Finally Kodak has crumbled; technology and the market changed, but Kodak could not keep up. Lots of memories of those bright yellow and black film spools, and memories in photographs piled in boxes beneath the bed.
But just imagine if Kodak had been more like Apple.
I’m wondering about the fallout from the Kodak collapse. I’m not an investor, nor an employee, or even a supplier, but I have used Kodak products since childhood and I do have 40 years of memories in Kodak’s digital photo cloud. There are talks of Fuji buying up the remains of the photo cloud service, so it maybe that they will re-emerge, but for the time being I can no longer stream my photos to friend’s kTV enabled TV sets when I visit, nor view them online.
Happily, my Kodak kReader has a cache of most of my photos. But, how many I’m not sure, when did I last look at the photos of those childhood holidays or my wedding, will they be in my reader, I’ll check my kPhone as well. I’d hate to think I’d lost the snaps of the seaside holiday when my hat blew into the water; I only half remember it, but every time I look at it I remember being told and re-told the story by my dad.
The kReader is only a few months old. I usually try to put off getting a new one as they are so expensive, but even after a couple of years the software updates put a strain on the old machines. I had to give up when my three year old model seemed to take about a minute to show each photo. It was annoying as this wasn’t just the new photos, but ones I recall viewing instantly on my first photo-reader more than 30 years ago (I can still remember the excitement as I unwrapped it one Christmas, I was 14 at the time, but now children seem to get their first readers when they are 4). The last straw was when the software updates would no longer work on the old processor and all my newer photos were appearing in strange colours.
Some years ago, I’d tried using a Fuji-viewer, which was much cheaper than the Kodak one. In principle you could download your photo cloud collection in an industry standard format and then import them into the Fuji cloud. However, this lost all the notes and dates on the photos and kept timing out unless I downloaded them in small batches, then I lost track of where I was. Even my brother-in-law, who is usually good at this sort of thing, couldn’t help.
But now I’m glad I’ve got the newest model of kReader as it had 8 times the memory of the old one, so hopefully all of my old photos in its cache. But oh no, just thought, has it only cached the things I’ve looked at since I’ve got it? If so I’ll have hardly anything. Please, please let the kReader have downloaded all it could.
Suddenly, I remember the days when I laughed a little when my mum was still using her reels of old Apple film and the glossy prints that would need scanning to share on the net (not that she did use the net, she’d pop them in the post!). “I know it is the future”, she used to say, “but I never really trust things I can’t hold”. Now I just wish I’d listened to her.
Kodak’s tragedy is they were the disruptive technology pioneers of the 1890’s. Transforming the complex wet processing into an industrialised system for the non expert general public (with sufficient disposable income).
See the current Dover publications samplers for an advert illustrating this.