Movie computers

Computer usability expert Jakob Nielsen has compiled a top 10 list of the most egregious mistakes made by moviemakers. My favorites are:

The Hero Can Immediately Use Any UI
Break into a company — possibly in a foreign country or on an alien planet — and step up to the computer. How long does it take you to figure out the UI and use the new applications for the first time? Less than a minute if you’re a movie star.

Integration is Easy, Data Interoperates
In the show 24, Jack Bauer calls his office to get plans and schematics for various buildings. Once these files have been transferred from outside sources to the agency’s mainframe, Jack asks to have them downloaded to his PDA. And — miracle of miracles — the files are readable without any workarounds.

Remote Manipulators
In Tomorrow Never Dies, James Bond drives his BMW from the back seat with an Ericsson mobile phone that works as the car’s remote control. And 007 drives fast, while also evading bad guys.

You’ve Got Mail is Always Good News
In the movies, checking your mail is a matter of picking out the one or two messages that are important to the plot. No information pollution or swamp of spam.

“This is Unix, It’s Easy”
In the film Jurassic Park, a 12-year-old girl has to use the park’s security system to keep everyone from being eaten by dinosaurs. She walks up to the control terminal and utters the immortal words, “This is a Unix system. I know this.” And proceeds to (temporarily) save the day.

One thought on “Movie computers

  1. Let’s not forget that fateful event when Jeff Goldbloom used his Mac laptop to hook into the alien computer in the mother ship in Independence Dayand give the aliens a virus.

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