end of an era

The end of an era…

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Those of us who are of a ‘certain age’ will remember their first mobile phone – it was probably from one of only two manufacturers – Motorola and Nokia. It was almost certainly quite large and had a pull out aerial!

Nokia_7110As time went on Nokia became the ‘king’ of business phones, the 6210 was the phone of choice for business. It was thin (by the standards of the day), had a battery that just lasted for ever (you could go away for a week without a charger!), and most importantly – it just worked. We now take for granted the things that a smartphone can do – but in the ‘good old days’ texting was a really neat idea!

I still have one of my old Nokia phones and can’t bring myself to throw it out – it is the Nokia 7110 which has a sliding from cover – it was I believe used in the film ‘The Matrix’. It is a lovely tactile thing, it hasn’t been used for years but still works and holds a charge in its battery. Much as I love my iPhone I’m not sure old iPhones will hold such memories for me in the future.

It is therefore sad that Microsoft, who acquired Nokia a few years ago – have quietly killed the brand name off. We will no longer see this icon of the 80’s and 90’s on phone shop shelves – I for one will miss them….



Goodbye Ceefax

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As the rather amusing screenshot below shows, when it first came to our screens, CEEFAX was a pretty neat idea! Now this was in the 70s when the majority of us were frankly rather easliy pleased – but you have to remember this was well before the birth of the World Wide Web. Consequently getting information generally revolved around a visit to the library, or making numerous phone calls and noting down the results on a piece of paper.

20121023-164055.jpgSo when CEEFAX arrived and we were able to get news, weather, traffic reports and all sorts of information it was rather cool! I remember friends at school whose parents has TV sets capable of getting CEEFAX (it wasn’t available to all initially), seeing the rather angular text on the TV screen was something of a ‘badge of honour’ for young teenage boys!

My mother used to watch the traffic reports on CEEFAX when I was on a long car journey, and then ring me if something appeared along my route – and that is where the end of CEEFAX really started. People in their 70s and 80s still thought it was ‘cool’, no one else did, so it has been living a charmed life for the last 10 years I would suggest.

Well now it has died, but the final message was great – and well worth sharing with people who passed over CEEFAX years ago……

Kodak – the end of an era?

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As a keen photographer since my teenage years i have used most types and brands of film – Ilford for black and white, Fuji for colour transparencies in my later years, but for a long time I used Kodak products – particularly their Kodachrome (before I discovered Fuji film).

It is therefore with great sadness that I heard that Kodak had filed for protection in the USA against bankruptcy. This is to protect it from its creditors and allow a restructuring of the company which they hope to complete by 2013. But if this succeeds it will be a shadow of its former self.

To be honest this was not a surprise – Kodak just haven’t reacted to the new photographic format of digital (despite having been closely involved in its early years – in fact they claim to have invented it). At one time over 75% of photos taken anywhere in the world were on a product from Kodak – amazing figures. But they have never had anything to offer in the more expensive regions of the camera market ( led by Nikon and Canon ), and now the ‘everyday camera’ tends to be a camera phone – life has moved on from the box brownie!

However whereas Fuji are now a major force in digital photography, Kodak have gone from world power to has been. hopefully the name will survive, it would be sad to see it disappear totally.

Having said that we now have a generation that have no idea how photos were produced ‘in the old days’.

The end of Saab cars?

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It is always sad when a well-known company disappears from our view for what ever reason. Unfortunately the most common reason in the current economic climate is bankruptcy. In the last few years we have seen a number of well known companies disappear including Woolworth’s, Zavvi, The Pier, Allied Carpets, MFI to name but a few – some have gone for ever – others have been revamped as much smaller businesses (but sadly not Woolworth’s with its 820 stores).

99 Turbo - a classic car!

We accept the closure of most businesses, few really ‘shock us’ – probably Woolworth’s was the big loss of this recession so far.

But now it appears we are going to lose a large car manufacturer – Saab has been in trouble for some time, since it was purchased from General Motors by the Dutch company Spyker. According to the press they have been bouncing along the bottom for months – unable to pay staff and suppliers. I accept that they are not a large car company, but it is still a major blow when an old-established company looks to be on its way out.

They have been trying to get finance from China, but it does not appear that the Chinese Government will allow further fragmentation of their motor industry, so the end is nigh.

In their past Saab have produced some very ‘individual’ cars (although the latest ones are basically GM cars). The old Saab 99 was a fantastic vehicle (and they are still around years after they stopped production). This was the original Turbo car – fast and very scarey!

Before that they produced some highly competative rally cars which were driven by ‘the mad Fins’ who ruled rallying in the 1960’s. I knew someone at college who had a two stroke Saab 92 – now that was an amazing car!

I blogged recently about how ‘bland’ our cars are getting – they all feel and drive the same. Saab were a breath of fresh air in this respect and did things their own way – I respect that and will be sad to see them go if the worst happens.

Steve Jobs – the end of an era

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Once in a while we wake up to a news story that ‘hits home’ – it could be a natural disaster, a momentous event, or simply something that has been expected but still sends a shock wave around the world. Today is such a day, and the resignation of Steve Jobs from his role at Apple is the event.

The man and his iPhone

I, like the majority of current users of Apple products, have come fairly late to the game. The number of true long-term Apple users I know is small (but fiercely loyal) – but the number who have come to use Apple products over the last few years via iPod, iPhone, iPad or similar is huge – it seems that every family now has at least one Apple product! Counting up this morning ours has at least 6 plus others that have been passed onto others.

The reason for this massive growth into our lives has to be placed firmly at the feet of Steve Jobs and him alone. He started the company and then left – it floundered – he came back and it has flourished. I am no expert on these matters but for one man to be so influential on such a large corporate body has its issues – for years this day has been dreaded by users and the market. But is this the end for Apple or just a new dawn?

As I see it a really successful company – big or small – is based upon the core values and way of doing things throughout the company – if you like compare it to the words in a stick of rock – these basic concepts run through the firm from top to bottom, everyone signs up to them and far more importantly everyone believes totally in them.

There aren’t that many large firms that fully reflect this – Apple, Google, John Lewis are examples – and all are very successful. Because of this I really can’t see Apple failing, certainly in the near future – there is a belief there that they do something amazing (and they do!) and that they can, and do, make a difference to people’s lives (they do!).

Steve Jobs would not step down unless he felt his successor was well-groomed, he is also not leaving – just moving sideways, so I expect to see Apple continue to make our lives just that little bit more special for years to come. Unfortunately it probably indicates that Steves illness is getting to be more of an issue.

Thanks Steve, all the best.