Just keep zooming -- the resolution never degrades.

On law and order last night they demonstrated the Infinite Scalability Principle of Surveillance Cameras on Television Shows.

They used a computer to zoom in on a photograph taken for a gymnasium identification card, and they found a figure lurking outside the gym! They then zoomed right in on this figure until they had a crystal clear image of the lurker (who did indeed turn out to be the murderer!)

That must be a pretty expensive camera they use for ID's in that gymnasium, what with having near-infinite resolution. Most identification card photographs just take grainy, warped ugly little photos. (Or is that what i really look like?) I bet their membership fees are near infinite too.

(continues... more about tech-mistakes on tv)

This is a common tech-mistake on tv. Surveillance cameras are the most frequent culprits:

IN order to search the database, they will invariably need to perform what I call a "Visual Search."

A Visual Search is where every record in the database scrolls over the screen while it is being compared. This is so spectacularly inefficient it could only have been invented by the television and movie industry.

Let's investiage the metrics of 'Visual Search'. I've done a quick simulation using a console application, and to get the sort of scrolling you usually see on these shows, you need to scroll about 40 records a second, no quicker. At a wild guess I'd say there are 300 million vehicles in the United States. On average you'd expect to find a match by scrolling through half of those, about 150 million records.

(Leon loads calc.exe and does a lot of diving by 60, 24, etc.)

That's about three months of scrolling. But very rarely do you see a little caption that says "Three Months Later".

Also, if you consider that you're transmitting every record of a nation-wide database to a client terminal, there's gonna be 'round-tripping' delays like you wouldn't believe.

You've got to expect to see the occasional scene like this:

And that's all I've got to say about television right now.


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