As with TNG before it, Season 2 saw DS9 iron out the lumps. Characters grew and the world they inhabited became far more convincing. Resident bad guys the Dominion arrived from the Gamma Quadrant, and gold-pressed latinum liberated from studio coffers meant the set was expanded. Everything began to flow a little better. Most importantly, my favourite character, Cardassian ‘tailor’ Garak began to claim more airtime, as the show’s writers competed to weave intrigue around him.Classic episodes include the comedic Rules of Acquisition, which introduced the inexplicable game of Tongo to the DS9 universe, and Blood Oath, which saw the return of Klingon warriors Kor, Koloth and Kang from the original 1960s series.Futuristic technology naturally played a big part in the show. DS9 had a well established litany of technobabble to call upon, but innovated as well. We got a portable(ish) hologenerator, a portable Starfleet computer that looked very much like a modern laptop and a Cardassian medical tricorder worn like a glove.
Season Three was to prove pivotal for DS9. Suddenly it was the only Trek show on air. TNG had bowed out in a blaze of glory and incoming newbie Star Trek: Voyager wouldn’t clash until episode 11. Unfortunately, backstage pressures were building. The show wasn’t generating the same buzz as TNG, and its preoccupation with Bajoran religion and politics were proving a turn-off. The solution was to step up the threat of the kick-ass, drugged-up Jem‘Hadar, and to draft in the Defiant, the first Federation warship to employ a cloaking device. DS9 found its action mojo, even if it meant flip-flopping on the original premise.Reflecting a wider talent draft from TNG, Jonathan 'Riker' Frakes guested both in front and behind the camera. The fans seemed satisfied. Ratings solidified, averaging twenty points higher than its nearest syndicated competitor, the pneumatic Baywatch. But that didn’t stop the studio demanding yet more shake-ups for Season Four. Enter everyone’s favourite Klingon, Worf.
Executive producer Ira Steven Behr recalled: “Of all the TNG characters, probably the one who would fit in the best would be Worf.” The story possibilities were strong. The Federation was no longer on speaking terms with the Klingon Empire, leaving Worf very much out on a limb. His arrival, in the two-part The Way of the Warrior is fondly regarded as one of DS9’s best episodes.Season Four also saw co-stars Siddig and Visitor become an item off camera, necessitating the writers to work Visitor’s pregnancy into the series. My personal season highlight? Little Green Men, in which Quark, Rom and Nog wind up in Roswell, New Mexico…Season Five conveniently corresponded with the 30th anniversary of the franchise, and in celebration DS9 gave us Trials and Tribble-ations, which inventively (and expensively) mashed the cast into the classic TOS Trouble with Tribbles episode, creating a ratings smash in the process.Season Six similarly broke new ground, opening with a six-episode arc that flew in the face of the episodic nature of TV shows of the time. And it wrapped by killing off one of its key characters.
Deep Space Nine was to enter its final season battered in the ratings by a double whammy of Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess. Audience tastes were clearly changing. Still, plot-wise DS9 went out with all phasers firing. The Dominion War came to a fitting conclusion, and the show culminated with a final two-parter that once again returned DS9 to the top of the syndication charts.Once described as the Rodney Dangerfield of the Star Trek universe, because it “didn’t get no respect”, Deep Space Nine may not go down in the history books as the greatest of the TV Treks, but it was consistently the most interesting. I for one wouldn’t say no to a return visit. Apple will reportedly upgrade its Macs this year to include "5G WiFi", a technology that will increase wireless connectivity to speeds "in excess of a gigabit per second," according to Cupertino's purported chip partner, Broadcom.This news comes courtesy of The Next Web, which reports that "[s]ources familiar with Apple's plans" have told them that Apple has "struck a deal" with Broadcom to include that company's 5G WiFi (802.11ac) chips in its 2013 Mac lineup – presumably MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac minis, and perhaps even Mac Pros, if Apple remembers that it still offers that beefy tower.
Broadcom launched its 5G WiFi line at last January's Consumer Electronics Show. At that time, the company introduced the three-stream, 1.3Gbps BCM4360 for PCIe interfaces, and the two stream, 867Mbps BCM4352 and BCM43526, the former for PCIe and the latter for USB. At launch, Broadcom touted not only the increased speed that the not-yet-ratified 802.11ac specification promises, but also the improved power efficiency and range of the emerging standard.Speaking at a Broadcom event last month, Michael Hurlston, Broadcom SVP and general manager of the company's Mobile and Wireless Group, said, "We see almost every major infrastructure customer – retail routers, even some gateways – has adopted 5G Wi-Fi, across the board: Linksys, Netgear, Belkin, D-Link, Buffalo in Japan. Every single player is using our chipset to do that."Hurlston noted that among companies workng with its speedy, power-miserly, and improved-range chips, "Asus is probably the most notable client that has launched with 5G WiFi technology." However, although that Taiwan-based company's G75VM "Ultimate Fighting Machine" was touted upon its release in the middle of last year to be the first 802.11ac laptop, its specs page on the Asus website lists it as having 802.11 b/g/n.
The G75VM's follow-on G-series compatriot, the G75VX, is listed as having "802.11 b/g/n or 802.11ac." The G75VX reviewed last week by Germany's Netbookcheck.com, however, was equipped with an Atheros AR9485WB-EG 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi chip – but Asus does mention on its website that "Product specifications may differ from country to country."Asus, by the way, introduced an 802.11ac dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) RT-AC66U router last June, with a dual-band PCE-AC66 PCI-E adapter and USB-AC53 USB adapter scheduled for release soon.The inclusion of 802.11ac in its Macs might put Apple ahead of other major PC makers, but that will – of course – depend upon when those manufacturers get theirs to market. According to Hurlston, we should see more 802.11ac-equipped clients "hitting around CES if not immediately following CES." That show will be held next week in Las Vegas, so the picture should become more clear by then."Perhaps most significantly," Hurlston said, "is smartphones and tablets, and we expect the first phones and tablets certainly to be in very, very early 2013." If those devices aren't unveiled at CES, he said that "certainly by Mobile World Congress we'll see them on store shelves" – that show will take place February 25 through 28 in Barcelona.
It's unlikely that Apple will upgrade its Macs – or, for that matter, its iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, or Apple TVs – by the end of next month. But Cupertino has surprised us with quick product upgrades before; witness the full-size iPad upgrade in October of last year, just seven months after its predecessor shipped in mid-March.Apple launched its most-recent 13-inch and 15-inch non-Retina MacBook Pros in June of last year, and its 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro at the same time. Seven months from that launch would be ... hmmm ... this month.Last year The Reg chronicled more than just the birth of Windows 8, the rise of ARM, the battle between iOS and Android, the genesis of the buzzword de l'année "big data", Apple's crap Maps app flap, and other communiqués from the front lines of the tech wars.We considered it our duty, for example, to inform you in March that a Lithuanian court denied Carlsberg brewery workers the right to strike by declaring beer to be "vitally essential," placing it "in the same category as medical supplies and drinking water."