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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old December 12 2012, 10:19 PM   #16
22 Stars
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Squares of wood with a beveled edge.

http://www.yourprops.com/Microtapes-...rop-51957.html
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Old December 12 2012, 10:32 PM   #17
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

22 Stars wrote: View Post
Squares of wood with a beveled edge.

http://www.yourprops.com/Microtapes-...rop-51957.html
They look a lot like some blocks I played with as a kid.
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Old December 12 2012, 10:34 PM   #18
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I always wondered why we'd see somebody working at their console on the bridge, recording something on one of those tapes - then they get up, walk two feet across the bridge, and hand the tape to someone else at the very next station. Like they can't just send the data right to the other officer's screen?
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Old December 12 2012, 10:40 PM   #19
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

In "Doomsday Machine" Decker is sitting at the captain's chair and puts one to his mouth!

Every time i see it invokes: You don't know where that tape has been!
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Old December 12 2012, 11:32 PM   #20
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
Our own real-life computer tech has gone from vacuum tubes to paper punch cards to magnetic reels to optical discs to you name it.
In fact, punch cards were used for recording information as early as the 1880s, decades before the first electronic computers.
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Old December 13 2012, 12:03 AM   #21
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I always wondered why we'd see somebody working at their console on the bridge, recording something on one of those tapes - then they get up, walk two feet across the bridge, and hand the tape to someone else at the very next station. Like they can't just send the data right to the other officer's screen?
In reality, it's because that kind of computer networking wasn't anticipated at the time. In universe, let's say that Uhura delivered the tape to Spock manually because she wanted an excuse to flirt with him.
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Old December 13 2012, 07:23 AM   #22
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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.

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Old December 13 2012, 01:37 PM   #23
Robert Comsol
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
"Our own real-life computer tech has gone from vacuum tubes to paper punch cards to magnetic reels to optical discs to you name it. And that's only in decades."
You make it sound like optical discs are part of this progress / evolution which they are not necessarily.

It is my understanding that programs (e.g. DVD masters) are still being archived on digital tape because it is the more reliable medium with longevity.
And for films I've heard they are seriously considering (or already doing it) conserving it on conventional camera negatives because, again, it is the more reliable storage medium (but I'm sure Maxwell Everett could tell you more about these things).

So it's not over for digital tapes, yet.

Bob
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Old December 13 2012, 09:39 PM   #24
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

There's always the possibility that they're some other kind of storage medium but everyone just calls them "tapes" out of old habit, much as we may still speak of "taping" a show off TV, or for TV, when it's not really tape being used. (Like "dialing" a phone number when there's no dial.) That would, of course, require that tapes had been used fairly recently as a storage medium, which we would have to imagine being necessary for some science-fictional reason. But once you've done that, why assume they're not still using tapes?

We never really get to see if there's actual tape inside. That said, I very much like the idea that there is.
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Old December 13 2012, 09:50 PM   #25
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

There was no disk, floppy disk etc, terminology in pop culture at the time TOS was on. Everyone had seen computers with the big real to real tapes, so they just used the language of the day. When TNG was on we already had memory chips so isolinear optical chips wasn't so foreign.


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Old December 13 2012, 10:06 PM   #26
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

BoredShipCapt'n wrote: View Post
There's always the possibility that they're some other kind of storage medium but everyone just calls them "tapes" out of old habit, much as we may still speak of "taping" a show off TV, or for TV, when it's not really tape being used.
Well, yes, of course. I don't think anybody here is claiming that we believe there "actually" were tapes inside the cartridges. We're not pretending the Trek universe is real and trying to rationalize it; we're talking about the thinking of the people who lived in the 1960s and created a work of fiction called Star Trek. The point is that they assumed they would be actual tapes, because at the time they were writing these scripts, magnetic tape was the vanguard of computer technology.

You see the same shortsightedness about progress in a lot of science fiction. Read SF novels and stories from the '40s or '50s and you'll see the writers assuming that people thousands of years in the future will still use punch cards or wire recorders or microfilm, or that computers would always be vast, room-sized agglomerations of vacuum tubes. Aside from Murray Leinster's "A Logic Named Joe," which kind of predicted the Internet, most SF writers assumed that an entire country or planet would have a single, gigantic central computer that would act as an oracle granting answers to questions put into it, usually in punch card or magnetic tape form. They were generally as bad at predicting the advance of computer hardware as they were at predicting the advance of gender equality.

Although the problem isn't limited to that era. TNG predicted the tablet computer (the padd) and the flash drive (the isolinear chip), but it didn't predict wireless networking; people still carried padds or chips around physically to deliver data to each other. Nor did they predict that the functions of communicator, padd, and tricorder would end up being combined into a single device.
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Old December 13 2012, 11:43 PM   #27
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

^^^ That kind of thinking was behind much of the early spaceflight concepts. Man would be in space because he'd have to be on-site to swap out film canisters and magnetic reels and other manual labor duties regarding cameras and computers and sensors.

Technology swiftly became digital and automated and concurrently man frequented space much less often.
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Old December 13 2012, 11:52 PM   #28
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Christopher wrote: View Post
TNG predicted the tablet computer (the padd)
Didn't TOS do that with the wedged sided "clip boards?"

There are rec room/mess hall scenes where crew members are eating and looking at this device on the tabletop in front of them, making it at least some kind of e-reader.

And there are scenes where people would seem to be making entries into it with a stylus, but not just using it to write things down.

In "The Corbomite Maneuver," navigator Bailey was employing one of these boards to figure the cube's range and position (why he didn't use his console I don't know).

In "The Alternative Factor," Lt. Masters would look at a wall display, do something with her board, and then look back at the wall display again. Apparently using the board to effect some kind of change. A wireless control panel app?




Last edited by Merry Christmas; December 14 2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old December 14 2012, 01:26 AM   #29
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

cbspock wrote: View Post
There was no disk, floppy disk etc, terminology in pop culture at the time TOS was on. Everyone had seen computers with the big real to real tapes, so they just used the language of the day. When TNG was on we already had memory chips so isolinear optical chips wasn't so foreign.


-Chris
However, people who worked with mainframe computers in 1966 certainly knew of disks since the first commercial digital disk storage device was the IBM 350 which shipped in 1956 as part of the IBM 305 RAMAC computing system, 10 years before TOS premiered.

Gene Roddenberry may have been informed about mainframe computer disks by one of the technical advisers from the Rand Corporation that he spoke to back then too, but decided to use the more popular term "tape" instead for naming the "microtapes".

Excerpt below from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_drive
The first commercial digital disk storage device was the IBM 350 which shipped in 1956 as a part of the IBM 305 RAMAC computing system. The random-access, low-density storage of disks was developed to complement the already used sequential-access, high-density storage provided by tape drives using magnetic tape.

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Old December 14 2012, 01:36 AM   #30
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Re: TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Merry Christmas wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
TNG predicted the tablet computer (the padd)
Didn't TOS do that with the wedged sided "clip boards?"
Granted, and I thought of mentioning that, but it didn't fit the narrative I was constructing at that moment. And I think I've read that the people who developed tablet computers were inspired specifically by TNG's padds, even though those were inspired in turn by the "clipboards" (or data slates as they're called in the novels).
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