When Citibank was bankrupt the Secretary of the US Treasury gave Citibank $45B for preferred stock - basically no strings attached. Shareholders of Citibank kept their equity. The Citibank management that had run it into the ground and stayed in place will now be the ultimate decision makers at Kodak.
Why isn't anyone talking about breaking up these "too big to fail" banks? When they get in trouble again now they will be able to point to saving Kodak as another reason they should be bailed out. If you saw this situation in a third world country: National government loans to bank, bank loans to industry; you would see this a croneyism and not be likely to invest or build a business in that country.
Regardless of what I think, my point was that your phrasing made it sound like it was a gift when in reality it was a very profitable transaction for the treasury.
But now that the crises is over break them apart into smaller banks that are small enough to fail. Otherwise US taxpayers are liable to cover bad bets that Citibank makes yet any profitable bets stay with the company.
I would argue breaking up AT&T to allow competitors worked out to the advantage of the public AND the shareholders. The smaller baby bells now had to compete and returned more to shareholders than the monolithic AT&T would have.
Specifically, you have the moral obligation to negotiate that position for the benefit of citizens at large. The government did not do even really attempt to do that, which is a political crime for which there has not yet been a reckoning.
That doesn't mean it was right to not change the source of the problem after the crisis, but that's a whole other debate.
Nope, but the bank deals were much less evil than the auto bailouts, and not just because the auto bailouts are going to lose 10s of billions (or is it 100s) of dollars.
And then there's barney frank and chris dodd, the lead protectors for fannie and freddie (who we now know lied about their subprime exposure). The former will finally leave congress this year and the latter left in 2010, but is now pushing SOPA for MPAA.
Solynda et al is somewhere in here.
And let us not forget lightsquared, the folks who are trying to screw gps.
Never rely on reporters from CNN to do arithmetic. This is the daily TARP update:
Edit: And for the record, that is from the US Treasury, who you know is going to put it in the best possible light(ie, least loss of $$).
Even if they hadn't driven a hard economic bargain, the government could still have imposed salary/bonus restraint. The argument that the banks had is that everyone would leave : The reality is that in a hyper-regulated business, the government/FINRA could just politely suggest that people either stayed in their current jobs (to comply with their regulatory duties, etc) or leave the industry...
No one in the industry was really prepared for the nose dive film sales took; essentially only die-hards like me still buy it. Film was and is to some degree still capable of more resolution, more dynamic range, better color fidelity and less prone to weird errors in the way that a Bayer sensor does (almost every Bayer ever sold to consumers had a detail destroying filter attached to it because the alternative is horrific Moire effects), but the speed of editing digital caused it to take off like a rocket. I suppose the lesson to be learned there is that Kodak spent a century making the very best film it possibly could (for the professional lines, anyway) when it turns out the market is perfectly happy with a 4 MP digital with a mediocre lens and chromatic abberation out the arse if it cuts the feedback loop down from days to seconds.
I have mixed feelings about Kodak in general--they had a tendency to make bizarre decisions that led the few film enthusiasts remaining to believe that it was simply a matter of time before everything got the shaft and they would have to switch to something else anyway. They also made a lot of really bad digital cameras, which was strange considering the superb reputation their press lenses and the Retina had back in the day. Fujifilm never divested itself of its cameramaking arm and continues to make some of the best lenses in the business to this day, and I think that has been a very important strength for them.
I'd also expect the storage convenience to have had an impact, you can store dozens to hundreds of pictures in a memory card the size of a nail (a pretty huge nail for CF cards, but most of the market will be consumers shooting on SD anyway) and you can offload them into a computer or a bigger storage system at the end of the day, instead of having to lug around cases of film.
There's also the ability to quickly remove "failed" or extra shoots on the spot without wasting a valuable spot in the card, where film... a photo taken is a spot taken, no going back.
> I suppose the lesson to be learned there is that Kodak spent a century making the very best film it possibly could (for the professional lines, anyway) when it turns out the market is perfectly happy with a 4 MP digital with a mediocre lens and chromatic abberation out the arse if it cuts the feedback loop down from days to seconds.
I'm not sure your argument is much helped by you comparing professional film with consumer point-and-shoot from 5 years ago.
But even comparing consumer film lines to consumer digicams of five years ago, the film had it all over the digicam in terms of resolution, color fidelity, responsiveness (not unusual for there to be a multi second lag time between pressing the button and a photo being taken on those), just technically slaughtered. But because you get results right now and don't need to spend $6 getting it developed, hey. One of the reasons 4 MP was enough was because consumers rarely enlarge a photograph past the 4x6 prints they get from the mini lab, so the advantages turn out to be mostly not interesting.
