Talk about a Kodak acquisition seems to be heating up as giant tech companies — including Google, Microsoft, and Apple — continue to engage in a patent-hoarding war. Just two days ago, Google agreed to acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion in order to snatch up the roughly 25,000 patents owned by the handset maker. Bloomberg writes that the patents held by Kodak may be worth five times more than the company itself, making it a prime acquisition target:
If Kodak’s patents can command $3 billion, acquiring the company would outweigh the liabilities [...] An acquirer would also be able to sell Kodak’s commercial and consumer printing businesses and the digital camera unit for at least $2.5 billion, he said.
Buyers may include Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, Samsung, the Suwon, South Korea-based maker of Galaxy phones and tablet computers, and Google, according to Luskin.
That’s crazy — can you imagine Google or Microsoft buying Kodak to strip it of its patents and then selling off the corpse to some other camera maker? No wonder Kodak adopted a ‘poison pill’.
At times erratic and unpredictable, Sangat TV is still captivating. Its most jaw-dropping moment was on Tuesday night, while it filmed from a car a police pursuit of young rioters down a Birmingham backstreet. With police lagging far behind, Sangat presenter Upinder Randhawa shouted to the officers: “Do you need a lift? We’ll give you a lift. Get in the car.”
Twenty seconds later the rioters were arrested. “Another live Sangat TV exclusive”, Randhawa told his audience.
Talk about Gonzo journalism… Their unique footage has been rebroadcast by CNN, the BCC, and news outlets in India.
Mother Jones reports that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on glymes — chemicals linked to health problems that can be found in many products we regularly come in contact with, including digital cameras:
Did you print a piece of paper today? Or use a digital camera? If so, it could have exposed you to glymes, a clear liquid class of chemicals used as solvents in printer ink, carpet cleaners and other household products. For a decade, the EPA has known about studies that link glymes to health problems including miscarriages, developmental damage, and gene mutation. And yet only now is the agency beginning to regulate them. This July, the EPA announced that it plans to clamp down on glymes, which may join the ranks of the 360 chemicals subject to the EPA’s “significant new use rule.” This means that any time a company wants to use glymes, it would have to ask the EPA first.
Here’s another nail in the fail coffin for the much-hyped but not-very-popular photo-sharing app Color: TechCrunch reports that Color received a staggering $200 million acquisition offer before it had even launched, but the company turned it down and raised $41 million in venture funding instead. Things haven’t been going so hot for Color since then, while Google saved itself $200 million and has a couple photo-sharing apps in development that are generating some buzz.
For the first time ever, an Adobe program is available through the Mac App Store. Yesterday, Adobe began selling Photoshop Elements 9 there for $80, a generous 20% off the regular $100 price for the boxed version. It’s a pretty big deal, because Adobe — along with Microsoft — is a company that would love to keep its software out of Apple’s App Store. It generates significant profits by selling its popular programs in the traditional boxed format, while businesses that sell through the Mac App Store must fork over 30% to Apple (which may soon become the most valuable company in the world). This news shows that Adobe is at least testing the waters, and may eventually expand its offers in the Mac Store to reach Apple’s rapidly expanding customer base.
Last Thursday, three Georgian photographers including Irakli Gedenidze, the personal photographer of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, were arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia by taking photos of secret documents. On Saturday, Georgian TV aired a clip of Gedenidze confessing to selling the information to someone he thought was a Russian agent, but claimed to be the victim of blackmail. The Moscow Times suggests that this may simply be an attempt by Georgia to “chill the media”.
The personal photographers of world leaders are sometimes given an extraordinary amount of access — President Obama’s photographer Pete Souza attends and photographs Obama’s meetings, and was present in the Situation Room while the Osama bin Laden raid was unfolding, allowing him to capture his now-iconic photograph.
Yesterday we shared a disconcerting art project by Kyle McDonald in which he installed apps in Apple Stores throughout NYC to secretly photograph customers staring into the computers. We predicted that Apple wouldn’t be too happy about it and, lo and behold, it’s pissed. The company has reportedly enlisted the help of the US Secret Service to investigate McDonald’s actions. Mashable writes,
[...] four Secret Service men in suits woke him up on Thursday morning with a search warrant for computer fraud. They confiscated two computers, an iPod and two flash drives, and told McDonald that Apple would contact him separately.
McDonald, who has a master’s degree in electronic arts, admits the project might make some people uncomfortable. Before he began, he got permission from Apple’s security guards to take photos in the store, then asked customers if he could take their photos (with a camera). Had they all said no, he says, he wouldn’t have proceeded.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case turns out, but it appears to be another example of a common sense fail when it comes to photography.
In the United States, anyone can be photographed in most public places without their consent… as long as they don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy. A female traffic magistrate named Rhonda Hollander was arrested last week after following a man into a courthouse bathroom and photographing him as he used the urinal.
When Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Darlene Harden confronted Hollander a short time later, the magistrate admitted taking a picture but refused to turn over her phone, arguing that it was a public restroom and she was not violating any laws, according to the report. [#]
Other places where people have an expectation of privacy include homes, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths. Basically, it helps to have some common sense.
Leica is reportedly working on a compact, large-sensor, interchangeable lens camera that will rival the “EVIL” cameras offered by Olympus/Panasonic (Micro Four Thirds), Sony (NEX), and Samsung (NX). In an interview today with Amateur Photographer, company boss Alfred Schopf stated that consumers “will see something at the next Photokina”, and that the camera will have at least an APS-C sized sensor. Perhaps the new camera will be how Leica finds its way again after being late to the digital game.
One of the exciting features of iOS 5 announced by Apple last week is the ability to use the iPhone’s “volume up” button as a shutter button when taking pictures. What’s also neat is that this design choice also means that the “volume up” button on Apple’s headphone remotes can also trigger the shutter, allowing them to be used as remote shutter releases. Say hello to stealthy and/or non-blurry iPhone photographs!