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 …

  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

        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

      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

    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.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Movie OS

            To wrap up, this exhaustive website 'does what it says on the tin':

            http://www.scifiinterfaces.com/

            My apologies for veering off the topic of 'the appearance of fictional vs real computer operators', to 'sci-fi GUIs' via 'Hollywood contemporary GUIs'.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Movie OS

              I shall contribute to the OS subthread:

              Shinohara Labor Operating System bootup (yep, this is a movie from the 90s when computers were MEANT to sound tinny)

              Further afield, in Japan weak godlike entities have a digital interface and 255 TB of real memory (i don't even know how this is possible, but the immersive interface sure is worth it)

          2. Bsquared

            Re: Movie OS

            "Strange to think that these days mocking up a fiction GUI is fairly easy."

            I'll throw in a personal favourite - the smooth 3D wireframe green-on-black cockpit screens when Snake Plissken night-flies his glider into New York absolutely blew me away back in 1981. Nothing special now, of course, but at the time? It would have taken weeks of render time and $$$$$.

            Achieved by making a scale model of Manhattan, painting the edges with fluoro paint and flying a camera through it under UV light.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Movie OS

          I take those cartoons are not intriguing to you and you would not like to subscribe to his newsletter?

          http://www.userfriendly.org/illiad/

        3. Irongut

          Re: Movie OS @Destroy All Monsters

          "Who writes code with a headset on?"

          Me. On the rare occasion I'm in an office I need the headset so I can still listen to music without annoying the hell out of everyone else with my choice in thrash, industrial and jazz, and when I'm working from home I need it to speak to my colleagues.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Movie OS

          User Friendly was always a mediocre, overrated strip whose popularity more likely stemmed from flattering its geek target audience at a time when neither webcomics nor mainstream acceptance of "geek" culture were as widespread as they are today (i.e. the mid-to-late 90s).

          As I once said elsewhere...

          "Aside from its "moderately-promising 14-year-old still showing too much influence from the Teach-Yourself-Cartooning book" drawing style, User Friendly has always relied on its geek-friendly subject matter and viewpoints to flatter the audience and obscure the fact that it's neither creative nor funny.

          Here's a good example:-

          http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20080528&mode=classic

          There's nothing creative about this. The "news" was a real-life item reported in many tech outlets about a year back. [At the time I made this comment]. The strip itself is just a lazy excuse to let the audience laugh again at that story- it adds nothing to it except an audience-pandering but uncreative aside."

          1. Montreal Sean

            Re: Movie OS

            Userfriendly was/is popular with many people due to its active message board/forum.

            I will admit it has been several years since I last visited so I may be wrong and it may have died out.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Movie OS

          @Destroy All Monsters; To play devil's advocate (#); re: the "stupid metrosexual beard look". Beards were resolutely unfashionable at the time that comic was dated- 2001. (The early-2000s metrosexuals never had beards, that's more the recent "thick-rimmed glasses" type). So it's simply a badly-drawn example of the type of beard an uncool sysadmin would have had back then and reflective of the outsider geek target audience it got popular by pandering to.

          (#) I'm the AC who just slagged off User Friendly in the previous comment.

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: That comic is bad

        Am thinkink it has its moments, da?

        ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20010904

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Nice Video, Shame About the Song

    Nice performance, but Dabbsy on the Computer Channel in 1997 is even better!!!

    And the cat video! This could be a regular thing!

  11. hardboiledphil

    That was you yeh Dabbsy?

    In the big Pikachu onesie I just passed by Royal Dock?

    I live 5 mins away from the exhibition centre and just been out for a bike ride - it's like a fancy dress zombie apocalypse as all the cos-players walk from the cheap(er) local hotels to Excel. :D

  12. jake Silver badge

    "Babycham[tm]"

    That's called "Perry", and is really quite tasty, at least when done right. ("Babycham[tm]", maybe not so much ...).

    You are not a "sad bastard". You are a good Dad. I'm terribly sorry, but welcome to adult-hood ;-)

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Odessey had a hacker who was unemployed and living in his mother's apartment.

  14. 404 Silver badge

    Slight cast change

    'John Lettice will be played by Keira Knightley'

    Shouldn't Keira Knightley play Lester Haines? Since he actually is a twat?*

    *This goes back to the late 90's and a particular El Reg pin... John is one of the good guys.

  15. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    I've not watched it yet...

