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Old December 13 2012, 07:23 AM   #22
Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

In Space Seed, Khan asks for something to read. Kirk sticks a microtape in the viewer and says "Doctor McCoy will show you how to tie in to the library tapes."

That kind of sounds like the microtapes are more like software- One would have a reading program which accesses a computer elsewhere, and another has a program for realigning the sensors or whatever.
I'd take that more as "Here's a taste of what we have, and if you want more, you can tie in to all the tapes in the library".

Like they can't just send the data right to the other officer's screen?
Actually, I see this done a lot today with memory sticks. It was less common with floppy disks, because the process of uploading data to them was clumsier, but the point is that you prepare a package for your colleague, something he can (theoretically) carry with him wherever he goes. His workstation is but one of the places where the package travels with him.

Sure, you could prepare virtual packages in a "cloud" environment or whatever, and access them anywhere. But that's still too "cloudy" in the real world today - people I know are not comfortable with it, and yes, that does include them young whippersnappers. And it's actually very rarely that you get to properly access such virtual packages, due to software shortcomings and piss-poor connectivity and compatibility, whereas a memory stick basically always works.

Plus, anything that's virtual still has higher odds of getting misplaced, abraded at the edges, corrupted or stolen. That despite the existence of pockets-without-zippers, coffee mugs, and pets. Physical packages provide security, even if it's purely psychological.

Timo Saloniemi
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