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[P]
Official Hollywood Guide to Hacking

By Sheepdot in Culture
Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 07:20:51 AM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)
Humour

After seeing the movie "Hackers", I started thinking about the various flawed concepts that Hollywood had regarding the underground Internet community. It appeared as if the world that I lived in was somewhat dull: it didn't have the women, fame, and glamour that movies declared it should.

It also didn't have the godlike hackers that existed in the movies. These guys seemed uber-human, so I was determined to help Hollywood out, by making a guide that attempted to bring some of the fantasies down to realism, making movies seem more believable.

I lost the guide I was working on some time back. With the recent release of "Operation: Swordfish", I finally slaved on the guide once again. This time, however, I had a totally different purpose and target audience.


The Official Hollywood Guide to Hacking.

Hackers use GUIs.
Its not just enough that hackers have read tens of thousands of lines of text in their lifetimes, they hate text, or at least hate to code without fancy 3d models. Hackers must have a GUI progress indicator so they know when they are done hacking, cracking, copying, decrypting, or etc.

Macintosh OS tends to be the favorite of most Internet hackers, despite a complete lack of hacking tools available for the OS. It doesn't really matter anyway though, because most hackers use the hidden parts of the OS when they hack. The best hackers can make message boxes appear on other computer user's machines.

Text must scroll. Text must appear technical.
If text must be shown, it has to be shown quickly, scrolling down the screen in such a fashion that only a hacker would be able to read it.

The more technical the text appears, the better the hacker that can read it. Terms like "dev", "root" and "null" appear on geek/hacking sites, so these are the words that must appear on the screens of hackers, in addition to bikini babe screensavers.

Hackers are never script kiddies.
A hacker always knows exactly what they are doing when they do it. They never use code written by anyone else since they always know what to do to get past a particular logon. They always use cryptic commands and never run one script to access those commands.

More importantly, hackers never hack because of a superiority complex. (exception: Goldeneye) Usually they are coerced into cracking an encryption scheme in order to save their life or the life of someone they love. Hackers fight for a cause that the general public sympathizes with.

Hackers can type 300 wpm with 99.9% accuracy.
Elite hackers have the ability to type furiously, rarely needing to hit the "enter" or "backspace" keys. They never make spelling errors, or at least use an operating system that spellchecks as they type, so they don't have to worry about it.

On rare occasions, hackers have been known to type so quickly that they cause the GUI interface to respond in such a way that a "normal" computer user would have to use the mouse to mimic. Because of this, only newbie hackers have to use a mouse.

Hackers have love life problems.
No matter how good of a hacker, they always have problems with finding a soulmate. Some have been married, but -all- hackers are single. Some may have children, but -none- currently have custody of those children.

All hackers are under the age of 50, most are under the age of 30. Hackers are always older than their love interest.

Hacker terminology is not defined.
Viruses are items that only old-school hackers use. The new terms are "retrovirus", "trojan horse", and "logic bomb". All hacking terms are interchangeable with each other, so even if a hacker means "keystroke recorder" he can use "logic bomb" and not get flamed for being an incompetent.

New hacking terms are made up daily, so creating cool names for worms like "hydra" are perfectly acceptable and will serve to impress the technical folks that think they already know a lot. (Remember, we're Hollywood, if we want it that way, then that is the way it is.)

Hackers dance and sing when they accomplish something.
Rare cases of this have been spotted amongst the hacking community after a clean compile or a successful breach into unknown territory. Raising of the hands above the head tends to mark a significant achievement.

Hackers also may sing a little phrase of a song or mutter something witty at that point. This is not to be confused with the regular conversations they hold with their computers, however.

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Poll
Most realistic portrayal of hacking was done in the movie:
o Operation:Swordfish 1%
o Hackers (1 & 2) 0%
o Anti-Trust 4%
o Sneakers 42%
o Wargames 35%
o Tron 11%
o Takedown 0%
o Other (The Net, GoldenEye, Matrix) 1%

Votes: 105
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by Sheepdot


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Official Hollywood Guide to Hacking | 85 comments (80 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
You forgot a few: (4.10 / 10) (#1)
by MattGWU on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:27:49 AM EST

1. Word processors never display a cursor.
2. "Plant Virus", "Download secret files", "disable bomb" are valid command syntax.
3. People typing at a computer can shut if off and not lose their work
4. Monitors are so bright, text is reflected off the users face
5. Laptops can do ANYTHING
6. Encryption can be broken in minutes
7. Removable media is universal.
And all the rest, found in the old standard joke file of movie computer laws, found at:
Computer Laws for Movies
This is a standard joke file, and pretty much the same on every archive. Are you expanding on an old favorite, or did you think your list was origonal?

