1. Everything I Know About Computers I Learned From Movies

    Do you fancy yourself a computer home computer enthusiast? Or would you like to become one? Rest assured, everything you need to know is in retarded movies.

    Access Denied & Hacking

    access-deniedAnytime anything wrong happens it will inevitably lead to a full screen flashing text saying Access Denied. Period. Oh and passwords are really easy to figure out and usually as I learned from Watchmen or The X-Files are the names of objects located near the computer in question. It’s also quite easy as in WarGames to accidentally get the username and password for thermodynamic weapons or some vast conspiracy.

    Wondering how you will be able to obtain anything through this “hacking” nonsense like bank cards, video confessions or someone’s DNA? Luckily, NASA and other agencies have easy to use high-tech user interfaces with well thought buttons indicated “LAUNCH SHUTTLE” or “NUKE THE SOVIET UNION.” These functions are all accessible over the World Wide Web. Anytime you need access at the last minute to a nuclear power plant, NORAD, or a car’s engine hacking is on your side.

    You may need to use a computer virus to do some super good or harm, just as long as it has a countdown sequence. Alien spaceship or home computer: viruses can do anything. They also cause physical damage such as smoke, screen glitches, or elaborate bitching graphics with skulls and crap off of a Lisa Frank folder.

    Planning is not necessary: just jam on your keyboard and that sad Access Denied will become a giant green Access Granted!

    Everything is VR


    VR Michael Douglas

    The single best way of using a computer is not through a mouse and keyboard. If you want to get real work done, slap on a VR helmet. Also you know how Google makes it easy to find things by there being a convenient search box? No, there should be virtual file cabinets to hide and misfile information.

    jurassic_park_macintosh_quadra_700Michael Douglas does this in Disclosure. When he’s not getting raped by Demi Moore he invents VR. He’s able to find dirt on Moore way quicker than with Google or any of those kids toys. It’s like Halo mixed with Altavista from 1997. This is typical of movies like Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, and Johnny Mnemonic they make computer seem magical and less utilitarian– as doing mundane tasks like opening Outlook should be. Insert virtual reality and anything can happen– even sex!

    If the computer does anything involving the security depart they must have a 3D wireframe model of the entire building allowing the security guards to zoom in and out a lá Jurassic Park or Ocean’s 12. Otherwise they are fucked.

    In short, this is how the Internet works. Or at least how it works for Keanu Reeves.

    Never Make Backups, Ever

    Great, so you discovered that the President is sleeping with, literally sleeping with the Soviet Premier. Save the information on one floppy disk or one laptop and never make a backup, physical copy, or email it to anyone. This is extremely important. This is imperative. Otherwise you will never have a final showdown with your enemy who thought he won on top of a skyscraper as he’s about to crush the floppy disk. Don’t believe me? Watch Fled, Mission Impossible, The Net, or any movie made in the 1990’s.

    In Conclusion: There is Nothing A Computer Can’t Do

    CSI and Bladerunner shows that any camera has infinite resolution. You must be a horrible photographer if you can’t get a perfect shot of the ‘perp reflecting in the teeth of a witness from a MacDonald’s security camera. All software is compatible with any other software, just slide the disk in an the file will pop up. Also, note that even over a payphone in Hackers its possible to have unlimited Internet speeds. DARYL in the aptly named DARYL had unlimited wireless bandwidth. Just remember whatever it is, whatever plot hole, computers will fix it.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, tell ’em Keanu:

  2. The Internet is Pictures of Cats: X-Entertainment


    That last post reminded me of my old gateway drug to internet time-wasting: X-Entertainment.com. And it’s surprisingly not porn!

    The proprietor of said storehouse of half-remembered pop culture is a gent named Matt who describes his domain thusly:

    Basically, the entire site is a tribute to anything I feel, or have felt, passionately about in my life. It’s really not an ’80s nostalgia site,’ the reason it’s garnered that reputation is because I’m big on nostalgia and I was a child in that decade. To say it’s by design though would overstate it a bit. The main purpose of X-E is to bring to light many of the more obscure, geeky parts of pop-culture that often get buried as years go by. Whether it’s an old movie, toy, video game, television show, or candy bar – if I feel strongly enough to write about it, I probably will.

