Archive for July, 2013

Business Lesson #74: Build team loyalty with self-guided mobile spy robots

robot bosses - TimIf there’s one thing nearly every American can agree on it’s that having aerial surveillance cameras capable of eavesdropping on our every move from outer space is a wonderful thing. Oh, sure, sometimes surveillance cameras can be used for evil, like the time they caught me doing 45 in a 35 mph zone. But video technology can also be used for good – say, to observe remotely whether employees are wasting time at work playing video games, when they should be wasting time pretending to make sales calls.

That at least appears to be the thinking behind a new, state-of-the art mobile video robot called the Ava 500, a name most experts consider a far better selection than the original idea: the Self-Navigational Operations Observational Prototype (SNOOP for short). The Ava 500 is the world’s “first self-driving business collaboration robot,” according to the manufacturer’s cheery marketing brochure. Now, business executives can collaborate with employees without leaving their corner office, using a mobile robot with a two-way video camera that lets them roam the halls or join in on team meetings remotely. Employees will love it.

Want to check in on your crew of illegal Mexican factory workers to see if they are keeping pace with their production quota of 1,500 sneakers per hour? No problem. With the press of a button, you can remotely walk along the assembly line floor to inspect the quality of their work, without leaving your yacht in the Caymans. Hey, looks like it’s already been ten minutes and Pedro’s still not back from his five-minute lunch break. Uh oh. Looks like Pedro’s got some ‘splaining to do.

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  • The people I used to work for didn't need robots. All of the employees were reporters, so we were…
    Drew Fisher
  • Published On Jul. 31, 2013 by TEJ
  • In wake of Zimmerman verdict, Florida legislature criminalizes being black

    Zimmerman - Not GuiltyRecently, our nation’s attention was focused on Sanford, Florida, where a mostly white jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claimed he shot the unarmed black youth in self-defense, which it totally was, of course.

    Let’s face it, a black youth had no business being in a community of white people, and he came packing heat, and by heat, of course, we mean a bag of Skittles, a candy popular with malevolent juvenile delinquents. And while on one level, Martin’s death is tragic, on the bright side, thanks to the publicity surrounding his death, sales of Skittles are up 25%.

    Critics of the verdict shouted racial profiling. Others blamed Florida’s antiquated Stand-Your-Ground law, which apparently permits a white person to kill an unarmed black youth so long as they’re wearing a hoodie, on a sugar high, and the person standing their ground thinks they’re Dirty Harry. The verdict sparked outrage among blacks, who felt it was another case of a white man getting away with murder. White vigilante enthusiasts, on the other hand, are anxiously hopeful Zimmerman may be awarded the next Congressional Medal of Honor.

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    • Interesting segue from your normal outrageously blatant satire to borderline verisimilitude. What's come over you?
      Pam N
  • Published On Jul. 22, 2013 by TEJ
  • A brief history of the apology

    Apology - CortezLet me start off by apologizing for this week’s column – something I should probably do every week about this time.

    Apologizing is as old as mankind. The very first recorded apology took place in the Garden of Eden, when Eve apologized to Adam for goading him into taking a bite out of the apple. An ancient Greek translation of her apology roughly translates to: “Sorry about that, Adam. But you have to admit that I look pretty amazing now that you realize I’m naked, right?” 

    Anthropologists have found what they believe to be the earliest preserved record of an apology in a 17,000-year-old cave paintings in Lascaux, France. It appears to depict a dejected male apologizing to his female companion for failing to bring back a hyena for dinner. Or it might have been a small mastodon. Hard to say which. The brush strokes were early impressionist.

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    • You forgot the pre-emptive strike strategy: "I'm the first to apologize if I have done anything wrong..." Ahh, how…
      Betsy Jones
  • Published On Jul. 10, 2013 by TEJ