweet,” Pickering tweeted, alongside a shot of the unconscious merrymaker spread-eagled on a hotel carpet. Collaboration emerged as a big buzzphrase at the event, which lured 2,000 partners globally (including me and Shirl from Dodgi).
But it’s probably safe to say our semi-clad friend – whose identity is, thankfully for him, yet to be exposed as I write this – is hoping his peers had collaborated a little bit less on social media.
Waste of time
It was an unusually crowded field, but this week’s prize for the most tenuous and underwhelming piece of IT “research” goes to recruitment firm Ranstad Technologies.
According to Ranstad’s latest half-baked thesis, commuting “costs” IT professionals an average of £8,398 a year in lost time.
In a move that defies all logic, Ranstad arrived at this figure by randomly taking the average commute time of an IT worker – 42 minutes – and then charging that time out by the average salary in the sector.
This conveniently ignores the fact that people tend to commute further for better-paid jobs. It also assumes time spent on a train or snarled in a traffic jam is dead time, when in fact – as anyone who has seen me rocking out to Creedence Clearwater Revival on the A12 knows – that is anything but the case.
If anything, I would pay £8,398 just to have that 84 minutes on the open road each day when I don’t have to hear Her Indoors wittering on about which curtains will go best with the new dog or Gordon boring me with his latest business development brainwave.
To kiss or not to kiss
We often hear how men have it easier in the workplace, but one area I definitely agree with that is in relation to business greetings. When two guys meet, they have a firm handshake (in some cases bone-crushingly painful) and get on with business.
But bring a lady into the mix and it gets complicated. To kiss or not to kiss? Is a handshake too formal? How can you tell who prefers what?
One of our ladies recently came back to the office extremely red-faced and said she is never doing another business meeting again. She had met a vendor exec and it had all gone swimmingly.
But when the meeting was over she had gone in for the informal peck on the cheek. After all, they had met several times and were on friendly terms.
Unfortunately the male exec wasn’t on the same page and she ended up kissing his ear. I only hope the vendor boss in question didn’t think it was deliberate and is now offering up his lughole to female business contacts by way of greeting.
I was always warned as a nipper that if I played my music too loud, I would suffer in later life. Luckily for me I got away with it, and only pretend to be hard of hearing when Shirl is giving me grief (often on a daily basis).
But some bigwigs of the music world – Chris Martin and Plan B (yes they are still going) – have teamed up with UK charity Action on Hearing Loss to warn youngsters about the dangers of losing your hearing, with Martin sharing his tinnitus woes.
Luckily for everyone involved (marketing opportunity alert), tech vendor Geermarc also got in on the act, by bunging some special headphones on the charity’s website to help protect delicate yoof ears.
I can’t help wishing that Martin had gone deaf – and therefore lost the ability to write music – in about 2004, after Rush of Blood to the Head, but before X&Y.
11 Mar 2015
I was being wined and dined by a distribution boss the other day when he shared an ingenious analogy for channel partnerships. Lamenting a relationship with a start-up vendor that had failed to take off, the poetic VAD executive broke out his – apparently infamous – “love-sex-marriage” metaphor.
“You must know my love, sex, marriage thing?” he asked, earning an eye-roll from his long-suffering marketing colleague. “Go on,” I implored.
“Love is the relationship, marriage is the contract and sex is the revenue,” he went on (eye-rolls aplenty from his co-worker). “With this vendor, we had the love, we had the marriage of the contract – but there was no sex. We got married too soon!”
He was being glib, but maybe the nameless distie exec – let’s call him Graham Jones from Exclusive Networks, for argument’s sake – has struck allegoric gold. The more I think about it, my skills between the sheets could be likened to that batch of factory-seconds PCs we sold last week: slow running and may not have been tested for anything infectious in many a year, but ultimately reliable and better value than anything else you’ll find in Dagenham market.
I felt a little queasy at the recent revelation that inexplicably popular dating app Tinder is to charge us mature types almost four times more than young folk to use its premium service. The rather creepy and reductive matching site is apparently introducing some higher-end subscription services, but has sparked incredulity with its age-based pricing policy.
In the US over-30s will be charged $19.99 per month to upgrade, double the $9.99 fee for those yet to enter their fourth decade. In the UK the age threshold is even lower, at 28, and the cost differential is even more pronounced: £3.99 a month for those aged 27 or under, and a whopping £14.99 once you’ve careered into the last two years of your 20s.
A Tinder spokeswoman told the BBC: “We’ve found that these price points were adopted very well by certain age demographics.” (Particularly the ones who have to pay much, much less, I’m guessing.) “Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example,” she added, confusing the concept of studying with that of being a certain age.
