The Lite Side

The Parallel Universes of Mac Users and Star Trek Fans

- 2002.11.12

You've all thought it at one time or another. Mac geeks and Trekkers have things in common. If you ask me, Star Trek is the best indicator of the Mac's success - if Star Trek ever folds and the franchise closes its doors for good, the Mac is doomed.

You don't see the connection? You will after you read the Lite Side's

Parallel Universes of Mac Users
and Star Trek Fans

In the Star Trek universe, there are many different races in the Federation, drawn to membership for utilitarian or philosophical reasons. In the Mac universe, there are many different kinds of people drawn to the platform for utilitarian or philosophical reasons.

Mac users are a minority of computer users who stubbornly hang on to their computing platform of choice even though everyone else tells them they should have let go long ago. Star Trek fans are a minority of science fiction viewers who stubbornly hang on to their favorite franchise even though everyone else tells them it has been surpassed by any number of supernatural fight-fests long ago.

In the Star Trek universe, there are evil half-organic, half-mechanical beings called the Borg who want to take over the universe. Their "prime directive" is simple: Join them or be destroyed. In the Mac universe, there is an evil computing company (guess which one?) bent on assimilating every other company - and they are generally viewed as less trustworthy than they used to be. Nevertheless, their basic goal remains the same: Join them by being purchased or wait until you are driven out of business.

In the Mac universe, the floppy drive was abandoned as outmoded technology and replaced with wireless networking. In the Trek universe, the rocket was abandoned as outmoded technology and replaced with warp drive.

In the Trek universe, all the screens are touch-sensitive flat panels, except the ones you see in older, original series episodes. In the Mac universe, most of the screens are flat panels, and the ones that aren't are older, based on original-series models.

In the Mac universe, people line up whenever a new Apple Store opens, despite the stares and whispers of the people in the rest of the mall. In the Star Trek universe, fans line up whenever there is a convention, regardless of the stares and whispers of the unadorned who pass by on the street.Klingons

In the Star Trek universe, there are loud, annoying, lumpy-headed Klingons, who are tolerated even though they have bad social habits. In the Mac universe, there are loud, annoying, lumpy-headed rumormongers, who are tolerated even though they - well, I don't actually know about their social habits, so let that one go.

In the Mac universe, people get together once or twice a year and listen to a speaker (it's always the same guy in the black turtleneck, isn't it?) introduce new products and provide testimonials from people who are not there. In the Star Trek universe, people get together a few times a year and listen to a speaker (it's always that same guy with the New York accent, isn't it?) introduce new movies and episodes and provide bloopers from past episodes featuring people who are not there.Star Trek ship

In the Mac universe, computers have become more streamlined, laptops have changed several times, but the basic keyboard layout and menu bar (even in OS X) have remained the same. In the Trek universe, ships have changed, becoming more streamlined over the years, but the basic layout of saucer section with two warp nacelles has remained the same.

In the Trek universe, people talk to Macs, and the Macs don't understand what is being said. In the Mac Plus in Star TrekMac universe, people talk to PC users, and the PC users don't understand what is being said.

The connection should now be obvious. If you've ever been to a Macworld Expo and a Star Trek convention, the parallels are uncanny.

One way to test my theory would be to hold a Star Trek convention across the street from a Macworld Expo - double attendance for everyone!

If you're a Star Trek fan and not familiar with the Mac, browse the other articles here at Low End Mac. If you're a Mac fan and not familiar with Star Trek, browse TrekToday, startrek.com, and Hidden Frontier.

Live long and prosper!

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