Tech Tips for the Avengers, Who Have Never Seen a Computer

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Photo: Zade Rosenthal/Marvel

Like every other human being on the planet, I saw Captain America: Civil War this past weekend. It was great. The superpeople are at it again, punching and quipping — and Spider-Man was there. Very cool. Loved it.

As a technology blogger, though, something bothered me: The Avengers and their enemies — some of Earth’s most powerful and intelligent people/robots — are using incredibly outdated and inefficient workflows.

Look, I know. It’s easy to get attached to the tried-and-true. But technology has allowed teams of all kinds, good and evil, to make better use of their resources. Why aren’t the Avengers on Slack, for example? Has Tony Stark considered using the Scrum methodology to tackle difficult projects? Here are some tips — lifehacks, if you will — that the Avengers could make good use of.

(I’m going to spoil Civil War so, you know, heads up.)

Problem: Baron Zemo wants to show Iron Man a video of Bucky Barnes killing his parents. How can he quickly and easily share this video?

Baron Zemo’s Solution: Zemo frames Barnes by bombing the United Nations, setting in motion a plot that eventually drags Barnes, Iron Man, and Captain America to Siberia. Once the trio finds Zemo in Siberia, Zemo shows Tony Stark a video of Bucky killing Stark’s parents.

Select All’s Solution: Dropbox! Dropbox is free. You get two gigabytes gratis. Type “dropbox.com” into your web browser (one of them should be preinstalled on your computer) and sign up for an account. You can upload the file from your web browser or download the desktop program to sync files automatically.

That should be more than enough! Otherwise, put it on YouTube with “Unlisted” privacy settings. To reiterate, it’s free! Just email a hyperlink.

Here’s another, outside-the-box, solution: Do you need to show the video? Why not get a burner number from Google Voice or Skype and call Iron Man with the news that Bucky Barnes murdered his parents? Sometimes, nothing beats a person-to-person conversation.

Problem: Captain America wants to contact Iron Man while on the lam. How can he maintain security?

Captain America’s Solution: At the end of the movie, Steve Rogers contacts Iron Man by sending Tony Stark a burner flip phone and a handwritten note in a FedEx package.

Select All’s Solution: Unfortunately, a dinky flip phone from the year 2004 is not secure. The government is going to trace that thing in a second. And by introducing FedEx into the equation, you’re increasing the number of people in the chain of custody — and decreasing your security. So what’s a superhero on the run to do? It’s easy: Just download WhatsApp, which has end-to-end encryption, and make sure you both have message backup turned off. Alternately, set up a secure PGP key.

Problem: No one knows where Hulk and Thor are.

Iron Man’s Solution: Give up.

Select All’s Solution: While Tony Stark’s commitment to lightweight development models may have worked when the Avengers were a start-up, when an organization scales it can be difficult to keep track of what everyone’s up to. While some companies use employee-tracking software, we recommend a somewhat less heavy-handed approach. Why not get the Avengers into Slack, and use the popular workplace chat software to have regular check-ins with absent colleagues?

Tech Tips for the Avengers