I second that emoji
Apple device users may have noticed in recent weeks that the new beta update of its operating system brings with it a diversified universe of emojis, encompassing a range of skin tones and sexual orientations.
The changes are welcome, to be sure, but some believe the fruity tech giant has not gone far enough. Emma Kelly, who runs the redhead-targeted Ginger Parrot website, spotted that Apple has not included a single emoji person of the redhead persuasion. She is seeking to rectify this with the launch of a petition which, as I write, has upwards of 2,000 signatures. “I can’t believe redheads didn’t even get one character in Apple’s openly diversified collection of emoji,” said Kelly.
“If you say you’re going to diversify, why not add a few ginger-haired emoji in the mix? Sure, we only make up less than two per cent of the world’s population, but that is 138,000,000 iPhones waiting to happen.”
Hear, hear! And while you’re at it, surely you can’t have failed to notice the complete lack of moustachioed, trench-coated spivs among Apple’s emojiverse?
Watch your step
In a landmark development for the burgeoning condescending tech industry, I learned this week that vendor Burg has unveiled its “first standalone phone/safety smartwatch for kids and seniors”.
Whether your relative is young and vulnerable, or old and vulnerable, this nifty bit of kit aims to offer you peace of mind.
A GPS system allows you to track the movements of your child (or your parent/lover/creditors, I suppose) while the one-touch emergency call option is designed to give the elderly an alternative to the “embarrassing and expensive ‘I’ve fallen’ pendant” – a technology that is apparently popular in the US. Sounds like a neat enough idea.
If there’s any way of getting the one-touch dial function set up to ring Kebabaganza in Barking, count me in!
10 Mar 2015
I can’t tell you, dear reader, how long I’ve been waiting for an esteemed IT vendor to come up with “a new corporate identity that goes far beyond simply using a different logo or brand image”.
Unfortunately my wait goes on, despite the blood, sweat and rhetoric of Panda Security, which this week revealed the results of more than a year’s work it has invested in overhauling its bizness image.
The fruits of its long labours appear to be an awful lot of hot air and the invention of a thoroughly nauseating word: simplexity.
“We want to be perceived by the industry as we really are: challenging and innovative, with deep human values,” explained marketing bod Paula Quirós, without giving the slightest indication of what on earth a “deep human value” is (perhaps the unconditional love of a parent for a child? Or the quiet, but crushing, malaise of realising the ultimate futility of all human endeavour? Maybe the derivation of biochemical energy from the nutrients in our food and their subsequent conversion into adenosine triphosphate?)
In addition to the rebranding brainfart, Panda has announced a dynamite five-year strategic plan based around growing a bit faster than other people. Wowsers.
I’ve also come up with a tactical playbook for the next half-decade: to try to forget I ever heard the word“simplexity”, and sever all lines of communication with anyone who reminds me otherwise.
Examining the results of a study that found almost three out of four technology jobs are based in London, you might conclude that the industry has something of a capital bias. But apparently that’s only if you’re some kind of myopic cockney apologist like me.
Because, according to “professional resourcing specialist Experis” (no, I don’t know either), the news that “over a quarter (28 per cent) of the latest technology jobs are advertised in cities outside London” is cause for some kind of wild celebration across the provinces.
“There are strong indications to suggest that tech job opportunities are on the rise throughout the UK,” said Experis Europe MD Geoff Smith, not in the least bit inaccurately. Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, and Glasgow were picked out as “tech hotspots”, having accounted for a cumulative total of eight new IT posts last quarter. (Probably).
In related news, 83 per cent of the 43 million technology jobs currently advertised in London are in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, according to an in-depth survey of three people in the Dog and Duck.
I was intrigued to learn that the glitz-and-glamour world of the UK IT channel has both gained and lost a TV star this month. First came the sad news that Outsourcery leader Piers Linney is to depart Dragons’ Den, the popular BBC investment-a-thon that I’m sure you were all already well aware is still actually on our screens (and not just 86 times a week on Dave). But thankfully Linney’s farewell was swiftly followed by the entrance stage left of Robert Herjavec.
The owner of Canadian security VAR Herjavec Group – which recently bought UK firm Sysec – has starred in Dragons’ Den in his native country, and also in the US version of the show, which changed the name to Shark Tank. Our Gordon is also always bragging that he’s been on TV. It’s just a shame they’ve never released Police Camera Action! as a DVD boxset.
Chip off the office block
In a development for the file marked Evidence of Humanity’s Inexorable March Towards a Totalitarian Dystopia, I read this week that a company in Sweden is offering its staff the chance to be fitted with an RFID chip.
