How Hollywood sees computers

Mikey 104 comments
How Hollywood sees computers

Hollywood has a lot to answer for when it comes to how computers are represented in the movies. I can only think of one instance in a movie when I did not laugh out loud when a computer was on screen, and that was when Trinity ran a script from a command prompt to disable the power grid. The mere fact that a real life known exploit was used was kudos enough for any self respecting geek.

With that in mind let's take a look at some of Hollywood's best known crimes against computer reality in no particular order.

Code noises.
When code is displayed on screen, every character makes a faint blipping sound as it is rendered.
Offender: NCIS.

Unrealistic interfaces.
As not all movie characters are smart enough to use a mouse and keyboard combination, a 3D interface that is controlled via violent hand and arm gestures is the norm. In the unlikely situation where the character actually can use a keyboard/mouse combo, everything on-screen has to be rendered in a mystifying 3D environment.
Offenders: Minority report; Hackers.

Piss easy passwords.
Computer passwords are always cracked within a few seconds at Worst. These passwords are usually something as simple as the victim's birth date. When that is too hard to establish, typing in ‘bypass password' will usually do the trick. In the unlikely situation a hacker is unable to guess the password, pointing a gun to a hackers head will make him work harder, because well all know having a gun pointed to your head will help you concentrate better.
Offenders: Clear and Present Danger, The Net, Swordfish.

All computers are networked. All of them. Even if you are on a laptop in a remote location you will always have access to an unprotected wireless network and still be able to connect to any computer in the world while attaining speeds of around 5 terabytes per second.
Offender: Every movie ever made with a computer in it.

High tech lights.
The more complex the computer, the more flashing lights it will have. Also computers that are controlled by the military will have hundreds of uniformed personnel at individual workstations all sharing a single screen that fills the entire width and height of the rear wall.
Offender: War Games.

Bright monitors.
Computer monitors are so bright that the on-screen image is often projected onto the users' face.
Offenders: Alien; 2001.

Program storage.
All computer programs, no matter how large, will always fit onto a single low capacity USB thumdrive or floppy disc.
Offender: The Recruit.

All computers regardless of operating system or language are 100% cross platform compatible with each other.
Offenders: Every movie ever made with a computer in it.

Criminal presentations.
Whenever the identity of a suspect is revealed during a homicide investigation, a high quality presentation complete with 3D animation and blipping sounds (see the 1st point) and every known fact about the suspect has already been prepared well in advance so that the police can pull it up on screen for everyone to see.
Offender: NUMB3RS

Keyboard Input.
Any file stored on a computer, even if stored several encrypted directories deep, can be accessed with just a few seemingly random strokes of the keyboard.
Worst offender: Criminal minds.

Stereotypical computer users.
Every mature aged computer user has to wear thick brimmed glasses and every young of age user must be a complete dissociative scruff with an attitude problem. When the computer user is a female she must in addition to one or the other aforementioned instances also have her hair in pig-tails.
Worst offenders: NCIS; Criminal Minds.

Weak spots.
All super computers that are tightly networked and reliant on one another will also have a single vulnerable spot that will render it completely useless or destroyed.
Worst offender: Star Wars Episode IV.

Pyrotechnical hardware.
When a computer is short circuited or has liquid spilled into it, any attached keyboards or interfaces will detonate an explosion of sparks and sometimes flames. As we all know, keyboards contain fuel and flint.
Worst offenders: Electric Dreams; Every Star Trek episode where the Enterprise was attacked.

Silent clusters.
Server rooms, even those that contain hundreds of working computers, barely make a sound. In Hollywood, computers do not require cooling.
Worst offender: Firewall.

Virus installation.
A virus can be installed onto any computer regardless of operating system or language, and is prone to virus's that were written by people who knew nothing about the computer they are trying to infect.
Worst offender: Fortress.

Monitor envy.
The smarter the computer user, the more monitors he/she will require. Also because the level of intelligence is often directly proportional to the level of social awkwardness, some users will require up to 10 large LCD monitors and never make eye contact with people who are directly addressing them.
Worst offender: Criminal Minds.

