Computers in the Movies

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Everything I Needed to Know About Computers I Learned in the Movies

Word processors never display a cursor.

You never have to use the spacebar when typing long sentences.

All monitors and hand-held devices display 2-inch-high letters whenever you
need to see what the operator is typing.

High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such
governmental institution, have easy-to-understand graphical interfaces.

Those that dont will have incredibly powerful text-based command shells
that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English.

Corollary you can gain access to any information you want by simply typing

Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply
typing UPLOAD VIRUS. Viruses cause temperatures in computers, just like they
do in humans. After a while, smoke billows out of disk drives and monitors,
explosions may result. (See #10).

All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villains
desktop computer, even if its turned off.

Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever the screen
changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it
doesnt go faster than you can read. The really advanced ones also
emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer as the characters come across the

All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just underneath
the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash, a puff of smoke, a
shower of sparks, and an explosion that forces you backward. A skilled
technician will bring such a computer back online in minutes.

People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data.
However, the files are found fully intact upon returning.

A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before
intermission and guess the secret password in two tries.


Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be
accomplished in under three seconds. In the movies, modems transmit data at two
gigabytes per second.

When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels
will explode, as will the entire building.

If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also
disappears from the screen. There are no ways to copy a backup file – and there
are no undelete utilities.

If a disk has encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password
when you try to access it.

No matter what kind of computer disk it is, itll be readable by any system
you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms.

The more high-tech the equipment, the more unlabeled buttons it has.

Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional,
real-time, photo-realistic animated graphics capability.

Laptops always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities
(through their built-in satellite uplink) and the performance of a CRAY-T3E.

Whenever a character looks at a VDU, the image is so bright that it projects
itself onto his/her face.

Computers never crash during key, high-intensity activities. While
operating computers under stress, humans never make mistakes.

Programs are fiendishly perfect and never have bugs that slow down users.

Any photograph can have minute details pulled out of it. You can zoom into
any picture as far as you want to.

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