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old computers in Alien

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the coming

Apr-01-2012 10:50 AM

I was thinking about how timeless these movies look, except one of the giveaways is the old DOS based computers...then I tried in true geek tradition to try and explain why they are so simple I was thinking maybe the distances across the universe are so vast and turbulent, that data needs to be kept concise and minimal, so old DOS prompt interfaces are more favoured over high tech user interfaces, for sheer practicality Another explanation is maybe a war wiped out most of technology, leaving behind a mad max type civilisation of scraps..Mankind then tried to rebuild the technology they once had as the knowledge is there, however this was done in uneven steps, some technologies which were very advanced were rescued with band aid methods and stuff that has been recoded is reminiscent of the old dos systems

19 Responses to old computers in Alien

Prom_queen

Apr-01-2012 11:03 AM

That's bothered me, too, especially in light of the technology in Prometheus which supposedly happened before Alien. Obviously, Alien was high-tech in the 70s, but today for it to make sense as the future we have to come up with explanations as to why Nostromo is so outdated. Your explanations are as sound as any! I'll buy that.

TKfanboy421

Apr-01-2012 11:31 AM

Maybe the crew of the nostromo were just "space truckers" miners who were only afforded the most basic equipment needed to do their job-mine ore. (They were landing on unknown planets to mine and weren't even given weapons in case they ran into hostile beings) IMO

Necrofan

Apr-01-2012 11:36 AM

My thoughts exactly, TK. A next generation PC system may easily be able to exchange files and information too easily to be be viewed by miners. A DOS based PC system designed only for labor vessels for security reasons sounds accurate. A totally different OS, to keep the Company's secrets secret.

Burf McGlure

Apr-01-2012 12:09 PM

Precisely, many retail stores still use transaction systems from the late 80s. Also, considering the information surplus we have today, I would imagine computers in the future would cut out the fat and just provide pure information. Data storage in the future will be specific to simple data points that can be collated, especially when the data is coming from a blue-collar mining vessel like the Nostromo. Not only that, but a computer system like the one they use on the Nostromo wouldn't deplete the ship's energy reserve as quickly. Finally, the operating system they use, though simple, may be much more stable. Software these days is buggy as shit. Data coming from a science expedition, like the Prometheus, may be more complex. The "aesthetic" in which the information is presented could be dependent on the importance of the information itself.

Knorbuffel

Apr-01-2012 12:58 PM

Whatever. At my work (Alien), there's 10 year old Windows XP, MS Office 2003(!). 14 inch screens! Pentium 4 pc's! No WiFi at all. No 3G! No reception at all on our smartphones! Internet slow as hell. It's a black hole in terms of ICT. At home (Prometheus)? Windows 7, OS X Lion, etc. i5 and i7 processors! Network harddisks! Tablets, touch, drawing tablets! Cloud! WiFi! 27 inch screens! All the reception you need!

spacejockeyitch

Apr-01-2012 4:02 PM

Whenever I watch Alien, I just try to overlook the outdated tech that's in the movie. I let my mind just imagine that the screens are flat, the operating system is state of the art, that everything we see them use is even more advanced tech that what we have today. I just pretend. Alien still to me is all about the atmosphere, the tight camera shots, the suspense, the claustrophobic conditions. Those things always trump the outdated tech. Just saying, that's all.

dallas!dallas!

Apr-01-2012 4:13 PM

using old technology is one thing. Using technology that old is akin to a moving company using Model Ts to deliver your furniture. No, no rational explanation. It is from 1979 for SJs sake, give it some slack!

flexer

Apr-01-2012 5:22 PM

Nice topic here! When I last watched the Alien I actually thought that the old looking software used in Nostromo computers actually made more sense to have on board space ship then sophisticated interfaces we see in modern movies. All those crazy UI things we see in Hollywood movies are ridiculous. Have you ever seen MacOS or Win7 looking interface in air jet cockpit computer display? Or in a submarine? Do you think they can't actually place that stuff in there? Of course they can, but they don't because the more complex UI the higher chances that it fails at some point. And spaceships need to have the most reliable software possible so it makes perfect sense to use text based UI.

