Etc.

The portrayal of technology in TV shows and movies has long annoyed me, especially when a really good film does something daft that completely shatters my suspension of disbelief. Why can’t they just show the actual, you know, interfaces people use to do things, instead of a bizarre mix of pretend-talk and wizardry? Ugh.

Anyhow, this article assembles some of the most egregious examples of awful Hollywood portrayals of technology that I’ve seen. Numbers eight and one are especially horrid, and the whole list is fascinating in its terribleness.

Have they missed any of your particular, uh, favorites?

Comments closed
    • tygrus
    • 8 years ago

    They now have security cameras that cover a >90 degree field of view with 50Mpixels sensor taking stills every ~5 seconds. Any person walking down a path way will be captured at several points before and after any break in, damage, assult or bag snatch. They are also used in sporting area’s to cover a large area of crowd 100m or so to the other side. They can latter zoom into anywhere for a close up. I suppose 50Mpixels (8160×6120) to cover 25m may only be 163pixels for .5m where one person sits which really isn’t enough unless you can optically zoom the camera in before the picture is taken by 3x to 6x.

    The old analog or now compressed digital pictures are processed several times to seemingly turn 1 pixel into a magical 10 tor 100 from thin air. Sure you can make the existing detail clearer but they break the laws of physics by doing the equivalent of turning water into wine.

    • sydbot
    • 9 years ago

    The technology product placement in Fringe is pretty hilarious. Telling someone that you “downloaded Xoom” for them shatters, well, nothing I guess.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah they missed the X-Files episode “First Person Shooter” from season 7. Basically, the ENTIRE EPISODE is all one big nerd-rage moment.

      • Biggins
      • 9 years ago

      I was going to mention the X-Files. This may have been a different episode…
      Mulder found some hackers and was talking to some chick sitting in a dark room with a bunch of computer equipment. He asked her what kind of computer she was using and she said her computer has an [b<]OCTIUM 7[/b<] processor. So, basically a multi-billion dollor tech corporation with thousands of engineers and it's own fabs is stuck on the Pentium 3 (this episode aired around 1995). This lonely hacker has surpassed Intel by creating and fabricating the Pentium 4 thru 10. Sextium 1 thru 10. Septium 1 thru 10. And Octium 1 thru 7. Intel probably spent 10 years working its way up from the Pentium 1 to the Pentium 3. And this lonely hacker went through 33 generations of CPU's in 1 or 2 years??? I guess the writers wanted to give you the idea that this hacker is using a REALLY advanced computer.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 9 years ago

        lol, I don’t remember that episode but yeah there were some real stinkers. I vaguely recall in Season 2 there was a tech-sector company that had an AI controlling the doors and elevators… and the AI started killing people with elevators and other hazards. It was ridiculous.

        • Irascible
        • 9 years ago

        Or maybe the writers didn’t want to use a trademarked name.

    • spigzone
    • 9 years ago

    “what sounds like a Random Computer Term Generator”

    hmmm … … “what sounds like a Random Anything Vaguely Science Related Term Generator” … there, fixed it.

    • CuttinHobo
    • 9 years ago

    I’m partial to a conversation in the first Mission Impossible movie where they need a lot of computing horsepower, and the answer is: “Thinking Machine laptops? I’m talking about the 686 prototypes, with the artificial intelligence RISC chip.”

    • green
    • 9 years ago

    just in case people here think the stupidity is intentional, sometimes it isn’t

    films and tv have ‘accessibility’, which sort of translates to usability when talking about software
    they actually take time to dumb down interfaces and actions people use and do on a computer

    why?