The technology – already implanted in the hand of boss Felicio de Costa – could be used by employees to get into the building, use the photocopier, or even buy lunch. Hannes Sjoblad, a so-called bio-hacker who is heading the initiative, said: “We already interact with technology all the time. Today it’s a bit messy – we need PINs and passwords.” Fair point. Having a bit of metal injected into your flesh sounds far less messy to me.
26 Jan 2015
I was intrigued and a little giggly to learn this week of the first investment house to plough a fair bit of cash into the marijuana industry.
Founders Fund, a San Franciscan venture capital outfit co-led by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, has invested an unspecified amount in Privateer Holdings. A Seattle-based firm, it owns Leafly.com, which provides reviews and price comparison info for medicinal cannabis users in the US.
It also runs Tilray, which grows medical pot in Canada, and various other ganj-related interests. Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy claimed his firm is all about "creating a smart, professional brand" in a market where the majority of its rivals "are so amateurish".
Maybe so, but most of them are pretty cool about you turning up at their "office" at one in the morning and don't mind if you just chill out and watch Trans World Sport for an hour or two while you're there.
Talking of the extracurricular activities of tech chiefs, I discovered recently that Mark Zuckerberg has joined popular culture giants such as Oprah Winfrey and Richard and Judy in setting up his own book club.
The Facebook leader has reportedly vowed to read a book every fortnight this year and has created an online community for everyone who wishes to join him. His first choice was a tome called The End of Power by Moses Naim, a book about whether society's most powerful folk will continue to wield quite so much influence in future (spoiler alert: yeah, probably). More titles will follow, as Zuck racks up the literary miles.
"I've found reading books very intellectually fulfilling," said the social media CEO, as if he is one of only 10 people in the world to ever finish a whole one.
In a development sure to secure more votes for the Goodness Gracious - This Country, It's Political Correctness Gone Mad Party, I learned this week that applicants for a senior post in the police have been asked to prove their credentials by sending in a "New Year Selfie".
Humberside Police has asked anyone interested in becoming its new deputy chief constable to request an application pack by sending in a self-taken photograph. It might not appear entirely clear to a Non-Johnny Lawman like me what the link is between blurry headshots and apprehending criminals, but the force has explained that it wants senior officers to lead from the front when it comes to the effective use of social media.
"It is vital that potential candidates understand the importance of embracing new technology," said chief constable Justine Curran, before adding "LOL #YOLO #jussayin."
Eating your profits
Part of running a deeply successful business is knowing when to play hardball, and when to offer a tasty deal.
Giving your clients mates' rates is usually a combination of factors, and comes as a reward for loyalty, honesty, scrupulousness - or just liking the cut of someone's jib. But I read this week that some restaurants in China are taking a decidedly shallower approach to discounts.
The Zhengzhou Korean restaurant in Henan province reportedly offers free meals to those deemed to be its most attractive diners. Patrons of the eatery are photographed as they enter, before a crack team of cosmetic surgery professionals examine all the snaps and single out the five fittest faces, each of whom gets a free meal.
All of which might seem a little bit grubby, but is relatively harmless compared with the Na Huo joint in Chongqing, which last month offered gratis grub to customers who were dangerously over- or underweight. Money off their meal was awarded to the husky gentleman, with discounts increasing on a sliding scale (presumably made of reinforced steel) based on their bulk. Fellas clocking in at more than 22 stone ate for free.
Meanwhile, ladies were rewarded the thinner they were, with no charge for those weighing less than a scarcely believable 5st 6lb (if you want some context, that's roughly the same size as half a woman).
Of course, you'd never catch a corporately socially responsible CEO like me doing this sort of thing. Although if I spy a West Ham sticker on your rear windscreen, you might find my routers are surprisingly expensive.
16 Sep 2014
I was lunching with one of my manufacturer partners in a swanky eatery recently and, when the waiter came to take our order, I found myself surprised and impressed when the vendor’s UK chief jumped straight in and ordered a salad.
While the rest of the party made their choices, I remarked that I admired the chap’s commitment to healthy eating – especially as last time I had dined with the vendor another of the senior exec team had gone for a big juicy lobster, complete with cracking claws (the lobster’s), buttery paws (the exec’s), and a bib whose every stain told the story of a hearty meal.
My companion on this occasion went quiet for a few moments, before piping up loudly just as the waiter finished taking the other orders. “I’ve changed my mind,” he wailed. “I’ll have the sea bass, please.” Ten minutes later he was duly presented with a big plate that played host to a meaty, glistening ocean beast, complete with head and tail intact. Had he simply been reminded of a latent love of seafood, or was it that he didn’t want to look like some kind of save-the-whales, Guardian-reading salad muncher?
