Saturday, July 4, 2020

Red Dot reopens for mail-order business on Monday

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London's Red Dot Cameras is opening for mail-order business only as from Monday, March 18. Details here...

Macfilos: 5,000 posts already and here’s one from 2010

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Review: Heroes of the Telegraph by John Munro (1891), iBookstore, free

Had blogs existed 120 years ago John Munro would have been up there with the best of 'em. His book, which traces electronic communications from the 50-year-old and "perfected" telegraph through to the latest modern developments, the telephone and the phonograph, is a Gutenberg gem. At the time of writing in 1891 both the telephone and phonograph had been around for little more than 10 years and Munro exhibits the sort of enthusiasm now associated with the latest technical news on Engadget or TechCrunch.

Edison and phonographThe story of the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison is fascinating enough, but it is Munro's conjectures on the future opened up by recordings that are much more interesting. Here is a review of possible future developments, some uncannily accurate, some wide of the mark, that make for gripping reading. 

He suggests that phonograph records could be used for correspondence, for dictation and for communication "on unsteady vehicles such as trains" where writing is difficult. He also foresees audio books and reports that Edison can fit the whole of Nicholas Nickleby on four eight-inch wax cylinders of five-inch diameter. "Perhaps," he says, "we could have circulating libraries which issue phonograms, and there is already some talk of a phonographic newspaper which will prattle politics and scandal at the breakfast-table. Addresses, sermons, and political speeches may be delivered by the phonograph; languages taught, and dialects preserved; while the study of words cannot fail to benefit by its performance."

Strangely, in 1891, the concept of recording music was not mainstream: "Musicians will now be able to record their improvisations by a phonograph placed near the instrument they are playing."

This book is a delight and is a must-read for all technophiles.  It has probably been out of print for decades, yet through the Gutenberg project and Apple's iBookstore we can read it again. Much of the book is concerned with the development of the electric telegraph and, of particular interest, the trials and tribulations of undersea cable laying.

After the break is a fuller excerpt from the chapter on Edison's invention of the phonograph.

Fujifilm X-T4: First days, first impressions

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New toy on the block as David takes delivery of the brand new Fujifilm X-T4 and looks at the improvements, including IBIS and more battery power...

Digital distancing at the sofa pub and locks down in Middle England

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Meet Tom's sofa pub where he can meet all his best friends while observing strict digital distancing. And there's really no excuse for all those wayward heads when locks down comes to Middle England...

Grammarly: For the writers who think they don’t need it

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Are you an immaculate writer, never putting a comma wrong? If so, perhaps you don't need Grammarly. But, for the rest of us, it has it's uses (sorry, its).

The Leica prototype that could fetch two million

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Auction prices for early Leica cameras can sometimes astound. Will this rare O-Series prototype from 1921 sell for over €2m? Anything is possible, says William Fagan.

Leica Q at Five: The camera they got right

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Five years on, Mike takes a look at the impact made by the Leica Q in 2015 and explains why this has been Leica's most successful digital camera to date.

Happy St George’s Day to all our readers

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Happy St. George's Day! England's national day isn't celebrated in the same way that Scotland, Wales and Ireland remember their patrons. It's perhaps something we should pay more attention to.

Crisis Bellwether Stock: The 75 mm f/1.4 Leica Bummilux

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Why is it that the humble toilet roll becomes the object of panic buying at the slightest hint of trouble ahead? Even ten years ago, Mike was fretting that the advent of digital news would make loo rolls worth their weight in gold. Perhaps the Leica Bummilux is the answer?

Shop-from-home becomes the new norm

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I’ve been impressed by the ways in which photographic retailers and manufacturers have responded to the challenge of closed retail outlets and...