How we see the future / missing the small stuff.

disclaimer: I have never been a Trekkie. Chalk it up to William Shatner. Bleggh!
disclamer 2: I am complaining about something that Trekkies have taken for granted for years.

I saw the latest Star Trek movie on blu ray this weekend and although I’ve never followed the series, I am fairly familiar with the cast and story lines of the movie. It’s my generation. (So is Star Wars and I liked that movies series much better than the Star Trek television show.) I’d like to state that I think this particular Star Trek film was excellently crafted from beginning to start. Technically, the special effects blew me away. I gotta say, I loved it.

There was an ongoing thing about recording where and when the particular character is in time where they flip open something and start with “Captain’s Log Star Date” … Well, you can click here to listen to it for blast of nostalgia.

There are plenty of sources out there about Star Trek and star dates. That’s not what this rant is about.

Here is what I am getting to.
In 1966 we envisioned space travel, beaming bodies from space ships to alien planets. Our space ships had photon cannons and various laser beams weapons. We saw a way to communicate with enemies where they might be able to stick their big face in the front window of the enterprise (Could you image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s face popping up in the oval office every time he took issue with us?) Wouldn’t that have annoyed Mr. “I won’t engage with him” Bush? (Quick detour, Star Wars had the holographic messages that had the quality of 1950’s TV. Why such a poor quality image if its intent is to communicate?)

What we did not envision and this is what my rant today is all about…

It the stuff that we couldn’t image in 1966. And it’s simple, we didn’t have computer files in the manner that Mr Roddenbery could have ever imagined. (Quick reference, first digital mainframe 1946 –ENIAC. Weighed 50 tons, 1,800 square feet, used 18,000 vacuum tubes?) Could the vision of punch cards and paper tape been so unsexy that Mr Roddenbery just dodged the whole subject?

It this simple junk that makes these futuristic movies seem dumb. Stuff that can’t be imagined.

How about a macro that puts the date in the header of a file as it’s opened. (Word in it’s earliest form could do this.) This same macro might grab the gps coordinates of the user based on planet or based on the space ship this person is from and insert them too. (Since we haven’t left the planet quite yet, I’ll point out that many inexpensive cameras do just that!) What else, could this have done. How about record the 360 visual view of where the person is standing at the moment? And who was reading these logs? Were they sync’d when the captain got near the server via some future wireless networking? And were they beamed to some server cloud for when the spaceship has some catastrophic disaster? (My laptop does that anytime it is home, sending system back ups to my dot-me account.)

So I when ask “Why is the captain rattling the date off in his record?” it strikes me as something that we couldn’t image back then.