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Author Topic: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film  (Read 72410 times)

Hak Foo

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #60 on: September 25, 2006, 10:25:51 PM »

What kid uses Unix at home?  I am a computer professional and I rarely use anything beyond Windows and Linux.

:cracks up:

I dual-booted, Linux and DOS/Win95/Win98SE, from 11th grade (1998) to 2003.  When I finally got into a job with sysadmin duties, I could grep and find when I had to.
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The Rizz

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Worst Portrayal of Critiquing Technology in Film
« Reply #61 on: September 26, 2006, 12:51:44 AM »

This list was horribly written and conceived. Almost nothing in the entire list was unattainable at the time the movies were made.

#10 - Wargames
Simply put, the idea of a computer talking to you after you 'hack' into it is laughable in this day and age.
The computer "talking" to him was it asking things in natural language (as it was programmed to do) mixed with the guy having a text-to-speech program (which did exist at the time).

#9 - The Italian Job
Below is an image of a wire frame display on his laptop that shows a Mini Cooper making rounds. Seth now makes a wire frame program that follows a Mini around perfectly through walls?
It's been over a year since I saw this, but IIRC the whole "wire frame Mini" part was Seth watching a computer simulation of what the Minis were supposed to be doing - the same simulation you saw him plotting out the heist with just a few minutes earlier in the movie.

#8 - Antitrust
One scene that jumps right out is the ability for the security team to lift code off a computer screen via a security camera.
At high enough resolution, or with good interpolation software, why not? Besides, if you can reconstruct everything someone types by listening to the keystrokes, I'm perfectly willing to accept a high-res camera being used to read text when pointed at a screen.

#7 - Hackers
this film is borderline comedy
Uhhh... actually it was a comedy. (Action/comedy, but comedy nonetheless.)

One obvious failure of technology here is the ridiculous flying through sequences of the supercomputer. Not only is all the data stored in what looks like skyscrapers, it's also technicolored like a crazy rainbow.
So eye-candy and stylistic design makes everything else in the movie fradulent? The whole "skyscrapers computers" visual motif worked just fine when you think about what it was meant for.

Hackers is actually one of the most accurate portrayals of computer technology and hacking/cracking/phreaking in a movie if you ignore the visuals and ignore the crap added to appeal to the masses. Listen to the dialogue. Think about what they're doing. It all actually makes sense.

#6 - Transporter 2
French officer in the police station, he looks up a criminal on the computer. Within a few seconds, that information is magically beamed to Frank's car. How in the world did they sync up? How did the computer at the police station know where Frank was?
I've never seen the movie, but I can hazard a guess: Satellite internet service (or similar wide-range wireless options) + FTP or other transfer protocol + static IP or dyndns.org.

#5 - Swordfish
I never knew worms and viruses looked like little gems.
Once again, complaining about visual elements rather than actual use of technology.

#4 - Goldeneye
With the ability to 'spike' remote computer systems, Boris is the most powerful hacker in the world.
I haven't seen this in over 10 years, and have forgotten what this is even referring to. I have no intention to see it again to find out what this is talking about, but the rest of the movie was so bad there's a decent chance you're actually right on this one... but then again, this list is so bad you probably aren't.

#3 - Mission: Impossible
The emails he tries are not even formatted correctly. Also, his un-canny ability to find information through graphical newsgroups is something else.
Once again, I haven't seen it in 10 years and will never see it again. You do sound right on the money in your complaint (backed up with screenshots this time), so I'm going to give you the thumbs up on this one.

#2 - Jurassic Park
he grand-daughter of the park's owner, sits down at a computer terminal. Like magic, she exclaims "This is UNIX, I know this!". Where on this planet is there a 10 year old girl who knows and can understand UNIX?!?
Wow ... just, wow... innacurate, insulting, and sexist all in one sentence. You've outdone yourself on this one.

#1 - Firewall
He takes his daughters iPod and hooks up a scanner to it. This contraption is supposed to get taped onto a computer monitor in the server room and take 'images' of bank account records.
Never seen it, have no intention of seeing it, and this does sound pretty far-fetched, so I'll allow it.

