Star Trek Almanac

Back with another Star Trek app, but this is superior to the one created by Paramount. This developer has created almanac apps for several different movie/tv series as well so pretty much you’ll find similar content as found in this Star Trek app. Many developers create apps like this and they multiply like rabbits because it is a copy and paste affair. While the apps are similar to each other for the almanac, that is a benefit here, though I will only be looking specifically at Star Trek.

Star Trek Almanac - main page

Star Trek Almanac – main page

The initial view after the app opens is a highlighted character (changes each load of app), a game, popular characters, stats and nice tiles that have images popping on and off in them for the sections. The character separation seems to be somewhat arbitrary since clicking one of the categories (Most Popular, Recently Updated and Seldom Seen) gets you the same list of characters, just it starts with the category you chose. There is no separation in this other view of the categories rendering them meaningless. The game is a nice inclusion with a comparison for others online. You’ll have to pay to play higher difficulties. It is a form of “concentration” where it slowly reveals a character and you have to guess which one.

The “Sections” after the Quick Stats is oddly separated into People and Races (plus Planets). Yet the People section is separated into Races and Races includes just Humanoid. It may have been better to separate into Federation and Non-Federation perhaps. Finally the Planets section is dull, only 3 planets shown but here they are separated into Federation and Non-Federation. Where’s Earth? Too obvious? And why is Qo’noS listed as Federation? It depends where in the timeline you are as to whether it belongs in the Federation. (note: this is a new section so should get more fully populated as time goes on).

Star Trek Almanac - more main page

Star Trek Almanac – more main page

Continuing scrolling to the right and many more treats await you in the app. Tweets about Star Trek (only available if you login with your Twitter account – not shown), news links about Star Trek which opens within the app which is helpful but you can’t do anything with the tweets, no replying, re-tweeting, etc. Podcasts are included, I’ve never heard them before so fascinating for me. Finally videos are included on the front page, but only 2. Some characters have videos, unsure why they are not also included in this section.

One other note about the front page before moving on. On a desktop scrolling left to right is hampered by the tweets and news columns. It stops when you get to there since Windows is confused about which way to scroll. This is more a problem with Windows 8 design but it shows that you should only have one way scrolling. It just hampers scroll wheel mouse users (which I’m amazed how many people don’t use this on their mouse). It shouldn’t affect touch users.

Star Trek Almanac - character page

Star Trek Almanac – character page

The character pages work well with an image, basic information with a link to the Star Trek Wiki for more information. Depending on the character there will be several videos and images available for view. A character like Spock could easily have far more information so the Wiki link is quite helpful. I do wish the information was more complete. For Spock he shows as a Captain for rank but that is just highest achieved but most know him as Science Officer or Ambassador which is listed as occupation. Also should mention some characters have more information presented like which actor played Kathryn Janeway, why doesn’t Spock have that information? Its inconsistent.

Star Trek Alamanc -photo viewer

Star Trek Alamanc -photo viewer

Star Trek Almanac - video viewer

Star Trek Almanac – video viewer

The photo section provides a good size image and a familiar way of navigating through them at the bottom of the screen. My only problem with it despite the varying quality (not something the developer can control) is that some images are too large to fit in the window so you have to scroll. They should be shrunk to fit and somehow provide the ability to see it fully if you wish.

Clicking on a video when in a character view doesn’t open it right away, instead it goes to another page (curiously labeled ‘uncategorized’) and you have to click it again. The design of the video window is clever with the image of the character in question and the video playing close to full screen although you never get FULL screen even when clicking the button for full screen. The quality is poor on some clips (bad sourcing from Youtube I guess) and an ads stares at you all the time. I understand the need for payment for the work done on the app, but at least the video could be clean of ads when full screen.

Charms

Search – works for finding characters, races or planets. Share – only Mail showed up for me to use for sharing and only with images and character profiles. However when I tried to share it said “something went wrong”. The videos can share because they use the YouTube portion to share. Settings – none.

Snap

It does a pretty good job of fitting the app contents into the smaller view of snapped view. The information ends up in a slightly different order and the game is absent, but all the views work. One missing part in snapped though is the attributes all say “0” (zero) for some reason in this view only.

Tile

The tile has an image of Spock giving the Vulcan sign. It is live, but only there to show notifications with updated characters. Also if you prefer to have a tile of your favorite character (non-live) to launch the app, you can pin the character to your Start Screen (available in right-click menu on character’s page).

Summary

There is a lot of good content in the app for those who like Star Trek, but feels incomplete. Never mind the odd sections (People and Races – aren’t they the same?) but where are the Starships or perhaps info about the shows/movies. For someone new to the series, it is a good introduction. For long time fans the podcasts and news links/ tweets provide a bit more. It is vastly superior to the Star Trek App from Paramount, but that is easy to do. Despite my criticisms, this is a well-rounded app and no doubt improvements are on the way. Give it a shot, it may not help you “live long and prosper” but you certainly will find it engaging. Make it so.

note: free app but $1.49 to remove the ads.

Rating

3panesrating

Category: Entertainment

Download size:  1.92 MB

Age: 12+

Publisher: Silver Dollar Software

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

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Posted in Apps, Entertainment, Windows 8

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