There was a lot I wanted to put in. (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Sheepdot on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:42:05 AM EST

But I was:

1)Afraid of it being too lengthy
2)Worried that the focus would switch from hackers to computer users in general.

I *did* consider the "valid command syntax" bit and the reflection of text on a hackers face though.

[ Parent ]
Escape Meta Alt Control Shift (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by Zarniwoop on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:00:04 AM EST

People typing at a computer can shut if off and not lose their work

Oh come on. Just because you didn't see them hit Control-X Control-S...

:)

[ Parent ]

Dont you mean (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by hulver on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 07:17:52 AM EST

ESC-ZZ

:)

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]

no, it's... (none / 0) (#43)
by trebuchet on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 12:57:48 AM EST

ESC:wq

--
I wanna be a new original creation,
A cross between a moose, a monkey, and a fig.
I'm ready, Monsanto, let me be your guinea pig.
--Moxy Fruvous
[ Parent ]
no it's... (none / 0) (#70)
by bored on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:00:03 PM EST

Alt-f s sometimes followed by Alt-F4

[ Parent ]
I have (had) the opposite problem. (4.00 / 6) (#27)
by ambrosen on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:54:12 AM EST

At the end of one of my MSc exams, I'd been up all night before preparing an application, and at the end of the exam, not wanting to lose all my precious writing, I stretched my little finger left and held a notional control key down, while my ring finger went down to the imaginary 'x', then skipped lightly up to the 's' key and pressed that. And then I remembered it was pointless saving something that was on paper.

--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
"Hackers" get it better than normal prog (3.66 / 9) (#2)
by treetops on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:33:22 AM EST

Looking through your list, I see items that are largely a result of Hollywood's need to present "hackers" as all-knowing geniuses. The others are either neutral (love problems) or positive (hacking to save some one and what not). All in all, it's not so bad. Sure its sterotypical, but what isn't in Hollywood? Sure beats Blaxploitation films.

On the other hand, though, are those poor saps who are too old and too l4m3 to be hackers. Typical programmers in movies are invariably portrayed as fat, greedy, anti-social scum, whom all right-thinking people should detest. Think of the guy from Jurassic Park, Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight, Seinfeld's Newman). He sat around all day eating junk food and eventually tried to sneak out with dinosaur embryos. I was watching another movie with a fat, greedy slob who was naturally a computer programmer in the command of some evil genius (I forget what the movie was called), but it happens all the time.

Given a choice between being cast as a cool, 21st century outlaw and a fat idiot, I know what I would choose.
--tt

Definately agree (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by Sheepdot on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:45:34 AM EST

I could have put "all hackers are attractive" but that's just the way Hollywood works in general, they don't need to be told to typecast an attractive male or female hacker in a movie, they just do it anyway.

Forgot about Jurrasic Park when I made the poll, but I did remember it as I was typing the document. The main reason I came up with the hacker's always use GUIs was because of the girl knowing exactly what to do on a "unix" system that was this extensive 3d model of the complex.


[ Parent ]
The 3D file system in Jurassic Park (4.50 / 2) (#51)
by vrai on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:41:15 PM EST

The main reason I came up with the hacker's always use GUIs was because of the girl knowing exactly what to do on a "unix" system that was this extensive 3d model of the complex.
The operating system in question was IRIX and there is a 3D file system navigator available for it: fsn (File System Navigator). It can be download from freeware.sgi.com

However on my Indigo II it is about 4000 times slower than the bash prompt is less well known than a very unknown person's lesser known cousin. I guess she must have been an expert :)

[ Parent ]

Blaxploitation (OT) (3.66 / 3) (#28)
by wfaulk on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:55:20 AM EST

I'm going to have to call you on Blaxploitation films being stereotypical. They were no more stereotypical than any other ``genre'' of films at the time. Probably less so. If you look at them on the whole, you'll see that the majority of them (especially the earlier ones) depict their characters fairly realistically. Usually the ``hero'' (as they were usually anti-heroes) and the situation is exaggerated, but that's just the way action movies work.

In fact, you'll notice that almost all of the creative people on the films are black people. This is because at the time, there were no movies that spoke to the black person. They tended to tell stories that they could relate to more than the typical suburban family comedy of the time. In fact, what you need to realize that the people being exploited weren't black people as a whole, but the black movie audience. Film producers saw that there was a large audience that wasn't going to movies and promoted movies that they would be more likely to attend. Incidentally, Blaxploitation films were also a very important and successful part of independent film history.

