6/24/2009

6/23/2009

R.I.P. Kodachrome

It was only a matter of time. Earlier this week, Kodak announced that it has finally ceased production of Kodachrome film.

Kodachrome's days were numbered, even before the rise of digital cameras. Environmentally, it required a toxic development process. Aesthetically, it had taken a second seat to super-saturated emulsions like Fujichrome Velvia. And forget about getting it processed in an hour. Turnaround times were anywhere from a day to several weeks, depending on where you lived.

That said, Kodachrome defined the look of color photography for decades. And archivally, it was fantastic. You could shoot a roll of Kodachrome, throw the slides in a drawer, take them out 25 years or even 50 years later, and they would look as fresh as the day you got 'em back from the lab. Can we honestly say that today's digital media will last as long? And if they do, will we have the tools to read them?

I cut my photographic teeth on Kodachrome. For instance, here's a shot I took back in the 1980s, possibly in Montreal:



Note that I modified the image digitally -- after scanning it, of course. :-) For instance, the bird looked uncomfortably close to the tower, so I cloned it and moved it to improve the composition. But you know, if you told me back in the 1980s that I would someday scan this image and digitally enhance it with a computer, I would have looked at you as if you had six heads.

BTW, here's something you probably didn't know: Unprocessed Kodachrome is, in fact, a black and white emulsion. The colors are inserted during the development process.

How cool is that?

6/22/2009

What? Another QNX fastboot demo on Intel Atom? Aw, c'mon...

Sorry, couldn't resist. I know I've blogged on similar demos in the past, but this one has a nice sequence where Kroy Zeviar of QNX pulls the plug on an Atom-based board to show that QNX fastboot truly is a cold-boot technology. The system doesn't have to be in any kind of "on" state for fastboot to work.

Kroy also briefly discusses how QNX fastboot technology can benefit a variety of HMI-intensive devices for the automation, medical, military, and communications markets.

6/18/2009

iPod touch users get Bluetooth, finally

Last October, a teardown report revealed that the iPod touch contains a chip that supports both Bluetooth audio and FM reception. At the time, it was up in the air as to whether future firmware updates would switch on either feature.

Well, no word on FM yet, but as for Bluetooth, the news is good: The new iPhone 3.0 software update allows iPod touch users to listen to music on Bluetooth stereo headphones.

Mind you, the news isn't all good: If you use a first-gen touch, you're out of luck. The Bluetooth support applies to second-gen models only.

Any guesses that the FM reception will never be switched on? After all, if I were Apple, I wouldn't want my customers to be listening to local FM broadcasts when they could be downloading songs from iTunes instead...

6/17/2009

The real winners of the Telematics Update awards

QNX didn't take home any prizes from this year's Telematics Awards, except for a "runner up" in the telematics leadership category. And guess what: That's exactly how it should be.

Let me explain. All of the products that QNX offers — operating systems, tools, middleware, engineering services — are designed with one goal in mind, to make customers successful. The more customers succeed, the more QNX succeeds. So, by nature, QNX isn't in the business of creating glitzy, award-winning software. Rather, it's in the business of creating software that helps customers create successful, award-winning products.

And sure enough, more than 50% of this year's Telematics Award winners either work with QNX as a technology partner or use QNX software as the foundation for their automotive products. Onstar, for example. So, while QNX isn't winning, I think it's doing something more important: succeeding.

6/15/2009

Totally random

6/11/2009

QNX-based RoIP system helps railway communications stay on track

If you think an ORC is one of those ugly buggers in the Lord of the Rings, think again. It's actually a highly reliable radio-over-IP (RoIP) system that has brought New Zealand's railway communications into the 21st century.

You've heard of applications where failure isn't an option. This is one of them. The ORC transmits all voice communications between rail vehicles and the train control center, and handles any emergency calls that a train may transmit if a derailment occurs. So it's got to run 24/7, with no excuses. To achieve that goal, it takes advantage of QNX Neutrino's dynamic upgradability and software fault tolerance.

Enough introductions. Click here and check out the ORC for yourself.