×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

More Than 20 Years of the Web on the Big Screen

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the look-at-the-past dept.

536

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "WSJ.com has compiled clips from a dozen movies over the past 23 years that depict the internet, with varying degrees of accuracy. Among the selections: WarGames, Sneakers, .com for Murder, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The Matrix Reloaded used real Linux code, while Mission: Impossible had the improbable email addresses Job@Book of Job and Max@Job 3:14. In a related article, WSJ.com reviews some of the more-absurd Hollywood conventions when it comes to the web. Harry Knowles, of Ain't It Cool News, says, 'The thing that always gets me is watching people send emails. You click "send" and the entire document begins to fold into an envelope and disappear into the screen. I tend to send around 300 to 400 emails a day, and that would drive me insane.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

536 comments

Oh boy (2)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236363)

And with that goes more than 20 years of kids at school saying things like "I just hacked into the school's mainframe last night, with the password pencilsharpener, and changed your grades to all Fs".

Besides, its more like 24 years. They forgot Tron, in which the MCP uses the net or a direct connection to break into those other computers.

Re:Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236628)

Besides, its more like 24 years. They forgot Tron, in which the MCP uses the net or a direct connection to break into those other computers.

Gayest movie evar.

Accurate or not (2, Insightful)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236372)

Regardless of how probable or improbable Wargames may have been, it was and will likely remain one of my favorite "nerd" movies. I don't think I could ever get tired of it. The chick's hot too. Jason had some of the best lines, even if they did sound like they were delivered by a Speak N Say. Perhaps because of it. Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess?

Re:Accurate or not (5, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236442)

Jason had some of the best lines

For someone who claims to love the movie, I'd think you'd know it was Joshua, not Jason! Nerd card SUSPENDED!

Re:Accurate or not (1)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236567)

In my defense, I haven't slept in 30 hours (don't ask). But yes, Joshua was the WOPR.

Don't know where the frig I got Jason from. The worse part is I wrote that after reading the article where they mention Joshua (as an unlikely password).

I suck.

But I really do have Wargames on DVD and a Wargames poster in my computer room and a Wargames desktop background.

Re:Accurate or not (4, Interesting)

ccandreva (409807) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236527)

For 1983, I think WarGames got far more right than it got wrong. You really could get free phone calls by shorting out an old-style rotary pay phone.

You really can fake out any system that communicates via DTMF tones by recording and playing them back. Anyone remember hearing tones when you put money in early touch-tone payphones ? If that lock did communicate to a central system via DTMF, you could get out that way.

Poor passwords used to be far more common. From 2006 Joshua looks like an obvious bad backdoor, but that's only because it used to BE so common.

What did they get wrong ? WOPR was already an antique at the time, but they wanted something with blinking lights. There couldn't be a voice synth with the same voice everywhere. Often overlooked that complaint is the fact that they bothered to introduce it as a device at all.

I always thought they presented it correctly as a cinematic device, sort of like a scene starting in a foreign language with subtitles, to establish the characters are foreign, then switching to English so the audiance knows what is going on.

Re:Accurate or not (2)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236625)

What did they get wrong ? WOPR was already an antique at the time, but they wanted something with blinking lights. There couldn't be a voice synth with the same voice everywhere. Often overlooked that complaint is the fact that they bothered to introduce it as a device at all.

One of the ways I've heard the voice synth explained is that it was pretty likely that both Matthew Broderick's character and the government bought the voice synth equipment from the same place. Much like how the Windows male voice synth voice is the same on all computers. Just something I heard tossed up somewhere.

Mr Potatohead! Mr Potatohead!

Young Ally Sheedy.....Mnnnnnnnn (1)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236609)

I suppose I am a retroactive dirty old man, but I thought she was hot back then too...

Even worse on Television (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236378)

Aside from the laughablely unbiquitous Apples, let us not forget television's greatist contribution to the ludicrous depiction of online capabilities and hacking, the oh-so-forgettable show "Whiz Kids [imdb.com]". Oh, Albert Ingalls, how could you have went so wrong?

-Eric

The Web != The Internet (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236381)


Subject says it all.

Re:The Web != The Internet (2, Interesting)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236446)

On a related note, from TFA:

Filmmakers must sidestep delicate trademark issues when setting a scene. Prominently showing an AOL email screen or Google search page, for example, requires approval from the companies, so some production designers create a variation that avoids the red tape.