This didn't last very long, as the action film was soon to take off in the form of Dirty Harry, The French Connection, etc., perhaps inspired by the Blaxploitation genre, and the untapped audience disappeared.

Disclaimer: I am neither Black nor was I significantly alive during the Blaxploitation heyday.

[ Parent ]

More... (3.85 / 7) (#6)
by enterfornone on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:51:56 AM EST

Deleting a file will cause it to disapear off the screen of anyone who is reading it (Clear and Present Danger).

Hackers can immediatly recognise any OS regardless of what GUI front end is running on it (Jurassic Park).

Hackers have lots of money to spend on funky clothes (Hackers).

Firewalls can kill you (Neuromancer)

Hackers have a chance of scoring with Angelina Jolie (Hackers).

I'm sure there are plenty more...



--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Good ones! (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by Sheepdot on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:57:37 AM EST

Didn't even thing of the firewall one.

I'm actually glad this is getting people to think up some other good ones. I'll keep a list of additions I need to make and do so for future reference.

[ Parent ]
In Defense of _Hackers_ (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:11:39 AM EST

"Hackers have lots of money to spend on funky clothes (Hackers)."

You could probably assemble a similar wardrobe cheaply via our good friends "Goodwill" and "Salvation Army".

Maybe not *quite* as cool. =)

The more important would probably be "Hackers actually have enough fashion sense to put such clothing in such a matching configuration."

[ Parent ]
In further defence of Hackers (none / 0) (#54)
by Tatarigami on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 05:45:56 PM EST

Have you seen another 'teen geeks against the world movie' where the hackers read books and talked to each other to learn their craft instead of just using their innate talent?

:o)

Man, I want to write a singing virus that tips over oil tankers...


[ Parent ]
Hey now! (4.33 / 3) (#16)
by Kugyou on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 07:04:45 AM EST

(Laughter reigns throughout to indicate that this is meant to be humorous (while reflecting my opinion), not a flame)Neuromancer? I mean, come on now. Gibson created a whole new world for Neuromancer. Yeah, it was ours, but set at some indeterminate point. You might as well include "There are direct sensory interfaces to the 'Net" in that list...

(voice drops to a mock-serious tone)...but that would explain how a firewall can kill you. Very good use of selective facts, efn.

(Can't keep a straight face, starts laughing again). I think I mentioned something about Swordfish in my diary a few days ago - I ought to go read it again. Never did write that entry about "The Ring". Anyway...maybe if it weren't for the fact that it's Neuromancer, I'd dis-believe in Black Ice. :P


-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]

fsn (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by ksandstr on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 04:31:28 AM EST

The "hey, it's unix! i know this" UI from jurassic park was actually SGI's fsn. Shame that it doesn't work on anything more recent than IRIX 5.3 though.

Any 12-year old girl knows UNIX well enough to circumvent a security system installed by a Fat Evil Guy.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
There's also... (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Armaphine on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 01:51:30 PM EST

The most powerful computers in the world have huge, wall-sized monitors, which, if destroyed, will blow up the entire computer. (Batman is the first one that comes to mind for this one...)

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

We could expand this to include (3.50 / 4) (#10)
by ZanThrax on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:14:52 AM EST

(or at least have an appendix about) alien computer technology being easily understood and manipulated by hackers, and, whenever possible, compatable with mac laptops.


If there's nothing you'd die for, then what do you have to live for?


True story (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by jayfoo2 on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 09:28:13 AM EST

While doing tech support and computer installation type work in college this happened to me.

About 2 months after Independence Day came out I was installing a PC for some clerk typist II type person and was having some trouble bringing it up on their lan (twas a bad NIC). I told her I'd have to go back to my workshop at the north pole and fix it.

She actually goes "They should have got me a Mac, They are so easy to use they hooked it up to that alien ship in the movie"

To this day I can't decide if she was joking.

[ Parent ]
Dancing and singing (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by Yer Mom on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:48:14 AM EST

I tend to bounce around, punching the air and shouting "gotcha, you bastard".

Need to watch the ceiling fans in the office when I'm doing that, though :)
--
The liver is evil and must be punished.

bug fixed ... (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 10:06:22 AM EST

Arm in air. Make fist. Jerk arm down, as if pulling the horn on a big truck, stage wisper: "Yes!"

("gotcha, you bastard" has been known to pass my lips...)
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Women, fame, glamour (3.75 / 4) (#15)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:57:49 AM EST

It appeared as if the world that I lived in was somewhat dull: it didn't have the women, fame, and glamour that movies declared it should.
Oh, yes it does...

