* Posts by TalesOfaFlaneur

6 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Oct 2011

Cook's 'values' memo shows Apple has lost its soul


Apple's values are important. Seriously.

Lost its soul? Hardly. Apple have stood their ground and avenged the mistakes of the past (e.g., Microsoft Windows, Apple's dumb licensing deal).

Apple redefined computing (again) and this time no one is going to screw them by making cheap, ghastly knockoffs.

Samsung is a massively profitable bottom-feeder - nothing more, nothing less.

Hard-up Kodak selling consumer film biz


Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Plus-X - dearly departed

Although I was never partial to shooting Kodachrome myself, it provided the texture of my very early life in the 1970's and 1980/90's.

The most recent blow for me was the demise of Plus-X, a crisp and luscious black and white film with as much character as a classic film noir, but with such exquisite and sharp detail that never looked self-conciously retro. I am furious about the loss of this film.

Similarly, I never quite knew the beauty of Ektachrome 100GX until I shot a 120 roll in Slovenia two years ago and marvelled at the saturated, yet realistic colours. Perfect and perfectly life-like (unlike, say, Velvia 50 or that horror 100F).

I suppose I'm mourning a way of interpreting the world and the loss of a treasured raw material from which to make my image.

I just hope that Kodak manages to keep Tri-X around for many, many more years to come.

By the by, Portra 160 and 400 are truly AMAZING films in 120 - wide dynamic range, fine grain, vivid but realistic colour.

Rumoured 'GarageBand for e-books' to bulldoze textbook biz


I spent 11 years working in Higher Ed publishing creating interactive content for internal and external LMS's in America and the UK.

This hypothetical tool sounds like a boon for textbook publishers, but I see the application for something like this as more applicable to the general market rather than Higher Ed textbooks and learning materials.

As other commenters have said, Pearson/McGraw/Wiley and a smattering of other publishers have a vise-like lock on the supply of content to Higher Ed. They're transitioning from providing books to atomising educational content and flowing that into proprietary platforms and then providing educational services around these platforms. There are so many layers of pedagogy, design, programming and quality control that I sincerely doubt individuals will be able to displace the textbook publishers anytime soon - any more than Jane Bloggs makes tailored and useful apps for her iPhone.

But I DO see how a tool that allows people to compose and publish to the iBookstore would radically disrupt traditional book publishers where the level of integration with 'interactive' elements is far less burdensome. What is a book publisher after all than an arbiter of taste and provider of services? At the moment, people DO write books, hire a freelance sub-editor to work the copy, get a freelance designer for the "cover" and page design, find a freelance marketer to write up a marketing plan and then launch the work to the world.

Or, better still, perhaps this is the spark to launch a thousand vibrant new micro-presses to bring carefully curated collections of new work to the world via the iBookstore?

Kodak heading to Chapter 11


Kodak film both profitable and exquisite

I'm in my late 30's and a photographer. All of my important and personal work is captured on 120 and 135 film. Although I sometimes use Fuji Velvia (and to a much lesser extent Ilford Pan F +), my go-to films have always been Kodak for their consistency and character.

By default, my Hexar AF is loaded with Plus-X and my Pentax 645 or the Rollei is loaded with Portra 400. (By the by, have you used the new Portra 400? Amazing, subtle, gives images with weight and substance - great latitude, too).

When I'm having fun, the mix always includes Tri-X and Ektar 100 (though I'm not completely in love with Ektar's cool blue look). And I've been known to enjoy the (discontinued) EKTACHROME E100GS. And yes, I used Kodachrome, though mostly as a boy. None of my recent decent work used Kodachrome.

I understand that Kodak's film division actually does make profit, particularly since it's been killing off different variants. Kodak take their research in motion picture film and then it trickles down into the still camera lines (e.g., the new Portra and Ektar).

It does seem criminal that Kodak's management couldn't manage the decline of film into something like a boutique business rather than milking the film profits to invest in all manner of insane things. It reminds me a wee bit of Apple in the early 1990's.

Must go and load my freezer up with Portra, Tri-X, Plus-X, Ektar and anything else I can find!

Penguin pulls its e-books off library shelves


Pearson makes all of its money in the USA

Although HQ at 80 Strand in London, the technology and the profits come from the USA - particularly from the education division and those healthy profits on textbooks.

The life and times of Steven Paul Jobs, Part One


Work is the best antidote to sorrow

"Work is the best antidote to sorrow" suggested Sherlock Holmes to a shocked Watson upon his reappearance in London in the story "The Adventure of the Empty House".

This morning I feel creative and it's time to make something insanely great.

How about you?