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April 6, 2011 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Access Main Computer File, a collection of (often preposterous) graphical user interfaces culled from dozens and dozens of films, or as the site itself puts it, "A VISUAL STUDY OF COMPUTER GUI IN CINEMA." (via Subtraction)
posted by ocherdraco (127 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
We need one of these for the sounds computers make in TV and movies.
posted by jessssse at 8:05 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]






God I always hate this always always always.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:09 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was going to ping the IP address on the very last one (from the worst tech movie ever, "The 'Net") but then noticed they had a number higher than 255.

Also, this is neat but I wish the names weren't hidden until you mouse over the image since it makes searching for titles impossible without looking at the source.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:10 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


God I always hate this always always always.

I like it. How exciting is it to watch someone type at a UNIX shell? The Social Network did it pretty well, but if you're making some cheesy cop show or sci-fi movie, why not get a little creative with the image on the screen?
posted by codacorolla at 8:11 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Where's the picture of someone typing furiously instead of using a mouse?
posted by prefpara at 8:11 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ubuntu was in Tron? That's awesome.
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


COMPUTER! SLOWLY ROTATE THIS 3D MODEL OF A GUN WHILE YOU SOLVE THE CRIME FOR ME
posted by theodolite at 8:12 AM on April 6, 2011 [38 favorites]


Tron Legacy also had an excellent depiction of the machine's GUI. (The inside of the machine was somewhat less realistic)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 AM on April 6, 2011


why not get a little creative with the image on the screen?

I think that as more people use computers, having a wacky thing that does not look real will end up messing up the suspension of disbelief of a lot of movie watchers. Back in the 80s or 90s when computers were still foreign concepts to most people, it worked, but these days it doesn't.

The Social Network did do a very good job of it, and even did it realistically. Wget, woo! This appeased grizzled computer veterans and My Grandmother alike. Having a nerd open up a command line from a Mac or Windows and start typing stuff, even to a 'lay person,' shows some really "elite hacking" going on, so that scene worked for everybody.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:17 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU, not just Ubuntu. Josh Nimoy was one of the visual effects developers for Tron:
I cheered when Trinity in The Matrix used nmap and ssh (and so did you). Then I cringed again when I saw that inevitably, Hollywood had decided that nmap was the thing to use for all its hacker scenes (see Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, The Listening, 13: Game of Death, Battle Royale, Broken Saints, and on and on). In Tron, the hacker was not supposed to be snooping around on a network; he was supposed to kill a process. So we went with posix kill and also had him pipe ps into grep. I also ended up using emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t. The team was delighted to see my emacs performance -- splitting the editor into nested panes and running different modes.
posted by migurski at 8:17 AM on April 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


Nic Cage really is in everything

Also, these need up/down vote options on both the realism and awesomeness axes.
posted by DU at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2011


welliwasabouttogetangrybutjurassicparkandthehackersbigthree9wargames,hackersandsneakers0

ofcouseiamtypingwithoutusingthespacebarofshiftkeyastribut,whydoyouask/

i'malsospeakingwhati'mtypingoutloudandmakingthouselittlejerkymovementswithmyheadtoshowi'mconcentratinglikemegryaninyou'vegotmail
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:18 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was surprised by the accuracy of The Social Network. Not only was he using a recognizable KDE Desktop, it appeared to be the correct version for the era.
posted by rlk at 8:19 AM on April 6, 2011


Odd there's no Jurassic Park.
"I know this. It's Unix."
posted by Thorzdad at 8:20 AM on April 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Anyone know where I can get some of that software that allows almost infinite definition when zooming in on security camera footage?
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 8:20 AM on April 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


You should view the HTML source.

Dammit, where is the R.I.P.E. program? I'm wanna do this the scanner way.
posted by adipocere at 8:21 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh, I've never even heard of eshell. How does it compare to using a bash shell inside of emacs?
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on April 6, 2011


The tutorial device used by Paul Atreides in Dune can't be an actual computer or thinking device because of the Butlerian Jihad, I mean GAWD! Some people.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:22 AM on April 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


Odd there's no Jurassic Park.

It's down towards the bottom. Try FIND JURASSIC PARK
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:22 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Computer? FIND JENNA.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:22 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've seen The Thing about four or five times and I always always forget the scene where Blair's computer figures out that the world would end in 3 years if the Thing got loose based on smashing some orange blobs together. Christ.
posted by theodolite at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Use only at sub-light velocity, and keep your bratwurst to yourself!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2011


Where's the picture of someone typing furiously instead of using a mouse?

