I'm thinking along the lines of the virtual world representation in Hackers.

525 accepted

Uploading a virus from a Mac to an alien spacecraft in Independence Day.


I am always bothered by the Infinite resolution of bitmaps. Take a digital picture. Zoom in so that it pixelates. Then they "sharpen" the image and voila! out of pixelation, the killer, thug, spy, license plate etc. appears out of digital magic.



Visual basic GUI in CSI. Pure pain.


In polish soap opera "Brzydula", one of main characters was writing e-mail in MS Paint:

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In Mission Impossible, an electronic transfer of a big amount of money takes as long as a big file upload. It takes so long that it requires a progress bar...


I hate how many movies and tv series equate hacking with 'password guessing'.

Apparently a good hacker is the one who can guess the password for a government mainframe computer in 4 or 5 attempts.

And every time the hacker tries a password and fails, he somehow knows that he is 'closer' to guessing the right one.


My peeve: How EVERY computer makes a sound for EVERY character displayed on the screen along - never mind flashing, for example, EVERY fingerprint on the screen when trying to 'match' the print pulled off of some evidence.

Can you imagine working in a room full of non-stop beeping computers?

And if you're doing an investigation, wouldn't you be angry at the programmer who thought that the program should take the time to display all those fingerprints that DON'T match? I can see the cop thinking "Oh yes, keep me waiting while you show me everything I DON'T want - why not just text me when you get a match?"


"Unix, I know this" - Lex from Jurrasic Park.


Definitely the episode of NCIS where they play a duet on a computer keyboard.

The lab technician was typing furiously to try to stop a hacker who is attacking her computer in real-time. However, she is losing the fight, so her colleague joins her to help her out - by typing furiously on the same keyboard at the same time.

Surely the keyboard isn't such a rare and mysterious technology that 90% of the viewing audience can't see that this is ridiculous?


In "Enemy of the state", they have a store's security camera video. Captured on the video is Will Smith walking with a bag. They not only do the classic "zoom in and sharpen", but they have some super-advanced program that allows them to ROTATE the bag and see what the other side of the bag looked like and are then able to determine that he had a gameboy in the bag based on that shape.

It's even more amazing when they do the same thing with satellite images.


Dan Brown - Digital Fortress.....


Basically every episode of CSI or CSI:Miami.

Every time a tech is looking at a grainy digital photograph and their supervisor leans over their shoulder and says, "Adjust and enhance!"


When you see a projection of a computer screen on a user's face. A crime against both computers AND physics!


Good looking programmers.

Example: Angelina Jolie as a the nerd hacker, in "Hackers"


How every computer in the world will accepts English language full-sentence commands ("TRANSFER PAYROLL HALF-CENTS TO ACCOUNT OF JOE SMITH") provided they are typed in all-caps.


Mr Scott whipping up the formula for 'Transparent Aluminum' on an old mac classic from Star Trek IV: The voyage home.

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In Batman Returns, the caped crusader is soaring through the sewer in his bat-sewer-mobile and honing in on the Penguin's duck-mobile. As he approaches the target, the duckmobile shows up on his radar, which emits a "quack" every time the rotating needle passes the target.

I never understood why Batman would take the time during the construction of this advanced amphibious assault vehicle to add a duck icon to the display, much less a quacking sound.


Just the idea that hacking is something done in real-time. Hackers, Swordfish, NCIS, and many others depict hackers sitting at their keyboard furiously typing away commands to the systems they're hacking (or at each other). They don't seem to grok that the act of hacking is more like spending hours writing a script (or seconds downloading one) and then spending a few milliseconds running it. It's not interactive!


Anything from 24.

"I need to open a socket"

"Transfer it to my screen"

"Follow this protocol"

"Download it to my PDA"



Why do "search programs" have to rapidly display an image on the screen of every person (or whatever) in the database as it's searching?


Trinity's use of nmap to look for vulnerabilities in a power station in Matrix Reloaded - oh wait, that was actually quite accurate.


How about green Japanese characters scrolling vertically up the screen, leaving trails?


"The Net" with Sandra Bullock is the first thing that comes to mind.