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Monday 9th April 2007 | 09:37 PM

You forgot to mention people who play games are always represented as light fearing, twitchy morons with a diet of coke and pizza. Oh wait that might be true.

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Tuesday 10th April 2007 | 10:12 AM

Computer users always sit in darkness and read aloud every word that appears in an IM window and every word they type back. Because hollywood believes people in the audience can't read.

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Tuesday 10th April 2007 | 08:06 PM

Oh yes nice list. I am almost sure no hollywood director has even consulted an actual computer user ever.

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Tuesday 10th April 2007 | 10:44 PM

And another one!!! Computers in Hollywood films that can speak to and understand users don't require voice training. Worst offender; Tron.

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The Snark

Wednesday 11th April 2007 | 12:27 AM

I remember an episode of X-Files where Scully's laptop was accessed by another computer through dialup. And her computer wasn't even switched on.

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Michael T

Wednesday 11th April 2007 | 07:43 PM

...and let's not forget my favourite old chestnut: any computer (even stemming back some decades) has the ability to enhance and define a photographic and/or camera image with little to no available detail to one of picture perfect digital clarity!

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Wednesday 11th April 2007 | 08:34 PM

Ah yes - the old uber res enhancement from a low quality pixelated still. How could I have forgotten that!

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Wednesday 11th April 2007 | 11:14 PM

Slightly off topic but Numb3rs has so much more to answer for. "We know the killer must be 32 years of age, live with his parents and white because of the mathematics of African bee swarms..." ARRG! Urge to kill ... rising. I haven't seen 1/2 the movies on this list but I already know Numb3rs is the worst.

Another golden moment of Hollywood IT is that the more important an IT system, the more likely it is to be behind an ludicrously complicated and yet blatantly obviously flawed physical defense network of alarms and doors. But if you can get to it through the convenient airshaft tunnel which leads from the outside *RIGHT TO THE COMPUTER* you can always break in by inserting a floppy disk. No reboot required.

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Thursday 12th April 2007 | 09:19 AM

I think the more unrealistic part of numb3ers is that hot chick would even give Charlie the time of day let alone entertain the notion of dating him.

Back to the topic @ hand, computers in movies will scroll through every result from a search query on-screen at super high speed while simultaneously highlighting close matches until the exact match is found. That exact match is then displayed right in the middle of the screen in a new window with 300 pixel high letters yet there will be no 'close' or 'ok' button or any other way of getting rid of that window.

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Dave Bowman

Thursday 12th April 2007 | 09:23 AM

I hate it when the HAL9000 series of computers doesn't open the pod bay doors on my voice command. You know right then a world of pain is headed your way.

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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 12:00 AM

Hackers was the worst movie ever not just computer based movie. I remember after that movie people started popping up online with Crash Override or Acid Burn handles. LAME.

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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 07:28 AM


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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 03:08 PM

boy!! are we picky with hollywood computers ,they are only movies made to forget about life for a while. all movies/shows have some sort of factual errors in them. look at lost, all the characters look like they have stepped out of a beauty salon!!

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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 03:54 PM

Saying movies are an escape from reality is a generalisation which doesn't hold true for everything.

There are certain things in movies that you take for granted. If someone for example drives a car, we all know the limitations of a car. It goes forward, backwards, and sometimes sideways or upside down during a stunt. But if the car was to, lets say, flip end to end 5 times and land upright and keep going without any damage, the illusion is suddenly ruined for us and we start shouting 'bullshit!' at the silver screen. Because we all know cars cant do that.

Computers on the other hand once upon a time had a certain mystique about them. Going back to the early 80's for example, War Games showed us what might happen when you put an intelligent kid in front of a computer with a modem. Back then there were few people with computers, and even fewer with computers and modems. All Joe Sixpack knew about computers is what he had seen in movies and the games he played on his Commodore 64.

But today, I am hard pushed to think of anyone I know of, or have even heard of, that has not interacted with a computer one a semi-regular basis at least. My point being that today most people know what computers can and can't do.

