Media These Days

While watching the television series ‘Arrow’ I’m regularly confronted by Microsoft product placement. I supposed I wouldn’t be as perturbed, if the machines behaved in a normal fashion. All monitors are overlain with digitally reproduced estimations of an operating system. Everything beeps or boops, something I would like to point out, doesn’t actually happen. There’s a vast chasm between the way technology is presented to us in media, and the way it manifests physically. Are these television shows and movies intentionally set in a parallel universe? Pretending technology is magic may be more convenient, but I refuse to respect the hand waving and botched logic.

‘Hacking’ into various ‘databases’ is becoming a regularly deployed plot device on Arrow. Racks full of blinking lights are called a ‘mainframe’ and storage capacity is measured in ‘teraflops’ (a unit for measuring compute power, not amount of data stored). The faster one types, the easier it is to gain private or restricted information, never mind that these systems probably aren’t connected to the internet in the first place. Tablets store infinite amounts of data, and everything is instantly transferred to where it’s needed without data caps or overage charges.

I find myself increasingly annoyed when technology is treated as magic, and technological sounding jargon is spread liberally about dialogue. Too few people understand technology, and this saddens me. I imagine no one bothers,because understanding the things we use on a daily basis, isn’t necessary any more. The experience has to be made to work for the lowest common denominator, so as to expand market-share to profitable levels. Simply selling a phone or car that require time investment, won’t sell well.

I recently finished watching Iron Man 3. It’s an okay movie, very pretty, but special effects can only go so far. Product placement is rampant in this movie. There are non-stop references to Sun Microsystems, I’m sure they contributed a sizable amount of money to the production. Not to be out done, there are also products by HTC (pretty sure there was an HTC One used at some point) and Audi. Verizon’s FiOS branded fiber optic network even gets a nice big ad when the kid returns to his garage to find it has been ‘upgraded’.

I’m among a small group of people who are annoyed by this, and have nothing better to do than write about it on the internet for free.