Swordfish! come on: a timed hack? gimme a break


How in TV- and movie-land, successfully logging in causes a huge modal window to pop up that says


and hangs there for a couple minutes. Because, y'know, I definitely put that in all my login sequences.


Real-time satellite imagery (in 24, Enemy of the State, etc.). It's amazing that there is never a cloud in the sky.


The way that computer systems often helpfully report which characters of a password or code you've guessed correctly, making brute force attacks that much easier.


Well I hate it when nerds are portraited as people who know something about all electronic equipment and programs. Like in Die Hard 4.0 where they go into the powerplant, and the nerd presses 2 or 3 buttons on a computer system he have never seen before, and suddenly he knows exactly where they need to go. A lot of great examples of that around :P


The database containing convenient 3D models of every room in every house in the whole city


Office space - no one here gets that much freedom and respect!


The entire movie "Hackers." The signature scene for me was when the CG face rendered by the computer virus started screaming "HELP ME!!!" when the hero deleted it.

(On the other hand, Angelina Jolie.)


To me it's always funny how they always use keyboard typing for dramatic effect. Nobody heard of mice in the movies yet. Maybe they're all limited to shell access only...



"You need to move past Fourier Transfers and start considering Quantum Mechanics."


The commentary before that about viruses and firewalls is priceless too, but the quantum mechanics quote takes the cake.


The "live video" from Jurassic Park - it was a quicktime movie; you can see the progress bar advancing.


When a bank account transfer of a large sum of money takes longer than a transfer of a small amount, as indicated by the progress bar showing increasing $ amounts being transferred.

I always knew deep down that 0s were faster to transmit than 1s.


I think it's funny when you hear people typing away on the keyboard in crime dramas doing photoshop-type stuff that really requires a mouse.


I love that ROBOCOP runs on DOS. In the first movie, where he's being built, they show a boot-up sequence, where he has to load CONFIG.SYS to run.


In "The Italian Job" (2003), Lyle/"Napster"/Seth Green hacks into the city's main traffic control system. Not only he easily gets into this system, but he can also immediately control everything, is familiar with the complete system and there are ultra high quality video streams of every traffic light in the whole city. On his notebook.


Viruses that look more like Photoshop filters.


The idea that somehow 'coding' involves strange symbols not usually found on a keyboard


It's gotta be every episode of Stargate or Stargate: Atlantis that deals with the Replicators. McKay is always reprogramming an entire hive of replicators in 30 minutes using a Dell laptop or some such crap.


The Screen IS the Computer.

I'm unsure if it was mentioned yet, but certainly something amuses/annoys me is how the screen IS the computer. If someone wants to blow up a computer they'll just destroy the screen. There is one exception to this, that is when they are destroying a Mac, in this case it is always enjoyable (yet slightly annoying that they would include Macs in the movie).


Jakob Nielsen has a nice overview of Usability in the Movies. There's also a page about Excessive Interoperability in Independence Day - well worth reading.


The core (which is a perversion of physics itself), in the scene where the hacker baby genius plays for a few seconds with a cell phone and the wrapping of a chewing gum and then claims:

"You now have free long distance on this phone. Forever."


Echoing a password to the screen in the movie "Wargames"


No ones watching the latest season of Prison Break with the device that sucks up electronic data from other devices? He could stand next to your computer with this device in his pocket and copy your entire hard drive..

Better yet, it could also copy data from portable media (whether or not they're turned on)!


I love in "Weird Science" when they hack into the Pentagon network through the 3D vector graphics GUI. And they have a choice of 3 doors - one of which has a skull and cross bones behind it.


How about every line that Cloe spouts in 24? I think they invented a language of technical gibberish similar to Klingon for that show. Not downing on anything else about 24, but please.


Star Wars. The control panel used to fire the Death Star weapon was actually a Grass Valley 1600 Television video mixer control panel. The T-bar is for transitions like dissolves, wipes etc.


The hacking that Gus (Richard Pryor) does in Superman III


Well, if you want "virtual world representation", we gotta talk TRON: Let's see...

