life imitates art (or: I don’t know much about brain scans, but I’ll help you fix your computer.)

Earlier today, I got an email from a Star Trek TNG cast member who will remain nameless. I've chosen the pseudonym Jonathan Frakes for the purposes of this post.

"Jonathan Frakes's" email had been compromised, and I'd gotten one of the things it sent out, so I pinged him and offered to help him fix it, if he needed assistance. "It turns out I still have a little Wesley Crusher in me," I typed. Then I thought for a moment and added, "…eww. That doesn't sound right at all."

I walked him through scanning and removing spyware and malware, mostly via text messages… which was hilarious to me, because my text message alert tone is the original Star Trek communicator sound.

It all ran smoothly, but "Frakes" was concerned about his CPU maxing out. "It's using all the power," he typed to me. Then, and I swear to whatever god you believe in that this is true, he followed that up with: "I'm givin it all I can, Captain!"

I typed back, "Okay. Run a level five diagnostic and emit an inverse neutrino pulse through the main navigational deflector."

A moment later "Jonathan Frakes" replied, "All done! It worked. Thanks for your help."

"Any time," I replied. Then I collapsed into a fit of giggles.

This was funny to me, because we're two Star Trek guys (with magnificent beards), making contextually-relevant Star Trek jokes with each other. More significantly, though, is that we did this using handheld computers which were inspired by the show we were on twenty-five years ago.

Finally, in a nice, poetic bit of closing the circle: twenty-five years ago, I helped Patrick Stewart set up his first Mac II computer. It was an incredible technological marvel, that blew me away… and it didn't have a fraction of the computing power or memory of my four-and-half ounce smart phone.

I love living in the future.

74 thoughts on “life imitates art (or: I don’t know much about brain scans, but I’ll help you fix your computer.)”

  1. You have convinced me to download the Communicator app.
    I realized the other day that when my youngest daughter (Happy Birthday on Pi Day, Gillian!) turns 21, it will be the year 2032. Which is not even The Future anymore, but the future where it’s been the future for so long that it’s just the present, and wasn’t it cute that her parents were so excited about an 8×10 piece of plastic that required hands for its operation.

  2. I have been wanting something like that for years! Seriously, it shouldn’t be too difficult…. I even have a comm badge pin I could use as a starting point! :-p

  3. I just read this to my OH (while laughing myself) & when I got to “which was hilarious to me, because my text message alert tone is the original Star Trek communicator sound.” – he stopped me & said “I want that! We need to find it!”

  4. Unfortunately, since I have the Motorola R2D2 Droid, I feel compelled to use the R2 sounds for my text alerts. But I do have the communicator and tricorder apps, and the PADD app on my iPad.

  5. Wow, that’s almost too meta for me!
    Wait, I thought we just had to reverse the polarities? Must be using an outdated manual.
    Only one problem living here in the future…I want my flying car!

  6. This post rings true for me, because I’m constantly amazed at how fast our technology advances. I happened across your blog from the Bloggess and I really like it. I had no idea that you were even a blogger, so yay for me I guess. I’m amazed at how before September, I had never read a blog, but since I’ve started my own, I’m finding amazing, new blogs every week.
    You can check mine out at , but beware, there is often foul language and potty humour.

  7. If only you had access to the analytics data for Star Trek sound downloads, you could see the collective geek-out you inspired. :)

  8. Wil,
    I just laughed so hard I almost cried. But can you imagine how much I envy you for being able to write “I helped Patrick Stewart set up his first Mac II computer”? I always wanted one of these Think Geek shirts saying “No, I won’t fix your computer”, but it would be so much more fun to create a shirt saying “No, I won’t fix your computer. Unless you’re Patrick Stewart.” And be able to wear it because you actually DID help Patrick Stewart fix his computer…

  9. This post has made me exceedingly happy! I love everything about it!
    In other news: I, too, have a Star Trek communicator sound for my text messages, but it is TNG era. I’ve also got various computer beeps from TNG for other notifications. The problem with this is that I have recently been watching DS9 on Netflix and when they are in a runabout I often mistake the sounds on the show for my phone. :)

  10. I totally loved this and I laughed and cried.
    This is coming from the girl whose father has named all of the hard drives for his computer after Star Trek ships and alien races. I grew up on this stuff and it never gets old to me.

  11. This post was made even cooler by the fact that I watched TNG pilot with my kids this weekend. *They love TBBT and we got talking about TNG so I ordered it from Netflix. Far campier than I remember and we had a lot of fun.
    If you are ever in the mood to send out random text messages my fourteen year old twin boys would become Gods in our little backwater school if they had a text from you. Just sayin’.
    *I also love TBBT, TNG and computers of all kinds, but for the sake of my career I have to pretend I am not a total geek in love with all things geeky.

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