Sharpness

Stardate 19981214
The Star Trek World Tour (www.../startrek/worldtour.htm) passes Holland, with the emphasis on passes. For a moment the 'Messe Hall' in Düsseldorf, Germany is the centre of the universe. Intergalactic beings mingle with the earthly visitors. Especially the Klingon look real, just like TV.

'Real, just like TV', what a remarkable thought. Usually the TV tries to approach reality. Here it is the other way around. A real actor approaches TV. His uniform looks frightful. His lip synchronisation is truly perfect. You would swear that he really speaks German.

The displays show all kinds of artefacts. They are bounded to their own era. A communicator from the eighties look hopelessly outdated. Objects from 'Voyager' and 'the Next Generation' look more contemporary. It strikes me that all these object look more real back home on TV than they do in reality.

Enterprise Engineering At engineering two technicians are very busy to avert a catastrophe. They push all kinds of com panels. However, there is no real interaction between man and machine. The panels light up at random, no influence whatsoever from the technicians. The familiar bleeps are missing.

How does TV produce a more realistic image than reality? The resolution is awful. Pause a video and the vague images are shocking. The viewer is cheated by moving pictures and sound effects. TV is an illusion, a magic trick. (.../magic.html). The image is faster than the eye.

Will the Internet reach a wide audience without motion and sound? Will the couch potatoes go for the silent sharp motionless images from the computer world? To reach the general public the Internet will have to be much more attractive.

  • "Motion does it all" is a bit cynical explanation for the success of TV. The Internet will have to offer more moving pictures. Computer games are popular. Lara Croft (.../bbc.co.uk/...) is popular, party because she moves. The human eye asks for motion, not sharpness.
  • The control must get easier. A remote control is about the maximum level of complexity for a couch potatoe. Ceefax is too complex for most couch potatoes. Keybord and mouse never will get truly popular. The Star Trek computer sets an example, it just listens to spoken commands.
Science Fiction? No it isn't. The future is not so far away any more. For the time being the Internet response times will be less than perfect, but there are good alternatives. PCs are powerful enough to generate fast moving images. The general public does not have to wait any longer for user friendly software. SUN delivers JAVA components for speech recognition already (.../speech/...).

It took 20 years from captain's Kirk communicator till mobile phones. Popularisation of Internet won't take that long.

Live long and prosper (barbneal.com/.../spock13.wav), till next week.
Nut,