Tag Archives: Star Trek

Stream “Trek”

The discerning pop-culture geek has so many video services to choose from these days, all without being yoked to a pricey cable TV subscription. Netflix and Hulu are the obvious big players here, with shows like Stranger Things or Marvel’s trio of  Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage on Netflix; Hulu’s got 10 seasons of Smallville and the upcoming original adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale among its nerd bait. Cable-free fans of Game of Thrones can now watch legally with the a la carte HBO Now streaming service, while Showtime has its own standalone streamer for those who only want to watch Homeland. Life is good.

But for Star Trek fans, there’s only one service if you want to see the entire television canon — including all 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series:  The CBS All Access streaming channel. Among tons of other CBS shows, the service hosts almost 700 episodes of Star Trek programs. That number will get higher soon because there’s another entry in the works.

Star Trek: Discovery is currently in production and will hopefully debut later this year (after slipping from January to May as possible arrival dates). For those who vaguely remember the announcement, the series will have a new ship, new characters and new missions, all firmly rooted within the established Star Trek Universe. The show is set about a decade before the events depicted in The Original Series and the season-long storyline reportedly revolves around “an incident and an event in Star Trek history that’s been talked about but never been explored.”

According to early reports, the new show focuses on Lieutenant Commander Rainsford, the Number One serving aboard the USS Discovery. She’s played by Sonequa Martin-Green, who many genre TV fans will recall from her work on Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time. James Frain, who played Ferdinand on Orphan Black, is in the cast as a younger version of Sarek, Spock’s father. You can’t have a Star Trek show without Klingons, and Chris Obi from Ghost in the Shell, Shazad Latif, (MI-5 and Black Mirror), and Mary Chieffo represent Team Bat’leth. And fans of Michelle Yeoh will get to see her in a recurring role as captain of the USS Shenzhou.

If you’re on the fence about plunking down either $6 or $10 a month for CBS All Access (prices varying based on limited or no commercials), you should be able to see the first episode for free when the series kicks off, as CBS plans to show it on its regular broadcast TV channels before switching over exclusively to the streaming service. The extra cost may be annoying, but some may find it a small price to pay for fresh new Star Trek stories.

PTJ 173 News: Heaving Las Vegas

If it’s early January, you know there’s going to be a warm blast of hot air coming from Nevada no matter what the actual weather forecast. Yes, it’s time for the Consumer Electronics Expo out in Las Vegas! The show is underway this week and the product announcements are popping out left and right. Creations like the OMbra, a $150 brassiere with fitness tracker tech built right inside have already snagged headlines. Wearables in general are a big trend this year, as are even more gadgets for your smart home. The Ford Motor Company is adding Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2017 models, newer, faster drones are on the way, virtual reality gear is finally here and many more products will be sporting a USB-C port in the future. Some journalists are finding this year’s crop of tech to be a tad underwhelming, though.

Bored with the current alphabet soup of 802.11 flavors? This week, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced 802.11ah, a new low-power, long-range variation that operates in the frequency bands below one gigahertz. It’s designed to work with smart home, connected car and fitness and medical wearables. This new Wi-Fi also comes with a trendy nickname: Wi-Fi HaLow. (Can Wi-Fi JLaw be next?)

win10Microsoft, ever so excited to get people moved off older versions of its operating systems, announced on one of its blogs this week that Windows 10 is now active on more than 200 million devices worldwide. Still, when it comes to computer adoption, Windows 10 hasn’t quite nudged the needle past 10 percent mark. Net Applications, which measures these things, reports that Windows 10 is now on 9.96 percent of machines out there. Windows 7 continues to lead the PC pack, nabbing just under 56 percent of usage. As one might have predicted, a Microsoft marketing exec is already expressing concern over Windows 7’s future and sounding that old “use it at your own risk” warning. Bloggers have called FUD Factory on that one and point out that Microsoft itself is supporting Windows 7 until 2020. (Oh, and Microsoft also found time over the holidays to release a new iOS called Microsoft Selfie designed to make your quick bits of photographic narcissism look better.)

Speaking of things that aren’t what they appear to be, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has tested out T-Mobile’s Binge On service. After the EEF looked a little deeper and found that T—Mobile was actually “optimizing” ALL video streams, even those from non-Binge On participants. The EFF is now calling ion the FCC to take a look into this service, which could be more accurately called Throttle On.

appleSome analysts are predicting a rough 2016 for Apple, citing a somewhat boring year of products in 2015 — the year that saw the Apple Watch, a revamped Apple TV and a great big iPad. Then again, remember that Apple has $206 billion in cash on hand and is expected to do $77 billion in sales this quarter. Apple does not care about you, analysts.

