Computer code in the movies -- and what it actually does


While not exactly code being used properly; the famous 'its a unix system...' scene in Jurassic Park was an actual file manager


But FTP isn't encrypted. Could have been encryption on files retrieved over FTP, or SFTP or FTPS (some "ftp" clients can do all three), I suppose.


They actually did a good job in Tron Legacy.

Here is a very good story by one of the ones that worked on it:


Of course. But i'd be interested to learn if Nedry's code was substantive.


So true. So very, very true. Well, sometimes it makes for a good laugh.


Kind of like prop newspapers?

More examples and more information about the paper.


Man, no one should ever be excited about httpd.conf files being open wink


In the future, 6502ese will be as to future programming as valves are to semiconductors today, i.e. safe from the future equivalent of an EMP, which will be automated takedown notices leading to instant withdrawal, without appeal, of execution rights to copyrighted implementations of machine code.


The juicy thing is: That had nothing to do with his work, he was looking at Robot porn while on the job.


Dude, to the average user, who still has trouble to click a big flashing button saying “You have a problem, Push here to fix it.”, anything on the command line IS encryption,


Well, I got a laugh out of it.

IIRC someone (at Making Light? I can't find it) called this the drawing and quartering of suspension of disbelief:


Fair point, but it's not quite the same as one person's scribble is another person's masterpiece. Eye of the beholder and all that.

I'd say the equivalent would be an artist using a graphite pencil to paint a watercolour.


Ooh, yes! Kind of like a geeky version of the Wilhelm scream.


From the phrasing, I'm not sure what you're driving at.

However, it would be extremely safe to assume I'm talking about strictly representational painting here, where objectivity trumps subjectivity. Bad technical prowess exists both in painting and coding, does it not?


I think the equivalent to how movies treat code would be if a movie had a surgeon perform brain surgery on someone's butt. It's still surgery so it's good enough.


That is kind of how movies and TV treat surgery though some times. Maybe not as extreme as swapping brains and butts, but once you're inside the body the anatomy lessons often go right out the window.


For what it isn't worth, the background beeper I had running back in the days of DOS was a TSR that rang nautical time. It was really useful in reminding me of how much time I was wasting.

(Edited because I was actually overusing "actually", actually...)


Yeah, that's fair enough, there's good painting and bad painting. But going back to the original point of the article, what the people in movies/TV are (mainly) doing isn't inherently bad. The point is that the code that appears on screen is often completely irrelevant (eg. they say they're going to hack into a server but stare at the source code for a text editor).

I realise the conversation has moved on from that though, and the average viewer may be as unlikely to notice random, irrelevant code as they are to notice a poorly executed painting. Still, gives people stuff to talk about on the internet...


I'm sure this isn't the first time this clip has shown up on boingboing, but someone shared it with me this morning (in response to comments elsewhere, regarding the topic in question):


Not exactly a new phenomenon, this is 13 years old:

And this is from 1968. Really worth watching because it has Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Karl Malden and Bob Newhart in it.
The hacking bit starts 6:10 in this clip.