Doctor Who News dw-s7-dinosaurs-isa

Published on January 8th, 2014 | by Rebecca Crockett

You Know the Code the Doctor Was Reading in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship…?

We’ve all seen it.

The shot of the hero, or the bad guy (or the plucky sidekick) reading lines of computer code after “hacking” into someone’s computer for information. Even when that computer is supposed to be of alien origins that a human has never seen before, they always somehow manage to figure out just how to get into the system and find the information they need to do whatever it is they are trying to accomplish.

And all in the span of about 10 to 20 seconds.

Have you ever wondered just what it is that we, the viewer, are seeing on screen? Like this image, from Dinosaurs On A Spaceship -

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Turns out, what we are seeing is real code – but not anything likely to help our hero. (And what’s with that face Doc?)

In the case of the above image, what we are seeing is actually the SGV file for a light wave, readily available on Wikipedia.

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Even the episode of Doctor Who all about not trusting the wi-fi, The Bells Of St. John,  is loaded with shots of random bits of code including  Google analytics and commands to “connect if browser is IE”, among other things. (It’s unclear what the code in the image below actually is.)

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Thanks to the Tumblr called Movie Code, these images and more from a wide range of movie and television shows are being collected all in one place, thanks to its owner, John Graham-Cumming.

Lest you think all that code you see is just random nonsense, Graham-Cummings says that there are some films that do use real code, like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Tron. But often what you are seeing has nothing to do with whatever the show or movie is about, like using code from the video game Prince of Persia in an episode of the US television show Revolution.

Anyone out there know any computer code? I’m not very well versed in any kind of code (I only know the most basic HTML) but I think this is pretty neat. I love the little details that go into the making of movies and television. It makes me want to search out some other films that show a lot of computer use to find out just what all that code really is from!

(via Sploid)

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About the Author

Rebecca is new to the Who world, having only recently watched the entire new series in a span of 8 days. She is no stranger to sci-fi though, being a life long Trekkie and has vague memories of seeing the 4th Doctor on US television as a child. When not watching, reading, blogging, or talking about Doctor Who, she is a fan of pop culture and loves movies and books so much she has to keep a list of both so she doesn't forget any of them. She also likes to make attempts at various forms of art including photography and painting. Rebecca is currently working her way through as many classic serials and as many books related to the show that she can find and wishes she could have been with the Doctor and Amy when they met Van Gogh.




3 Responses to You Know the Code the Doctor Was Reading in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship…?

  1. iLikeTheUDK says:

    I know some HTML and BASIC, and currently learning Java. Know a tiny bit of C++, too. I found this article pretty interesting.

  2. veryalien says:

    The unidentified code appears to be JavaScript inside a CDATA tag, probably within a HTML or XML file. There’s not really enough for me to say what it could be doing, other than the words client and server….

  3. veryalien says:

    On further inspection it’s just as you already mentioned in your article, this is part of some JavaScipt calling google analytics functions. For example _trackpageview

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