I often go for long stretches without using a mouse at all, especially when I'm deep into a programming session.
posted by kmz at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jurassic Park is near the bottom:
"> access main security grid"

perhaps ironically, the UNIX system she used was a real visualizer
posted by MrFTBN at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old Dogs
posted by mrgrimm at 8:25 AM on April 6, 2011


Speaking of WarGames, I wonder how much that single film was responsible for getting kids into computing in the 80s and early 90s.

I'd suspect alot. Since he made it look geeky and cool instead of nerdy and esoteric.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 8:25 AM on April 6, 2011


I'm just going to leave this here.
posted by mysterpigg at 8:26 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I often go for long stretches without using a mouse at all, especially when I'm deep into a programming session.

Yeah, if anything, a hacker (esp on a Unix/Linux machine) shown using a mouse is going to be laughed at.
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2011


Windows? What am I missing here?
posted by incomple at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2011


Worse than making up silly GUIs is when they use something real and you smile and nudge your girlfriend who has no idea what you are nudging her about.
posted by orme at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Having a nerd open up a command line from a Mac or Windows and start typing stuff, even to a 'lay person,' shows some really "elite hacking" going on, so that scene worked for everybody.

Everybody? He was using emacs.
posted by mrgoat at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2011


The Wallstreet example is, I'm fairly sure, a bog-standard Reuters installation (it looks a =lot= like Bridgestation did when I was supporting it, and that's now Reuters Eikon or some damn thing). Everyone in the financial sector has either that, or Blomberg Terminal, which looks even less believeable, as it has a special keyboard and a dedicated interface - you can't run other apps on their box.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:29 AM on April 6, 2011


I like this easter-egg in the page source:
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
8888"""""""""""""""8888888888888888888888888888888888
8888    Access     8888888888888888888888888888888888
8888     Main      8888888888888888888888888888888888
8888    Computer   888888888888888888888888888888888"
8888     File      888888888888888888888888888888888a
8888aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa888888888888888888888888888888888a
8888aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa888888888888888888888888888888888a
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888":::::"88888888888888888888888
888888888888888888888::;gPPRg;::888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888::dP'   `Yb::88888888888888888888
88888888888888888888::8)     (8::88888888888888888888
88888888888888888888;:Yb     dP:;88( )888888888888888
888888888888888888888;:"8ggg8":;888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888aa:::aa88888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888"88888888888888888888888888
8888888888888888888888888:::8888888888888888888888888
8888888888888888888888888:::8888888888888888888888888
8888888888888888888888888:::8888888888888888888888888
8888888888888888888888888:::8888888888888888888888888
8888888888888888888888888:::8888888888888888888888888
88888888888888888888888888a88888888888888888888888888
"""""""""""""""""""' `"""""""""' `"""""""""""""""""""

posted by azarbayejani at 8:30 AM on April 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


I remember reading an interesting interview with the guy did the computery stuff on The Wire on how to make things look realistic enough but still get the story points across. Of course I can't find it now... why can't be real life be more like the movies where I could just type 'THE WIRE COMPUTER ARTICLE' into "Finder-Spyder" and it would be the second or third one down.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:33 AM on April 6, 2011


They should have one for every time someone bruteforces a password in a movie. 'Hmm... this is a top-security facility and we're stealing the code that will let us open up the US Treasury... is there a picture of an object on the guy's desk? Perhaps something thematically important to his character arc? Of course! The password is the name of his son who died in that flashback!'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah, another impossible octet. I wonder if that was either a tongue-in-cheek Easter Egg, an intentional fake (like 555- phone numbers), or just ignorance.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Windows? What am I missing here?

Um, nothing?
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on April 6, 2011




"Auto! Cursor."
posted by Flashman at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]




FOREIGN OBJECT LOCATION

posted by CynicalKnight at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back in my day, we didn't need GUI's.
(Now get off my lawn... or submarine...or...)
posted by MtDewd at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2011


fearfulsymmetry, IIRC, I think that was part of the audio commentary on Season 2. I remember some talk about the computer interface for the container sorting system on the dock.
posted by dosterm at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


How in fuck's name does this list not include Newman in "Jurassic Park"?

