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Author Topic: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film  (Read 56979 times)

Firespark

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #80 on: October 02, 2006, 05:09:20 PM »

I kind of have to disagree with the fact that firewall was #1. I don't disagree that it was on the list, but i do disagree that it was 1. It's been said before that it would have been mildly possible based on the fact that the board was a device designed to transmit the scanned images over analog voice lines. Now, this would have been impossible using a regular USB connection, but some ipod models DO have straight easy analog recording via the dock connector as long as you have a simple resistor in place to make it think it's hooked up to that accessory, and i'm pretty sure that includes the mini. So, the only failure there is that he couldn't do it with an unmodified cable and it would have taken way longer.

Now, in the movie he exclaims something like "it stores the images on the ipod." Now, that's entirely reasonable from the ipod end, since you can make an ipod appear simply as a usb disk which any device designed to do so could write to. I do believe it's jenson that  makes a car headunit that lets you plug in your ipod via usb and play music off of it - this just reads the ipod as a usb mass storage device and finds/parses the itunesdb that dictates the song info for the ipod. The only difference is that his scanning device would have to write, which is entirely concievable if it's a device designed to write scanned images to a thumb drive or something. I dont know the world of corporate printing, but i'm sure there's a device like this somewhere.

As for an apple engineer? The dock connector is well documented. google it.
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wonko

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #81 on: October 02, 2006, 05:15:00 PM »

Well, I finally watched Firewall yesterday.  Good movie, but I agree...a little out there.
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Kriss3d

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #82 on: July 20, 2007, 06:13:31 PM »

Sorry for bringing this up.
I havent seen the movie Firewall ( yet.. i plan on it)
Im a electronic engineer.

A few things has to be possible with the iPod in order to make this work.
So at least in theory this DOES indeed work:
The scanner module is as far as i know from a fax right ?

A fax machine sends the data as sound tones through the phonelines. If the iPod is able to record the tones it wouldnt mind what those tones contain. And it would indeed not matter if its 10000 songs or 10000 accounts.
Once the iPod starts to record ( once tapped into the phoneoutput of the fax ) it would actually be possible to reverse it.
Once the initiated handshake from fax to fax has been established the playback could possibly be printed out on a reciving faxmachine.

Now.. If a scanner is actually able to pick up anything from a monitor i do not know. But i would think its somwhat possible. Not pretty but readable would be my guess.

It sounds like a case for the mythbusters really  :lol: but i do think its possible. At least plausible yet unlikely.
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i7dude

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #83 on: August 10, 2007, 04:42:42 PM »

what about "the lawnmower man"...horrible horrible movie.

ed...i cry sometimes.

dude.
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Trollbooth

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #84 on: December 03, 2009, 12:31:33 PM »

A few problems with the list.

War Games
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The "talking computers" was nothing more than a speech synthesizer that read out the text that was displayed on the screen. Nothing improbable about that, even for the early 80s. That NORAD happened to have the same sort of speech synthesizer and tied it into some kind of PA system is a bit out there, but hardly something to take the producers to task over. For people who didn't understand computers, especially in the 1980s, giving the computer (which was a key character in the film) a voice helped to make it more accessible to wider audience. The character-by-character launch-code guessing bit was a bit off, but also not improbable. Hardware cryptanalysis (as well as password-guessing techniques) can include throwing certain keys at a system and timing the system to see how long it takes to respond. Some encryption schemes, especially older ones, lend themselves to this sort of attack where a key is processed character-by-character. The longer it takes to return an error message, the higher the probability you've got a correct piece of the password. So that kind of attack could lend itself to the character-by-character launch code attack that W.O.P.R. was doing in War Games. Far fetched perhaps, but not outside the realm of possibility.

And credit where it's due, the writers of the movie INVENTED war dialing. They came up with the idea that has inspired to this day including things like war driving. War Games definitely does not belong on this list in any way.

Hackers
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Really? They never tried to come off as being realistic in their portrayal of computers. Even a person unfamiliar to computers in 1996 would realize that what you saw in Hackers was nothing more than poetic license; a kind of hippy-trippy caricature of computing. Just some eye-candy to entertain the viewers representing what is (and especially was in 1996) a very boring reality of green or orange phosphorescent characters on an old monitor. It was entertaining, even factual in some of its concepts (the red box trick really did work, but not by 1996 when telcos had updated most pay phones to block the input of coin signals through the handset). And it was the first to portray the FBI's pursuit of "hackers" as nothing more than overzealous cops who didn't understand the first thing about what they were investigating e.g. Mitnick and Mark Abene.

Jurassic Park
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Yes, the 3D interface was not the standard for the typical UNIX system, however it really did exist; what you see in the movie was based on a very real UNIX system interface. The kid's line "It's a UNIX system, I know this." is a bit painful, but I and I'm sure many others here were, at her age, probably more capable with technology than their 40 year-old parents. Maybe she was introduced to it at her school after the school received a bunch of old, crap systems from some company that was just going to throw them away. That's how it worked in my school. Would it make you feel better if she said "It's a Windows system, I know this."?

Again, credit where it's due, the computer work displayed in the movie was based in reality. A bit fanciful at times to try and get concepts through to people who didn't understand computers, but still based in reality.


Changes to the List
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I think Swordfish should be at #1. Of all the movies, that was by far the most egregious misrepresentation of how computers and related technology work. Not even Halle Berry's boobs could make me want to ever watch it again.

I think "Contact" should be added to the list (replace "War Games"). Points for using a faux-Netscape interface in a couple scenes, but it was just completely unrealistic. Especially that whole chat between Ellie and Haden right before he first meets her on his plane. And how fast was that fax received and printed? About 3 seconds?

I think "The Core" should also be added to the list (replace "Hackers"). The whole "hack the internet" and "hot pockets and Xena tapes" bit with that pointy-noised kid was horrible. Setting up free long distance forever on a cell phone with a gum wrapper? Just a completely disrespectful bastardization of Captain Crunch's legacy. And even beyond computers, their portrayal of how the Space Shuttle works and the physics involved in digging to the center of the earth.. it was all just really way way way beyond realistic.

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RaDragon

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #85 on: December 03, 2009, 01:22:27 PM »

Since this thread was resurrected, any input on the techy stuff they have in Live or Die Hard (i.e., Die Hard 4)?
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pinkpanther

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #86 on: December 04, 2009, 05:30:00 PM »

Since this thread was resurrected, any input on the techy stuff they have in Live or Die Hard (i.e., Die Hard 4)?

How many terabytes an hour where they transferring over USB 2.0 or Firewire?  Yeah it was pretty horrible. 
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