    it varies. a lot has to do with post-production and editing the scenes together
    you know how they like to do the switching between the shoulder show, then face shots?
    in filming both shots are taken at the same time, or they do the shot twice at different angles
    because of this they preplan what is going to be displayed on the screen
    they come up with an interface that a viewer can pick up what’s going on in under a second
    in editing, they decide how long each shot lasts for and how often it switches
    at which point the screen of the computer may only be shown for all of 2 seconds
    in that 2 seconds they can either show a bunch of nothing that makes sense
    or they show ‘imagery’ of something resembling what they’re trying to do

    for example: “i want all information on this <john doe> character. now!”
    the person at the computer is frantically typing away at the keyboard
    you see multiple windows popping up and text / video / images everywhere
    that scene would form less than 5 seconds of the entire film
    with all the stuff happening on the computer screen it gives the sense of urgency
    this is then coupled with appropriate music or sounds to enhance the effect

    in reality you’d type “john doe” into an (already running) piece of software
    if it’s net connected you’d sit there waiting for the results to come back.
    you’d then read an that info to find and note down the important stuff.
    i mean really. type “john doe” into google and wait for the results.
    now imagine that is your ‘action packed hacking scene’.
    yea. scene would be lame. realistic, but lame.

    so there are reasons behind why computer usage is portrayed so terribly
    it’s just the end result kinda sux for those who do know how computers work

    • dashbarron
    • 9 years ago

    All anyone needs to know to watch CSI Miami:

    Unbelievable murder/plot solved using unrealistic technology with the help of a video/picture taken from a grainy 1970’s surveillance system and “enhanced” to provide crystal clear identification of the culprit. This is preceded by the leading star Horatio Caine, saying something witty at the start of the show then throwing on his sun glasses to the sound of The Who.

    That’s about it.

    • BenBasson
    • 9 years ago

    Die Hard 4 was probably one of the worst most recent offenders I can recall that isn’t on that list. Basically, the whole film is full of this stuff. If Bruce Willis isn’t violently killing people or destroying things, then technology is being portrayed as magic.

    Penny Arcade said it best: [url<]http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/7/16/[/url<]

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 9 years ago

      One of the worst movies I’d seen in years if not the worst.

    • willyolio
    • 9 years ago

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxq9yj2pVWk[/url<] Enhance!

      • Damage
      • 9 years ago

      Awesome.

      • grantmeaname
      • 9 years ago

      There’s a Simpson’d episode where Bart is sitting at a computer and orders Lisa to zoom in and enhance. She pushes his head into the monitor, and then the frame goes into Bart’s vision and you see the zoom/enhance effect. Comedy gold.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      I particularly enjoyed the easy-to-miss Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau “Enhance”. That pretty much puts the level of reality into perspective. 😀

        • Jambe
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah that drew a hearty chortle.

      • FireGryphon
      • 9 years ago

      The eigenvalues are off!

      • SonicSilicon
      • 8 years ago

      It’s sad that this was parodied in 1977 :
      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XH7g8MEc7U&feature=related[/url<] Start at 8:00 for the set-up, or skip to 9:00 for the gag.

      • albundy
      • 8 years ago

      oh mah gawd, its macguyver! wonder twins! ACTIVATE!

    • RickyTick
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned “24”. I totally loved 24, and would put it in my top 3 TV shoes of all time.

    Most of the tech on the show was right on the borderline of being believable/unbelievable. The worst part was where they could summon almost any traffic camera in the world with less than a dozen keystrokes or so, not to mention accessing an orbiting satellite just as easily.

    But the show was so riveting, I always overlooked any obvious stretches of the imagination.

    btw…the CSI/NCSI shows have always been guilty of technical wizardry. They were ok for a while, but at some point you just say, “come on…really”.

      • BenBasson
      • 9 years ago

      Being able to summon traffic cameras is hardly unbelievable, it’s merely a stretch. Yes, that probably isn’t possible on anywhere near the same scale now, but it’s hardly like CSI, with their holographic interfaces and tabletop computing that allows data to “leak” out of arbitrary storage devices as they’re placed on top of it.

      The thing that wound me up about 24 was their constant obsession with sockets. They always needed to open up more sockets. Apparently sockets are key to fighting terrorism.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        Yeah I always thought the socket thing was weird too.

        Don’t these multi-million dollar shows hire technical advisers?

