February 24, 2019


Well today I got called a 'Polygeek' sounds good. I think? Recently I have been reading a book called The Silicon Eye written by George Gilder


Well today I got called a 'Polygeek' sounds good. I think? Recently I have been reading a book called The Silicon Eye written by George Gilder the book is about the development of the Foveon sensor that was developed to be used in cameras, cell phones, and even computers. The development path was (to a Polygeek) really, really interesting. Sadly the sensor failed to gain real traction except in digital cameras made by the Japanese Sigma Corporation, who eventually bought the patents from the American developers the Foveon Corporation. Some of the pictures taken with a Sigma camera are on this website in fact the first digital SLR I owned was the very first commercial camera Sigma made the SD9. So such a brilliant technological development ended up not taking over the world (as predicted) but became a (still brilliant) forgotten 'hero'.

The world of technology is  littered with brilliant achievements that 'fail to fly'. Those of us of a certain age can remember the battle of the titans when Sony's Betamax fought against the VHS video tape system. Or further back remember the 8 track stereo cassette that lost out to cheaper cassette players? To me gone but not forgotten. I remember sitting in my Dad's Lotus Elan 2+2 in the seventies, listening to quadrophonic sound. Whatever happened to that? Not that long ago I had a Mini Disc player/recorder a good idea. That ultimately got squashed by the iPod. That in turn got squashed by its cousin the iPhone. It is a technological jungle out there but surprisingly digital technology is not 'king' to everyone?

Again, I remember Polaroid instant cameras. Really quite a good idea. That lost out to the Kodak Instamatic camera partly because 35mm film was cheaper than Polaroid film and in some places you could get one hour development of 35mm film. But in the last few years Polaroid has emerged phoenix like from the ashes of the analogue world. You can now buy a brand new Polaroid camera and the film to go with it. 35mm film really never died and indeed vinyl records are being pressed again. The Compact Disc which largely replaced vinyl is itself being replaced by digital downloads. How many people use CD's anymore? Blu-ray is hanging on, a good way to archive data by the way, and 3D televisions came and went. So the circle of technological life goes on. Who knows what comes next? You can be sure the real driver of technological change will be the cheapest device to develop and make therefore increasing profits for the manufacturer? Being just brilliant is not going to 'cut the mustard'?

Thanks John for the Polygeek moniker I will use it with pride. And to my uncle John I remember you would have been sixty four yesterday. How could I ever forget...