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Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies 232

MidVicious writes "From futuristic 'Punch Cards' to Voice Recognition HoloDeck Interfaces, human/computer interactions have always mirrored the base concepts of our emerging technologies. An article from a Saarland University CS Seminar highlights Hollywood history with UI, ranging from the moderately feasible (Total Recall's television/scenery display wall) to the often ridiculous (Swordfish's 6-flat screen monitor setup complete with 3-D virus-hacking environment). An interesting read, especially considering some of the technology is on its way to becoming a reality."
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Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies

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  • by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:32PM (#18628841) Homepage
    My favorite are scenes where figuring out how to hack through some kind of super hardened security amounts to playing a big old video game.

    It's like, yeah, that's really how I configure iptables or add a server cert to Apache.

  • Lex says... (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_tsi ( 19767 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:35PM (#18628881)
    This is a Unix system! I know this!

  • What's wrong with the six panels? I use three 19'' at work (with Matrox hardware and a el-cheapo nvidia card) and is an extremely nice setup to work with various VMWare virtual machines at once.

    Text link ads, the easiest way to earn money with your web [text-link-ads.com]!
    • by dbhankins ( 688931 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:42PM (#18628951)
      It wasn't the six panels that was ridiculous, it was the additional peripheral the hacker had to deal with during his job interview.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )
      It's not that he was using six panels, something I did before (12 panels in a NOC), it was that he hacked a 128-bits encryption in under 30 second... first he tries some code, doesn't work, then he tries the standard login/password (dictionary attack) then he writes some code and it breaks... come on. And that he assembles virusses and other crap like that by clicking together 3d cubes and sorting them in the right order. I wish I could create programs by shuffling boxes around on a screen. I have never see
  • Alien (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chebucto ( 992517 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:35PM (#18628887) Homepage
    The computer in Alien (the first in the series) was unrealistic - not because of the artificial intelligence or natural-language processing, but because of the cumbersome way commands were entered and the unnecessary tekno-futurism of the computer room. Still, it was really good at helping the conspiratorial mood of the movie, and it is still one of my favorites in terms of fictional computers. I think the Star Trek TNG computers were probably the best depiction of how computers should be.
    • Re:Alien (Score:4, Interesting)

      by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:51PM (#18629043)

      I think the Star Trek TNG computers were probably the best depiction of how computers should be.

      The TNG computers were pretty good. I remember seeing an interview with Michael Okuda talking about the challenges of creating something that people would accept as 23rd century technology, but having to use 20th century technology to do it. I also remember, when TNG was just about to debut, remarking in another forum that the TOS computers looked clunky by then, and that the flight deck of a Shuttle or 767 looked far more futuristic.

      While it never made it in to film, the interface in the later Foundation novels wins for me.


      • Re:Alien (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:24PM (#18629375) Journal
        Star Trek has predicted other aspects of communication/information well enough, I don't see why predicting useful GUIs would be out of character for the series. Aside from the obvious cell phone = communicator, we also saw Uhura's bluetooth earbud, and between MRIs, spectrometers, and NASA's NUGGET (Neutron/Gamma Ray Geologic Tomography) we are working our way to a proper tricorder.
      • Re:Alien (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:57PM (#18630119)

        While it never made it in to film, the interface in the later Foundation novels wins for me.
        Do the UI components still explode with a sea of sparks every time the ship has any problem like in the TV shows? Or have they finally figured out how to get input from consoles without needing 100,000 V and a couple of pieces of random explosives strapped inside?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sgtrock ( 191182 )
          Ob "Scanners" scene:

          Evil Security Guy backs away slowly.

          Lab Coated SysAdmin #1 sees this and scoffs, "What, you expecting it to explode like in the movies? That never happens in real life."

          ESG replies, "No one's ever shut down a computer system with a scanner in it before."

          Big Blinkenlight mainframe shuts down. LEDs go out slowly, tape drives quit spinning. Everything's quiet.

          LCSA#1 says, "See? I told you there was nothing to worry about."

          THEN we get the big explosion. :D
      • Re:Alien (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kv9 ( 697238 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @07:14AM (#18632401) Homepage

        The TNG computers were pretty good.

        I never quite got how the turbolifts worked. the crew doesn't seem to prepend commands with "computer...", they just usually say "deck x", "bridge", "pause", "resume". how does it know when it's a command and when it's just crew chatter? or are these keywords reserved for computer communication and their usage in casual chatter is verboten?