In the Department of Scary News, security blogger Brian Krebs has a recent post about how some companies don’t properly verify the identifies of their customers for things like password resets. He bolsters his argument with the story of how his own PayPal account got hacked.

Could a power outage in Ukraine last month have been the latest shot fired into the Internet of Things in the creeping cyberwar? Kalev Leetaru, a guest contributor over on the Forbes website seems to think so. He describes an incident that took place in late December where several cities in Western Ukraine lost power for about six hours and very sophisticated malware was found on the computer systems of the power company.

Twitter has plans for the first quarter of 2016 and is said to be working on a feature that gives users a 10,000 character limit for tweets, up from the current 140 characters. No specific launch date has been set and Twitter is not confirming anything. Some have already noticed that Direct Messages have a 10K character limit as well, so perhaps it’s not a totally new thing from inside Twitter HQ.

jarvisMark Zuckerberg, boss of Facebook, has some goals for the New Year. As stated on his own Facebook page, this year’s personal challenge is to build his own voice-controlled artificial intelligence powered software assistant to run his home. “You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man,” Mr. Zuckerberg writes. We’ll check back on this one at the end of the year.

Also in challenges, Dean Kamen’s FIRST organization is kicking off the year in robot-building. More than 350 New York City high school students are set to participate in the regional FIRST Robotics Competition next week in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the regional contest due for March at the Jacob K. Javits Center  (which New Yorkers can now get to easily by SUBWAY after all these years.)

floppyAnd finally, the DriveSavers company has been called upon by many to rescue digital data from crashed hard drives and other unfortunate incidents, and the engineering team there has now been credited with excavating text files from 200 old 5.25-inch floppy disks that belonged to the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Although DriveSavers said it got about 95 percent of the text back, one thing it couldn’t talk about was the content of the files, which was subject to privacy agreements with Roddenberry’s family. But let’s keep an eye out for some “recently discovered” Roddenberry scripts in the next new months.

PTJ 166 News: Finding Space

Microsoft is very disappointed in your behavior, people. The company once grandly promised unlimited OneDrive cloud storage to its Office 365 users — but is now taking it away because a few users got a little greedy and backed up more than 75 terabytes of data each to Microsoft’s servers. New, lesser data plans are on the way for everyone now. Microsoft is also leaning on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to hurry and just upgrade already to Windows 10. Windows Update is pushing out the new operating system as an automatic update that could sprout on your system, if your PC is configured to install certain types of updates on its own.

Social media companies had a busy week: Snapchat is the latest service to revise its privacy policy and then scramble to explain itself in the user backlash.  Instagram has started its own curated video feed to snag eyeballs; themed clips are hand-picked and available under the Explore tab. And Twitter is following Facebook and changing Favorites to Likes, with a heart replacing the star icon.

Activision Blizzard is acquiring King Digital Entertainment for $5.9 billion dollars. Call of Duty and Candy Crush are in it together now.

cod

Mozilla just released Version 42 of the Firefox browser and touts the new privacy and tracking protections built into it. (Don’t panic.)

If you get lousy 4G LTE reception with your T-Mobile device, the company has a way to make it up to you. Big Pink is offering 4G LTE CellSpot mini cell-towers to its customers.

Amazon is going from clicks to bricks and opening up its first physical bookstore in Seattle this week. But while Amazon is getting physical with the retail, several sources report that Google is ditching plans to open its own store in New York City. Rents in New York are rather impossible these days, you know.

smartreplyGoogle took to its blog this week to say, no, no, no, we are not killing of the Chrome OS in favor of Android for laptops. The company also announced a new Smart Reply feature that actually answers mail for you with one of three calculated responses. Google’s Project Wing — better known as its drone-based package-delivery service — is scheduled to launch in 2017. The announcement came as part of an air-traffic control convention being held in Washington. Project Wing (not to be confused with Project Loon) was revealed last year. And while we’re talking about drones, aerial tech company DJI has just announced a new embedded computer designed for drones. It’s called the Manifold and it runs on Ubuntu Linux. Go, penguin, go!

Fans of the Plex media server will be happy to know there’s now a free version of the software that now works with the latest Apple TV. You can find it in the Apple TV app store.