Shooting the Messenger
There was bad news for late-90s teenagers this week as Microsoft called time on its once-mighty MSN Messenger service. The chat tool – which is now known as Windows Live Messenger – was retired in most regions of the world last year, but remains in use in China.
However, the software giant is to finally pull the plug on what was once the world’s premier tool for exchanging emojis and explicit descriptions of bodily parts with people in other countries.
The writing was on the wall for the messaging monolith once Microsoft bought Skype in a 2012 blockbuster acquisition, and those users still clinging to the service will be given free Skype credits when they migrate, Microsoft has promised. As someone who was at an impressionable age (34) during the first great wave of the internet, this news makes me :o(
Patrons of Manchester United were this week dealt a cruel blow by the powers that be. Now, I may not be much of a ‘Red Devil’ – in fact I feel like this club is well overdue a little misfortune – but the news that all fans were barred from taking laptops and tablets into Old Trafford seems a tad harsh.
The poor devils who go to watch United play will not be able to find comforting distraction playing Angry Birds on their iPads, or watching an episode or two of Orange is the New Black. Instead, they will be forced to watch their team actually play football, which will inevitably be as bad as that time me and the boys found a ball and decided to have an impromptu kick-about at the conclusion of a particularly heavy bender around Hornchurch and Upminster.
Needless to say, I would advise any ManYoo fans reading to stay home and bask in the warm glow of your tablet. Or, better yet, come to the Orient. The football’s not up to much, but we’ll let you check your email in peace.
As a street-smart graduate of the School of Hard Knocks and the University of Life (with a Masters from the Royal Institute of Yeah, What Of It? Do One, Pal), I’ve always eyed private education with a high level of suspicion and antipathy.
So I reacted with something of a sneer upon hearing news this week that a top independent school is making many of its lessons available online to us plebs. Cambridge-based Stephen Frears Foundation School has made 87 of its courses – for pupils aged 11 to 14 – available online via the iTunes U service, the free version of Apple’s online store available to education establishments.
The ￡15,405-a-year school is offering free downloads of digital textbooks and exam course material across subjects such as algebra, geography and religious studies. Presumably they’ll be round later to hand out free Macbooks to the children of Barking and Dagenham so they can enjoy the school’s educational largesse.
11 Aug 2014
It's been noted before that the Devil has all the best tunes. But recent evidence suggests that Lucifer may also be more tech-savvy than his heavenly counterpart.
Following an attempted exorcism of a teenage girl, Polish priest Marian Rajchel claims Satan himself has been sending him goading text messages. After conducting the procedure(?), the man of the cloth received an SMS telling him: "She will not come out of this hell. She's mine. Anyone who prays for her will die."
After replying to the Prince of Darkness (as you do), the taunts turned more personal. "Shut up, preacher," warned Beelzebub. "You cannot save yourself. Idiot. You pathetic old preacher."
Oo-er. Father Rajchel warned cellphone users to be on their guard for Satanic possession.
"Often the owners of mobile phones are not even aware that they are being used like this," he told The Austrian Times.
Phew! It must be the Devil that's been using my wife's phone to send reminders of how many of her old boyfriends are thinner, more successful and nicer than I am.
What, me, worry?
"Are you worried about the security of your home while away on holiday?," began a marketing communiqué which landed in my inbox this week.
Before I'd had a chance to reply "not massively and, by the way, who are you?", the email thundered on, claiming that "85 per cent of [UK] adults" are indeed concerned, citing a recent YouGov survey. Though I dare say the reputable pollsters of YouGov might wish to know that the figure quoted here includes the 46 per cent of their respondents who said they were not very worried, and the 32 per cent who were fairly worried, in addition to the whopping seven per cent who are very worried.
But you can prove anything with made-up statistics. The fact remains that Piper (who sent the missive) claims to have launched "the first home security device with Z-Wave automation, panoramic video and environmental sensors integration for the home".
Wowsers trousers! Z-Wave automation and environmental sensors integration?! They said it couldn't be done!
The device uses an app to alert users of any movements of note at their home, which Piper claims will "give them peace of mind while they are away".
And definitely won't serve only to ruin their holiday every time next door's cat falls asleep on their windowsill.
Cupid is as Cupid does
With every tech firm and his dog seeking to distance themselves from any suggestion of spying on users and their data, it was almost refreshing to see the leader of one web outfit proclaim "We experiment on human beings!".
