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Episode 17

“So what do the following have in common?” the Boss seethes “My desk drawer, the complaints box at reception and the boot of the deputy CEO’s car?”

“They’re all places you can take a dump?” the PFY asks, pouring a little petrol on the flames of the Boss’ annoyance.

“WHAT!?”

“You’ll have to forgive my assistant” I interject quickly “He often uses the word ‘can’ when he really means ‘should’.”

What the hell, in for a penny and all that...

“No!” the Boss snaps back “They’re all places which have been broken into in the last couple of weeks.”

“To take a dump?” the PFY asks

“No, to steal things!”

“What would be in any of those that someone would want to steal?”

“There’s a lot of valuable things in my office for a start!” the Boss snaps back.

“You mean like the bit of paper under your keyboard with your password and safe combination on it?”

“You know my safe combination?!?!” the Boss gasps

“Even the CLEANER knows your safe combination,” I reply “Besides, there’s nothing valuable in your drawer or your safe.”

“And how do you know that?”

“BECAUSE THE CLEANER KNOWS YOUR SAFE COMBINATION!”

“So you’re saying the cleaner broke into those places?” the Boss asks, detective work not being his strong suit

“No I’m saying the cleaner wouldn’t need to break into those places because he’s the person who shuts your safe and locks your drawer when you leave them open.” I reply

“And knows where the key’s kept” the PFY adds

The problem with talking to middle management occurs when they lose focus, often happening when you’re talking about password complexity policy and why someone’s initials don’t count as complex – or when you’re describing the smtp protocol and how it’s not really designed to send that DVD you just ripped to your friend’s Yahoo account.

And so it is that the boss has timed out of the conversation. Before he can switch to hibernate, I draw him back into the conversation by mentioning security robots once more. Nothing drags a bloke back to the light quicker than 1 part gadget mixed with 2 parts potential danger.

“I thought they were all broken.”

“They are” the PFY says “and fraught with bugs. What we’re suggesting is that we build our own security robots – to make sure we record whoever’s breaking into things.”

“They can’t have weapons!” the Boss cautions

“No weapons needed” I say “All we really want is a camera and the ability to move around.”

“No lifts or stairwells!” the Boss snaps again, thinking of the recent past

“Fine. We could make robots that simply stay on a floor and observe.”

“I’m not going to spend a lot of money!” he cautions

“And why would you?” I ask, making a sweeping gesture into the room “When we have all the raw materials on hand!”

“How?”

“Oh, just parts from some servers, laptops, printers – plus the odd vending machine – etc. In fact we have three of them up and running in the building already”

“Where?” the Boss asks

“Well the first one we activated a few minutes ago” I reply “– the vending machine on the Balcony of level 6. It works like a vending machine but is also a completely mobile surveillance device. Has a 12 sector movement detector along with a wireless lan connection for voice and video plus inbuilt facial recognition. It can transmit a suspect’s movements while monitoring their head movements as well. The moment it detects someone looking at it, it becomes a static vending machine again”

“You know, like the statues on Doctor Who.” the PFY adds.

“I... And this is up and running now?” the Boss gasps

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