Simon Harriyott

Firewall: the movie

Every now and again, my wife and I like to rent a film. I like to exasperate Julia by pointing out the technological errors, and explaining why things wouldn't happen like that. Last night we watched Firewall, which disappointingly didn't mention any firewalls. As a film, it was generally ok, but the were a few there's-no-way-that-would-work bits that I spotted (in ascending order of ridiculousness):

  1. There is no way that the head of security for a bank would use a weak password such as "Lark" for his alarm system. Especially as "Lark" is the name of his boat.

  2. There is the standard "wireless internet everywhere" thing. I could accept that the baddies might have a satellite link, but the secretary's personal laptop wouldn't. I'd be surprised if they even had phone coverage in the remote house by the lake, let alone being able to track the dog's GPS collar on a website.

  3. Jack cracking into the baddies' Cayman Islands bank account and removing $100 million from a bank terminal. I could accept that he might be able to reverse a transfer within a certain time period, but not that he could get into a specific account, and so quickly.

  4. Taking apart a fax machine and plugging the scanning roller into an iPod, and then sticking it to a monitor, and recording a fast moving set of numbers as they scroll up the monitor onto the iPod is just ridiculous. Especially as it worked the first (and only) time, that the data was flashing up on the screen. Goodness, I can't even read and then parse a line of text from a file right first time!

It seems that someone else has spotted a network goof too. Still at least they didn't try to upload a virus from a Mac to a spaceship.

Oh, if anyone can show me how this fax / iPod thing being done like it was in the film, I'll write out this blog post by hand onto a sheet of paper, and eat it. And this extra sentence, just to make it take a bit longer. And I'll video myself doing it and post it to YouTube.

So why is it that Hollywood can spend millions on getting top-notch actors and effects, and won't consider having a quick chat with a genius like Scott Hanselman? (Mmm. Maybe he's not cynical enough - perhaps Mike Gunderloy?). You know what? I bet they wouldn't charge much more than about ten grand a film to skim through the script and show them where they're going wrong. The film would be better, and I wouldn't annoy Julia so much.

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15 September 2006