Or for that matter, any of the countless scenes from "Clear and Present Danger"? The CIA voice recognition software (the machine is still on moira!), or the Operation Reciprocity files, or the program that looks up cellulose-encased laser guided missile, when Escobedo utters "The Americans are here."
posted by phaedon at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2011


Speaking of WarGames, I wonder how much that single film was responsible for getting kids into computing in the 80s and early 90s.

/raises hand

Well, I was already into computing, but I entertained myself by writing an AppleBasic program that re-created the back and forth dialog with the Joshua AI.

Between that and the time I broke into the ENCOM mainframe looking for evidence of executive malfeasance, I was a busy teenager!
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah shit it's in there.
posted by phaedon at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2011


DU: "How does it compare to using a bash shell inside of emacs?"

I use eshell frequently. Many programs don't handle the terminal type properly so you may get issues with accidentally spawning an ncurses app (why did git decide "git diff" should send its output to less? if I want a pager I will pipe to it myself).

Here is why eshell is cool:
~/csound/album/gui $ (buffer-substring 1 28)
Welcome to the Emacs shell
~/csound/album/gui $ (buffer-substring 1 28) | sed -e 's/E/e'
/bin/sed: -e expression #1, char 5: unterminated `s' command
~/csound/album/gui $ (buffer-substring 1 28) | sed -e 's/E/e/'
Welcome to the emacs shell

that is, it is easy to haphazardly mix internal emacs commands and shell calls into a single command pipeline.
posted by idiopath at 8:42 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry, IIRC, I think that was part of the audio commentary on Season 2. I remember some talk about the computer interface for the container sorting system on the dock.

Ah thanks, that might well have been it and I'm misremembering it... I first watched the first two seasons via DVD rental and it's been a while.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:42 AM on April 6, 2011


Notable missing films: Demon Seed (several shots of 3D waveforms and old terminals), Westworld (robot vision system), The Andromeda Strain (LOTS of old terminal science shots).
posted by hanoixan at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2011


I often go for long stretches without using a mouse at all, especially when I'm deep into a programming session.

I'm a keyboard programmer through and through.

A few years ago I had to give a Big Presentation to some bigwigs in my company. We're a Windows shop, so I worked up a nice looking Power Point and headed to Chicago. Conference starts and I'm the first speaker. I brought up the presentation and was given a little wireless laser pointer/PP controller to drive it.

About 90 seconds and a couple of slides into it the batteries on my wireless gizmo die. I flip it on and off a few times (rebooting, the first instinct of Windows) and nothing happens. There's a quick scramble by some techs and a wireless mouse is plunked down in front of me, all of this happening while 100 executives look on. I grab the mouse and suddenly realize I have no idea how to run a Power Point slideshow with it. On my machine I just left arrow/right arrow.

I wave the pointer around hoping for a left/right HUD to appear and nothing. I stand there for a few seconds scratching my head. Finally I lean over to someone at the head table (knowing full well that my mic was still on) and say "I don't really know how to do this with a mouse." He says "Just click it" and sure as hell, the next slide finally appears.

I spent the rest of the conference known as "The guy who can't use a mouse."

So word to the wise: Just like it's useful to be able to drive a stick shift "just in case", one should really figure out how to do everyday things with that little mouse-thing that suits and secretaries love so much.
posted by unixrat at 8:46 AM on April 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


Ask a cop about watching a police show/movie.
A doctor or nurse about a medical show/movie.
A "spy" about an espionage flick.

Suspend belief in reality and try to be entertained. (Although the "I know this. It's UNIX" is pretty darned lame.)
posted by Man with Lantern at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2011


one should really figure out how to do everyday things with that little mouse-thing that suits and secretaries love so much.

Anything that suits and secretaries both love is automatically suspect in my book.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:52 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man with Lantern: "Ask a cop about watching a police show/movie.
A doctor or nurse about a medical show/movie.
A "spy" about an espionage flick.
"

A person who has ever had sex about porn.

Funny enough, that was actually UNIX (albeit SGI, the kind of UNIX you were likely to have nearby in hollywood during that era).
posted by idiopath at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2011


The Netscape Navigator Favicon is priceless...
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Suspend belief in reality and try to be entertained.

But finding fault in overblown GUI mock-ups is entertaining!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Suspend belief in reality and try to be entertained.

