:: More work musings ::
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
More drudgery was forestalled today by including this note in an outgoing shipment:
Here's our malfunctioning [device type censored]. Our lead tester has a hunch it's a firmware/hardware problem.
Let me tell you a little allegory about another misbehaving device:
Once upon a time there was a tender-skinned race of beings, happy and content save for one bane: flies. The horrid pests plagued them to no end, and they sought a solution that would rid them of the constant torture. One of the beings was an influential politician, and harnessed his connections to the military-exterminator complex to fund a massive anti-fly project, codenamed OFF (Obliterate Flies Forever). Design and testing took nearly a decade, but eventually the lead contractor produced the final product: a robotic frog with a laser tongue and phased-array radar capable of tracking 32 targets simultaneously. The unveiling involved much fanfare and many photo-ops. Soon, the frogs were being rolled off the assembly line and disseminated throughout the land to fight the winged scourge.
But the robotic frogs had a defect. Within a few weeks of operation, sensitive capacitors in what would best be described as the frogs' "necks" would begin to short-circuit. The heat produced by the resultant sparks slightly recalibrated the devices' targeting algorithms. Lower-pitched noises and slower movements now caused their threat-assessment coprocessors to deem most of their creators as targets. While the frogs' laser tongues were not strong enough to kill creatures much larger than a beetle, they did inflict painful itchy welts on those who made them (they being predisposed to tender skin in the first place - see ALLEGORY OF ROBOTIC FROGS, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1). The citizenry was aghast: the solution had proved to be far more irritating than the problem it was meant to solve. They insisted that the devices be removed.
But alas, the massive expenditures over the past ten years on the OFF project had drained the realm's coffers. There was no budget to remove the anti-fly devices. The foolish race would have to adapt, and so they did. Their movements became slow and lumbering, their speech slow, rumbling, and bass. Burning fewer calories, they grew in mass, and began to seek solace in the sea where the frogs, unlike their fleshy amphibian namesakes, could not function, because they were made of electronics with shoddy casing, and the sea is made of water. The ocean is also amenable to corpulence.
And that's the story of the evolution of whales.
Posted by morland @ 01:37 PM
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