          • BenBasson
          • 8 years ago

          It didn’t even bother me that much on a technical level, it was just the ridiculous obsession. If not having enough sockets is such a problem that it needs to be mentioned almost every episode, why couldn’t they put a technical solution in place and then shut the hell up?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Oh, how could I forget!

    The ramake of the Italian Job. The three armoured trucks are leaving the residence and they don’t know which one the safe is in. So the “nerd” uses the traffic camera to snap a picture then use some magic software that measured the height of the tires in the picture. Man, I wish there was software out there that would be able to differentiate what different pixels in a .jpg represent automatically…

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 8 years ago

      Actually some of the software applications in the scientific research arena can do image recognition and automatic measurement. Not quite a seamless as in the movie, but pretty close.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t recall the details of that scene (and have no desire to watch that idiotic remake a second time, either), but what do you think an ordinary Photoshop filter does, if not analyze the mathetmatical relationships of discrete pixels based on their relationships to each other?

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    You know how in college their was that subtle feud between English majors and engineers…

    well maybe that wasn’t just a college thing… maybe thats just life.

      • DancinJack
      • 9 years ago

      You weren’t either, right?

    • Buzzard44
    • 9 years ago

    Also, as I see time and again on cop shows – you can’t take a low resolution image and “sharpen it up” so that a couple of pixels turn into a crystal clear picture of a license plate or person’s face.

    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 9 years ago

    They do this kind of crap in Criminal Minds all the time. The hacker on the team mashes loudly on her keyboard, and in so doing causes all kinds of windows to pop up or disappear in rapid succession. She can get any answer she wants, any password she wants, ANYTHING she wants by pounding on her keyboard for 2-3 seconds. She can even take control of anybody else’s computer in the world in the same amount of time.

    I like the show and watch it all the time, but I end up just having to ignore all of that stuff.

    • willmore
    • 9 years ago

    [b<]Numbers eight and one are especially horrid, and the whole list is fascinating in its terribleness.[/b<] WRT #1, the people commenting don't seem to have actually watched the show. The main character had been in prison for the last decade. He's a bit out of touch with modern game consoles, so I'd cut him some slack for that. Also, picking out the one person in the croud who's playing the game in her head isn't stupid, it's probably genius. The ending, though, uggg, is horrid. I think Adventure ruined millions of peoples lives for creating the 'hide the secret data inside the video game ending' meme. That said, I can go through the blue maze with my eyes closed. Freaking bat.....

    • PixelArmy
    • 9 years ago

    Samuel L. Jackson: PLEASE! I hate this god damn hacker bullshit!
    Jurassic Park. Ok maybe not on totally topic and probably misquoted but:

    I think in the book the people figure whiterabbit.obj, it’s really an exe!

    • superjawes
    • 9 years ago

    They missed tracking people via GPS.

    When you buy a GPS device, its just a receiver. You never pay for a subscription because all of the transmitting devices are provided by Uncle Sam via the USAF, and none of them receive data from your receiver.

    Also, cell phones only use one tower per phone, so you can’t triangulate people down to a street corner.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 8 years ago

      That last part isn’t exactly true. Your phone stays in touch with multiple cells at a time so that it can handle the hand-offs when you are on the move.

        • mcnabney
        • 8 years ago

        CDMA is designed to use two towers concurrently to eliminate hard handoffs.

      • NeronetFi
      • 8 years ago

      That and most of today’s new cells use cell tower triangulation to assist with the GPS location.

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      Very few people carrying GPS devices are carrying a pure receiver. If the device has any other communications abilities, it can usually be queried for its current coordinates: OnStar, avalanche beacons, cell phones…

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    Before I even clicked on the list I just KNEW Hackers would be in there…. hilarious movie. Though damn awesome so don’t go mocking it! It was waaay ahead of its time. Plus a young Angelina Jolie is something worth adding in and the dude from that lawyer tv show where he’s forgotten everything… Great movie. Absolute classic. However, of course it’s allowed to have a hilarious/glorified/dramatised take on computers as if they used easily available tech at the time it would have been pathetic.

