The Movie Laws of Computers and Electronics
Saturday, 08 February 1997
- Word processors never display a cursor.
- You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences.
- All monitors display inch-high letters.
- High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or
some such governmental institution, will have easy to
understand graphical interfaces. Those that don't, have
incredibly powerful text-bases command shells that can
correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain
- Corollary: you can gain access to any information you want by
simply typing "ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES" on any
- Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by
simply typing "UPLOAD VIRUS" (see "Fortress")
- All computers are connected. You can access the information on
the villain's desktop computer, even if it's turned off.
- Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever
the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output
on the screen so that it doesn't go faster than you can read.
The *really* advanced ones also emulate the sound of a
- All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just
underneath the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright
flash, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks, and an explosion
that forces you backwards.
- People typing away on a computer will turn it off without
saving the data.
- A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world
before intermission and guess the secret password in two
- Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function (see "Demolition
Man" and countless others).
- Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will
be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems usually
appear to transmit data at the speed of two gigabytes per
- When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the
control panels will explode, as will the entire building.
- If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked
for a password when you try to access it.
- No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it'll be readable
by any system you put it into. All application software is
usable by all computer platforms The more high-tech the
equipment, the more buttons it has (Aliens). However, everyone
must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren't
- Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying
three-dimensional, active animation, photo-realistic graphics
- Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing
real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a
- Whenever a character looks at a VDU, the image is so bright
that it projects itself onto his/her face (see "Alien",