Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Federation is Going to Hell

Flashback: September 23, 1995

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-4-11-51-pmLife was so much simpler then. Or was it? Not for the Star Trek Population of three or four quadrants. At the time, I had a friend in the US Foreign Service posted in some obscure country who wasn’t getting to see any of the new shows. There was NO video on the incipient Internet of course. He tried to get his hands on some episodes on VHS (tape), but was hopelessly lost with everything that was going on. So I summarized it for him:

“…By now you’ve probably got your hands on some Star Trek episodes. If not, I have most of the original series (which you probably don’t want), most of TNG. I don’t have much of Deep Space Nine, although I think there have been a few really good episodes on an otherwise dull series.

The new series, Voyager, which I’m not taping, is more like the original. A strong (woman) captain, a mixed crew, even a (black) Vulcan science officer. Lots of action. They’ve been flung out into the unexplored Delta quadrant and are making there way back to the Federation. If they don’t find a better way, it will take them 75 years to get back. At warp speed. Wow. (It might be wishful thinking on the part of the studio that interest in the series will last that long, but who knows?)

Meanwhile, back in the Federation, things are going to hell. Kirk came back from death in “the zone” (or whatever Guinan called it in the “Generations” movie) long enough to team up with Picard against Malcolm McDowell, who is so keen on getting that great high of “the zone” that he’ll kill 200 million people just to get there. Of course they bump Kirk off once and for all—so Paramount can get a new crew to kick around the full length universe. While the two Enterprise captains are trading quips, Riker, that boob, has lost the Enterprise D to a couple of troublesome Klingon sisters, ruling family wannabes, pirates basically (since the Klingon empire is pretty tight with the Federation ever since Kirk managed to get rid of Christopher Plummer in “the Undiscovered Country”). They have to destroy the Enterprise in every movie now. So they do, and well that’s most of the movie.

But wait, there’s more. The politics are just awful! On DS9 Commander Sisko has finally been promoted to Captain, and they’ve given him a battleship called the …oh hell…anyway, which was designed to battle the Borg (Who are no longer a threat since they were totally neuroticized by the virus planted in …, And the misguided leadership of Data’s brother Lore). To make things interesting, every now and then Sisko zips off into the Gamma quadrant to hassle the Dominion, the empire ruled by Odo’s people, the shapeshifters, and their batttle-bred drones, the Jem Hadar.

The Dominion in turn has infiltrated the Federation, and intend to take it over, and the Romulans and the Cardassians too. Speaking of the Cardassians, there’s a secret faction in that empire that is not satisfied with the treaty with the Federation (surprise!), and they’ve been making it difficult for the Federation colonists on the border. Since the Federation has provided virtually no support for the colonists, they have created their own rebel force, called the “Maki” (mach-ee), to protect themselves and force the Cardassians into open warfare that the Federation won’t be able to ignore.

Disgruntled Federation officers have joined the Maki ranks (literally), including Riker’s “brother” (Richard?) who was duplicated from Riker in a bizarre transporter incident, and that Bajoran bitch Ensign Roe, who humiliated Picard by defecting to the Maki while working for him undercover. In fact, the whole Voyager series began because the Federation asked the Voyager (on leave at DS9) to pop over to the Gamma quadrant and track down a Maki ship. Not such a great idea, as it turns out.

No sooner have they popped out of the wormhole, than they get into this nebula and are sucked by some whacko technology from the Gamma quadrant to the Delta quadrant. They find the Maki ship and capture the crew, and since they’re all “lost in space” (remember, we’re talking about a 75 year return trip!) they decide to team up and let the Maki rebels be part of the Voyager crew. (This obviously provides plenty of opportunities for conflict on the ship if they run out of other script ideas. In fact, they already lost one Maki member—another disloyal Bajoran bitch, of course—to some Delta quadrant villain race. The Voyager crew caught her in the act of trying to sell Federation technology, and she managed to escape to the villain’s ship. Think we’ll hear from her again? I’ll bet we do!)

So there you have it. As I say, the Federation is going all to hell. Pressure from the outside, and infiltration and defection from the inside.

Kirk must be rolling over in his grave—or pile of rocks and twisted metal as it were.

And that’s the way it was…

—TechWite

 

 

 

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“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks

 

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”—you connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your phone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998—What’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with USB connectors. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“) that spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there was no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing. We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-51-pmAirPods?
As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers will only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea again: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!

To The Whiners—If you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung. Just, make sure you also buy a fire extinguisher. 😎

—TechWite