I have a certain affection for preposterous movie computers, but belief in magical computers has real consequences. For example, at my job I was once asked to estimate the "amount of economic activity" of each region of Egypt based on satellite imagery. I have no idea what they imagined I was going to do, but I had to tell them we were probably better off with the census data we already had.
posted by theodolite at 9:13 AM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


gotta love the "login page" from Paul Blart, Mall Cop that doesn't have a password field.
posted by lodurr at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could easily view these chronologically.

I say this as someone who often picks what he is wearing because it is "least dirty" but I will never have any problem with the clothes selection device used in Clueless. The fact that it doesn't exist in some form as a Facebook app is a failing of reality, not those who try to mirror it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2011


yeh, but the clothing selector in Clueless was just a knockoff of the same thing in VR5.
posted by lodurr at 9:32 AM on April 6, 2011


I am distressed at how many of those movies I recognized without really having to think about them. Even the shots I don't remember, like the one from Dark Star.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:37 AM on April 6, 2011


Hackers make overblown GUIs to amuse themselves all the time. Just run Compiz and add a bunch of pointless plugins. Fill up space with a system monitor or something.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:39 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is wonderful. I have always wanted to see a collection of every "computer screen scene" from films, especially the early/mid-90s. They should make a coffee table book out of this.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:41 AM on April 6, 2011


The fact that I look at some of these and think "I don't know what I'm supposed to find funny about this" has really shaken my confidence in my (never especially great) computer skills.
posted by penduluum at 9:42 AM on April 6, 2011


Quite a few of them actually are pretty realistic.
posted by kmz at 9:45 AM on April 6, 2011


Not all of them are funny. Some (like a couple of the police database search ones and the Reuters term mentioned above) are probably just shots of the real thing. Some of the AOL screenshots are probably just a little blown-up for screen visibility. It's more exhaustive than it is a record of gaffes.

and some are supposed to be funny. (Richie Rich with the big flashensign "DAD NOT FOUND!")

It's fun to see how the ideas about what to show have changed over time, though, and I too would love to see these in chronological order.
posted by lodurr at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2011


gotta love the "login page" from Paul Blart, Mall Cop that doesn't have a password field.

It's not like anyone would ever have to deal with clients who, for some reason, wanted the login ID to be on one screen and the password entry to be on the next...

[doesn't link IRL examples by professional courtesy]
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:46 AM on April 6, 2011


Yeah, some of them are pretty great. Like the Watchmen one: "boys"? Really?
posted by penduluum at 9:47 AM on April 6, 2011


This was fun. :)
posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on April 6, 2011


It's not like anyone would ever have to deal with clients who, for some reason, wanted the login ID to be on one screen and the password entry to be on the next...

Please, please tell me they called it "two-factor authentication".
posted by mrgoat at 9:50 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of this great thread on a mucho similar subject: Zoom in on the X-axis!
posted by that's candlepin at 9:51 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


One that broke my brain (seems to be missing from this site too) is Swordfish, where Hugh Jackman proves that to create a truly powerful worm all you need to do is play through a stupid level on 3D Tetris. Geez.
posted by Iosephus at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2011


... wanted the login ID to be on one screen and the password entry to be on the next...

On a website used by the general public? I can honestly say I've never seen that, and on non-public web applications only very, very rarely -- and not at all in the last 10 years or so, that I can recall. (I think we built something like that in the late 90s at the first place I built websites. But I don't remember why, or even for sure that we did. I just remember having a discussion with a product manager about how uncommon it was.)

OTOH, I do get what you're saying about clients requesint irrational, nonstandard shit. E.g., we have a "client" (I scare-quote it because she's actually a vendor just like us, only higher up the food chain) who kept telling us it was "common" for people to be able to embed images in comments on blogs, and was absolutely certain that people weren't commenting on the blog we built because the submit button said "Save Comment" instead of...well, something else. She wouldn't tell us what.
posted by lodurr at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2011


I have a certain affection for preposterous movie computers, but belief in magical computers has real consequences. For example, at my job I was once asked to estimate the "amount of economic activity" of each region of Egypt based on satellite imagery. I have no idea what they imagined I was going to do, but I had to tell them we were probably better off with the census data we already had.

