07 Jan 2011 @ 4:31 AM 

Ok, now, to be fair, it was an OK show for the first while. Up until about the time they decided they needed all sorts of different cities where everybody happens to fit into a perfect role whereby each freaking story from nearly any other of the shows could simply be transplanted to another with names changed and nobody would be the wiser. Add to that the overly flashy effects like they just found the freaking effects toolbar in Adobe Premiere, and their insipid understanding of basic computer forensics (which is practically what the god-damned show is about) and you’ve got a recipe for WTF.

For example:


It’s just… WHERE TO BEGIN. When the hell did “this is real-time” translate into “creating a GUI interface” what the hell does the GUI have to do with it? or IPs? And what the hell, I would have never guess ANY of their machines ran Windows, they sure don’t look it. Why are the interfaces shown all god damned flashy and everything is green and when it searches for a suspect is always shows every single one it’s looking through, which increases the time it takes to do the search by a bajillion times, and of course with every one the interface draws all sorts of random gibberish that point out, say various bits of fingerprints, wether it’s authentic or not (as in wether those are key points to compare) is irrelevant, since the computer doesn’t need to draw the bloody thing to compare things. I mean, it’s neat in a “well at least they tried” sort of way, or it would be, if they tried. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some of their “fancy interfaces” that use some sort of weird garbely background. I swear there was one where the background was just a bunch of freaking 1’s and zeros. as if to say “hey, look, I’m a COMPUTER! see! ONES AND ZEROS! HAHA!”

Or that whole magical interface where they can enhance damn well anything… it’s “digital” right, that means it recorded everything, like some sort of star trek holotape or something. Which gives us examples like this

First, notice that at around 21 seconds they have decided to stop focussing on images and decided it was time to fire up Fruity Loops’ studio. What particular task music composition software could have in a investigators arsenal leaves me stymied.

And then…
And then this is the good bit
They MAGNIFY the REFLECTION off of the girls eye. I mean, seriously, were the writers on some sort of dopamine where every idea felt like a warm fluffy pillow of sanity when it was really a giant pile of nonsense spewed from a eternal geyser of improbability? particularly improbable would be doing this “enhancement” with Microsoft Word.

I’m friggin serious. The menubar says File,Edit,View,Format, Tools,Table,Help:

Warranted, it’s a bit hard to see it due to the low resolution, but I mean- compare it to this one- from my installed version of word. The toolbars are in a different place and I’ve customized some buttons, but damn near everything in their shot is present:

I mean… wow. Just look at it. It’s hard to consider that the toolbar ISN’T WORD, and considering the menu bar is most definitely word, even looking through the youtube drunk-o-vision of blurriness it’s hard to come up with alternate menu names that aren’t nonsense.

The nail in the coffin is the upper-right corner. When I first tried to read that bit of text, I thought maybe it said “I hear pokemon in fridges” which seemed a bit non-sequiter even for CSI, but It almost certainly is a bit from that  “Type here for help” widget that I have. Now, warranted, the toolbars are in a different configuration, but almost every button on there is a word menu. not counting the suspiciously covered up area on the left (what the hell? is that the TITLE BAR FROM A CHILD WINDOW leaving the client area of the MDI parent, I mean, grandma and grandpa are going to fall for this, and maybe the average person, but most people with a basic knowledge of computers will be able to take a second look and go “hey, wait a minute” which may be why they only show it for less then 2 seconds. Not counting that weirdly placed gradient title-bar mutant thing, we’ve got what appears to be a bunch of blank space… with splotches. It’s like somebody couldn’t be bothered to photoshop that part of the picture so they just tried to cover it up with a horseblanket that was cleaned with bleach and the parts where the bleach actually touched the fabric were splotchy and all that. The first two distinguishable buttons here are the… blue square and the purplish blue square. I get the feeling those might be the foreground and background color dropdowns that word has, with weird colours because they just cranked up the blue colour on everything and then cranked the saturation up to eleven. Protip: making a scene or interface cool does not mean using “cool” colours. The people that made that decision would try to make schools cooler by installing “cool blue” lights everywhere, completely misunderstanding the fact that it’s not really a literal concept. After that there is clearly the zoom dropdown, a weird deformed midget crapping on a shuffleboard court (although I think that may actually be my imagination making clever icons from the splotches there) then you have Bold, Italic, and Underline. Because I guess those appear in graphic editors (they do, but generally only when text is on the screen) then you have the font drop down, and the paragraph settings, which is pretty WTFy.

