If you write SW for a living, you know how painstaking it can be. The last thing you want to do is to code on the fly. Although I understand why Hollywood likes to depict hackers and other misfits as keyboard virtuosos, able to write a complex application in just a few seconds, it may give you a bad reference for the future. To make it simple, writing code is like writing an essay. With a lot more logic constraints that in an article and no credit given for vocabulary. Having this reference should make you more skeptical about what you see on screen. I’ve spotted a few new examples of such code Paganini. The first one is in the solid TV series Mr. Mercedes (2017 – created by David E. Kelley). This show is one of the few adaptations of Stephen King that doesn’t suck. As a side note, the other good and recent adaptation is The Outsider series (2020).

Back to Mr. Mercedes, and specifically to S1:E7 (Willow Lake). The cast is excellent, and for our topic, I would mention Brendan Gleeson (Bill Hodges), Justine Lupe (Holly Gibney), and Jharrel Jerome (Jerome Robinson). In short, Hodges tries to catch a psychopathic killer and needs to access one of the victim’s laptop. Unfortunately, Hodges is old school and doesn’t know squat about computers. He asks the help of Jerome, the cool kid that knows it all.

Except that Jerome doesn’t know there is a limit to the number of attempts you have to enter a valid password. That’s when Holly, a character with an odd introvert personality, saves the day and writes on the fly a C code to crack the password. She is so good that she adds debug logs. Hat off Holly, hat off!

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The second spotting happens in Homeland (20112020). It is not the first time we talk about this TV series here, which is in its last season. I don’t think that the show has jumped the shark yet, and Claire Danes (Carrie Mathison) and Mandy Patinkin (Saul Berenson) are taking us along the ride. In S8:E6 (Two Minutes), we can spot a shady wannabe spy writing teleconference security cracking code using some language I am not familiar with. It is likely nothing real, or he is in the early stage of his on the fly coding.

I must break the bad news Sinister Man, but Carrie left the embassy a long time ago. Code faster! So, if you want to code, be aware that it takes time, and what Hollywood shows us is very far from reality. Now, if you ask my opinion, I would definitively say that real coding is way more exciting.

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