    Officially the dumbest thing i’ve seen recently was in a TV show called “Unnatural History” where the main guy and his two friends get trapped in their dad’s library overnight while a security company is “upgrading” the security system, but is actually using the opportunity to steal a WWII enigma machine to unlock a master password to EVERYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, bank accounts, the internet, copy-protected blu-rays, missle launch codes, patents, etc. etc. …… *facepalm*

    • Buzzard44
    • 9 years ago

    Everyone knows that hacking is actually a game of pipes, where you have to make the pipes let water flow through. However, if the water catches up with your pipe before you complete the pathway, it backfires on you. I used to do this all the time.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Sounds outdated. Must’ve been back in the 50’s.

        • Buzzard44
        • 9 years ago

        That’s how I did it back in 1960, but I was in a very advanced part of the world then, so it shouldn’t be that outdated.

      • yogibbear
      • 9 years ago

      I was always more worried that if those pipes burst i’d have 1000m of water pressure coming into my FACE!

        • Buzzard44
        • 9 years ago

        For being at the bottom of the ocean, the water moved incredibly slowly through those pipes.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      Thank you, Senator.

    • Contingency
    • 9 years ago

    I have recently been acquainted with the phrase “nerd blackface.”

    • PRIME1
    • 9 years ago

    If you want a realistic use of technology on TV watch Nova.
    If you want a realistic use of technology in a movie…well watch “Dances with Wolves”

    Otherwise just suspend reality and enjoy the show. Because soon you will become focused on plot holes, historical inaccuracies, fact checking, etc. Eventually you will become so bitter that you will troll websites correcting grammar and spelling. All joy from your life having been removed.

    That being said…..and partially offtopic. Skyline sucked.

      • spigzone
      • 9 years ago

      off-topic.

      and it should read … ‘partially off-topic, Skyline sucked.’

      Putting in a period instead of a comma is a grammatical ATROCITY.

      Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        Verrrrry sorrry, herr Obersthauptman, but it should be eizer ein colon ur eine semi-colon, nicht ein comma!!!

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      You put a space after punctuation such as ellipses, and you should only place identical punctuation marks either in groups of 3, or individually.

        • Jambe
        • 9 years ago

        ..:;:,,..,!.?….

        I don’t gather that you’re bitter, though. Bit of a grammar goon from time to time but not necessarily bitter.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          I am, but I hide it skillfully.

    • Squeazle
    • 9 years ago

    1) Bad writers can’t be accounted for. There are idiots in every profession, making a hash out of other peoples work.
    2) Sloppy dramaturgy work can happen pretty quickly when you have a bad writer and two days between having a script and making the shoot. They were so busy telling them that trees don’t conduct electricity particularly well that they miss other things, in all categories.

    Not that it shouldn’t happen, but it’s not particularly hard to imagine either.

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    I think the real tragedy here is that so many people in the comments here mention viewing CSI shows and its variants.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 9 years ago

      I like the characters and most of the episode stories in CSI: Miami. Kind’ve a guilty pleasure, I guess. Their surface computer that can access and conveniently display all data on a cell phone, any cell phone, one second after placing the cell phone on the surface clearly isn’t real, but it is kinda cool-looking and at least not unimaginable or completely mindless on the level of some of the NCIS things.

      The characters on NCIS just seem kinda goofy as a group.

        • spigzone
        • 9 years ago

        This is a HANDHELD device currently in use by law enforcemwnt that can suck ALL the data out of a cellphone
        in seconds.

        “The Cellebrite UFED Physical Pro is a high-end, all-in-one solution for logical and physical extraction. The UFED Physical Pro expands your current device capabilities to extract deleted mobile device data, user passwords, file system dumps, and physical extraction from GPS devices.”

