Photokina 2019 cancelled, but is an annual show sustainable?

Moving Photokina to an annual Spring slot meant there would be two shows within seven months. However, the 2019 event has now bitten the dust and the next gathering will be in May 2020. But what of the future?

Once up on a time we were all just cells in a spreadsheet

Ben Evans has created a great analogy when he compares the modern spreadsheet to workstations, or cells, in an enormous 1960s office block.

In effect, every person on that floor is a cell in a spreadsheet. The floor is a worksheet and the building is an Excel file, with thousands of cells each containing a single person. CC Baxter [in the 1960 classic, The Apartment] is on the 19th floor, section W, desk 861. The links between cells are made up of a typewriter, carbon copies ('CC') and an internal mail system, and it takes days to refresh whenever someone on the top floor presses F9.

Tip: Black-and-white screen or viewfinder image for peaking clarity

While testing the Leica TL2 one of my concerns was that the new focus peaking system was set too low for comfort...

Workflow: The humble typewriter through rose-coloured glasses

Notebooks, typewriters, fountain pens: All should by rights be dead, foully killed off by the computer. But they live on.....

Q what a scorcher: Heat and Leica’s Q2

Take a snap with Leica's new Q2 using DNG plus a JPG sidecar and you've said goodbye to 100MB of disk storage. Can you cope?

Apple’s new iMac Pro: Not the best choice for photographers

All that glittlers..... Apple's gorgeous new all-grey iMac Pro promises blistering performance. But is it money well spent for the keen stills photographer?

iHoover: When trademarks become generic

Such has been the success of Apple in the past five years that I can well understand the company's desire to protect trademarks. Unfortunately, great success brings the danger of your cherished trademark turning into a generic term. Apple are dangerously close to this phenomenon with the iPod. These days everyone talks about an iPod and everyone knows instantly that this is an MP3 player. It's definitely a more effective description than any other.

This is nothing new, of course. Perhaps the one case we all recognise is the trademark Hoover. Once upon a time, back in the middle of the last century, Hoover was the iPod of the vacuum world, with Goblin and Electrolux snapping at their bags. Even 50 years ago people were happily "hoovering" with their Goblins and not sparing a thought for the trademark. Now it is universal to prefer the verb hoover to the more generic vacuum.

There are lots of other similar instances. Sellotape and Scotchtape are both trademarks and have been fiercely protected by their owners for more than fifty years. Fiberglass (Fibreglass in the UK) is a trademark and for years journalists have been exhorted to use the generic "glass fibre". But it's a losing battle and the trademark has become a generic term.

Most of Apple's "i" products have been so successful that they have defined a genre. Both iPod and iPhone are in danger of becoming generic. iPhone, for instance, makes a much better generic for smartphone than Android in its many guises or, even, BlackBerry which for a time was becoming synonymous with smartphone. Until the Apple came along, of course.

Apple have a lot to do to make sure their trademarks do not descend into the generic.

Johnson: The remarkable persistence of 24 x 36

An essay on the persistence of the original Barnack film format sets Mike thinking about the confusion which reigns in the way we describe digital sensor sizes.  

iPaper: Murdoch’s last stand on the pay-wall ramparts

I couldn't agree more with Techcrunch in their article "Murdoch's New iPaper - One Last Tragic Roll of the Digital Dice". Rupert's latest idea of a digital newspaper, designed for the iPad and on subscription only, is doomed to oblivion. Only last month Murdoch's News International closed down the free websites of The Times and The Sunday Times in favour of a subscription-based iPad-friendly edition. According to TechCrunch, this forward-looking initiative has produced only "disappointing" results. And that's on the first month of subscriptions; there is bound to be a severe attrition in revenues as subscribers get sick of paying for what is free elsewhere on the net. 

As far as I'm concerned, I will read free stuff until there is nothing free worth reading. Currently there are several national newspapers in the UK that provide as good, if not better, coverage that The Times. I tried the Financial Times iPad edition for a month. It's ok, but I won't be paying. Nor will I be paying for The Economist on a regular basis after trying out the free come-on subscription. The BBC news site, which is unlikely to be able to charge for access (because it is a public service, funded by the taxpayer), will be there even if all the other national newspapers erect their pay walls.

Newspaper publishers, threshing around for an answer to free internet news, seem to be convinced that people will pay £300 or more per annum to read their stories online. I remain sceptical. I wonder how long it will be before the pioneers of pay-to-read accept that they have shot themselves in their collective foot.

Hogan: Is micro four-thirds still a viable choice?

With the rapid advance of smartphones, overtaking the 2/3-sensor point-and-shoot cameras, and advances in full-frame and APS-C technology, micro four-thirds is in the eye of the storm. It is being squeezed from above and below. Thom Hogan asks if it still has a future….