  • it has a physical matter transport device (which we won't touch here, since it's out of scope of the question), but
  • The "data" being transfer passes through a computer, where it retains its consciousness.
  • Conscious data and programs (which are also conscious) are interchangeable.
  • "Good" data fights "Evil" data in hand-to-hand combat.
  • When "good" data wins the brawl, a teletype spits out evidence -- proof of the real-life person wrong doing.

It's amazing how in most of the movies you can just type: upload virus. To destroy the computer.


In The Dark Knight, when they use cell phones to completely map out every room in every building in all of Gotham City.


There was this episode of The X-Files (S01E07) called Ghost in the Machine. It was all about a AI computer that killed people to prevent shutting it down. The computer was able to put electricity on a door lock in a building when it detected people with the security camera. It was also able to crush a car by lowering the parking garage gate at the right moment. Oh yeah, it could also talk :)


lawnmower man. I worked for a VR software company when it came out and I think it killed the whole field off!


Any movie where the "hacker" types furiously for 30 seconds and then utters the cliched announcement of accomplishment: "I'm In!"


While I have great respect for the dude who mentioned the preposterous virus upload in "Independence Day", I must say that Bruce Willis actually out-did that one in his recent movie "Live Free or Die Hard".

Did you catch that rubbish about a "Fire Sale" attack? According to this cheese-whack screen-writer, the Department of Homeland Security set up a single mainframe where all U.S. Corporations were supposed to download their corporate databases if a catestrophic attack occured on the America. This would be the national safety deposit box for all our business data.

So the bad guys intended to trigger this process with a Fire Sale attack, and then have their inside man copy all this data to a portable hard disk and walk out of the building. Walking out of the building with all U.S. Corporate data on a portable hard disk would give the bad guys full mastery over all our national wealth.

After doing this, you can sip cocktales in Fiji for the rest of your life.


Hacking an ATM with a laptop.

"Easy money"


Searching databases in movies is done in English. "Find brown-haired people living in Los Angeles named Juan" returns either immediately or after 4 hours, depending on what the plot requires. Then it returns 8 hits.


Definately Swordfish! 3D hacking? Come on! Programming/hacking is done by spinning 3D blocks around on a display? Come on! And all this while getting a blowjob from a hot chick...

  1. The idea that governments and financial institutions don't audit their code to prevent the presence of back doors and the like in their software
  2. The idea that an iPod can be retrofitted in order to use it as part of a plot to hack into a bank
  3. The idea that encryption can be overcome by a single man sitting typing at a single computer in a small amount of time, while being held at gunpoint
  4. The idea that UNIX mainframes run 3D window / file managers and that these can be accessed remotely in full fidelity on an old Mac
  5. The idea that the security policies of a major organization would allow a password as simple as "god"
  6. The idea that someone in a management position which was not IT related would have enough rights that the compromise of her account (with the password god) would cause a serious security breach
  7. The idea that when a system administrator audits the activity of a system, he identifies logged in users by their password ("god wouldn't be up this late")

Monitors that have a DOS display that is apparently about 15 characters wide and 6 lines high. So the camera can read what is being typed from over the shoulder of the teenage actor.


There's a 2001 Australian movie called The Bank where David Wenham plays a programmer hired to do market predictions or some crap. As he's working on his program, he complains that it's not running fast enough, so he calls up his mate from uni who gives him "a program" (on a 3.5" floppy). David takes it back to his work where his program is running: by this I mean thousands of lines of code are flashing by on the screen. When he puts the disk in, the lines of code go double-spaced and then merge together to run at twice the speed!

  • IP Addresses in the form of 192.384.262.481
  • That Superman 3 Exploit where they funnel the fractions of cents of every transaction into an account. But in a positive sense, because that's now geek culture.

An opposite example- The most realistic representation of a computer and programming I've seen yet: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya



In one episode of the TV show Alias the tech guy is working on some kind of computer virus. His monitor is shown briefly while he is working on the "code" which in fact is not code at all but a Makefile.in produced by GNU automake.


Every time people in a movie or TV show zoom in on a picture of someone's face, and discover important information reflected in the person's eye, I die inside.

(This has happened on CSI at least twice.)



