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January 14, 2014

SPOILER: Ever wondered what all the computer coding means in films?

The code in Iron Man’s visor is actually for a Lego computer.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Watch any sci-fi/crime/war film from the last 40 years and you can be sure a least a few scenes of it will be a protagonist/hero/nerdy computer programmer typing in code at lightning speed to disable some deadly device or bring down a mainframe or trace a missing person. Hacking has almost become mythology in film, they make it look easy though – and look – there’s even a website where you can do it yourself.

Well, a blog started by a real-life computer programmer has shone light onto what all this silver-screen hackology really is, and turns out the truth falls very short of proposed technical mastery.

Turns out film producers are just taking codes from manuals, websites and sometimes even Wikipedia.
Author of the blog, John Graham-Cumming, told the BBC:

"I was watching Elysium and this guy had to write a programme," he said.

"What appeared on screen was clearly the assembly language for an Intel x86 processor – basically any standard Intel chip.

"I recognised it because I’m a programmer. Turns out,it came from an Intel instruction manual. I tweeted about it and got over 500 retweets, so I decided to create the Tumblr."

Since its launch on January 3rd, Mr Graham-Cumming’s site has had over 10,000 hits and people are now submitting their own codes that they’ve seen in films.

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However, he said that the producers of Elysium were almost there with the code they chose.

"The code they have taken is the sort of thing you might do if you were starting a microprocessor up so it is kind of relevant," he said. "Somebody knew something."

Hacking film Swordfish features on his site, but the code producers used in the film was actually real code used to crack US encryption methods in the ’80s.

Hit TV show Dr Who has been called out though, with the code surrounding an image of a lightwave just being the source code needed to draw the lightwave.

The Social Network, a film about the creation of Facebook, was pretty much spot on though, with the coding all being real programming language.


This shot from Dr Who is just the source code from an IE webpage.


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