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Thread: One Wacky Company

  1. #1
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    One Wacky Company

    My husband used to work for Panasonic, which is owned by a huge Japanese corporation named Matsushita. Big corporations have a culture all their own, and this company in particular had some very embarassing snafu's related to being too big for their own good. Here's two we went through:

    1. It's 1996, and Matsushita is ready to market a new product that uses a touch screen interface to browse the internet. They spend a lot of money on an American cartoon icon to launch the product - Woody Woodpecker. The slogan to launch the product is developed in Japanese, then translated to English: "Touch Woody - the Internet Pecker." This came within days of being launched before an American in the Japan office brought the slang meaning to Japanese boss' attention. The EE Times reported it (this is a copy on someone's website) here.

    2. My husband's division provides a speech synthesizer to software being developed elsewhere in the company. The program is called Secret Writer's Society and promotes writing by reading off what a kid enters in their journal. Unbeknownst to the original programmers, someone high up decides that they want to put a block in so that kids aren't typing swear words all the time and having the computer read it off. So something is added to the original code, but not by the authors of the program.

    When the product is shipped out, reports start coming back about a computer that swears like a drunken stevedore. Turns out that if you type really fast, a bug causes the synthesizer to fire up and start reading down the list of forbidden words for about 20 seconds. It only happened on the Mac version, and I have a copy of this - it really works. And it has the filthiest, raunchiest words you can think of - terms I'd never even heard of. And of course, all you have to do is write a homonym and the computer will say it, like Fuh Cue or what have you. Don't blame the programmers! There's a Wired blurb about it here.

    Anyone else have any humorous snafus?
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

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    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Nothing that funny!
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    Shark Week! dagwood's Avatar
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    Loving the swearing computer!
    He who laughs last thinks slowest

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