Deckard is analyzing a photo of a bedroom.

He enhances... he enhances... and then, somehow, TURNS THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PHOTOGRAPH to to reveal the snake lady around the corner sitting in a bathtub.

Ridiculous, even for science fiction.


Well, back when we all had modems to AOL instead of broadband to the Internet, there was the old "I can hack into your computer, just by calling your home".


OK not programming specifically, but applicable. In the classic 'Office Space', when Peter Gibbons is trying to shut down his computer so that he can get out of the office before the dreaded Lundberg can buttonhole him about working on the weekend, as we see his screen saving to disk the desktop looks like a Mac, but when the file save is complete, we see a DOS prompt!

Now I know Initech is a bad place to work, but what kind of insane boss makes you work on a computer like that?


Has anyone seen Eagle Eye? I purchased it on a flight... I fell asleep half way through.. but a computer system interfacing with a crane? I'd imagine even in this day and age a crane is not hooked up to the internet....


I've noticed something funny in how movies show brute force password cracking.

The movie Wargames is the most obvious example. When Joshua is trying to guess the password for launching missiles you see his progress on a screen.

The way brute force password cracking works in the movies is when you get the password partially right you get a message showing which characters you got right and which ones you need to keep guessing for. Its like playing Hangman!


3D spinning logos -- especially in covert Government departments...


Stick with me: In the end of "The Departed" Matt Damon's character deletes DiCaprio's police records from the database.

Oh Noes! now there's no record that DiCaprio was ever working for the good guys! Not anywhere on backups or logfiles! Nowhere!

Ah! think of all the bloodshed that could have been avoided by a subpoena for the backup tapes.

Ruined an otherwise great movie for me.


The fact that no matter how many characters a password is, you can apparently always type it with just 3 presses on the keyboard.


I have to agree with Randall Munroe: Julia Stiles, age 12, in the PBS series Ghostwriter. It is awesome in the depth of its badness. Also: Julia Stiles, age 12.

The sound is terrible, but you can see it here.


I watched Terminator again the other day, and suddenly I noticed the "terminator graphics" overlaid when the terminator is "scanning" the area is just a bunch of assembly code. Quite funny :)


In every Law & Order episode that requires the detectives to talk to a computer operator, the operator is a nerd (which means skinny kid with glasses and rumpled clothing) and he is ALWAYS eating something. I guess he's too young for his metabolism to turn that food into fat yet...


How about using a virus to blow up computers, as done in Transformers? And since when do computers contain material that can explode with such force?


Anyone remember Tron? Pretty well every computer term they used in that movie was misused or used in the wrong context. It's hilarious to watch. It's even funnier when you realize that they were trying to be serious.


Having just seen Wanted this past weekend (and do I ever wish I could have those two hours back):

We learn that the assassins' weaving loom passes the names of targets in binary.

All I could think was: Where do the character codes come from? ASCII? EBCDIC? Something else?


"The Jackal" with Bruce Willis; how he ridiculously rattled off the specs for his uber sniper rifle to a Packard Bell 386, and the damn thing understood every single word, without Dragon Naturally Speaking or anything.

I think he also pushes control or alt on his keyboard to start his guns up...


A spy satellite can be positioned over a point of interest within seconds.

And it's a real-time video.

And the video is rock-steady. (In reality, these low-orbit satellites are whizzing by the ground at thousands of mph.)

And the video has incredibly high resolution.


There was a terrible episode of NCIS where two "hackers" were hacking each other, consisting of fast camera swipes as they moved each other's windows back and forth.


Wargames: The Dead Code. Nothing more needs to be said.


4 8 15 16 23 42


My favorite: fast-scrolling listings with unrelated code which are used to signify virus upload, hack in progress, or something like this.


In Anti-Trust, when the operating system developed by Ryan Fillipe is written in HTML.


When a character who is supposedly some kind of super advanced computer programmer says something along the lines of "I speak binary," as if a computer programmer sits at the computer and types 0s and 1s all day.


If I hadn't watched the new Knight Rider I would never have learned that "Every good programmer leaves a backdoor into their system."