        [url<]http://www.cellebrite.com/forensic-products/ufed-physical-pro.html[/url<]

      • BenBasson
      • 9 years ago

      CSI wasn’t too shabby until they ran out of ideas for standard murder scenarios to investigate… now basically every episode is an adventure in story-telling madness and baffling technology waffle.

        • spigzone
        • 9 years ago

        CSI wasn’t too shabby as long as William Peterson was at the helm. Once he left logic and rationality were kicked into the gutter.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      I actually was hooked on the show. It’s like eating the gas station branded chocolate-covered peanut clusters. There’s way better to be had, but this is easy.

      • albundy
      • 9 years ago

      agreed. doest anyone watch good tv anymore? my fav now is the Game of Thrones, shameless, and californication.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 9 years ago

        Castle.
        [url<]http://abc.go.com/shows/castle[/url<]

          • sweatshopking
          • 9 years ago

          I sure hope you never downloaded any of those episodes.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 9 years ago

            I DVR them from free broadcast HDTV. For the episode where my power went out and the DVR died while I was at work, I just watched it on-line on the official ABC site (linked in my previous message).

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        Terriers was a great show on that just started on FX.

        Think it’s going to get cancelled though.

        Breaking Bad and Mad Men are both excellent.

      • fantastic
      • 9 years ago

      I like CSI: Las Vegas, but hate the others. I do sometimes get annoyed that the results of lab tests pop up quickly and don’t require hours of QC, calibrations and verification before it’s released to use in a murder case. Maybe the CGI was a little over the top early on, but it’s mostly to give perspective to people that have no idea what’s happening. If you watch some of the real forensics shows that sprung up from the popularity of the CSI shows, you’ll see some of the crazy lengths they’ll go through to catch real criminals.

      Seeing CSI/forensics people shooting guns does make me grimace a little. I’m sure it happens, but it has to be very rare.

        • spigzone
        • 9 years ago

        What does your face do when you see a CSI team ‘clearing’ a building. Just because.

    • potatochobit
    • 9 years ago

    TNG is the future of humanity
    you are wrong!

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 9 years ago

    I’m going to give a shout out to “the last mimsy” for one of the better uses of technology reference, though how they reveal it is a bit far fetched.

    [spoiler<] There is a teddy bear from the future that is actually a highly sophisticated robot, the government gets a hold of the bear from a kid in the story, they take a tiny sample of one of it's hairs or something and at the microscopic scale there is an "intel" logo [/spoiler<]

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    The use of the apple foreskin on every laptop in movies.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      I know, right? I swear the last time I saw Windows in a reputable TV show, it was 1994 or something, and it was Windows 3.1 on Scully’s IBM office computer in The X-Files.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        Actually things have gotten better recently.

        The main reason for this was that set designers were artsy people, so they liked Apples and would stick them everywhere. For the past few years the big OEMs have caught on and started paying studios to put their computers in movies/shows. SyFy shows were littered with Dells the last time I watched.

          • Applecrusher
          • 9 years ago

          I’m seeing lots of phones with their brands flaunted everywhere too!

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          it’s retarded. NBC is the WORST for that. every friggin 30 rock episode has like 5 apple products. last one i watched, dude was just carrying around an ipad, for no reason. just carrying it. they do say at the end they get $ from apple though. the office had a close up on windows teh other day, but it wasn’t 7, it was xp or vista, and they were using windows media player, but it was 10 or 11, i don’t remember.

      • FireGryphon
      • 9 years ago

      This is the crudest comment so far, but it strikes a chord

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      I know someone who stuck an Apple sticker on the backplate of their lenovo laptop… I asked them why they did it, and they said it made it go faster.

    • bdwilcox
    • 9 years ago

    Oh please, please! None of these come even close to the stupidity of Independence Day where Jeff Goldblum creates and uploads a virus to a totally alien computer. We’re talking alien everything: language, symbols, OS, hardware, interface, EVERYTHING!

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      Well, you’re wrong, but you’re still right. From the (low-res) screen images, it was obvious that the alien mothership was running Mac OS. But, as well know, Mac OS is immune to viruses.

