When it was announced that Facebook would be acquiring Instagram back on Monday, the web balked at the $1 billion price tag and started shouting “bubble”. Is it really indicative of another tech bubble, or was it a smart move on Zuckerberg’s part? Andy Baio — the founder of Upcoming.org, which was purchased by Yahoo — has written up an interesting article over at Wired that takes a look at the numbers. For a billion bucks, Facebook snagged a startup with a whopping 35 million users and just 13 employees. This means that Instagram had a relatively cheap cost-per-user price and a ridiculously high cost-per-employee price.
Instagram’s Buyout: No Bubble to See Here [Wired]
Wolfram Alpha has added a new in-app purchase option to its knowledge engine app that brings advanced image analysis and manipulation to iOS devices. The $0.99 add-on allows users to use photos taken on the fly or from their Camera Roll as input. They can then use the app to do things such as analysis, sharpening, edge detection, and apply various effects. You can find a list of available commands here.
(via Wolfram Alpha via Engadget)
The Economist has a fascinating piece looking at the similarities and differences between Kodak and Fujifilm, two juggernauts of film photography that took different paths when digital photography came around:
While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak’s desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.
Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak’s $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?
Last Friday, Kodak filed a lawsuit against Fujifilm alleging that the company had infringed on Kodak’s digital photography patents.
The last Kodak moment? [The Economist]
Image credit: Ammo for 合歡&清境 by 今 ゆっくりと 歩いていこう
The London Evening Standard has published a fascinating article on a photograph captured by Getty photographer Oli Scarff, which shows a near-fatal stabbing that occurred during London’s Notting Hill Carnival back in August. After being published around the world, the photograph changed the lives of the subjects seen it it. The fleeing man was identified from the photo and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, the policeman was criticized for his apparent indifference (a claim he disputes), and the man trying to trip the attacker was hailed as a hero but subsequently named as an ex-Russian police officer who was dismissed over murder allegations.
Fallout from a photograph that shocked London (via PopPhoto)
Image credit: Photograph by Getty Images/Oli Scarff
“The Catch” is one of the most famous plays in American football history, and Walter Iooss Jr.’s photograph of Dwight Clark leaping into the air is one of the game’s iconic images. Paul Lukas of Uni Watch has published an interesting analysis of the photograph and why it “works”:
I’ve been fascinated by the famous photo of the Catch for years and have always thought it to be the greatest photo ever of NFL action, and possibly the greatest sports photo, period. The photo has always been very visually pleasing to me, so I recently decided to find out why.
Out of curiosity I applied the golden ratio, the rule of thirds, and perspective to the photo, and I was completely blown away by the results. Now I know why this photo has always been so visually stunning to me: Compositionally, it is divine. I’ve prepared a series of exhibits to support my points.
If you aren’t familiar with these two rules of composition, check out this article.
Deconstructing the Catch (via Coudal Partners)
Kodak’s fall from grace is an interesting case study that modern day companies can learn from. Even though the world’s first digital camera was invented by one of its engineers, the company was unwilling to cannibalize its film business that, at the time, was making money hand over fist. By the time digital cameras started catching on, Kodak had missed the boat.
Camera startup Lytro made a splash back in June when it announced that it was working on a revolutionary new light-field camera geared towards consumers. Rather than capture traditional 2D images, the new camera will record information about the scene’s light field, allowing photographers to do things such as refocus a shot after it is made or display any photo in 3D. The camera is scheduled to be announced within the next few months.
Earlier this week, a Reuters photograph showing a Libyan rebel firing an RPG caused a stir after people on a number of sites suggested that it might have been Photoshopped. Well, it turns out the photo is 100% real — not only did Reuters confirm this with us, but forensic expert Neal Krawetz arrived at the same conclusion after analyzing the image:
By using a suite of analysis methods, it becomes extremely difficult for a fake image to pass unnoticed. While an intentional forgery might pass one or two tests, it takes a level of skill that most photographers and amateur graphic artists lack. This picture easily passes every test (including a whole slew that I didn’t include here). I have no reason to question the authenticity of this picture.
Typically, amazing photos come about through digital modifications. However in this case, Anis Mili has truly captured an amazing photo. And he did it without using a crutch like Photoshop.
You should definitely give Krawetz’s blog post a read — it’s an interesting look at image forensics.
Without a Crutch [The Hacker Factor Blog]
Bloomberg reports that Canon and Nikon’s failure thus far to enter the mirrorless camera market has allowed Sony to eat into their combined market share — at least in Japan:
Canon and Nikon’s combined share of the Japanese market [for interchangeable lens cameras] has fallen by 35 percent, while Sony’s share has doubled
“Mirrorless cameras are a threat,” said David Rubenstein, a Tokyo-based analyst [...] “If the western geographies follow the same pattern as Asia, then it will be negative for Nikon and Canon.”
“In the long run, Canon and Nikon will have to enter the market,” said Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst [...] “Still, it won’t be too late for them to enter the market after mirrorless cameras become a global trend.”
Although mirrorless cameras are becoming all the rage in Japan, its adoption outside the country is much slower. Canon still owns a 45% share of the global SLR market, while Nikon remains at 30%. Canon also earned $1.5 billion in profit from selling SLRs last year, four times the profit generated by its compact cameras. SLR cameras and lenses were also Nikon’s biggest moneymaker.
Canon Clinging to Mirrors Means Opportunity for Sony Cameras [Bloomberg]
Government officials have been caught in a number of Photoshop flubs recently, from the Egyptian president being edited to be walking at the head of a pack of world leaders to a badly Photoshopped photo of Chinese officials that went recently went viral. Now the Syrian government may be the latest culprit — the country just released an image of its president swearing in a newly appointed governor, and something doesn’t quite look right…
The Guardian’s imaging expert David McCoy believes two pictures have been merged to make it seem like the men are in the same room, with the one on the right positioned fractionally higher than the one on the left. This becomes clearer when you look closely at the floor, which is distorted. The right hand side of the picture has been stretched downwards into place to line up with the left side (which is not distorted). [#]
What’s your analysis? Is this this yet another government manipulated photo?
(via The Guardian)