Yet showing a coke can prominently is ok? Well duh, coke paid them for it. So why can't Google pay to show up on a computer screen in 24 or something?

Reminds me of a Buffy scene (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236480)

Willow: "Have you tried Googling her?"

Xander: "Willow, she's only 17!"

Web != Internet (2, Informative)

turgid (580780) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236382)

Come on, this isn't the BBC's Technology section or PeeCee Shopper magazine.

Re:Web != Internet (2, Informative)

aclarke (307017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236437)

According to Wikipedia, the first web browser [wikipedia.org] wasn't released until February 26, 1991. That seems as good a place as any to mark the beginning of the "Web", which would make it a little over 15 years old.

You're right - you'd still hope that even now, Slashdot submitters and editors would understand the distinction between the www and the internet.

errr web 20 years old naaa (1)

zenst (558964) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236385)

The internet is >20 years old oh yeah. But the web as we know it means web page's/websites as I know it and 20 years is a tadge of a pinocio situation there.

Coz it is hollywood/movie land and they do like re-writting history some.

Woah there, headline (5, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236397)

The Web != The Internet

Also, just to further nitpick, I don't think Wargames even had the internet in it -- he found WOPR by dialing it up directly.

true - He was wardialing numbers with modemss (2, Interesting)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236515)

..And looking for backdoors. Pretty accurate for the time, you could get into a lot of telephone switching systems like that back then.

Very few norad supercomputers however....

Password in 1 minute? (0, Redundant)

Animaether (411575) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236617)

In addition, the byline reads:
"... Good news: the system is password protected. Bad news: it only takes David Lightman ... about a minute to guess it."

I hope they mean excluding all the -days- he apparently (he was missed from school for days) spent reviewing library material on the author of the system, reviewing videos, etc. etc. He didn't guess it in 1 minute - it came to him in a thought that lasted mere seconds after Jennifer mentioned the designer's son's name, reciting it from an article.

Re:Password in 1 minute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236640)

Plus, you have to mention that he guesses the backdoor password - a password added by Falken that the machine's operators didn't know existed.

Internet > ARPAnet (1)

aurelian (551052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236656)

You could argue that the 'Internet' includes machines connected only by modem as well as those attached to network gateways.

I remember "The Net" (4, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236399)

Not my kind of movie, seeing that the hapless heroine spent the whole bloody thing running away, without any kind of respite or comic relief or joy.

That being said, I seem to remember it used a perfectly authentic looking traceroute, even if they had to give each row different colours to make it more visually appealing.

Maybe my memory is failing, but the chat program used there didn't seem any more hokey than AOL chat or the average myspace profile. My theory is that most people quite like hokey.

D

Re:I remember "The Net" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236492)

ac@server:~$ ping 23.75.345.200
ping: unknown host 23.75.345.200 :(

Wow (5, Funny)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236400)

I can't believe that list of inaccurate depictions left off Independence Day. No, you can't write a computer virus on your Mac and upload it to alien ships on the fly. And even if you could, it probably wouldn't show a pretty blue progress bar that said "uploading virus" while you did it.

Honestly, that's the worst depiction of computers in film that I've ever seen

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

JimmehAH (817552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236525)

Independence Day is on the list. That very scene too. But in the film Area 51 had 50 years to reverse engineer the computer systems on the crashed alien ship, so it's not entirely unrealistic.
Disclaimer: I've not seen the film in years and my memory of it is a little patchy.

Re:Wow (1)

93,000 (150453) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236533)

Agreed -- I lost a lot of faith in my fellow man after seeing that. Some writer was dumb enough to think that he could sell such a crap scenario to the masses as plausible, and somehow he was correct -- people out there bought it! The mere fact that the scene exists is frustrating to me.

I need to go breathe in a paper bag and lie down for a few minutes.

Re:Wow (5, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236538)

To be fair, the film screws up so badly in all areas, it would be weird if they got the computer stuff right.

How did Jeff Goldblum's character figure out the alien signal?
How did they know how to fly the alien ship?
All of the characters in this film are stereotypical.
The President of the United States of America flies a fighter plane against alien ships.
The town drunk is a hero for no reason.
I could come up with more, but like a child who had been molestered by her uncle, I don't like thinking about it too much.

Possibly the most idiotic film of the past 30 years.

