LCARS Interface

(update: 1/18/12)  If you enjoy Star Trek, then the title of this app may appeal to you, or least you’ll know what it means. LCARS is the acronym given to the computer design interface used in the Star Trek movies and TV shows. Many fans have wanted to have this type of interface to use on their own computers. There have been other attempts at bringing this style to Windows, but more often than not required you to install something which may or may not need some tweaking and not always play nice with other programs. This app tries to bring the style to Windows in a more manageable situation.

LCARS Interface - main screen with changed background

LCARS Interface – main screen with changed background

As you can see essentially the design is made of swoopy borders with rectangle buttons similar in nature to the current tiles Windows 8 uses. The opening graphic shown is different from the default due to copyright reasons. In my initial review it did not have the option to change the background, but now it does. I think it does a mighty fine job of it (though I don’t think a picture of your child or a cat or dog would look as nice, but whom am I to say). The buttons on the left always stay, allowing you to switch easily between the options provided. They do take up a little space, but fits with the design.

LCARS Interface - Text Editor (Log Viewer)

LCARS Interface – Text Editor (Log Viewer)

The “Log Viewer” is a basic text editor like Notepad. It is not configurable in any way and has buttons for the few functions it provides. You do have to type your entries though as there is no computer (voice input) to take notes for you. The word count can be handy, but since it has even fewer features than ‘Notepad’, it probably won’t fit the needs of most.

LCARS Interface - calculator

LCARS Interface – calculator

The next module we’ll look at is the calculator. Mostly just the basic functions although a little square root and algebra buttons on the side. You cannot make it a scientific version and the numbers on the left side and above are for decoration only. It would be ideal if you could have the output of your calculations be in the above section (similar to old paper calculators). On touch you can input easily, on a desktop/laptop you would either click on the buttons or use your keypad. By the way the result shown is by is for 7 of 9 (Star Trek reference).

LCARS Interface - media player

LCARS Interface – media player

LCARS Interface - full screen media

LCARS Interface – full screen media

The Media Player plays both music and movies. It plays many of the popular types of file types (MP4, AVI, M4V, WMV, MP3, WAM to name a few). The interface is quite good here, using the top portion to display the title and the controls on the left. It has a control showing progress, including how long the movie/music has progressed and how far it has to go.  Fast Forward and rewind accomplished by dragging the bar. You can see the full screen view on the right above. Nice overlaid buttons here to fit the theme.  It will not keep playing in the background and I found that repeated hits of the Pause button cause it to stop working. Despite its faults, still the best part of the app.

(updated 1/18/13) Music can be played as well and it has been improving since I first used it. You can either open files individually, multiple files or even a playlist. It does display the artwork nicely and shows whatever song information is contained in the file. It cannot play anything that is DRM protected. You are able to create a playlist quite easily and save it. However it produces an error when saving it, yet when I checked the folder, it was there. It wasn’t in the Music library folder not the specific Playlist one, saved as an .m3u file.

LCARS Interface - file manager

LCARS Interface – file manager

(added 1/10/12) Here we have a built-in file manager. While it may not be extremely practical for every day use, it works pretty nicely. You can store several folders to access quickly in the above portion, adding or removing as needed. The red bar to the left will flash slowly until you select a file or folder and open it. It will also open the file types it supports within the app when clicking to open them in the File Manager.

LCARS Interface - configure

LCARS Interface – configure

Configuration

Considering it has its own configuration screen rather than using the Settings Charm (or any charm for that matter to keep with the theme) I will bypass that normal part of my reviews. In this Configure screen you can adjust the name of your vessel. You may have already noticed I had named mine USS Sekyal NCC-1923 (how old my kids are 19 and 23). A nice addition rather than having to choose from default choices. You may also choose to change the colors of the “bars” based on what you prefer. Here is where you get the option to change the image on the main screen. Beware of Red Alert, not only will it turn everything red, but you’ll get the blasted klaxon going off (if you have sounds turned on).

Yes the app has sound effects, which give that feeling of using the actual system. From environmental sounds (background) or sounds from button presses. Additionally the app has some basic animations but you can turn on Extra Animations. I really like the animations, they are fluid all around, but I couldn’t tell any different between Extra and the default which might be due to my video card being faster than the usual. Still the animations are an excellent part of the app.

Finally a little word about the StarDate (skip this paragraph is not interesting in this subject).  The Stardate shown may or may not be correct, depends which system you use, but a specific one was in fact used. It is a nice touch that one way of calculating it was used for authenticity. It would be interesting if the date was done more simply in relation to our dates as monthyear.date so January 7th 2013 would be 012013.07. Not a true Stardate but at least close to that format, or perhaps the option anyway. If used for entertainment purposes you don’t want a real date showing.

Snap

It isn’t usable in snap mode, but you can click a button to choose that module.

LCARS Interface - tile

LCARS Interface – tile

Tile

The tile is ugly, plain and simply. I’m not sure what it should show but, it isn’t very well done. has seen a refresh and it has improved. It isn’t one you need for information and if the look bothers you, simply un-pin it. You can easily open the app (and any app) by starting to type it’s name on the Start Screen and hit Enter when it appears.

Summary

I really enjoy the effort put into this app. Now is certainly a good time to realize a true LCARS style interface especially on Windows 8 where touch is becoming the norm and it was all that they used in Star Trek. The app though is quite limited in its current state and asking for $3 without even a trial is just preying on Trekkers. Yes I paid the money but as it states it is intended for Entertainment purposes, not every day use.  Even so, it needs more and it is intended to part of a full suite as time goes on, but it isn’t ready for a shuttlecraft never mind the Enterprise herself. ( update 1/29/13 – app has added Weather. New post looks at that part of the app >> here. )

Rating

3panesrating

Category: Entertainment

Download size: 13.7 MB

Publisher: Davstar Apps

Price: $2.99

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About

51-yr-old father of 3, work in telemarketing, like computers and technology

Posted in Apps, Entertainment, Windows 8
6 comments on “LCARS Interface
  1. Anonymous says:

    I like the look of it! Being a trekker, I’d be interested in trying it if there were a version for Win7, once they tweak it and work out the bugs. As you said, it will be interesting to see how it progresses.

  2. […] features are added, but felt it would be better served by just creating a separate post for it. The LCARS Interface app has had an update and it now includes […]

  3. Doug_Dax says:

    Love the idea, but I’d like a trial version… It’s possible?

    • sekyal says:

      I’d ask the developer. Since I haven’t installed I can’t see if there is a trial, but I believe it had a trial when I first downloaded it, but I could be wrong. Developer email >> “davstarapps@gmail.com” ;

  4. Keith Wild says:

    these are awesome how can I get them for my computer

    • sekyal says:

      Well if you have Windows 8 or above, you have the Windows Store. If you search for it, you’ll find it. By the way this is all in one app, by your wording, it appears you think they are separate pieces.

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