Wait a minute... (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by nstenz on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:18:01 AM EST

(In linked article):
Before you push that "send" key, make sure the URL line on your web browser starts with "https," not just "http," or ends with "shtml." These mean your outgoing data is being encrypted.
.shtml? Excuse me? Who the hell told this guy that? Did he just figure that the S meant 'secure' because it does if it's after HTTP? Sheesh- I always figured the extension was so server-side includes would get parsed before being sent to the client... But that can't be right... =)

[ Parent ]
Heh... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:43:00 AM EST

shtml? Excuse me? Who the hell told this guy that? Did he just figure that the S meant 'secure' because it does if it's after HTTP? Sheesh- I always figured the extension was so server-side includes would get parsed before being sent to the client...
This guy was Apple's 12th employee, and refused being paid in stock because he wanted cash at that time. Not very good at details, but he's an entertaining person.

[ Parent ]
https: (none / 0) (#76)
by enterfornone on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 02:07:09 AM EST

https: in the URL displayed by the web browser means you recieved that page encrypted. You really want to look at the URL in the form tag.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
passwords (4.00 / 4) (#18)
by Ubiq on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:14:52 AM EST

You forgot to mention that they can guess any password in three tries.



Or... (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by Kugyou on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:17:14 AM EST

right before the timer runs out/the connection is severed/the police arrive. And that they can magically alter the code on another person's machine via the logon prompt. =^_^=
-----------------------------------------
Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]
don't forget... (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by drabk on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 12:59:32 PM EST

... all the passwords are simple dictionary words or phrases. Or the name of a loved one.

[ Parent ]
true (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by enterfornone on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 02:04:40 AM EST

especially if it's a secret back door that no one knows about

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Override (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by Captain Derivative on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:16:03 PM EST

Why bother guessing the password? If the system tells you "access denied", just type "override" and you're in!


--
Hey! Why aren't you all dead yet?! Oh, that's right, it's only Tuesday. -- Zorak


[ Parent ]
Heh. (none / 0) (#62)
by gromm on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 04:32:49 PM EST

I can believe this. You'd be amazed how many people choose spectacularly stupid passwords like their phone number or their username, thinking it is very clever because it is so obvious.
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]
Speed of text (4.33 / 6) (#22)
by guinsu on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:19:49 AM EST

One more rule, if text isn't streaming out at a blindingly fast rate, it must appear one character at a time, BEEPING with every character. Nothing about computers and movies bugs me as much as this one, I can't believe they still do it to, I guess hollywood writers haven't made the connection between what their own computers do and what computers do n the silver screen yet.

We still get this on BBC television. (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by shippo on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 12:07:42 PM EST

The BBC has a Saturday afternoon sports program called Grandstand. At around 4:45pm they start to receive the football results from around the country. Years ago they used a teleprinter feed directly from the news agency providing the results; the television coverage would just be a camera shot of the teleprinter printing the results as the presenter commented on them.

Over 20 years ago this was replaced with what was called 'The Videoprinter'. Basically the teleprinter replaced by a teletype, with the characters rendered as white text on blue. Teleprinter type noises were dubbed on.

They still use the same system now, even though the feed is IP based. The text is now in a proportional font, but still arrives as slow as ever. The pseudo teletype noises are still there. The slowness in presenting the data adds to the suspense.

The irony is that as the majority of UK TVs have the ability to receive Teletext, the sport results are known before they appear on screen!

[ Parent ]

Floppy drives (3.75 / 4) (#23)
by mckwant on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:22:50 AM EST

Have nearly infinite storage capacity, and can fill themselves in a matter of seconds.

The following is posted for those who don't want to see the movie. For the record, I don't recommend it very highly.

This was in the film Boiler Room, where the main character downloaded all the trading data for the ficticious stock broking firm onto two floppies, and ran like hell.

More... (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by FatRatBastard on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:43:21 AM EST

All printers, be they laser or inkjet, sound like a dot matrix printer.

Everything *MUST* make a beep or some other annoying noise (this isn't just for Hacker films... anything that is "technial" must beep or whine or whir. Is it just me or would the noises on the deck of the Enterprise drive anyone bonkers after a day at the helm?)

Hackers' computers (esp. laptops) obviously have some sort of wireless modem built in since they are rarely connected to anything while hacking.

CLIs (when they exist) use a natural language interface (i.e. "list passwords" or "find john smith")

All passwords are easily guessable.

Everything is interoperable with everything else.

