How Hollywood sees computersMikey 104 comments
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.
When code is displayed on screen, every character makes a faint blipping sound as it is rendered.
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.
Computer monitors are so bright that the on-screen image is often projected onto the users' face.
Offenders: Alien; 2001.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Server rooms, even those that contain hundreds of working computers, barely make a sound. In Hollywood, computers do not require cooling.
Worst offender: Firewall.
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.
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.