A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
Book boners
Whenever I watch a movie or TV show set in a city I am familiar with, the physical transitions make me wince. In a movie set in Chicago, for example, you'll have someone motoring down Lake Shore Drive, then abruptly midway down the Dan Ryan Expressway. In ER, you can turn a corner from the hospital right next to the Chicago St. El Station, and be on Lake Shore Drive, too. Or, in movies set in San Francisco, you'll have someone driving directly from Golden Gate Park into South of Market, and then they'll be going down (Movie cliché alert! Movie cliché alert!) The Crookedest Street In the World. Sorry, folks, it doesn't work like that. (Not to mention the two worst assumptions in movies: that you'll always find a parking spot directly in front of the building you're going to, rather than driving endlessly around a half-mile radius looking for one parking lot with one empty space; and that, the instant you exit a building, there will be an empty taxi waiting for you, available for your fare, and there won't be someone else trying to flag that taxi down at the same time.) So I read The DaVinci Code while in Tulsa (it just came out in paperback). Good book. Lots of political machinations, code and cyphers, bad guys, good guys, chase scenes, etc. (I figured out who "The Teacher" was about halfway through the book.) I'm no art historian, so I don't know the problems with the book in relation to that. However, I am pretty well-versed in computers. So, when I picked up Digital Fortress, also by Dan Brown, at the airport in Tulsa and read it cover to cover by the time my boss deposited me at Mr. OmegaMom's office doorstep in Small University Town, hours later, there were some bones I had to pick with it. (Spoilers ahead!) There's a major plot turn that revolves on the idea that Mr. Bigshot can take a copy of Digital Fortress (an "unbreakable encryption algorithm"), insert his own back door, and replace the copy, thus having a key into all future encrypted files. So far, so good. The problem is that Brown has this file previously released to the Internet. Multiple copies. Flooding the Internet. Everyone eager and waiting for the chance to have the "unbreakable encryption" for themselves, as soon as the key for decrypting the program is available. Soooo.... There's Mr. Bigshot, with his one copy of DF with the hidden back door. There are thousands (if not millions) of copies of DF out on the Internet, without the back door. Once the unencrypted DF (back door installed) hits the Internet, the folks with the encrypted copy can decrypt it and use it to their hearts' content. With no back door. Somehow or other, we're expected to believe that Mr. Bigshot's copy is going to trump or replace all the other copies floating around out there. Sigh. But then, y'know, people can write viruses to penetrate alien computer systems in just an hour or two (Independence Day); teens can dial into and hack into the National Command Center and have the wargaming program play on their PC just like it does in NCC, complete with vocalizations (War Games); Big Major Protection Systems allow multiple attempts to crack a password without locking the person out (it starred Whoopee Goldberg--Hackers??). Blah, blah, blah. It would be interesting to know what real art historians think about The DaVinci Code. What real boners did it contain? It would be interesting to find out. (Oooh! Oooh! I forgot! Major boner (and spoiler) alert for Digital Fortress! The NSA has a vast databank of intelligence information--it's the heart of information for military dudes planning an operation, CIA folks doing analyses, FBI fingerprinting files, etc. It's all housed in one big megacomputer. In a design to make data warehouse and systems security designers faint with envy, it's all easily accessible and compartmentalized by security clearance. Woohoo! Buuut... They don't have a backup. Bwahahaha! Yeah, sure. Riiiiiight. Jabba the head sys-op, computer mind extraordinaire, doesn't have a backup. Riiiiiight. No disaster plans. Riiiiight. Dudes, I work for an itty-bitty facilities maintenance department for a Small Mountain University. WE have a disaster plan, and backups.)
posted by Kate @ 4/23/2006 10:35:00 AM  
  • At 4/23/2006 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Johnny said…

    How about movies where they show someone typing in their password in CLEAR TEXT (for those of you who don't know what that means - it means your password is shown literally with the English letters rather than *********).

    That always makes me howl.

  • At 4/23/2006 08:02:00 PM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    Did you see my post with weird stuff about movies? There's more anomolies there. They must figure the geeky stuff youare talking about will go over most people's heads. If it doesn't, they will pretend it does, because they've paid $8 plus popcorn to enjoy this movie!

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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