11 Things that Hollywood has Taught us About Programming, Hacking, and General Computer Use

September 25, 2021

Ever watched 24, The Blacklist, War Games, or basically anything where a computer, or technology is being used? You’ll know these…

1. If your system is being hacked, don't try to ascertain what's happening, or exactly how someone has breached your system.  Instead, type as fast as is physically possible, or even faster.  Every time the hacker makes a "move", this will enable you to make a counter "move".  Unfortunately, once you're in such a "hack battle", you're destined to lose - after all, there's no drama in a failed hack.

2. Shortly after the "hack" all the monitors in the building will turn off.  It's unclear exactly why this happens, but it will make sense at the time.

3. If you need to copy data onto any form of external media for either the purpose of espionage or crime fighting, the time that the data takes to copy can be calculated thus:

_Time it takes for the owner of the targeted machine to return to the room - 1 second_

4. If you need to access an account (it doesn't matter what the account is for - Nuclear launch codes, personal PC, police forensic database, your child's Facebook page, anything), then the password will be set to a relatively short and easily guessable word that relates directly to the account holder.  For example, daughter's name, lost love, dead son, etc.

5. While doing anything on a computer, you will never, ever see any apps appear that are not relevant to the task in hand.  For example, you'll never see a Lenovo popup, or a Windows update message.  It's also very likely that the application that you need will magically appear on the screen.

6. At no point, ever, will you experience a hardware glitch that is not relevant to the task at hand.  You will, for example, never find that a monitor stops working, or the keyboard fails.

7. When doing complex processing, such as facial recognition, fingerprint matching, etc., it is necessary to display images onto the screen rapidly; however, only around 5 or 6 faces, fingerprints, or whatever you're searching for, will actually need to be scanned before the correct answer is found.  As a result, the speed can be estimated to be the length of time it takes the character sat at the machine to say the following words:

_"I put this into our [fingerprint, facial recognition, stolen diamond] database and…"_

8. You will never forget the syntax of any command, and you will never, ever need to refer to Google, a book, or any other person to help you with said syntax.  You will simply know the exact syntax for every single command.  

9. You will never, ever make any form of typing error - in fact, the only reason for the delete key on the keyboard is to dramatically delete files that would be incriminating.

10. Deleted files can always be recovered, even if the person that deleted them "knew what they were doing".  However, the recovery must be undertaken by an under-appreciated, and overworked "IT Guy".  Any other attempt to retrieve files deleted in (9) will fail.

11. Every single person that works in American law enforcement under the age of 35 is an absolute guru with anything electronic, and will only ever use an Apple Mac or a Windows 8 tablet.  Anyone over the age of 35 in American law enforcement has never seen a computer before, and will be unable to turn one on.

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A blog about one man's journey through code… and some pictures of the Peak District

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