For the Uniform

Deep Space Nine

For the Uniform

Postby Sonic Glitch » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:44 am

So I'm working through DS9 again and just got to For the Uniform. Among other questions, (and I know this has been asked before): Do we have any inclination in canon what happened to the holo-communicator? It seems like it was to be starfleet-standard, was anything ever said on-screen about it?

Also, if the comm-system was down how were they able to use it?
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Praeothmin » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:41 pm

Perhaps it had its own fully autonomous power supply, and redundancy systems...
Since it was new equipment, it probably wasn't completely integrated to the ship's standard communications suite...

That, or :Q
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby McAvoy » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:42 pm

I think it was shown once more and that's it.

I liked the concept personally and I do wonder if it would have been cheaper to do that then a viewscreen all the time
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Tyyr » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:27 pm

Well it's like 3D movies, what's the real benefit of it? What does a 3D communicator add that a plain old viewscreen doesn't have covered? If anything I'd reckon that the Trek universe just decided it wasn't worth it. They have holograms, we see them several times in early TNG, they just don't seem to employ them outside holodecks but on very rare occasions.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Sonic Glitch » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:09 pm

Oh I agree it didn't really add much but it would be nice for some sort of even semi-canon explanation otherwise it just looks like what it is: an interesting idea to give Brooks and Marshall the chance to interact personally rather than over a view screen.

Speaking of, if it was so brand-spanking new, how the hell did the Maquis snag one already?
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Tyyr » Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:12 pm

Just bizarre that it's new. You'd think as soon as people were able to make lifelike holograms that would have been one of the first things done with the technology, ya know, after holo-porn.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Coalition » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:41 pm

I'd argue it is bandwidth limitations/problems. You are generating the full image across a 3-D surface, even the feet, sides, and back, and transmitting it to another ship. If you try to do it fancy, and just project a 2-D image across a surface, you have to transmit the surface as well, including any changes that are made due to the person talking, moving their head, hands, etc. You also have a variable length file (to account for the various configurations), so bandwidth requirements will change. You'll have to increase average bandwidth requirements to be able to handle larger file lengths, with shorter file lengths being used to make up for it.

I.e. assume you have the bandwidth to transmit 10 'units' of date per 'cycle' of time. So you might transmit data in packet sizes of 12, 10, 7, 11, 9, 10. It averages to just under 10 data per cycle. In this case you were correct. But if the transmitter (for some reason) was sending data in packets of 13, 11, 8, 12, 10, 11, then the 10 units of data is insufficient, and you get lag effects (either reduced resolution, or the speech either slowing down or going out of synch with the lips). So you'd have to use extra bandwidth to allow for potential extra. This could be simply due to someone handing the speaker a PADD, and the extra data (for the shape, orientation, coloring, and display) has to be sent as well. Admittedly most of the PADD will remain the same, but the rest of it still gets sent.

Compare that with a 2-D image being transmitted across a known width and height (viewscreen). Much less bandwidth needed due to smaller image area (no 3-D effect needed), and it is a fixed data length so bandwidth use is constant (compression will make it even shorter). This makes 2D much more useful in combat or other situations where data limits exist. The best would be audio transmissions that include a text copy of what is being said, so even if most of the message is garbled, the receiving computer can put together a text display of the message for the receiver.


Here is some data for VoIP as a comparison. Assuming 33 packets per second (for packets of ~30 ms length), those can be up to 320 bytes in length. Assuming you talk fast, and can say 40 letters per second in the format of8 words at 5 letters each (i.e. 'right' is 5 letters, plus the space at the end), that is 48 letters that need to be transmitted. Each letter is 2 bytes in size (or smaller), so at most that is 96 bytes of data to transmit. So substituting one packet out of the 33 per second will provide the full text of what the person is saying. Since you can send almost 3 seconds worth of text per packet (320 bytes/96 bytes) you could even use it as a form of overlap. I.e. packet in second 1 sends text data from second 1. Packet in second 2 sends text from seconds 1 and 2. Packet in second 3 sends text from seconds 1-3. Packet 4 sends text from seconds 2-4, aso. Return packets can confirm which are sent and which are missed (similar to current Internet protocols)

So even losing half your transmission means you can still get the full message. If the computer is programmed correctly, as transmission issues arise, it automatically switches to text transmission rather than data, so the message still gets through. You lose the background audio as a result, so you can miss extra shouts from their bridge crew (though this could also be added as additional text fragments).

Hmm, more data in that page, I may have to update this data (or someone else that actually know what they are talking about will do it faster and in a clearer method.)


All I can think of for the holoprojector is for an admiral to 'personally' appear on the ships of a fleet to provide motivational speech and gestures to every bridge crew, so they do their jobs right during a desperate battle. The file will be relayed from ship to ship, instead of the admiral's ship trying to transmit to all of them.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Tyyr » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:47 pm

I seriously doubt bandwidth would be a problem. Given almost four centuries of advancement I don't see how they wouldn't have the bandwidth for something as simple as a single figure hologram. I can't quote chapter and verse but I recall the Ent-D downloading entire other ship's memory banks in a matter of seconds.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby Deepcrush » Sat May 11, 2013 9:40 pm

Not to mention they react the battle of the Alamo which had several THOUSAND persons under hologram projection.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby McAvoy » Sat May 11, 2013 9:56 pm

That is my point and from a OU SFX standpoint it might be as easy as as viewing someone through the view screen. Have a few effect of the hologram turning on and off and Maybe in between. Better than having a set behind the actor too.
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Re: For the Uniform

Postby sunnyside » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:13 am

Tyyr wrote:I seriously doubt bandwidth would be a problem. Given almost four centuries of advancement I don't see how they wouldn't have the bandwidth for something as simple as a single figure hologram. I can't quote chapter and verse but I recall the Ent-D downloading entire other ship's memory banks in a matter of seconds.


While I'd expect tremendous bandwidth generally, I could see it being restricted when you have to go over subspace, especially if interference is present. As it is we see occasional viewscreens suffering from bad connections.


However what occurs to me is that there is something of a comfort with a viewscreen in that you know they're on a viewscreen. With a hologram, maybe they're a hologram...or maybe they beamed in when you weren't looking. I could see this being quite disconcerting in open areas like a bridge where people are always walking in and out without knowing if a "holocall" is in progress or if for some reason deadly enemies are about. After enough times where phasers were pulled when they didn't need to be and once when someone didn't go for one when they really should have, I could see the technology being dropped.

(As a side note, I could see that also being confusing for viewing audiences if not used very carefully).
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