Star Trek Minutiae is a personal Star Trek site developed and maintained by me, Dan Carlson. The site is a compendium of fan-created material that adds to the rich detail of the Star Trek universe. I’ve chosen to focus on longer-form articles and essays that develop what the Federation would be like as a real-world entity, research projects like the popular starship comparison charts, and a massive collection of humorous stories. Naturally, because every fan website is also a platform for the author’s opinions, it’s home to a seldom-updated blog as well.
Motivation and Purpose
I started the project that would eventually become Star Trek Minutiae in the fall of 1999. I had just entered college and had a lot more free time on my hands, combined with a very fast internet connection—a dangerous combination! I discovered many different aspects of online fandom, and I wanted to share my own ideas. For several years I had already been building a database to organize various facts about the Star Trek universe (especially starships, my first sci-fi obsession). I planned to build a website to host that database, but I developed many other interests along the way, including fan fiction, designing original starships, and applying lessons from my college courses in history, economics, and philosophy to the Star Trek universe. Some of these ideas spun off to become their own projects in collaboration with other fans.
Star Trek Minutiae is part archive, part showcase, and part web design hobby. On the many message boards I’ve visited, I’ve found stories and images that caught my interest, and I wanted to save them for other fans to appreciate. It’s also a place to share my own ideas, whether it’s about the latest series or movie, or some trivial detail from a long-ago episode.
I view the Star Trek universe as a shared starting point for our own flights of fancy. “Canon” is just a list of facts that most fans can agree on. Since Star Trek Minutiae isn’t (now) intended to be a primary reference site, many of the articles that I’ve written and collected are about expanding or even contradicting the canon universe in some way. I think that’s part of what makes it such a fun world to play in!
As I built my site, I discovered I really enjoyed the process of designing and maintaining the web pages themselves, not just writing the content. I even semi-seriously considered a career in web design. That never happened, but it's stayed a hobby for many years. For a while I pushed right to the bleeding edge of web development, adopting emerging standards like XHTML, pure-CSS layouts and animations, SVG and MathML. But the web has evolved too. What was bleeding-edge technology in 2010 is old news in 2020.
So now, Star Trek Minutiae is also the equivalent of the classic car in the garage, or the old jalopy in the backyard: it’s not the latest, greatest, or most-interactive site. There are no WordPress themes, no stock templates, no bloated frameworks. Just pure artisanal, hand-coded HTML and CSS. (It’s not that I think static sites are superior, it’s just all that’s needed for STM.) I love tinkering with the design just as much as (well, probably more than) I love creating new content.
This is my little corner of the vast tapestry that is the Star Trek universe.
See also: History of Star Trek Minutiae
About Dan Carlson
I’m a former history student who got an opportunity to follow my passion and work for an insanely great technology company. I spend my days sharing that love with others, showing them how they can do all sorts of cool stuff with technology, to enrich their lives and share with friends and family. (I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true! My official job title is “Creative”.)
I fell in love with Star Trek during the first season of Deep Space Nine in 1993. DS9 has always been my favorite, but I have enjoyed every single series. During my high school years, using the wonderful Star Trek Encyclopedia as a starting point, I created a personal database of ships, episodes, characters, and planets—something that reflected my interest in the details, background, and history of this rich fictional universe.
This interest has led me to become involved in a number of fan projects over the years. In 2003, I co-founded the Memory Alpha wiki with Harry Doddema. From 2001 to 2004, I contributed to the Star Trek: Renaissance fan fiction project, which explored the aftermath of DS9’s Dominion War. I’ve collaborated with Masao Okazaki on a few ship designs and articles for his amazing Starfleet Museum site. And certainly most exciting, in 2015 Harry and I were contacted by Simon Pegg—yes, that Simon Pegg—who solicited our contributions concerning a certain plot element in Star Trek Beyond!
In addition to Star Trek, my big interests in sci-fi are the grand, character-oriented stories: Babylon 5, Farscape, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and The Expanse. I prefer classical, orchestral music to modern bands. I occasionally dabble in digital photography, drawing, and model building. And I’m a very fond of my cats, Patches and Vala!
Computers and Software
I’ve been a Mac user since 1993. I’ve never owned a PC or an Android phone. For a time I used Macromedia and Adobe software to develop the site, but as I developed my skills in hand-coding, and especially as subscriptions became ubiquitous, I found a good set of apps from small and indie developers that are not just as good, but better for my needs!
- Apple iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017): My workhorse desktop for staging website files before publishing. I still do a fair amount of design and writing at my desk, but less than in years past, thanks to...
