Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Surprise LAN

Reality TV for Nerds
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Where I live, I have noticed recently a trend towards the popularity of home improvement, cooking, and leisure shows. One suggested reason for this is the aging of our population. Baby boomers are now more than likely have houses which need renovation. While approaching retirement, they need fun and constructive stuff to do like cook and travel.

So, savvy marketing people should take heed, catering to bored technically minded people, and create a show with a corresponding web site in a reality TV vein. "Surprise LAN", would be based upon shows like "Surprise Chef", and "Backyard Blitz", where deserving individuals are treated to meals and home improvements while at work. They come home and their reactions are videotaped. (Not my definition of fun, but still quite popular.)

Similarly, "Surprise LAN" would choose deserving small businesses, charities and schools, and deploy a team of nerds over a weekend to set up a LAN, connect it to a WAN, serve stuff, route stuff, protect stuff, and display a plethora of amazing new technologies. They can answer common questions about new technologies on their web site and provide information about what to do with legacy systems and the like.

As a comic twist, cameras can be there when the owners are being trained to use the new system.

sdm, Aug 30 2001

Ground Force http://www.bbcameri...s/ground_force.html
As the BBC explains it to Americans. [Aristotle, Aug 30 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Surprise Chef http://surprisechef.i7.com.au
Chef Aristos ambushes unwary shoppers and begs them to allow him to cook a meal featuring three ingredients from their trolley. <Offside> Is it just me, or is that chick presenter always trying to peddle yoghurt every week? [mrkillboy, Aug 30 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Backyard Blitz http://www.burkesba...au/blitz/index.html
[sdm] mentioned this above. It's Ground Force with a different name and on a rival network (also gets higher ratings). [mrkillboy, Aug 30 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Fortune: Geek Eye for the Luddite Guys http://www.fortune....5114,488957,00.html
Sep 24 2003: "The experiment: Let loose three tech experts in an average family's home. The result: gizmo nirvana (well, almost)." [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       You left out the part where the crew has to stay for 6 months to train Sister Mary Margaret how to maintain the server. Toss in reaction shots of our hapless victim learning TCP/IP and WSH scripting and you'll get my croissant.   

       Nah. I'll give it to you anyway.
phoenix, Aug 30 2001

       <sdm chuckles to himself> I've actually had to train some clergy on basic Netware admin. They were the most patient people I have ever dealt with.
sdm, Aug 30 2001

       UnaBubba: A gigantic toothy grin no doubt.
sdm, Aug 30 2001

       Sounds like a cabling version of Ground Force, a popular UK gardening programme, that includes recording people's reactions and re-visiting gardens later to see how they have fared.   

       Ground Force has done retiring firemen, Nelson Mandela and the father of a murdered BBC TV presenter as well as a mix of regular UK citizens.
Aristotle, Aug 30 2001

       We don't even recycle Australian soap operas. They are composted directly onto UK screens.
Aristotle, Aug 30 2001

       Can you cross this with Junkyard Wars? "Today's teams have ten hours to build a 10,000 user persistent messaging system from nothing but the scraps you see here. As you see, the Nerds have managed to scavenge a '91 release of GCC and are going to write a distributed file system for as many 66MHz Linux PCs they can tie together, while the Brothers In Arms have settled on a single, big SQL database they're going to run on a mainframe - if they can replace the network card which, for now, seems firmly rusted in place." [Cut to Colonel Dick beating something with a mallet.]
jutta, Aug 30 2001

       [offtopic] Huh. I had seen "Ground Force" in my BBC America listings but assumed it was some sort of drama about UN peacekeepers in the Balkans. I suppose next you're going to tell me that "Changing Rooms" ISN'T a voyeuristic hidden camera peepshow? [/offtopic]
agentzen, Aug 30 2001

       Make up a connector with an ethernet or whatever connector on one end, and a mains plug on the other, with a good big switch in the middle...
StarChaser, Aug 30 2001

       UnaBubba: If you're doing the I.T. function, just make up a simple virus. Then when management asks you what's wrong, dazzle them with words from some operations manuals and pseudodictionary.com.   

       "Well it's patenely clear that computers this *old* have clogged up DMA override switches. It's only a matter of time before they reach critical fusion! -And we don't want that happening all at once, do we? I recommend a preemptive replacement of these machines."
sdm, Aug 30 2001

       How about a spin-off using the Suprise Chef concept where one of the nerds tries to build a computer using stuff found in a supermarket trolley?   

       No, wait...that was MacGyver!
mrkillboy, Aug 31 2001

       Or a show called Iron Nerd. Do you want to challange Iron Programmer, Iron Propeller Head or Iron Tech Support?
sartep, May 07 2003

       Insipired by the US summer TV hit "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," Fortune magazine did something quite like this recently. See link.
krelnik, Sep 24 2003


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