COMPUTERS IN MOVIES/TELEVISION – STANDARD CLICHE LIST
- Word processors never display a cursor.
- You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences.
- All monitors display inch-high letters.
- High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, will have easy-to-understand graphical interfaces.
- Those that don’t 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 “ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES” on any keyboard.
- Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing “UPLOAD VIRUS.” (See “Fortress”)
- All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain’s desktop computer, even if it’s 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 doesn’t go faster than you can read. The *really* advanced ones also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer.
- 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.
- People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data.
- A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before intermission and guess the secret password in two tries.
- Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function. (See “Demolition Man” and countless others)
- Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems transmit data at a speed of 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. (e.g., “Clear
and Present Danger”)
- If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you try to access it.
- The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has (“Aliens”). However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren’t labeled.
- Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional, real-time, photo-realistic animated graphics capability.
- If the test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent runs will fail.
- The most harmful error of any program will not be discovered until the program has been in production for at least six months.
- A Batch Stream that can not be arranged in improper order will be.
- Constants aren’t.
- Variables won’t.
- Interchangeable Tapes don’t.
- Profanity is the one language that all programmers know the syntax of.
GILB’S LAWS OF UNRELIABILITY
- Computers are unreliable. Humans are worse.
- Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
- Undetectable error are infinite in variety. Detectable errors do not exist, unless deadline is less than three hours away.
- Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some real work done.
Any manpower added to a late project makes it later.
LUBARSKY’S LAW OF CYBERNETIC ENTOMOLOGY
There is always one more bug.
Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.
IBM POLLYANNA PRINCIPLE
Machines should work. People should think.
GRAY’S LAW OF PROGRAMMING
“n+1” trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as “n” trivial tasks.
WEINBERG’S SECOND LAW
If builders built buildings the way that programmers code programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.
THOMAS WATSON’S LAW
No matter how large and standardized the marketplace, SAP can re-define it.