Re:Wow (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236603)

I love that movie, it being great braindead entertainment which leaves me not at all worried about nitpicking the technical points, but I'll take the time to answer your points.

Q. How did Jeff Goldblum's character figure out the alien signal?
A. Duh! He's a genius.

Q. How did they know how to fly the alien ship?
A. Captain Hiller is a bad-ass hero fighter pilot, he can fly anything. Anyway, you saw the controls - if pulling one way makes it go backwards, pulling the other way goes...

Q. All of the characters in this film are stereotypical.
A. It's a fucking Hollywood movie, of course all the characters are stereotypical.

Q. The President of the United States of America flies a fighter plane against alien ships.
A. So what's your point? Admittedly with your current draft-dodging coward of a president, I can understand your skepticism (if you're not American, I apologise for that).

Q. The town drunk is a hero for no reason.
A. He got probed up the ass by the aliens, he's got to get some comeback. It's a classic tale of revenge and redemption. Positively Shakespearian.

Q. I could come up with more, but like a child who had been molestered by her uncle, I don't like thinking about it too much.
A. Bring it on, we have all the answers.

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236597)

It's a movie about a friggin' alien invasion, yet you complain about the computer stuff being unrealistic?

Re:Wow (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236636)

Makes about as much sense as aliens invading the planet and then just keeling over from the common cold. Wait, that was done too...War of the Worlds, considered a classic.

I've never understood how frothing mad people can get at this film. Sure, it's no Star Wars, but it's leaps and bounds above such science butchers as Armageddon and Day After Tomorrow. For all it's flaws, Independence Day works on it's level.

Honestly, that's the worst depiction of computers in film that I've ever seen

Clearly you haven't seen Hackers. TYPE COOKIE!!

Visual Incremental Password Decryption (4, Funny)

4of12 (97621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236415)

My favorite: the odometer/slot machine password cracking software, whirring the last few places as you hear the Bad Guy® coming down the hall...

Click click click (1)

smoor (961352) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236427)

And don't forget the clicking keyboards... Talk about driving you insane... On a similar subject, don't you want to take the people behind CSI and just hang them by their thumbnails?

Re:Click click click (4, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236465)

And don't forget the clicking keyboards... Talk about driving you insane...

All true geeks use a Model M [wikipedia.org].

Re:Click click click (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236587)

All true oldschool geeks use a Northgate Omnikey Ultra [amiga-hardware.com]. Specifically, one connected to their Amiga. Although you could use it with a PEECEE, if you had to.

Awesome keyboard, totally indestructible. Quite maintainable, too, and great keyfeel and audible feedback. Like the vaunted Model M above, except compatible (with the flip of a DIP switch) with the Amiga, a huge selling point for me back in 1990.

Re:Click click click (1)

jejones (115979) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236659)

...don't you want to take the people behind CSI and just hang them by their thumbnails?

Only until they tell me the secret of infinite-resolution photography.

20 years my fine ass (0, Offtopic)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236438)

There's a company in the SF Bay Area which advertises on KCBS AM 740 traffic radio, bragging about more than two decades of writing web pages. Yeah right. I keep on thinking I ought to call them up and laugh, but anyone who believes them deserves whatever they get.

Re:20 years my fine ass (1)

Korben Dallas (192692) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236464)

A lot of professional firms will give their experience as a total of their employees' or partners' experience. Say three engineers have a business, each with about 10 years of experience.. in ads, that might become "30 years of experience".

Not saying it's right, just saying that might be how they're counting it.

Naaaah (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236510)

Every time I hear it, I keep on thinking up excuses like that, but nope, it says something quite clear like "writing web sites for more than two decades". Maybe I will post the exact words and their URL later today if I hear it this morning.

Re:Naaaah (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236572)

The company could have been started in 1999 and they could've been making that claim in 2001. The 90s were one decade, the 00s are another. Not that I'm defending the practice or saying it's honest or anything. I'm just saying. I mean, it is advertising after all...

Re:20 years my fine ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236501)

They probably are counting total experience. As in 2 guys writing web pages for 10 years, or 5 guys doing it for only 4. We have a law office here that states they have over 150 years of "Combined Experience").
But the law office itself only opened up in 97.

