back to article If MR ROBOT was realistic, he’d be in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and SMELL of WEE

I have an urge to dress up in unconventional clothing, don a wig and parade myself around east London. You may be relieved to learn, without indicating prejudice, that this will not involve women’s clothing. I am neither a master potter nor am I on the game. Sorry to disappoint. I had better explain. MCM London Comic Con …

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  1. Roq D. Kasba

    Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

    But you have to admit, it's pretty awesome the way they can write, link, compile, install C-based driver replacements on the fly instead of the months of swearing it took a real engineer in the first place.

    I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')

    1. Martin 47

      Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

      I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')

      I can do that, after staring at the screen for less than 30 seconds I regularly (used) to infer that I am not down the pub at the moment but soon will be.

      1. grumpyoldeyore
        Go

        Re: stare at a screen of hex and infer something

        "A truly outstanding programmer can find bugs buried in a

        6-megabyte core dump without using a hex calculator." (Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal, Ed Post, Tektonix, 1982).

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: stare at a screen of hex and infer something

          Harumph. Those spoiled Hollywood kids have hex dumps to play with...

          OK, OK, going already.

          1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

            Re: stare at a screen of hex and infer something

            You had hex dumps! When I were a lad we only had Octal.

            1. TheOtherHobbes

              Re: stare at a screen of hex and infer something

              >When I were a lad we only had Octal.

              01001111 01100011 01110100 01100001 01101100 00111111 00100000 01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110111 01100101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

      "I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')"

      Dead easy if you have one of those Hollywood "projection screens" that mirrors everything from the monitor to your face.

      Feeds the data straight to your brain, don'cha know. :)

    3. Brian Miller

      Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

      "I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')"

      Depends on what you've been doing. When I hand-compiled 6502 and 8086 assembly code, I could do that! Of COURSE someone can do that, because it took HOURS to compile the machine language program by hand, laboriously looking up things in the manual. You started memorizing things just by repetition. I can still do that to some degree, too. Hint: Look for 90 90 90 sequence, as that's a NOP to get the code onto a boundary, and then it's allocating stack space, and on into the code.

      I love machine language.

      1. Toastan Buttar

        Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

        90 90 90 pronounced "neunzig neunzig neunzig" used to mean something quite different in the early days of analogue satellite broadcasting.

        1. captain veg

          that's gross

          90 90 90 in hex would (according to Bing translate) be pronounced "ein hundert und vierundvierzig" (x 3).

          -A.

      2. Novex

        Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

        "Depends on what you've been doing. When I hand-compiled 6502 and 8086 assembly code, I could do that! Of COURSE someone can do that, because it took HOURS to compile the machine language program by hand, laboriously looking up things in the manual. You started memorizing things just by repetition. I can still do that to some degree, too. Hint: Look for 90 90 90 sequence, as that's a NOP to get the code onto a boundary, and then it's allocating stack space, and on into the code."

        I think it comes down to pattern recognition which humans are reasonably good at, and if there's one thing that contains lots of patterns it's machine code. If something is wrong or unusual (and sometimes if it isn't), it tends to stand out against the generally remembered 'correct' code.

      3. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

        "I particularly love the ones who can stare at a screen of hex and infer something important for the plot from it (beyond 'oh look, a bunch of hex')"

        Do you remember that "Are you smart enough to be at GCHQ?" test some time back -- that had giveaway hex 0xDEAD 0xBEEF if I remember correctly that hinted that you should run it through a VM?

      4. Zot

        Re: Say what you like about Hollywood Hackers

        Yep, I can remember writing hex machine code on A4 paper. It was for some fast screen drawing code on the ZX81. But that would be showing my age, I guess.

  2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Awesome, just awesome

    Alistair, you've outdone yourself with this piece - I'd print this on parchment and call it a classic.

    Brilliant :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously. What is with the urine filled bottles?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Taking the piss" for literal minded people?

