In advance of finally watching the second season finale of HBO‘s side-achingly funny “Silicon Valley” last night — I skipped the episodes as they originally aired but went back and binged it all in the last three days — I decided to take myself back to last year at this time and watch the season one finale, which finds bumbling entrepreneur Richard (Thomas Middleditch) re-writing the algorithm for his dead-to-rights file compression venture as his friends try to determine optimal tip-to-tip efficiency when, ahem, “manipulating data.” Watch the show and you’ll get what I mean, if you don’t already.
Toward the end of that season one finale, we see Richard presenting at TechCrunch Disrupt and attempting to use his lossless compression software to compress a 3-D video file, which we learned earlier that season is wildly difficult to do. He takes the drive containing the file, plugs it into his computer, runs his software, and… at 40 percent complete, the progress bar stops, the spinning beach ball of death shows its face, and the future of his venture, Pied Piper, hangs in the balance.
We see this all the time in movies, a literal progress bar inserted to ramp up tension and/or give us a graphical presentation of how the mission or task is progressing, whether fast or slow, successfully or not quite so. Funny enough, it just so happens Yahoo Movies has put together a supercut of several such scenes called “A Tribute to the Progress Bar“, which highlights various sequences in films such as Blackhat, Independence Day, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible among others. Perhaps next week we’ll get the hacker supercut I’m really itching for, people furiously typing away at keyboards, but until then, hopefully this suffices.
The supercut below features plenty of solid choices but I’m sad to report I didn’t catch any reference to one of the best uses of the progress bar in one of my favorite movies, Office Space, thought that could be because the scene I speak of doesn’t involve hacking, but since that reference was missing I’ve decided to attach a clip from that film below as well. Enjoy!
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