The train man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236448)

None of the movies listed touch on the 'community' side of the internet. 'Slashdot the movie' isn't going to be a box office hit, but in Japan, a true story centering around the world's largest online forums was grabbed hold of and turned into a drama and a movie amongst other things:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Densha_otoko [wikipedia.org]

computer noises & slow displays (2, Interesting)

check6 (595179) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236451)

Not really web- or internet-specific, but regarding general computer usage: The thing that bothers me most about computer use on movies is how movies' computers generally make a noise for every character displayed on a screen. A close second is how they display the characters slowly enough that you can actually watch them appear serially on the screen. I guess even modern, high-tech computer systems still use 300 bps modems after all.

Absuridty (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236452)

Now don't get me wrong, I loved Independence Day [imdb.com], for the premise, the special effects, and a pretty damned good cast. But was any idea more absurd than Jeff Goldblum hacking into an alien computer system and planting a virus in it to destroy it. Did I miss the part where a crack team of hackers cracked their system and reverse engineered root access and the aliens' virus detection software? Is it possible a race with such militaristic intentions would miss the idea of trying to infect a computer system? It was great product placement for Apple at the time, but please! I find it more plausible to think a guy dresses up like a bat and fights crime.

Re:Absuridty (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236546)

Yeah, I have trouble enough opening a Microsoft Word document created on a Macintosh, let alone a system-destroying, self-propogating network worm...

Anyone who's ever seen the error message "Quicktime(tm) and a TIFF(LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture" knows what I'm talking about...

Re:Absuridty (1)

Lanboy (261506) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236586)

How about the fact that an alien invasion force with 10s of thousands of craft capable of reaching escape velocity from earth, and dozens of gigantic invasion saucers, drops down to earth FROM space, and needs to use our satelites to coordinate thier attacks beyond line of sight?

Why not just destroy our infrastructure from space with asteroids?

Those aliens were just about the worst planners ever. Thank goodness.

on a Mac no less (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236621)

At that point in time it was hard enough to get a printer and a Windows 95 box to work together. Let alone Macs with intergallactic hardware.

Doogie Howser and SATC epitomize pop 'puters (4, Insightful)

ianscot (591483) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236453)

The diary entries on "Doogie Howser, MD" and Carrie's "Sex and the City" word processor were about par for the course when it comes to computers in the pop media. Both shows posited worlds where computers were for t-y-p-i-n-g v-e-e-e-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, in fonts that took up maybe 1/10 of the screen per line, so that the viewer could watch the appear over the character's shoulder. (Both shows also featured characters whose grand observations about life were invariably a single short sentence's worth of trite aphorism, or a simple question.)

As a narrative device it's lame, okay, but frankly I'll take that over the postmodern delayed deus ex machine of the geek's solution to a technical problem: Oooh, our brainwizard has been working away steadily at a problem all plot long, and now that we're ten minutes shy of the ending, she's finally broken through the security system/discovered the answer to the riddle/broken the code. The writers may as well have Geordi adjust the trust old modulation on the phase transponder, it's the same plot device.

Lately we're up to the level found in the funnies (other than FoxTrot): names get dropped. Ooh, she "googled" that term! That's about how far we've gotten with the Web in movies and TV... and the brain dead comic strip "B.C." for that matter.

internet in wargames? (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236456)

correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe the internet was being used in wargames. I believe they were dedicated systems that could bedialed into, like BBSs.

Could you even shoot a computer screen? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236463)

I know on TV, that the framerate of the film & the monitor usually don't match up.

Wouldn't you get the same flicker on Movie film? Or is there some trick that TV/Film people use to get around that?

Re:Could you even shoot a computer screen? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236534)

Filmmakers use specially made CRT monitors that basically refreshed at the same rate as the camera, eliminating flicker. That's not as much of an issue nowadays with LCD panels that don't refresh in the same manner.

Re:Could you even shoot a computer screen? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236537)

In order to avoid the flicker problem, they wire into the monitor to make sure that the sync between monitor and camera are, well, synced.

This is nothing... (2, Informative)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236473)

..compared to what I saw in a Hindi movie, called "Amar Akbar Anthony".

A scene of blood transfusion is going on. Mother needs blood. The blood from her 3 sons is getting in a bottle 6 feet above ground defying all rules of gravity. The blood is mixed online and then comes down through 4th tube for their mother.

There are many, but this one was classic.

3-400 emails per DAY??? (1)

jeddak (12628) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236482)

How do you have time to post on Slashdot???

