Why I Won’t See ‘Untraceable’ or What Code Doesn’t Do

The advertisements for ‘Untraceable’ are pretty exciting. Some sick schmuck kills his victims using a web site. The more people visit the site, the faster the victims die.

From movies.nytimes.com:

You may view “Untraceable,” as I do, as a repugnant example of the voyeurism it pretends to condemn. Or you may stand back and see it as a cleverly conceived, slickly executed genre movie that ranks somewhere between “Seven” and the “Saw” movies in sadistic ingenuity.

Here’s my issue though: the concept is fatally flawed from the get go. In short, all our heroine needs to do is yank the DNS entry for the site and the game is over.

I might let something like this slip if technology were more accurately represented on a regular basis, but it’s not.

Matthew Inman has nice round up of the top 10, What code DOESN’T do in real life (that it does in the movies):

From www.drivl.com:

10. Most code is not inherently cross platform
Remember in Independence Day when whatshisface-math-guy writes a virus that works on both his apple laptop AND an alien mothership? Bullshit!
If real life were like film I’d be able to port wordpress to my toaster using a cat5 cable and a bag of glitter.

Six Years Later

Patrick Smith is a commercial airline pilot and writes a section for the New York Times Blog called Jet Lagged: Navigating the Unfriendly Skies.
Here’s an excerpt from his latest article, The Airport Security Follies.

From jetlagged.blogs.nytimes.com:

Conventional wisdom says the [9/11] terrorists exploited a weakness in airport security by smuggling aboard box-cutters. What they actually exploited was a weakness in our mindset – a set of presumptions based on the decades-long track record of hijackings.

In years past, a takeover meant hostage negotiations and standoffs; crews were trained in the concept of “passive resistance.” All of that changed forever the instant American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the north tower. What weapons the 19 men possessed mattered little; the success of their plan relied fundamentally on the element of surprise. And in this respect, their scheme was all but guaranteed not to fail.

For several reasons – particularly the awareness of passengers and crew – just the opposite is true today. Any hijacker would face a planeload of angry and frightened people ready to fight back. Say what you want of terrorists, they cannot afford to waste time and resources on schemes with a high probability of failure. And thus the September 11th template is all but useless to potential hijackers.

The entire article is a great read. The TSA is easily one of the greatest failures of America in the 21st Century, perhaps even greater than the war in Iraq. I suppose it’s fitting then that the TSA is now tied with the IRS for least popular government agency in America.

via Photo Matt and BoingBoing