Paranoia (129 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Macmillan: Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.

Part Seven: 69 (Cont'd)

The chief marketing officer, the slick-looking Rick Durant, put in mournfully, "This is a huge embarrassment. We've already launched a huge teaser campaign, placed ads all over the place. 'The digital assistant for the next generation.' " He rolled his eyes.

"Yeah," muttered Goddard. "And it sounds like it won't ship until the next generation." He turned to the lead engineer, Eddie Cabral, a round-faced, swarthy guy with a dated flattop. "Is it a problem with the mask?"

"I wish," Cabral replied. "No, the whole damned chip is going to have to be respun, sir."

"The contract manufacturer's in Malaysia?" said Goddard.

"We've always had good luck with them," said Cabral. "The tolerances and quality have always been pretty good. But this is a complicated ASIC. It's got to drive our own, proprietary Trion LCD screen, and the cookies just aren't coming out of the oven right—"

"What about replacing the LCD?" Goddard interrupted.

"No, sir," said Cabral. "Not without retooling the whole casing, which is another six months easy."

I suddenly sat up. The buzzwords jumped out at me. ASIC ... proprietary Trion LCD ...

"That's the nature of ASICs," Goddard said. "There are always some cookies that get burnt. What's the yield like, forty, fifty percent?"

Cabral looked miserable. "Zero. Some kind of assembly-line flaw."

Goddard tightened his mouth. He looked like he was about to lose it. "How long will it take to respin the ASIC?"

Cabral hesitated. "Three months. If we're lucky."

"If we're lucky," Goddard repeated. "Yep, if we're lucky." His voice was getting steadily louder. "Three months puts the ship date into December. That won't work at all, will it?"

"No, sir," said Cabral.

I tapped Goddard on the arm, but he ignored me. "Mexico can't manufacture this for us quicker?"

The head of manufacturing, a woman named Kathy Gornick, said, "Maybe a week or two faster, which won't help us at all. And then the quality will be substandard at best."

"This is a goddamned mess," Goddard said. I'd never really heard him curse before.

I picked up a product spec sheet, then tapped Goddard's arm again. "Will you please excuse me for a moment?" I said.


I rushed out of the room, stepped into the lounge area, flipped open my phone.

Noah Mordden wasn't at his desk, so I tried his cell phone, and he answered on the first ring: "What?"

"It's me, Adam."

"I answered the phone, didn't I?"

"You know that ugly doll you've got in your office? The one that says 'Eat my shorts, Goddard'?"

"Love Me Lucille. You can't have her. Buy your own."

"Doesn't it have an LCD screen on its stomach?"

"What are you up to, Cassidy?"

"Listen, I need to ask you about the LCD driver. The ASIC."


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