RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 140,854
Posts: 5,474,412
Members: 25,043
Currently online: 488
Newest member: denver23

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Covenant
By: Michelle on Nov 22

Two Official Starships Collection Previews
By: T'Bonz on Nov 21

Saldana: Women Issues In Hollywood
By: T'Bonz on Nov 21

Shatner Book Kickstarter
By: T'Bonz on Nov 20

Trek Original Series Slippers
By: T'Bonz on Nov 19

Hemsworth Is Sexiest Man Alive
By: T'Bonz on Nov 19

Trek Business Card Cases
By: T'Bonz on Nov 17

February IDW Publishing Trek Comics
By: T'Bonz on Nov 17

Retro Review: The Siege of AR-558
By: Michelle on Nov 15

Trevco Full Bleed Uniform T-Shirts
By: T'Bonz on Nov 14


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 28 2014, 06:48 PM   #16
SchwEnt
Fleet Captain
 
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

There was an 80s TOS novel, I cannot recall the title, that offered an explanation.

Something along the lines of a starship being on the frontier, where no man has gone before, with no resupply port or repair base in range. The ship and crew were on their own and had to be able to dismantle, repair, refurbish, etc with only their own hands out in the field, as it were.

Slick interfaces and high tech was eschewed in favor of easily swappable, reliable, rugged, basic controls. Much as field gear today is military-rugged versus a fragile touch screen iProduct for home consumer use.

Does that sufficiently explain TOS retro tech?
SchwEnt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 07:00 PM   #17
Scout101
Admiral
 
Scout101's Avatar
 
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

A little of it, but not enough to bother with the convolutions required.

And the novel's explanation about Romulan War tech is dumber, IMO. If you don't want to network it, fine, but plenty of room between fancy controls and blinking lights/rocker switches. To imagine that you could control something as complicated as a starship with the setup shown in TOS is silly. But the best they could do in 1966, so it's ok. Even if you want to dumb down certain control areas, why would they do that in NON-control areas? Why dumb down sickbay, or the staterooms, or make the PADD look like a clipboard instead of an ipad? Rationalization falls apart once you start to apply it across the board...

I tend to skip over the attempts to rationalize the production budget (controls, klingon forehead, etc) in favor of just picturing things ALWAYS looking like the newest shown. Just the best we could depict it at the time, but whatever. makeup got better, great. Not a virus, Klingons just always looked like that. Imagine a retro LCARS, but TOS must have had more interface than blinking lights. It's ok...
__________________
Perhaps, if I am very lucky, the feeble efforts of my lifetime will someday be noticed and maybe, in some small way, they will be acknowledged as the greatest works of genius ever created by man. ~Jack Handey
STO: @JScout33
Scout101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 07:03 PM   #18
BMariner
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
There was an 80s TOS novel, I cannot recall the title, that offered an explanation.

Something along the lines of a starship being on the frontier, where no man has gone before, with no resupply port or repair base in range. The ship and crew were on their own and had to be able to dismantle, repair, refurbish, etc with only their own hands out in the field, as it were.

Slick interfaces and high tech was eschewed in favor of easily swappable, reliable, rugged, basic controls. Much as field gear today is military-rugged versus a fragile touch screen iProduct for home consumer use.

Does that sufficiently explain TOS retro tech?
I think so, especially because we see this idea in practice today. Check out a plane cockpit, for example. Even the newest planes are replete with analog controls, gauges, and minimally labeled switches. I know the Space Shuttle program was very dated, but even until the last mission NASA favored older, more robust tech on-board while Mission Control boasted iPads and retina flat screens. Most everything aboard the ISS is knobby and switchy. So this theory holds water, at least for the TOS TV run.
BMariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 08:43 PM   #19
Gotham Central
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Chicago, IL
View Gotham Central's Twitter Profile
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

There is also the argument that it was simply an aesthetic choice. Dax says as much in Trials and Tribbleations.
__________________
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia

Green Day
Gotham Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 08:48 PM   #20
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
Something along the lines of a starship being on the frontier, where no man has gone before, with no resupply port or repair base in range. The ship and crew were on their own and had to be able to dismantle, repair, refurbish, etc with only their own hands out in the field, as it were.