[ Parent ]
not floppies, MD (none / 0) (#84)
by strawdog on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 03:39:00 PM EST

no no, not floppies. All hackers use MiniDiscs (or some other magneto optical disc) to transfer data [Mission Impossible and countless other movies]. I have never seen a minidisc data drive although I think Sony puts audio ones in their japanese vaios see: www.sony.co.jp/sd/ProductsPark/Consumer/PCOM/PCV-MX3GK/

[ Parent ]
They existed ( MD-Data) (none / 0) (#85)
by Chou on Thu Aug 02, 2001 at 01:22:13 PM EST

I owned one long time ago, not bad if i don't remember bad 140 MB. Chou just said.

[ Parent ]
More truisms.... (4.25 / 8) (#24)
by Elkor on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:36:25 AM EST

Laptop batteries never run out of power...

When breaking into an office there is always an extra port on the hub for you to jack into.....(and it is easy to find)

Said office will always have a clean, neatly organized desk....

You always have the right network card and protocols for the job (Wow, good thing I have a token card in my laptop and am running Novell client 3.0...)

Regards,
Elkor
"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
Heh. (none / 0) (#61)
by gromm on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 04:19:45 PM EST

When breaking into an office there is always an extra port on the hub for you to jack into.....(and it is easy to find)

But there always are... if you unplug something. ;)
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]

More on laptops (none / 0) (#78)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 10:46:10 AM EST

Don't forget that Laptops also have wireless Internet connections with speeds of at least equal to that of a T1 line or higher. "The Net" comes to mind when I think of that. Also Laptops can be used to create viruses that work on any system out there as long as it fits into the plot somehow. G3 MacOS 8.X Powerbook write a virus to take out BeOS 5.0 workstations, sure why not? :)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
[ Parent ]
My favorite line from Hackers... (3.71 / 7) (#29)
by thenick on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:57:33 AM EST

"The P3 chip, triple the speed of the Pentium." Said by Angelina Jolie while sitting infront of her Apple Powerbook.

All of this discussion about errors in computer movies makes me wonder about other movies. Do the Indy Car pit crews make fun of the inaccuracies in Driver?

"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
in a word (4.00 / 4) (#31)
by unstable on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 12:33:55 PM EST

yes.. days of thunder has been a thorn in the side of nascar for a while.... it gives them teh image that they constantly bump and rub just to pass.... when in fact the reason the touch (less often then you think) its because running 4 inches from another car at 180 MPH is just really hard :P
of course there are acceptions some people do rub a bit for position... nut never to take the other guy out.



Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

[ Parent ]
Not just the pit crews... (3.80 / 5) (#32)
by QID on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 12:35:43 PM EST

Probably most dedicated racing fans should be able to find plenty of inaccuracies in the movie. Heck, even the trailers have big problems. For example, the show cars that get "stolen" by the drivers and driven through the streets don't usually have engines, and if they did, it takes a starter gun (basically a separate starter motor that the pit crews use, since the cars don't have starters built in) to get them going. Oh, and the name of the movie is Driven.

It's kind of ironic, the only people that would really be interested in Hackers are the ones that can easily tell it's wrong.

----------
Grampa must be saved. Grampa must go down the stairs.
[ Parent ]

More Critiques (none / 0) (#40)
by Bios_Hakr on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 09:09:24 PM EST

I also belive that the gearing for first on most F-1 cars is on the steep side for a driver to accelerate from a dead stop. I am basing this mainly from watching numerious F-1 pit-stops where the driver stalls unless his pit crew helps to push him off.

[ Parent ]
Apple LCD screens, Guns, and the Matrix (4.57 / 7) (#33)
by ThwartedEfforts on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 12:41:49 PM EST

I was at Microcenter, and they were showing the Matrix DVD on one of those widescreen Apple LCD displays. I was messing with the DVD player, navigating the menus, and I set it on Chapter 29 (my favorite), and stood there watching it. Some other guys came over and were checking out the LCD display, talking about how it was more viewable than any of the others at side angles, and how thin it was, and how there weren't LCD artifacts in the fast changing scenes, etc. It got to the point where Neo changes a clip in the gun, and one of the guys touches the side of the screen and says "that's so bogus". The other one responds "What? The thickness?" And the first one came back with "No, this movie. That kind of gun doesn't take 9mm clips".

[ Parent ]
My first quip (4.50 / 6) (#30)
by ryeshy on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 11:42:10 AM EST

You forgot... A national defence computer can always be shown the futility of Nuclear War by playing Tic Tac Toe. (Wargames)

big list (4.00 / 3) (#35)
by acec on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:37:20 PM EST

hey could someone compile this into a big list ? this is awesome. i think i will take the initiative.