    ..but will it ever beat the accuracy and acting talent of the BBC classic 'Bugs'?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugs_(TV_series)

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I've not watched it yet...

      ..but will it ever beat the accuracy and acting talent of the BBC classic 'Bugs'?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugs_(TV_series)

      Ah yes. I believe I recall that one. Got to the episode where they had something that could remote-control (and crash) airliners...

      ...the entire device in a package that looked remarkably like the composite-VHF module from a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.. So much like it they didnt't even bother to change the label sticker on the top of the metal case. They did plug what looked like a modern WIFI antenna into the RF-out port on the thing but that was about it.

      With props like those, who needs an audience?

  16. Teiwaz Silver badge

    “blip blip blip”

    I came across a program in the later 80's early 90's that played 'popcorn' as you typed each key,

    Fun for the first minutes, and increasingly irritating after that...

    ..."bip bip bip bup bup bep bep, bip bip bip bup bup bep bep"....

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: “blip blip blip”

      It's as if they had a dialogue coach for the key presses. Cab Calloway, perhaps.

  17. razorfishsl

    When I saw they used a raspberry pi to hack a 'climate control system' I knew the consultants were ass holes...

    That thing is so big it will not fit inside a standard back box...., but hay with a load of sweaty wannabe 16 year old hackers using Pi's it cuts down on police time.

    But their portrayals of female hackers as muslims or S&M lesbians was a bit much.

    1. Steven Roper

      "But their portrayals of female hackers as muslims or S&M lesbians was a bit much."

      That was so overdone that it passed beyond the bounds of social-justice intrusiveness into pure, concentrated hilarity.

      It was as if someone played "let's see how many token minorities we can compress into a single character!" So we end up with the ultimate political-correctness singularity: a female Muslim ethnic-Arab transsexual lesbian mute computer whiz, which just about covers every possible base - sex, religion, race, gender identity, sexuality, disability, and profession.

      It was so far over the top that when this character first appeared and was introduced as such to Elliot, my friend and I were folded over on the floor in stitches!

      Whoever came up with this character wasn't pandering to political correctness. They were taking the absolute piss out of it. And they pulled it off in such a way that the usual horde of habitual offence-takers didn't utter a bloody word of complaint. In this day and age, that was an undisputed masterstroke of genius!

  18. Your alien overlord - fear me

    "in the company of 100 young women dressed up in Gothic Lolita lingerie." - and you use that picture on the top of the article?

  19. Franco Silver badge

    My favourite Hollywood hacking trope is the 3D model of travelling down a network cable as you hack in, as opposed to the reality of staring at lines of code for days at a time. That and opening folders that make every file in them open in sequence on the screen but always stopping at the exact file needed.

    NCIS is possibly the worst culprit of all though. McGee, hack in to the CIA for me. (14 seconds later) Done Boss.

    1. itzman
      Happy

      re: NCIS is possibly the worst culprit

      "McGee, hack in to the CIA for me". (14 seconds later) "Done Boss."

      That's because McGee is such a keen nerd he already has backdoors installed into the entire US administration security and crime prevention networks ;)

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: re: NCIS is possibly the worst culprit

        Mildly more realistic than NCIS: LA I suppose. I once saw an episode of that where they claimed to have shut down "the internet" to prevent a video going online. Sadly "the internet" wasn't the black box from The IT Crowd.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      NCIS is possibly the worst culprit of all though

      Depends on your criteria, I suppose. NCIS does regard computers as magical boxes that can accomplish all sorts of impossible features in almost no time, and of course includes the infamous "Two Nerds One Computer" scene that others have already linked to in this forum. (Though that's so extreme I can't help but wonder if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.)

      On the other hand, NCIS does feature normal user-facing hardware - computers with monitors (still CRTs on some desks!) and keyboards. Contrast that with Hollywood's love of ridiculous giant see-through glass projection displays and other idiocy, as featured in, say, CSI:Miami. I find that irks me more, because it's so visually prominent.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Hawaii Five-0 bugs me quite a lot for that with their touchscreen table thing, and the constant use of Microsoft Surfaces out in the middle of nowhere when they don't have cellular connections. Oh, and the constant Windows Phone product placement. I have a Windows Phone BTW, product placement just tends to get on my nerves.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        NCIS is possibly the worst culprit of all though

        TV shows in general distort reality.

