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Wednesday, October 21, 2009 :::

C.S.I. B.S.!

I love shows like any of the bajillion incarnations of Law & Order or CSI because they require little attention or thought and if you miss ten in a row it won't make a lick of difference. But as anyone who has watched an episode of either of these shows with me can tell you, I can't stand how they misrepresent technology and computers. Cuz I'm a computer nerd. And computer nerds are fickle.

I especially hate it when they are doing things like searching databases for a fingerprint match and they show a computer screen flickering through a million different fingerprints looking for a visual match and scanning through all the possibilities. Why would the creator of that program even make a visual representation of the search? What possible benefit could there be to staring at a flickering screen as a hundred fingerprints flash by in the blink of an eye? You know how much work it would be to develop an interface like that? Why would they even bother? I'm positive that the majority of that kind of DNA/print-matching stuff happens behind the scenes, but I suppose that wouldn't make for dynamic television now, would it? But still, I make a point to annoy whoever is watching with me while I bitch about it.

The absolute worst is when they scan and zoom in on some small area of some low-res closed-circuit security tape and it's all crisp and clean and solves the case. There ain't a video enhancement program in the world that can pull that off. That's just not how digital video works. It drives me bonkers. So when somebody emailed me this the other day, I found solace in the fact that I wasn't the only one who could see through the lies:

I just wish I had thought of mocking it first, cuz I got better photoshopping skillz.

::: posted by dan at 5:40 PM :: [ link ] :: (6) comments Social Bookmark Button

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6 previous comments:

Hi Dan,

Long time reader, first time caller.

As a programmer myself, this stuff drives me nuts too. Like in Hackers when they "Hack the Gibson" and they're like flying through a 3D purple world, looking for files.

My favorite one ever was from an episode of Alias, when she snuck in and stuck a business card sized device on the computer monitor, which somehow accessed all his data and stole his passwords. That's right, through the monitor.

My wife works in genetics, and all the DNA testing stuff on CSI drives her equally crazy.

By OpenID erith1, at 9:12 PM  

I've seen Hackers a hundred times and I never understood that network visualization thing that looks like a city with towers and skyscrapers all glowly like a disco rave. Give me a break.

By Blogger dan, at 8:37 AM  

Try being a chemist, guys - you either cry or you take it as comedy. I fall on the comedy side but some of my friends are on the "cry" end of the spectrum because everyone at work just assumes you can do what CSI does in 1 quick montage!

By Blogger Benarie, at 11:03 AM  

I also don't understand why no one can ever use a mouse. Everything is apparently done from a command line, even the aforementioned magical video "enhancing" ability. I mean, what are they typing?

By Anonymous Court, at 1:37 AM  

Precisely why I don't watch those shows! And for every one of us, crying bull, there are 100 believers.

By Anonymous toddt, at 6:03 PM  

Anyone who watches these shows deserves to be annoyed by you. It makes me a little crazy that CSI is one of the top rated shows in the world - the WORLD! The "CSI Sucks Balls" group on FB made me feel a little better.

By Anonymous Sissy, at 5:02 PM  

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