Beyond that, film is just a pain in the ass. You can carry a single card that holds hundreds of images, or you can carry 4 rolls of film and get 96 images. Every time you take a picture, you're counting down the number of images you can take. And you need to buy the right ISO, even though you're an amateur and don't know what the hell ISO is.
Film was destined to die out for casual photographers as soon as digital reached the "meh, these photos are okay" stage, because "okay" is good enough for most people, and film is just so inconvenient in comparison to digital.
Which is exactly the same phenomenon that occurred with music. The industry kept moving to better and better formats, only to be confounded that people didn't mind lower quality lossy compressed mp3s with swishy sounding hi-hats.
These formats were never made available outside "the industry". I've seen almost no artist (outside of Bandcamp which does it by default/for free) providing lossless downloads, let alone HQ tracks or 3+ channel tracks on normal albums. Reznor is the only one who comes to mind (he released multitracks and 24b/96KHz of Ghosts I-IV in the Deluxe editions)
(Oh, and Reznor's released other lossless albums too -- The Slip [24/96] and the NINJA 2009 Tour Sampler.)
tape->phono->cd-!->mp3 (originally not well received)
\-> mp3 if called iPod
But to answer your question, I never used Napster (but I know it was popular).
Records, arguably, provide superior sound to an MP3 player, but can you bring a 2,000 record collection with you when travelling?
Some companies have experimented with other sensors or other patterns. The new Fuji X-PRO1 is using a non-Bayer filter, which should be interesting if it works well (it also does not have an anti-alias filter). There are also Foveon sensors, which use the selective permeability of silicon to different kinds of light instead of a pattern of photo sites.
Because this is the internet, I feel obliged to point out the inaccuracies of some of his other statements:
>>Film was and is to some degree still capable of more resolution, more dynamic range, better color fidelity and less prone to weird errors in the way that a Bayer sensor does<<
First of all, film and digital sensors of comparable sizes have nowhere near the same amount of resolution, dynamic range, or color fidelity. Digital sensors simply murder film in every category. (You can make the argument that B&W film still has some an edge in terms of dynamic range, but considering you're matching it against RGB sensors, I'm not sure that's fair.) Even 8x10 film is now out-resolved by medium format backs.
In terms of color fidelity, there is no film emulsion that will get you more accurate results than properly color-managed digital equipment. Which is exactly why museums and people who care about accurate color reproduction use digital capture.
Finally, the anti-aliasing filters aren't exactly a big deal. Yes, they degrade image quality. Yet, even with them on most consumer sensors, those sensors still massively out-resolve, and produce sharper images, than comparable film. Also note that most medium format backs don't have AA filters.
So, while somebody might like using film (or may need to in certain circumstances) the arguments presented aren't exactly the best justifications for doing so.
Film is an analog medium, so we need some way of measuring resolution. The accepted way is line pairs per mm, or cycles per mm; a dark line next to a light line. A Bayer sensor because of the way the color filter works requires four linear pixels to resolve this same object.
Now Kodak's papers on the subject indicate that Ektar's color response desynchronizes around 20 lp/mm and reach 20% contrast at around 65 lp/mm for the red channel and 80+ for the blue and green channels. Since we're dealing with black and white lines here, we use the blue and green filters as they will still be visually distinguishable. We can argue whether further than 20% contrast is relevant but it seems like a decent enough stopping place. Fine. So the film can resolve 80 lp/mm.
Actual gate size varies a little but generally it is considered to be 36mm x 24mm. So that translates to 11520 x 7680 or an 84 megapixel camera, under perfect conditions.
In realistic use because of diffraction you are unlikely to get 80 lp/mm on the film, the film is not likely to be flat, you probably can't hold the camera perfectly rigidly, etc. It is generally accepted by archivists that 4000 DPI scanning is good enough for archival, which translates to about a 5700 x 3800 image or about 20 MP. In 8x10 that translates to about 1.2 gigapixels, although when you get to that point 4K DPI is probably overkill due to the diffraction limit reached at typical 8x10 working apetures.
As for dynamic range, Kodak doesn't show when Ektar 100 shoulders off but it has minimum 11 stops of dynamic range. I've used Ilford's XP2 when shooting a wedding before, and that has a bizarre shoulder with something like 13-15 stops of dynamic range. Digital cameras are typically more like 7 without using HDR, and HDR is not well suited to anything that isn't completely static.
