Oh, please. These movies never fail to make me start shouting at the screen, "come on!!".

Not only is it blatant product placement, but they often use fake widgets and totally disregard all computing concepts.

An outragous example of this is Independence Day, in which the star supposedly uploads a "virus" to an alien computer. Are we to suppose these aliens, totally isolated from human technology, are running Mac OS on a PowerPC with TCP/IP networking on all spacecraft? Or did this genius somehow find out alien machine code and API, and write a cross-compiler, network client, et cetera, all on his Macintosh?
Another movie where people do 133t h4x0r1Ng on a Macintosh is the Computer Science classic 'Hackers'. Not only does this movie have a complete disregard for:
  1. Computer Science Concepts
  2. The true uncool hideousness of most nerds
but it is immensely entertaining. Movies which fall into this category tend to provide endless hours of MST3K style fun.

Also see: Hackers the movie

How to do 31337 h4x0RiNg on a Macintosh PowerBook:

Step 1: Open "Apple Elite Hacking" in the Apple Extras folder on your Hard Disk.

Step 2: Enter the IP address here, or click Hack Previous Download Stream, to hack the last server that sent you data. Then press OK.

Step 3: Apple Elite Hacking will automatically determine which OS the hackee is running, and then will prompt you if you wish to proceed. Click OK to continue, or Quit to exit the program.

Step 4: The hackee computer is running "Debian Linux." If you press okay, Apple Elite Hacking will hack through any firewalls and give you full access to that computer, using simple translators to convert anything to the file types supported by the OS. Although Apple Elite Hacking is a very safe program, there is a rare chance that the hackee could make a counter-attack, that Apple Elite Hacking may be unable to stop. To proceed, click OK, to choose a different IP address, click Back, to exit the program, click Quit, if you need assistance, press the Help key on your keyboard or choose Elite Hacking Help from the Help menu.

Why macs makes it on to the screen more often

  • Windows, Linux and MacOS are examples of popular operating systems. They help you get the work done. On the movie set they could use actual operating systems too, but they don't. Instead they create movie oses and movie applications.
  • These applications don't actually run. They just give the audience an interpretation of what the actress is trying to accomplish with that particular computer-as clearly as possible.
  • When you create applications that don't actually run, it's not unlike painting a digital picture on a computer. You can run such a simple program (a slideshow program that shows such simple pictures) with any operating system, any type of computer.
  • Since directors aren't restricted to using a unix computer, or a Microsoft Windows computer. They worry about things we don't normally worry abuot. For example, we don't usually hold lengthy auditions for a salesperson. Because salesmanship and skills matters more than look. But to the director slideshows can be run on any computer. But looks are awkwardly important in your latest film--they make the slick slick. So the decision makers on the set are forced to find "model" computers. Computers that can act just as well, but look good.
  • Sets matter. We spend our lifes in offices, typing classes, and waiting in line. We rarely find ourselves walking through a million dollar bedroom set. But that's where most actors and actresses find themselves. The ratio of interesting place to hang out to not so interesting place to hang out is wonderfully high in a movie.
  • Even in reality, we know that in the boring places rarely do we find Macs. Macs are associated with advertising agencies, used by artists and directors and CNN reporters (In their every day life they want a computer to do one thing well. One that take care of everything else as much as possible. For a good decade Macs provided that service better than other operating systems.) But outside of that facinating world of glitz--macs are no where in our bedrooms. Macs don't make their way into most businesses.
  • But if much of the set in a movie have nothing to do with our boring bedrooms and offices--we can't blame them for putting the right kind of computers in the specific type of sets.
  • Each Mac made by Apple was designed by well known industrial engineers. Because Apple makes the entire machine and have total control over how third-party peripherals talk to Macs, Apple allow the industrial engineers and designers to go a little wacky--to have the okay to leave their creative mark. PCs can't do that because if you change the basic design too much--business who buy hardware from your corporation would be angry to find out that the usual interoperability expected from all PC peripherals just don't work at all inside your customized PC--forcing such customers to throw away expensive peripherals--or throw away the computer you sold them.
  • The same can be said for houses. Normal packaged homes won't be spending lots of time in our favorite movies because that boring familiarity leaves the movie dull. But boldly designed homes are interesting to our eyes. So when directors demand good looking houses, they are not about to try and save a few hundred dollars on the computer they'll use on the set--if it looks that much better they'll take it.
  • Movie softwares primarily must explain the situation well. But if the situation is futuristic--they must try to look slick too. This means the picture elements in those slide-shows must be very interest and fun to look at. There was a time (before Windows 95) when many people felt that barring any competition to Mac's easy-to-use computers--Macs were quite futuristic looking. Thus artists felt justified copying various traits and graphical elements of the Macintosh user interface when they are working to create their "movie OSes" or "movie applications".
  • Artists responsible for creating such "effects" have to use what graphic art tools are available to meet their contracts. Many of these tools were first made available on Macintosh computers from around 1987 to 1997. Sometimes these tools were available on a wide variety of operating systems, but for one reason or another artists didn't go out of their way to make critical art-related peripherals work with the popular and powerful Windows PCs or UNIX workstations. Much of this has changed starting in 1995.
  • Sometimes these tools have special quirks that encourages the artist to make the slideshow looking a little bit like a Macintosh Operating system-like "movie os" to save some time. But the important thing is.. the end product is still pretty much a slideshow. Slideshows of pictures and simple applications are easily made with tools like Macromedia Director, Macromedia Authorware, Hypercard etc. I have seen movies or series where they place a Mac-like "movie os" on a PC and play it! :-) Such inconsistencies results in much complaining (from the geeks) in a movie theater.
  • A kid could not care less in a heated discussion about why the huge city they live in doesn't have a Disney or host the Olympic. They will only notice the focal point--nothing else. No matter how big the city is that surrounds a Disney--or important statistically--you will not see it if it's not pretty, neat, interesting, and fun. We are talking about eye candy. Same thing with computers. Lots of times for every Macintosh we see in a modern movie--expect to realize that there's always thirty PCs in other scenes for the same movie. Macs are just that much more eye catching.

It has to be a Mac: People can accept giant alien spaceships coming down from the skies and killing everyone, 400 crack Stormtroopers missing everyone who is focal to the plot, and Rambo killing every communist in the world with a toothpick. Unfortunately people will NEVER be able to suspend disbelief enough to accept that a PC running Windows will not crash at the most crucial point in the film, right when the heroes need it to transmit the destruct codes or run the programme that saves the world.

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