    • Re:Alien (Score:5, Funny)

      by Oktober Sunset ( 838224 ) <sdpage103.yahoo@co@uk> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:48PM (#18629595)
      I think the TNG computer was a sack of crap, you ask it where someone is and its says they aren't on board, if the computer knows where people are on he ship, why doesn't it tell you something usefull like, they went crazy and flew off in a shuttle or they mysteriously vanished from some coridor due to weird alien crap. And why didn't it tell someone when they went missing, rather than sit there like a fucktard for 5 hours untill someone notices they are gone before telling anyone they were mysteriously abducted by wierd energy monsters or whatever. The interface was good, with the touch screens and the voice, but the AI of the thing was dumb as fuck.
  • Aside from the 3D virus hacking environment, Nvidia does sell graphics cards that let you do 4 monitors per card, so you can get 8 displays. The Quadro NVS 440. So 6 monitors isn't really that outlandish.
    • How does it do 4 monitors? The picture of it at:
              http://www.amazon.com/Nvidia-Quadro-Pcie-256MB-4PO RT/dp/B000ERVHHY/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3242536-67904 26?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1175828765&sr=8-1
      only shows two connectors on the back. Does it come with some sort of separate connector that connects to the board which has two more ports on it?
  • Does anybody else think that the X-Men 3-D interface is entirely doable?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      A mildly nightmarish array of pins that extended from hyrdraulic cylinders, connected to a mux and central pump system, would probably work just fine. The naieve implementation would have all pins either extending or receeding at once, but if you had two valves per pin, you could simultaneously raise and lower individual pins. Encoders could check the height of each pin, and then the whole thing would just be a representation of a heightmap.

      I don't think the X-Men display features any color, so this is pr
    • I could see with proper further development, ferrofluid [wikipedia.org] might be able to do something similar.
  • Mouse? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:47PM (#18628995)
    Am i the only one who notices punching keys is all they do in movies? even tho they have a graphical UI
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No, you might be the only one who thinks a mouse is faster than knowing every single keyboard shortcut for what you need when you can type 1,200 WPM.

      I guess.

    • Am i the only one who notices punching keys is all they do in movies? even tho they have a graphical UI

      Heinlein's Universe and Methuselah's Children exposes the problems more clearly.

      The starships are sub-light.

      The controls and displays must remain operational for decades -- centuries, more likely.

      You cannot assume an infinite supply of spare parts or crewmen skilled in making the necessary repairs.

      Nor can you risk so commonplace an accident as the slip of the hand that hits the wrong button. The most

    • Re:Mouse? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Thursday April 05, 2007 @10:32PM (#18630355) Homepage Journal

      See, the thing about menu driven interfaces is they are serious compromises. They trade cost (many buttons and the space they take up) for layers on a single interface (a screen.) When operating critical machinery, you can't be navigating menus. For instance, if cap'n starboy says "shields up", you can't say, "sorry, I didn't get them up in time because I was in the turbolift interface." You need to press a button that puts the shields up, and *right now.* Likewise for any number of critical functions.

      I can give you a practical modern example. I own a Denon 7.1 channel surround system. It's really pretty decent quality, and it is the main system for our theater. If you want to do anything besides change sources or volume, you'll be navigating menus. Sometimes... lots of menus. It's a pain in the butt, and it is slow. This thing cost me about two grand.

      In my library, I have a Marantz 2325 [classic-audio.com], circa 1975 or so. This has every control and status display on a button, knob, or dial. There are only two multi-purpose things on it. Consequently, it is a lot easier to run - everything is always in the same place, and the things you use often you learn where are almost immediately - and it is a whole lot faster to operate. Want to turn up the bass? Reach for the bass control. Want just bass on the left speaker? Inner concentric ring of the bass control. And so on, for almost every function on the unit. It's not perfect - FM muting level is on the rear, and the Dolby levels take over the FM signal strength meter when you want to look at them, but man is it a lot easier and more comfortable to operate than the Denon. But accounting for inflation, the retail on this was about five grand. Those buttons and knobs are very costly. It isn't just advances in electronics that make that relative price drop!

      The Denon actually has a lot more functionality. But getting at it is tough. Practically speaking, that actually means that mostly, I don't get at it at all.

      Coming back to a computer interface for a spacecraft or a watercraft or any war machine, I can see them going back to buttons regardless of the ability to fold functionality into a graphic interface, because with a button, a well trained person goes right to the function and time may be of the essence in any one of a number of situations, including some that may not have been foreseen by the system designers. Buttons cost more in terms of real estate, but then again, they can give you more in terms of outright survival.

