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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 955
 - posted October 16, 2012 18:08
I'm going to speak specifically of The Next Generation because it is my favorite Trek (and, as such, is the one I'm most familiar with).

*dons fire-retardant suit*

I recently had a revelation about Star Trek technology. What makes the technology on Star Trek seem so futuristic (and *still* seem futuristic even years after the production runs) isn't the triply-redundant main computer on the Enterprise, nor the PADD's that the staff use to submit reports, nor the LCARS touch-screen interface, nor is it the wireless network that connects the PADDs, computer terminals, and crew communicators all together. We have all of these technologies right now in some form or another and not too far removed from their roles on Trek.

The one thing, though, that makes all the technology on Star Trek continue to seem so futuristic is that it all *Just Works.* They never have to stop and pair a PADD to the main computer and enter a special code (ala bluetooth); the communicators only ever fail under the absolute most extreme circumstances (rather than, say, a rolling hillside causing your cell phone to lose it's tower); there are never any finicky software bugs; and the user interface is unified across devices and so intuitive that most people can just sit down and use it (aside from the Ferengi in that one episode where most of the bridge crew were turned into kids); and they never have to deal with file format issues (this means you, .docx!).

It's all so smooth, so seamless, and so easy to use. Do you think we'll ever get to that point with our tech where it just all works together without any tinker-y-ness? I hope so!
Member # 780
 - posted October 16, 2012 19:31
Talk to J. Ive in a few years. [Wink] I'm sure he believe they'll get there (or are there today).
(That is, if Apple doesn't melt down in the meantime.)

It's worth noting that the the ease of use is courtesy of it being fiction.
LCARS is structured as it is to have big splashy icons captured on video. It's not necessarily a good UI at all. And if you think about what Picard has ever had on his terminal, then it looks like messages are all plaintext, which while I support it, generally isn't favored by most people.

Member # 1659
 - posted October 16, 2012 19:48
Me thinks the totally best scene is when Scotty picks up a mouse and speaks into the mouse as a microphone.

Yes I just want things to work the way they are supposed to. I use sound cards with my ham radios, some or many computers do not have stereo inputs. This is a problem with Software Defined Radios. How ever there is a USB Dongle that will digitize a stereo input and put the data stream on the USB bus to the App. Now the price of these MISO Music In Sound Out devices is $1 to $15 dollars US and most of them have better frequency response than the high end PCI Sound Cards. I plugged one in last night while using DigiPup the App recognized the device and I was working PSK-31 after two menus.

They just work. We all want our stuff to just work, not be like that POS Android phone that the misses has.

Ah yes "Just Work" that's all we want.
Member # 170
 - posted October 17, 2012 21:05
I love Star Trek, but I'm going to play devil's advocate here.

How many times did they try to eject the warp core only to find the ejection system wasn't working?

If the PADDs were wireless, why did someone have to carry reports on them to the bridge and hand them to Picard?

Why was it so easy for every boarding party to grab control of the computer and lock the crew members out so often?

Considering how often crew members get thrown about, why do they not have seatbelts on the chairs? And why does so much of the bridge crew have to stand there without a chair?

Why do they have high voltage and no fuses in the control panels? Do they like getting showers of sparks to the face every time they get hit?

There are some serious issues with the tech in Star Trek.
Member # 780
 - posted October 17, 2012 23:20
Originally posted by GrumpySteen:

If the PADDs were wireless, why did someone have to carry reports on them to the bridge and hand them to Picard?

Oooh...good one! I guess the only easy answer would be that he's the captain, and it sort of helps him not deal with an overly clutter Inbox.

Considering how often crew members get thrown about, why do they not have seatbelts on the chairs? And why does so much of the bridge crew have to stand there without a chair?

A) Another good one! [Razz]
B) Clearly they read Lifehacker and know just how good 'standing desks' are. [Wink]
(Personally, I CBA to do a standing desk, though I do keep one console that way and find it's alright...but that room also has a really tall chair, so I can be lazy if I so desire.)

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