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      I find that a large straight sided plastic bucket/tub is much more convenient for emptying and for filling as well as being less likely to be knocked over. You can put a small rubber duck in it to lend an air of jollity to the room if you wish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I find that a large straight sided plastic bucket/tub is much more convenient for emptying and for filling as well as being less likely to be knocked over. You can put a small rubber duck in it to lend an air of jollity to the room if you wish.

        Hang on, we're talking about having l33t hackzor skills (or whatever the correct lingo is these days) yet entirely unfamiliar with the concept of a hose?

        Wow.

        1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Pint

          yet entirely unfamiliar with the concept of a hose?

          That's a bit lo-tech.

          The truly l337 go with a catheter running straight to the bath drain.

          Icon: its not for sale - jut for rent.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: urine-filled bottles

      Read this story at The Reg.

      1. koolholio

        Re: urine-filled bottles

        since when did The Reg turn into a sensationalist tabloid?

        1. cklammer

          Re: urine-filled bottles

          ... Cola bottles are for wimps - real men use open buckets :-)

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: urine-filled bottles

            Cola bottles are for wimps - real men use open buckets

            The reason for using bottles rather than buckets is that the input liquid arrives in bottles, so bottles are available. In order to use a bucket you'd have to plan ahead.

        2. Not That Andrew

          Re: urine-filled bottles

          >since when did The Reg turn into a sensationalist tabloid?

          About 1998?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Piss bottles

      Ammonia / nitrates.

      (I don't think I'll expand on that.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Piss bottles

        Ammonia / nitrates.

        Why does that give me the word "diesel" ?

    5. phuzz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      My dad has one of those old (early 80's vintage) two litre ice cream tubs that he keeps in his workshop to piss into so that he can "add it to the compost heap".

      Whatever dad, it still stinks.

      1. Not Terry Wogan

        Your dad sounds great!

        That's one of the finest excuses for being a lazy bastard I've ever heard in my life.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love the the access controls in movies

    I love the way hackers can apparently open a control panel and just cross some wires to open a high security door. You see that in a number of places, like in "Salt" where the wonderful Angela Jolie empties a mag at the wall of USA's deepest "let's place the button where it really takes some time to blow shit up" bunker and so gets to the wires that open the otherwise impregnable room, naturally after taking enough time to come up with this idea to carry the rest of the movie.

    Apparently, in some places, shooting a bullet into an access panel is enough to disable the entire mechanism, so Health & Safety clearly has never checked those escape routes either. Then again, H&S would not approve of the more interesting ways to exit a place, and would certainly frown on the frequent use of explosives :)

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: I love the the access controls in movies

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MadeOfExplodium

    2. pruby

      Re: I love the the access controls in movies

      Actually, while still insane, this isn't quite as implausible as you might think. For fire regulations, locked doors are often required to "fail open".

      1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

        Re: I love the the access controls in movies

        That was one of the things that niggled me with the final Matrix installment. The door that was separating Zion from certain mechanical doom outside, had a fail-open mechanism when the chain was cut, in turn letting everything in. It certainly wasn't designed by a forward thinking engineer, or with the help of a keep-the-bad-machines-out minded health and safety officer :)

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Flame

    Hollywood hacking

    The NCIS classic...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msX4oAXpvUE

    And here's one even more ludicrous of it were possible...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boEb8zKfPBo

    The average person is fed a conatant diet of nonsensical bullshit about IT so I'm not surprised the resident pig-poker in chief comes up with an idea like banning encryption, so we can have a Talk Talk day every day.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Hollywood hacking

      I really must learn that four-hands typing technique...

      and

      WiFi has its advantages...

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Hollywood hacking

        And I hope Graham Linehan sued the screenwriters of Scorpion for nicking his idea. Scene begins at 17:46.

    2. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Hollywood hacking

      Thanks for these clips. I thought I might enjoy Scorpio but the clip you pointed me to (the first episode...?) was the point where I thought "This is bollocks, Mark" and didn't bother with any more of them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sandra Bullock got it right..

    .. in The Net. Apart from IP addresses that did not exist, the movie was actually rather good and would still work today. This may have to do with the fact that Sandra Bullock is a bit of a geek herself, but that movie is actually educational IMHO.