Re:3-400 emails per DAY??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236664)

Most of the emails he sends are selling V1a3ra

New Spam King in Town? (2, Funny)

gregarican (694358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236488)

The WSJ writer claims, "I tend to send around 300 to 400 emails a day, and that would drive me insane."

Just the thought of sending out 2,000 e-mails per workweek would drive me a bit apeshit as well. Is he the new distributor for Matthew Lesko's wares?

Chloe O'Brien - Master H4Xx0r! (4, Funny)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236489)

First off, I love the show 24, but when I watch it, I have to shut my computer nerd brain off.

CHLOE: Jack, I'm going to open a socket to CTU so you can use your phone to upload the data from the thumb drive.
JACK: I can't upload it. Something's wrong!
CHLOE: It looks like the terrorists are trying to overload the router with IP addresses.
JACK: Can you find out where it's coming from?
CHLOE: I can't Jack, they're using a level 4 encryption algorhythm. It'll take me a few hours to decipher it.
JACK: Maybe you can use some of the bandwidth from the FBI servers to help break the encryption!
CHLOE: That might work, but I'll need level 5 network access from the FBI. I'll call you back!

It's a damn good thing that show has other good qualities...

Re:Chloe O'Brien - Master H4Xx0r! (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236574)

You expect realism from a show where all the good guys use Apples and all the bad guys use PC's?

-Eric

Re:Chloe O'Brien - Master H4Xx0r! (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236666)

Geez, and I thought Trek technobabble was bad. I'm surprised they didn't try reversing the polarity of the neutron flow...

Chris Mattern

Anyone else rember Electric Dreams? (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236493)

I actually enjoyed that movie alot.

Re:Anyone else rember Electric Dreams? (1)

joejor (578266) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236593)

ah, infamous love triangle between boy, girl, and computer. I had such a crush on Virginia Madsen. The idea of spontaneous AI from some spilled sodapop, jigsaw bricks, remote controlled appliances, plus a Georgio Moroder soundtrack ... i especially liked the opening montage showing the growing pervasiveness of electronic gadgets in everyday life.

Re:Anyone else rember Electric Dreams? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236601)

I liked Electric Dreams too. It was silly from the perspective of realism. But it was clearly intended as a surrealistic movie, so it's really not fair to hold it to that standard.

-Eric

not only the web (5, Funny)

kunzy (880730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236498)

Oh, this is a *Unix* system. I know all about this. --Jurassic Parc

Re:not only the web (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236608)

Actually, that was Irix running SGI's FSN 3D file manager.
If you look closely, she's clicking on things like /usr/local/ and /var/

The webcam kinda shot of the port, was an SGI Indy cam type window.

Also, Dennis Nedry seemed to be using Mac OS 7 or 8 and some Unix like maybe A/UX for Mac.

Don't forget the "small screen" too (2, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236507)

I started watching "24" for the first time this year, because the buzz was that it was good - and while I do enjoy the fast pacing of the plot and the twists, the novelty quickly wears off if you ever let your "suspension of disbelief" slip for too long.

Comic book action stuff aside, one of the things that kicks the belief out, are the frequent computer superheroics. "Oh, I just machine coded up a thing-a-ma-bobbie to frammit the security on that secure line." (Ok, that's not a direct quote from the show - I said I watch it, not that I was an obsessive quote collecting fan.)

I am sure the same thing happens in just about any field that takes any expertise - entertainment media is bound to get things wrong, because their expertise is entertaining, not the subject matter of the plot vehicle. (Often on purpose - I mean who wants to watch a "real-time" show on a long drawn-out legal battle, for instance.)

In the end, the patient needs to be better at the end of the hour, the case solved, and the Internet deliver whatever lines it needed to to finish the story.

Mass Mailing (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236509)

I tend to send around 300 to 400 emails a day, and that would drive me insane.

Man, that's nothing. You should see Jim Carrey sending email in 'Bruce Almighty'

Movie code... (1)

RoloDMonkey (605266) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236517)

One thing I always like to do is look at code while it is scrolling across the screen. As the summary mentions, The Matrix used Linux code. In the latest version of The Hulk the code scrolling across the screen was C syntax node defintions (node *head = null; etc.), probably for a linked list. I don't think that's the level a biochemist would be working at. In the newer version of The Italian Job the code looked like 3D coordinates for CAD or Maya, probably the special effects guy just grabbed the nearest thing that looked like "real code."

