SLIDESHOW

What if Tech Tried a Reality Show? Meet Silicon Shore

These true-to-life IT types will make America forget that they ever heard of "JWoww."

Silicon Valley, Meet Reality TV

Reality shows have gone from "terrible new thing" to "long-standing feature of our cultural landscape." Still, as is true in much of pop culture, they can get stuck in a rut. The Jersey Shore was a breakout hit because it offered a laser-beam focus on a particular American subculture whose stereotype promised nonstop camera-friendly depravity. But the ideas for follow-ups just seem to be the same concept with different demographics dropped in (including residents of Massachusetts and senior citizens).

We instead propose a different kind of reality show: one that reimagines the everyday life of the IT department employees you spend 40 (or more) hours a week with as action-packed, conflict-heavy unscripted entertainment. We are issuing a casting call for a number of true-to-life IT types who will make America forget that they ever heard of "JWoww." With all of these techies forced to live together in a Wi-Fi-enabled beach house after work hours are done, we expect drama like you've never experienced before. If you fit any of these categories, feel free to send us an audition tape in which you play up all your worst stereotypes.

Photo courtesy of Gynomite

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Have You Tried Rebooting?

Some help-desk staffers take the job because they think it's a foot in the door for a tech career, only to discover the awful truth: others come in with little or no technical background and flounder their way through help calls for years. Whatever the case, this thankless, low-level job breeds burnout and cynicism. The help-desk drone will be a sullen, glowering presence in the Silicon Shore house, mostly standing by and glaring when conflict heats up, and occasionally offering a gnomic, unhelpful bit of advice.

Memorable moment: When housemates nearly come to blows after a malfunctioning hot-tub threatens to derail a big party, the help-desk drone repeatedly tells them to try turning it off, wait thirty seconds, and then turn it back on again.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user Illustir

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Gah! This Password Has Only Six Characters!

Hired to help lock down the IT department's computers and network, the security maven brings a ruthless paranoia and the attitude of a CIA black ops officer to the job -- which is unfortunate in an office where everyone just wants to use their computers without jumping through hoops, surf adult sites on their lunch break, and use "1234" as their passwords. The security maven's desperate attempts to keep the Silicon Shore House safe and secure, or at least not completely open to attack, preclude him from joining in on any of the fun anyone else is having, leading to burning resentment that eventually flares up into rage.

Memorable moment: The security maven finally has his moment of triumph when the rest of the housemates return from an evening of drunken clubbing. Nobody is able to remember the seventeen-character alpha-numeric-punctuation sequence password to get back into the house, and their increasingly agitated demands to be let in are only met with the maven's smug replies that he "can't be sure they are who they say they are, especially if they can't be bothered to remember a simple password."

Picture courtesy of Flickr user Ronn ashore

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In My Day, We Didn't Have Your Fancy Assembly Language

This fellow has managed to stay on for decades in an industry that generally thrives on youth and novelty, presumably because he's the only one who knows how to debug the COBOL code that the company will never get around to replacing. In the history of modern computing, he's seen it all, and will tell the other Silicon Shore housemates about it at great length, despite their obvious attempts to escape.

Memorable moment: Comes flying out of the house screaming like a madman when he realizes that the spirited game of Ultimate Frisbee happening in the backyard is being played with one of the tape reels that all the corporate financial data is backed up on.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user florriebassingbourn

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So Buzzwords -- One Must be Right

A dedicated follower of all things trend and cutting edge, the buzzword surfer keeps an eye on the tech blogs and knows exactly what's next. His constant and earnest exhortations to housemates that they replace their existing IT infrastructure with a NoSQL system and write all their code in Erlang via an agile development process alternately baffles and irritates everyone (except for the old-timer, who simply regards him with undisguised contempt).

Memorable moment: During a drunken game of "Truth or Dare" in the hot tub, the buzzword surfer tearfully admits that he was responsible for the company's decision in 2001 to implement an XML-backed content management system that ended up devouring millions of dollars and years of everyone's lives. Rather than meeting with emotional support as he expected, he ends up alone in the hot tub as the rest of the housemates walk back indoors, seething with silent rage.

Picture courtesy of Flickr user skullY Dazed

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Don't Cross Him if You Want Access to Your Files Again

This system administrator will do whatever it takes to keep his servers running smoothly, even if it means that not a single user can access anything on it. At first he seems like a natural ally to the security maven, but it soon becomes clear that his definition of "intruder" applies not just to malicious hackers, but to users who have done things he finds foolish or just looked at him funny in the hallway.

Memorable moment: Cast members discover to their horror that the Silicon Shore's HVAC system has been connected to the house servers, resulting in air conditioning set high enough to keep the servers cool, leaving everyone else wearing sweaters in mid-summer.

Picture courtesy Flickr user roland

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Battle to the Death

You could take the attitude that computers are tools with specific purposes, or that different people have different preferences which can be best met by different operating systems. But what fun is that? This trio has a lot invested in their platform of choice -- the Windows true believer went and got all those certifications, the Linux evangelist has a fanatical belief in the righteousness of open source, and of course the Apple fanboy has invested a large sum of money in shiny, curvy, translucent computer equipment. Naturally, for maximum drama, the Silicon Shore's producers have made these three roommates.

Memorable moment: The Linux evangelist, having long been in an uneasy alliance with the Apple fanboy due to his "anyone but Redmond" sentiment, dramatically drops his iPhone down the house garbage disposal as the news hits of the latest draconian addition to the App Store terms of service. A radical restructuring of in-house alliances ensues, along with a rearranging of bunk-bed arrangements in the trio's room.

Picture courtesy Sabah Hussain

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Better Start Kissing Up Now

Young and painfully ambitious (unlike most reality show contestants), the CIO-in-training is here to make friends -- friends who can help him in his rise to the top, at which point he'll be their boss and won't have to pretend to like them anymore. As the housemates inevitably break into factions as all reality TV casts do, the CIO-in-training, through clever maneuvering, will try to take control of at least one clique, and possibly more if he can manage it.

Memorable moment: The entire cast is initially resistent to the CIO-in-training's attempt to gain dominion over them, until they realize that there can be no greater punishment than having to manage them, at which point they let him have the job he deserves.

Picture courtesy Flickr user DrewTM

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