This was the title a recent blog post from Christian Rudder, co-founder of OkCupid, which explained that the company has fed users not-entirely-accurate information in the name of furthering its learnings in the complex world of internet romance.
"Guess what, everybody: if you use the internet, you're the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That's how websites work," he boomed.
Rudder went on to detail a few ways in which his site has conducted experiments on its lovelorn patrons - including inverting people's compatibility rankings so those who were a 30 per cent match were told the figure was 90 per cent and vice versa. Lo and behold, when users were informed they were well or poorly matched with someone, they more often acted as if that were the case.
Almost as if they trusted a provider of a service to do so honestly and to the best of its ability.
Speaking of people who definitely aren't spying on your every Lolcat and ‘which character from Mrs Brown's Boys are you?' quiz, I read that GCHQ is launching new academic certifications for the next generation of cyber spies.
The intelligence agency has unveiled Master's degrees in cyber security at six UK universities. The accompanying press bumf seems to offer little in the way of detail as to what pupils will actually study. Possibly because they'll be asked to discover their coursework assignments (should they choose to accept them) by hacking into their lecturers' email.
29 Jul 2014
As one of Microsoft's top 50 resellers in the outer east London area (take that, Chingford Charlie's Network Solutions!), I was, of course, in attendance at the software titan's recent partner shindig in Washington DC.
Thankfully, for a tittle-tattle merchant such as I, amid all the on-message corporate back-scratching there were several pleasing outbreaks of foot-in-mouth disease. Not least the poor bigwig whose main-stage keynote speech featured repeated references to "Microsocks".
Then there was the Microsoft staffer who ran into an old reseller contact. The duo were ahead of me in the queue for the tea and coffee facilities, and after the usual ‘Hi-how-are-yas?', the Microsoftie ventured into the conversation proper with the following gambit.
"So, how's the wedding planning going...?"
"Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, about that...," came the reply. "The wedding's off."
If it ever gets back on, something tells me the vendor friend might not be on the invite list.
Spread the love
As a business manager of many years' experience, I'm a big fan of the spreadsheet. In fact, so handy have I frequently found them in my working life, that over time I've deployed them in numerous areas of my personal life.
I've got a spreadsheet to organise my monthly outgoings, to count my calorie intake - even one to manage the Orient awayday schedule. But even an Excelophile like me has never seen fit to keep track of my marital relations.
Which is more than can be said of the latest internet buffoon to achieve several seconds of notoriety, after he used a spreadsheet to record the excuses his better half trotted out for declining a bit of the other. The data reveals that the wannabe lothario suggested his partner join him in the boudoir 27 times in two months, with only three of the invitations being accepted.
Rather than discuss it with her as if she were a fellow human and his intellectual equal, the chap chose to email the spreadsheet to her, to illustrate the stagnation of the relationship. Now the document has been shared online, the frustrated fella has become the butt of the internet's collective joke. Well, they do say you can laugh a woman into bed...
Motivate to accumulate
I've never been a huge fan of motivational speakers. However, I understand from one of my vendor mates that his boss was put in the awkward position recently of having to cater for a particularly enthusiastic motivational speaker who insisted on rearranging the room to suit his presentational needs. Instead of a relaxed tables and chairs look, he wanted a more formal ‘horseshoe' shape.
"This room is quite large for the amount of people. Who decided it would look like this?" said the speaker.
"Er, I did," stammered the poor vendor boss. "I thought it'd be nice to have a relaxed feel where people can lean on tables and take notes."
Wrong, fella. Apparently the way to motivate staff is to sit them in a tight horseshoe shape, close together and with nothing to lean on, and stay that way for the next three hours. I wonder whether he accidentally hired an ‘interrogational speaker' by accident.
Regular reader(s) will be all too aware of how long I have waited for the imminent enslavement of humanity by shiny metal overlords.
Thankfully, that blessed day seemed to inch closer this week with news that G4S claims to have hired the first "autonomous robot... deployed in a working office environment, to do a real job". (Although if it were that autonomous, I dare say the bot might have thought its awesome combination of artificial intelligence and reinforced steel qualified it for a higher-powered position than office admin.)
The security services company claimed that while the robot - named Bob - "carries out his duties, he will also be gathering information about his surroundings and learning about how the environment changes over time". Somewhat eerily.
Bob, from the University of Birmingham, "will learn how to act intelligently and independently in real-world environments", claimed G4S.
Sounds impressive. Maybe these robots could eventually take charge of overseeing a major project. Like the Olympics, perhaps?
The head honcho of Dagenham's top reseller (give or take a few) gives his insights on the quirkier and murkier side of the industry. Dave also keeps a keen eye on the world of robots, pointless research and social networking.
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