PRO II

Apr-01-2012 7:13 PM

Ridley wanted to project the computer images onto glass screens but couldn't due to the budget. I think a lot of what we're going to see in Prometheus is what he would have liked to do in Alien but couldn't..... take the shot of The Prometheus spinning into the planets axis in the trailer. That same shot was tried with The Nostromo and he couldn't achieve it properly. (computer tracking was still in its infancy.)

Preston

Apr-02-2012 3:12 AM

I'm not a fan of George Lucas's constant tinkering, but I think it might be good to go back and add some digital improvements such as a more realistic computer system.

Saladbowl

Apr-02-2012 10:26 AM

I would like it they just made the people in Prometheus look more 70es like and the tech along with it. They should have tried to copy the old tech and make it look slightly cooler - sort of like "Star Trek" with the old Enterprise.

Rasmm

Apr-08-2012 1:29 AM

How do we know Prometheus is really a prequel to Alien? Perhaps it takes place well after The alien series events and technology has since matured. Who other than the few Nostromo crew members and some of the first LV-426 colonists actually saw the SJ ship? Ridley may be trying to throw us off the scent by making Prometheus take place later and on a different planet - not LV-426. I think the recent Abrams Star Trek is a harder sell.... But if you are a true Sci-Fi fan and a Trekkie you have to suspend the disbelief reflex and enjoy the show!

Spartacus

Apr-08-2012 1:34 AM

Its been documented that it takes place 30+ years before the Birth of Ripley.

gritty

Apr-08-2012 4:27 PM

Ridley scott didn't have the cash to represent lcd screens with individually back projected animations like the ones in 2001... He did the best he could with what they had in 1978... He did a pretty fine job as well as he even reasoned that he could relate the ship to the basic displays you find on most warships as Nostromo was a decomissioned military vessel... Built for durability ... Dunno why people keep looking for answers in the franchise mythology as opposed to the practical challenges of making a film...

iadmireitspurity

Apr-20-2012 4:28 PM

in aviation , you can often find side by side very old aircraft used as freighter like the boeing 727 with 50 's 60's technology , old needle gauges , basic navigation instrument and autopilot , and models like airbus engineered in the early 80's WHICH feature state the art information systems ( lcd screen , "fly be wire" flight controls , fully automated flight management system , this make nostromo and prometheus technological differences more "plausible"

Not_my_intention

Apr-20-2012 4:38 PM

i don't need to talk about the avatar influence again, do i??? [img]http://images5.fanpop.com/image/user_images/3708000/i_am_zim-3708857_626_1386.png[/img]

NCC 1701

Apr-20-2012 5:09 PM

@42 ,,,,,You got the best answer SO far

Slipknot

Sep-19-2018 3:19 AM

I was in my teens the first time I saw Alien. Having just discovered girls and illicit activities (oh to be young again!) I can honestly say I did not pay too much attention to the computers in the movie. It did impress me as computers had yet to make their way into the average American household. I appreciate the movie now more than ever, it scared the he*l out of me the first time I saw it. I was a teen who had recently discovered girls, parties and all the other fun stuff that raging hormones get you into. Once in a great while I will have an Alien movie marathon and watch them all. I enjoy the older ones the most, life was much simpler as a younger person. Now I have laptops, smartphones, wi-fi and all kinds of fun stuff. But I find myself using it less and less as I grow older. I have never been much of a "tech" person though I am fascinated by it from time to time. Artificial intelligence I find extremely interesting but at the same time unsettling. Too many Terminator movies and conspiracy theory videos on YouTube I suppose. But my hope is that these great movies stick around for people to enjoy. Try not to science the s**t out of them and criticize them, just enjoy them for what they are.

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