      Buttons are faster than speech, too, even if there is no latency. Takes about 40 ms to hit a button. You can't talk that fast. It's just that simple. Now, if they ever manage to make a mind to machine interface, we'll be on new ground, but until then... buttons ftw. :-)

      • But accounting for inflation, the retail on this was about five grand. Those buttons and knobs are very costly. It isn't just advances in electronics that make that relative price drop!

        Knobs aren't that expensive. As a wild guess, I'd say that each button is going to add maybe $.05 to the production cost, and each knob around $.10. Designing things and setting up a production system is the expensive part. Once you have one, it's not much of a problem. As an example, consider that the price of mixers (au
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mvdwege ( 243851 )

        Cameras went through the same evolution. In the eighties, it was hip to put LCD displays on the body and run all functions through simple up/down buttons. Minolta even went as far as to implement this for their zoom lenses, where you had to use a zoom-in/zoom-out button to run the zoom.

        Somehow, it dawned on camara makers that this was not a good idea. The last generation of film SLR bodies went back to dedicated buttons and knobs, witness such cameras as the Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 7 and 9, and the Nikon F5.

    • Mouse Unnecessary (Score:2, Insightful)

      by johndmann ( 946896 )
      For the first year after I had MS Windows on my computer, I did not have a mouse on my system. It is entirely possible that they know what they are doing with keyboard shortcuts, and therefore do not need a mouse.
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:48PM (#18629009) Journal
    The claim that something similar to the system depicted in swordfish is ridiculous, is on itself ridiculous. Multi-monitors are nothing new; even ordinary PC users with a decent graphic-card can already link two. Currently, there are already systems which can handle *more* then 6 screens.

    And as far as the 3D goes:

    "HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- August 9, 2004

    Sharp Systems of America, a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, today introduced the Sharp LL-151-3D display, Sharp's first stand-alone display that features Sharp's 3D LCD Technology. This exciting 15-inch 3D LCD monitor delivers eye-popping 3D images to the naked eye, and can be easily switched between 2D and 3D viewing for standard applications such as spreadsheets, word processing or email. "

    Note the date. It's not even Sci-fi anymore.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      Woot! Shout out to my homeies in HB!

    • And as far as the 3D goes

      Go to a website like Stereo3D [stereo3d.com]. There are numerous way to enjoy stereo 3D with computers : from ultra cheap hacks, to expensive high tech. From immersive interface to systems enjoyable by a large audience.

      It's just that, those display fit very special niches (hardcore players of 3d-hamster-maze like games similar to descent, education, scientific/medical simulation, military training, etc.) and are not very usefull for desktops (their effect ranging from useless gimmicks (Vista-style

      • Nobody has come yet with some 3D desktop interface that wasn't just eyecandy but actually useful.

        I haven't been able to come up with a full desktop interface yet, but I've got some ideas for a 3D filemanager [homeunix.org] that I think could be useful for certain kinds of users.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by edschurr ( 999028 )
      I don't know about the /. summary, but the setup in Swordfish was silly because it was only supposed to look cool. There was no HCI behind it: the monitors are arranged such that it would hurt your neck unnecessarily. The technology was superficial—it was a prop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cervantes ( 612861 )
      I agree, multimonitor is old news. I remember many years ago digging up a lot of cords and spare parts so I could see if I really could fill all my PCI slots with graphics cards and have it work. 6 monitors later, I did. :)
      Heck, I'm pretty sure I was running Win98SE back when I had 3 monitors running.

      Also, I found it humourous that the blurb complained about 6 monitors, directly over a picture of ... 7 monitors.
      Great proofreading there guys. Can't wait for you to be a /. editor.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      We had a 6 monitor workstation with a 3d Vis of the ad insertion network at comcast only 2 years ago. No it was not a virus hacking system but it was a network monitoring and response platform for Seachange ad insertion gear.
    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

      The claim that something similar to the system depicted in swordfish is ridiculous, is on itself ridiculous.

      If it is ridiculous, it does not have to do with the number of monitors.

      I haven't seen it myself, but if it's anything like what I saw on that page, the configuration is silly since the monitors are haphazardly strewn about, and are currently running an animation calibrated to the physical position of the monitors. A more traditional (and generally workable one) is to arrange them in either a line

      • I agree the depiction of it on swordfish was primarily to look cool, that much was obvious when watching the scene. However, the *technology* behind it is not ridiculous.

