Magazine Article


News and Notes

A Tradition Ends at RadioShack Corporation

RadioShack has ended the long-standing tradition of asking customers for their names and addresses when they are checking out. Sales Associates no longer need to enter this information prior to ringing up customer purchases.

"Customers tell us the practice of asking them for names and addresses is time consuming and annoying and is not something that endears them to us," said Leonard Roberts, chairman and CEO of RadioShack Corp.

Konica/Minolta Merger

The respective presidents of Konica Corporation and Minolta Co., Ltd. have signed a letter of intent to integrate the management of both companies, based on stock swaps. A new corporate group will be created as a result: Konica Minolta Holding. As a result of the merger, the new corporate slogan of Konica Minolta will be "The essentials of imaging." By integrating the two companies, management is leveraging the range of image information products (office equipment) that each company pursues. Film will be branded Konica, cameras will be labeled Minolta.

The two companies had formed a business partnership in April 2000 for the image information products, or "office equipment," field.

The new corporate name will be adopted in August 2003 for the holding company. October 2003 will be the adoption date for the business and common-function companies.

PhoTags is a new patent pending technology that may well change the way the average consumer stores and shares digital images. PhoTags is a Photo Messaging Management System that utilizes the Jpeg file format to store intelligent content.

PhoTags provides a simple method of managing and displaying intelligent content as metadata inside the "Jpeg APP Markers" of Jpeg digital image files.

According to Harry Fox, one of the creators of the program, "PhoTags brings digital photography a step closer to traditional photography by allowing users to add notes to a digital photograph just as they would write notes on the back of a print, without damaging the front of the photo; and because we do it in the Jpeg format, it can be viewed by everyone and changed by anyone who has our software." The original image is not permanently changed because PhoTags allows the captions to be hidden.

Presently the program is Windows-based only, but a Macintosh version is under development. The application utilizes the power of the computer's search feature to find and open images, so images can be searched from anywhere within Windows. The software searches for all photos on the computer or any external device that is attached, so additional database programs are not needed.

The Smart Fit resizing feature automatically resizes images for emailing without the need for the user to manually do so. And when launching a photo editing program from within PhoTags, the camera's EXIF data is kept intact. PhoTags makes it easy to send images to PDAs or cell phones, automatically exporting images to the appropriate size for the device, and preserving the metadata.

An application and developers kit is available for manufacturers wanting to license PhoTags as a utility for their digital camera users, and incorporate it into existing editing and management software.

The PC version is now available for download on the website at and the Macintosh version will be available soon.

Operation Photo Helps Troops Send Pics Home

American troops stationed abroad can use the power of the Internet to send digital images to friends and relatives back home in the states. Operation Photo, was launched as a quick and simple way for active-duty military personnel to upload digital images for printing on Kodak paper and mailed to U.S. addresses the same day.

"Operation Photo is our way as U.S. citizens of showing support for those courageous men and women defending our freedoms," remarked Mitch Goldstone, who with partner, Carl Berman, founded Operation Photo as a division of their Irvine, CA-based 30 Minute Photos Etc. By Valentine's Day, the photo entrepreneurs expect a renewed emphasis on ordering personalized photo enlargements for gift-giving. Goldstone said, "Operation Photo is a crucial link for American troops to inexpensively and frequently send their personal photos home.