Ever wondered what those Matrix-style green holographic codes that flicker across computer screen in films actually mean? Well, programmer
"I was watching the film Elysium and some coding came up as the space station is rebooted, and I thought: 'This is really familiar', so I tracked it down," explains Graham-Cumming. "It turns out that the code is taken directly from the
Identifying the sources of movie codes is quite simple. Graham-Cumming takes a screengrab and gets a sense of whether the code is possibly legitimate or utter nonsense. If an unusual character or variable stands out, he Googles it. In most cases, it's a mundane cut and paste job.
There are some real howlers. Graham-Cumming was tickled while watching Antitrust, a thriller about a wannabe
Graham-Cumming finds it surprising that these details, which might be central to a plotline, are rarely given more attention by directors, particularly as plausible codes are so easy to find through open-source websites such as GitHub and SourceForge.
However, there are impressive examples of programming detail. Jurassic Park was clearly ahead of its time: in one classic scene, teenager
More recently, The Social Network provided a visually compelling, technically authentic narrative about the process of programming. When
With the rise of high-definition screens and screen-capture tools, and with gadgets such as Google Glass increasingly likely to be used on screen, there will only be more opportunities for smart-ass code-reading. Directors take note.
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