Slick interfaces and high tech was eschewed in favor of easily swappable, reliable, rugged, basic controls. Much as field gear today is military-rugged versus a fragile touch screen iProduct for home consumer use.

Does that sufficiently explain TOS retro tech?
Already "Where No Man Has Gone Before" illustrated the practical advantage of such simplicity: http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x...eforehd536.jpg

Then there is the issue of durability. Have the ship encounter a couple of gamma bursts you'd wanna make sure your equipment is adequately shielded and still functions later. I believe the field equipment could be drowned, dropped, fried and micro-waved yet still function later. Try this with some of our "toys" (actually - don't!).

Considering all the failure or malfunctions of the inertial dampers, I'd think throwing a physical switch is a better way to ensure you actually pushed the right button in a critical situation.

And do only Humans, Vulcans and Andorians handle starship control or would you like to make controls compatible so even a Tellarite (or a Gorn) could manage these?

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 10:25 PM   #21
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
View Maurice's Twitter Profile
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Blinking lights can tell you lots of stuff, or have people not looked at their cable modems and wifi routers lately?

__________________
* * *
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 28 2014, 10:34 PM   #22
BMariner
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Maurice wrote: View Post
Blinking lights can tell you lots of stuff, or have people not looked at their cable modems and wifi routers lately?
I apologize if you're kidding and I'm just not catching it. The blinking lights on my cable modem tell me if I've got a connection and if my wifi is on. They do not tell me the effective reach of my wifi, my upload speed, how many and what types of devices are connecting, what URLs are being visited via my network and by which devices, or my IP address. Sulu's blinking lights tell him a whole lot more than mine tell me!

Last edited by BMariner; January 28 2014 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Added snarky comment
BMariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 12:41 AM   #23
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

TOS wasn't so much hampered by imagination as it was by budget, resources and time. The transporter is the prime example of coming up with a more affordable solution to not having to land the entire ship, but also to get the characters into the story faster.

The show's designers were also hampered by their limits of perspective and extrapolation. There were developments in the years to decades to come they simply could not foresee. And this is true for any SF production be it film or television. LCD and LED readouts were still a few years in the future for the general public. Interactive displays (such as tablets and smartphones) were decades in the future. There was probably very little in existence at the time to give anyone but a genuine visionary any idea of what was to come. Mind you they did foresee flatscreen displays even if they figured it was still a version of the CRT. But in "Requiem For Methuselah" they did have an actual thin flatscreen display not far removed from what we might see commercially in the next few years.

TOS was smart in not over explaining their tech and hardware. To some extent that allowed it to age more gracefully since new rationalizations could be applied without really contradicting how we saw the tech used. I do find it amusing that TOS is credited with imagining the cellphone, but it's an inaccurate representation because the TOS communicator is definitely not a cellphone. A cellphone needs a supporting network infrastructure to work while a communicator is an independently operating transmitter/receiver (and possibly translator) with a range in tens of thousands of miles.

There's also the fact that I don't assume TOS reality is ours and that was illustrated right within the series itself given historical inconsistencies with our own history.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
Warped9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 02:55 AM   #24
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
View Maurice's Twitter Profile
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

BMariner wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
Blinking lights can tell you lots of stuff, or have people not looked at their cable modems and wifi routers lately?
I apologize if you're kidding and I'm just not catching it. The blinking lights on my cable modem tell me if I've got a connection and if my wifi is on. They do not tell me the effective reach of my wifi, my upload speed, how many and what types of devices are connecting, what URLs are being visited via my network and by which devices, or my IP address. Sulu's blinking lights tell him a whole lot more than mine tell me!
Then look at your mobile phone where the number of little bars tell you the signal strength. The fact is that there are lots of ways to represent information, and while little square indicator lights (many with labels we can't read on TV) may not be the best for all purposes, neither are they wholly inefficient or useless for some tasks.
__________________
* * *
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 03:15 AM   #25
CommishSleer
Fleet Captain
 