      • PRIME1
      • 9 years ago

      Actually that could be explained by the fact that they had been studying their technology for 50 years.

        • bdwilcox
        • 9 years ago

        Jeff Goldblum hadn’t.

          • PRIME1
          • 9 years ago

          He gave them the idea and they wrote the software for him based on their research. In fact just before crazy haired Data died, he passed him the disk with the code.

          It’s all in the super-duper-extra-special-5th-time-we-released-the-movie-on-dvd version.

          I hear there will be an extended version of this deleted scene the 3rd time it comes out on Blu-ray. It shows that the Virus was just windows ported over causing multiple crashes and DRM violations.

            • Noigel
            • 9 years ago

            Didn’t they state that math was the only universal language? Or was that Contact? …Contact, horrible… anyway if that’s true then maybe the buffer underrun is a universal constant. 🙂

            • dpaus
            • 9 years ago

            How could you not like Contact?

      • Parallax
      • 9 years ago

      Jeff Goldblum sent the aliens an Apple OS, and they tried to run it on non-Apple hardware. Outcome as expected.

        • Krogoth
        • 9 years ago

        LMAO.

    • xtremevarun
    • 9 years ago

    Ha! Take a look at what this guy is doing.

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLYR0iJnjAM[/url<] This definitely takes the cake for technological tomfoolery 🙂

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Chuck (I think season 1) where the owner of Atari has put some secret code into his arcade game (from the late 80’s or early 90’s). They need to extract it quickly, so Sarah says “let’s just get the CIA techs to analyize the code” to which Chuck says “no time” and proceeds to pick up the game and play through the entire game in a couple of minutes…

    Jurrasic Park where the little girl navigates “linux” with her mouse to enable the locks on the door.

      • odizzido
      • 9 years ago

      That jurassic park scene was pretty terrible. I can’t imagine anyone wasting their time to make such a terrible GUI in such a facility. Maybe denis wrote it for john as a joke? God knows how the girl knew what she was even looking at with that abomination though.

        • raddude9
        • 9 years ago

        Actually that was a freely available program for SGI machines:

        [url<]http://www.siliconbunny.com/fsn-the-irix-3d-file-system-tool-from-jurassic-park/[/url<]

          • The Wanderer
          • 8 years ago

          And, despite what that page says, the program is actually still obtainable directly from SGI:

          [url<]http://replay.web.archive.org/20070409024417/http://www.sgi.com/fun/freeware/3d_navigator.html[/url<] The Wayback Machine's copy of the SGI Serious Fun page on FSN provides instructions on how to log in via anonymous FTP and download a copy of the program. I just now tested, and it still works; the anonymous login works, and the files are there, right where they're supposed to be. They probably don't do any good for anyone not running a fairly outdated version of IRIX, but they are still available if anyone wants to play around. There's also fsv, an open-source sort-of clone of fsn, which at a glance doesn't seem to work (or look) quite the same: [url<]http://fsv.sourceforge.net/[/url<]

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 9 years ago

      “Oh this is Unix, I know this!” I believe is the direct quote. To a great deal of laughter at the theater I was in (in SF).

      I thought it was pretty rad as an abstraction though. I’d use it. But then I also adore the Nextstep gui even now so take that into consideration.

    • FireGryphon
    • 9 years ago

    This is one reason why I don’t own a TV.

      • My Johnson
      • 9 years ago

      +1

      Same here.

      • Fighthouse
      • 9 years ago

      [url<]http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/26/28-not-having-a-tv/[/url<]

        • etrigan420
        • 9 years ago

        …awesome…

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      Dude you’re so cool. Plus we all know every TV show is exactly the same, and owning a monitor that happens to have a tuner built into it is totally just giving into the man.