Finally we get to color fidelity. Kodak worked very, very hard to be as precise as possible with their films and largely succeeded; you can find in the Ektar 100 tech document precise filter recommendations to cancel out the oddity of florescents if you know what sort of florescent you're working with. If you are fortunate enough to use flash, all flashes are designed to emit a precise blackbox radiative spectrum that corresponds to daylight, where the films are balanced. EPP, which is a long obsolete reversal film that I have worked with, was used a lot in catalog photography where it was vitally important that the color used in the catalog must match precisely the color that was photographed, and it was very good for that. Digitals are theoretically more flexible and thus have the potential for better color fidelity, but to do that you basically need to know precisely which lights you are using and at that point you're in the same boat as film users.
Now, is all this really compelling reasons to go to film? Not really. But I spend all day every day working in front of a computer and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend my hobby time calibrating my monitors and messing with scanners and printers (each in a dead heat for most miserable fucking peripherial ever), so I do traditional darkroom stuff, occasionally including some color work.
2. Ok, you're right. Some films will certainly outperform some digital. But, the new MF backs will shoot 13-15 stops as well, so who wins? I'd argue that, on average, digital trumps film. I've shot mostly velvia (the most popular landscape/wildlife film for 30 years?) and provia, and those can't compete with even my 3 year old dslr. (see http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/dynamicrange2/ for tests done with an 8 year old dslr)
3. Get a color checker (http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?ID=1192). No filters necessary, and precise color no matter what lighting conditions. And, you'd be able to eliminate one of those miserable fucking peripherals.
FWIW, going digital has tremendously simplified my workflow and allowed me more shooting time with less dicking around with equipment time, and much better quality prints (and I make really big prints). Cheers.
A professional is probably only going to use film these days if they want a specific effect; say, infrared, or sometimes people fart around with Holgas and call it art. For an amateur, the $20,000 digital back that can compare with a 4x5 with some decent lenses costing a tenth that much is a much harder sell. And that's pretty much where I sit; I'm not going to spend $50,000 on a top of the line MF outfit. I might spend the $1.2K for an X-100, though, still mulling that over. A couple thousand buys a lot of film and developer.
20 years or so later everyone has a digital camera and all Kodak has are some patents.
A smaller SLR segment boomed as the costs of distribution fell due to the internet, rewarding content creators while phone cameras becoming just as good and a lot easier to use for the typical snapshooter.
It almost reads like a case study in "Innovator's Dilemma."
If you are talking gross margin that sounds closer to a marginally profitable product than "obscene."
I personally believe Kodak screwed film.
I mean, their new emulsions are superb, and they can run around Ilford and Fuji in circles in everything except maybe slides, where Kodak is still better but ridiculously expensive. They screwed film because they where the only ones in a position to take film into the next technological level, but kept managing that division as if it was 1980 and everybody was still printing at the lab or at their own darkroom. They should have focused more on people who still develop at the lab but scan film themselves.
The only feature they introduced that helped self-scanning was stronger carriers. They also claim dyes that ease color management in some of their color negative films but I call that bullshit. Color management in color negative film is a PITA unless you own a Kodak minilab. They had the opportunity to give everyone better color management technology by making targets that are affordable, making easy to use software or even making their own film scanner. They didn't, even thou there were strong rumors about it happening, and even while they still sell their stupid 4x6 print scanners.
Basically now scanning color negative films for most photographers is sort of a painfully inaccurate manual process. Slides are easier but also cost more and have less dynamic range than digital and similar color rendition and accuracy. Black and white can be managed by even amateur photographers but Kodak could still make it a whole lot easier.
I really would like for at least their film division to manage to go out of bankruptcy, since I have only recently began shooting Ektar and love Portra... But if they really go out of business I think I'll sell my MF film gear and start saving for a full frame 35mm DSLR or maybe a Pentax 645d.
Rather than simply winding down the business and paying cash to shareholders, they ploughed money into developing digital printers and digital cameras; a market with thin margins and where they had very little competitive advantage. It's almost like management couldn't bear the thought of going out of business so they ended up doing something worse - losing more money and THEN going out of business.
I think Microsoft has made a similar mistake. Rather than sitting on it's little nest-egg of Windows and Office and miking the cash until it runs dry, it feels compelled to waste money in areas with no competitive advantage. Bing, Windows Mobile and XBox have all provided a worse return on investment than US treasury bills.
