Roddenberry had the wisdom to realize that ‘advanced’ didn’t mean ‘more complicated.’ He actually wanted things to be much simpler. So we took that to mean that it was cleaner, better user interfaces, fewer buttons, fewer things to learn how to operate.

—Michael Okuda, Star Trek production designer, in Chris Foreman, “How Star Trek Artists Imagined the iPad… 23 Years Ago,” 2010.08.09

James Bond, backseat driver:

Apple iPhone Apps Store: Remote Control

Conducer culture: CafePressEtsyImageKind

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Stardate 2258.42… four uh, four, whatever. Acting Captain Spock has marooned me on Delta Vega, in what I believe is a violation of Security Protocol 49.09 governing the treatment of prisoners on-board a starship.

—James T. Kirk, personal log

Acting Captain’s Log, Stardate 2258.42. We have had no word from Captain Pike. I therefore classified him as a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero. Nero, who has destroyed my home planet and most of its 6 billion inhabitants. While the essence of our culture has been saved in the elders who now reside upon this ship, I estimate that only about 10,000 Vulcans have survived. I am now a member of an endangered species.


Suppose you’ve just been marooned on an ice planet. Or better (?) yet, your captain has been taken prisoner, your home planet and nearly every member of your race has been annihilated, and you’ve assumed command of one of the last remaining starships in the sector. Do you pause to post to your blog?

In Star Trek, Kirk and Spock do it all the time. Captain’s log, personal log, medical log… evidently Starfleet must drill the value of knowledge management into cadets’ heads as rigorously as warp mechanics and the Prime Directive. When Starfleet personnel pause mid-adventure to make a log entry, they aren’t just providing some director narrative cover; they are producing audio blogs that provide useful insights on organizational practices for future reference. Even the personal logs, which are not meant for anyone else’s eyes, serve as personal knowledge management, helping officers gather and organize their thoughts verbally to help them process the events that taking place, deal with their emotions, and conduct an internal dialogue that may help them reason their way towards solutions of their daily Kobayashi Marus.

But even the best-laid knowledge management plans can go awry. After all, how do you explain Kirk’s log files on the Khan incident not being available to the Reliant crew? Just one little hyperlink—or an improved SPARQL query—could have averted that whole nasty fracas over Genesis.