      • albundy
      • 9 years ago

      i wouldnt be able to post this without one. kinda hard to dismiss a 60″ tv acting as my pc, gaming rig, and media viewing station. very very hard. its even harder to sit on a super plush recliner as i am typing this.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    The worst technological lapse I ever saw on-screen was at the end of the otherwise-brilliant 1983 movie “Brainstorm”. The movie centers on a device that records the entire activity of the human brain, and can then ‘replay’ the activity for another person, causing them to re-experience what the original person recorded. Inevitably, of course, a main character dies while wearing the recording device, and the central character (Cristopher Walken in one of his very few ‘good guy’ roles) just [i<]has[/i<] to have a safe near-death experience. Now the entire bandwidth of the human brain is unknown, but the director - Douglas Trumball, special effects director of [i<]2001[/i<], and [i<]Blade Runner[/i<] and [i<]Close Encounters[/i<] and [i<]Star Trek: TMP[/i<], and- well, you get the, um, picture... - knew it was, well, big, so he wisely showed the recording medium as a huge, multi-track holographic tape (hey, it was 1983...). But when the bad guys in the movie (the military, of course) discover what Walken's character is up to and lock him out of the lab, why, he does what any self-respecting techie does: he hacks into the system from afar and re-plays the output from the huge, multi-track holographic tape. Over a phone line. Using a 300 baud modem. One with acoustic couplers. From a phone booth. While it didn't quite spoil the movie for me, it was an unforgiveable flaw in Trumball's otherwise-brilliant career.

      • srg86
      • 9 years ago

      Wow a 300 baud modem, I guess he’s still in that phone booth now! ha ha!

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    I like the numbers one. where the guy walks in on the girl and guy nerds talking and the guy looks down at the girl and says “he’s probably trying to decode the backdoor too.”

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    Hackers is an awesome movie!!! Some of these are bad. But Hackers come on. First it was a visualization even if it actually appeared on there screen also it didn’t feel really out of place even being a linux and command prompt user. This movie has tons of places where reality is mixed with fantasy not just the computers so this doesn’t seem that strange.

    I loved this movie and most of my friends did to. It is just fun. Also it isn’t about them all being cool. They are just friends how have fun together being unique. Certainly the bad guy isn’t “cool” he is a nerd to the nth degree.

    • Stargazer
    • 9 years ago

    Enemy of the State.
    They have an image from a security camera, showing a shopping bag. They then *rotate* this image, to show them the backside of the bag.

    • Stargazer
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not only technology. Hollywood can manage to get just about everything wrong. Physics, math… heck, just about anything related to science.

    As mentioned in the article, one of the problems is that the writers are trying to write characters that are “smarter” than them. A fun example of this is Bones, where one of the main themes seems to be to point out how exceptionally intelligent the title character is, even though she (in addition to apparently having severe psychological issues) often manages to do rather stupid things. For extra hilarity, she’s an *anthropologist* that repeatedly makes fun of psychology for being a “soft” science. Uhm…

    As also suggested by the article, it also often seems to be the case that the writers “look down” on people interested in technology. One show that can sometimes be rather extreme in this way is NCIS. Despite having two main characters with very high technological interest (and skill), and having large parts of the show involve technology in one way or another, I sometimes get the feeling that they not only look down on, but actively *despise* “nerds”. If you’re a nerd you obviously have no life, and deserve all the ridicule you get. God forbid you play computer games… (MMOs of course being the worst of the worst).
    It’s a bit confusing really. Don’t they risk annoying large parts of their viewers?

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      The viewers who’d give a damn are watching other, better shows.

      • thanatos355
      • 9 years ago

      A friend of mine got me into NCIS very recently. So I’m watching through season 6 (who starts with the first one anyway?) and it’s failry entertaining. It’s VERY dumbed down feeling though. The thing that gets me is that it seems like every episode I’m screaming “THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!!!” at the tv, to the great humor of my gf. lol

        • demani
        • 9 years ago

        I’ve calmed down myself a bit, but I’m quite proud that my wife now assumes some of those duties. While not a geek, she has enough real-world experience to call BS, and even when she isn’t sure she will turn and say “are they for real?”.

