Oct 21, 2019 11:50 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
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"Fair enough. Good fortune."

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"You too."

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Not much to do but wait for the rest of the day. She can even make her evening waitress shift.

Tomorrow, Mr. Griffing's receptionist has a list of meeting times and places she is expected to visit. Either all packed in today, or over the next two days, her choice. Doctor and chemist first, they're in the same building. Then the engine-makers, then the weaving shop.

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That's a lot of meetings. She can start in on some things but can't progress far with everyone. She scopes out the chemistry inventory, asks specifically about anything she isn't sure what it is in her own terms.

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The chemistry inventory is pretty good on organic compounds, from acetic acid to acetone to benzene, but they barely have any metals and don't have much of anything volatile or flammable. Their inventory problems are of the 'never seem to remember to make enough of what we actually need' variety.

The doctor mostly knows what he's doing, but bemoans both his inability to create vaccines and the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.

The weavers can get some minor improvements from moving the machines around a bit, but there's not much low-hanging fruit.

The engine-makers' inventory problems are of the 'not enough space' variety. They seem to do a lot of experimental projects and let them creep into every nook and cranny.

The man in charge points to a young woman who's busy re-shelving tools, saying, "She's the one who can cobble all our side-projects into something useful, if anyone can. Young, but sharp, good at the work, and interesting ideas. Maybe you should be talkin' to her instead of me."

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Chemistry people need the good word on checklists and department-internal incentives. She knows two knots the weavers don't, and a cable weave that will turn into stronger rope. Engineers need lofts and things attached to benches with string and suchlike.

She introduces herself to the tool-shelver. "Hi, I'm the consultant, my name's Tarinda."

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"Hi! I'm the - I dunno if I actually have a title. The apprentice? Ah, I'm Erwelta, but please call me Walta. You need anything?"

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"I'm consulting on efficiency in general. Any pain points you want to point me at?"

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"If you're sure you should be talking to me about that... It'd be nice not to have to run all the way across town and back whenever the parts we outsource aren't good enough! It'd be nice to not outsource them, but we don't really have the room to do molds and casting here. Umm... We should probably be more standard about our blueprints? I had to look at seven different pieces of paper to figure out how short to cut a rod the other day and still got the answer wrong."

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"Ooh, lemme see the blueprints. And your contract with the place across town, if that's how you operate."

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"I don't actually know if we have a contract. I'm even less qualified to tidy up all the paperwork than I am to make something out of the old experiments... Ah, blueprints are in that room over there."

She heads over. The blueprints are organized into in cabinets by type-of-engine, with duplicate, hand-annotated, and conflicting versions aplenty. There is not a version number or master document or table of contents in sight.

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Time to explain ~version control~!

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It sounds like a pretty neat idea! No more sometimes spending two hours to do something that ought to take five minutes!

"It'll be a lot of work bludgeoning it all into shape though. I dunno how to get everyone else onboard. I guess that's what you're here for, if Mr. Griffing sent you to us."

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"I think he's impressed enough with stuff he's already implemented to badger everyone into making it work. Can't try an idea without trying it."

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"I think I can work up, like, a sample version-controlled blueprint to show them? And that would help sell the idea without the big boss having to huff and puff and blow the house down."

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"If that's what works for you!"

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"I actually don't think the idea should go through me? You seem a lot, uh," prettier, smarter, more confident, "Like they'll listen to you. I'm still the new kid."

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"Sure, point me at whoever and I can explain it again."

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She points Tarinda at someone - a managerial type and not one of the actual engineers - and goes back to some kind of project area in the corner of the main room. A bundle of mismatched parts all her own, though she keeps getting called away to help with this or that and then going back to it.

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Tarinda explains version control again.

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The manager thinks version control is aesthetically pleasing and interesting and maybe will help cut down on all those annoying costly mistakes and waste material, he's going to write up a project plan to implement it but the engineers will resent it, interfering with their part of the work, any ideas on that?

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"You know them and I don't. I can try introducing it to them myself, if you think that's a good use of my time."

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"Hmm... No, I'll think of something."

He has a couple questions on the finer points of version control and then says she can go thank you for your time.

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And she moves on.

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Mr. Griffing pays Tarinda and receives reports from his employees and approves and denies things she suggested and sends her around to other places and keeps deflecting if she mentions lost technology, though he's wavering some.

At the end of the first week he says he wants to stop sending her around to places as much and produces specifications for a fairly beefy electrical generator that are obviously pulled verbatim from some kind of manual.

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