The problem is that Hollywood hasn't picked up on that simple fact, and still tries to show us computers doing things they simply don't do. So when we see these things on TV and in movies now, it is the same as watching the flipping car I mentioned at the start of this rant.

What makes all of this ironic, is that most computers in movies play such a trivial part that there is no real need for all the bullshit they show them doing. If the computer is not integral to the story line there is no reason to bring attention to it with all the theatrics. That stops people from getting lost in the movie. It suddenly pulls them aside and makes them say "what the f*ck is this sh*t happening?".

The only time any of this is forgiveable is when the movie is set a significant amount of time in the future (100 years+?) where we really do not know exactly what computers will be doing then.

If I could finish with an example I witnessed today. I played back Law & Order SVU today and was engrossed with the compelling story line and frantic action. At one stage they introduced a computer expert who needed to hack into the telecommunications infrastructure, locate a virus, remove said virus, and ping the towers to get a triangulation co-ordinate form a mobile phone they were trying to track.

While this is certainly possible if you had a few days, a few engineers and a handful of computer experts and maybe even a consultant, I was suddenly pulled away from the story when this computer 'expert' simply jumped onto the nearest terminal she was standing next too, and did everything I mentioned from there in less than an hour. Complete bullshit.

There was no need to bring such an unrealistic fantasy computer situation into this story. It added nothing, but took so much away.

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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 06:42 PM

i dont know that we all DO shout bullshit at the screen when witnessing the latest ridiculously impossibly physics-defying hollywood stunt: anyone seen Torque recently? i rest my case.

for the record - all hollywood movies involving computers also:

- use operating systems and email/chat/security/etc software that NO ONE has EVER heard of or seen ever, even people who are supposed to be just home pc users representative of our own population (Jurassic Park I, You've Got Mail etc) yet the actual computers are all either various forms of apple workstation, laptop, or very old-fashioned, generic pc tower - or huge hyper-real holographic projections usually with a woman's face or lips on it connected to several of the former very prosaic-looking terminals

in all hollywood movies not necessarily involving computers:

- every vehicular crash terminates in a seething fireball even when involving for example only 2 rear ends of semi trailers
- everyone driving to any city building is able to park IMMEDIATELY outside, even if there are several cars in the group, and no one locks the cars before running indoors but they are not stolen
- no one says 'goodbye' when terminating a phone call
- the refrigerator light is sufficient to illuminate a whole kitchen, no matter how large, without exception - and the food never defrosts or spoils
- the hero may accidentally kill thousands of innocent bystanders while rescuing/pursuing the victims. none of these other deaths should be considered as individual tragedies of anything approaching the magnitude that the death of the hero or victims themselves would cause

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Saturday 14th April 2007 | 10:58 PM

Jurassic Park I for the record, used a real OS. It wasn't made up for the movie. It just never took off coz at the time nobody believed people wanted a massively processor intensive, theatrical and overly cumbersome interface to browse your files. Vista may prove this theory wrong.

For the record, the OS really is a Unix based system (developed by SGI).

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Thursday 19th April 2007 | 01:16 PM

But please tell me Wrestling is real.

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Sunday 22nd April 2007 | 12:20 AM anonymous

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Thursday 14th June 2007 | 07:25 PM

How about when they search a database of mug shots, the screen flashes through hundreds of mugshots every second until it finds the right one.

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Thursday 9th August 2007 | 08:01 AM

The hero is able to operate any user-interface even if it's in another country or on another planet.

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Brendan B.

Tuesday 21st August 2007 | 09:57 AM

This penny arcade sums up your position nicely.

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Pierre M. Laberge

Thursday 23rd August 2007 | 04:59 PM

Then too, there is how fast these people can type, while not looking at either keyboard or screen, and yet never make any mistakes.

And the people who either own or use the machines, often can afford all the latest junk, and either know nothing about it, or are a lawyer or cop or somebody who knows more than Bill Gates, Spock, and Scottie put together.

And did you ever notice that no matter how diabolical and smart the bad guys, any one can enter their system and do whatever he wants?

