September 9, 2005 09:52 – Kodak should have seen it coming! Doh!
It is a shame that Eastman Kodak, who have pretty much pioneered “hobbyist” photography since the late 1800´s with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie, are having such problems “keeping up with the Jones´”, but I can’t help thinking it is their own fault.
Whilst they are now starting to break ground with the innovative Easyshare One system, whereby you can e-mail images direct from your camera, it is something that they should have “jumped on” long ago.
A fascinating story in Newsday.com (linked below) tells us that way back in 1975, (when I was using the simplest of cameras from my new “spy kit” at just 8 years old), a Kodak employee called Steve Sasson had stumbled upon a new and revolutionary technology. To quote the article;
“Steven Sasson knew right away in December 1975 that his 8-pound, toaster-size contraption, which captured a black-and-white image on a digital cassette tape at a resolution of .01 megapixels, “was a little bit revolutionary.”
When anyone asked, the Eastman Kodak Co. engineer ventured that it would become a commercial reality in 15 to 20 years.”
So why then did it take Kodak so long to realise that the days of film were numbered? This new “invention” was about as significant (well almost) as the first images that were made using silver halides and umpteen chemicals by the likes of Monsieur Daguerre and his “Daguerreotypes”.
With the success that they were having at the time, surely this deserved more time from Kodak, more energy and effort plus a little foresight to really explode them into the 21st Century.
It was companies like Sony however, that pushed the innovation in the 1980´s and is now one of the market leaders. Kodak did try to take charge of the DSLR market with their full frame sensor Pro range which sadly has now been scrapped.
So what now for Kodak? They are streamlining their workforce and giving everything they can to take control of the digital compact market in what is already an incredible “free-for-all”, as more and more digital camera companies emerge and more and more digital cameras are released.
I for one am glad that I don’t review cameras as a day job because quite frankly I couldn’t keep up. I am quite happy to work with what I have, take the best images I can and upgrade only when it is necessary.
I sincerely hope that Kodak can cut it in the new digital era as they have played a large part in my “photographic life” since the early 1980´s, as did Ilford (RIP).
September 9, 2005 10:42 – What´s all the Skype? – “Eureka”!
Ok, this isn’t really photography related unless you have a webcam, but I did say “if it rocks our boat” we will tell you.
As I live in Spain and may be a bit behind the times, you may well already have heard about this. It also relates a little to the previous article about Kodak not “cottoning on” soon enough re the digital boom.
There is a definite message here for massive companies like British Telecom in the UK and Telefonica in Spain, not so much the for the United States as you lucky folk already have free local calls.
I recently purchased and moved into a property on a new development in Spain, so new in fact that it doesn’t yet have any phone lines connected. It hasn’t done for 9 months and won’t have for a while yet, so when I heard about this and tried it I almost cried “Eureka“!
My internet connection is through a dish and ADSL “radio signal” but we still have no phone. It is a pain because all of our family is in the UK and we have a 2 year old son and another due in 2 weeks. We NEED to speak to our family.
Yesterday, my brother in the UK told me of “SKYPE“, a new company with free software that currently allows you to make free calls from your PC. I knew this was available before, but the quality was poor and fairly new.
I downloaded the program in minutes, loaded it and was speaking immediately. The sound was crisp, clear and better than a normal phone…WOW!
All you need is a microphone and speakers attached to your PC, an internet connection and you are away. You can (for a small charge, and I mean small, this is where they make their money), call mobile phones, landlines and even have a voicemail service from your PC.
For me, we just talk through the PC’s and it is like a lifeline to our family in the UK. Normal mobile to landline phone calls are quite expensive to the UK from Spain and our PC is on and logged on all day anyway, so when the “phone rings” I know I can chat all day and it won’t cost a penny!
It works very similar to MSN messenger, so if you are familiar with that, this is a breeze (if my mother can do it, you can)!
If you don’t know about this, download it now and check it out.
This for me is a major technological breakthrough and just emphasises the fact that the PC is fast becoming the technological centre-point of most homes.
If the large, European telecom companies do not recognise this, they may well suffer in the same way Kodak has.
Technology…Technology…RA RA RA!
Go to SKYPE and enjoy!
P.s. The Smilies and Emoticons are great!