On surveillance (1)

mattpointblank (936343) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236526)

What I love in movies is that if we are to believe Hollywood, incredibly high-res webcams are dotted around every location on earth, with which we can zoom in and pan around right onto the faces of our subjects, from anywhere, in crystal-clear hi-res display. You'd think these cameras everywhere would get irritating, but I plain don't notice them.

Re:On surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236669)

Come on; you should know that they are really tiny. They're implemented as flying devices that look like ordinary flies. Ever used one of those "electric" fly squatters? Well, the spark isn't generated by the squatter; it's all one big conspiracy like they show in the movies quite often tha..tcs./&@^&*.x...[BigRedBlink]USER DISCONNECTED FROM SYSTEM[/BigRedBlink].

Visuals bother me (1)

omeg (907329) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236528)

One thing that's always bothered me about movies is the fact that the visuals are terrible. Like stated in the summary, an e-mail will transform into an envelope, and when someone tries to hack into a system, the "ACCESS GRANTED" text fills up the entire screen.

I also love how, even when the movie is trendy and has its actors use iMacs, people seem to always TYPE everything because a mouse isn't computer-ish enough. Sometimes, the computers are even green text-mode terminals, even in modern TV shows.

jurassic park (1)

Stepping Razor (756775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236529)

anyone remember the bit in jurassic park where the little girl (the self proclaimed hacker) shouts "this is unix, i know this" (or words to that effect), and then hacks the computer by flying through a 3d landscape and clicking on shit. god that was bad. a friend of mine used to try and wind my up by quoting that line whenever he saw me using the command line. bastard.

Re:jurassic park (5, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236554)

Allthough that's a common complaint about that scene, the GUI she recognizes as UNIX was actually a real Silicon Graphics 3D File System Navigator for UNIX.

Re:jurassic park (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236591)

That program was real, although only for IRIX systems. It's still available as a download here [sgi.com]. There is a free implementation for BSD/Linux systems here [sourceforge.net] as well.

Re:jurassic park (3, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236612)

Forget the stupid programming stuff. Who was the dumbshit project manager that signed off on the backup generator being located *outside* of the safe command compound?? The whole project design was an engineering nightmare that should have been squashed from the start!

24 (1)

geophile (16995) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236536)

24 is amusing on this point. They obviously have someone who knows something provide jargon. But then it gets translated into near-gibberish. Nearly every episode has Chloe "opening a web socket", or Tony will ask someone to "send it to my screen". It's nonsense, but you can see where it came from.

300 to 400 emails? (1)

prakslash (681585) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236544)

Is he sending spam by hand?

Who sends 300-400 emails a day? Really?

Assuming he takes 2 minutes per email and an average of 350 emails, that's like 700 minutes per day sending emails. That's almost 12 hours!!

And you say Hollywood is not realistic.

Hackers? (1)

Trouvist (958280) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236550)

I didn't RTFA, but what about the obligatory "Hackers" and "Antitrust" and "Operation: Takedown" obligatory references?

Progress bars to build suspense (2, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236557)

One example in which Hollywood is somewhat realistic is in their depiction of progress bars to build suspense. I rather like this device.

In "Under Siege 2", Steven Seagal is desperately trying to send a fax from an Apple Newton (!)... which he has wired into the satellite transmission system on a moving train using, if I recall correctly (not), some nailclippers and his native SEAL instincts to identify the correct wires. The progress bar moves slowly, slowly, slowly as we hear bad guys coming closer, closer, closer to Seagal's hiding place.

BEEP! (3, Informative)

Dubpal (860472) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236561)

Great article! It's not just the web that gets misrepresented in movies, though. Most computers in film are generally similar in that they're always generating some sort of sound. Anything happening on screen, in some cases just scrolling down a window, is accompanied by a click or a beep or some noise, assumedly, to make sure you didn't miss it. Besides being completely unrealistic, the thought of having to actually work at a computer that noisy, or even a room of computers that noise would drive anyone insane.

Forget the absurd computer representations (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236566)

Hollywood has always played around with "stereotypes" that are totally wrong in real life. For example:

o All the fire sprinklers going off in a building when only one has been activated.
o Car tires that "squeal" on dirt roads.
o Cowboys shooting indians with pistols, from horseback at a gallop (with 100% accuracy)
o (Not 100% sure of this one) The placement of periscopes in the main control rooms of submarines

The list goes on and on. After all it *is* Hollywood.