Well, you could probably get a pretty good idea of whether a square was uninhabited desert, farmland, or urban just based on the average colour. Not really very accurate though.
posted by atrazine at 9:56 AM on April 6, 2011


Dammit, where is the R.I.P.E. program? I'm wanna do this the scanner way.

Wasn't the R.I.P.E program a program like Toys for Tots or Cash for Clunkers rather than a computer program? I guess it could be both.

My most powerful reaction: "Oh, my God. They were using Netscape Navigator in the End of Violence. Was it that long ago? Has it been that little time? Is that archaic or unexpectedly recent? Is my ear bleeding?"

It's almost weirder when they don't create an imaginary interface with big icons, automatic fullscreen and lots of typing.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2011


all you need to do is play through a stupid level on 3D Tetris.

Someone had the notion a *while* back to create a system admin interface that was basically a first-person shooter. To "kill" a process, for example, you would track it down in the "game" and shoot it.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2011


right, but i'm thinking Chloe from CTU could do it in 90 seconds with a little shell-scripting and the Google Maps API. Amirite?
posted by lodurr at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2011


Can someone who actually watched the movie explain why it was dramatically necessary to read alt.alien.vampire.flonk.flonk.flonk in Mission: Impossible?
posted by nonane at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(... where "it" is estimating the population of different parts of Egypt based on Google Earth images....)
posted by lodurr at 9:59 AM on April 6, 2011


On the one hand it has always struck me as excessively nitpicky to really give a shit about the way GUIs look in movies since their primary job is to convey information in the viewer in a way which is both clear and visually interesting but on the other hand movies have given people some really fucked-up ideas about what computers are actually capable of.

The end!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:00 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone had the notion a *while* back to create a system admin interface that was basically a first-person shooter. To "kill" a process, for example, you would track it down in the "game" and shoot it.

I believe you're thinking of PSDoom
posted by tracknode at 10:01 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


On a website used by the general public? I can honestly say I've never seen that

Good old Bank of America, who thinks I'll feel safer if they serve up some set image to me before asking me to give my password.
posted by muddgirl at 10:01 AM on April 6, 2011


nonane, i didn't watch the movie but I would assume it's some kind of a position code, like the one Val Kilmer's character uses to communicate with employers in The Saint.

... which is an idea that I'd had several years before and written into a perpetually-unfinished novel about an emergent AI that covers its communications in a similar way. Except I ultimately settled on it hiding its chatter in packet errors.
posted by lodurr at 10:01 AM on April 6, 2011


Someone had the notion a *while* back to create a system admin interface that was basically a first-person shooter. To "kill" a process, for example, you would track it down in the "game" and shoot it.

The Microsoft Office Design Group worked on a blue-sky concept for Outlook based on video game design in 2006, but I don't think it was ever shown outside Microsoft. Possibly because one's first instinct would be to shoot every email from your boss, and then turn the gun on Outlook itself...
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:03 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I believe you're thinking of PSDoom

"A significant problem with the current implementation of PSDoom is that monsters are much more likely to attack each other than expected. This causes many windows to mysteriously disappear as the program runs. For the same reason, the computer is prone to crashing because certain processes are vital to the computer's operation and should not be killed."

Yeah, I bought an old Vaio once that did the same thing.
posted by penduluum at 10:03 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good old Bank of America, who thinks I'll feel safer if they serve up some set image to me before asking me to give my password.

Ah, that makes sense. We had a client who asked for a login form on their home page (which submitted to a secure page), and then complained when their home page didn't show "that lock icon." And then there was the bank down south we worked with that has their whole freaking website on https, even though there's no way for customers to login to their site and no customer data on the site at all. A mix of appearances and confusion.
posted by lodurr at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2011



It's not like anyone would ever have to deal with clients who, for some reason, wanted the login ID to be on one screen and the password entry to be on the next...