The fact that both robocop and terminator have heads up displays even though information could (one would expect) be funneled straight into their brains. Their developers added a layer of indirection by forcing them to read the data!


I would say 'Ocean's Thirteen' earthquake to Reboot the Casino's Security System !


What about Terminator 3. The female terminator instantly interfaces with any vehicle. And as they accelerate, the pedal gets pushed to the floor too....


Again, in Hackers, when they show the terminal, they show this 3D rendering of some weird space. But then, they go and speak out loud a unix command character by character ...


Displaying text on the side of a rotating polyhedron.

Why would anyone ever want to read or enter text this way?


I was going to mention the Office Space one too. But there's another one from Office Space that I think is even worse. After they write the virus, and Samir is installing it, you see a progress bar that says "Uploading VIRUS_CDEF"

Who the hell would write a virus and call it "virus"? Was he trying to get caught? For that matter, why the progress bar!?





Live free or die hard. With a computer you can do almost everything. Control an helicopter remotely, blow up gas pipes in the other side of the city etc etc. Just horrible!


Swordfish. I do the double keyboard action everytime someone asks what I do. And people say..."What, you're Beethoven from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?".


I'm surprised no one has mentioned Firewall, or maybe not as it's such a parenthesis in movie history it's probably not worth mentioning again. It made me writhe at the floor in pain though.


I'd have to say 24. Jack Bauer can always get a cell phone and no matter what, there's never any device compatibility issues. Chloe can hack into satellites and remote control camera on traffic lights b ut can't control/stop a virus in her own building I loved the first few seasons but then things started to get redundant.


The fact that my wife believes that if we had a Deflector Dish, we could simultaneously reroute the microwave, garage-opener, wii, dvr, dvd player, and mechanical cat toys through it every time anything broke.


Much as I love the film Pi, I find the construction of Euclid a bit strange.

The room seems to be full of random wires and boards, which all plug into what appears to be a basic microchip, yet this chip is the most powerful processor in the world.


I love how software in the movies always seems to have a cool, game-like, 3D interface. sigh Back to work in my boring, two dimensional, windowed world.


When programming a game consists of running round in a sparkly game world shooting things. I have a tutoring job where I teach game programming to genuinely interested high school kids and this stereotype has been an immense roadblock.


Die Hard 4.0 (sic).
The villain breaks into the super secret data center with 3 cooling towers to download the financial data of the united states to his external usb drive.


Has no one mentioned how computer programs are written in Star Trek: by telling the computer what you want the program to do? It's not the "telling" part that's strange; it's how the program can be described declaratively in a do-what-I-mean manner.

Do we all secretly wish that this is the future of programming?


Jeffrey Deaver in the book "The Blue Nowhere". There's a line that goes something like:

You can always recognise a hacker because they've got callouses on their fingertips from typing so furiously on the keyboard

!!! WTF !!!


If you look carefully in most movies, the monitors don't have the power cord plugged in. Presumably it looks too cluttered.


One of my friends often refers to my job as "you and your Tron stuff."

That's probably my favorite.


There was Polish movie "Hakerzy" (en "Hackers"), which tells you what are the most powerful hacking tools... Here's most epic scene from that movie along with my translation for those who don't speak Polish:

[naked guy] How are you going?
[nerdy guy] "Fortress".
(nerdy guy puts on his glasses)
[nerdy guy] Classics. Triple firewall. Impregnable.
[naked guy] Did you try Emacs via Sendmail?
[nerdy guy] Yeah, but they let me into fake
[naked guy] Exploits?
[nerdy guy] No vulnerabilities.
[nerdy guy] I have to come up with another idea.
[naked guy] Have a nice flight!

Also, idea that how hackers look and that they get ther supernatural powers by drinking water from watering can seems so exciting;)


Triggers on bombs (usually nuclear weapons) that have a countdown timer. I think if you have designed the software/hardware to trigger a nuclear explosion then it is a bit feature creep to add a digital timer to the case...who is it meant to be for!? (other than the camera man to cut to when there is 1 sec left.


An actor in a movie, hacks a government network using Window's media player. ROFL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_kYiWbAOy0


Chloes's husband morris in 24 cracked "blowfish ciphered file" in approximately 6 seconds.


