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The (Dis)(Mis) Information Age



The (Dis)(Mis) Information Age

Loads of Digital Debris for Consumers to Weed Through

By Don Sutherland

March 2001

Did you know that the 5-megapixel Minolta digicam introduced at the recent PMA was one of the "hits of the show?" So sayeth an on-line photo site, and who am I to dispute it? I had a meeting with Minolta in January where I handled the prototype, and it was a hit with me.
Of course, I actually got to feel it. At the show, Minolta had it under glass, but maybe a camera can be so hit-worthy that it rates hitness even from inside a showcase. It "seems to be taking on Olympus's E-10," continues the news report, overlooking the fact that the 4-megapixel E-10 has been shipping awhile, is a very different camera, and costs a different amount of money.
How much will the Minolta 5-megapixel camera be? Nobody's sure yet, but the target is "under $1500." "The camera hasn't yet been priced," the on-line source tells us, "but as a yardstick, the existing pro Dim•ge, the RD 3000 with 2.7 megapixels, lists at $3,996." So what's the yardstick? The implication from the wording is that the 5-megapixel Minolta would cost more.
You couldn't say the on-line report is wrong. It's just not completely right. It reads as though the reporter worked from press releases and managed to avoid Orlando. And if you interpret the price figures the way I do, it reads as though the 5-megapixel will be priced like a pro model, not a prosumer model.
If I ran such guesswork here in Photo Trade News, I wouldn't be concerned. It would mislead you, but that's okay; I'd issue a correction when the real prices were announced, and that would be the end of the situation.

Clearly, our author has seen better days. All this confusion in the media regarding exactly what digital imaging can and cannot do has turned his world...well, upside down. His column this month is his attempt to set the record straight. The finger pointing/shaking is apparently only the beginning - these scoundrels must be stopped - if only to help put our "digital humpty" together again.

However, it's the public that goes to these on-line sites. And what are they to think about a 5-megapixel camera that apparently costs something like Nikon's new 6-megapixel D1?
I can't do you very much damage. But I wonder how much damage, or at least confusion, you'll have to put up with, when enough of the other plagiaristic e-sites pick up this release and post it for all of consumerdom to see?

How Much is a Couple Charged?
Here's another fascinating piece of information that lounged around an e-site for about a year. Did you know the definition of "CCD" is "charged coupled device?"
Sure it's charged. Anyway, it is if you paid for it with your credit card. What other little pearls of wisdom have we found lounging about lately?
"When you shoot slide film you won't get an envelope full of prints back from the processor, but you can have prints made from the slides you select, and the printer can use the slide as the basis for adjusting the color in the final print." I actually almost think I know what this is trying to say. I found it under one of those "daily tips" sort of things posted on-line, and I suppose, if it says what I think it does, there must be someone out there routinely making prints from slides as described.
"Handholding is the most common and convenient way to use a camera. Most righthanded people cradle the camera body in their left hand and adjust the focus and exposure controls with their left fingers. "It's been awhile since I've seen a camera with a grip on the left side, but I did see this advice quite recently, posted on one of those on-line "sharing" sites. Fortunately, my job was to debug the site, so this advice was deep-sixed before it sent too many people to you, asking for left-handed cameras.
They've called it "the Information Age," but that's really a misnomer. The Internet, all its accouterments, appendages, and apologists have correctly made ours "the Data Age," but there can be a big difference between data and information.
Probably the largest amount of the dis- and mis-information you receive is the product of some gang of intellectual sluts, who've been bought and paid to turn you into their stooge, their accomplice, the apostle of their own gospel.
Probably, the second-largest amount of dis- and mis-information arrives through the lifestyles of the Cheap & Lazy, who wonder why they should conduct anything like research or fact-checking, when plagiarizing is so much less expensive.

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