So, their magical super enhancement program is Microsoft Freaking word. Either that, or it has a suspicious lack of any image-related features. focussing instead on word processing type tasks. I have yet to see an image editor of any sort that has a “table” command, let alone a menubar that mirrors that of word. I mean, what the hell, they couldn’t even be bothered to actually make the program they were running or had photoshopped on the screen or into a video or whatever the hell they are doing there an actual image editor? I find that especially odd since it was MADE with an image editor exactly like the one they were trying to create, who the hell figured “eh, just throw in a menu” and figured word was a good choice?

Did I mention they MAGNIFY in on the girls FREAKING EYE. try doing that with your digital camera. And don’t try saying “well, clearly that’s an expensive security camera” because A:) it’s Black and white, so clearly it’s some sort of CCTV thing, and B: the max resolution of a standard NTSC signal is worse than the lick and a promise resolution that the Evil madman gives the superhero at the end of every movie before they are either thrown in a woodchipper or otherwise fiercely ignored or gored. I mean, with CCTV her eye is probably like 3 pixels. And the original image is clearly somewhat pixellated, so clearly it’s a bit shaky even to see details at normal resolution.

and did I mention that they do this with Microsoft word? I mean, keep that in mind. So first, she simply “magnifies it 100 times” like you know, taking a standard 320×200 resolution NTSC signal, fabricating millions of pixels worth of otherwise non-existant information out of thin air and creating a crystal clear digitally zoomed in image is just the type of thing they always do. And then they need to “reverse” the “image” they found inside the ladies 3-pixel wide eye. How many secret photographs are hiding on shiny materials on my videos? I sure hope the shiny gloss finish on my Toshiba L300 screen in my Satellite 440CDX review didn’t reveal my secret collection of midget centaur pornography. That would be embarassing. In any case, this is something CSI does TIME and FREAKING TIME again, and it got to a point where they didn’t even pretend they were doing any of it. A person standing looking at a screen could say “enhance her nipples” and it would use it’s x-ray vision to see through her clothes to reveal she had the stolen nipple ring that was found on the body of that drug dealer that they originally arrested in the first act. So anyway, they manage to get this “image” from the girls eye, somehow the lady (no idea what her name is, Let’s call her Kevin) knows exactly what the guy (hell if I know his name- Let’s call him Meg) means when he says “Reverse” Because there is certainly no ambiguity there, I mean, it’s not like it could mean Flipping horizontal, or vertical, or inverting the colours. So she chooses the command from a popup menu.

and it is the same as the one you get when you right-click a picture object in Microsoft Word! Is this your flashy method of tracking criminals? use basic image manipulation in a Word processor? Are we supposed to believe this? Is there a limit to the number of consecutive rhetorical questions a person can ask?

And then after they magically get that reflection (and somehow it doesn’t just flip but also get’s like super clear) Kevin (again, that’s the name I gave the hispanic woman here) says something.

