An anthology book for the modern age: Martyn’s Tales of the Bloody Stupid

I’m kicking around the idea of writing a series of short stories, all of them rather silly, but all fantastical in scope.  Think of it as a sillier, stupider version of Black Mirror.  This is what I have so far.  Might need a proof reader if I take this further as, you’ll probably have guessed, I’m terrible at it.

Pandora’s Gogglebox

After the film and television industry destroys itself in the Hollywood Guild Wars of the 22nd century (in which the DGA, WGA, SGA and other acronyms ending in “GA” fought to a bloody death with the big film & TV studios which were all eventually owned by internet service providers and web hosting companies), a surviving computer technician working with advanced AI develops a simple black box (resplendent with a 200ft aerial) that connects to the cloud to generate any story the consumer wants to watch.  No actors, no directors, no writers – the whole thing is generated photo-realistically in the cloud and delivered to your black box (with it’s aerial which doubles up as a washing line).  No TV required (most electronic manufacturers – principally those that made TVs, radios and DVD/Blu-Ray players – were all blown up in the Hollywood Guild Wars) – you just touch the box and the images and sound are beamed into your brain!

Yet something sinister is happening behind the scenes back in Hollywood (version 3 – version 1 was Los Angeles, version 2 was Vancouver, Canada, and version 3 is now based in the remotest part of Siberia due to efficient tax breaks).

The Pied Pooper of Tower Hamlets

The year is 2045 and the human immune system is straining against new outbreaks of bugs and bacteria.  Antibiotics are now all but useless.  If you’re not wearing a mask when you’re out and about, and if you don’t wash your hands after going to the toilet, this is a federal crime.

An office worker at a company in Tower Hamlets that makes novelty toys for Christmas crackers accidentally forgets to wash his hands after using the toilet.  He’s immediately flagged up as a potential “chemical weapon” and has to go on the run away from the authorities.  The penalty for spreading germs – death!

Close Encounters of The Third Line Support

The latest and greatest operating system has just been released!  It’s got ALL the features that everybody wants and needs.  It puts Windows and MacOS to shame. And the best thing is, it’s free, and runs on ANYTHING.  But nobody knows anything about the company behind it all – the mysterious Fugnugget-Centauri Technologies, run by the enigmatic Mr.  Guff.

Archibald Codswallop, a student straight out of university, applies to work for Fugnugget-Centauri and lands a call centre job, only to discover that it’s going to be a very long commute to work each day – they’re based on a small planet in the Alpha Centauri star system.  When Archibald discovers the truth about Earth’s technology over the past 70 years or so, it will shock you.  SHOCK YOU!  *SHOCK*

The Faeries of the M4 Motorway Cafe

The Green Man walked this Earth long before us.  But he did so with his best buddy, Oberon, King of the Sidhe, who had just divorced his wife Titania and married his on-off girlfriend, Gaia.  The faerie kingdom wasn’t entirely happy with these events, being the stuck up so-and-sos that they are.  So a renegade group left the kingdom and set-up shop in the world of the humans.  What a shock it was! But over the centuries they slowly learned to live a human lifestyle – except as they were practically immortal with magical powers, they could pretty much do whatever they pleased.

But all this didn’t make Robin Goodfellow terribly happy.  The first couple of centuries were plenty fun, but as the ability to torment the humans came so easily to him, he grew bored.  So in the 1980s, he and his family decided to open a restaurant – in one of the service areas along the M4.  And all was good until one day, one of his fellow renegade fairies turned up with a very intriguing proposal – overthrow Oberon and the Faerie kingdom itself.

D’OHplication issues

Apologies for some duplication of posts in the RSS feeds of late – I’ve been moving this blog and a few other sites from Memset to Digital Ocean (nothing wrong with Memset by the way, I just prefer to be a bit more neutral going forwards – I may even change providers yet again in the future, but for now DO will do for me) and – rather embarrassingly – mucked up the WordPress database transfer.

So I’ve had to restore from a backup (see my rclone tutorial for a quick and easy way of backing up your sites – cPanel or otherwise – to remote cloud storage).

New Job!

After nearly nine years at Memset Ltd, I’m leaving to pursue application support and management for an e-commerce agency based in Wimbledon (hence the mysterious Wombles theme tune post).

The chariot that took me from Guildford to Dunsfold affectionately known as the “chuckle bus”,

I’ve generally loved my time at Memset, but I feel that I’ve spent far too long in the customer service role and want to get back to proper sysadminning – tinkering (within reasonable, established procedures) with stuff to get it working optimally and keeping it online.

What excites me about working for my new employers is that as they are a very well established company, they’ve chosen to offload management of the day to day stuff. Thus, G Suite for Business, managed hosting, etc.  which leaves somebody such as myself time to automate stuff and make sure everything works around the application that we supply and support.

While scripting has never been a particularly strong point of mine (never had the time or patience), I don’t shy away from it.  In the past I’ve written Perl, PHP and Bash scripts to do a variety of repetitive stuff.  How efficient those scripts are is anybody’s guess, but they did work!  One downside is that if I spent any great amount of time away from doing these things, I forget it.  So I’ve been fortunate to pick up some digital O’Reilly and other technical books on the cheap, so I have reference books to bone up on.  If this is one thing that I am looking forward to with this job is to get into scripting properly and take it to the next level.

So I think this is a good career move for me.  I think my time working in the web hosting industry has come to an end.