From Iron Man to Doctor Who, Hollywood and small screen sci-fi hits alike love to dazzle viewers by flashing up reams of high-speed computer code that seemingly only heroic hacker heroes can decipher. However, one blogger has found that these lines of code are often lifted from far more prosaic sources than the onscreen action would suggest.
John Graham-Cumming of MovieCode.tumblr.com has taken a closer look at the lines of code that appear in a number of popular shows and movies, and found that their roots lie in all manner of unlikely places. Iron Man's Jarvis HUD, it turns out, is displaying code for a LEGO computer, while the reboot code for a space station in Matt Damon's Elysium is torn straight from the pages of an Intel processor manual. Doctor Who's stars have even been noted to have dabbled with code lifted from the Wikipedia website.
For the most part, Graham-Cumming (a real-life programmer) has found that many times code used is so inaccurate as to be "silly". But sometimes a show or movie's producers make a good coding call -- criminal hacking movie Swordfish for instance featured real code used to crack US encryption methods in the 1980s.