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Reader Feedback Friday: Readers Control the Microsoft Robot

Last week, we gave you control of the Microsoft robot, and you grabbed the command right out of our hands. What resulted were some of the best e-mails we've ever had.

First up was David, who created a couple of robots of his own:

"The Microsoft robot could be the Swiss army knife of robots. It could store your music collection, balance your checkbook and do your online Christmas shopping for you. It would probably be squat and boxy but easy for everyone to learn and use, but, like children, you have to worry about them spreading viruses on the playground.

"The Mac OS robot would be sleek and sophisticated, if just a little arrogant. It would edit your home videos and clean up your digital photos all while poking fun at the boring, old Microsoft robot. It would be more expensive than the Microsoft robot and claim to be able to do everything the Microsoft robot can -- and do it better.

"The Linux robot would be built from any parts available, and therefore could appear as anything from an insect to a racecar to a Microsoft robot with a knowing smirk on its face. It would be the most highly configurable of all of the robots, with huge numbers of components available, many of which work mostly as advertised if the owner is willing to spend the time to get them configured properly. It comes with a preinstalled flamethrower triggered by an RTM sensor."

We'll take the Linux robot, please (for the flamethrower, of course), although the Mac OS robot sounds like the most fun to hang around.

Frequent contributor Jon was up next, with a few shots at Vista:

"I want my Microsoft robot to write the successor for Windows XP. If I hadn't taken my workplace violence training, I would also like it to strangle whoever thought of Vista."

Wait...we have to stop here for a second. Workplace violence training? We're brimming with questions. Why was it necessary in the first place? And were you trained, Jon, to avoid violence in the workplace or to be violent in the office? The second option seems much more useful than the first to us. Anyway, back to Jon's e-mail:

"As with any Microsoft product, I sure wouldn't want version 1 of this thing, since it would likely use Windex on the carpet and then try to vacuum the windows after I ask it to make Windows better. Setting it loose in the kitchen would undoubtedly result in half-baked food like hamburger cookies and oatmeal cheesecake that Microsoft thought were good ideas. If I asked it to do the laundry, I can imagine coming home and finding the robot wearing my underwear on its head. And not because it thought it would be funny."

Mmm, oatmeal cheesecake. But Jon wasn't finished (fortunately, because this is good stuff). He actually sent a whole separate e-mail to say this:

"It would always promise to deliver a delicious dinner by 6:00 p.m. but would usually let its schedule slip until much later. The more interesting of the promised side dishes would have to be cut to make the new deadline. Dinner would have an excessive ad campaign to keep my interest while I'm waiting."

Jon, you've got us shaking here (all four cheeks and a chin, as Cliff Claven once said on "Cheers"). That was fantastic stuff. And we loved David's entry, too. Thanks, guys, and keep it coming.

Any more commands for the Microsoft robot? Send them to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 12/07/2007 at 1:21 PM


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