        Thus, if a person would want to look cool (to less critical people than pragmatic slashdotters ;-), it is completely feasable to have a system with six 3D screens set up in the way it was in Swordfish. In fact, it's currently more feasable than going to Mars in search of an alien artifact and getting scanned at the local spaceport.

        The autho
    • Note the date. It's not even Sci-fi anymore.

      Or as Ted Stryker said in Airplane II...

      We can't live in the past any more, or the present. This is the future.

  • For shame! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aitikin ( 909209 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:51PM (#18629041)

    which consists of 6 flatscreen monitors of common size put together and probably supposed to be used as an enhanced display.

    Great speech from a guy who can't count past 6!
  • My favorite (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bongo Bill ( 853669 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:53PM (#18629065) Homepage
    I want a monitor that will project the text I'm typing onto my face.
  • Minority Report (Score:2, Interesting)

    Lets also not forget those great glass monitors used in Minority Report. All one has to do is look at how interaction is working with the Wii. The use of gloves with motion detection is already a reality. The only piece left is the see through monitors. I would love to have one of those.
    • Like the Wii fat lazy geeks will get tired of using there muscles and revert the GUI back to the win2k, or dos.
    • Am I the only one here that thinks this would result in very tired arms after a relatively short amount of time? I think I've read similar comments here before. Although I suppose that it could help improve hand-eye coordination....
    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) *

      The only piece left is the see through monitors. I would love to have one of those.

      Then set one up. All you need is a projector that does skew correction (most do) and some transparent material with a partial matte surface. Hit the material from a sharp angle, and the screen will light up and remain transparent, while the through-light goes up and sinks into a black topper, or reflects off the back into another black topper. Shouldn't be much of a challenge at all. Or you can cheap out and use a regula

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      (NOTE: Not an Apple shill; owns no Apple products)

      Apple's working on it. One of their latest iMac concepts included a screen that was completely clear when off and semi-translucent when in use. There was a Slashdot post about it, IIRC.

      Right, here we go: http://ibloggedthis.com/2006/08/09/a-concept-of-a- future-imac-pictures-transparent-screen-and-keyboa rd/ [ibloggedthis.com]

  • by edwardpickman ( 965122 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:57PM (#18629105)
    After the attempt at Bob and then Clippy I wonder if Douglas Adams predicted where Microsoft will be 200 years from now? Are they the real Sirius Cybernetics? If so how long do I have to wait for my very own Marvin? ...........Now that I think about it hopefully a very very long time.
  • Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <dnaltropnidad>> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:59PM (#18629129) Homepage Journal
    "The conceptual fault here is that the controls of the machine are exactly the opposite of a human-centered design, since user has to work for the device to make it run."

    That's the God DAMN POINT, fool.
    • Yes in metropolis that was the point, the people were slaves to the machine... watch somebody orgnize emails or files with microsoft outlook sometime... you have to work the mouse like all get out, traning is short on smarts.

      On the other hand the enrichment plants in Blue Ridge were run much like that during WW2 pre-industrial controls. They literally had people monitoring gages and adjusting dials to keep the process in spec... crazy stuff.

  • by tronicum ( 617382 ) * on Thursday April 05, 2007 @07:59PM (#18629133)
    You should see this video (204 MB MPEG4) [tu-ilmenau.de] of a 23C3 [events.ccc.de] Speech/Screening [events.ccc.de] featuring biometric interfaces in SciFi movies.
  • The Metropolis interface consists of a person moving levers to positions indicated by lights. Now where have I previously heard the idea of a human augmenting a machine??? .. I am sure I heard it recently .. something to do with a patent application or some such .. I can't quite find it now, but I am sure that rather than using google myself that this post will prompt a person to look it up for me .. Hmm .. is that also a human augmented computer system?????
  • by Rumagent ( 86695 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:24PM (#18629377)
    Given the title of the "paper" and given that he knows how to use references, he could at least admit which luminary in the field of HCI he has stolen the idea from. [useit.com]
  • by 47Ronin ( 39566 ) <glenn AT 47ronin DOT com> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:25PM (#18629389) Homepage
    Somehow the way comm badges work in Star Trek doesn't make any sense. Take the scenario which is frequently done on the show:

    (1) Enterprise bridge crew is watching an away team's planet survey on the main viewscreen. Captain Piccard decides to ask Commander Riker (who is on the away team) a question.

    (2) Scene cuts to the planet. You see Riker with his away team. Suddenly you hear Piccard's voice on Riker's comm badge "Piccard to Riker: Report!"