In Battlestar Galactica computers are working fine, but they cannot attach two or more computers together: if they create a network Cylones will be able to hack it!

(I wonder what are the computers doing if they cannot communicate? How do they control the ship? How do they get and display images from radars? And how Cylones on another spaceship are able to exploit a wire plugged between two computers? WTF ...)

At a certain point, however, they're forced to create a network because they need a lot of computational power. To make the network it safer, they create a firewall made of several layers of a number of computers plugged together (...!?), and the captain's monitor shows the computer of the firewall turning red as soon as they get hacked (...?!)

Thinking of the senselessness of this thing blows my mind.


I hate how most movies and TV shows continually display scrolling text that occasionally bleep and click.


The book Prey by Michael Crichton was awful.

The code was just absurd. Assuming even for a moment that developers use Greek symbols for variable names (as much as I'd like to have a lambda and delta symbols, my keyboard somehow lacks them, unlike the devs in the book), the blocks didn't even make sense! How difficult would it have been to have one of his lackeys just ask a programmer for something rational?


The sentence: "Wait, let me just hack [noun]."


Weird Science, the part where the Wyatt "hacks" into DARPAnet using a phone modem, and proceeds through their cleverly designed semi-3D tunnel, along with barred doors closing and chattering skulls and crossbones along the way.

All that to make Steven Segal's ex girlfriend.


Not exactly just a programming issue but i find it quite hilarious when in 24 Jack eg. steals a standard phone from a car and some how get live satellite image feed or 3d models for buildings into it in a matter of seconds :)

I would'nt even need the ability to show any data on my phone. I would be satisfied with the bandwith alone.


I've thought of another!

Banks of Flashing lights


I can't believe nobody has said it yet. Lawnmower Man and it's view of "virtual reality" or "cyberspace".


When somebody prints something, they click print, reach their hand, and pick the printout immediately. There are startup times, printing times, etc.


EXPLODING COMPUTERS! (notice the caps) Now wasn't that just ridiculous. Yes I'm talking about Die Hard 4.


Test driven development.


Definitly the Second-Life Ghostwhisperer Crossover.

A dead father who returns as a ghost to spend his afterlife time to play with his daughter in a Second Life lookalike.

I mean seriously... Second Life? this offends so many beliefs at once.


Watchmen. Specifically, guessing the password of the smartest man in the world on the first try. Almost ruined an otherwise awesome movie. If Ozymandias was actually the smartest man in the world, wouldn't he at least set up two-factor authentication?


When the bad guy wants to destroy all data on a particular computer, he takes his big gun and shoots into the monitor, not the HDD. Seen many times, especially in "secret agents stuff" films.


No one has mentioned Red Dwarf's "Uncrop" skit?


alt text

When David Lightman (Mathew Broderick) and Stephen Falken (John Wood) raise the DEFCON levels at NORAD to engage in Theaterwide Biotoxic and Chemical Warfare and Global Thermonuclear War with the Soviet Union, in the movie "War Games" (1983).

This is absolutely one of my favorite movies, that I can watch over and over and still enjoy today.

I mean, seriously...Stephen Falken flies Pterodactyl gliders in the woods of Oregon, while hiding from obscure mainframe code he wrote that is going to destroy planet Earth. It doesnt get any more perverted than that folks!


In Firewall (2006) Harrison Ford steals bank money by wiring the light from a scanner to an iPod and holding it up to a CRT inside a bank office to retrieve and save an account number list. To be fair, he did have about 8 hours beforehand to build it. Seriously, WTF.


Perhaps not the most egregious but my pet peeve is when movies show something being deleted by removing pixels from the UI while the delete is happening. Of course, the delete is finished when all the pixels are gone. I think this is in The Net among others.


Stargate is full of examples, especially Atlantis.

I'd like to know how you write a device driver for a (biological) Wraith hive ship in two minutes in order to interface it with your laptop and then hack the doors or something. Oh and while under gunfire.


I'm surprised no one has mentioned this...