This week marks the 15th anniversary of astronaut occupation aboard the International Space Station. Time flies — and so do the shuttles and cargo craft keeping the ISS going.

stAnd finally, we knew it wouldn’t stay away forever, but now Star Trek is returning to television — but in a new way. Instead of exploring space through standard network or syndicated broadcasts, this new show will be shown on the $6-a-month CBS All Access service. Will enough Trekkers pile on board to let CBS give Netflix, Hulu and Amazon a run for their money in the original content department? We’ll find out in 2017 when the series leaves port. The Star Trek franchise celebrates its 50th birthday in 2016, having debuted back in 1966. Yes, Star Trek will soon be eligible to join the AARP — and that roadside assistance may come in handy when the timing belt snaps on one of the Enterprise’s  impulse engines out in the middle of nowhere.

PTJ 133 News: Legacies

It’s been a rough few weeks for geek fandom and its iconic actors. Harrison Ford continues to recover from this private plane crash last Thursday, which came less than a week after the death of Leonard Nimoy on February 27th. We here at Pop Tech Jam wish Mr. Ford a hyperdrive-quick recovery and send our condolences to Mr. Nimoy’s family.

Since Mr. Nimoy’s passing, tributes continue to pop up around the cultural landscape, including a nod at the end of last week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory and multiple Spock statues showing up in-world around the Star Trek Online game. And in a thoughtful essay over on The Guardian’s website, Jason Wilson writes how Trekker culture now rules the world, as it introduced a productive creativity into fandom that long pre-dated Facebook, Twitter or even the commercial Internet itself. Live long and prosper, indeed.

Now, in hardware news, Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy S6 family of phones has retailers excited. A report in The Korea Times notes that Samsung received 20 million pre-orders for the new phones from wireless carriers and retail stores around the world.

androidGoogle is pushing out Android 5.1 starting this week. Also curious explorers over at the Android Police site who were peeking into the code for Google Drive 2.2 claim to have found lines written into the program that shift the old auto photo backup feature of Google+ to Google Drive.

Hillary Clinton held a press conference this week to deal with the controversy surrounding the revelation last week that she was using a private email account to conduct government business during her tenure as Secretary of State. The reason? She said she just wanted to stick with one email account and one device. (Yeah, this flap isn’t closing any time soon.)

Wikimedia is among those suing the National Security Agency for its mass surveillance programs that violate protections built into the United States Constitution. In a separate security note, The Intercept site says it has documents detailing how the Central Intelligence Agency spent years trying to break the encryption used on Apple’s iOS devices.

In NASA news, the Dawn spacecraft became the first piece of human-made hardware to achieve orbit around a dwarf planet last Friday when the sprightly little probe began to circle Ceres. Go, Dawn, go!

Meanwhile, over on Mars, scientists hope the arm on the Curiosity Rover can get back to work after its built-in drill began to suffer from an intermittent short-circuit problem a few weeks ago. Engineers have been running diagnostic tests while the rover has been parked. Even though Curiosity hasn’t been rolling around the red planet wince late February, it’s still been taking scientific observations from its position and monitoring the Martian weather.

opportunityNASA’s other active Mars rover, the 11-year-old Opportunity, is working its mission to study the Martian terrain and has rolled more than 26 miles on its most recent quest to study unfamiliar rocks. Despite its advanced age, Opportunity is still knocking around and recently got a new version of its software installed remotely from the rover team back on Earth. It’s also scheduled for a little memory reformat in the near future as a maintenance procedure. May all our space explorers — factual and fictional — live on in our hearts and minds.

“Star Trek”-worthy Products from CES 2015

Those 170,000 captives and 3,600 exhibitors have finally escaped the 2.2 million square feet and unrelenting hype of the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show. Thousands of new products were introduced, demoed and otherwise bandied about. However, to prevent a mental core meltdown, here are just a few items from this year’s popular categories that can really make a Trekker stop and fantasize.

Virtual Reality

holodeckWe’re not in Holodeck territory yet, but Virtual Reality technology impressed some people at CES this year, while others griped that the offerings are still too passive. Oculus, now owned by Facebook, wowed attendees with a preview of the Crescent Bay prototype and its $200 Samsung Gear VR for the Galaxy Note 4. Another company, Razer, part of the Open-Source Virtual Reality ecosystem, has a $200 OSVR Hacker Dev Kit coming out this June for developers who want to dive into VR gaming. While it’s not quite a VR experience, Samsung also showed off the prototype of an 8K TV with a 110-inch screen and a 3D feature that didn’t require you to wear dorky glasses.