        When I was working on fingerprint-matching software (not AFIS-linked, just local), I was told to flash fingerprint graphics on the screen as it's matching to make it look like TV. Well, ok, I can waste another thread displaying useless graphic elements every 1/10 of a second, but it's still going to slow down my processing as I can't max out all cores anymore on JUST fingerprint matching.

  20. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The worst hacking trope of all

    Calling it 'hacking' rather than 'cracking'

    Or have we given up that 'lost cause'?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The worst hacking trope of all

      "Or have we given up that 'lost cause'?"

      Yes. It's over.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The worst hacking trope of all

        No, it's not over. It's actually a pretty good indicator if the author groks the situation.

        1. Naselus

          Re: The worst hacking trope of all

          "No, it's not over. It's actually a pretty good indicator if the author groks the situation."

          Dude, it's more over than the TMRC, Shub-Internets, Beast of a Thousand Processes and Usenet combined. We lost. Just be glad that we managed to get them to realize that 'hardware engineer', 'sysadmin' and 'script kiddie' canot all be combined until the title 'computery stuff'. In ten years, maybe even recruitment consultants might recognize it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The worst hacking trope of all

            Dude, it's more over than the TMRC, Shub-Internets, Beast of a Thousand Processes and Usenet combined.

            First Rule of Usenet: Don't talk about Usenet.

    2. Spanners Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The worst hacking trope of all

      Or have we given up that 'lost cause'?

      On that one probably but I'm still arguing that a Kilobyte is 2^10 and a megabyte is 2^20 and so on.

  21. Bota

    3 points

    1 - Neo in the matrix doesn't hack from his workplace. He just works as a software engineer, and it's enforced even further in the interrogation scene that "by night youre a hacker" and as he works days (late after going to the club) we know he's not working nights.

    2 - the best programmer / cracker that I know is a Muslim female. From Bahrain as it happens.

    3 - you obviously didn't see die hard 4.0 where the most "leet" hacker was portrayed as a fat, single loner who lived with his mother in the family basement (Kevin Smith).

    I'd say the focus should of been how unrealistic the hacking is, but Mr robot shows a few things which are relevant, such as social engineering.

    1. Novex

      Re: 3 points

      "1 - Neo in the matrix doesn't hack from his workplace. He just works as a software engineer, and it's enforced even further in the interrogation scene that "by night youre a hacker" and as he works days (late after going to the club) we know he's not working nights."

      I was thinking the same thing...

    2. itzman

      Re: 3 points

      "the most "leet" hacker was portrayed as a fat, single loner who lived with his mother in the family basement (Kevin Smith)."

      Check out the guy in 'Girl with a dragon tattoo' series - apart from Lisbet of course.

      1. Bota

        Re: 3 points

        Never seen, but I'll check it out, thanks!

    3. Richard 81

      Re: 3 points

      "you obviously didn't see die hard 4.0"

      For which he should be commended.

      1. Bota

        Re: 3 points

        Come on, it's not THAT bad. TBH I think it's one of the better "Die Hard" offerings.

        1. Richard 81

          Re: 3 points

          "TBH I think it's one of the better "Die Hard" offerings."

          Get. Out.

          Now.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 3, I mean 4, 4 points

      4. The "this is UNIX!" line in Jurassic Park is correct. The screen in that scene is showing an X11-based GUI file manager ("Filespace", maybe?) that SGI included with IRIX. IRIX was a UNIX flavor.

      Where Lex1 had previously seen IRIX and that file manager is obviously not addressed. Maybe she found an old Indigo2 in a skip. Maybe, like Woody Allen's character in Take the Money and Run, her aunt had one. Perhaps she attended an extremely well-funded school.

      But yeah, it was UNIX. Presumably as soon as the camera shifted away she opened an xterm and worked from the shell like any sane person.

      1Nerd joke left as an exercise for the reader.

      2But probably not. Exercise for the reader.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you obviously didn't see die hard 4.0 where the most "leet" hacker was portrayed...

      ... as a fat, single loner who lived with his mother in the family basement (Kevin Smith).

      Yes, but he wasn't acting -- does it counts?

  22. ecofeco Silver badge

    You're weird...

    ...you know that?

    Thumbs up!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    y prediction is Mr Robot (Fight Club nerd edition) will be cancelled... it's target demographic are of the type more inclined to source the content elsewhere, free from advertising. Heck, hasn't even aired in NZ yet but everyone I know has already seen the first season!

