From: Josh Thomson
To: lara@knobbygirl.com
Subject: your latest review
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 12:41:58 -0700 (PDT)

First off: I’m glad to finally hear someone talk about Hackers in sensible terms. The characters in it are entertaining and the story catches your attention. People who want to pat themselves on the back for being intelligent and informed like to dicredit it as a film by nitpicking the details… problem is, they don’t really have their details straight.

Hacking with Macs is not only possible, there are hackers out there who would use no other computer to do so… and it’s been that way since the beginning. The ability to do hacking/cracking with a mac isn’t just a recent development with OS X. A computer is just a tool–a very versatile tool–and you can use any such tool you wish to do hacking/cracking, even a Commodore 64. Just because you don’t personally know how to get into the guts of an Apple computer does not mean that it cannot be done.

In a way, it’s kind of cool that there’s this “common knowledge” that Macs can’t be used to do hacking–machines that are underestimated are not accused of espionage, so it’s easier to get away with stuff. In the words of one of my favorite .sig files: The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they’ll be when you kill them.

The “Gibson” supercomputer was a hat-tip to the author who started the cyberpunk fiction movement back in the 1980s: William Gibson. They could have just said “Cray”… but this is movie-land so they can choose any name they wish, and they wanted to pay small homage to one of their literary heroes.

If you want to see a Cray in a movie, you can rent Sneakers. Unless you know what you’re looking for, you probably won’t recognize it in the office/art room of Cosmo (Ben Kingsley). It’s in a glass booth and it looks like an uncomfortable waiting-room couch. He and Robert Redford enter the small room it’s in to talk, because it’s the only place they can be sure is not bugged.

Um… yeah. I couldn’t *not* respond to your rant. 🙂 Besides, you defended a movie that a lot of people mock, and that’s why I like reading your reviews…they’re almost always different from most of the stuff that’s out there.

–Josh, Semantic Pedantic Tiki God