Short Stories

I have a small collection of short stories, often formed from writing prompts, sometimes just written on themes that pop into my head.

They're kind of like practice writing.

When I think they're worth publishing, they end up here...


I am the first to set foot on it in all humanity.
Well, I say set foot on it.
In it would be more accurate.


If the earth is a blue marble, then EM4 is just a blue ball. A giant, blue ball.
Gravity is slightly higher than earth, and the surface is about half a foot deep. And the surface practically gaurantees death. But I feel we have to do this as a race - we have to walk on this planet, after all we've done.


We? Who am I kidding. I.

Happy Birthday IBM PC - still with us (just!)

Happy Birthday, IBM PC! 30 today!


And haven't you done well? A lot better than MS-DOS did, anyway...


I measure that by your legacy. This netbook I'm typing on - and my desktop machine - are still shaped by decisions in your design. From the CPU's ISA to the I/O systems to the fact that the keyboard has a Scroll Lock key on it...
Oh, wait, my netbook doesn't have a Scroll Lock key on it. But it does have Sys Rq, which I think I used once many years ago on a 286 machine.


Cloud computing is insecure because security's not sexy

I was reading Bill Buchan's thoughts on cloud computing and the News International phone hacking case, and he mentioned that voicemail was the first cloud system most people used.

He mused that cloud systems need more security - that they must consider using two-factor passwords, forcing pass{word|phrase} expiration, and so forth.

Captain's Duty

The Captain reclined in her cradle, reviewing her status.


Whatever the Mote of Dust had hit, it was big enough to cause serious damage.


No matter. What had happened could not be changed. The Captain was more concerned with the present. Almost all of the passengers and crew were on the lifeboats now. She reviewed the lists that Mote had spat out at her. Two unaccounted for, which was pretty good. And one of those she felt confident she could find - confident enough to leave it until the last lifeboat, at least.


Sometimes I prefer fiction to fact... (The Incompetent Co-Worker)

It was past time to put up some fiction, I think.

I've started with a short story called "The Incompetent Co-Worker".

Much of my short fiction is written on the train to work. I fire up Writer's Cafe, plug through a couple of writing prompts until I have one I feel like doing, and then start writing.

The Incompetent Co-Worker

"We need to talk, Bob."


Bob's shoulders sank. He knew what was coming next.


"Levi, if this is about what I think it's about, then I don't want to hear it."
"He's dangerous, Bob. He'll get us killed."
"He's in our squad. We fight with him. That's the way it is, Levi."


Levi sulked, and the two of them carried on stacking crates onto the cart.


"Can I ask you a question, Bob?"


Bob looked at a particularly large crate. Its markings showed it contained mortar rounds.


Goodbye Best Phone I've Ever Owned

I've just sent the best phone I ever had off to be reused or recycled.

It's time had come, and whilst it was still serving very well, a free upgrade when renewing my contract sealed its fate.

But in an age of Android and iPhones, the fact that the best phone I've ever owned was a Nokia will probably surprise many.

To be specific, it was the Nokia E90 - the last of the venerable Communicator line.

It had its faults, and I'll address those first:


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