[doesn't link IRL examples by professional courtesy]


My fucking bank just made this change and I still don't understand it. If I'm missing something please let me know, cause it's really confusing. Both pages are SSL, both form actions are SSL, they just moved from Login/Password once on the homepage to username - submit - password - login.
posted by odinsdream at 10:17 AM on April 6, 2011


I would have liked it more if there had been some actual information to go with the pretty pictures. But this is tumblr, so I know I want too much. /curmudgeonly
posted by immlass at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


odinsdream: Some banks display an image or phrase of the customer's choice on the second page, which reduces phishing, because the phisher couldn't know the image or phrase that the customer selected. For banks that don't use that system, it does seem fairly useless to have a second page.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2011


What, no Hackers? (linked to the key moment in the TV station control scene).


immlass: I would have liked it more if there had been some actual information to go with the pretty pictures. But this is tumblr, so I know I want too much. /curmudgeonly

If you put your cursor over an image, the movie title and year of release appear to the left of the image.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 AM on April 6, 2011


odinsdream: Some banks display an image or phrase of the customer's choice on the second page, which reduces phishing, because the phisher couldn't know the image or phrase that the customer selected. For banks that don't use that system, it does seem fairly useless to have a second page.

That's true. My bank does not. Maybe they're doing some kind of staged rollout and just wanted to separate the form first. I doubt it.
posted by odinsdream at 10:29 AM on April 6, 2011


flt, I caught that, thanks. I was thinking of things like the Social Network or Tron: Legacy discussions we're having here, which are significantly more interesting to me than pictures with a bare minimum of information (which is a Thing on tumblr, and one I don't necessarily consider good).
posted by immlass at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


immlass: I would have liked it more if there had been some actual information to go with the pretty pictures. But this is tumblr, so I know I want too much. /curmudgeonly"

I actually really, really liked the way it was displayed -- because it let me easily play the "can I guess what this is from game?" -- and even if I had no idea on the movie itself, it was fun to try to guess the year.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2011


heh

---
My fucking bank just made this change and I still don't understand it. If I'm missing something please let me know, cause it's really confusing. Both pages are SSL, both form actions are SSL, they just moved from Login/Password once on the homepage to username - submit - password - login.
it's to prevent fishing. So you enter your username. Then you see a picture you pick out so that you know you're on the real website, then you enter your password. I guess even without the image verification that stuff helps cut down on phishing.

Also, yeah the Jurassic park thing was a real IRIX file manager, as other people mentioned. It's funny that that gets trotted out as an example of a 'fake' system.

They also used cover panels from a Connection Machine as their 'main computer'
posted by delmoi at 10:45 AM on April 6, 2011


For example, at my job I was once asked to estimate the "amount of economic activity" of each region of Egypt based on satellite imagery.

Can I have your job, theodolite? If the person asking this had access to investment money, that's an awesome request.
posted by sleslie at 11:00 AM on April 6, 2011


The hilarious part of the Jurassic Park scene wasn't the "fake" computer it was the ridiculous (in the pre-Linux world) statement from the tween girl that "This is UNIX! I know this!" Plus the fact that even if you know UNIX you aren't going to know a homegrown proprietary security system built on top of it.
posted by DU at 11:20 AM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always thought that the Jurrassic park scene was cringy, but then I started thinking that (assuming actually did know UNIX), she sits down at what looks like some crazy proprietary homegrown security system - probably running on a mainframe or custom hardware as far as she knows - and she realizes that "This is UNIX!" and she can work with it.

Makes ok sense that way, especially when you compare it to Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2 saying that "A gigabyte of RAM should do the trick", while holding an encrypted Apple Newton that he wants to break in to.
posted by true at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2011


Sorry theolodite, but they were doing that in the 1970s: Assessing general urban socio-economic conditions with conventional air photography
posted by desjardins at 11:53 AM on April 6, 2011


> The end!

End of line.
posted by mmrtnt at 12:08 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can we all agree that someone needs to make a "Stupid Computer" movie, a la "Scary Movie", "Airplane", etc?
posted by mmrtnt at 12:15 PM on April 6, 2011


No.
posted by lodurr at 12:18 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Scary Movie", "Airplane"

When you separate those movies you damn well better use more than a comma!
posted by shakespeherian at 12:19 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can we all agree that someone needs to make a "Stupid Computer" movie

Only if it is consistently as funny or funnier than The Website is Down. Otherwise, don't bother.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:20 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry theolodite, but they were doing that in the 1970s: Assessing general urban socio-economic conditions with conventional air photography

That's awesome, I hadn't seen that. Housing density (which is what they used in that study) was actually one of the things I considered when this idea was proposed, but it was difficult or impossible to automate and doing it by hand (as was apparently done in that study) would have taken Forever. I also tried measuring the brightness of light in nighttime imagery, but the available data was too low-resolution (both spatially and spectrally). Thanks to the census data we had (which included good proxies like literacy and water access) it ended up being irrelevant, but it's an interesting and important area of research for places where censuses (censi?) are inaccurate or nonexistent.
posted by theodolite at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2011


On the one hand it has always struck me as excessively nitpicky to really give a shit about the way GUIs look in movies since their primary job is to convey information in the viewer in a way which is both clear and visually interesting but on the other hand movies have given people some really fucked-up ideas about what computers are actually capable of.