This is unusual? (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by tailchaser on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:14:05 PM EST

Welcome to Hollywood, where every character in a production is merely a stereotype of that role. That Bob Hacker does not actually exist as such is no different than Joe Good-Cop, Suzy Loveinterest or John Brilliant-Villain not walking the streets of your town. See also: the "When I Am An Evil Overlord, I Will:" list. ;>

-tc

Karma Whoring (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by moshez on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 04:10:31 AM EST

See http://www.eviloverlord.com for the list.

Oooopps....wrong blog.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]

That reminds me... (4.33 / 6) (#38)
by %systemroot% on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 05:29:41 PM EST

after seeing Swordfish I poked around in vain searching for an xdm/kdm/gdm theme or some such that would provide a full-screen, full-color, flashing, beeping, giganto-font "ACCESS DENIED" message upon failed logon.

After all, if Hollywood can't be accurate at its portrayals, is it not then imperative that "hackers" adapt to match them?

Tobe

fonts (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by prostoalex on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:00:13 AM EST

wouldn't you also like the console with size 46-48 fonts? Or the computer with 6 (if I am not mistaken) monitors.

[ Parent ]
Ok, the six monitor thing is VERY possible. (none / 0) (#65)
by locke baron on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:53:10 AM EST

Just grab one AGP graphics card and five of your favorite PCI graphics cards (ATi Rage 128's work well, so do Voodoo3's and GeForce DDR's), throw 'em on a decent mobo, install an OS with multihead support (FreeBSD with XFree86 4.1.0 comes to mind, choose your favorite). Xyzzy, hydra-view display...
Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
Matrox G450 DualHead output (none / 0) (#66)
by Nick Ives on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 05:46:49 AM EST

The Matrox G450 has 2 moniter outputs, and even comes in a PCI flavour. Combine that with a m/b with 6 PCI and 1 AGP and your looking at 14moniters.

In the event of ever becoming stupidly rich, I may just kit a box out like that. Any other expansion cards can go in a secondary box, along with all the actual CPU horsepower. I figure that 7 graphics cards in one box would create a lot of heat, so a slower single CPU in the graphics box would probably be preferable. Of course all my programs would run as clients on the processor box and pipe out to the server on the graphics box, with the exception of games which need to be run locally to take advantage of hardware accelloration. They could easily pipe their sound to the s/c on the processor box.

<sigh>, hardware dreams.... =)

--
Nick
Ooooooo, crouching tiger, hidden dragon comes out on DVD today. Saw in cinema, mucho fun. Not as amazing as some would have you believe (compared to other martial arts films) but it was great to actually see a chinese martial arts film on the big screen for once.

[ Parent ]

Multiple Monitors (none / 0) (#80)
by topham on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 03:33:46 PM EST

I hate to admit it but I'm sitting here with 2 17" monitors so I can work. Both are on the same computer but one is a Terminal Services Client connection. It's the ultimate in geek.

Now if I was only running Linux.

(I cant figure out how my AGP video card can be primary, when it's set as primary Windows won't work with the second card. Whatever, it works with PCI as primary.[Primary from the BIOS, Windows is toggled so the AGP is primary] wacked.)

[ Parent ]

Spice Girls... (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by Locked on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:15:07 PM EST

The more technical the text appears, the better the hacker that can read it. Terms like "dev", "root" and "null" appear on geek/hacking sites, so these are the words that must appear on the screens of hackers, in addition to bikini babe screensavers.

One Spice Girls video has (Mel C?) peering through a pair of electronic binoculars, and the HUD text clearly mentions stuff like /usr/bin/etc, plus what looks like a modem dial-up script...
br>
Locked
(because a pair of binoculars without net access is like a toaster without a DVD player)

Independence Day (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by juln on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 11:04:19 PM EST

Alien operating systems can be accessed by laptops , and apparently the aliens even use tcp/ip! You can take down UFOs by writing viruses and unleashing them this way.

Not TCP/IP (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by fluffy grue on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 02:05:36 AM EST

You mean AppleTalk.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

A custom adapter plugged into PCMCIA (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by pin0cchio on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:53:05 AM EST

>>TCP-IP
>AppleTalk

More likely, a custom interface adapter that plugs into the PowerBook computer's PCMCIA slot. Let's see... the government had about 50 years to dissect the first ship that landed near Area 51, so they could probably have figured out the interface and written a Mac driver.

People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms
lj65
[ Parent ]
Well, obviously AppleTalk because... (none / 0) (#53)
by Sunir on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 05:23:15 PM EST

Apple is run by aliens. Duh. Who else would have come up with the idea of translucenty blueberry cases? Those crazy furry nuts from Alpha Centauri, I tells ya.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Yes it was (none / 0) (#82)
by FriedLinguini on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:46:45 PM EST

In the theatrical release I saw (opening day), a window popped up with a message saying, "Negotiating TCP/IP connection" or some such tripe. It apparently doesn't appear in the video release.

