TOS Microtapes: help me settle a debate!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Mr Awe, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    At the time, that monotone fit the general public's idea of a "robot" or "computer" voice -- even though ten years earlier, Forbidden Planet's Robby spoke fluent conversational English with normal inflection and pitch variation.

    (And 187 other languages along with their various dialects and sub-tongues!) :)
     
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    But...in this particular, same pilot they arrive at a "lithium cracking station" (Delta-Vega). One of the components in our (still) theoretical designs for fusion reactors is "cracked lithium".
    Thus it would appear that they were aware of fusion power unless it's a collossal coincidence. ;)

    Bob
     
  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    True story: Several years I edited a collection of classic 1950s sf stories by Pauline Ashwell. With Pauline's permission, we updated some of the more dated stuff regarding both computer hardware AND gender equality!

    At one point, in the one of the original stories, a computer fell over--and crushed two people! I can't remember how we fixed that, but we did.

    (I also changed bits of casual sexism like "the senators and their wives" to "the senators and their spouses" and so on.)

    Getting back OT, it can be a challenge sometimes to strike the right balance between what saw on TOS and our modern sense of how a sophisticated Starfleet computer system ought to work. Why exactly is that yeoman stumbling across the bridge in the middle of a space battle just to transfer a microtape from one station to another? :)
     
  4. Elder Knight

    Elder Knight Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Of course, magnetic tape was the state-of-the-art for data storage in the later 1960s, and tape in a tiny cartridge did seem like a dream of the future, so the writers went with that. But they spared themselves some embarassment, probably unwittingly, by not showing actual tape in side the device. We can now assume that it may be solid state or ions or bubbles or something, just called "tape" for traditional reasons.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    A server farm, I'd imagine if one or more of these racks fell over on two people it might kill them.

    Maybe the colorful squares aren't "tapes," but instead T.A.P.E.'s, a four letter acronym?

    :)
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Printing of circuits is not just a "still going strong" technology, but one where all-new techniques constantly emerge, and probably will keep on emerging for quite some time. The terminology is the same, but the techniques have virtually nothing in common: rather than print multilayer inorganic patterns layer by layer, etching in between, modern techniques may stamp complex organic structures or individual molecules into a readymade functional 3D pattern. And we speak of 3D printing today in rapid modeling techniques; replicators would quite plausibly count as "printing", too, and an unimaginably futuristic computer element would rightfully "still" be "printed"...

    ...Even if it still looks like classic 1950s electric components on a copper-and-resin board.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    If I remember correctly to pick up tapes to put these in the ship's flight recorder (e.g. "The Corbomite Maneuver", "Balance of Terror").

    I presume these square chips to consist of some extremely wheather-, temperature-, shock- and radiation resistant materials. Thus the scene in "The Doomsday Machine" with Commodore Decker chewing on the microtape squares might be a deliberate analogy to what's happening on the viewscreen: Just as he can't dent the planet killer with the ship's phasers his teeth will leave no marks whatsoever on these durable chip tapes. ;)

    Bob
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Now, that's what I would call 23rd Century progress :D

    [​IMG]http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x11hd/themenageriepart1hd112.jpg

    Bob
     
  9. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If TAS is canon, then "The Practical Joker" would seem to settle the question of what they are. When the computer starts giggling in the rec room, McCoy says the noise was probably just one of the sound effect tapes "rewinding."

    Ain't nothin' rewinds except a tape.
     
  10. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Uh, a spool of thread? THe line of a fishing reel? The cord of some vacuum cleaners?

    Heh, heh! Just being a wise-a$$. ;)

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  11. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    People, people, it's like Chevy Chase said about a certain product in the 70s ... "It's a desert topping AND a floor polish!"

    So that would mean green microtapes are velveeta AND people! (probably invented by somebody named Dairyman who worked for Feinberg.)

    (though the tapes themselves reminded me of a breakfast snack that I think was called Breakfast Squares. It came well after space food sticks, but I still stick them in the same category of 'pretty good for their time even though they have processed the hell out of them.')
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The mistake there is the assumption that if a show overall is canon, it means every tiny detail is absolutely binding. That's not true, since any long-running canon has bits that contradict or ignore earlier bits. Canon is something that applies in the aggregate, not on the detail level. There are going to be inconsistencies and mistakes in any long-running fictional creation, but canon is the pretense that it all fits together as a continuous whole -- a pretense that often requires ignoring or reinterpreting the bits that don't fit or don't make sense.

    Heck, there are major events in Trek canon that are ignored by later canon. What ST V established about the ease of traveling to the center of the galaxy has been consistently ignored and contradicted by later shows. What "The Alternative Factor" claimed about antimatter blatantly contradicted what "The Naked Time" had already established, and was completely ignored by all subsequent Trek canon. Same with the "faster than light, no left or right" claim in VGR's "Fury." So a canon can ignore entire episodes of a series without ignoring the series as a whole, or can ignore significant portions of an episode without ignoring the episode as a whole. A work of fiction is an exercise in pretending to begin with, so it's easy enough for later works of fiction to pretend that parts of an earlier work didn't happen after all, or that they happened differently than was pretended the first time. Fiction is capable of mistakes, but it's also capable of overwriting those mistakes rather than being trapped by them.

    The Roddenberry memo that called TAS's canon status into question ceased to be binding the day he died over 21 years ago. Since then, there have been numerous references to, if not the events of TAS besides "Yesteryear," at least concepts and elements from it. It's reasonable to conclude that it's as canonical as anything else -- i.e. that it happened on the whole, but that portions of it may have been inaccurate or apocryphal. Roddenberry himself saw TOS canon the same way. When fans asked him why the Klingons looked different in TMP than they had in the original show, he told them the Klingons had always looked that way and the show had just been unable to depict it correctly due to its limited makeup budget and technology. He saw the shows he made as an approximation of a hypothetical reality, one that was capable of error in the way it depicted the details of that reality. Which is probably a good way of looking at any canon.
     
  13. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Historical documents? ;)
     
  14. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Termite! :p
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    More or less. In his preface to his novelization of ST:TMP, he took on the persona of a 23rd-century writer-producer who'd dramatized the "real" adventures of the Enterprise crew, and he confessed that his fictionalized version had taken liberties with accuracy and realism.