Boldly going…

When I saw this app mentioned on the Guardian website I thought, oh that sounds like fun.

However in the end I was disappointed.

The Star Trek PADD app was the kind of app that for me would be ideal to show off the iPad. Anyone who has watched Star Trek will have seen Captain Picard use an iPad type device called the PADD. No evidence to prove it, but I suspect a few Apple engineers were inspired by it….

The Official Star Trek PADD (Personal Access Display Device) immerses fans in a rich interactive database of Star Trek information and images with an authentic reproduction of the LCARS style interface introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.

The PADD provides access to the official Star Trek database from of aliens, ships, places, technologies, and episode guide. The app includes a true reproduction of LCARS, the computer interface commonly used in Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets during the 24th century, and includes familiar computer sound effects and voice, making it enjoyable to everyone.

Features of the Star Trek PADD app include:

-Browse or search through official database of Star Trek television series information, including aliens, ships, places, technologies, and episode guide
-Rich, immersive LCARS graphical interface, introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation television series
-Authentic computer sound effects and voice
-Jump to related information through cross-links to other content
-Read the latest news from the Star Trek Facebook page and Star Trek Twitter feed
-Enjoy two self-running diagnostic modes with an overview schematic of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

The ability to have your own PADD, by running the Star Trek PADD was very appealing. I knew that all the content was available on the Star Trek website, so I knew I was paying £2.99 purely for the interface. That is quite a bit of money for an interface, but it is the same as a price of a cup of coffee from a high street coffee shop, I had hoped that the app would last longer than the coffee, but alas I was to be disappointed.

The LCARS interface wasn’t what I was expecting, lots of flashing bits and pieces. If my memory serves me rightly the LCARS on the television show wasn’t quite so annoying. The animated interface seems to be much more animated than on the television show. It certainly is flashing on and off a lot more than the website.

The PADD app seems to have a huge amount of content, though I am not surprised to read:

The official Star Trek PADD app database does not include all information within the Star Trek Universe. We will continue to update the database as information becomes available.

So some stuff is missing.

What did surprise me was the lack of video clips. There may be some in there, but I didn’t see any. The website has a fair few video clips, but as they are in a Flash format obviously don’t work on the iPad.

Overall I was disappointed with what should be an ideal app for the iPad, the content, though complete, failed to take advantage of the iPad platform, without video clips or animations, it is just a textual encyclopedia. Combined with the over animated LCARS interface, it was an app that didn’t work for me. I should have bought a coffee and accessed the Star Trek Wiki on my iPad instead.

Warp speed if you please Mr Sulu

According to the Guardian, there is a conference next week in which scientists will be discussing how best to achieve warp speed.

Captain Kirk and his crew may someday be followed on their travels across the universe at warp speed by the rest of us. If scientists meeting for a one-day international conference next week have their way, the starship Enterprise’s warp drive will no longer be the stuff of science fiction but a viable means of travelling vast distances at faster than the speed of light.