    1. amanfromarse

      They've already commissioned a second series because of the success of the first.

      There is so much wrong with this article.

      Iron maiden t-shirts? Wtf?

      The tech stuff is vetted and all technically possible, if unfeasable. But it's drama, it's OK. It's still a million miles from what's gone before.

      Elliott articulate? What? Only in his head. I guess Alastair watched a couple of episodes max.

      They acknowledged the fight club influences and twisted and played with them, switching unreliable narrator to narrator taking to himself to narrator talking to the audience.

      I'm obviously a fan, but I hated it at first as I thought it was just a fight club rip-off, then I got it.

      Too much of the criticism reeks of watched a couple of episodes, Alistair and commentards.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Heck, hasn't even aired in NZ yet but everyone I know has already seen the first season!

      I hadn't even heard of it until I read the article.

      As to things being commonly seen before they air it here... That's because the scumbag channels want to have 30 versions of Xfactor on at the same time while they sit on decent content, not airing it but not letting anyone else either in case they want to do so later. Something that Sky did quite often, as I believe did Prime (ICBW, and probably am!). The few things we do get "same week as the states" often are crap, and sometimes repeats despite that damned annoying "ALL NEW" most channels stick in front of program names these days...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly spot on. I heard about the show from a "Leo Spoiler" on TotalDrama.net and thought that I should check it out considering that I knew it was going to be a hacker version of Fight Club. I was hoping for more redeeming values from the show but in the end, I was left disappointed while also hoping for a second season. At least Silicon Valley did not seem as crazily outlandish like Mr. Robot.

    4. gr00001000

      episode names

      Kudos to the makers to name each episode as a filename and format: eps1.43xplo0its.wmv eps1.9zer0-daY.avi must give the downloaders some fun. Although they can rename the files easy enough.

      The series has much depth and intregue to follow, including the Kali screenshots.

  24. MatsSvensson

    Poop writers

    Is it true that all article writers work from home in a pile of their own waste?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Poop writers

      Yes!!!

    2. Richard 81

      Re: Poop writers

      It's not always at home, but yes there's always an abundance of waste.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

    .... For me this accolade was won in the eighties by Sneakers. It's a film about a team of pen testers.

    If you haven't seen it, watch it immediately. Robert Redford, Dan Acroyd, River Pheonix, Sidney Poitier, Sir Ben Kingsley......

    That list of actors alone should be enough to pique interest.

    A/C because I even *have* a favourite Hollywood hacking troupe.

    I'll get my coat.... It's the one with Setec Astronomy embroidered on the collar......

    1. Bota

      Re: The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

      Fantastic movie!

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: The best Hollywood portrayal of a hacking troupe....

      Really? I thought Sneakers was OK, but found it no more realistic than the typical Hollywood output.

  26. ThorWarhammer

    When is the next Asgardian curry night Loki ??

  27. Naughtyhorse

    WTF?

    The protagonist of Mr Robot is young, slim and handsome. He is smart. He is articulate.

    Are we watching the same series?

    Excuse the personal abuse but Mr Malek looks like the crazy frog on bad acid (me not him,,, err the acid that is... oh god... the spiders!!!!) and the character he plays has a personality disorder and is living in a permanent psychotic break, complete with interactive hallucinations (spoiler alert), his apartment is a shithole, and it looks like zero of the production budget was spent on soap.

    plus they all use linux so there! it's like a documentary about lulzsec :-)

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Not only but also.....

      Look at the episode naming scheme....

      Beautiful :-)

      tech related terms, in 1337(duhh!)... with a FILE EXTENSION!!!!!

      and an authentic multimedia extension at that.

      Of course there are tons of bit's that depart from reality, it's hard to imagine anyone sticking with a series where 40 of the 47 minutes in each episode was someone clattering away at a bash shell, muttering 'fuckity fuckiny fuck' under their breath every time they got some arcane syntax thing fucked up.... but that notwithstanding I think Mr Robot stands head and shoulders above it's peers in this respect.

      1. Bota

        Re: Not only but also.....

        Agreed.

  28. Pez92
    Thumb Down

    Mr. Strawman

    That anon was 100% accurate in saying it's the most accurate portrayal of hackers to ever come from Hollywood. The strawman you used to dismiss it about him being to attractive is an extremely childish and lazy way to argue your point and definitely damages your credibility as a supposed "journalist" (to remove the quotes would insult the profession).

