November 2003

Anyone notice a disturbing trend in motion pictures? I'm talking about the trend of hyping "high technology", and how it solves crimes, adds glamour to our lifes, and saves the world… is it me or does this suck?

One disturbing trend is featuring computers in movies. Note to producers: stick to silicone, not silicon! Someone wants information on a murder suspect, goes on-line, and in ten seconds they have done a complete background check including a recent photo, complete biography, shoe size, whatever. Through a modem in a scuzzy hotel room. With no pop-up ads for Viagra. Give me a break! Or worse, they hook up a computer to a rich guy's alarm system, and in 15 seconds it cracks a 10 digit code and turns off the alarm in time (watch the "Thomas Crown Affair"). Meanwhile, the computer display is showing seemingly thousands of random codes as it converges on the solution. Let's see, if we have 10 digits, that's 10 billion codes. Each one has to be passed through some type of interface cable. Perhaps the cable is good for 100 MHz of bandwidth, but the USB port is gonna slow that down to 10 MB/second. Assuming the alarm system was built to run at that speed (and why should it?), you are looking at all day to spit out all the possible combinations. Ten seconds to pick the lock? No way!

In "Independence Day", remember the scene where the MAC computer plugs right into the alien computer without a hitch, then Will Smith downloads a virus onto the alien computer and destroys it? Sure, computers from different worlds could be compatible... even if we can't even make networks work on the same planet? Forget about the software, do you think the aliens used TTL, or Advanced CMOS logic interface? Guess they never thought of optical or wireless...

No "computer movie" is worse than "The Net". Note to Hollywood: people doing stuff on computers is just plain boring! It's bad enough that the human race is reduced to clicking a mouse to do just about anything, why would you make a movie to remind us that life sucks? Plus, when was the last time you saw software professionals who weren't overweight due to their sedentary lifestyle? Sorry, Sandra Bullock is not believable--next time, use Rosanne!

How about movies set in "outer space" that have gravity? Was Stanley Kubrick the only director who understood Newtonian physics? And guess what? When you land on an asteroid in "Armageddon", it might have gravity, but it will be way less than it is on Earth!

Although motor vehicles smashing into each other at high speed is one of the few things that Hollywood does well, what were they thinking in "Speed"? How could anyone believe that you could drive a bus anywhere in California at a minimum speed of 50 miles per hour? Hello? See all those parked cars in front of you on the 101? When was the last time you drove anywhere in California for an hour without being parked in traffic for 45 minutes?

If you like to nitpick movies and other stuff, check out during lunch! Now get back to work and click that mouse and watch Ansoft software chug on your design problem for four hours before it crashes!

- Unknown Editor

Check out the Unknown Editor's archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for an hour or so!