        But my all-time most annoying experience was with the original CSI where they did dumb crap like play back audio off a turned ceramic pot (like a record player!), or would enhance ATM or security camera photos to read the ball cap of the perp in a reflection of someone’s eye (or some other similarly stupid BS).

          • thanatos355
          • 9 years ago

          I was just going to post something about the complete crazy picture enhancements that they do! I would LOOOOOOOVE to be able to take a fuzzy 2mp cameraphone pic and enlarge it indefinitely with crystal sharp clarity simply by the press of a button and uttering a few nonsensical words! Oh the joy that would bring me! Especially since I’ve been working on an old copied picture of my gf’s grandfather. A scan of an old copy (on printer paper) of an even older photo! Imagine the fun that I’m having with that!

    • Firestarter
    • 9 years ago

    I saw a movie this week, starring Matt Damon, in which a kid just googled something and watched a video on youtube. Don’t know if Google paid for that..

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    16 core with a 10 meg pipe!

    Pipe! WTF is a 10-meg pipe!

    This is, for me, the worst.

      • spigzone
      • 9 years ago

      10-meg pipe … … 10 meg internet connection.

      ?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        and it’s slooooow. And your grammar is so bad you should not be correcting PRIME1. leave that to the pros.

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    It’s not just computers; I cringe every time I see a character in a movie pull a fire alarm pull station and the sprinklers start. It makes me wonder how many real people have died in real fires in buildings that didn’t have sprinklers because the owner/builder stupidly believed that a vandal can actually start the sprinklers by pulling a wall station.

    • Majiir Paktu
    • 9 years ago

    Error messages with GIGANTIC CENTERED RED FLASHING TEXT.

    Because clearly, anyone who works with advanced crime-fighting technology is too stupid to work a message box.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t see a problem here. I get chased by the cops through Second Life all the time.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    Tron: Legacy.

    Command: “Backdoor”… WTF? Thats not even a Unix command!!

    (AND everything possible in CSI:Miami. AND anything that has an unholy amount of beeps or swooshes while zooming, rotating or searching.)

      • Majiir Paktu
      • 9 years ago

      You didn’t reroute your IP pathways to decrypt the backdoor mainframe?

      • Elsoze
      • 9 years ago

      No, you can’t fault Tron Legacy. They used real linux commands.

      What if “Backdoor” was just a script he wrote and made executable? It doesn’t require a file extension. See, plausible.

      • Symmetry
      • 9 years ago

      Tron: Legacy? Any movie that features running an ‘ps aux’ followed by a ‘kill -9’ to stop a program deserves mad props even if it gets other stuff wrong.

        • ClickClick5
        • 9 years ago

        Just the deal of typing backdoor. Even if it was a script to gain what seemed to be sudo power, calling it backdoor is just odd. This just violates SO MANY security rules and do-nots.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago

    I’m putting my trust in Apple if aliens ever decide to come here and enslave us.

      • TheEmrys
      • 9 years ago

      I think I’d take my chances with the aliens instead of Jobs.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        I thought he [i<]was[/i<] an alien?? (it goes a [i<]loooooong[/i<] way towards explaining the RDF)

    • evilpaul
    • 9 years ago

    I saw this yesterday, and yeah, it’s pretty spectacular how stupid Hollywood seems to think its viewers are. Is there some sort of copyright issue with just showing people in what’s supposed to be the present day real world using Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or whatever?

    Granted, the Photoshopped WoW login screen was pretty funny, but I think they were expecting us to take it seriously.

    Also, possibly first!

      • sweatshopking
      • 9 years ago

      i +d you for being first, and on point!

      • Stargazer
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]Is there some sort of copyright issue with just showing people in what's supposed to be the present day real world using Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or whatever? [/quote<] Sometimes they're not afraid to show it. They tend to at least be very fond of showing backsides of laptops/monitors with Apple/Windows logos. Also, recently there were at least two shows where they specifically mentioned in the script that "I put it on our Skydrive". Part of some ad campaign I guess...

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