Computer monitor follies

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That amazing, magical, incredible computer monitor. My favorite one is the user who insisted that her non-color-showing monitor was just “out of ink” and probably needed a new cartridge. I found the above via this page on TV Tropes whereon among other mistakes they complain about one scene in the new Doctor Who that drives me crazy — the part where, in the “Smith and Jones” episode, the Doctor starts looking for a “backup” drive by poking his sonic screwdriver thingie at the back of the monitor; and in fact, any episode that needs the computer to be controlled by his magic wand — I mean sonic screwdriver — will show him pointing it in the direction of the monitor, never at the actual CPU (which never seems to be attached anyway — the show follows common tv computer display rules by having every PC that isn’t a laptop seem to consist of a monitor and a keyboard, though once they showed the Martha character’s mother actually attaching her mouse to her computer, which however was a laptop and therefore should not actually need a mouse*). Anyway, I know this is only a television show full of impossible pretend “science” and such, but that’s no reason for the show’s creators to treat a scientific invention that has become a common and even mundane household tool with the same breeziness with which they treat concepts like time travel. Especially when they have the main character brag on every other episode about what a genius he is. (And especially when they have him say on the very next episode, “Gridlock,” that he is “brilliant with computers.”) I can handle little things like giant car-and-people-eating crabs, hauling an entire hospital of people to the moon, the poetry of Shakespeare being used by evil alien witches to destroy the Earth, etc., but the mundane mistakes pull me up short.

Oh, and speaking of that hospital, two things: 1) How did the electricity stay on? I can accept the forcefield holding in the air supply, but there was no explanation as to how all the lights stayed working — not to mention the MRI machine — after the connections to the Earth-side electrical grid were severed. And 2) there was no change in gravity after they were transported to the moon. Russell Davies (the show’s current guy in charge) is my age — he’s old enough to remember the moon landings and has probably seen the same footage of the astronauts jumping around like fluffballs in the moon’s much lighter gravity as I have. But when the hospital in this episode is rather violently transported to the moon, objects fall as swiftly to the floor, and people walk and run with just as much effort, as they do on Earth. Couldn’t they have written this in somehow? Then again, the Doctor’s standard handgrab-and-“run!” command to the girl wouldn’t have as much dramatic kick if followed by the rather comical slo-mo moonwalk that people in real life have to do on the moon. Not to mention the force needed to run on the moon in actuality would end up with the characters braining themselves on the ceiling. See, it’s bad to let me watch tv — I start thinking of things.

*Full Disclosure Update: my only working computer is a laptop, and I do happen to have a mouse attached to it. I find the little toggle thing on this IBM Thinkpad to be a bitch to maneuver, so I bought a little travel mouse. Which by the way fits my hand better than a normal mouse. But anyway, it’s just funny that the one time a tv show has a character use a mouse attached to a computer it happens to be the one model of computer that really doesn’t need a mouse.

5 Responses to “Computer monitor follies”

  1. Sigivald Says:

    Well, the power’s actually plausible.

    Hospitals commonly (always?) have backup generators, so that a more mundane power outage doesn’t cause people on ventilators to die, and the like. They typically even come on automatically and near-instantly, is my understanding.

  2. Andrea Harris Says:

    Hm, didn’t think of that. Though is being transported to the moon a “mundane power outage”? And would the generator work the same way on the moon… Yeah, I know, I should stop thinking.

    But the gravity thing and the computer monitor thing really bug me.

  3. kc (prairiecat) Says:

    I don’t watch the show, but when you remarked on there being a laptop with a mouse, I thought of our last duty station. We lived in a tiny old trailer, only “desk” area was the kitchen table. My Chief’s laptop was the only computer, & since I don’t like the touchpad thingy, I brought my mouse from home…which was a “laptop-sized” mouse, fit my hand SO much better than my cordless mouse. I was the only person I knew who used a mouse with a laptop, even when I took it out west with me in 2005. I wonder now whatever happened to it…

  4. Andrea Harris Says:

    I don’t have really small hands — they are middle-sized for female paws — but it’s amazing how much better my hand feels using this little “compact” mouse. I can even use the scroll wheel — I used to have to use a non-scroll-wheeled model because the standard size had the wheel positioned in such a way that I ended up with tendonitis from using in. (The spell check says that should be spelled “tendinitis” but that doesn’t look right. It’s “tendon,” isn’t it? Therefore…)

  5. McGehee Says:

    I keep a mouse in our laptop bag for the same reason Prairiecat uses that small mouse (mine is regular sized). Can’t stand the touchpad — plays havoc with my Minesweeper scores.

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