Last night, as Kit and I watched an episode of the original Star Trek, we encountered this scene of Doctor McCoy handing Spock what I would have to describe as a computer diskette (as Nurse Chapel, on the left, looks on). We’d been seeing this sort of thing in other episodes – the use of diskettes. The characters call them “cartridges,” or some such thing, but they are exactly like the computer diskettes we were all using a couple or more decades ago.

Diskettes in Space
They’ll still be valuable. Two centuries from now, space travelers will use plastic 3 1/4 ” inch computer diskettes.

Being a person who prides himself on being observant, I have surmised that mankind will return to this technology some day hence. Star Trek is set in the 23rd Century. What does it tell us about that future time? Well, Spock needed to get some of his medical records to sick bay. The Enterprise’s computers held this information. Did they simply dispatch the information electronically? No. They recorded it to the kind of 3 -and-1/4-inch diskettes you used to buy at Wal-Mart – the ones that came in a value-pack and were all different colors… red, blue, green, yellow. Spock walked these to the computer station where they were needed (can’t call it a “terminal” because in the future computers won’t talk to one another) and the job was done.

computer diskette
Sure, you remember them. These handy little objects hold 1.44 megabytes of storage.

Another thing that can be gleaned from Star Trek: in the future, there will be no wireless transfer of data. We will go back to desktop computers with monitors that are not flat screen. So… maybe our “outdated” technologies were not so outdated at all! Apparently, we will discover that what we thought were advances were sometimes just dead ends. The Future: a place where everything old is new again.

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