If Microsoft sat in his little "nest-egg" of basic interpreters there would be no Office and no Windows.
Plus, MS has been unable to leverage XBox users into buying Zunes or Windows Phones. I suspect MS's XBox investment will ultimately amount to very little in the long term.
XBox is huge. It's becoming the media center for an American Consumer household. That means paying $60/year just for the "privilege" of watching Netflix in HD through your 360.
Wait 2-3 (or 4 or 5) years where a Windows Phone can play an XBOX 1 game or an XBOX 360 game in your hand. Wait until Microsoft comes up with something like Apple's AirPlay where Windows Phone apps can utilize a full 1080p screen.
Wait until they integrate more cloud services with the 360. And unveil their own Siri. Or make it so your XBOX 360 can message your phone every time a certain trend on Twitter is mentioned (agent based voice search).
Wait until an entire household of teenagers gets used to talking to their 360 to control it, having it integrate with their phones, and having it manage their social networks and cloud services, AND play some amazing games....
I have a feeling the 360 and the whole Xbox line is going to a very valuable investment and one of MS's cash cows. All of the "convergence" waves Apple is currently riding are also there for Microsoft to ride...
The first digital cameras for the consumer-level market that worked with a home computer via a serial cable were the Apple QuickTake 100 camera (February 17 , 1994), the Kodak DC40 camera (March 28, 1995), the Casio QV-11 (with LCD monitor, late 1995), and Sony's Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera (1996).
It's like you are flying a plane and you know there is a mountain ahead of you, and you'll eventually need to climb, so you begin to adjust the plane ready for a climb. Suddenly a cliff appears in front of you and you crash into it.
Seems like Kodak tried investing the right area but executed very poorly. Cameras are a great business, just look at how well Nikon or Canon are doing. Cinema digital camera market is just rising by RED and recently Canon. Why a company that started and was leading camera sensor technology, OLED displays, with tons of know how of imaging technology ended up turning into selling cheap point and shoots is beyond me.
Technically, bankruptcy is a discharge of debts and financial obligations. If there are funds available, there may be a fractional payment of the nominal value of a debt (what you hear as "pennies on the dollar" in the financial press).
What's also literally happening is that money wealth is being destroyed, insofar as the debts of of debtor are considered assets to the creditor, and that the creditor can make loans on the strength of those assets.
The bank (or other creditor) has to wipe out the loan or lien. Literally, the value of these is reduced or zeroed out.
Debt forgiveness has an ancient tradition. It's part of some of the earliest legal codes (debt sabbaticals would occur every seventh year), and is included in the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer, though protestants generally exchange "trespasses" for "debts".
Common stock is probably worthless and secured creditors will get some percentage of their loan back. The hope is the company can re-organize when relieved of debts they can't pay and creditors will get back more money than they would if they forced the company to close and auction off the assets.
thankfully Wikipedia is back:
It's a shame because like their neighbor Xerox they were technologically advanced. They were big in digital pre-2000 and slammed on the brakes when they hit short term losses.
Chalk it up as another case of large firms struggling to innovate. Makes Apple seem all the more impressive.
It's just a sign that old management methods have failed and time to change.
The problem is once something becomes a commodity, it's hard to make profit from there. I am going to be very curious to see what happens to the iphone brand in a decade. Once it would have been impossible to imagine the "walkman" brand to fade away.
Kodak is dead because they rode the analog film horse into the ground and never realized they needed to diversify and leverage their brand into something new and better for the next 50 years.
Kodak hasn't been a film-company for years, and in fact they still lead the industry in many ways. For example, look at the market for high-end medium format digital sensors, Kodak is still at the top of that heap. Of course, the market for $20K digital backs is... pretty small.
Kodak's strategy in the digital age was try to become a technology broker, and let others tackle transforming this tech into actual end product - but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that your licensees and customers will eventually vertically integrate and push you out entirely. Canon built their own sensors, Sony got into the sensors game and pushed Kodak completely out of the consumer sensor realm, and between those two Kodak's doom was all but sealed.
Instead, their consumer-level efforts focused on stupid, low-margin, technologically simple wares like inkjet printers and digital photo frames, all lowest-common-denominator product categories where Kodak didn't have a significant technological edge against its competitors.
Kodak invented the digital camera, but they completely dropped the ball. They needed to ship their own cameras.
I'm curious as to which?
Very sad to watch.