As to your first point, though, the problem is that a lot of these fake computers are performing their narrative obligations poorly, too. The best example is this screen from Predator, which is full of nonce words and numbers that just fill space rather than provide information. The signal-to-noise ratio obviously can't be too high or the viewer experience becomes tiresome and overwhelming, but to my mind this is lazy craftsmanship and a waste of screen space and time.
posted by invitapriore at 1:09 PM on April 6, 2011


As another user pointed out, having separate username and password screens actually makes sense. It helps prevent phishing by training the user to expect a certain visual cue each time they login. In addition, this technique offers some (limited) protection against automated attacks by forcing an attacker to wait for a second HTTP request rather than submitting the entire username/password combination at once.
posted by antonymous at 1:09 PM on April 6, 2011


It helps prevent phishing by training the user to expect a certain visual cue each time they login.

Of course, a good phisher would just throw up a random image, or would figure out the most likely image to be chosen of the ones presented by BofA, and bet that of the thousands of phishing attempts, a few will be right.

There's also a word I chose to go with the image, but frankly I rarely verify that BofA is serving me the correct word.
posted by muddgirl at 1:26 PM on April 6, 2011


>
"Scary Movie", "Airplane"

When you separate those movies you damn well better use more than a comma!


Space Balls?
posted by mmrtnt at 1:29 PM on April 6, 2011


Hm, when I created my BofA login, I chose the word AND the picture. It certainly is not random.
posted by desjardins at 1:30 PM on April 6, 2011


It certainly is not random.

I didn't say it was random.

Imagine that I am a phisher (hi, I'm despicable! The following numbers are wholly made up) I send out a phishing email to 6 million aol.com email users. 2 million of them click on the link. I'm really good at web design, so 1 million of them don't realize it's a fake page and enter their username. Out of those 1 million people, what are the chances that one of them has, say, the Golf Clubs site key? They wouldn't be able to guess the word, but personally I would just throw up one of those "broken images" pictures and bet that most people are operating on a rote level.

Of course, now that we're finding the problems with https and authentication certificates, it's much faster to just execute a MITM operation, which a SiteKey can't prevent.
posted by muddgirl at 1:43 PM on April 6, 2011


> it's much faster to just execute a MITM operation...

Only if the computer goes "zzzzzzt. bzzzzz. beep. beep." while you do it.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:00 PM on April 6, 2011


And instead of a command line the hacker has to go into this like virtual reality world and physically intercept packets of data, using spacey VR movements.
posted by muddgirl at 2:07 PM on April 6, 2011


Once did some advisory work for a TV drama about hackers (can't remember which one, it was a BBC one-off in the 80s), and the most interesting bit for me was discussing with the director whether they were going to actually have some sort of interactive system coded up or just have the actors typing at a film clip being played on the monitor. These days, I guess, the monitor is blank during the shoot and the hot screen action goes in later.

That and the fact that the production crew went to the bother of finding a real teenage hacker (guilty. But it wasn't a crime back then. Long story.) and getting them in. Ars gratis artis, as they say. Unfortunately, the actual business of hacking then (as now) isn't the sort of thing which makes for fast-paced drama, so although they did try their hardest to get some of the reality in, the result was as daft as the examples above.

("How did you break into BigCorp's computer, young Devonian?" "Er, was working in a place which used their services, and their system manager left his notebook behind after a visit with all the top level passwords. Which were all, like, ridiculously and mechanically generated from the publicly available IDs. We told them and tried for about a month to get them to change this, but they didn't want to know. So we thought we'd embarrass them into fixing it...". See also - a big expo where the sysmgr login details were written on a sticky label pasted to the front of the demonstration machine. See also - the MD demanded top-level access and used his initials as his password. See also... ah, it was too easy back then. Thank goodness People Have Learned, eh?)
posted by Devonian at 3:20 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeez, there's suspending disbelief and there's seeing IP addresses with octets with numbers larger than 255. I mean come on!

