Virtual Tours of Star Trek Enterprise-D

Star_Trek_TNG_interactive_Technical_ManualI cannot remember exactly when, somewhere between 1994 and 1996, I was able to buy a copy of the Star Trek Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual, which was essentially a virtual walk-through of the Star Trek Enterprise D.

It was written to work with QuickTime and Windows 3.1, and needed a Pentium processor with 16 MB of memory. The software was on a CD, and needed, believe it or not, a 2x CD speed drive. Also needed was a VGA card cable of displaying a whopping 256 colors at 640×480 resolution and required a mouse. Yes, I said it required a mouse; remember we were in the days of DOS with text commands. While the requirements seem paltry by the standards of today, they were fairly stiff in the day.

The software would allow you to move freely around the ship and interact with various consoles. It would also give you information about the systems you were viewing. However, you were limited to specific areas of the ship.  There were voice-overs by Jonathan Frakes (Commander Ricker) and Marel Barret Roddenberry (Computer Voice) to give it a feel of being on the star-ship.

51OOPNETu1L._SX420_BO1,204,203,200_As I moved into newer computers and newer versions of Windows, I shelved the software and forgot about it. About two years ago, I notice a book called On Board The USS Enterprise by Denise and Michael Okuda (graphics and special effects on STNG). I ran the software about once and shelved it. Compared to the Interactive Technical Manual, it was lacking in my opinion.

Today I discovered a bold project by a 3D artist who identifies himself as Jason. Using the 3D Engine by Unreal, he is making a deck by deck interactive Enterprise D. His website, last updated in June 2015, explains he is working from multiple resources trying to keep the details as accurate were possible.

He has a Patreon and a Kickstarter campaign to help him fund his work in his spare time. He would like to grow the project further and was hoping to secure licensing permission from CBS.

On his website he has a video showing the level of detail he has been able to achieve, and I am impressed.

For details, visit Jason’s Enterprise 3D Project Website at http://www.enterprise3dproject.com/

USA Catholic Mobile App

Source USCCB Website
Source USCCB Website

The USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops) have released an app for Catholics. The USCCB touts the application by saying, ” For the first time, the Catholic Church app from USCCB brings together parishes and (arch)dioceses across the United States—as well as the Vatican—into one, single mobile solution.”

They continue to say on the website that, ”

The App Features All This and More:

  • Church finder by location, city, zip code
  • Individual parish and diocesan pages
  • Daily Scripture readings
  • USCCB content integration
  • English/Spanish capability
  • News alerts, calls-to-action, events calendar”

The site goes to explain how it will have coverage of Pope Francis and how it is a trusted source for Catholic information. There is a presentation you can watch and another you can download regarding the app. A link is posted telling you how to can sign up and post information. However, what is lacking is information on how to get the application.

I found the application in the Google Play store, but it was not easy. I searched for the “Catholic Church Mobile App” and was given a large choice of apps that were developed by other parties. Finally after some scrolling, I did find an app called “USA Catholic Church” that was developed by the “US Conference of Catholic Bishops.” Further research revealed this was indeed the touted application.

Currently, a lot of the features listed above are still in development. Your options in the Android version are “Pope Francis” (news, videos, photos), “News”,   “Events”,  “Daily Mass Readings”,”Resources,” “Playlist,” and “Settings.” In reading the reviews and the responses, it is quite clear that this application is a work in progress. In my mind, the application was pushed out to help people who where interested in following the Pope while he visits the US to get access to information and to view his addresses and masses.

Despite the early release, the features are easy to use and do work. Also the developer is quick to respond to concerns about the application and promise more features over time.  As time allows I may provide a more in-depth review.

You can find the application on Google Play. I understand you can also get the application from Itunes, but I have been unable to find it. {Update 9/23/15 – A friend of mine says she did find it on Itunes}