Archive for the ‘computers’ Category

Does Not Compute

A few weeks ago we went to see Casino Royale – you know – the new James Bond movie with Daniel Craig who is a bit too pretty if you ask me and seems to do an awful lot of pouting al la Angelina Jolie [those lips just *cannot* be real any more than any bit of Cher is real apart from her ear-lobes] – but that’s beside the point. What I really wanted to talk about was computer technology as shown in films. Have you noticed that computers, for example, not only in movies but in TV programs too, always spring to life the second you touch the keyboard; often when they are not plugged in. And have you also noticed that Internet access is available everywhere – even in the middle of the ocean in an open row-boat with villains swarming over the stern?


If you have ever watched CSI you will note that they have computers that explore parts of the body with anatomical and grossly gory accuracy complete with instant ‘zoom-ins’ and HD displays – not to mention maggots and saliva. And of course whenever crime-fighters need to pin-point areas on a map where the killer might be lurking it appears instantly complete with street names, pizza parlors, sound effects and people out walking the dog. I bet Google Maps can’t do that. There is no lag; there are no jaggies and no typing! Or at least there is some typing but it is never necessary to use the space-bar on the keyboard. And of course, if you want to access the hidden files all you have to do is type: ‘secret files’ to have the whole lot pop up, passwords not required. Or if they do have a password it’s eminently hackable like ‘Vesta’ [name of Bond’s girlfriend].   Of course if you wish to infect someone elses computer by the way, all that is necessary is to type “upload virus”.  Obviously all movie computers are still using a command-line language like DOS  which must be very irritating to Bill and is putting a crimp in sales of Vista.


Heroes always get a cell-phone signal first try wherever they happen to be – out in the jungles of Borneo or half-way up K2 or trapped in a submersible at 200 fathoms. They never get a low battery warning or a voice message that says “you have used up all your minutes please insert new card now”. Arch-villains all have technical innovations that work perfectly every time. When the bumbling henchman screws up he is plunged into the tank of angry piranhas at the mere touch of a button – the doors never get stuck half-open and have to be pried apart with a crow-bar and he never has the sense to jump out of the way. Guns never jam and are filled with an endless supply of bullets – well the hero’s gun frequently jams so that he is forced to take out the villains with a hastily devised rocket launcher made out of two toilet roll tubes, a cigarette lighter and some Smarties. Villains are always terrible shots despite their state of the art Glocks – they could machine gun the hero from three feet away and still miss while Clint or Bruce or Arnie merely have to pop off one shot to hit six bad guys right between the eyes. Helicopters take off the instant the pilot turns the starter key and radio-controlled nuclear bombs four miles deep in the secret laboratory immediately flash “4 MINUTES” on a garishly lit and therefore fairly easy to find red LED screen. As the klaxons blare and steam issues out of a zillion vents [even on the space station] said bomb is diffused just as a pleasant female voice informs you that self-destruct is in one second and have a nice day.

Laptop computers in the movies BTW are always Sony Vaios that never have to boot up have you noticed and wireless accessibility is a given. Of course if the Vaio fails the hero always has his handy Palm Pilot [also with wireless connectivity] with which to track the bomb on the real-time radar display and his exploding pointer pen from Mont Blanc – but that’s another blog [see Product Placement].


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