I can't imagine how much tv and the movies are going to butcher IPV6.
posted by 8dot3 at 3:48 PM on April 6, 2011


> And instead of a command line the hacker has to go into this like virtual reality world and physically intercept packets of data, using spacey VR movements.

Yeah!

I see a guy in a spacesuit in a black void with rectangular objects that look like metallic bricks whizzing past him (these would be the packets) and he grabs one and opens it up to "inspect" it.

There's a bunch of numbers inside glowing and pulsing and he pokes at them with his thick space-gloved hand, and then closes up the brick and lets it go because it wasn't the right one.

Maybe he could have a good-natured yellow labrador with him, a "packet-sniffing" dog, as it were.

Oh man, we are going to make so much money.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:48 PM on April 6, 2011


Can we all agree that someone needs to make a "Stupid Computer" movie, a la "Scary Movie", "Airplane", etc?
I think they made that movie, it was called Hackers
posted by delmoi at 5:17 PM on April 6, 2011


The tablet is Dune is crazy sexy. Its like an ipad, if the ipad was made for only 1,000 rich dukes and not for Joe Everyman.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:49 PM on April 6, 2011


Ask a cop about watching a police show/movie.
A doctor or nurse about a medical show/movie.
A "spy" about an espionage flick.


Or a CG artist about CSI.
posted by Scoo at 7:18 PM on April 6, 2011




Thank goodness People Have Learned, eh?

there are neither acronyms nor emoticons sufficient to express my amusement at your punchline, sir.
posted by lodurr at 4:45 AM on April 7, 2011


I can't imagine how much tv and the movies are going to butcher IPV6.

When they do, just consider that an IPV6 address is long enough to actually embed a brief message into. (Director: "Why did you burst out laughing when he types in that number?" Tech: "Oh, nothing, I just thought of ... something funny.")
posted by lodurr at 4:48 AM on April 7, 2011


Its like an ipad, if the ipad was made for only 1,000 rich dukes and not for Joe Everyman.

It's been close to 30 years since I saw Dune, but (nods to pointer up-thread) isn't there a problem with there being a computer of any kind in that movie?
posted by lodurr at 4:53 AM on April 7, 2011


As has been pointed out, computers in films are completely unrealistic but so is everything else - car parking, love affairs, zany family weddings, the lot. Any film with lots of scenes of people staring at screens is going to be rubbish anyway. Good films have people moving about outdoors as much as possible. If you have to have people staring at screens put them in a submarine and dub in a loud 'ping' every five seconds, it's really hard to make a bad film set in a submarine although U-571 proved it could be done if you spend enough money. Anyway my point is that the observation about ridiculously obsolete computers dating science fiction TV and film is well made but man actually went to the moon in 1969 in a ship with the computing power of a mid range BMW's air conditioning system and now we've got computers with a million times that power in our phones all we do is txt prn to each other and upload pictures of our cats.
posted by joannemullen at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


... man actually went to the moon in 1969 in a ship with the computing power of a mid range BMW's air conditioning system...

There's no way an Apollo command module had that much computing power.
posted by lodurr at 8:19 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tangentially apropos: Blit Terminal, on which I notice a middle-click context menu, and a means of creating a new window (click & drag to stipulate the area it takes up) that I think might make a comeback in augmented reality.
posted by lodurr at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2011


lodurr: an interesting thing for that system was the modular separation of the program that draws to a window and the window itself - you could create a new blank window, and then tell a program to draw in it. This makes less sense today because the concepts of the window for display and the running program have collapsed into a single entity for the casual user.

Today, the idea of manually creating a display area for an augmented reality program makes sense. When we are accustomed to using AR, the program and its overlay in space will collapse, and we will let the program place itself, just as we let windowed programs place themselves now (except for the nerds who see past the metaphor to the implementation, the same type who use tiling or manual placement window managers today).
posted by idiopath at 10:09 AM on April 7, 2011


Exactly. This is where desktop widgets are trying to go, but they haven't got the [literal] space to live in. And it gives us a way to reclaim and re-extend some real world interaction metaphors.

I have a friend who's a freak in SL. Have to talk with him about this -- he'll immediately start trying to invent some kind of SL teleport window, I know.
posted by lodurr at 10:14 AM on April 7, 2011


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