Big TVs

screenAs expected, CES 2015 had a ton of 4K Ultra High Definition TVs that would look right at home on the bridge of a starship so you could yell at pesky Romulans from the comfort of your captain’s chair. Samsung, for example, has blown by mere UHD and was showing off its fancy new SUHD TV sets, which offer more color, better contrast, curved panels and brighter displays than regular UHD TVs, all thanks to quantum dots, (or nanocrystals) that boost the image quality. But Samsung is not Boss of the Q-Dots, by any means — LG Electronics has its own quantum dot TVs and Sony brags of its Triluminos technology which is basically the same thing. High Dynamic Range video — which goes beyond what we all know from our smartphone camera apps — is coming to TVs full-force as well. Warner Brothers has a few movies coming out in Dolby Vision HDR and companies like Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony are have compatible hardware hardware.

Wearables

badgeNo universal translator or combadge yet, but everybody and their grandmother’s startup seemed to have a wearable fitness tracker or smartwatch on the CES show floor. And to go with the smart shirts we saw last tear, Sensoria also introduced sensor-filled Smart Socks for runners that monitor things like foot-landing and cadence. The initial bundle of socks, charger, mobile app and other gear is listed at $200.

3D Printers

replicattorIt’s not a full replicator and you can’t get a steaming cup when you bark “Tea! Earl Grey. Hot” into it, but the 3D Food Printer from XYZprinting or the Foodini from Natural Machines let you make three-dimensional shapes for things like cookies, pizza, pasta and other baked goods. Once you put in the ingredients and punch in the design of your food — which you can also load from a USB drive or the Web — the machine forms your edible item according to plan and outputs it. The next step is usually baking. The 3D Food Printer is expected later this year and will likely cost around $2000.  The Foodini, based in Europe, is expected to go into production this year and cost around $1,300. Just try not playing with your food.

Connected Devices

If you want that Picard-worthy hot Earl Grey tea, however, there’s always the  WiFi-enabled kettle from Smarter. It comes with a mobile app so you can start the kettle boiling remotely. And yes, you can yell “Make it so!” as you put the kettle on from afar.

earl

PTJ 121 News: The Hit List

The continuing saga of the Massive Sony Hack keeps churning. Earlier this week, Sony’s lawyers were telling media organizations to quit reporting on the content of the leaked data, saying the material is confidential information. Meanwhile, the Guardians of Peace hacking group has threatened theaters that show the film, even going so far as to reference the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. (The FBI is working on the case. ) As a result, Sony has now canceled the film’s December 25th theatrical release.

scalesIn other legal news, Sony is also getting sued by two former employees who claim the corporate IT department knew the company network was vulnerable and did nothing to shore it up, leading to the lost of personal data. And a jury in California found Apple not guilty in that antitrust lawsuit that claimed Apple was erasing music from competing online music stores from iPods that were sold between 2006 and 2009. Lack of  plaintiffs probably didn’t help the case.

While they may be foes in the marketplace, Apple, Verizon, Amazon, HP and other companies are rallying around Microsoft in a legal battle with the US government over data privacy. As reported on a Microsoft blog, ten “friend of the court” briefs were filed and signed by 28 leading technology and media companies, 35 leading computer scientists, and 23 trade associations and advocacy organizations. The briefs have been filed regarding the case about the government’s search warrant for customer data stored on servers in Ireland — and Microsoft not wanting to turn it over.

If you happen to be a T-Mobile user here in New York City, fasten your seatbelts. The company announced this week that it had flipped the switch on its new Wideband LTE service that gives a 50 percent boost in network speeds.  T-Mobile also announced it was going to allow its customers to rollover unused megabytes from their monthly service plans into a Data Stash for later use.

nesthermDispatches from Updateville: Foursquare has released a version of its mobile app just for the iPad. The new app will have an emphasis on vacation planning. The Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that Google is considering adding its own Buy Now button and a two-day shipping service so customers don’t have to go to a whole another page to complete the transaction. And if you have one of those Nest thermostats, you can now control it from your phone with the Google app for Android and iOS.

Just in case we didn’t have enough options, Bose Electronics might be getting into the streaming music business. According to the Hypebot blog, Bose currently has an ad seeking “a Senior User Experience Designer to work on prototyping Bose’s next generation streaming music platform and ecosystem of products.” Well, now.

skypetranslateFrom the translation circuit in the TARDIS to the Babel Fish of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to the Universal Translator of the Star Trek universe, the ability to instantly understand people speaking in different languages has been a popular element of science fiction, but Microsoft is working to make it be more of a reality. The company showed off a preview of its new Skype Translator this week. Microsoft is signing up volunteers for the preview program on the Skype site.  (Microsoft has also expanded the preview program for its new mobile app called Sway. )

Those of you with the Amazon Fire TV, HBO GO is coming your way — unless you get cable service from Comcast or Charter, which do not appear to be participating in the deal, so no GO for you.

aolcdThe Washington Post has a story up this week about the most popular websites every year since 1996.  Remember online life in 1996? There were only about 100,000 websites out there and Google.com hadn’t even been invented yet. People were getting online with their 28.8K or 33.6K dial-up modems, which meant we never complained about not being able to get FiOS because it didn’t exist yet.