Sigh. Oh yes, I forgot, Hollywood is not real anyway. No wonder they are so often off base. These people think they can drive drunk 3 times, lose their license, and suffer no consequences for driving drunk again. And we expect them to understand the real world? Not... Gonna... Happen.

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Thursday 23rd August 2007 | 06:36 PM

Closely related, any time there is a bomb threat the terrorists have kindly included a large alpha numeric display so the bomb technicians know how long they have to disarm it.

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Monday 27th August 2007 | 08:15 AM

Adding to "Code noises", only the computer being used by the main cop makes those noises. The computers being used by all the other cops in the background always have their sound turned down.

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Tuesday 28th August 2007 | 03:45 AM

Pierre, I can't tell if you were being sarcastic, but you have a problem because people in movies type fast without looking at the screen or making mistakes? I'm sure there are a lot of receptionists that would blow your mind.

Typing fast without making errors is something that comes with a lot of practice. If you know how to type you don't need to look at the keyboard, and there really isn't any need to look at the screen either... unless you have to respond to an IM.

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Tuesday 28th August 2007 | 07:42 AM

Don't forget, when typing, all computers make a "blip" sound for each character typed.

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Tuesday 28th August 2007 | 09:50 AM

Hi Anonymous. Good point, but people in movies usually always come from the 'hunt & peck' school of typing.

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Sunday 16th September 2007 | 10:29 AM

forgot independance day. when he uploaded the virus to the alien mother ship. hahaha


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Sunday 16th September 2007 | 12:12 PM

You forgot Stealth in the offenders of High tech lights.

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Sunday 16th September 2007 | 05:18 PM

OR when they're cracking a password, it's one letter at a time.

AND the faster you type, the most of a hacker you are.

Lastly, in pretty colors and pictures. :)

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Sunday 16th September 2007 | 07:40 PM

I think it funny when IM programs display the other users text letter by letter as they type it in

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Sunday 16th September 2007 | 11:56 PM

All computers are networked. All of them. Even if you are on a laptop in a remote location you will always have access to an unprotected wireless network and still be able to connect to any computer in the world while attaining speeds of around 5 terabytes per second.
Offender: Every movie ever made with a computer in it.

Its not terabytes, when your talking about connection speed, its "terahertz"

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Darren Poulson

Monday 17th September 2007 | 01:09 AM

Have to disagree with the comment about the minority report interface being unrealistic. There are quite a few people working on similar type of interface and it works very well. Infact you can make your own version quite cheaply.

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Monday 17th September 2007 | 10:44 AM

Virus installation.

I would add to that... Independence Day

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Monday 17th September 2007 | 10:52 AM

to: meaynaysayer
Actually the only thing "hertz" on a computer is wireless signal frequency and Processor frequency.
An internet connection IS NOT TERAHERTZ it's (based on sentence made) TBPS or Terabytes Per second.

Isn't your internet connection 256 kbps (kilobytes per second) or something?
if it was in hertz it would be 256 hps (Hertz per second) .

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Monday 17th September 2007 | 01:59 PM

very true

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Sunday 23rd September 2007 | 10:10 AM

browa13 actually its kiloBITS per second (usually)

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Monday 1st October 2007 | 04:00 PM

Virus installation -


Can't stress that one enough. Good list.

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Tuesday 2nd October 2007 | 12:02 PM

amazing man...
great thing..I wonder since some days if i found something very funny... but its real funny... :)

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Wednesday 3rd October 2007 | 04:59 AM

Hmm.. noone has yet mentioned the annoyance of having an inkjet printer make a noise like an old dot matrix printer. Argh!

CSI and some variants - usually Miami that were horrible offenders. I note lately that they've gotten rid of that though.

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Thursday 4th October 2007 | 12:33 AM

I disagree with a couple, but most of it's pretty good.


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Friday 5th October 2007 | 09:26 AM

A new comedy on NBC called Chuck (a nerd herd employee) has an email client that displays messages at at least 100 pts., and can be read across the room. The writers should really get real if they want to attract and keep their target audience. Amen,your blog.

