Elder Knight wrote:
I'm guessing that they're using a storage medium not even imagined in the 21st century -- but calling it "tape" for traditional reasons -- as if somehow, "tape" had become a general term for storage. Perhaps it was deemed the most reliable of all those slow, old types of storage.
Transferring data by handing off a cartridge rather than sending it along electronically is sometimes used for reasons of security. I suppose that's why Starfleet does it.
It's quite reasonable to assume today that there aren't actually tapes in there (in the Trek universe, not the props). However, I'm virtually certain that back in the day, the producers pictured tiny tape in them!
Tape storage was taking off in the 60s. Audio cassettes had come out for the public. The wide usage of floppy discs was just around the corner and no doubt designs were in the works while TOS was on the air.
The TOS microtapes seem like a logical combination of these things. Just not for the TOS timeframe. They were a pretty good prediction for using floppy discs and flash drives though.
The observations about data slates and the lack of networking (at least in some cases) are pretty interesting. This has been a fascinating look at the thoughts of that time. While you can predict how some of the technology that will develop, you clearly can't predict how everything will work together.