And finally, speaking of Google, the company has published its annual Year in Search list with the Global Top Trending Searches of 2014:

The Massive Sony Hack didn’t crack the top ten here. But hey, with the way things are going for the company, there’s always next year.

We Never Want to Spoil the Fun

This week I go on a bit of a rant about the new entry in the Star Trek reboot, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”. Okay, maybe I go on a long, foaming at the mouth diatribe that contains spoilers about every major plot point of the movie. If you want to skip the spoilers jump ahead to the 9 minute and 10 second mark.

Apologies to those Jammers who have yet to peep the flick (which I actually quite enjoyed despite my concerns). My bad! Here are some bloopers from Star Trek: Classic…

Episode 49: Angry Gamers and Spies in the Skies

Roving correspondent Jocelyn Gonzales talks to filmmaker and author Anthony Artis about shooting movies on your smartphone and J.D. has a roundup of apps that will help you finish those home improvement projects. Also on the show, Pedro sets his phasers on stun and takes aim at the new Star Trek movie. In the news, Samsung prepares to unveil new Android and Windows phones; Google plans to use blimps and balloons to build wireless networks; Microsoft feeling heat over privacy concerns with their new XBox console; Yahoo continues their shopping spree; and a German railroad company plans to use drones to prevent vandalism.

Episode 48: YUMBLR! Famous

New to Doctor Who and don’t know what a K9 is? Feeling left out of the conversation when you and your Trekker friends get together? Well, don’t despair! J.D. will have you geeking out with the best of them. Also on the show, El Kaiser gives us his thoughts on Samsung’s newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4 and digs into movie box office numbers. In the news Yahoo buys Tumblr and starts handing out storage by the terabyte over at Flicker; Microsoft unveils their new gaming console and hopes it will be The One that rules them all; and more proof that Science rocks and it rocks the hardest!

Guides for the Perplexed

doctorsDoctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The mighty Star Trek franchise is not far behind, as almost 47 years have passed since it first beamed up on the television airwaves back in 1966. That’s a lot of history and backstory for these two shows, and some of it even pops into current episodes – just think of the recent Season 7 finale for the Doctor and characters from the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie. But let’s face it: long-running television shows have built up complex mythologies and continuities that can be hard to remember over the decades. And what if you came to the show late? How do you figure stuff out and find your way? (Like, who is this character and when did he first appear?)

So, with that in mind, here are a few sites to help fill in the backstory on some very popular parts of the entertainment universe.

Doctor Who
While the BBC One (and BBC America) official Web sites can be generally helpful for show news, recent events and even a beginner’s guide, visit the TARDIS Data Core Wiki if you really want to dig deep into collective Whovian history. The site compiles character backgrounds, plot points, actor bios and more, even incorporating material from minisode clips and other random bits. Looking for something specific? The search box invites you to “probe the data core!”

Star Trek
The official Star Trek site owned by CBS Studios has full episodes of the original TV series and all the spin-offs (including the animated adventures that first aired in 1973), as well as pages devoted to franchise news, events and trinkets to purchase. Roddenberry Entertainment runs the Trek Initiative wiki, which has its own video clips from the family archives and other exclusive material. Want to delve even deeper? Visit the Star Trek Memory Alpha wiki for more than 35,000 pages devoted to the total Trek universe.

Star Wars
The official Star Wars site has its own encyclopedia, online gaming portal and exclusive video clips, along with links to fan sites, the official Star Wars blog, a social-media roundup page, and of course, a shop where you can buy lots and lots of Star Wars stuff. Serious Star Wars scholars will want to check out (or even contribute to) the The Wookiepedia, a dedicated wiki with more than 103,000 pages.

Thanks to Wikia, fan-created wikis have popped up all over the Web for several other popular shows and entertainment properties, including:

Odds are, if a show has more than three dedicated fans, there’s probably a wiki on it out there somewhere. Can’t find a wiki out there for your favorite cult obsession, TV or otherwise? Start one yourself!