  • Swordfish, a reference was made to Linus Torvalds (father of Linux), a Finnish guy's passport being shown at the immigration checkpoint, named 'Axl Torvalds', and his laptop was manhandled roughly and he said to the officers - "Be careful, that's expensive equipment" only for the officer to give him a glare, and ends up getting his head blown off a while later when held in custody...I mean "C'mon...what was that about...celebrating the Linux creator then killing him???".....
  • Hackers - Where 'Zero Cool' gets to turn 18 and starts hacking immediately..despite being told by the judge no computers/access to telephones until reach the said age...I was there like "C'mon...where did that come from and him and his mom just moved into a new apartment" and he was dueling with 'Acid Burn' on seizing control of the TV in order for 'Zero Cool' to watch 'The Outer Limits' and to see the robotic arms fighting over the tape....only for 'Zero Cool' to change his handle to 'Crash Override'...sigh...

Best regards, Tom.


Something that has always bothered me is how cool programmers don't have a book in sight, but nerdy programmers always live in a library.

I prefer the library thing myself.


Star Trek

The fact that everybody uses the

  • Same Video Codecs
  • Same Audeo Codecs
  • Same Protocols for Communicating

This even holds in the 'mysterious' delta quadrant(Voyager), that none of the alpha quadrant races has vistited.


There was a great example in Neighbours (Australian soap opera) last week. Summer is trying to find information on someone who posted on a dating website.

For some reason their IP address is public. Then she puts it into some kind of IP lookup and finds the address of the user, right down to the street they live on!


In Surrogates, Bros Wills takes the chip out of the surrogate head then there is face recognition to log into the laptop, finally he plug a USB Flash Memory to take data from laptop...

That is supposed to be happening in future many hundred years ahead, with surrogates were controlled remotely -and wirelessly-...

  • Why do I need a laptop to make my surrogate use it?!
  • And what is the way to get data out of this laptop? it is an ordinary USB Flash Memory!!

The Recruit - A computer virus so contagious it can be transmitted via power lines.


Weird Science - they create a woman (Kelly LeBrock) by feeding the desired statistics of beauty and great intelligence into a computer and hacking into a government computer for more power, while connecting the computer to a Barbie doll. (Good film though!)



Boiler Room: "I need your whole C: drive backed up to floppy." After which the whole C: drive gets backed up to a single floppy, in about 15 seconds. At least they didn't forget the obligatory progress bar.


It wasn't too bad a slip, but at one time in Antitrust, either Ryan Philippe or Rachael Leigh Cook is hacking into a competitor's (iirc) computer on a 10.*.*.* network :-)


I think it was The Net, with Sandra Bullock, where she telnets (!) to a remote server with an IP address of or thereabouts. There were other things wrong with it, but thankfully I have forgotten them.


X-Files: The Usual Suspects, set in 1989 when the Lone Gunman meet for the first time and dump an encrypted file to a printer, and then scan it back in to decrypt ignoring the hundred or so unprintable characters in the binary file..

Stargate Atlantis: Episode where they show replicator base code scrolling on the screen and it is javascript lifted from a financial site web page..

Although already mentioned earlier I don't think anything can beat the Independence Day virus upload, I think that beats all


CSI "I'll make a GUI in Visual Basic to track the Killer's IP address" You tube link to the video


I love the suite of security and software surveillance tools that Sylvester Stallone threw together in The Specialist


The Bank also mentioned below by nickf

Where the prediction machine constantly has a Mandelbrot set zooming in and out.

It puts me in mind of MYOB or Quicken having a panel than constantly cycles through the functions 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 1+3=4, 1+4=5, 1+5=6


In Disclosure, Michael Douglas use virtual reality to browse files and folders, trying to find the truth about something.


A few people mentioned 24, and rightly so. What really bothered me, though, is early in the current season when they mispronounced "mainframe." I'm pretty sure everyone puts the accent on the "main" part, right? It sounded like "main frameroom" instead of "mainframe room."

I realize that I'm slightly neurotic about this kind of thing but it was one of those things that really bothers me about 24.

And yet, I keep watching it...


Battle Programmer Shirase

You can find it on youtube, though no link for obvious reasons


Not sure if this counts, but what about GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64?

