Since a certain television show took to the airwaves in 1966, the name Enterprise has been synonymous with adventure and a variety of traditions, including a few hardly envisioned by the first to christen a vessel as such. Yet between the fictional and the historical, Enterprise has become an immense cultural touchstone — and for me, as an author of both science-fiction and alternate history, it raises an interesting question.
Category Archives: Technology
As I write this, the Twitter feed belonging to the Mars Curiosity rover has reported “feeling” the tug of Mars’ gravity and is just 34 hours away from touchdown. Of course, the rover isn’t Tweeting from 352 million miles away; that honor probably goes to NASA’s social media department (which is doing a fabulous job, by the way). But it’s pretty cool to think that this car-sized, man-made object is communicating with Earth from such a distance.
I’m a sci-fi/fantasy author, so as you can imagine, I’m rather excited about the Curiosity mission. The rover already makes a cameo appearance in The Daedalus Incident (as does the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), so I do hope it makes it there in one piece. I’d hate to edit out such an ambitious and exciting mission.
Let’s face it. I’m a geek. Lord of the Rings (books and films), Star Trek, Firefly…pick one and I will go to town. But I have a real soft spot in my heart for Star Wars. It was my first real experience with science fiction, at the tender age of five, and I’ve been hooked since. There’s no doubt that Star Wars had an influence on my book Spacebuckler — an epic tale in a fantastical setting that harkens back to the mythic hero’s journey.
I take pride in my fandom, and to that end, I decided to trick out the one thing I carry with me 99.9% of the time: my iPhone. And in the spirit of geeking out, I thought I’d share how I did it.
Back during the dot-com days, when I was covering Microsoft in Seattle for ABCNEWS.com and The Associated Press, there was one sure-fire way to get the Microsofties going during interviews — mention Steve Jobs and/or Apple. It was like winding up an old mechanical toy and watching it go. This worked particularly well on Steve Ballmer, I might add.
I’m not one to use the word visionary lightly, because I’ve seen it applied too many times to too many people who didn’t deserve it. But I think Steve qualifies. Now, let’s be clear. He didn’t cure disease or fight poverty. He was a sharp, shrewd businessman who wanted his company to succeed. But he was still a visionary when it came to figuring out how you and I should interact with our computers, our devices and our data.
And in doing so, he may very well have had the greatest impact on human evolution any single person could have in one lifetime. Continue reading