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Thursday 18th October 2007 | 06:26 AM

Closely related again: anyone can insert a CD in someone else's computer without calling up any programs and immediately see the screen he last saw on his own computer (Charlie in Numb3rs).

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Saturday 15th December 2007 | 04:46 PM

How about the 80s version of The Thing, where the computer is ready in seconds to produce an animated simulation of how quickly the alien shapeshifter will take over the world's population.

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Wednesday 9th January 2008 | 11:29 AM

Bwhahaha. Numbers violates a lot more than you mentioned here. Good article.

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Friday 18th January 2008 | 05:23 AM

On the "Virus installation" point, near the end, I think the REAL worst offender would be Independence Day, where they install a virus on an ALIEN computer, whose basic operating principles they know nothing about.

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Friday 25th January 2008 | 03:12 AM

Yeah Independence Day hands down the WORST offender of all computer related fantasies. First, how does he "connect" to the Alien ships, are they broadcasting in 802.11a/b? Why would a super advanced alien invader allow an open connection to its attach ships over presumably ancient technology. That's like phone phreaking into a U.S. battleship and disabling it. Then the attack ships allow root access over unencrypted connection, but not only that, they permit any other ship root access over the wireless connection, executable privilege access for the "virus". And additionally, someone magically knew how to program alien code. Not even windows (vista) permits something so atrociously stupid as this.

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Tuesday 29th January 2008 | 01:49 PM

Worst offender of all of the above and more still to be identified ..... 24. Can't wait for the next season.

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Thursday 31st January 2008 | 08:40 AM

I'd say the worst thing is when someone is doing something with an image program, like making a phantom pic. They just type something and everything blends into place.

Same thing with people who do animations or simulations, they just type a few words, press enter, and it just pops right up.

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Nice Post!

Friday 1st February 2008 | 05:36 AM

What about the new die hard movie? 100% realistic

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Saturday 2nd February 2008 | 03:16 AM

I disagree that Hacker's showed surreal interfaces. I know, I know... fully 3D rendered graphics... realtime over a modem... etc...

anyways, watch the movie again, when you first see Joey "hacking" on his computer, you see a command prompt, some sort of *nix from the path visible... the first place we see the heavy graphics is inside his eyes, then on the screen from that point onwards in the movie....

when I noticed that, I figured the director was trying to show, not how big his special effects are, but that "hackers" see the world, especially the world inside the computer" in a different way...

then again, I liked it even when I thought otherwise....

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Ron B.

Saturday 2nd February 2008 | 09:27 AM

With passwords - nevermind all the hardware out there that will help you crack a password in 5 seconds, not 36+ hours. You know the kind, like in X-Men and others, where it'll just send random digits brute-force style as it slowly figures out one digit at a time? Kinda like that game Mastermind where the server tells you what you got right and wrong...

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Saturday 2nd February 2008 | 02:36 PM

Your point about weak spots is well taken, but I've never heard of the movie that made the offense. You listed it as "Start Wars Episode IV." Where can I find this movie?

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Saturday 2nd February 2008 | 02:40 PM

Thanks DarkMantle. Can't believe I missed that and nobody else pointed it out. Fixed!

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Tuesday 5th February 2008 | 09:08 PM

Virus installation.
Worst offender: Fortress.

The worst offender, in my opinion, was Independence Day. They installed a virus onto an alien computer... AN ALIEN computer. Because it would obviously use the same coding and OS as our computers.

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F*#$ YOU

Friday 8th February 2008 | 04:06 PM


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Saturday 9th February 2008 | 06:53 AM

@ Virus installation:

How about The Matrix, where Jeff Goldblum can write a computer virus for an alien hive supercomputer on his MacBook.

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Tuesday 12th February 2008 | 04:10 AM

Erm.... Independence Day there Dave. Matrix least throws a bone to us being nominally correct. Anyone know how he uploaded that thing anyways, God knows he couldn't right click, Copy with a Mac....

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Sunday 24th February 2008 | 09:13 AM

Every episode of any TV show that centres around computer crimes.

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Saturday 1st March 2008 | 09:46 PM

lol, fun list.

