The more time passes, the more I would like to see our future reflected in Corning’s old A Day Made of Glass videos.

It’s less something I view as necessary, so much as one I view as progress. We have all this frakking technology, why not use it?

There’s nothing wrong with having my tablet or a laminated recipe handy when I’m baking something, but wouldn’t it be nicer to just ask for my favourite cornbread recipe, and have it pop up on a surface near where I am preparing stuff?

One of the things that have changed over the past decade is how I view the future. Once upon a time, my vision likely had more in common with early Star Trek or Alien. After all, I was born in an era where having a VCR was pretty damned awesome sauce :P. Today, I rather think of the future looking more like The Next Generation or Prometheus–with interactive displays everywhere. Networking is already gone from pervasive to ubiquitous in my lifetime; I doubt most people in the first world can even get from their bed to their job without > 1 microchips being involved along the way. Today, many folks will pass that mark by the time their morning alarm chimes.

Something that I really do love about Corning’s old videos: is the attention to interface. See, I imagine by the time I’m old as heck, we’ll probably have stuff that looks more like the Enterprise-D: which had bloody interactive touch screens literally all over the place. But real software doesn’t tend to look like LCARS, the way real equipment tended to look like Kirk’s ship. As a UI, I think a lot of what we’ve seen on Star Trek is pretty bad from a getting real work done perspective, and that’s alright: it wasn’t made to be an interface that people used ever single day to do every single thing we will ever do with a computer. It was made to be an inspiring, and effective on screen graphic. Plus let’s be honest, the Okudas did a lot of really amazing work.

Cornings video on the other hand is riddled with software experiences that are so close to what we have now, that it makes it more plausible, more accessible. Much like how the physical controls of Jefferies’ Enterprise were very believable when my mother watched Star Trek back in the ’60s. By contrast, I look at LCARs, and I see a pictures of what could be. I doubt we would envision the future so easily without Okuda’s work, it’s just the software will be very different.

Watching Day of the Dove over a batch of popcorn, I kind of think this is one of the episode types that The Original Series did rather well.

The Enterprise is lured to a world where it seems a human colony has vanished without a trace, as a damaged Klingon battle cruiser perceives the Federation having attacked them in an act of war. Rapidly it devolves into a battle for control of the ship, and anything that could draw it to a swift conclusion is blotted out by an alien being pulling their collective strings.

Despite the rather swashbuckling nature of the original Star Trek, which was a rather apt nature if you recall popular TV from the period, Kirk and his crew still represent a fairly enlightened humanity. One that fortunately, many of today’s viewers likely have more in common with than our ancestors: who grew up watching Star Trek, and the world they lived in.

Settling in and watching Enterprise, S1E3 kind of tickles my nature.

Getting ready to board an obviously damaged, unresponsive vessel: Lt. Reed is inclined to break out the heavy rifles, and Capt. Archer surmises that the phrase pistols are sufficient. Considering the unknown situation aboard the other ship: it would make more sense to have Reed with a rifle, and keep the pistols for the rest: light enough to be non threatening if they encounter survivors, and more punch in case things go sour.

Issuing hand phasers and tricoders to away teams as a precaution is probably one of Star Fleet’s saner SOPs, given the wide range of situations Star Fleet personnel are exposed to. But heavy weapons are actually a pretty rare sight in Star Trek despite the amount of shooting that goes on. I don’t really think there were enough times rifles appeared in TOS to remember the 23rd century phaser rifle more than superficially. In the 24th century, it was largely due to the Borg threat and Dominion war that we really see the Type-IIIs. Actually, it’s kind of comforting that the next iteration made it into Voyager’s armories, lol. Not sure if any real figures were ever given for easier weapons, but the Federation Type-IIs popular in the 24th century probably had more destructive potential than anyone could hope to leverage at the longer distances found planet side.

By contrast the MACO unit attached to Enterprise after the Xindi incident is very abnormal by Star Trek norms. But I suppose even the precursors of the Federation eventually had to go down that route.

Start Trek: The Excelsior Is The Greatest Ship, Not The Enterprise

Personally, I’ve felt that the Excelsior class was a bit overrated, and the Miranda class much overworked. But I think this makes a good point.

The work horses of the fleet prior to Wolf 359 decimated Star Fleet, were mostly late 23rd century designs like the above and stop gaps on the way to later Enterprises. There’s actually a lot of good reasons for that, both in world and in terms of producing a television show back then.

Actually, when I think about it: the notion of giving Kirk an Excelsior class makes perfect sense. The NCC-2000 already had a Captain and crew by the time Scotty stuffed up the pipes, but presumably the design wouldn’t be going to waste and it takes time to build a star ship. Renaming another Constitution refit the Enterprise-A is more expeditious and political IMHO.

That said of all the starships to bear the name Enterprise, the A is my favorite.

Watching Star Trek: First Contact for the first time in a year or two, and I’m reminded that it’s probably the only great next generation film.

Compared to what went before, it’s also quite pleasing to the eye how the time and budget let them reimagine the ships for the big screen. I remember in one of the art books, the designer of the Enterprise-E has commented they had Cadillacs for starships, and he wanted to build a Porsche. Yep, I’d say he pulled it off, lol.

It’s also pretty great how Zefram Cochran and Lilly fits into things. Which also reminds me of a later comment from Archer, that suggested Cochran kinda shaped up to deal with history, except for that one time he got really, really drunk and started talking crazy 😀.