"Après 30 ans d’existence, le Minitel s’apprête à tirer sa révérence. Les plus jeunes ne verront même pas de quoi il est question, mais ceux qui étaient au collège ou au lycée dans les années 90 s’en rappelleront peut-être pour avoir recherché dessus leurs résultats aux examens du brevet ou du bac. Le Minitel, ou l’ancêtre d’internet ! Invention 100 % française, le 1er réseau dans l’histoire des télécommunications à permettre la “connexion de terminaux permettant la visualisation de données informatiques” disparaîtra le 30 Juin 2012, et avec lui la machine à l’origine du fameux “36-15″. Définitivement la fin d’une époque.
After 30 years of existence, the Minitel is preparing to take its final bow. The youngest will not even see what it is about, but those who were in college or high school in the 90s will remember perhaps have looked over their test scores. The Minitel, or the ancestor of the Internet ! 100% French invention, the first network in the history of telecommunications to allow ”terminal connection to visualization of computer data” will draw his bow on June 30, 2012, and with it the machine behind the famous “36 - 15 “. Definitely the end of an era."
(Vincent Laserson, 31 May 2012, De Jeunes Gens Modernes)
"The brochures selected here (just a fraction of the Museum's holdings in this area) show some of the more important technologies, companies, and applications in computing from 1948 to 1988. This covers the period from mechanical and relay-based computers to those based on the microprocessor - a remarkable transition that occurred over only 25 years. We hope you enjoy browsing through these historical documents."
(Computer History Museum)
"'Facebook's entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo!'s patented social networking technology,' Yahoo claims in the lawsuit, filed yesterday in US District Court in Northern California. 'Prior to adopting Yahoo!'s patented social networking technology in 2008, Facebook was considered one of the worst performing Internet sites for advertising. Facebook's use of that social networking model has reportedly dramatically driven up Facebook's advertising click through rates.'
Nearly all the technology that makes Facebook successful is based on Yahoo patents, the company further states.
'For much of the technology upon which Facebook is based, Yahoo! got there first and was therefore granted patents by the United States Patent Office to protect those innovations. Yahoo!'s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud, and privacy controls,' Yahoo alleged in its court filing. 'These innovations dramatically improve user experience, privacy, and security and enhance the ability of advertisers to connect with users.'"
(Jon Brodkin, 13 March 2012, Ars Technica)
"During the planning and construction of Disneyland, Walt had been introduced to the basic concepts of urban design and slowly became a self-taught expert in the field. Such seemingly dry concepts as city planning and urban decay fired his imagination. When Disney's Chief Archivist Dave Smith catalogued Walt's office in 1970, one of the books on a shelf behind Walt's desk was architect Victor Gruen's The Heart of Our Cities: The Urban Crisis, Diagnosis and Cure.
'Walt was serious about that city,' Marty [Sklar] explains. 'And he had a lot of work being done at the time' to explore its viability. Walt asked for Marty's help to coalesce his thoughts so he could produce a film to explain the project, and, over the next several months, Marty wrote a script for a 24-minute film that detailed the 'Florida Project.' In the film, an ebullient Walt explains the concept of Epcot - a full-scale city of the future where people would live, work, and play in comfort. An international shopping district would re-create scenes from around the world, and American industry would have a showcase for the latest technologies.
Walt shot the short film in October 1966. Eight weeks later, he was gone.
The brief-but-potent film, however, lived on. It was shown a handful of times in early 1967 to key constituencies: the Florida Legislature, invited guests (for a packed presentation in a Winter Park theater), and once on statewide television. The film proved vital in convincing both the Legislature and voters that Disney's Florida Project should be approved, which it was. From the moment the project was given the go-ahead, Marty says, the Company's resources were dedicated to getting Walt Disney World up and running and to regaining confidence in the absence of its founder and leader."
(John Singh and Steven Vagnini, 07 June 2012)
"LENIN is said to have sneered that a capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him. The quote may be spurious, but it contains a grain of truth. Capitalists quite often invent the technology that destroys their own business.
Eastman Kodak is a picture-perfect example. It built one of the first digital cameras in 1975. That technology, followed by the development of smartphones that double as cameras, has battered Kodak's old film- and camera-making business almost to death. ...
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?
Both saw change coming. Larry Matteson, a former Kodak executive who now teaches at the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business, recalls writing a report in 1979 detailing, fairly accurately, how different parts of the market would switch from film to digital, starting with government reconnaissance, then professional photography and finally the mass market, all by 2010. He was only a few years out.
Fujifilm, too, saw omens of digital doom as early as the 1980s. It developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.
Both firms realised that digital photography itself would not be very profitable. 'Wise businesspeople concluded that it was best not to hurry to switch from making 70 cents on the dollar on film to maybe five cents at most in digital,' says Mr Matteson. But both firms had to adapt; Kodak was slower."
(The Economist, 14 January 2012)
Fig.1 John Terret (03 Nov 2011). "Kodak misses the moment", Al Jazeera.
Fig.2 Kodak (1922). "Kodachrome Film Test".