    1. cray74 Silver badge

      Re: Sandra Bullock got it right..

      "This may have to do with the fact that Sandra Bullock is a bit of a geek herself, but that movie is actually educational IMHO."

      I recall a behind-the-scenes interview where Sandra Bullock talked about how they portrayed hacking in the movie. Apparently, they had pre-recorded animation to play out on her monitor while she typed away with all appropriate hacker furiousness. Her technique to type in a convincing fashion was simply to hold a "chat" with herself.

      Since her typing was apparently relayed to the computer support team's computers, they got to read her one-sided chat dialogue. There was a lot in the way of, "I have no idea what I'm doing" and Sandra was embarrassed (in the interview, not during filming) to think of what idiosyncrasies of her internal dialogue were being read by the computer team and director.

  7. ISYS
    Big Brother

    Mr Robot

    Nice piece. However I am going to stand up for Mr Robot. I get that everything happens in a ludicrously short period of time - nobody can hack the jail door system from a laptop in the car park, piggy backing of the bluetooth connection in a police car - but other than that all the social engineering and the apocalyptic view of big business and everyone living on social media is dangerously close to what is happening today.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Mr Robot

      I greatly enjoyed Mr Robot. If you feel the lead character is too good-looking, just remember that what we the viewers see is clearly signposted as being from his point of view. It makes use of the 'unreliable narrator' device, even to the extent of playing upon any comparisons the viewer might make to Fight Club.

      Hmm, writing this has reminded me of a 2007 film starring Christian Slater called 'He was a Quiet Man'. Worth a watch if you enjoyed Mr Robot.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: Mr Robot

        I actually enjoyed the first few episodes of Mr Robot. I think the story in the first season gradually went downhill though, and I finally stopped watching after it went all Fight Club.

        Also, I don't think the main character is even slightly good looking.

        1. Naselus

          Re: Mr Robot

          "Also, I don't think the main character is even slightly good looking."

          This, he's a bug-eyed weirdo an dI see no evidence that he washes his hoodie at any point. Also, big props to a hacking show that actually knows what Kali looks like, and isn't afraid to throw a real console on screen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mr Robot

            It is fairly clear that the writer of this remarkable piece has never actually watched much of Mr. Robot.

          2. Havin_it
            WTF?

            Re: Mr Robot

            Yeah, bugeyed lantern-jawed weirdo with a poncey drug habit (morphine and comedown drugs? SRSLY?)

            Still hanging in there (only up to Ep4 so far) but Ep1/2 hit a major bum note with the under-attack central server's top/ps output showing Xorg at the top!

  8. ContentsMayVary

    While much you say is true, to say that there are no female hackers is a typical piece of male prejudice... http://techcrunch.com/2015/07/16/the-rise-of-female-hackers-for-good/

    And http://www.computersciencedegreehub.com/10-notorious-female-hackers/

    1. Richard 81
      Trollface

      "It's true you don't see many hacker-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for hacker-men. And this in turn has given rise to the belief that there are no hacker-women, and that hackers just spring out of holes in the ground!"

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Movie OS

    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20010111

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Movie OS

      That comic is bad.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Movie OS

        Seriously, it's on the level of Garfield. Who writes code with a headset on? What's with the stupid metrosexual beard look? Who says "finished" after writing anything more than a 6-line script?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Movie OS

          Movie OS

          Much of the time, the movie director just wants the fictional GUI to display a nice big status bar slowly inching towards "100% complete" before the bad guys arrive.

          This site goes into more detail: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ViewerFriendlyInterface

          Another type of 'Movie OS' is more flashy and futuristic.... think Minority Report, or Iron Man. Not all of them are completely silly:

          http://www.creativebloq.com/movies/user-interfaces-movie-history-11121389

          Strange to think that these days mocking up a fiction GUI is fairly easy... however, the wireframe Death Star from the pre-attack briefing scene in Star Wars took Barry Cuba months to create. Ridley Scott's VFX team had CG wireframes on screens in Alien, and later reused them in Blade Runner to keep costs down.

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