So, let's see ... we have 2 actual problems in movies, one possible (but that you're so vague about I have no idea), six that you're wrong on, and one that isn't even a complaint about technology but pretty much breaks down to "girls are stupid!" ... yeah, GREAT list.

--The Rizz

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 12:54:06 AM by The Rizz »
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konadolphin

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Port. of Tech in Film: War Games and Antitrust
« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2006, 08:30:24 AM »

I'm sorry but Luke needs to check his tech!

At least not for what are list as their most "hideos" examples.

In War Games the Norad computer WHOPPER doesn't talk. It places text on a screen. Matthew B.'s character purposefully flips a switch to impress the girl. The switch enables a speach synthesizer. In this case, I beliece the voice is that of then current DECtalk by Digital Equipment Corporation. Same voice for Stephen Hawkin uses or used.  The unbelievable part is that a suburban kid would own the equipment.

I didn't see Antitrust so I don't know the actual protrayal of the technology. But I do know that the image provided is that of a CRT. CRT's are patently insecure. There are devices that can rebuild the image on a CRT screen from the flicker created on the wall. Since at any instant only one pixel is illuminated at a time, the pixel's color can be picked up off the wall. Since the CRT is refreshed in a certain order the device can pick of all the pixels in order and recreate the screen. All that's left is deciding where the screen begins.
Was the screen image is know, simple OCR algorithms can do the rest.
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Dave303

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2006, 10:00:01 AM »


JP's little girl was just zany. Yes, I'm sure there are little girls out there in the world that can do this. However, what gets me is with showing this in film, the mass public will think UNIX is a common thing little girls (or boys) should be masters at. Honest truth is, it's not. Most adults aren't experts or 'know' it, let alone kids.

If I have my way .. My little Girl will know it. :P
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GideonX

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2006, 11:02:15 AM »

I knew Wargames and JP would cause quite a stir.

Wargames entire 'kid hacks, starts missile launch while being all interactive with the system' just irks me.

And I still issue the same challenge, find me a little girl you know personally who knows UNIX. I would have said the same thing if the little boy blirted out that line. I discriminate against all sexes ;)
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Wandel

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #65 on: September 26, 2006, 02:53:37 PM »

How about this one? The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest

Plot summary: Andy, a successful marketing guy quits his job, because he feels disconnected with the values about work he learned from his father. He gets a new job at a top notch research facility, where he quickly makes a powerful enemy who makes him volunteer for a nearly impossible project: The $99 Personal Computer. He recruits the only available guys at the lab, three sociopaths. Together they really compile a revolutionary PC for $99, but then they become the victims of a venture capitalist and Andy's old foe from the research lab. Can he and his new friends find a way to overcome the problems?

And in the end, they end up building a computer that is not only a lot cheaper than $99, but the screen is holographic, and instead of using a keyboard and a mouse, you interact with it by touching the images in the hologram!
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sidzilla

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #66 on: September 26, 2006, 04:02:59 PM »

Got to say this is a great thread. It has gotten people thinking. I personally thought Hackers was a great movie. I read an interview on the DVD case where the director states that the visuals were an intentional affectation to make the film more appealing. Nothing is more boring than watching someone type code. The dumpster diving and shoulder surfing in the film made it one of the best depictions of hacking in film today. Just my opinion.
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chase!

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #67 on: September 26, 2006, 06:53:10 PM »

Hay, i'm right and you're wrong. K.
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rml1997

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #68 on: September 27, 2006, 05:57:35 AM »

I think it is realistic for an ipod to be used as storage. If you build a customised hardware card (as appears to be pictured) you can use the controller card to write information to the ipod and control the scanner (in theory). I'm off to make one now.
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GideonX

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Re: Tech Bits: Top 10 Worst Portrayals of Technology in Film
« Reply #69 on: September 27, 2006, 07:25:10 AM »

I think it is realistic for an ipod to be used as storage. If you build a customised hardware card (as appears to be pictured) you can use the controller card to write information to the ipod and control the scanner (in theory). I'm off to make one now.

K, please report back.
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