[ Parent ]
laptops (3.50 / 2) (#45)
by prostoalex on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 02:58:22 AM EST

Hackers always carry laptops with vivid indication of the manufacturer's logo.

Hollywood's view of the world... (4.75 / 8) (#48)
by mk on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 05:38:28 AM EST

Hollywood does overdramatize everything it puts its hands on. However, I do think if you look at it from the other direction you can kind of see where they get some of there stuff from.

If text must be shown, it has to be shown quickly, scrolling down the screen in such a fashion that only a hacker would be able to read it.

My mom watched me fix her computer once, and she told me afterward that as far as she could tell I wasn't reading any of the text that scrolled by because it went so fast. Its not like I was reading all of the text, I was just looking for specific files in certain directories and whatnot. Obviously Hollywood exaggerates this, but a newbie watching the movie could definitely relate to the feeling of watching an experienced user zip through directories.

As far as the made up terms go, any time someone speaks knowledably about a specific tecnical field, to those uninitiated to that field, it sounds like a foreign language. So as far as the masses are concerned, if it sounds like computer talk, and there are computers in the movie, it must be computer talk.

My point is that Hollywood does get things wrong all the time, and not just when doing Hacker movies. While I do get enjoyment pointing out the inaccuracies in those movies (because I'm in the know, and the rest of the audience isn't), we should also realize that some of the stuff on that screen is how the rest of the world perceives what we do.

Just something to think about.

mk

People in the Military (none / 0) (#49)
by eudas on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 06:13:54 AM EST

People in the military have a blast finding all kinds of inconsistencies. Decorations in the wrong order, cords on the wrong shoulder, guns that people don't use anymore, you name it. Dress uniform not pressed right... heh.

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Military Geeks are worse yet... (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by locke baron on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:47:40 AM EST

Pointing out both technical and military inaccuracies is a minor hobby of mine :-)
Eric W. Sprague, Information Systems Tech Third Class, US Navy.
Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
War film inaccuracies (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by shippo on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 12:21:22 PM EST

I watched a B/W 1950s war film on television last year. The film company had access to a pair of Mk 21 Spitfires, but interspersed this with stock footage from the war itself - easy to do when filming in black and white.

I counted at least 4 different Spitfire models in the stock footage.

[ Parent ]

Let's not forget taking out aliens (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by wallinbl on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 10:05:36 AM EST

Don't forget that hackers can connect a cable (Firewire?) from a PowerBook to an alien mothership and upload a virus that will cause them to blow up.

Hmm (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by Desterado on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:55:36 PM EST

I never did really understand how that worked!

You've got the flag, I've got your back.
[ Parent ]
Why not? (none / 0) (#67)
by gbvb on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 07:46:05 AM EST

If you know that BB&N was a company started by Aliens after they dropped off some of their collegues in Area 51 and in the sorrounding area, everything starts making sense.. Who else but an alien, with no regard to human intelligence, would create a protocol named TCP/IP.. You know, coming to think of it, I am pretty sure TCP/IP stands for "All your base belongs to us" in Alieanese..

[ Parent ]
Personal Hygiene (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by InnerSea on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 08:43:04 AM EST

Hackers are slobs, appropriate dress is torn/stained jeans and t-shirts. Personal hygiene is frequently poor and often atrocious. Evil hackers are invariably overweight, obviously weak and/or pale from lack of sun. Heroic or anti-hero type hackers may sometimes be extremely buff and tan.

Re: Personal Hygiene (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by fatjim on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 03:49:00 PM EST

Evil hackers are invariably overweight, obviously weak and/or pale from lack of sun.

.. but i AM overweight, weak, and pale from lack of sun!



[ Parent ]
my fav line (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by b0r3d on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 11:06:17 AM EST

"686 artificial intelligence RISC chip" from Mission Impossible 1.

The one thing I liked about anti-trust was that there was only one line of boring expositional dialogue where the hacker explains what he's doing (and that was very in character). Usually this is horribly overdone because Hollywood thinks the person watching won't have any clue what the hacker's doing.

Of course, there were still plenty of other hacker-movie problems with it. Oh well, can't ask for much, I suppose.



Oh, and.... (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Elkor on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 01:50:03 PM EST

Any hacker can identify the hardware inside a computer by sight, without needing to open the case.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
actually... (4.50 / 4) (#63)
by gromm on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 04:42:48 PM EST

This is not to be confused with the regular conversations they hold with their computers, however.

But... but... but...