Its worth bearing in mind though that movies are such a visual medium. I really can't think of anything less visually interesting than watching a real life person at a computer. Nor do most stories have the sort of time needed for real computer processes. So, in the interests of more interesting movies I'm all for bending the laws of real computer life.

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Monday 17th March 2008 | 12:41 AM

wow you really did do your homework

good job

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Sunday 30th March 2008 | 08:58 AM response to this comment by Dave Bowman. yes ... you know that who ever programmed HAL must of got fired big time ... it makes me wonder what OS HAL uses , he must use Window$ :: 1st Macs wouldnt be good enough to run him 2nd linux would never refuse to do something for you

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Thursday 3rd April 2008 | 11:46 PM

How about hot chicks with low cut blouse and high heels, who have never seen a computer before, sitting down, knowing EXACTLY what to do and what to type, and typing at the speed of a 5-year-trained secretary...
I remember this from that series of Pamela Anderson, forgot the name though.
I like the one about being connected anytime anywhere, with a full speed in terrabytes, very true

thumbs up for the article, loved it

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Monday 7th April 2008 | 07:18 AM

Also worth noting that Apple is the most successful computer company in the world of movies. Every government organisation and corporate entity appears to have exclusive contracts with them.

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Monday 7th April 2008 | 07:51 AM response to this comment by fogofeternity. I always found that perplexing considering Apple still only have a piss-ant share of around 6% of the computer market. I always assumed Apple pay movie makers to place their warez in films but I can't see how that sort of product placement is going to make someone rush out and buy an Apple.

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Thursday 24th April 2008 | 09:49 PM

Virus Installation

Worst offender: Independence Day

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Alex Vorn

Wednesday 14th May 2008 | 06:38 AM

I disagree with a couple, but most of it's pretty good.

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Saturday 12th July 2008 | 07:27 PM

I saw one, I think it was CSI Miami, where the computer tech was looking at an image of a guy on the beach, outlined him and removed him from the pic in 1 second and revealed the background behind him!

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Sunday 13th July 2008 | 09:19 AM

Defiantly the worst offender of all time is "independence day" when the scientist writes up a quick little computer virus on one of the desktops in the hanger where they keep the alien fighter. then he takes the computer virus with him up to the mothership, and when they get docked, he uses his laptop to somehow send a virus to the mothership that not only creates a throaty laughter and floating skull (symbols the aliens probably wouldn't of understood), but also manages to blow up the entire mothership (presumably by shutting down all the control systems or something, maybe causing whatever system that was keeping teh power reactor in check to stop regulating and allow a destructive chain reaction.)

1. the alien computers were probably completely different (they may not even run on 1's and 0's , maybe they use multiple values in some kind of quantum multi-state computer system)
2. how would the scientist know enough about the mother-ship's engineering to know how to create a destructive computer virus
3.why if the virus took over the ship's computer system, how could the other docked fighters be able to give chase, or how did the aliens manage to cotrol the gate to seal the humans in?

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Thursday 24th July 2008 | 12:14 AM

Another nod for Independence day. It's not complete without mentioning it. What's so funny is that the Mac he was using to upload the virus would crash nowadays even trying to interface with a current computer, let alone a highly advanced alien civilization.

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Annie Moose

Sunday 14th December 2008 | 07:35 AM

lol, such a great list! So true. Don't forget that it's not just when you type things in that computers beep, they make lovely beep and click noises whenever you so much as click on a link! And... High School Musical (in my defense, my sister forced me to watch it), the one girl is doing a Google search. But the new pages come up really oddly. Instead of the whole page loading at once, the top section appears, then a section under it, and so on. So fake! I do love how all hackers' computers run from the command prompt (apparently, hackers can break into the most heavily-guarded security systems in the world, but they can't manage to download, at the very least, Ubuntu?!) and all government/top secret computers have green or blue interfaces entirely in 3D. And, for some unknown reason, all programs are completely fullscreen- no menu bars in sight.

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lamp shade

Tuesday 16th December 2008 | 04:05 AM

anybody remember Jurassic park. The girl breaks that one guys password just by going through a few files. that was awesome.