CommishSleer's Avatar
 
Location: CommishSleer
View CommishSleer's Twitter Profile
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

In 50 years from now we're probably going to laugh at the primitive touch screens.
CommishSleer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 05:21 AM   #26
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
View Maurice's Twitter Profile
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

^^^The "pictures under glass" paradigm.
__________________
* * *
“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 10:56 AM   #27
Push The Button
Captain
 
Push The Button's Avatar
 
Location: Smithfield, Rhode Island USA
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

BMariner wrote: View Post
BillJ, Gotham Central- I wasn't asking about the need for a plausible in-universe explanation, per se. I personally see no need for a klingon forehead type retcon on this. I also completely understand why they did what they did (budget, limited technological perspective, optics, etc.). This tech was really a black box for them.

I was just curious to see what, if anything, was out there-- especially given that, as Lance pointed out above, the 60's retro look is very much canon.

I also wonder how NuTrek would address this if they felt the need. Is the design of JJ Trek supposed to represent what TOS would have (or should have) looked like? Or did something take place resultant from the creation of the new timeline that propelled tech design from a 1960's focus to a late 2000's focus?

Again, not necessary. I get it. But speculation is fun.
The bridge of JJ's Enterprise looks like an Apple Store. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
__________________
Check the circuit!
Mr. Spock, The Cage
(The very first line of dialogue in the series)
Push The Button is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 02:09 PM   #28
Robert Comsol
Commodore
 
Robert Comsol's Avatar
 
Location: USS Berlin
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Mind you, they did foresee flatscreen displays even if they figured it was still a version of the CRT. But in "Requiem For Methuselah" they did have an actual thin flatscreen display not far removed from what we might see commercially in the next few years.
Much earlier, I'd say, already in "The Corbomite Maneuver".

Flat screens were still tiny in "The Conscience of the King".

Built into the wall in "Court-Martial" where we also saw a very large one (former main viewscreen of "pilot" Enterprise).

Later seasons featured flat screens in the transporter room in a couple of episodes.

Please notice that the former main viewscreen had an aspect ratio of 16:9. WOW! (and there we have an original TOS scene in its original and untrimmed 16:9 ratio ).

Bob
__________________
"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth" Jean-Luc Picard
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein
Robert Comsol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 03:27 PM   #29
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

There were a lot of Flatscreens in TOS, but most of them could have been rationalized as CRTs of varying size. But there were occasional examples of very thin flat displays.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
Warped9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29 2014, 03:49 PM   #30
BMariner
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: In-Universe Explanation for TOS Retro Tech

Warped9 wrote: View Post
TOS was smart in not over explaining their tech and hardware. To some extent that allowed it to age more gracefully since new rationalizations could be applied without really contradicting how we saw the tech used.
Agreed.

Warped9 wrote: View Post
I do find it amusing that TOS is credited with imagining the cellphone, but it's an inaccurate representation because the TOS communicator is definitely not a cellphone. A cellphone needs a supporting network infrastructure to work while a communicator is an independently operating transmitter/receiver (and possibly translator) with a range in tens of thousands of miles.
Yeah, saying Trek inspired the cell phone is a stretch, but comparing the modern smart phone with TOS's radio-based communicators isn't so much. Yes, supporting network is needed, but I can use the Voxer app on my (also radio-based) iPhone to communicate via voice, photo, or text with anybody on the planet with a connection to the Internet.

I regularly use my phone to stream NASA mission audio from the ISS and read twitter feeds from the astronauts themselves. Further, ISS astronauts use services such as Skype to experiment and communicate with loved ones on their phones on earth. So while I'd agree that crediting Trek with the inspiration for the modern cell phone is a stretch, what we got isn't too different, functionally, than the tech those 60's props portrayed.


Warped9 wrote: View Post
There's also the fact that I don't assume TOS reality is ours and that was illustrated right within the series itself given historical inconsistencies with our own history.
Although Gene Roddenberry saw Trek as taking place in our universe/timeline/reality, facts as they played out make it a lot easier for me to believe otherwise.
BMariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
duotronics, knobs, switches, tech, tos

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:27 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.