I recently watched Cargo (2009), which turned out to be a pretty decent sci-fi film (sort of a cross between Silent Running, The Matrix and Alien). One thing I particularly enjoyed about the film, however, was that a key member of the spaceship’s crew was a system administrator (and a female sysadmin at that!). I liked the way this character was important to the plot, and I was amused by the way the filmmakers gently poked fun at the geeky nature of sysadmins.
It was also good that the user interface she was using was quite realistic, with text-filled windows apparently being directly affected by her typing. This was a nice change from the typically ridiculous Hollywood computer interface in which someone is frantically typing away but the typing is not echoed anywhere on the screen, and all you see is some pretty pictures that don’t seem to be related to anything that’s happening. I also loved the way that the sysadmin was seen as a powerful and helpful resource trying to get control of all the domineering, faceless technology which was running things in the film.
The only other film I can remember featuring a sysadmin was Jurassic Park (1993). In fact, I seem to remember reading that this was the first film ever to feature a system administrator. Unfortunately it’s not a film I’m hugely keen on, although as far as I can recall it also had a fairly realistic computer interface. I wonder what other films, if any, have system administrators in them?