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Thursday 18th December 2008 | 12:30 PM response to this comment by onthepile. " Not even windows (vista) permits something so atrociously stupid as this. "

I don't think you should be selling Vista short like this....

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Saturday 20th December 2008 | 02:20 PM

OK, I know ID seems to be the hot topic so here's my take.
The fighter ship crashed in Roswell, 1947. The government stashed the ship.
Over the next 50 years they brought in various Engineers, Techs, Programmers, etc.
With the combined talent they were able to: decipher the alien language, reverse engineer
the alien operating system including the network protocols, create a virus.
Simple when you think about it.

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Sunday 21st December 2008 | 03:31 PM

Typing vs Mouse use. I've noticed that in most movies, the user will never use the mouse, but will rather type every command. For example in any CSI, when the computer person is asked to zoom in, rather than clicking the mouse, they have to press stuff on the keyboard. isn't a click of the mouse easier??

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Tuesday 23rd December 2008 | 11:35 AM

People like you ruin movies.

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Tuesday 23rd December 2008 | 10:01 PM

You forgot impossible IP Addresses, for example watched an episode of Criminal Minds recently they had a computer with an IP address of .12, something along those lines.

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Thursday 25th December 2008 | 06:22 PM

Virus installation.
Worst offender: Fortress.

The correct answer is:
Independence Day (they wrote a 'virus' that ran on alien hardware for frig sakes)

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Friday 26th December 2008 | 03:29 AM response to this comment by raw. Except that the guy who wrote the virus wasn't there for any of the research into the crashed alien spacecraft. He didn't even know about that place before halfway through the movie.

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G. Lynn

Tuesday 30th December 2008 | 08:30 AM response to this comment by E5CXC22W. E5CXC22W,

Um, it's called auto start, and it does EXACTLY that.

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Tuesday 30th December 2008 | 08:49 AM

O my Fv[

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Friday 2nd January 2009 | 11:49 PM

Another one didn't make the list: All artists/graphic designers moonlight as l33t h4x0rs. Example: the artist girl on Bones, who can also crack passwords and such when needed

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Sunday 4th January 2009 | 09:16 AM

What about in Independence Day where Jeff Goldblum is able to hack the alien mothership's network in seconds using his laptop. A network that just happens to be compatible with windows.

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Sunday 4th January 2009 | 05:46 PM

You forgot impossible IP Addresses, for example watched an episode of Criminal Minds recently they had a computer with an IP address of .12, something along those lines.

There is a good reason for this one; they don't want to risk posting a real IP in case that is in use, then all of us saddos will think "i wonder if there is a site there" and try it, hack it, DOS it etc... then the show would probably risk a lawsuit.

This is the same reason phone numbers always start with 555 in films, don't wanna risk thousands of calls.

Great list though.

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Sunday 4th January 2009 | 10:28 PM response to this comment by meaynaysayer. I think its actually terabits!

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Monday 5th January 2009 | 01:20 AM

i always love a progress bar for everything, nothing can be done without the visual representation of a progress bar, while searching calculating, comparing fingerprints, everything is always visual. because you must see every action it performs

anyone forget about "the net" they f uped that movie a lot. every computer can set of fire alarms, all computers secrets come up to the screen when infected with the mozart virus, then melt away as that information is going away

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Tuesday 6th January 2009 | 05:14 AM

Virus Installation, I haven't seen "Fortress" but the worst offender must be "Independence Day".



Wednesday 7th January 2009 | 01:12 AM
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I don't believe anyone has mentioned the classic single key press instantly wipes and entire hard drive, beyond the point of data recovery by the authorities.

Strange... Took me a few hours to entirely wipe a hard drive of all data beyond the point of data recovery.

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Friday 9th January 2009 | 05:04 AM

A new comedy on NBC called Chuck (a nerd herd employee) has an email client that displays messages at at least 100 pts., and can be read across the room. The writers should really get real if they want to attract and keep their target audience. Amen,your blog.