If you shoot a computer terminal, it blows up with fire!

Though the same goes for an office chair. Perhaps they're packing explosives in them now too!


There was an episode in csi:miami where a file was encrypted using vigeneres algorithm


I'm suprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but the movie Stealth and all those other movies about AI's getting hit by something and turning evil.


I'm probably exposing myself to ridicule here for having seen this, but Smallville (aka Superman) has some amazingly bad perversions. Case in point:

type type type
"oh, Lex is making a bank transfer" [she's "hacked" into the bank system already]
image of progress bar of lex's "transferring funds"
"let me just...type type...there we go"
"I canceled the transfer"

Always something amazing like that.


The computer in Echelon Conspiracy... it could guess numbers that came up on casinos roulette, see everything almost everywhere, and basically control a lot of stuff that's... well... implausible for a computer to ever be capable of.


The buzzword-duel in Swordfish was quite gruesome, as was "Axel Torvalds".



  • "Throwing" a "logic bomb" through the "trap door".
  • The multi screen system is nice, but why the strange spacing? I dont want to have to roll back in my chair and twist my head 60 degrees upwards to see what's on my top-right screen.

What about John Connor in the Terminator movies? Especially the last one! Plugs into all sorts of hardware designed by the self-aware, super-intelligent, super-scheming SKYNET, and all he needs to do is type in "OVERRIDE" and doors open, turrets shut down, etc.

What about the autonomous motorcycle robots that he knocks over, plugs his USB stick in and he gains control? SKYNET sure failed with some of its designs..


Iron Man 2 had some pretty bad scenes.

Hammer: "Can we get some encrypted passwords put on these [computers]."

Ivon hacks computer (guessed correct password) in less than 15 seconds.

Hammer: "Nevermind he just bypassed the firewalls."

Then there's every scene that Tony Stark interacts with his home-grown projection interface computers, tossing holograms(?) all over the place. Lame.


Building Security systems that...

  • use custom color-coded wire-frame GUIs that highlight all of the enabled/disabled systems/sectors of a building's security system
  • can be easily hacked from any by plugging into a random communication line
  • have GPS trackers attached to the security patrols that can accurately track position as well as what floor of the building they're on

Recently watched this CSI Miami episode, centered around a videogame. Putting aside the fact that they put one of their officers to play the game to 'see what happened' (instead of reading the pamphlet, or looking for a damn review on the internet), I realized some idiot cliché on movies/TV.

All scenes of a database looking for something HAVE TO DISPLAY ALL THE GODDAMN DATA ON THE SCREEN. Heck, if I designed a system to do a face or fingerprint recognition, the last thing I'd do is to waste CPU cycles by printing everything to screen.


Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase



Not strictly programming, but with a 2400bps modem and a PC, you can alter the programming in your neighbor's brain or contact a comatose relative.


I HATE THE UIs ON CSI:MIAMI! They're so fake!


Assassins - there are examples of pretty much every atrocity mentioned here. Big text appearing character by character with sound effects, rediculous resolution, elusive 3 1/2 in floppy disk that can save the world...


Navigation and/or status displays in pretty much all the Sci-Fi movies show assembler code


Terminator 3, when skynet is turned on for the first time. It bypasses every firewall in the world within about two seconds.


Clear and Present Danger in which Petey (Greg Germann) guesses Robert Ritter's (Henry Czerny) password in about 3 minutes, based on family information that he already knew...


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In National Treasure and many other action movies: How easily the "heroes" get into government networking/surveillance. And what about all the expensive hi-tech hardware they have? Who did pay for that?


'Wargames' and 'Wargames II: The dead code'.

If you've had the misfortune of having watched them, you know what I mean.


The idea that when you do a text search and no results come up, you can 'search again' and get the result you were looking for


One that was almost accurate:

In Fifth Element, Bruce Willis' character is searching for someone, and we see a cute bouncing animation (kind of like Windows does when copying files) while Willis puts his feet up and ignores the thing until it comes up with a result.


Noone's mentioned Tron yet? Apparently, programs are little people that run around in glowing costumes.


Reboot, the action-adventure television series.