“It’s not very high resolution”

Gee, you think so there Kevin? who would have guessed that blowing up a image more times then a blow-up doll at a bachelor party might actually make the pixels BIGGER. So of course that entire little piece of speech there is entirely redundant because she just draws a box around the thing she wants to enhance and POOF! the program automatically knows exactly what she wants to do and even has fancy transitional animations to zoom it in, to be honest the zoomed in picture looks like a picture of an Amoeba farting to me, but apparently this is a breakthrough to them (I don’t know the context in the episode, maybe they were looking for the zookeeper and he kept a circus filled with trained Amoeba’s, and then they go there and discover that the Amoeba for the finale, who just coincidentally happens to specialize in farting mysteriously vanished. That leads Kevin and Meg on a fantastical adventure with so many dovetails you’re convinced the producers had to sacrifice about 50 dozen birds just to make the bloody thing.)

Now, I certainly have absolutely no problem with mystery shows. And books. Sherlock Holmes is a pretty good even if he is a violin playing Heroin User. (Or was it cocaine? I can’t remember.) In fact, that makes it all the more awesome anyway. Sure there were a few plot holes but aside from that Sir Doyle clearly did at least a little research. In the case of CSI, a show that pretty much is supposed to show the role of computers in forensics investigations, decides instead go assume that all it’s viewers will buy any sort of colourful interface as if that is what they actually use is ridiculous. Show some respect, and stop throwing computer terms around as if you actually know what they mean, it’s just embarassing.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 23 May 2013 @ 11:33 AM

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 02 Sep 2010 @ 11:02 PM 


The word means something completely different today then it did 14 years ago. One can only guess that it started with some insipid journalist who had the shorthand skills of a gnat trying to wrap their barely lucid brains around concepts being described by a computer geek. Somehow they misquoted “cracker” to mean “hacker”, or, in the more likely case, they weren’t paying attention and they made it all up themselves.

of course, for some reason, everybody who didn’t know better latched into it like a barnacle onto a whale, and suddenly all the various news outlets were reporting “computer news” and using terrible metaphors to describe new technologies.

That is one complete media blow-up and misstatement of definitions that riles me quite a lot. I mean, when somebody dabbles in carpentry, they might “hack” together a cupboard. That’s EXACTLY what the word hack means, regardless of the context- a person who dabbles in programming might hack together a small program. It has nothing to do with what people seem to think it means, which would be breaking into other peoples PCs When did that definition come about? Burglars don’t “hack” into your house, they either pick the lock or use an open window or door. In the same vein, a person wouldn’t “hack” into a computer system, they would either crack the lock (password) or use an open door (vulnerability). Somehow, “hack” has now come up into the entirely new and unrelated definition that used to be “cracking”.

That being said, almost ANYTHING in the media even remotely related to computers is completely ridiculous, and they use so many literal devices that half the time any useful information is buried so deep in metaphor you may as well forget about it.

If you want to use similes and metaphors and synedoche and metonymy with reckless abandon, write a fucking poem. “a file is like a document on your desk” No, a file is like a fucking stream of bytes on a disk. a disk is nothing like a desk, the former is round and coated in magnetic material and data is stored by changing the orientation of magnetic particles whereas the latter is only good for screwing the secretary.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 02 Sep 2010 @ 11:12 PM

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 23 Dec 2009 @ 9:24 AM 

The scourge of the internet, really. Personally, I call them script kiddies. Essentially; they use other peoples scripts to “DoS” a website. A number of fine specimens can easily be found on youtube. For example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVfEoBPV4Nc. What makes this particular example even funnier is that they don’t even understand what is happening, AND they don’t understand why they are so stupid to even try.

Basically, there are two levels of “hacker” now, 99.9% of them are really just script kiddies, who can hardly even understand Batch files, let alone perl. They copy and use scripts (such as the posted youtube video’s kiddie) created by the 0.1%. What makes it all the more interesting is the 0.1% people often are unaware of their code being used this way.

In either case, a DoS attack is so simplistic to the very core that any cheap 20$ router at the local wal-mart can block it; and any sufficiently equipped server can deal with the extra load from a single PC quite easily.

In this particular example, the first web-site mr.kiddie tried was obviously set to reject constant HTTP get requests. I mean- it’s not too hard to mechanically filter out GET requests that come within, say, a second of each other for the same page, and even the most basic server software implements this.

