Archive for July, 2012

Trekathon 452: Fair Trade (VOY)

July 31st, 2012

Neelix runs into an acquaintance from his criminal days.

For once a Neelix story that’s almost pretty good. He’s mainly there as a comic relief character, and so the stories about him also tend to the comic – not a strength of Star Trek usually. But by making the story about Neelix’s concerns about ceasing to be of use to Voyager it’s given a strong emotional core, making his actions almost seem reasonable.

Almost.

It just doesn’t make enough sense that he never goes to talk to the crew about what’s going on. And that makes it all pretty silly.

452 down, 285 to go.


Trekathon 451: The Darkness and the Light (DS9)

July 30th, 2012

Kira faces her past actions as her resistance cell is killed off one by one.

OK, it’s a bit of a return to earlier themes in terms of the consequences of the war. But I don’t mind so much when it’s done so well, and when we feel it has real consequences. It’s the first time that we’ve really seen that Kira was a terrorist, not just a freedom fighter. She did bad things, and has never really faced up to their consequences, until this.

But it’s all undermined a little by choosing to have the Cardassian assassin go all Se7en. It makes sense, but it’s a bit like trying to have two plots for the price of one. I’d have liked a little less mad, and a bit more angry. But it is justified within the story, and does allow for some nice closing scenes.

451 down, 286 to go.


Trekathon 450: Rapture (DS9)

July 29th, 2012

Sisko receives visions from the prophets following an accident.

This is an episode that deals with some very complex political and religious themes. Sisko’s role as the Emissary finally comes into conflict with his role as a Star Fleet captain. And my main complaint is that he switches from one to the other without any real struggle. I would have preferred to see, as we have before, some more resistance about the next step on his journey. Instead he jumps in without hesitation – it’s not a complete departure from what’s gone before, but I think that it’s not the best story they could have told.

All the parts are good, such as another appearance from the usually interesting Kai Winn. But because Sisko’s motivations go to a new place so quickly, it’s hard to follow along freely.

450 down, 287 to go.


Trekathon 449: Macrocosm (VOY)

July 28th, 2012

Janeway single-handedly saves the Enterprise from giant bugs.

There is one of the boldest sequences I’ve seen in Trek at the end of the first half of the episode, when Janeway is alone on screen for almost ten minutes, with hardly any spoken dialogue at all. It’s a long way outside the norm for TV, but it works really well. It gives a good sense of the situation. And then they ruin it with a flashback.

Urk, flashbacks. I hate flashbacks. I understand the desire to start with an exciting part of the story, and then go back to the setup. But it’s lazy writing, especially here where it would be about five minutes work to recut the episode into chronological order. (The one exception to this? I love a good Rashomon story).

Oh, and the science is incredibly stupid.

449 down, 288 to go.


Trekathon 448: The Q and the Grey (VOY)

July 27th, 2012

Q wants to end a civil war by having a baby with Janeway.

The idea of a civil war in the Q continuum is an interesting one. The idea of introducing a change such as reproduction as the solution works. But the execution just doesn’t bring things together. We’re told that what we see in the Continuum is only an imperfect projection of a more complex world. But we never get any sense at all that this is any different from a Holodeck adventure. It simply makes no sense at all that the Voyager crew could fight effectively. The previous Voyager visit at least made things feel a bit more ‘odd’.

Q is fun as always, and Suzie Plakson is always fun. But the overall structure just didn’t work very well.

448 down, 289 to go.


Solidoodle Day 0: Software setup

July 26th, 2012

My Solidoodle printer is nearly here, just waiting at the post office. So tonight is setting up the software and getting everything ready.

I followed the instructions provided for the Windows PC I’m installing this on. I’m putting the software onto my ‘big iron’ box, an i5 2600K with 8 gigs of memory and Windows 7.

A few notes from the Solidoodle instructions:

  • I had to skip straight to the Arduino guide to install the drivers (which I did using an Arduino Uno I already have).

  • When they say ‘use the 32 bit Python’ – LISTEN. Not seeing that cost me about half an hour of hassle getting the additional libraries installed.

  • The Solidoodle package is trivial to install. It took me a few minutes to work out how to run the main parts, as I was looking for an EXE. What you want are the pronterface.py and skeinforge.py files, though.

Finally, I installed a couple of other tools: ReplicatorG and Slic3r, to give me a few more options to play with.

Once the printer is here I’ll be going through the rest of the first setup and runs in painful, painful detail.