    Now tell me this... In this scenario, Piccard supposedly hails Riker and even though there is no "routing" done with the message beforehand, Piccard's entire vocal request automatically goes to Riker and ONLY Riker, though everyone on the away team has a comm badge. In fact, you hear the initial request for Riker on his own badge. Did the comm badge psychically know to message Riker solely at the instant Piccard clicked his comm badge to transmit?
    • by rklemaster ( 1083371 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:34PM (#18629469)
      You need to get laid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SPQR_Julian ( 967179 )
        Come on, this is Slashdot. Anyone who utters that statement here should explode from the sheer redundancy of that statement.
    • by PhreakOfTime ( 588141 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:51PM (#18629631) Homepage

      As sad as this is... Ive actually thought about that too. What follows is my attempt to justify the technology and what must be going on, with what you would see on the screen.

      Lets say that Picard(on the bridge) taps his badge to ask for Riker(not on the bridge). This is how that might work;

      1)Picard taps the badge to initiate the comm link.
      2)Picard begins the link by stating who he is, and who he is attempting to contact.
      3)With just a few second delay, the computer could derive from the audio who the intended recipient is.
      4)Having cached the entire audio to determine who is the recipient, the ships comm system then forward this cached audi(mith a few second delay) to the recipient.
      5)When the recipient hears the request come through on their badge, the link is already established, and there is no more need for a delay.
      6)conversation proceeds as normal.

      And no fair to the guy who said "you need to get laid". To that I say... "You need to stop getting laid, we have enough friggin people here!"

      • Yes, that's the obvious solution. And if Nextel doesn't have it working within four years, somebody is goofing off.

        Wildfire, the voice controlled phone system which Microsoft bought and killed, was making real progress in that direction.

    • by 3seas ( 184403 )
      http://www.neurophone.com/tech.htm [neurophone.com]

      the transmission method of a com badge.

      Directing it to an individual, that only that individual can hear it would be good for an away team in a dangerous situation.

      but how they dial the individuals com badge number can be a simple thing, as an away team with com badge access can be limited in size where it can easily be a combination of taps and number of fingers, etc...

      I mean damn, don't keyboards just keep getting smaller and smaller?

      Maybe if there were some large mechani
    • for seconds, all the comm badges are tied to the universal translator implanted early on. So we're not really hearing them talk "into" the badge, that's TV land. Think a really small bluetooh transmitter...heck we're already there. The comm badge is just a buttonless cell phone, probably with peer to peer calling as well ... iPhone should be able to do that in June. Satillite ground to space phones have been around for years. See, it's not that hard!!!
    • Don't they always say "Foo to Bar" before the message? for example, Picard says "Picard to Riker". The computer picks up the information and routes the message to Riker.
  • by krbvroc1 ( 725200 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @08:48PM (#18629601)
    In all these movies, they are a joke.

    I mean, I cannot find a proper cable and even then I need to dig out 3 gender changers and a break-out box. These guys can I/F with some computer port from a different civilization using the same RS-232 port and a TTL voltage. Amazing! If only we the same interoperability here on planet Earth.
  • Bad example (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    here's what the stupid article says about Metropolis : "The conceptual fault here is that the controls of the machine are exactly the opposite of a human-centered design, since user has to work for the device to make it run."

    Duh ! That was the point of the movie !
  • The forgot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by www.sorehands.com ( 142825 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:03PM (#18629737) Homepage
    They forgot Earth: Final Conflict [imdb.com]. The 3d movement interface in flying the shuttles were interesting. Of course if it was not a woman pilot, would the movements be the same?
  • Uplink Hackers Elite (Score:3, Informative)

    by zaibazu ( 976612 ) on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:12PM (#18629809)
    This game takes it the other way round. It takes a movie style interface and give the the impression you are "hacking" into corporate computers. Pretty entertaining (And it has a Linux Version yay)
    Main Site:
    http://www.introversion.co.uk/uplink/ [introversion.co.uk]
    Review at Home of the Underdogs:
    http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?id=3044 [the-underdogs.info]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wizzahd ( 995765 )
      Off-topic, but Uplink is a great game. If you like Introversion's style you should check out Darwinia [darwinia.co.uk], which is another game by them. Beautiful graphics and awesome gameplay!
  • by Oktober Sunset ( 838224 ) <sdpage103.yahoo@co@uk> on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:17PM (#18629841)
    Something tells me that they didn't quite grasp the concepts at work in some of these films, like criticising the metropolis interface for making the 'user' work. The workers in metropolis weren't users, and they didn't interface with the machines, they were slaves to the machines and just carried out the machines instructions, they didn't have any input, they just performed physical labour acording to the machines instructions. The clock thing was like a relay, but with a person doing the physical labour. They seemed to miss the whole point of that scene.
  • So tempting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2007 @09:23PM (#18629863)
    I know, I know... I am as comfortable in front of csh and piping through awk and sed as most folks are with playing video games. Today, as part of the normal day-to-day crap, I wrote a 15 line perl script without referring to a manual, that formatted a bunch of data and made it all pretty for a browser. My co-workers can all do this.