- Apple iPad Pro (11-inch, 2018): Who needs a laptop when you’ve got an iPad that’s just as powerful? Many people overlook iPad’s capabilities, but you can get a lot done if you’re willing to try something different!
- Nova: A versatile web development tool, for editing, styling, previewing, and uploading. (Mac)
- BBEdit: A powerful text editor with unparalleled search and replace capabilities. (Mac)
- Textastic: A convenient and flexible text editor with integrated FTP for editing web pages away from my desk. (iPad)
- iA Writer: A streamlined app for writing without having to worry about all the proper HTML formatting. (Mac and iPad)
- Affinity Designer: A surprisingly powerful tool for vector and bitmap images. (Mac and iPad)
- Hype: For creating HTML5 interactive web pages. (Mac)
- Fluid Dynamics Search Engine: An effective and configurable local search engine that doesn’t require ads.
- MXGuardDog: A free spam filtering service for your own hosted domain.
Fonts Used in Star Trek Minutiae
- Chopin Script
- Courier Prime
- Deja Vu Sans and Deja Vu Sans Mono
- Magic Medieval
- Oxygen (main body font)
- Titillium Web (main title font)
Special thanks go out to everyone who helped me put together this site:
- Bernd Schneider — for his advice on a whole bunch of topics, from the warp drive project to general website management.
- Charles Capps and Infopop Corporation — for generously hosting the Subspace Comms Network for so many years.
- Masao Okazaki — for his valuable input which kept the History of the Earth-Romulan War project alive, and for many stimulating conversations on topics ranging from Federation diplomacy and interstellar political theory to Human missionaries converting Klingons to Christianity.
- To the entire staff of Star Trek: Renaissance — Harri Tusa, Yehuda Katz, Admiral Leyton, Rob Jelley, Kegg, Garth Rice, Bill Jasper, Robert Crosswell, James Sampson, Christopher Davis, Chris Edmonds, James DiBenedetto, Shaun Hamley, Will Sjorensen, Andy Kinnear, Adam Jackson, and Josh Maley — for four great years of great Trek.
- Harry Doddema — for the awesome idea of a Star Trek wiki and partnering with me to start the Memory Alpha project.
- “Cureboy”, “Krenim”, “Swordtail”, “8 of 12”, and “Johnny Octane” — for writing The Voyager Coronary, Star Trek: Series ?, The Celestial Parodies, The Trek Coronary, and The Adventures of Berman and Braga, providing me with endless hours of entertainment, and letting me share their goofy stories with everyone.
- Kristian Trigwell — for letting me use his excellent high-resolution renditions of various logos and insignia on this site.
- Paul van Garderen and John Burke — for their input on Star Trek: Restoration, my first foray into the world of fan fiction.
- Peter Ansprach, John Au, Michael Bartel, Jesper Boesen, Roy Bryant, “Cadet Sorak”, Patrick Carroll, “Cirrus”, Jason Colbert, Curt Danhauser, Daniel Fallenstein, Brian Finifter, Matthew Galaher, Jason Gaston, Carl Giddens, “Golden Tiger”, “Heiwa”, Graham Kennedy, Chris Keavy, Jan Hendrik Kobarg, James Krayenhagen, Paul McCoy, Stephen Millard, “MJ”, “Mr. Wilbur”, Keith Nelson, Mark Nguyen, Nick Ottens, Fabio Passaro, Thomas Pemberton, Ben Pieper, David Polenšek, “Rivannovic”, Timo Saloniemi, Warren Siegel, Steven Sigley, “Spaceman Spiff”, “Spamwarrior”, “Spocko-chan”, Chris St. John, Steve Sutton, and Robby Van Calster — for their suggestions, contributions, and bug reports.
- Everyone at The Trek BBS, the Subspace Comms Network, and the Flare Sci-Fi Forums for many useful suggestions, opinions, and discussions.
- Richard Hanley, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delaware and author of The Philosophy of Star Trek — for giving me lots of ideas to think about and offering an awesome course on Time Travel which I took in Winter 2004.
- Rocky, Adam, Antwain, and Kacey, my college roommates — for putting up with my continuous chattering about Star Trek. 😀
- Jeffrey, my freshman year dorm counselor and a fellow Trekker, for beta-testing my database and website.
- Matt, Camo, Ben, Fred, Clarence, Harry, John Paul, Troy, Becca, Chris, Mary, Ashley, and everyone else at Team C., for helping me learn all sorts of cool stuff (like how to make Dashboard widgets) and sharing many, many geeky discussions on sci-fi, television, computers, and all sorts of other excellent subjects.
- And finally, my parents, who, sometime back in 1993, made me to sit down and watch some dumb show called Star Trek.