    Things look a wee bit out of date (that about page has been saying Matt’s 23 for… well, since I was younger than 23 at least) but there’s nearly no end to the site with all its back articles about whatever pop culture flotsam has been rattling around Matt’s brains since the 80s.  What distinguishes it and makes it so addicting is Matt’s personal take and odd mini-dramas acted out by action figures and other inanimate objects towards the purpose of describing something else equally obscure.

    Remember, this site was up and running a few years before social networking and Youtube combined to create the perfect storm of nostalgia composting.  The past wasn’t always so immediately available.  Matt was paying for our sins of forgetting by spending many a night bleeding cash while drunk on eBay.

    At any rate, I’ve sunk more time into combing through this site than I ever did in the depths of my Snood addiction back in Aught Zero.  Give it a look.

  3. Lost Sodas Are Our Generation's Lou Gehrig


    This post over at BuzzFeed got me googling old soft drinks I spend far too much time thinking about, especially considering how little I drink soda.  Still, discontinued products form something of a shared culture of loss that you can discuss with anyone in pretty wide age bracket.

    What with the pace of technological and pop cultural innovation, speaking of shared experiences growing up in a generation doesn’t make much sense anymore.  The half-life of popular shows, songs, fads is short and these products are targeted at finer and finer slices of the population, especially at slices divvied up by age.

    Food and drink, though, while not timeless, at least can be shared alike by a pretty broad range.  As for sodas, well, fizzy corn syrup is a fairly universal lust or at least an inescapable fact.

    One soda BuzzFeed skipped over that factors into my memories is a Canada-only permutation of Pepsi that split the difference between diet and regular: Pepsi Max.  I remember being awed that A: Canadians ate cold, cheeseless pizza as a picnic food (???) and B: For some reason they got better Pepsi that walked a perfect line between tasting like rocket exhaust and instant diabetes.  This soda nostalgia is made more difficult by the low vocabulary of PepsiCo’s marketing department, who decided to recycle the name Pepsi Max for a slew of   reboots, running the gamut from some kinda cola version of eggnog to the recent high caffeine, ginseng infused, zero-calorie version of the black stuff.

    As an aside, is anyone else freaked out by things advertised as having zero calories?  Are you guys serious that there is nothing in this that my body can process and burn and yet I’m still drinking it?  What’s in here, silicone?

    I should also pay tribute to the generosity of the marketers behind Surge for choosing my humble hometown as a test market for their weird Mt. Dew knockoff.  For a whole summer, idling Surge trucks were the safer alternative to liplocking with a busted water fountain at schools, parks and really anywhere I could be found rubbing wax on a curb.

    Though did anyone ever play any of those capture-the-Surge games depicted in the commercials?

  4. The Internet is Pictures of Cats: Superbad


    The granddaddy of internet weirdness, the digital id of the late-90s, the reason we all got excited about JavaScript in the first place… I present to you, gentlemen, Superbad.

    This has been the homepage on at least one of my browsers since 1998.  I remember plumbing its depths on a dial-up, making animated GIF-laden homages with AOLPress in the wee hours of the night through high school.  I basically spent my college career as ‘guy in the dorm who knows computers’ stealing code off this thing and turning it to woefully conventional purposes for skinny blondes and pointless presentations.  For such a sin, I owe penance.

    Apparently, this is the work of a fella named Ben Benjamin, a decomissioned code ammunition dump and something that could be tagged with that dusty, decrepit tag of ‘net art’. (Hey, are any of you old enough to remember when the infowebhighwaysurfnet had Artist(e)s?)

    No, there’s no point.  But that’s the point.  Remember possibility?  Remember when pointless was simple?  Remember back when the web was slow enough where we all felt alone and no one talked about building their own personal brand?  Here’s the zen garden for your ADD.

    Mee(a)t /your /master.