    I'm also big into making films. Much as I want to join the chorus and laugh at the totally unrealistic interfaces, I do realize something: most people don't know and don't care. To them, this is how they see computers. When I type up some bizarre iptables ruleset it's about as clear to them as Swahili is to a goat in Uganda. For the director it's a matter of balancing the telling of the story with realism. This is *tough* to do.

    BTW, someone once said that it's better to blame stupidity/laziness/ignorance than malice. I realized this all too clearly when I had to shoot 4 actors. One was *extremely* difficult to light because of his skin tones to the point that I ended up cutting him out of the shot entirely. My ignorance probably contributes to the idea that directors/producers don't highlight certain actors. It's not malice, just that I'm not experienced enough to do it properly. Certainly not an excuse for professionals though... The same thing with computers.. Film guys are not necessarily computer guys (though there's a lot of overlap).
  • I tend to try and overlook alot of the "super tech" computers that TV wants us to beleive us taxpayers supply to our civil servants.. but sometimes it's just too silly. On the show Bones, the 3d holographic display with what looks like rain coming down, is just too much. Maybe a holographic display will look like that someday, but I doubt it.
  • Ghost in the Shell? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zanglang ( 917799 )
    No references to Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell? Virtual user interfaces, data storage in cybernetic memory, inter-human message exchanging via wireless... we're getting there [slashdot.org].
  • Two observations: On the Aliens IV "breath" authentication; I think more credit needs to be given besides novelty. Feasibility notwithstanding, this would be one of the few biometric methods where the authenticator needs to be alive and *breathing*. I found this concept intriguing and it does show some thought on how to have a system that at least cannot be fooled by a chopped off hand, plucked eyeball, or easily recorded voice. OTOH not being able to get through a door because of your last, garlic lade
    • HMMM...well, if the handscanner also looked for the warmth-signature of bloodvessels (quite unique on it's own) the finger/handprint recognition would solve the problem of 'cut off hands' too.

      Of course, one could speculate that chopping of the hand and *immediately* putting the hand on there would fool the system, but then again, you caould as well argument that it's possible to kill someone, put his mouth over the mouthpiece and perform a Heimlich-maneuver; since there is always some air left, it could be
  • I used to think that we'd need neck-jacks and VR goggles and all sorts of other gimcrackery in order to mentally internalize our machinery and the internet as a whole. And here I find out, with me constantly thinking that I know something, and realizing that I just know how to easily find or verify it on the internet, that it just takes a certain level of ease-of-use.

    You all do it; when someone asks you if you know what time it is, and you say yes, you're probably lying. You don't know--your watch does.
  • Not movies, yet still interesting:
    • Firefly [wikipedia.org] features nice full color ePaper [fireflywiki.org] and some cool interactive holographic displays [fireflywiki.org].
    • the space suits in Planetes [wikipedia.org] had interactive HUD displays in their helmets, kind of like some of that augumented reality stuff
    • Ghost in the Shell is full of direct-to-brain interface stuff

    In general animes are often full of technology, maybe there are some more interesting pieces to find.

  • Eureka (TV) (Score:3, Funny)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Friday April 06, 2007 @06:49AM (#18632317)
    I was watching an episode of Eureka [wikipedia.org] the other night where the trapped people in the automated house were asked, "Shall we play a game?" by the house's temporarily evil software. The characters all said (in increasing tones of concern/panic), "No!"

    It was extremely funny as a reference to Wargames. I find Eureka to be very entertaining. YMMV.

    [I am a fan of ReGenesis and Dexter also -TV is not a total wasteland]
  • Minority Report (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AP31R0N ( 723649 )
    The worst hollywood interface im>ho was minority report's. His arms are flailing this way and that over a basically 2D screen. It was wide and things were stacked, but the size is the only part that is novel. How tired would you be if you spent a day, even an hour doing those gyrations. Imagine using that interface with just one arm, or sitting in a wheelchair. He could have just as easily been sitting down and clicking and dragging with a mouse up on the wide projection screen. Pretty, yes. But n

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