    Compared to 99% of shows where someone can just bang a keyboard for 30 seconds and "hack" their way into the FBI, this show is lightyears ahead. Like in real life, hacking is done via social engineering: dropping flash drives with malware, exploiting non-savvy employees with dictionary attackable passwords, or gaining physical access. He has a decent paying job which explains his apartment, and does not "go around telling everyone he's a hacker".

    The only stereotype of "TV hackers" Mr. Robot falls victim to is that the actors are somewhat attractive, but even in that department they are below average for Hollywood hunks. Calling Rami Malek a "Brad Pitt Lookalike" is like calling Red Lobster a 5 star restaurant.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Mr. Strawman

      >> extremely childish and lazy

      At least someone gets me here. I have no credibility to damage.

      1. akajohnsmith

        Re: Mr. Strawman

        You should definitely hang out at more hacker cons. Your sense of humor fits in well. And you'd get a lot of t-shirts to wear!

    2. akajohnsmith

      Re: Mr. Strawman

      Yeah, the first thing I thought was, "Holy cow, somebody actually did their homework for once - this profile fits like 80% of my paranoid hacker friends". And though some of the technical details are a bit stretched, they are by far the best I've seen so far (although I'll always love Sneakers for a genuine hacker-mindset movie that was pre-hacker-meets-media phase). It was the closest depiction to most of the people I meet in the infosec industry (or outside of it, making a reason for my job to exist). I hope they keep the writers they have for the second season, and keep pushing their accuracy; it's a breath of fresh air from Hollywood's basement (ha, smell that!).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If MR ROBOT was realistic..."

    ...he'd be made of metal and get chased around his robot factory by inexplicably sentient fire.

    (Did anyone ever actually *see* any robots being made in that alleged "Robot Factory"? As I remember he just went around stuffing his face with the pills he left lying on the ground).

  30. FBee

    Source Code

    http://moviecode.tumblr.com/

  31. Ouroborus

    "On screen, a hacker, with no apparent source of regular income, rents a flat alone and has filled his or her living room with five acres of Vittsjö shelving and 400 miles of cabling and managed to assemble their own Large Hadron Collider in the kitchenette."

    I always assumed their income was via credit card fraud. Or hacking the vendors' sales database.

    1. Naselus

      "I always assumed their income was via credit card fraud. Or hacking the vendors' sales database."

      Or, as in Mr Robot, being an infosec engineer. Seriously, the lead character is probably pulling in $150k a year.

  32. akajohnsmith

    You need to start attending the hacker scene more. The "overweight bloke" with urine bottles in his parents basement IS THE CLICHE (and it's a holdover from the IT Dude cliche, to boot). The problem is there is no solid stereotype for the mindless masses to latch on to, nothing consistent for Hollywood to spoon out in sloppy formulaic drivel, and so we have the battle of "what is hacker?" where all options are off base (sounds like politics). This is why people KEEP FALLING FOR IT. But hey, tote that profile, keep people on the lookout for fat dudes who smell bad, way to keep people in the dark. When one of those well-built, educated, wealthy hackers shows up at the front desk of your firm, nobody will stop her from walking through the badge door. They'll probably hold it open (after all, she's wearing a dress).

    Seriously, go to one of the bigger hacker cons (anything with *at least* a couple thousand, preferably something like DEFCON with tens of thousands, for good statistical distribution) and look around you. Check out each of the presenters. You'll find less of the {OB w/UB in his MB] than you will of averagely diverse people, with the one exception that there are definitely less women, both professionally and criminally, in the scene. Never say never, though, or deserve what you get.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Grammar Nazi alert

    Please, please, please — shouldn't that be "If MR ROBOT were realistic...." We do still speak English here, hmm?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    http://www.bash.org/?933542

  35. Bsquared

    Cosplay inspiration

    Up until I read this article, I thought I would never go to a cosplay convention, but I reckon I could play a decent Chief Aramaki from GitS. Grumpy middle-aged bloke with pattern baldness? Gissajob.

  36. Artaxerxes

    Did you just call British cosplayers fat?

  37. tomDREAD

    War Games

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

  38. Wiretrip

    The best bit about Mr Robot is the use of the Unix Command 'astu' - defined as:

    NAME astu -- act similar to unix

    SYNOPSIS astu [-command] […plotpoint]

    DESCRIPTION Approximate a Unix shell like series of commands for the purposes of simulating an actual shell session in a Hollywood movie or television show. Specify a number of operands that simulate Unix commands and output critical plot points and text specific to the story or scene.