I don't know if you noticed this or not, but Chuck is what we like to call a "comedy". As someone who has been working closely with computers for the last decade, I find it comedic that the email messages are in a 100pts font

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Friday 9th January 2009 | 12:55 PM

Heres one: When zooming in on part of any picture to determine say.. the appearance of a criminal who appears in the tiniest fraction of the reflection in the subject's eyes, the quality of the image will inexplicably increase by several orders of magnitude.

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Tina Belmont

Monday 12th January 2009 | 03:52 AM

But the monitor envy one is true!

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Tuesday 13th January 2009 | 10:47 PM

and if the nerds are women they also must have big tits

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Wednesday 8th July 2009 | 07:59 PM

About the virus thing. The worst offender is by far Independence Day. An alien computer? No problem, when we say universal virus we mean it

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Wednesday 15th July 2009 | 09:22 PM

@martin - google wave
check it out

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Thursday 13th August 2009 | 12:03 PM response to this comment by Treva. Yeah, okay this is saying movies are misleading, yep: LOTS of things are misleading, I agree.
Ever noticed people rarely do their washing on the movies, there was like washing hanging out on
the lines in "Billy Elliot", for example,
it only got in someone's face running away from the police.
Who in riot gear, you would want to run away from.
Dunno how realistic riot gear for strike breaker police would be.
I understand there really are CCTV cameras on the streets in London as per on The Bill
Dunno how realistic the amount of cameras there are, or getting the "footage" played.

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Crash Override

Friday 14th August 2009 | 08:43 AM response to this comment by Jon. Acid burn... haha. That is lame.

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Saturday 24th October 2009 | 03:31 AM

I believe there is a misnomer concerning Independence Day, I don't think he was using software code in as much as radio or frequency code. remember the aliens where using earths satellites to communicate with the other ships (line of sight), in order to accomplish this the aliens would have to use at the very least a radio frequency close to our own, hence the back door concept. The smaller crafts were being fed instructions, as well as power from the mothership, open access to all ships, remember Area 51 the ship powered up when the mothership came into orbit. It was the aliens own arrogance that lead to there demise. Remember they have been harvesting other planets resources for presumably eons, so they felt very superior and knew no fear from threat. It wasn't so much there entire technology that was superior but there forcefield that made them practically invincible.

Numbers to me is a far greater insult. Just the other night an episode had a baby cam pickup what was presumably (or should have been, considering the advanced technological nature of the crime) encrypted wireless video feed and record it as it's own. When I saw that I threw my hands up and said come on!

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Monday 16th August 2010 | 07:45 PM response to this comment by Alberto. Man, do your research Alberto! Pizza and Mountain Dew!

Tony Fyler

Tony Fyler

Monday 16th August 2010 | 08:59 PM
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Hehehe....loved this. Thanks Mikey.

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Thursday 9th September 2010 | 07:19 AM

Well yeah I agree with the list of course.. how can I not? But to be fair every movie requires a certain degree of suspension of disbelief. If computers as props in films/TV series were actually like those in real life the shows would be generally crappy. my personal fav is how computers used in banks or any other business/admin department boot up immediately with NO whoa, slow down.. still loading up here matey.. of any kind.



Saturday 19th March 2011 | 11:39 AM
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The hacker will be downloading the secret file in the bad guys office.

He/She must quickly write a virus that destroys the bad guys computer, as well as all related files anywhere in the world on any computer.

Most importantly, even though the killer will arrive within 2 minutes, the hacker shall also develop an extremely complex dissolve effect and particle simulator to display a visual representation of the data being destroyed by the virus.

The hacker will hit the enter key, setting off the virus, also displaying the effects on all computer monitors in the world.

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Monday 28th March 2011 | 09:51 AM

i kinda feel like we can give war games a break. don't get me wrong there are plenty o errors in that movie but the people sitting in a room with one central monitor is based off of NASAs original Mission Control building, which has by far the most famous interior of any government building.

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Monday 28th March 2011 | 09:51 AM response to this comment by nathan. *plenty of errors

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Monday 24th October 2011 | 03:31 PM response to this comment by Anon. they could just use the loopback address...but then ppl like me might complain about that

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