What happened to the second, less developed (apparently) site simply doesn’t have basic safeguards in place, perhaps because they live in a optimistic world where teenagers go out and get jobs instead of sitting on their asses all afternoon trying to take credit for copy-pasting code from other sources in programming languages they only pretend to know in order to take down some site that nobody will miss for the 10 seconds they manage to bring it down, and then they get called to dinner, where their veteran father yells at them for being so god damned lazy and for not mowing the lawn, to which the “experienced hacker” responds, “you’ll be sorry, I’m gonna start the next M$, and you will be begging for dollaz from me pops” and then he get’s grounded.

The “hacker”… or more precisely, the “script kiddie” culture is really quite simple, much like the social structure of one-celled organisms. You have the fat hairy parameciums, and then you have everybody else. their interactions with one another generally involve using made up english words, like “pwned”, and of course replacing as many of the letter s with z’s in a desperate attempt to look cool. Additionally, conversations often just involve them making stuff up.

“Hey, dawg, I just haxxored Oracle, d00d”

“Oh yeah, well I’ve been buyin stuff off ebay for free using my l33t skills”

ad infinitum. Even early on it’s absurd; I mean, my grandmother could hack an Oracle server with two toothpicks and a ceramic bowl, it’s really that easy, Hell, my second cousins guinea pig was able to drop a few tables from one of their badly administered database servers, but that’s not the point.

You know what? I’ve spent a good 5 years trying to shrug this shit off but I’ve grown sick and tired of putting up with arrogant, know it all little shits whose knowledge could be summarized on the head of a pin. I’m SICK of hearing about how “talented” little Billy is, and then looking at the code only to mistakenly believe little billy designed his code to emulate that mysterious sack of mould in the back of my fridge. Why do I hate this so much? Do I need a really good reason to hate it? really? because honestly I think the problem damn near hates itself, in a manner of speaking.

To make things worse, not only is little Billy a arrogant little prick, but his own ego is fed by his own family members, “Oh, little billy is a genius! He found the file menu in Word, He’s gonna be the next bill gates!” No, Uncle Tom, Billy Didn’t find the fucking file menu, your just too retarded to see whats right in front of you. Do I get points for pointing out a lawn chair for you to sit in when your sitting in it? No, I don’t, and I really don’t think billy should be proud of himself for pointing out the obvious, instead he should feel pity for somebody so stupid they cannot understand a basic UI and then evangelize the person who comes to point out the obvious.

The problem with the entire thing is, either they “have it” or they don’t, and the longer they fester, with no real skills, seated on their high pedestal because they mistakenly believe that employers will come to them after they barely graduate from high school, because of that awesome space shooter program they made in Visual Basic 2.0 and released on a shoddy geocities web site. Is the  longer they don’t gain any skills whatsoever, and the higher the chances that they will be struck down, working as a custodian in their local elementary school. Having been forced to realize that they aren’t bloody geniuses, that copy-pasting other peoples code is plagiarism, not “leet skills” and that they really, really, really, have a lot more respect for their old schools custodian.

Another issue- and this applies globally to programmers,software developers and those that want to pretend they are one of those two, is that they mistakenly believe they have reached a “plateau of greatness” or skill; No programmer, no matter how much experience, cannot learn something new; and it’s far too common that you have people, fresh out of college, or high school, or whatever, that think that because they read the programmers guide included with Visual basic 2.0 that they can crank out AJAX applications; this simply is not the case. It’s not a plateau- it’s a group of infinitely rising mesas, and joy of programming comes from climbing those mesas, every once in a while looking back, and realizing just how far you’ve come; just remember to do one thing before you start feeling satisfied; look up, and realize just how far you have to go.

Posted By: BC_Programming
Last Edit: 23 Dec 2009 @ 09:24 AM

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