    RETURN VALUES Returns a set of pseudo-Unix like responses to commands which furthers plot or scene in a way that is mostly understandable to non-technical audiences.

  39. Gavin McMenemy

    Dabbsy,

    I don't know if we've been watching the same show or now.

    I find it hard to define the "hero" of Mr Robot as an attractive young man, given that:

    He has serious personality disorder issues that make it hard for him to deal with both reality and other people.

    He doesn't live in what I would term an attractive flat (and it's in fact fairly squalid...)

    He's a junky

    And in fact he's pretty far away from what you would call a punky go-getting young man hacker that you describe.

    There are plenty of scenes of him doing nothing but hunch over a keyboard typing (without bing boop noises).

    I take your point about him being zit free though.

    ps. It's a drama not a documentary. You have to give it some latitude.

  40. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Old-day hacking which made me hate "Hackers"

    Basement of an Air Force town house, phone cord spliced into the main line running through the first floor supports, done in such a way as to be able to stuff back up and hide from the parents, dropped down to a 110 baud Volksmodem (or whatever the hell it was) attached to a Commodore 64, in turn attached to a 13-inch black-and-white TV.

    In the bed room is a Radio Shack "200-in-1" electronics lab with a light sensor and wig-wag circuit attached to a small Lego town lit by absconded Christmas bulbs and LEDs. During any other hour than the Witching Hour of dialing up through BBSs and weird network connections to other lands found by war-dialing and trial-and-error, the Commodore 64 is connected to said Lego town running its traffic lights directing Matchbox cars around the scene, while "Radio Ga Ga" and "Synth Sampler" (Doc-doc-doc-doc Doctor Livingston, I presume?) played on the record player next to the latest COMPUTE! magazine, and "You Can't Do That On Television" filled the room with sound.

    This was actually a somewhat socially-adjusted, in-shape kid of about 12 with an active sport, bike-riding, and outdoor life with little incentive to sleep during the night.

    He still does not sleep much during the night, taking advantage of this affliction to perform server maintenance and earn extra money while watching "Futurama" or "Casshern" on DVD (sometimes straying to watch "The Running Man" or "Runaway") and listening to C64 and Amiga remixes over Bluetooth headphones so as not to wake his female companion and the neighbors.

    The C64 does not run Lego town traffic lights anymore, but there is a traffic signal hanging next to the desk with a sequencer to keep it lively.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Robot is real.

    There's half a dozen of them in my local, banging on about DDOSing servers with batch files and metasploits in irc "back in the day"

    Not a job between them and half of them and yet they could bring down world govt's if they wanted...

  42. David Simpson 1

    So how do you know what someone on a TV show smells like?

  43. johndrake7

    上手ですね,ドッブスさん !

    Here's hoping unicode doesn't explode the comments system: job well done on the song. Don't happen to know it but do know and speak Japanese and you are either one of those freak savants who can sing in a language they can't speak, or a hakujin who put in the time and effort to be unnervingly dead on in informal settings. Cheers either way and a pint on me if you're ever in my part of SoCal.

    Flashing back to a previous thread in common: 5 days and counting to the full release of Man in the High Castle on NetFlix in the States, fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint.

    That is all.

  44. el_oscuro
    Linux

    "Rather, they are friendless overweight blokes in faded Iron Maiden t-shirts, huddled over a second-hand laptop for hours in a bedroom in their Mum’s house, windows shut, curtains closed and with a row of urine-filled cola bottles arranged along the wall."

    That works for me except for a few things:

    1. I left Mums house about 3 months after graduating high school and haven't been back with the exception of a few visits. Given that I have been at least 2,500 miles from Mums house since then, those visits are rather infrequent.

    2. My Iron Maiden tee shirt is not faded, nor is my Zork one ("It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue"). Both are kept pristine and only worn on special occasions.

    3. I have never peed in a bottle except for a few required times in the army.

  45. Bc1609

    "If Mr Robot was realistic.."

    He'd use the subjunctive, I'm sure.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    peeing in bottles

    he just went around stuffing his face with the pills he left lying on the ground). eRR ? so that's the pacman movie then?. And as to peeing in bottles .. it happened then and its happening now, only now its medically approved and easily washable. If its good enough for HH its good enough for me.

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