Re:Forget the absurd computer representations (1)

blank_vlad (876519) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236679)

Police chalk lines around bodies...

Re:Forget the absurd computer representations (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236694)

I pissed myself laughing when I saw the floating outline on the water in one of the Naked Gun movies

EnHANCE that image! (5, Interesting)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236576)

My family and I always love it when someone will zoom in ion some distant face in a scratchy webcam sht, get basically a twelve-pixel image, and magically "enhance" it to get a crystal-clear picture of some important bad guy or something, often when he was even facing the wrong way.

Oh God. (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236592)

I forgot how bad some of those movies were. "Hackers" and "The Net" i remember being particularly awful, and i don't know where to start on "Independence Day".

Was that really 10 years ago?

My favortie absurd convention (1)

Afroblanco (966776) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236598)

I love the lengths they'll go to in movies to build suspense around computers. Sometimes they succeed, a la Wargames and Sneakers. Most of the time they fail.

What I love is how in these movies, you'll inevitably have one scene where the protagonist is using someone else's computer. They're sneaking around, pulling information off the machine, when all of a sudden, the music begins to change. Then we flash to the computer's rightful owner, who's walking back to their computer from the bathroom or wherever they were at. Then we flash back to the protagonist, who's still trying to pull stuff from the computer. Maybe there's something that holds them up, like an error or something. (ok, that much is realistic) Then we flash back to the computer's owner, who's still on his way. We flash back and forth like this several times, and the question in our mind the whole time is, "Will he get caught?" We think he's going to get caught, we think he's going to get caught, we think he's going to get caught.... but then he doesn't!

The awful movie Antitrust did this, like 6 times. It was their main way of building suspense. It never works.

What about SkyNet? (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236613)

SkyNet a la The Terminator would most definately fit the bill.

If you look closely at the code that scrolls through Ahnold's head you'll see it's Atari 8-bit DOS.

Pretty cool, considering when the movie was released.

Movies For Nerds Stuff That Entertains (2, Funny)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236616)

I remember when I was in school I went to see The Terminator with some friends. When the assembly code was scrolling up the screen many of us recognised it and sang out "Hey he's a Commodore 64".

They probably all read slashdot now. Hi Guys!

robocop equivelent (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236635)

Robocop is a DOS based machine

In Robocop 2, the bad guy made into a robot was a Mac based machine.

Envelopes and other corny visuals (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236642)

The reason that movie makers do stupid things like show a big envelope flying off into the ether is that your average movie-goer could not recognize email being sent even if the screen read "Your email has been sent". All they would see is someone pecking at a keyboard. Then they would wonder "What just happened?" Without the envelope, you would need the character to turn around and announce, "Okay, the email's been sent!"

Average movie-goers still don't get computers, and probably won't for a while.

Missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236644)

Computers in films are plot devices. Whether their imaginary use is technicaly possible or accurate is totally irrelevent.

You have to communicate to the audience what the computer is doing, and why the character wants the computer to do it.
You have only a few seconds of screen time to do it in.

That's why you have to make it really obvious ("the entire document begins to fold into an envelope and disappear into the screen"), otherwise you will leave the audience wondering what the hell is going on.

Surveilance camera's (5, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236646)

I can't believe they forgot this; I've seen it in dozens of movies and TV series, including "realistic" ones like CSI.

Surveilance camera catches a blurred, grainy, black and white image with a 2x2 pixel head on it, software enhances the face into a highly detailed 3D model and even autodetects the name of the person.

Amusingly - (2, Funny)

Geminii (954348) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236653)

As an office tech, I was once pulled aside to demonstrate screenlocking to a new employee. I told her to put in a password while I wasn't looking, then locked the screen and had her unlock it. Then, to kill five seconds, I said "And now look what happens when I try to guess it," and with half a neuron thinking of "WarGames", quickly typed "Joshua" into the password box and hit Enter.

How was I to know it was also her kid's name?

My favourite moment (3, Funny)

ascii (70907) | more than 7 years ago | (#15236654)

The show / movie escapes me but I'll remember this pants wetting funny awful sequence to the day I draw my terminal breath:

> DELETE ALL SECRET FILES
SECRET FILES ARE PROTECTED. CANNOT DELETE.
> OVERRIDE
DELETING ALL SECRET FILES...DONE!

Spammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15236677)

> I tend to send around 300 to 400 emails a day

All related to penis enlargement no doubt
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...