Look Like A Movie Hacker

On the old original Star Trek series, they bought some futuristic salt and pepper shakers to use on an episode. The problem is they didn’t look like salt and pepper shakers, so they used normal ones instead and turned the strange-looking ones into Dr. McCoy’s medical instruments. This demonstrates the value of looking like what you claim to be. So sure, you are a super skillful hacker, but if you are sitting in front of a normal looking computer desktop, how can anyone tell? After all, in the movies, hackers use exotic flashy user interfaces, right? Now thanks to eDEX-UI, you can look like a movie hacker if you use Windows, Linux, or the Mac.

As you might expect, the program isn’t very efficient or practical, but it does actually do something. In addition to a load of system information about the CPU and network, there’s a shell, a file manager, and an onscreen keyboard, too. The app uses Electron and — on Linux — AppImage, but for a toy program like this, that may not be a problem.

The program is based on an older program called DEX. As you might expect there are a lot of customization options, including multiple themes that you can load from the interface itself.

To add extra complex goodness, we tried running byobu, to make it look that much more alien. However, that interfered with the file manager integrating with the shell — depending on how you set it up, you may or may not have that problem. The onscreen keyboard shows what you are typing, so you probably shouldn’t type passwords while using this program.

Practical? No. But it might be just the thing to park on an unused computer to impress the boss when she visits. If you want practical system information on a screen, you might try something like cockpit. If you want our picks for the best hacking scenes in movies, you have to go back a few years.

33 thoughts on “Look Like A Movie Hacker

      1. whahhaaaaa…. how recognizable…

        Though I have to admit that I’m not sure what image I want people to have of me when I say I’m a programmer.
        The Hollywood style may look cool, but repels people because they are intimidated.
        The real style doesn’t look cool at all, looks boring and doesn’t appear to be complicated at all.

        So to be honest… it’s best not to tell people you are a programmer, so it doesn’t confuse them. So if someone should ask… I think i would say that I do import/export. Although Hollywood has created a wrong image about that too.
        I guess that the real problem is that life is a little bit boring…

      2. I think it depends on how hollywood you want to be, i tend to use dark themes with high contrast colours as it is a bit easier on my eyes for long coding sessions. For most people now a days a simple linux desktop can look hackerish as UI developers over at microsoft, google and apple are making changes for the sake of keeping their jobs. If your desktop doesnt look like what people have been trained to use then it can intimidate and scare them, this is because most people dont have any understanding of how an operating system functions beyond the user interface and UI people are making that gap larger and larger by the day. Its a shame really because a little bit of general knowledge would go a long way to reducing the proliferation of viruses and scams.

  1. “After all, in the movies, hackers use exotic flashy user interfaces, right?”

    Funny you say that. Playing EXAPUNKS and the interface is rather bland. Hacknet is about the same.

  2. I was going to complain that the background needs to be a fake CRT looking grid to really match early 2000s movies… But nope, he’s got a theme engine and everything so you can do that! Well done!

    I might actually use this. Not for real work because I prefer the GUI and I run too many electron apps using up my 8GB of ram as it is, but I’ve got some videos I’d like to make showing of some tools I’ve written, and this is not only cool but somewhat practical for demos because of the extra info.

  3. Download Rainmeter and you will find tons of skins to it + it’s very scriptable (I e.g. made script with vbs and Rainmeter skin to show me connected COM ports, so I don’t need to looks into hardware manager for the right COM port number every time) :P

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