I honestly can’t think of many occasions over the past decade or so where SysAdmin Day was celebrated in the office. Only MPC, I think, did the department get a proper cake. I’m sure we did something at Memset or KPS, but my mind is somewhat foggy of the details. I only remember the MPC cake because it was a proper surprise.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some troublesome computers to bring inline (well, online at least – haha).
Marvel’s Secret Invasion did indeed revisit my old stomping ground of Dunsfold Park this week, where the episode did its best to try to outdo Top Gear. But try as they might, the Marvel team never came to the level of insanity (which we at Memset often witnessed in person) of the Top Gear team (Clarkson, May and Hammond – and then the other lot – and then the other lot – three sets of presenters during my tenure there).
Anyway, the shenanigans began as we looked out of Air Force One parked on the main Dunsfold runway. In the background we see the Memset building where I used to work (blue) and the former Top Gear studio (in red).
The majority of the action takes place on the other side of Dunsfold Park and where more Land Rovers than I could possibly count comes screaming out of bushes with helicopters and all sort of madness that was once only thought about on Top Gear start exploding with bullets and CG missiles flying about like War was having an end-of-year sale. It’s all very silly, to be honest.
I’ve just became a member of the fediverse and spun up my own Mastodon server. I’ve used a domain that I snapped up after watching Ted Lasso which I think is highly appropriate for social media: bantr.co.uk.
Now, I should make it clear that you don’t need to run your own server to be part of the Mastodon/fediverse. You can sign up for hundreds, maybe thousands of servers depending on your interest, for example. Many servers cater for a particular subject or interest but join other servers to form a unified network. See joinmastodon.org for more information.
It’s important to note that it hosts only one account at the moment: mine (@[email protected]). Nobody else can sign up for an account (yet) as I have limited resources which I don’t want to abuse. Usage is very low at the moment, and I’m still figuring out the best way of maintaining everything without it blowing up. But so far, so good.
I got back into Mastodon again once I found out that Zuckerberg’s Threads intend to join the fediverse – and what that means is that servers like Threads or mine can all exchange messages together to form one big social media network. But as a server admin, I have additional powers that allows me to block other servers or other users on other servers of interacting with my server or users. Each server operator can set their own rules as to how messages are sent and received.
After discovering that the Marvel Secret Invasion team went to Dunsfold Park, home of Top Gear and my former employers, Memset Ltd., to film a variety of stuff for the show – another former employer’s building turns up in this week’s episode! Ten Trinity Square.
Former home of Willis Faber, this was where my dad spent the majority of his career, and I would occasionally accompany him to work during the school holidays. It introduced me (and got me hooked) on computer communications, and later I’d spend a couple of summer holidays on work experience for Willis Faber doing data entry work on powerful Macs (we’re talking late Motorola 68000, early PowerPC stuff). It’s now an exclusive member’s club and hotel – something I could never afford to stay at (unlike the Eurobet House Premier Inn in Woking where I could – and indeed, did).
We see the majestic pillars of Ten Trinity Square when Talos and Gravik leave the art gallery. It’s a small, but instantly recognisable location for me. But it’s certainly not the first time Ten Trinity Square has been in the movies – James Bond, Alexi Sayle (yes, really), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (the fictional Lara is from Guildford, Surrey – double co-incidence), Bridget Jones, The Professionals, The Bill, and Luther.
Marvel’s Avengers also shot at my former university, the University of East Anglia (UEA), a few years back at the Sainsbury’s Centre, which stood in for the Avengers HQ. Which is directly opposite Constable Terrace, the block of student accommodation I lived in.
I’m currently enjoying the current Marvel television series, Secret Invasion, on Disney+ which stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury who returns from shepherding Skrull refugees across the galaxy. Alas, when he returns to Earth, he finds himself during a full blown Skrull separatist invasion – made much more difficult given that Skrulls can shapeshift and become anyone… who do you trust?
Well, it turns out that the majority of the filming was made in the UK – London to be specific. This has had some interesting consequences because at the start of the first episode which is set in Moscow, it is clearly NOT Moscow because of London’s road markings, building style and bollards. Despite having been to Moscow myself many, many years ago, even a hamster could easily tell it was London and not Moscow.
What did surprise me was a particular scene in this week’s episode in which was – no, could it be? Shot at Dunsfold Park? Why, yes it was. Despite not working at Dunsfold Park for close to 6 years (which was home to Memset Ltd. for at least 5 years before I left) I could tell it was DP because of the planes, the hangers, the layout and most importantly – they were shooting the scene at Gambon corner. Directly opposite (almost) to the Memset building.
And speaking of the Memset building – you can see it in the official trailer in the background while a cavalcade of cars makes it way to the aerodrome except, well, they’re about to go kaboom because (CG) missiles are about to blow them to kingdom come. Naughty Skrulls.
In any event, it’s bloody strange seeing a former place of employment in an action-packed series like this. We can at least expect some interesting stuff to happen in forthcoming episodes that are going to give Top Gear a run for their money – although enhanced with VFX (an industry I also used to work in – oh, the irony).