I talk to my computer all the time.
Deus ex frigerifero

So do I... (4.50 / 2) (#68)
by physicsgod on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 12:58:36 PM EST

But I don't think a constant barrage of obscenities counts as a conversation.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Sure it does... (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Pyrrhonian on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 07:41:04 AM EST

I talk to my work box constantly in a similar way... it even replies so its a kind of conversation

course it normally replies with nasty error messages or by crunching its hard disk at me, and when I'm *really* deep in conversation and smacking the ctrl+alt+del it replies with a beep before finally rebooting.

damn its a heap of junk.



[ Parent ]

Some random MovieOS observations... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by WWWWolf on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 05:40:37 PM EST

(A side note about the poll: "Sneakers" seems to be on lead at the moment. It's actually one of the few computer-related movies of its time that didn't make me feel sick. For example, the user interfaces were more or less realistic and not "flashy". Just some technical absurdities like the decrypter thing and the Windows NT on a Cray, but overall, a nice movie...)
Its not just enough that hackers have read tens of thousands of lines of text in their lifetimes, they hate text, or at least hate to code without fancy 3d models.
Yeah, I have to admit that I suck at math. Therefore, I'm not that good at OpenGL coding, so I'm unable to make all those KEWL 3D effects. I guess I'm not a good Hacker™.
Macintosh OS tends to be the favorite of most Internet hackers, despite a complete lack of hacking tools available for the OS.
That's easily explainable... The hackers are using Apple Elite Hacker Tools, an easy GUI-based click-and-hack tool. (I would give better details, but E2 seems to be having technical difficulties...)
Hackers are never script kiddies.
But they sure spell like them. (See Hackers.)

Some other things that would be worth mentioning (some of these are from some TV program, I forgot where I heard this):

  • When something important that needs attention happens, the message CAN'T be ignored. (BIG flashing messages a la Eraser, or in case of E-mail, animated pictures of envelopes, or something similiar.)
  • Really fancy pointing devices. (A la Eraser's graphic tablet that was used for something that mouse could do much more easily...)
  • Cell phones are always in network range, except when dramatics dictate otherwise. "Mulder, where are you?" "Deep underground in coal mines. And you?" "In the middle of Sahara desert."

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...


Monitors and LCD screens are bright (none / 0) (#79)
by Orion Blastar on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 10:49:55 AM EST

so bright that they display words and pictures on the "Hacker's faces". Aaarrrggghhh, I'm going blind, turn it off turn it off! :)
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***
Anime movies (none / 0) (#81)
by Int0h on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 03:20:47 AM EST

In Japan they know how a real computer works. I was watching some Dragonball Z episodes the other day. In one episode a little girl is looking at the code for an android, and the language you see on the screen is actually BASIC, not some newly-invented-movie-language. Even tough BASIC isn't the most appropriate language for an android, it still is more realistic than the Hollywood stuff.

I don't know how it is with other Anime movies and cartoons, but I saw Ghost in The Shells a few years ago, and as I can remember it was pretty realistic.

One thing I noticed about the movie Hackers is that the computers they use resembles C64s, they look old, while everything else in the movie tries to be very futuristic.

and I liked Wargames and Operation Takedown :)

This text might not be understood as intended, since my English isn't the best (I live in Sweden), but I hope you get my point, which is: In Japan, the movie producers know how computer works (this applies to Anime and Manga).

The Alpha laptop, "Hackers", computers i (none / 0) (#83)
by joegee on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 02:09:23 PM EST

Remember in "Hackers" the Alpha laptop one of the characters yearned to possess? Alpha was mobile back in 1997, they've just been holding out on us. :)

I remember speaking with one of the technical advisors for "Hackers". When I raised my eyebrows and said "they had technical advisors?" the first thing out of his mouth was an apology, followed by the following explanation:
"I would tell them 'a hacker would do things this way.' They would reply 'that's nice, but it's boring. What if we did it this way?' I would tell them 'anyone familiar with computers would never believe it' and they would finish my sentence with 'but the general public would ...'"
You also failed to mention:
  • Movie hackers usually have unusually colored or cut hair.
  • Most movie hackers would set off airport metal detectors with their piercings.
  • Most movie hackers skateboard.
  • Most movie male hackers look surprisingly like the football players that used to beat the rest of us up after school, only their clothing is more rad.
  • Most movie hacker babes are promiscuous and flirtatious.
  • Most movie white hats are poor. Most movie black hats are fabulously wealthy.
It is my deepest fear that historians a thousand years from now will look at a movie like "Hackers" and say "that is how computer professionals of the late twentieth century behaved."

Then they'll say "but our computers don't work like that."

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Official Hollywood Guide to Hacking | 85 comments (80 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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