How Technology From Classic TV, Movies Can Teach Lessons to Today's IT

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-11-14
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Technology From Classic TV, Movies Can Teach Lessons to Today's IT
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    How Technology From Classic TV, Movies Can Teach Lessons to Today's IT

    By Darryl K. Taft
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    Knight Rider: Mobility
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    Knight Rider: Mobility

    Self-driving cars are predicted to be coming soon to a dealership near you, with such companies as Google toiling away at autonomous, smart vehicles. But the most well-known self-driving car is a jet black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from 1982—Michael Knight's talking, artificially intelligent sidekick KITT. It's one of the first pop culture TV examples of a future where tech would know no boundaries, and today the vision has largely come true. Like KITT, our tech-filled cars talk to us, give us directions and reminders, and, frequently, keep our kids entertained in the back seat. These are just a few examples to underscore that taking tech on the road has become the norm. This means that IT is supporting employees working in nearly any location, from the space station to oil rigs and any remote office.
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    Star Wars: Collaboration
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    Star Wars: Collaboration

    Thousands of years in the future, one of R2D2's most critical capabilities was the ability to display a hologram recording for Luke Skywalker and his companions. This feature fostered a sense of collaboration in the Star Wars series, and today's enterprises are also investing in the tools and tech that offer this same capability. For IT pros, the ability to remotely tap into a machine, use screen sharing to show the user what's being done and even invite in another tech into the same support session if need be (think of him as C3PO) are helping IT collaborate and fix systems faster.
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    Inspector Gadget: Anticipate Support
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    Inspector Gadget: Anticipate Support

    The indelible image of the goofy, haphazard inventor Inspector Gadget might bring back fond memories of Saturday morning cartoons (for the non-Millennial generations). But each week some of those new gadgets went awry, and it was back to the lab for the Inspector. The lesson for IT? In today's app-driven enterprises, developing and rolling out apps without embedded app support would be a major fail that sends IT back to the drawing board—but no one will be laughing at the delays and budget overruns.
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    Star Trek: Monitor Access
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    Star Trek: Monitor Access

    What's the best way to hide in plain sight? Star Trek showed us how cloaking devices could mask people and even entire starships, simply by enveloping them as if they weren't there. As some of the major data breaches have shown recently, hackers also like to hide in plain sight in the network. Whether it's leveraging unsecure remote access points or entering with stolen third-party credentials, businesses are effectively giving hackers a cloaking device to mask their illicit activities. Once inside, hackers can remain invisible for months at a time, and without the right tools, finding traces of them can be extremely difficult.
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    Austin Powers: Establish Permissions
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    Austin Powers: Establish Permissions

    Tech is only as good as the people behind it, and model IT employees aren't always easy to find. Like the Fembots, appearances can be deceiving—so enterprises shouldn't put blind faith in their IT staff. For many reasons, a seemingly trusted IT staffer could turn into an insider threat. Or, an inexperienced IT pro could unknowingly expose enterprise data. IT needs to protect against these threats by setting access permissions based upon experience and role, ensuring individual logins and passwords for every user, and immediately disabling access when an employee is no longer with the organization.
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    James Bond: Leverage the Coolest Tech
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    James Bond: Leverage the Coolest Tech

    Most James Bond movie watchers can appreciate the cool factor of the tech gadgets invented by Q. Obviously, as a spy who deals in deceit and subterfuge, Bond's ability to mask his identity was commonly and effectively used. Among the examples are a voice-changing device, fake fingerprints to gain access to secret evil lairs and a computerlike device that assembles a fake photo of any person. As any IT pro knows, security is a top concern, and while IT has to be vigilant and ready 100 percent of the time, a hacker only needs to be right once. They will constantly search for new tricks to manipulate their way into a business's network. Often, that means pretending to be a legitimate vendor using fake or stolen credentials, or simply trying commonly used passwords to access a network.
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    Terminator 2: The Human Factor
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    Terminator 2: The Human Factor

    Sometimes we all need a little extra muscle to take care of business. In Terminator 2, it was John Connor's turn to reap the benefits of a technological helping hand. Leveraging technology can be an immense advantage, and if an organization can't implement it effectively, the competition will. It's always a race to see who can create and roll out the latest, greatest, biggest, baddest tech, and no one understands this better than IT. However, human intelligence is often the deciding factor in victory, as the defeat of the T-1000 proved.
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    Transformers: Remain Vigilant
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    Transformers: Remain Vigilant

    Knowledge is power, and enterprises often must go to great lengths to protect it. Whether it's credit card data or Cybertronian symbols, someone is always after the goods. In the realm of IT, it's an ongoing battle between good and evil, and one that takes many shapes. Enterprise IT should treat every access point and system as essential to their survival, as there's usually "more than meets the eye" in the scope and scale of network security threats.
 

Technology is embedded in our workplaces, our homes and everything in between. We rely on our mobile phones to keep us connected to emails and text conversations. We rely on security cameras and sensors to keep us connected to a physical space, even when we can't be there ourselves. Some of us use wearables to track our daily movements and health habits. The nature of technology and its use are evolving. Whether it's larger screen sizes on mobile devices, Internet-connected devices in the home or your own personal flying drone, technology is always expanding to suit our tastes and needs we didn't realize we had. But it hasn't always been that way. In the past, we only saw cool, amazing or just plain entertaining technology in movies and on TV. In fact, many of the things at our fingertips today were portrayed in TV shows and movies as futuristic luxuries that were intangible. This slide show from enterprise remote support provider Bomgar provides a look back at some classic movie and TV technology that can teach today's IT pros what to do—and what not to do—when handling today's tech tools and their users.

 
 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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